[sixties-l] Powell vs Cheney

From: Jerry West (record@island.net)
Date: Sun Sep 30 2001 - 22:15:39 EDT

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    Here is a piece from the British press. Endless war and revolving
    alliances sounds more like a script from the middle ages than modern
    times. Maybe they are after endless good times for defense industries
    and security companies.

     Inside the Pentagon

     Hawks and doves fight for control of campaign

     America weighs up its military options

     War on Terrorism - Observer special

     Ed Vulliamy in Washington

     Sunday September 30, 2001

     The Observer

     As war begins in Afghanistan, so does the assault on the White
     House - to win the ear and signed orders of the military's
     Commander in Chief, President George W. Bush, for what
     Pentagon hawks call 'Operation Infinite War'.

     It is a sinister reworking of the original codename for the
     mobilisation against the Taliban, Operation Infinite Justice, that had
     to be changed because it offended Islam, which holds that this is
     something that only Allah - and not B-52 bombers - can dispense.

     The Observer has learnt that two detailed proposals for warfare
     without limit were presented to the President this week by his
     Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, both of which were
     temporarily put aside but remain on hold.

     They were drawn up by his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz - a highly
     intellectual right-winger who rose through State Department and
     Pentagon ranks under Ronald Reagan to become one of the chief
     architects of the 1991 Gulf War.

     Drafted with a small coterie of loyal aides, mainly civilian political
     appointees at the Pentagon, the plans argue for open-ended war
     without constraint either of time or geography and potentially
     engulfing the entire Middle East and central Asia.

     The proposals have opened up an abyss in the Bush
     administration, since they run counter to plans carefully laid by
     Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has had the upper hand
     against the Pentagon for the first three weeks since the disaster,
     but is starting to lose his commanding position within the Oval

     The Pentagon notion starts with the basic proposal that the US
     should begin its war on terrorism in Afghanistan as it has - along
     with British troops - using special operations units to scout out
     targets, ready to pinpoint them with lasers when the bombers fly
     over. Where it differs is that the dominant thinking in the
     administration over the past few days is that the plot to attack the
     World Trade Centre and Pentagon spread well beyond Afghanistan
     and Osama bin Laden into what Attorney-General John Ashcroft on
     Friday night called 'a series of individuals and a series of networks
     around the world'.

     Senior Pentagon officials believe that such a diagnosis demands a
     military response to match. 'This is the green light,' said one on
     Friday, 'to do away with fundamentalist terrorism worldwide, for

     The plans put before the President during the past few days involve
     expanding the war beyond Afghanistan to include similar
     incursions by special ops forces - followed by air strikes by the
     bombers they would guide - into Iraq, Syria and the Beqaa Valley
     area of Lebanon, where the Syrian-backed Hizbollah (Party of God)
     fighters that harass Israel are based.

     In Iraq, any site suspected of being a chemical weapons facility or
     proliferation plant of any threatening kind would be bombed, in an
     escalation of the almost weekly current harassment of Iraqi
     installations by British and US fighter jets.

     In Syria and Lebanon, as in Afghanistan, special ops would guide
     air strikes, and also be called on to mount guerrilla-style raids on
     training camps and to carry out assassinations. While a
     presidential executive order - which Bush is under pressure to
     revoke - bans overseas assassinations, the Pentagon points out
     that the US can act as it pleases in self-defence. If action in
     Lebanon led to an Israeli reinvasion of the southern part of the
     country, it would be supported by the US.

     Asked whether the Hamas organisation on the West Bank and in
     Gaza would be too controversial for inclusion among possible
     targets, one source said: 'never say never'.

     The plans involve overt and 'visible' military action by the 10th
     Mountain and 82nd Airborne divisions in Afghanistan. These would
     act as cover for units under the Pentagon's Joint Special
     Operations Command, which would operate in other places. They
     include the Delta Strike Force - specialists in commando raids and
     freeing hostages - and Army Rangers who work covertly across
     rugged terrain. There would also be attacks from the air by the 160
     Night Stalkers helicopter squadron and the USAF's AC-130
     gunships and helicopters.

     According to one suggestion, the teams would be added to by Arab
     and Arab-American fighters, who would scout terrain, locate camps
     and hideouts and scatter sensors disguised as rocks along roads
     and trails used by terrorists.

     Sources even said that operations could be mounted with
     permission from governments in semi-hostile nations which have
     nevertheless pledged their co-operation in the present crisis, such
     as Algeria and Sudan. Special US units could be deployed in
     conjunction with domestic troops against terrorist cells in allied
     Western countries, notably Britain, Germany, France and Spain.

