The real NeoCon rationale for invading Iraq.
Since this is a new blog, I’ll briefly touch on a few pertinent points about myself. I am a neoconservative.
I reached that intellectual position independently, never having read anything about neo-conservaticism prior to forming my views. In fact, it was quite a while after 9/11 before I even realized that others had reached the same conclusions and that they were called neo-conservatives.
Obviously there is some individual variation in views but for the most part I am firmly in that camp.
However, I am not Jewish and only sharpen my fangs every other night, so I realize that for those reasons some may disqualify me from being considered a true neoconservative 😉
Having reached my neoconservative views independently, after long and deep reflection on the issues of Islamic terrorism, I believe I can offer insights into the neoconservative rationale in the WoT. I trust reasoned presentation will demonstrate the veracity of my assertions.
Reportedly, some NeoCons are now denying that the administration ever claimed that the primary reason for invading Iraq was to remove Saddam’s ‘non-existent’ WMD’s. That is a hypocritical falsity as that was the primary rationale put forward to the American public and International community. But it never was the primary reason for the invasion of Iraq.
Yes, we did go into Iraq hoping to find WMD’s, while knowing that the WMD’s might not be there by the time we invaded and, yes we knew there might not be any WMD’s… But everyone in possession of intel believed Saddam had them; Gore, Kerry, Reid, Hillary, Pelosi, Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are all on record asserting that to be their belief, so while Bush may have been mistaken, he cannot fairly be accused of lying in saying that he believed Saddam had WMD’s.
That said, the Administration was less than frank in giving the impression that WMD’s was the primary reason we were invading Iraq. That mistake has led to great difficulties in responding to criticisms of invading Iraq.
There is an “Axis of Evil” that is as much an enemy of our way of life as the Nazi’s and Communists were previously. To deny this is to reveal either profound ignorance, insane denial or purposeful deceit. Saddam’s Iraq was part of the Axis of Evil, and although potentially dangerous, one of the lesser players.
NeoCon’s themselves haven’t been very forthright with the American public as to the complete NeoCon rationale.The reasons for the ‘misdirection’ in the public Neocon arguments are understandable, though I have argued from prior to our invasion of Iraq that this was a fundamental strategic mistake and that it would come back to haunt us. The reason for the ‘misdirection’ was twofold, consisting of a domestic reason and an international rationale.
Domestically, it was decided that the true NeoCon argument was ‘too complex’ for the American public to easily grasp. An arrogant, if somewhat arguable presumption, especially with the counter arguments that the left and the MSM were certain to mount against it. Therefore it was decided to ‘simplify’ the rationale in hopes that this would ensure that the Neocon strategy in the WoT would be implemented.
Internationally, because we couldn’t fully reveal publicly our strategy, as that would benefit those at odds with our national interests, especially with the MSM determined to undermine any confrontational strategy.
It is important to note that the NeoCons in the Bush administration sincerely believed their analysis of the Islamic terrorist danger the West faces to be correct and that only one ‘solution’ had a chance for success.
That of course is debatable and that debate did take place but the NeoCon’s carried the argument, at least with Bush. They ‘won’ the debate because Bush is a ‘bottom line’ kind of guy. He does not like complexity and evaluates analysis and ‘solutions’ based in fundamental principle; asking himself, does this make sense on a basic level?
Arguments as to whether this is ‘smart’ miss the point, it’s simply one way of evaluating information. As in any methodology, with advantages and disadvantages. Its effectiveness is a matter of ‘quality of execution’ rather than its value ‘per se’ as a method of decision making.
The primary reason for invading Iraq was not even the very real danger that one day Saddam would gain and then give WMD’s to terrorist groups. It was reasonable to presuppose that Saddam, in all probability was at the very least maintaining the capability to resume WMD development programs . While an important reason, again it was not the main reason for the invasion of Iraq.
The primary reason(s) for the invasion of Iraq was twofold: and of a short-term tactical and long-term strategic nature. Those reasons were; First, to send a very clear message to other nations that the ‘game’s’ rules had changed. That the US was now serious, that al Quada and Islamic Terrorism had, in the words of Yamamoto, once again “awoken the sleeping giant”…
AND to establish a ‘beachhead’ of democracy in the very heart of the Axis of Evil. NeoCons posit that in the long term, the surest way to defeat Islamic terrorism is the growth of democracy within the ME.
In order to understand the rationale driving the NeoCon strategy in the WoT it is essential to understand the NeoCon analysis of Islamic Terrorism. It is simple but never articulated clearly, cohesively and directly. Woven throughout Bush’s speeches are all the elements of the NeoCon rationale but Bush’s great weakness is his inability to articulate the entire argument in a concise, cohesive manner.
Here is the NeoCon analysis of Islamic terrorism in a nutshell.
First the context:
Islamic Terrorism is a world-wide radical religious philosophy absolutely dedicated to the destruction of Western values and institutions. It is a ‘clash of civilizations’ only in that individual freedom, democracy and separation of church and state are seen by Fundamentalist Radical Islamics as a direct and permanent threat to traditional Islamic values.
