Pentagon targeted Iran for regime change after 9/11

Three weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith’s recently published account of the Iraq war decisions.

Feith’s account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country’s top military leaders.

The new immorality of Iraq war

Insanity is defined as repeating one mistaken action again and again, each time expecting a better result that never comes. Prime example: the United States in Iraq. Washington perceived a weapons of mass destruction threat from Saddam Hussein, but instead of responding with diplomacy – internationally coordinated weapons inspections – it went to war. When Saddam Hussein was toppled, the initiative should have passed from the Pentagon to a State Department-led program of stabilization and reconstruction, but instead a crudely violent military occupation was begun. Diplomacy was once again rejected.

Today, the United States, fearing a geo-political setback that will undercut the broader “war on terror,” is putting the diehard goal of military “victory” ahead of the diplomatic initiatives that alone can enable the reconstruction of Iraqi society. The needed spirit of cooperation among Iraqi factions, and from other nations, will never materialize as long as the United States pursues the fantasy that its armed might will at last prevail. Once again, diplomacy is being rejected in favor of war. This is insane.

The last war and the next one

The last war won’t end, but in the Pentagon they’re already arguing about the next one.

Let’s start with that “last war” and see if we can get things straight. Just over five years ago, American troops entered Baghdad in battle mode, felling the Sunni-dominated government of dictator Saddam Hussein and declaring Iraq “liberated.” In the wake of the city’s fall, after widespread looting, the new American administrators dismantled the remains of Saddam’s government in its hollowed out, trashed ministries; disassembled the Sunni-dominated Baathist Party which had ruled Iraq since the 1960s, sending its members home with news that there was no coming back; dismantled Saddam’s 400,000 man army; and began to denationalize the economy. Soon, an insurgency of outraged Sunnis was raging against the American occupation.

America’s newshounds have turned into a pack of poodles

The Arab media may not be free, in the sense that there is government ownership and, in varying degrees, interference and censorship. But Arab journalists are free thinkers, and quite serious about expanding their freedom to examine critical issues.

All this stands in interesting contrast to the US media that, while cherishing and boasting of its freedom, is increasingly constrained by factors that have resulted in limiting that freedom. The US press is technically free of government influence, but there are a combination of political, cultural and commercial considerations that have made the US media less free and less inquisitive. The controls are not overt, but subtle and at all times pervasive — and decisive.

There is, for example, the “corporatisation” of the media, which has resulted both in a dumbing down of content and the push to mimic, rather than compete in the ever-demanding need to increase ratings. There is the incestuous nature of the Washington scene: its revolving door of journalists going into government and vice versa; the self-serving need to protect access, and the shared social circle of too many government and media elites that results in self-imposed restraint.

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