Thursday, July 26, 2012
Post #296 - Are We in a Manipulatively-Induced Coma?
A few years ago (2009), Gen. Wesley Clark (US Army, retired) spoke at a meeting sponsored by FORA. TV. In a little-noted speech, he urged Americans to look not at the saber-rattle or fiasco of the moment, but at the strategic thinking that lies behind events and defines American foreign policy over the long-term, especially in regard to the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
Gen. Clark told of a visit he made to the Pentagon just ten days after 9/11, while one wing of the building was literally still smoldering from one of the terrorist hits. When stopping by to see an friend in the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that colleague shared with him a classified document that referred to not just a U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, but a strategy that would have seen our troops committed to effecting regime change in seven countries over a five-year period: the one mentioned above, as well as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Iran.
Now, a decade later, two of countries on the list have been invaded, one has fallen to an internal take-over with external assistance, one is in a state of active conflict with thousands killed, and another is being threatened. (To say nothing of Tunisia and Egypt, which must seem like "bonus" entries in the win column of the grand strategy.)
The list, and the strategy of which it was a part, were not the product of the Pentagon's own planners. Clark recalled another conversation he had had with then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz back in 1991, when the outlines of such a series of moves were even then being formulated under the rubric of the Project for a New American Century. Wolfowitz, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others in what is usually called the neo-con camp, were "thinking big" about the prospects for American hegemony in a new, post-Cold War era, and they had the juice to make it happen.
Speaking as a former military man, as an erstwhile vice-presidential contender and as a citizen, Gen. Clark said, "If you are an American, you ought to be concerned about the strategy for the United States in this region. What is our aim? What is our purpose? Why are Americans dying in that region?"
Since he spoke those words, many thousands more Americans, NATO troops and indigenous residents have lost their lives, but precious little has been said about long-term intentions.
Before we go down the road to war again, shouldn't we follow Clark's prescient advice and ask some hard questions of our politicians -- including both President Obama and his would-be successor? What is the end-game? Is it world domination? If so, are we ever going to get a chance to vote on that?