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Bush Advisers Planned Iraq War
Since 1990s

by Joe Taglieri, FTW Staff

[©Copyright 2002, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. May be distributed, reposted on the internet or distributed for non-profit purposes only]

Oct. 1, 2002, 17:00 PDT (FTW) -- The George W. Bush Administration's intentions of removing Saddam Hussein from power are not a recent development by any stretch of the imagination. Top White House officials affiliated with conservative think tanks and past administrations have been developing strategies for removing the Iraqi leader since the 1990s. 

One such think tank, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), published a report in September 2000 recommending policies for preserving and expanding U.S. dominance in world affairs, including an aggressive policy for deposing Saddam Hussein. Members of this group include Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, convicted Iran-Contra perjurer and current National Security Council (NSC) staffer Elliot Abrams, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff and assistant for national security affairs. 

Referring to the Persian Gulf region the report states, "Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

The crux of the report advocates bulking up America's military so it can be "able to rapidly deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars." It lists southern Europe, the Middle East, Central- and East Asia as targets for increased military deployments.

Gary Schmitt, one of the report's project co-chairmen and a former Reagan policy adviser, told FTW that a U.S. invasion of Iraq is inevitable. "We will definitely be involved in Iraq for two reasons," said Schmitt. "One is because of issues myself, the administration and others have laid out for a number of years, and two, there isn't a snowball's chance in hell Saddam will allow inspections that matter."


U.S. military action against Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein has long been a goal of members of the present Bush Administration. The PNAC report was based upon a 1992 draft of the Pentagon's Defense Planning Guidance, which was prepared for then-Defense Secretary Cheney, Wolfowitz and Libby. At the time Libby and Wolfowitz were part of Cheney's policy staff. 

Libby has an extensive background in international relations and defense policy. He joined President Reagan's State Department in 1981 as a member of the Policy Planning Staff and then became the director of special projects in the department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Libby was a deputy undersecretary for policy in President George H. W. Bush's Defense Department headed by Cheney.

He has a law degree from Columbia University and during the Clinton years was a managing partner for the Washington, D.C. international law firm Dechert, Price & Rhoads. Libby was also a legal consultant for the "Cox Committee," the congressional body that investigated Chinese breaches of U.S. national security and trade secrets in 1999.

Wolfowitz has worked for the government as a defense policy strategist since 1973. He was head of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff from 1981 to 1982 and was deputy assistant secretary of defense for regional programs from 1977 to 1980.

During his time with regional programs Wolfowitz helped establish the force that would become the United States Central Command. He also contributed to the creation of the Navy's Maritime Pre-positioning Ships, which his Defense Department bio describes as the supply ships program that provided "the backbone of the initial U.S. deployment twelve years later in Operation Desert Shield."

Under Reagan, Wolfowitz served as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia and assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, where he was responsible for shaping U.S. relations with all Far East nations.

Along with five fellow signatories of PNAC's 1997 statement of principles, Wolfowitz is affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. He was the dean and professor of international relations at the university's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Thomas Donnelly, the principle author of the 2000 report advocating aggressive U.S. military policies, holds a masters degree from the Nitze School.

SAIS is also home to foreign policy behemoth Zbigniew Brzezinski, the author of a 1997 book foretelling current U.S. conflicts with Iraq and terrorists called "The Grand Chessboard." Brzezinski, a trustee of the Trilateral Commission and a member the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, is billed by SAIS as a Robert E. Osgood professor of American foreign policy.

PNAC member Elliot Abrams is a former assistant secretary of state who was a major player in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. He was convicted of several felony offenses including lying to Congress but was later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush.

Abrams has recently served on the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom and was appointed to the NSC staff position several months into George W. Bush's tenure. Given his controversial background, it was widely known that Abrams would never have survived a Senate confirmation hearing for a deputy or assistant secretary position at either the Department of Defense or State Department.


Richard Perle is another key Bush policy maker at the center of the administration's push toward war with Iraq. He is the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, which reports policy recommendations to Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.

Perle was assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during both terms of the Reagan Administration. He has been a frequent contributor to national media publications and television programs.

He is also a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank which has a member list that reads like a who's who of conservative politicians, academics, and policy makers. 

Some contend Perle is a major puller of defense policy strings. Jude Wanniski, an analyst who focuses on the politics of "supply-side economics," claims Perle controls the "brass" of the Bush Administration's defense policy team -- Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice.

"It is a badge of honor among the Warrior Class to be identified as one of Richard's String of Perles," Wanniski wrote in a memo posted on his Polycomomics, Inc. website.

Two PNAC men cited by Wanniski as faithful Perlites are William Kristol and Frank Gaffney.

Gaffney is a Washington Times columnist and a contributor to Defense News and Investor's Business Daily. During the Reagan Administration he was an assistant secretary of defense under Perle.

Gaffney, who holds a Masters Degree from Johns Hopkins' SAIS, is the founder and president of yet another think tank known as the Center for Security Policy.

Conservative commentator Kristol is the editor of the Weekly Standard magazine and a frequent pundit on TV news programs. He is also the PNAC chairman and, according to Wanniski, part of a network of opinion makers who answer to Perle. Kristol's network consists of many editorial page writers and journalists for national publications and television programs.

The vast majority of PNAC's money comes from funds forwarded through the New Citizenship Project, another organization founded by Kristol. Watchgroup Media Transparency reports PNAC has received a total of $600,000 between the organization's founding in 1997 and 2000.

The New Citizenship Project is primarily funded by grants from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Sarah Scaife Foundation. All are conservative philanthropic non-profits.

Tim Barker, FTW Staff, contributed to this report.

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