It’s the craziest thing. Every now and then, when I’m typing the name of my blog into the browser, this damn thing comes up on screen instead. Yes, it’s the infamous January 26, 1998 letter to President Clinton from the Project for the New American Century urging him to attack Iraq and topple Saddam. Here it is -- clear proof that my computer is haunted by neocons.
It makes chilling reading now, for it suggests that well before 9/11, and in fact, nearly three years before George Bush took office, the neocons around him were pushing for war with Iraq, and that any later connection with the “war on terror” was purely coincidental.
You can see for yourself: Go to the document. Search for the word “terror.” You won’t find it. They hadn’t thought of that yet. They were still talking WMDs and not letting the U.S. be intimidated by the UN.
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.The signatories read like a “Hall of Shame” roll call of the people who got us bogged down in that hellhole. They include a prominent gambler, the current ambassador to the UN, the current ambassador to Iraq, a prominent neocon editor, the current defense secretary and the current head of the World Bank.
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.
Elliott AbramsRead ‘em and weep. Meanwhile, I’m looking for a good exorcist to purify the soul of my computer. Or at least show me how to clean up my browser’s cache so that I’m not constantly pestered by this infernal flashback every other time I type “letter.”
Richard L. Armitage
William J. Bennett
Peter W. Rodman
William Schneider, Jr.
R. James Woolsey
Robert B. Zoellick