Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Neo-Con's "Project for the New American Century"

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How many people know about the PNAC letter sent to Clinton in 1998, which urged the overthrow of Saddam and the assertion of American hegemony over Iraq -- three years prior to 9/11? Here is the letter!

January 26, 1998
The Honorable William J. Clinton
President of the United States
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:
We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War. In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.
The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam’s secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.
Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.
Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.
We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.
We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.

Sincerely,

Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Robert B. Zoellick
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Leo Strauss, Machiavelli and False Piety




In 1512 Machiavelli wrote in The Prince that "a prince, and especially a new prince, cannot observe all things which are considered good in men, being often obliged, in order to maintain the state, to act against faith, against charity, against humanity, and against religion." He instructed rulers to act AS IF they were pious, because piety is valued by the populace, but warned against actually allowing these Morals to interfere with government's behind-the-scenes decision making and actions, stating categorically that is was NECESSARY to deceive the populace in order to govern effectively.
Leo Strauss, exile from the Nazi's, professor at the University of Chicago to many we know today as the Neo-cons, helped bring these teachings directly into modern American politics, but with a moral twist that both condemned and respected Machiavellian tactics simultaneously.
The importance of Leo Strauss's influence on both current far-Right Republican politics as well as far-Right Conservative Christian tactics to infiltrate the Republican Party cannot be overstated. As a grinning Ralph Reed has stated many times publicly, it's not important what people think about you, only that you operate quietly in the background and achieve your goals by any means necessary. What American Christian voters should be asking themselves is, "Are our values truly being heard, or are today's Republican Right simply pretending they are hearing us in order get our votes, remain in power, and instead continue their pro-corporate and pro-militaristic agenda?"
Leo Strauss's influence on current American political thought cannot be overstated. While teaching Machiavellian political science concepts in Chicago his students included Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Harry Jaffa and many other late 20th Century Neocons and Project for New American Century signers. His views influenced Grover Norquist, Jack Abramov and Ralph Reed in founding the Young Republican clubs in major univerities across the United States. So much of what is going on today in American politics has been described as either Machiavellian or Straussian, which is essentially the same thing.
Here are some quotes and resources on Strauss, which are numerous online:
"Strauss was neither a liberal nor a democrat," (Shadia Drury, author of 1999's Leo Strauss and the American Right) said in a telephone interview from her office at the University of Calgary in Canada. "Perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical (in Strauss's view) because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what's good for them... Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing," because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that might encourage dissent, which in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. "You want a crowd that you can manipulate like putty," according to Drury. (from The Strong Must Rule the Weak: A Philosopherfor an Empire Jim Lobe, May 12, 2003)
"Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was a student of philosophy in Germany and watched the Weimar Republic dissolve into chaos and then into tyranny. As a Jew, he was forced to flee Germany and he eventually ended up at the University of Chicago, where he developed a cult following from some the brightest students. For Strauss, the demise of the Weimar Republic represented a repudiation of liberal democracy. Liberalism, to Strauss, equals relativism, which necessarily leads to nihilism. Strauss longed to return to a previous, pre-liberal, pre-bourgeois era of blood and guts, of imperial domination, of authoritarian rule, of pure fascism.
These views resonated with Straussian disciples such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol and Harry Jaffa. They took these ideas out of the classroom and translated them into actual political doctrine: the neoconservative manifesto of the Project for a New American Century. Straussian principles would be implemented on a global scale, and 9/11 provided the perfect pretext. Paul Wolfowitz, who attended Strauss's lectures on Plato, became the architect of the Iraq War, using hyped intelligence concerning WMD's as the "noble lie"."

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The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.
The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America's role in the world.
- William Kristol, Chairman -

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