Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

04.18 'We Can Be Whatever We Have the Courage to See': New Video From AOC Envisions a #GreenNewDeal Future [7:35 video]

04.18 'Decades of denial': major report finds New Zealand's environment is in serious trouble

04.17 Thawing Permafrost Emitting Higher Levels of Potent Greenhouse Gas Than Previously Thought: Study

04.16 'That Backfired': Watch Bernie Sanders Counter Right-Wing Talking Point, Make Case for Medicare for All on Fox News

04.16 Cause of cancer is written into DNA of tumours, scientists find, creating a 'black box' for origin of disease

04.16 Scientists Unveil World's First Human Heart 3D-Printed From Patients' Own Cells

04.15 What It Was Like to Have a Baby in Sweden

04.14 'Shut the country down': British climate group Extinction Rebellion heads to US

04.13 With Youth Climate Actions Backed by Leading Experts, Latest Round of Protests Highlights Call for Bold and Urgent Action

04.11 Will You Rise Up for Climate Justice Next Week? Don’t Let Fatalism and Cynicism Hold You Back

04.11 300+ Groups to Congress: #GreenNewDeal 'Must Transform Our Food System and Revitalize Rural America'

04.10 Glaciers and arctic ice are vanishing. Time to get radical before it's too late [Willfully ignorant "conservatives" and corporately-bribed liberals diddle self-obsessively while life on earth dies]

04.10 Is there a beautiful, briny solution to the world’s clean water crisis?

04.08 'The perfect storm': hydrogen gains ground on LNG as alternative fuel [Good!]

04.08 Himalayan glaciers on the eve of destruction

04.08 Russia moves to free nearly 100 captive whales after outcry [Good!]

News Media Matters

04.12 DOJ Charging Docs: Julian Assange Committed Journalism

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

04.19 14 Must-Read Moments From the Mueller Report

04.19 No One Listens to the President

04.19 'Whimsical, uninformed': French ambassador's parting verdict on Trump

04.19 Mueller report: press secretary Sarah Sanders admitted to lying to reporters

04.19 Videos appear to show armed militia detaining migrants at US-Mexico border

04.19 Mueller report unable to clear Trump of obstruction of justice [PDF]

04.19 Nadler says Mueller report shows 'disturbing evidence' of obstruction of justice – video [2:41 video]

04.19 The Pentagon’s Bottomless Money Pit [pdf; Until the Pentagon can pass audits, use their allocated budget to fight causes of global warming]

04.18 Top Democrats Accuse Barr of 'Acting to Protect Donald Trump' Ahead of Mueller Report Rollout

04.18 Bernie Sanders 'Raises the Bar Even Further' on Climate With Vow to Ban Fracking, All New Fossil Fuel Projects [Mindlessly killing ourselves must stop]

04.16 How Progressives Can Fix the Progressive Income Tax

04.16 Why the US Elected a Despot, and Why It's Poised To Do It Again

04.16 'This Is a Big Deal': Warren Vows to Ban New Leases for Fossil Fuel Drilling Offshore and on Public Lands

Justice Matters

04.19 The Mueller Report Is Clear: Donald Trump Repeatedly Tried to Obstruct Justice

High Crimes

04.17 'Shameful': With Millions on Brink of Famine in Yemen, Trump Vetoes Resolution to End US Complicity

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

04.19 The Public Banking Revolution Is Upon Us

04.18 Mark Carney tells global banks they cannot ignore climate change dangers

04.17 A Path to Democratic Socialism Means a Path To Climate Justice

04.12 Socialism for the Rich, Capitalism for the Rest [4:30 video]

International & Futurism

04.19 Ways to Save the World

04.18 Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population

04.18 Britain will have its second referendum – at the EU elections on 23 May

04.18 Hypocrisy without borders: the pomposity of Ivanka Trump’s trip to Africa

04.16 Our Zero Emission Future [Be smart or life dies]

04.16 'The Time for Excuses Is Over': Extinction Rebellion Protests Shut Down European Cities

04.16 The Trump-Netanyahu Alliance

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Print view: Blair Reveals Cheney's War Agenda
REAL HISTORY EXPOSED:

Blair Reveals Cheney's War Agenda

Cheney wanted forcible “regime change” in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered hostile to U.S. interests.

by Robert Parry
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com yesterday, 6 September 2010

Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s new memoir offers the expected rationalizations for his joining in an illegal, aggressive war against Iraq, even to the point of quibbling about the death toll. But Blair does reveal how much more war was favored by Vice President Dick Cheney and the neocons.

In A Journey: My Political Life, Blair depicts Cheney as believing the United States was at war not only with Islamic terrorists but with “rogue states that supported them” and that “the only way of defeating [this threat] was head-on, with maximum American strength.”

Cheney wanted forcible “regime change” in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered hostile to U.S. interests, according to Blair.

“He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it – Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.,” Blair wrote. “In other words, he [Cheney] thought the world had to be made anew, and that after 11 September, it had to be done by force and with urgency. So he was for hard, hard power. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.”

