Jeb Bush and His Brother’s Wars

Jeb Bush and His Brother’s WarsJeb Bush and His Brother’s Wars

It was not “faulty intelligence,” as Jeb Bush claims, that led to the war in Iraq.  He knows better.  His brother’s administration meant to invade Iraq from its first days in office, and Jeb Bush was prominent among those demanding it.

“Faulty intelligence” is a facade and a fraud.  America was taken deliberately into war by a fanatic group obsessed with “democratizing” the world by force, the force of US military supremacy.  The group was called the Project for the New American Century. 

Dozens of PNAC members, vice president Richard Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for example, dominated the administration of George W. Bush in setting foreign and defense policy, and leading the nation to war as a result, Richard W. Behan wrote for CounterPunch.

Jeb Bush, 2016 presidential hopeful, was a founding member of the Project for the New American Century.

The genesis of the Iraq war and the PNAC ideology was a 1992 Defense Department document, Draft Defense Planning Guidance, written by Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, and Zalmay Khalilzad at the direction of Richard Cheney, then Secretary of Defense.  It advocated the economic and military domination of the world by the US, using preemptive war if necessary, and noted the strategic importance of Persian Gulf oil for achieving this. The objective was global dominion and unabashed imperialism and Iraq was in the crosshairs.

PNAC quickly became a notable force in American public affairs.  Soon after its founding, the PNAC sent two letters, first to (former) president Clinton and then another to the Congress, insisting on the forcible removal of Saddam Hussein. But the letters were futile, the demand denied. PNAC was frustrated, but not defeated.

  Bush Gamble

As the Bush/Gore presidential election approached in late 2000, the group tried again, this time with a detailed study of national defense posture and policy.  Gambling on a Bush victory, they thought they might yet prevail. The PNAC won its gamble.  After a legal, lengthy, and some thought dubious battle over recounts, the electoral votes of Florida were awarded to Bush, which put him in the White House.  PNAC founder Jeb Bush was Governor of Florida at the time.

Twenty-nine members of PNAC joined the new administration of George W. Bush.  Sixteen of them filled positions at the highest levels:  Dick Cheney was vice president, Lewis Libby was Cheney’s chief of staff, Donald Rumsfeld was secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz was Rumsfeld’s chief of staff and Zalmay Khalilzad was the “President’s Special Envoy.” Most of the rest were deputy or assistant secretaries in the departments of state and defense.

The PNAC document became the strategic blueprint for the foreign and defense policies of the new administration and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was placed at the top of the US foreign policy agenda. The longstanding priority for the Middle East, reconciling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was abandoned.

  Oil War

Attacking Iraq was the first but not the only oil war to be scheduled for the Middle East in the early days of the Bush sdministration.  Not long after Bush’s inauguration, a decision was finalized and planning was underway for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan as well. The proximate beneficiary was an American oil company seeking control of the Caspian Basin’s colossal resources, but the endeavor also fit perfectly into the PNAC vision of world dominion.

These commitments, to invade two sovereign nations, were in place long before the events of September 11, 2001. When that day arrived, the White House seized immediately the public relations opportunity it provided.  The “global war on terror” was born, in fraudulence. For years to come, the people of PNAC, including Jeb Bush, governing in Florida, dissembled, calling it a righteous, just, even glorious enterprise.

 Bin Laden Ploy

An offer for “the unconditional surrender of [Osama] bin Laden” was waiting on the presidential desk when Bush was inaugurated on January 20, 2001. The Clinton Administration extracted the offer from the Taliban in November 2000, after the Al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole.  To avoid a retaliatory bombing of Afghanistan, the Taliban offered up bin Laden’s head.

The new Bush administration, however, sent a letter to the Taliban asking to delay the handover of bin Laden until February. The administration soon undertook its own negotiations with the Taliban, on a separate issue: An exclusive right-of-way for a geostrategic pipeline across Afghanistan, to access and control the massive hydrocarbon resources of the Caspian Basin.

The Taliban had granted such a right-of-way to the Bridas Corporation of Argentina, but the Bush Administration wanted it reassigned to America’s Unocal Corporation instead. In exchange, the administration would provide a package of foreign aid. The negotiators met three times, in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad, but the Taliban would not agree. 

Accepting custody would have brought bin Laden quickly to justice, but the White House could not countenance the turnover. To secure the pipeline for Unocal, the administration needed to invade Afghanistan and to build a strategic chain of military bases, precisely superimposed on the pipeline’s prospective route. But all this had to be seen as “war on terror,” and for that the administration needed a credible roaming in Afghanistan, not one in custody. Refusing the surrender of Osama bin Laden could now be understood.

  Deception and Lie

For two years the American people suffered a barrage of deception and 935 documented lies, as the Bush administration continued “fitting the intelligence and the facts around the policy” in its frenzy to invade Iraq. The goal, the rationale and much of the language were coming straight from the PNAC.

The need to keep Saddam Hussein in place was identical to the situation with Osama bin Laden.  Iraq was invaded to gain control of its oil, but to maintain the masquerades of a “war on terror” and “regime change,” the White House needed Saddam in Baghdad.

After 14 years of warfare, Afghanistan is still too violent and politically unstable to attract capital investment in pipelines and the Taliban remain a formidable force. In Iraq, the hydrocarbon law went nowhere. 

The premeditated, unprovoked wars of George W. Bush are probably unmatched in history for their tragic futility. They failed not because they devolved from “faulty intelligence,” as Jeb Bush wants the American people to believe. They failed because they were conceived in profound hubris, in an arrogant, sophomoric, anachronistic fantasy of imperialism, orchestrated and pursued by a cabal of delusional men and women. They called themselves the PNAC. Jeb Bush stood tall among them.