One that in a modern world of Television, the Internet, cultural interchange and the ability to rapidly travel to other parts of the world dooms ‘first wave*’ Islamic societies to cultural assimilation by the west if interacting freely with ‘third wave*’ information societies in the West and East is allowed to continue.
Now the structural make-up:
The phenomenon of Islamic Terrorism is threefold in nature. This is absolutely necessary to a full understanding of the threat it represents to Western values, institutions and societies.
The threefold nature of Islamic Terrorism consists of:
1.) Various ideologically disparate terror networks. Ideologically fueled by hate-filled radical Fundamentalist Islamic mullahs operating out of state-funded madras’s.
These hate filled mullah’s are key and they ARE promoting an interpretation of Islam that IS inherent to the religion. Apologists attempt to deny this observation by pointing to the earlier, Medina part of the Koran’s tolerant verses.
But in the later ‘Meccan’ passages, the Koran contains many, many calls to jihad against ALL unbelievers until the entire world is under the control of Islam. ISLAM must change. It must have its reformation**. It is virtually the ‘Spanish inquisition’ of our times.
2.) The Rogue nations who use these networks as ‘stealth’ quasi-military arms of aggression in a struggle with other nations to ensure the furtherance of their national goals and agenda.
3.) The ‘enabling’ status-quo nations, who out of short-term national self-interest, block as much as possible any effective actions against the Rogue nations, especially in the U.N.
It is impossible to defeat the terror networks without defeating the rogue nations. Either dissuading them from further support, as in Libya’s case or through direct overthrow and destruction of the underlying social structures that support terrorism within these nations. (As will eventually be the case with Iran.)
It is imperative that the ‘enabling’ nations, primarily Russia, China and much of the EU be dealt with in an appropriate manner. Direct confrontation is neither desirable nor practical. We must essentially ‘sideline’ them through adroit diplomatic maneuvering. Bush tried that but the Mainstream Media effectively undermined support for that course of action.
It is imperative to recognize that the leadership of the enabling nations are NOT our friends. Put colloquially, they are the type of ‘friend’ who seeks to ‘stab us in the back’ smiling as they do it. Never revealing the internalized hate until the knife slips in and we turn to them surprised saying, “Et tu Brute?”
Iraq was chosen because it was overall, the best place to start among the Axis of Evil nations in implanting democracy.
Not as some have simplistically believed out of a frat-boy bravado by Bush over his father’s attempted assassination, though as any of us in his position would, he undoubtedly appreciates the ‘icing on the cake’.
Consider the advantages Iraq offered: No one would miss Saddam; he was a singularly unsympathetic figure.
The propaganda bonanza of 25 million people freed and the deaths of 300,000 per year stopped. A tremendously impactful reality for captive peoples across the ME.
Though clearly ‘perverted’, generations of Iraqi’s have been raised in a secular environment. Iraqi’s have been accustomed to living with real separation of church and state, arguably they are the ME nation most predisposed to acceptance of democracy and seperation of church and state.
Thus making the transition to democracy less problematic, raising the prospects for success from impossible to merely very difficult. Close proximity to the other Axis of Evil nations, providing immediate and unavoidable comparison by the citizens of Iran and Syria with their social arrangements and the new Iraqi freedoms.
Thus the resulting ‘revolutionary message’ that a successful Iraq presents; If Shiite’s, Sunni’s and Kurds can govern together in relative peace, then why not in their own country? Strategic military proximity to Syria and Iran thus creates pressure to ameliorate their behavior.
The final two truisms that fuel NeoCon analysis:
NeoCon acceptance of the proposition that free will and it’s necessary foundation freedom, is an innate human quality, a ‘universal’ human need, thus one that in time, transcends any culture.
Secondly, in crises situations, the choice is never between good and bad options. In a crisis, the options are very bad to even worse. By definition, it would not be a crises, if there was a good solution.
The key to understand is that invariably, in a crises, choosing the short-term, less-bad option leads to long-term much-worse results.These are the realistic decision-making principles that are driving Cheney’s advice and Bush’s choices.
There actually is a method to the administration’s ‘madness’…
Bush’s personal qualities, relative NeoCon silence and a leftist mind-set viscerally opposed to confrontation have led to the view that NeoCons are a secret cabal who do not have America’s interests at heart. Nothing could be further from the truth.
NeoCons are simply tough-minded former liberals who have sought refuge within the Republican Party in the face of today’s peace-at-any-cost, liberal mind-set ruled democratic party.
Just like Reagan, they didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the party left them.
* Refers to Alvin Toffler’s ‘wave’ theory of historical progress; The Agricultural, Industrial and Informational waves of historical dynamics and the resultant societies representative of those historical transitions. Islamic societies are fundamentally tribal, ‘First’ wave societies. The US is the foremost example of a formerly ‘Second’ wave society transitioning into a ‘Third’ wave society. This is why conventional thinking regarding the desirability & possibility of a return or resurgence of manufacturing in the US is mistaken. Robotic manufacturing will return once artificial intelligence (AI) reaches a certain level but human factory workers en mass is history.
** Arguably, the Bahai faith is the reformatory engine that Islam has already rejected.