Obama Fulfilling the Neocon Dream?
Mass Regime Change in Muslim World?

Glenn Greenwald

November 28, 2011 "Democracy Now!" --- Political blogger Glenn Greenwald
recently wrote about retired General Wesley Clark’s recollection of an officer telling him in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks that the then U.S. Secretary of Defense had issued a memo outlining a plan for regime change within five years in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. We play an excerpt of Clark’s comments and ask Greenwald to respond. “What struck me in listening to that video ... is that if you go down that list of seven countries that he said the neocons had planned to basically change the governments of, you pretty much see that that vision, despite the perception that we have a Democratic president and therefore the neo-conservative movement is powerless, is pretty much being fulfilled,” Greenwald says.



AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, in your latest piece, you wrote about the Project for New American Century or PNAC, and started talking about neocon, neoconservative, foreign policy as it relates to the Obama administration. Explain.

GLENN GREENWALD: There was this speech that General Wesley Clark gave in 2007 to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in which he recounted meetings that he had at the Pentagon with people with whom he had close relationships — meetings he had at the Pentagon with people with whom he had close relationships in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and he talked about how, as he had done before, that he was told within a week or two after 9/11 that the Pentagon intended to attack Iraq even though no one thought that they were involved in the 9/11 attack. And he described an incident where he went back to the Pentagon a few weeks after he was told this, in October and November of 2001, and he asked his source, well, it looks like we’re going to attack Afghanistan, you told me we were going to attack Iraq. Are we still going to attack Iraq? And the source told him, oh, General, it’s actually much worse than this.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to play the clip of Wesley Clark.


WESLEY CLARK: What happened in 9/11, IS we didn’t have a strategy, we didn’t have bipartisan agreement, we didn’t have American understanding of it. And we had, instead, a policy coup in this country, a coup, a policy coup. Some hard-nosed people took over the direction of American policy and they never bothered to inform the rest of us. I went through the Pentagon 10 days after 9/11. I couldn’t stay away from mother army. I went back there to see Don Rumsfeld. I had worked for him as a white house fellow in the 1970’s. All this is in the book. I said, am I doing OK on CNN? He said, yeah, yeah, yeah, fine. He said, I’m thinking about—-I read your book. And he said—-this is the book that talks about the Kosovo campaign—-and he said, I just want to tell you, he said, nobody’s going to tell us where or when we can bomb, nobody. He said, I’m thinking of calling this a floating coalition. What do you think about that? I said, well sir, thanks for reading my book, and well... He said, thanks, that is all the time I have got. Really. I went downstairs leaving the Pentagon and an officer from the Joint Staff called me into the office and said, I want you to know, sir, we’re going to attack Iraq. I said, why? He said, we don’t know. I said, well did they tie Saddam to 9/11? He said, no, he said, but I guess they do not know what to do about terrorism and so the—-but they can attack states and they want to look strong. So, I guess they think if they take down a state it will intimidate the terrorists. It’s like that old saying, he said, that if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem has to be a nail. Well, I walked out of there pretty upset, and then we attacked Afghanistan. I was pretty happy about that. We should have. And then I came back to the Pentagon about six weeks later. I saw the same officer. I said, why haven’t we attacked Iraq? We still going to attack Iraq? He said, oh, sir, it’s worse than that. He pulled up a piece of paper off his desk. He said, I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense’s office, says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years. We’re going to start with Iraq and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.

AMY GOODMAN: That was General Wesley Clark. Glenn Greenwald, the significance of what he said?