     Colin Polwell's arguement - backed by National Security Advisor
     Condoleezza Rice - is that such a campaign would be disastrous,
     isolating the United States and breaking up the coalition he has
     carefully built, making more than 80 calls to heads of foreign
     governments since the attacks on 11 September.

     But the Pentagon militants prefer to speak of 'revolving alliances',
     which look like a Venn diagram, with an overlapping centre and
     only certain countries coming within the US orbit for different
     sectors and periods of an unending war. The only countries in the
     middle of the diagrammatic rose, where all the circles overlap, are
     the US, Britain and Turkey.

     Officials say that in a war without precedent, the rules have to be
     made up as it develops, and that the so-called 'Powell Doctrine'
     arguing that there should be no military intervention without 'clear
     and achievable' political goals is 'irrelevant'.

     Ironically, The Observer has learnt that the Pentagon hawks'
     principal obstacles apart from Powell is the military itself, much of
     which remains loyal to the view of its erstwhile chief, Powell, that
     'American GIs are not pawns on some global game board'.

     Officials speak of bitter arguments this week between President's
     Bush's political appointees and the generals and officer class who
     hold a deep distaste for front-line action.

     While happy to support operations in Afghanistan, military sources
     say that the US risks being dragged into a quagmire of wars far
     deeper than Bosnia or Kosovo if it begins to strike in Iraq, Syria or

     The final arbiter between the Pentagon and Powell camps is likely
     to be Vice-President Dick Cheney. Cheney is traditionally an enemy
     of Powell's and a close ally of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, but has
     been said to be moving closer to the Secretary of State's views over
     the road to war. The Observer's sources, however, indicate the
     reverse - that Cheney will remain with his friends and support an
     expansion of the war beyond Afghanistan.

     The driving force behind the influential hard line is an axis of
     old-time hawks gathered around an erstwhile colleague of
     Wolfowitz at the Pentagon, Richard Perle. Perle has declined
     various offers to join the Bush administration, but acts as an
     influential adviser in his role as chairman of the Advisory Defence
     Policy Board.

     Perle and Rumsfeld also head a think-tank called Project for the
     New American Century, which sent a letter to President Bush laying
     out the Pentagon's position and urging the removal of Iraq's
     Saddam Hussein as a precondition to the upcoming war.

     'Failure to undertake such an effort,' it said, 'will constitute an
     and perhaps decisive surrender in the war against terrorism.' In a
     straightforward swipe at Powell, it continues: 'Coalition building
     has run amok. The point about a coalition is "can it achieve the right
     purpose?" not "can you get a lot of members?"'

     The prestigious group of Washington hawks behind the letter
     include former US ambassador to the United Nations Jeane
     Kirkpatrick and William Schneider, former adviser to Rumsfeld and
     now chairman of the Defence Science Board - both of whom have
     formidable influence over White House thinking.

     President Bush said of his foreign policy team: 'There's going to be
     disagreements, I hope there's disagreement.' But the bitter
     divisions in Washington are long-standing. Wolfowitz and Powell
     first disagreed over military intervention in the Gulf War, which
     Powell initially opposed. They also held opposing views on the
     Shia rebellion against Saddam Hussein which followed in its
     wake. Powell refusing to support it while Wolfowitz saw it as an

     They next clashed over the Balkans: while Powell used his full
     influence to forestall US military intervention in Bosnia, Wolfowitz
     was one of the first senior politicians to advocate it.

     Feelings are no friendlier between Powell and Vice-President Dick
     Cheney, with matters coming to a head over Rumsfeld's
     appointment to the Pentagon. After being appointed to office earlier
     this year, Powell set about installing his candidate for Defence
     Secretary, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who Bush has put at
     the head of the new Office for Homeland Security.

     Cheney, who effectively chose the cabinet, vetoed Ridge and
     nominated his old mentor from the days of the Ford administration,
     Rumsfeld. Then, together, they chose Wolfowitz, who had rocketed
     through the ranks of the Reagan and Bush senior administrations.

     There was an ironic twist: also brought into the inner circle was
     Zalmay Khalizad, an Afghan and Reagan veteran whose speciality
     was championing armed insurgencies. Khalizad was one of the
     early supporters of Bosnia's Muslims and had made his name
     managing the Reagan administration's backing for the mujahideen
     - and Osama bin Laden - against the Red Army in his native

     That was the time that the then Pakistani head of state Benazir
     Bhutto had warned President Reagan: 'You are creating a

     Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001

    Jerry West
    News and Views from Nootka Sound & Canada's West Coast
    An independent, progressive regional publication

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