The sky is bright and blue and cloudless, the air is still. It’s perfect flying weather, a beautiful day.
On any day In Manhattan you can always spot the tourists---they’re the ones with heads tilted back, trying to fathom the heights of the myriad skyscrapers that the locals no longer see.
But on this day even the locals are tempted to look up, just once, and gaze for a moment at what can’t be seen, and for a few seconds they hear what can’t be heard. And they remember.
It’s a beautiful day in Washington too, but some there do not shiver with dread remembrance, for today is the holiest day of the Neo-Conservative faith.
Since 1997 the Neo-Cons have been publishing position papers and essays on the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) website. Reading through the turgid prose, asinine “analyses” and laughable “logic” the Neo-Cons’ objectives are made tediously and terrifyingly clear:
The US should rule the world for its own benefit, it should increase “defense” spending to guarantee its dominance, and it should attack Iraq ASAP in order to control the oil supply on which the US depends. This is all laid out in “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century” published in 1998 and available at
The above mentioned goals are then repeated pretty much ad-nauseum in every other paper or article they have published right through to today.
In the above mentioned publication there is one particularly fascinating tidbit:
“ A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is
likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a
new Pearl Harbor.”
Ignore the appalling sentence construction and look at the first paragraph:
What it actually says is that the US needs “forward bases” to satisfy “larger American policy goals” (and hilariously the author implies that US allies would be perfectly okay with more US military bases dotted around the world).
Now look at the second paragraph.
It says that what would really kick-start the whole process of transforming the military and projecting US power into the rest of the world would be some kind of spectacular sneak attack against the US. That, according to the Neo-Cons, would be really handy.
But wait, there’s more!
Under the section titled “The Price of American Preeminence “ we find these two gems:
"We believe it is necessary to increase slightly the personnel strength of U.S. forces – many of the missions associated with patrolling the expanding American security perimeter are manpower-intensive, and planning for major theater wars must include the ability for politically decisive campaigns including extended post-combat stability operations."
"At the same time, we have argued that established constabulary missions can be made less burdensome on soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and less burdensome on overall U.S. force structure by a more sensible forward-basing posture; long-term security commitments should not be supported by the debilitating, short-term rotation of units except as a last resort.
In Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia, enduring U.S. security interests argue forcefully for an enduring American military presence.
Pentagon policy-makers must adjust their plans to accommodate these realities and to reduce the wear and tear on service personnel.
We have also argued that the services can begin now to create new, more flexible units and military organizations that may, over time, prove to be smaller than current organizations, even for peacekeeping and constabulary operations."
So the plan here is to establish enduring military bases in regions of strategic interest, minimize troop rotations whilst also reducing “wear and tear on service personnel”, and plan for post-combat stability operations whilst using smaller peace-keeping and constabulary forces than conventional wisdom suggests, or for those of you who learned “new math”, 3 - 1 = 5!
Remember, all this was written in 1998, and guess who came up with this brilliant treatise?
Amongst others; Stephen Cambone, National Defense University; David Epstein, Office of Secretary of Defense; Robert Kagan, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; William Kristol, The Weekly Standard; I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Dechert Price & Rhoads; Paul Wolfowitz, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
If you go to the PNAC “Statement Of Principles” page you will also find these very recognizable names:
William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Norman Podhoretz, Donald Rumsfeld.
So there you have it. The Neo-Cons couldn't argue their case with logic and reason, they needed a giant fucking disaster to get their own giant fucking disaster off the ground before they, having not bothered to learn how to land, crashed it the city of their choice .
For millions of Americans and other nationalities as well, 9-11 is remembered as a tragedy.
For the Neo-Cons it is remembered as Christmas, a time to play with shiny new toys as sugarplums danced in their heads.
But with the passage of time it appears that Santa might be a fiction, and the toys are losing their luster. The G.I. Joes are missing limbs and accessories, the wheels are falling off the tanks and trucks. They don’t seem to be as much fun to play with as they were 3 years ago.
Still, when bright memory turns to melancholy, the best thing to do is stuff yourself with cake, knock down a bottle of scotch and dream of the next September Christmas.