Uncle Dick and the PNAC
By Antonio C. Abaya
Written September 07, 2004
For the Manila Standard,
September 09 issue
Those who are familiar with current American domestic politics would know that “Uncle Dick” refers to Vice-President Dick Cheney. But even most Americans would not know that PNAC stands for the Project for the New American Century.
In many of his perceptive editorial cartoons (often reproduced in Teddyboy Locsin’s Today newspaper), the American visual political commentator Oliphant (whose first name I do not recall) often pictures Vice President Cheney as a rambunctious, domineering, manipulative and cynical bully who uses the simple-minded and naive George W. for his own agenda.
In one recent Oliphant cartoon, George W., who is often drawn as a scrawny, gangling teenager in short pants, with an oversized 10-gallon Texas hat on his head, is sitting on Uncle Dick’s lap holding a desk sign once made famous by President Truman in the 1950s that says “The buck stops here.”
“Uncle Dick,” asks the bewildered George W., “what am I supposed to do with this silly thing?” Uncle Dick replies with his trademark scowl, “Put it on Rumsfeld’s desk.”
Rumsfeld, of course, is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was the designated lightning rod to take all the blame for the abuses committed by the American military against Iraqi prisoners at the now infamous Abu Ghraib jailhouse, thus saving the re-electionist George W from having to take command responsibility for the atrocities.
In June 1997, three and a half years before George W became US president (as a result of a stolen election in Florida), the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was formed among a group of neo-conservative intellectuals, columnists, academics, businessmen and Washington power brokers.
Among the leading hawks of the PNAC were Big Chief Cheney (who became George W’s vice-president), Rumsfeld (who became his defense secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (who became Rumsfeld’s deputy), Richard Perle (who became chairman of the Defense Policy Board), Jeb Bush, George W’s younger brother (who became governor of Florida, where the stolen election led directly to George W becoming president), Douglas Feithe (who became undersecretary of defense), and Elliot Abrams (who became Middle East specialist in the National Security Council). (See my article “Understanding Bush”, Oct. 15, 2003, archived in www.tapatt.org.
In its Statement of Principles of June 03, 1997, the PNAC advocated a “military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire.” Emphasis is mine to relate this stated principle to the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strike against the perceived enemies, actual and potential, of the US: Iraq, Iran, Syria and North Korea. ….also known as.Bush’s Axis of Evil.
In September 2000, one year before 9/11, the PNAC issued a paper titled “Rebuilding America’s Defense Strategy, Forces and Resolve for a New Century,” which outlined the steps that the neocons thought should be taken to project American power and protect American interests.
Among them: take permanent military control of the Middle East, “whether or not Saddam Hussein remains in power;” discourage other advanced and industrial nations from challenging US leadership; encourage regime change in China; increase American forces in Southeast Asia; dominate space; control cyberspace to prevent enemies from using the Internet against the US; develop biological weapons that can target specific genotypes.
However, Uncle Dick’s PNAC admitted in this paper that “the process of transforming the US into tomorrow’s dominant force” is likely to be a long one “in the absence of some catastrophic and cataclysmic event, such as a new Pearl Harbor.”
Fortunately for the neocons, the al-Qaeda’s suicide attacks on US soil on 9/11/01, or one year later, provided exactly that “new Pearl Harbor”, giving George W., having stolen the election in Brother Jeb’s Florida to become US president in January 2001, the pretext to put the PNAC blueprint into action.
Even before 9/11, the PNAC’s Paul Wolfowitz, who became deputy secretary of defense, had been itching to launch an invasion of Iraq as part of the PNAC’s blueprint for the US to take permanent military control of the Middle East, “whether or not Saddam Hussein remains in power.” 9/11, in effect, gave him the go-signal.
Richard Clarke, Bush’s resigned anti-terrorism expert, wrote in his book that right after 9/11, President Bush was needling him to find a connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, no matter how faint. (He wrote that he found none).George W. was also raring to invade Iraq that early, long before the actual invasion was launched in March 2003.
And so was Uncle Dick, who was formerly CEO of the giant oil corporation, Halliburton, from which he continued to draw honoraria in the millions of dollars even after he had resigned to become vice-president of the USA. Not surprisingly, Halliburton and its subsidiaries, together with Bechtel, got a lion’s share of the billions of dollars worth of contracts, often without public bidding, for the reconstruction of Iraq. The smell of oil will always beckon to an oilman.
And it is a measure of the gullibility of the American masa – not in any way better informed than the stupid Filipino masa who wanted to have an ignoramus showbiz idol as president – that a clear majority of them to this day still believe that Saddam Hussein was the brains behind 9/11. They had been conditioned to that bias by George W’s many lies.
Which is why it is very likely that George W. will be re-elected president on November 2. It would be very difficult for challenger John Kerry to overcome the ignorance of the 70-million strong (or almost half the US electorate) Christian fundamentalists of TV evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who believe that the state of Israel is a creation of God and avidly support (without even knowing who or what the PNAC is) the efforts of the Bush Government to protect Israel from the likes of Saddam Hussein and the ayatollahs of Iran.
Their support for Israel stems from their interpretation of the Book of Revelations that in the coming Final Battle between the Forces of Good and the Forces of Evil (which may have already begun) “the valley from Galilee to Eilat will flow with blood and 144,000 Jews will bow down before Jesus and be saved, but the rest of Israel will perish in the mother of all holocausts….”
And this conversion to Christianity of 144,000 Jews (other fundamentalists put that figure as high as two million) will be the signal for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Against this Bush-assisted Second Coming, John Kerry has absolutely nothing to counter with, especially since Kerry, born Jewish but a convert to Roman Catholicism, may be seen by the Christian fundamentalists as having converted prematurely (and to the wrong branch of Christianity, at that) and thus has no contribution to make to this imminent biblical event.
Add to this the vicious attack dogs unleashed on Kerry by the Republicans led by no less than Uncle Dick, who have maliciously cast doubts on Kerry’s war record in Vietnam. This has got to be the meanest and most ironic twist in this electoral campaign.
Kerry, who was wounded twice in Vietnam and was awarded a distinguished service medal, is being attacked by a bunch of quasi-draft dodgers who studiously avoided putting their lives and limbs at risk in that war.
George W. avoided being sent to Vietnam by enlisting in the Texas Air National Guard. His records in the National Guard, which would have shown if he did anything heroic there, are showing gaps in 1972-73, which suggests that he may even have avoided doing actual training in that outfit, courtesy of his highly connected Dad. Guzzling beer and banging the girls were certainly not as life-threatening as tangling with the Viet Cong.
According to New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, Uncle Dick applied for and received five deferments when he was eligible for the Vietnam draft. Uncle Dick told the Senate at a confirmation hearing in 1989 that “I had priorities in the 60s other than military service.” What about the 1,000 American soldiers who have been killed in Iraq, Uncle Dick? Didn’t they have other priorities, too, such as staying alive?
Paul Wolfowitz, the most hawkish PNAC neocon pushing for the invasion of Iraq, also avoided military service in Vietnam through student deferments. Wolfowitz, a.k.a. Wolfowitz of Arabia, likes to play at war as long as some other jerks do the dying.
According to Herbert, Attorney General John Ashcroft, next to George W the highest ranking Christian fundamentalist in the Bush Cabinet, asked for and received six student deferments and one “occupational” deferment based on his “essential” job (teaching business law to undergraduates in Missouri) to avoid serving in Vietnam.
What a bunch of cowardly phonies! But who says cowardly phonies don’t win? *****
The bulk of this article appears in the September 09, 2004 issue of the Manila Standard.