GLENN GREENWALD: So, that seems like a fairly radical plan, and he’s talking about, what he calls, this neocon cabal that had implemented this extremist militaristic vision justified on the basis of 9/11. He actually goes on to describe how Paul Wolfowitz, ten years earlier, was talking about these things well before 9/11. But, what struck me in listening to that video just a couple of days ago is that if you go down that list of Seven countries that he said the neocons had planned to basically change the governments of, you pretty much see that vision, despite the perception that we have a Democratic president and therefore the neoconservative movement is powerless, is pretty much being fulfilled. I mean, the governments of Iraq and Libya and Lebanon, three of those countries, have been changed, including Libya this year by military force. You then look at Somalia and Sudan where the Obama administration in Somalia has, according to The Washington Post just this weekend, massively escalated it’s proxy fighting and drone attacks, we’re involved in trying to subvert and control Somalia in all sorts of ways. We have a modest deployment to the south part of Sudan. But, that’s another country where we’re now militarily active and trying to control. And then the most important countries on that list, Iran and Syria, are clearly the target of all sorts of covert regime change efforts on the part of the United States and Israel. That is clearly the goal the U.S. government has adopted for itself, is to get rid of the Iranian laws and the Assad regime in Syria. And so, if you look at what Clark described in a way that he intended to be very frightening an extremist, that the neocons wanted to do in these seven countries, it seems pretty clear to me that although we may not be doing it with as much of an overt war as the neocons would like, it’s just a slightly more subtle and different means of achieving the same end.

AMY GOODMAN: And the significance of the drone strikes and fitting it in with the Project for a New American Century, what’s happened Pakistan now, Pakistan saying the U.S. has to clear out of a base that is believed to be being used by the United States to launch drone strikes, but drone strikes not only in Pakistan?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, this is what’s so amazing to me. If you look back at what the Congress did in the wake of 9/11 when it enacted the authorization to use military force, if you look at that authorization, it’s incredibly narrow, as it turns out. If you go and actually read it, it says the President is authorized to use military force against those who perpetrated the 9/11 attack and those countries who harbored those individuals. That’s it, that’s the only authorized use of military force. Well, here we are more than a decade later, and there was an article in The Washington Post from a week ago where U.S. officials anonymously are saying that, in essence, Al Qaeda, the group that perpetrated the 9/11 attack according to the government, is now dead. There’s only two leaders left they say in that entire region. It already rendered "effectively inoperable". There is no more Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan or Pakistan according to the U.S. government. The group that perpetrated 9/11, according to it is no longer even existing. And yet, here we are engaged in extraordinarily broad military efforts, constantly escalating in numerous parts of the world. There’s six different countries in which the U.S. is actively using drones; in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and Yemen, against groups that didn’t even exist at the time that 9/11 was perpetrated. And constantly, what you find is we are killing all sorts of civilians. There was just a story, a horrible story from four days ago where a U.S. air-strike in Afghanistan slaughtered an entire family of children, six children between the ages of 4 and 12. What we’re doing in essence is not only going way beyond what we were supposed to be doing when the Congress authorized military force, but what we’re really doing is we’re constantly manufacturing the causes of our war. Everywhere we go, every time we kill Pakistani troops or kill children in Yemen or in Afghanistan, we’re generating more and more anti-American sentiment and violence, and therefore, guaranteeing we will always have more people to fight.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Glenn Greenwald. Constitutional law attorney, political blogger for Salon.com.

Wes Clark and the Neocon Dream

By Glenn Greenwald

November 26, 2011 "
Salon" --- In October, 2007, Gen. Wesley Clark gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco (seven-minute excerpt in the video below) in which he denounced what he called “a policy coup” engineered by neocons in the wake of 9/11. After recounting how a Pentagon source had told him weeks after 9/11 of the Pentagon’s plan to attack Iraq notwithstanding its non-involvement in 9/11, this is how Clark described the aspirations of the “coup” being plotted by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and what he called “a half dozen other collaborators from the Project for the New American Century”:

Six weeks later, I saw the same officer, and asked: “Why haven’t we attacked Iraq? Are we still going to attack Iraq?”

He said: “Sir, it’s worse than that. He said – he pulled up a piece of paper off his desk – he said: “I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense’s office. It says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we’re going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”

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