Over the years, there have been indications of this larger neoconservative strategy to attack America’s – and Israel’s – “enemies” starting with Iraq and then moving on to Syria and Iran, but rarely has this more expansive plan for regional war been shared explicitly with the American public.

Usually, the scheme could be found only in obscure neocon policy papers or as part of Washington scuttlebutt. After the Iraq invasion, a favorite neocon joke was whether to next head west toward Damascus or east to Tehran with the punch line, “real men go to Tehran.”

Under this neocon plan, once “regime change” was achieved in Syria and Iran, then Israel’s front-line adversaries, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories, would be left impoverished and isolated. Israel could dictate settlement terms to the Palestinians and incorporate the Jewish settlements on prime West Bank land into a Greater Israel.

A Clean Break

The early outlines of this aggressive concept for remaking the Middle East predated the 9/11 attacks by half a decade, when a group of American neocons, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, went to work for Israeli Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu during his 1996 campaign for prime minister.

The neocon strategy paper, called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” advanced the idea that only regime change in hostile Muslim countries could achieve the necessary “clean break” from the diplomatic standoff that had followed inconclusive peace negotiations.

Under the “clean break,” Israel would no longer seek peace through mutual understanding and compromise, but rather through confrontation, including the violent removal of leaders such as Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

The plan called Hussein’s ouster “an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right,” but also one that would destabilize the Assad dynasty in Syria and thus topple the power dominoes into Lebanon, where Hezbollah might soon find itself without its key Syrian ally. Iran also could find itself in the cross-hairs of “regime change.”

But what the “clean break” needed was the military might of the United States, since some of the targets like Iraq were too far away and too powerful to be defeated even by Israel’s highly efficient military. The cost in Israeli lives and to Israel’s economy from such overreach would have been staggering.

In 1998, the U.S. neocon brain trust pushed the “clean break” plan another step forward with the creation of the Project for the New American Century, which urged President Bill Clinton to seek the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

However, Clinton would only go so far, maintaining a harsh embargo on Iraq and enforcing a “no-fly zone” which involved U.S. aircraft conducting periodic bombing raids. Still, with Clinton or his heir apparent, Al Gore, in the White House, a full-scale invasion appeared out of the question.

The first key political obstacle was removed when the neocons helped engineer George W. Bush’s ascension to the presidency in Election 2000. However, the path was not fully cleared until al-Qaeda terrorists attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, leaving behind a political climate across America for war and revenge.

Though Hussein had no hand in 9/11 and rejected al-Qaeda’s religious extremism, Bush and Blair clambered onboard for an invasion of Iraq. Their differences were mostly tactical, such as whether to present the WMD case to the United Nations or to simply act unilaterally with the so-called “coalition of the willing.”

According to Blair’s memoir, hardliner Cheney opposed going to the UN at all, but Blair argued that the move was politically necessary and won over Bush during a visit to Camp David on Sept. 7, 2002.

“Once George declared he was in favour of going the UN route, the visit relaxed,” Blair wrote. “Dick Cheney had been there for part of the time, and made it clear he was not for going down the UN route. He was unremittingly hard line.”

Common Ground

But Blair explained that Cheney’s aggressive attitude differed from the Bush-Blair approach only by degree, not fundamentally. In that regard, Blair said he considered Cheney as unfairly maligned by progressives and many centrists.

“To those on the left, he is, of course, an uncomplicated figure of loathing,” Blair wrote. “Even for the middle ground, they tend to reach for the garlic and crucifixes. You have to go pretty far right to find Dick’s natural constituency.

“My take on him was different from that of most people. I thought he had one central insight which was at least worth taking seriously. He believed, in essence, that the U.S. was genuinely at war. ... [And his response was] we’re coming after you, so change or be changed.”

Though acknowledging that Cheney’s “attitude terrified and repelled people,” Blair expressed a degree of solidarity with the former vice president, saying:

“I did not think [Cheney’s position] was as fantastical as conventional wisdom opined. It is one struggle. Our enemy has an ideology. It does threaten us. The ultimate answer is in the spread of democracy and freedom. It is even possible to conceive of this, in different language, as being a progressive position, certainly where removing someone like Saddam was concerned.

“My problem with the way he put it and wanted to do it was that the manner of doing it was incomplete. Precisely because the war was based loosely around an ideology, the fight had to be waged and won at the level of ideas and in a way that would appeal not to us, but to those who had fallen or might fall prey to that ideology.

“In other words, it couldn’t be a hard-power strategy alone. It had to encompass more than military might. It had to engage the people out in the Middle East, in the Muslim world, and had to build alliances within that world.

“This wasn’t some namby-pamby peacenikery; it was a critical part of winning.”

In other words, Blair saw Cheney’s determination to overthrow U.S.-disliked leaders in the Middle East as more a problem of PR tactics than core strategy.

Despite the widespread impression that Cheney’s grandiose neocon scheme for remaking the Middle East through warfare represented an extreme vision, Blair indicated that he and other supposed moderates shared Cheney’s broader determination to replace anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli governments across the Middle East with more compliant regimes under the banner of “democracy.”

That, in turn, suggests the danger of a wider regional war has not fully abated.


Robert Parry

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on September 7, 2010.

 

Public Service Ads: