Edward C. Duggan’s thesis is that Cheney and Rumsfeld, who often worked together for 30 years, were the key advocates of what he terms the “primacy” of the U.S. and that pursuing this primacy was why Bush invaded Iraq. By digging into his thesis a bit, I do not mean to overlook or dismiss those writers on LRC who have been saying some of the same things for years, perhaps in different terms. Because of their writing, long-time readers of LRC will not be surprised by some elements of Duggan’s work.
Duggan sees 7 tenets to the Cheney-Rumsfeld vision and quest for U.S. primacy. I will quote them followed by my own reactions.
“First, U.S. primacy would be greatly advanced by an effective, unilateral demonstration of American military force.”
If the U.S. won a quick victory, the president’s hand would be strengthened in future uses of force, which is what they wanted and still want. This would blunt or negate criticism coming from the public, the media, Congress and the judiciary.
It’s well known that Cheney and Rumsfeld expected a quick victory because they said so openly. They didn’t anticipate the prolonged insurgency. Therefore, they blundered even on their own terms. Instead of demonstrating effective power, they showed the weakness and ineffectiveness of American military might when confronted with a complex social-political-ethnic-sectarian-religious reality, when confronted with an organized guerilla-type insurgency, and when confronted with long drawn out low-level warfare and terroristic methods.
“Second, U.S. primacy would be best served by shrinking the U.S. government while expanding the role of private businesses in foreign and domestic policy.”
Specifically, this means that Cheney and Rumsfeld believed that by relying heavily on special forces and private contractors, they’d achieve several purposes. They’d make warfare less bureaucratic (as in the armed forces) and more entrepreneurial. They’d strengthen the president’s hand because he commanded the special forces while avoiding Congressional oversight. Private contractors were not monitored by Congress and they avoided the Freedom of Information Act. Private contractors could use more brutal methods.
“Third, U.S. primacy requires that the President needs to have supremacy over foreign policy.”
Vietnam had led to the War Powers Resolution which restrained the president’s power. Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted some successful precedents to be set by the unilateral action of the president so as to neutralize this Congressional restraint.
“Fourth, U.S. primacy could best be maintained by transforming the military into a well-funded, high-tech force that could act with devastating force anywhere on the globe, with few casualties.”
Rumsfeld wanted to overturn the Powell Doctrine. The latter tied warfare to high troop levels, diplomacy, politics, and an exit strategy. Rumsfeld was against this. He wanted lightning fast, devastating and stealthy wars with high-tech weapons. If wars were faster and less tied to politics, the president could engage in more of them. There’d be fewer casualties. “Unmanned vehicles piloted with remote controls would give a complete view of the battlefield, transmitting the information through satellites using a Global Positioning Network. Attacks would utilize precision guided missiles and bombs that would hit ‘less than ten feet’ from their targets.”
This goal is now being realized through drone warfare. Using the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, the president now conducts continual drone warfare wherever and whenever he wants to.
However, it is not a successful strategy. It cannot hold territory. It kills many innocent people. It creates blowback and greater recruiting of insurgents. These failures are evident and some in government have noted them in public reports.
“Fifth, U.S. primacy required the United States to maintain regional hegemony over the Persian Gulf.”
Attacking Iraq and establishing a permanent military presence in Iraq would help achieve this goal. The U.S., according to the latest news, wants to keep 4 bases in Iraq.
“Sixth, U.S. primacy required maintaining a heightened U.S. public understanding of potential threats to the United States.”
“Rumsfeld and Cheney have a clear, documented history of a successful repeated pattern of intentional threat inflation. These leaders understood since the 1970s that the American public was difficult to mobilize to support ambitious foreign policy agendas, so ‘making clear’ to the public that dangerous enemies threatened the United States was the only way they found to successfully create American public consensus on the need for high military budgets and strong presidential authority.”
The term “threat inflation” means lying to the American public about potential threats. It means blowing events and dangers out of proportion or concocting pretexts, including false flag events. In my opinion, any politician or official who does this is committing a very serious crime calling for investigation, removal from office if guilty and severe punishment. This kind of lying when it leads to war could not be more serious.
“Seventh, maintaining U.S. primacy requires frequent foreign policy victories that demonstrate U.S. military dominance.”
This reminds me of the statement attributed to Michael Ledeen: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”11:04 am on June 27, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff