PNAC is a semi-defunct think tank for neocon deep thinking, a brand of feral (thanks for the word, Chris!) "conservatism"/neo-fascism whose philosophy envisions a Pax Americana based on projecting brutal force/military power, imposing American-style "democracy" and values on far-flung nations and cultures which have never known it, and renewing good old-fashioned Euro-style 18th and 19th century imperial colonial rule — you know, the kind of thing we fought a revolution over — in order to feed the oil industry beast and maintain the sea lanes open for our economy's lifeblood, while cowing potential rivals (China, Russia) into submission with our chest-thumping, saber-rattling, jingoistic macho, because-we-really-mean-it-and-can-stay-the-course.
Those not familiar with this creepy, if not sinister organization, may be interested to know that in 1998 many of those neocons who resurfaced in that strange audience (even for wingnut Republicans) wrote the latest GOP presidential frontrunner, Newt Gingrich, a letter which stated, in part:
Written two years before the terrorist attacks of 9/11 which triggered the invasion of Iraq and all that has followed since as a result of our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, this appeal for our government's commitment to the disastrous Iraq war puts the lie to simplistic historical revisionism that the invasion of Iraq was a reaction to the 9/11 terror attacks and not preordained policy by, in effect, a kitchen cabinet waiting its turn to take the reins of U.S. foreign policy."On January 26, we sent a letter to President Clinton expressing our concern that the U.S. policy of "containment" of Saddam Hussein was failing. The result, we argued, would be that the vital interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East would soon be facing a threat as severe as any we had known since the end of the Cold War. We recommended a substantial change in the direction of U.S. policy: Instead of further, futile efforts to "contain" Saddam, we argued that the only way to protect the United States and its allies from the threat of weapons of mass destruction was to put in place policies that would lead to the removal of Saddam and his regime from power. The administration has not only rejected this advice but, as we warned, has begun to abandon its own policy of containment."
The letter was signed by such luminaries of the neocon right as: Elliot Abrams (Asst. Sec. of State under Bush "43"), John Bolton (UN embassador under Bush "43"), Bill Bennett (served as 1st Director of National Drug Control Policy under Bush "41" and various other posts in the Reagan/Bush WH), Bill Kristol (Fox fixture and former Chief of Staff to V.P. Dan Quayle), Richard Perle (Asst. Sec. of Defense under Bush "43"), Don Rumsfeld (the infamous Sec. of Defense for Bush "43" and WH Chief of Staff to President Ford following the Watergate debacle), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's chief deputy), and James Woolsey (former CIA Director under President Clinton).
In light of the fateful events of 9/11 that would forever change us as a people and a nation, the most controversial and disturbing passage of a PNAC document issued in September, 2000 on "rebuilding America's defenses" was this, in Section V of the 90-page document, entitled Creating Tomorrow's Dominant Force: "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor." (Emphasis mine.) One year later the twin towers and the Pentagon were struck by a coordinated terrorist attack. The PNAC "analysts" had their Pearl Harbor. They wasted no time sending a letter to President George W. Bush on September 20, 2001 (nine days after the September 11, 2001 attacks) urging regime change: "[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism." (Emphasis mine.)"U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein's regime from power and establishing a peaceful and democratic Iraq in its place. We recognize that this goal will not be achieved easily. But the alternative is to leave the initiative to Saddam, who will continue to strengthen his position at home and in the region. Only the U.S. can lead the way in demonstrating that his rule is not legitimate and that time is not on the side of his regime. To accomplish Saddam's removal, the following political and military measures should be undertaken:
— We should take whatever steps are necessary to challenge Saddam Hussein's claim to be Iraq's legitimate ruler, including indicting him as a war criminal;
— We should help establish and support (with economic, political, and military means) a provisional, representative, and free government of Iraq in areas of Iraq not under Saddam's control;
— We should use U.S. and allied military power to provide protection for liberated areas in northern and southern Iraq; and — We should establish and maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the Gulf — and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power."
Only in the topsy-turvy virtual reality world of Washington D.C. would romantics refuse to believe President Kennedy was the victim of a domestic conspiracy — aka, a coup d'etat, because they only happen in "those South American countries" — perpetuating an orthodoxy built on lies and Arthurian fantasies, and Van Jones be considered unfit to serve in government for signing a petition which calls for an investigation into the possibility the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an "inside job." Or at least that sectors of the U.S. government are criminally protecting strategic allies that knew of the attacks: In Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9/11 terrorists originated, and Pakistani intelligence with its known close ties to Al Qaeda, including funding sources.
And so the once thought defunct PNAC which had such a prominent, and destructive, role in George W. Bush's administration had a reunion of sorts during the GOP presidential debate. They're back, and they want in. Something about inflated egos, hubris, and unfinished business. Rachel touched upon PNAC's resurgent behind-the-scenes influence, but Melissa did the best job of highlighting it in the context of this past GOP foreign policy debate. Her somewhat sanitized report — hey, MSNBC is corporate media and self-censorship is the norm — still managed to shine a light on a sinister cast of characters, the audience of neocon PNAC zombies revivified to ask the questions. Watch:
Sweet Melissa got it about right: It's not what was asked or said but who was there, and why. (We'll get to the equally scary and hilarious highlights in a moment, considering one of these vampire fools — Ron Paul, perhaps Huntsman, excepted — could actually have their finger on the nuclear trigger.) Consider this grotesque personal hygiene maven, the Wolf Man Paul Wolfowitz, whose barf-inducing comb sucking is almost as gross and sickening as his neocon foreign policy views:
This cast of criminals (some identified in Melissa's report) drove George W. Bush's foreign policy and its Orwellian perpetual wars, now Obama's wars, despite the Minitrue unfurling of a "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner on the deck of the ultimate symbol of American military force projection — an aircraft carrier — with the commander-in-chief in full crotch enhancing military regalia. That was in 2003. The wars are still raging and most of our dead and wounded troops happened after Bush thrust his crotch on the American people.
"We need a strategy of defeating and replacing the current Iranian regime with minimum use of force." (Regime change by any other name, anyone?).... "But if we were serious, we could break the Iranian regime, I think, within a year, starting candidly with cutting off the gasoline supply to Iran, and then, frankly, sabotaging the only refinery they have." (Piece of cake, right? After all, weren't we greeted as "liberators" in Iraq?)
THESE are the relevant question for the American voter: Would you want the most ignorant, policy-challenged, and flawed GOP candidates in history to assume the presidency of the United States at this critical juncture, or anytime in history? Would you want this rogues gallery of reborn PNAC villains, who were auditioning in that auditorium for a return to power, running our foreign policy — again? Would you want to open yet another front in our perpetual 100 years' wars, to wage a continuous third war stretching our military to the breaking point and bankrupting us for good, this time against Iran? Think long and hard on it. Because if the answer to these questions is "yes" then Osama bin Laden will have won our "war on terror."