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Update: 21 April, 2007

See also New American Century, Neocons and Conservatives Without Conscience - Book Review.

( Account Has Been Suspended)

Forty-one prominent individuals signed the letter below to Mr. Bush. The pointed question now more than four years later is:

Is Mr Bush following its script? He certainly has tried to. He conquered both Afghanistan and Iraq in a heartbeat. He has spent some 400 billion dollars and counting in those efforts.

The letter: [Ed notes]

September 20, 2001

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President,

We write to endorse your admirable commitment to lead the world to victory in the war against terrorism. We fully support your call for a broad and sustained campaign against the terrorist organizations and those who harbor and support them. We agree with Secretary of State Powell that the United States must find and punish the perpetrators of the horrific attack of September 11, and we must, as he said, go after terrorism wherever we find it in the world and get it by its branch and root. We agree with the Secretary of State that U.S. policy must aim not only at finding the people responsible for this incident, but must also target those other groups out there that mean us no good and that have conducted attacks previously against U.S. personnel, U.S. interests and our allies.

[Sweeping statements that not only sound good but are true enough. The Devil is in the details.]

In order to carry out this first war of the 21st century successfully, and in order, as you have said, to do future generations a favor by coming together and whipping terrorism, we believe the following steps are necessary parts of a comprehensive strategy.

[The first detail is the concept that this is a war like other wars. It is only vaguely like the Cold War.]

Osama bin Laden

We agree that a key goal, but by no means the only goal, of the current war on terrorism should be to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and to destroy his network of associates. To this end, we support the necessary military action in Afghanistan and the provision of substantial financial and military assistance to the anti-Taliban forces in that country.

[The Taliban were weak militarily, but they are by no means paper tigers, even at this time. The detail missed here shows up in the current situation. There is yet no peace, no security, no stability, no functioning governance. We could have done far better. What, for example, could the resources wasted in Iraq have done for Afghanistan?]


We agree with Secretary of State Powell's recent statement that Saddam Hussein is one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth. It may be that the Iraqi government provided assistance in some form to the recent attack on the United States. But even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism. The United States must therefore provide full military and financial support to the Iraqi opposition. American military force should be used to provide a safe zone in Iraq from which the opposition can operate. And American forces must be prepared to back up our commitment to the Iraqi opposition by all necessary means.

[Bush went well beyond this one. And history is now speaking to a certain futility. Moktada al-Sadr could be on his way toward creating an "IraqiNAM."]


Hezbollah is one of the leading terrorist organizations in the world. It is suspected of having been involved in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Africa, and implicated in the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. Hezbollah clearly falls in the category cited by Secretary Powell of groups that mean us no good and that have conducted attacks previously against U.S. personnel, U.S. interests and our allies. Therefore, any war against terrorism must target Hezbollah. We believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.

[Hezbollah had nothing to do with the African embassy bombings. What are the appropriate measures? Invade Iraq? History again has spoken.]

Israel and the Palestinian Authority:

Israel has been and remains America's staunchest ally against international terrorism, especially in the Middle East. The United States should fully support our fellow democracy in its fight against terrorism. We should insist that the Palestinian Authority put a stop to terrorism emanating from territories under its control and imprison those planning terrorist attacks against Israel. Until the Palestinian Authority moves against terror, the United States should provide it no further assistance.

[Of course Israel is a staunch ally. It has depended on us for existence for decades! Meanwhile the Zionists displaced people from their homes, humiliated them by putting them into squalid refugee camps, took away jobs, and even denied water needed to sustain society. The above is a narrow and extremist view of the Palestine equation.]

U.S. Defense Budget

A serious and victorious war on terrorism will require a large increase in defense spending. Fighting this war may well require the United States to engage a well-armed foe, and will also require that we remain capable of defending our interests elsewhere in the world. We urge that there be no hesitation in requesting whatever funds for defense are needed to allow us to win this war.

[A manifesto for Neoimperialism.]

There is, of course, much more that will have to be done. Diplomatic efforts will be required to enlist other nation's aid in this war on terrorism. Economic and financial tools at our disposal will have to be used. There are other actions of a military nature that may well be needed. However, in our judgment the steps outlined above constitute the minimum necessary if this war is to be fought effectively and brought to a successful conclusion. Our purpose in writing is to assure you of our support as you do what must be done to lead the nation to victory in this fight.

[Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, the Crusading Popes, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and Hitler all had followers like this who believed that a military solution was/is the only one and that it would be permanent. Never mind that empire has proved self defeating for two and a half millennia.]


William Kristol
Richard V. Allen
Gary Bauer
Jeffrey Bell
William J. Bennett
Rudy Boshwitz
Jeffrey Bergner
Eliot Cohen
Seth Cropsey
Midge Decter
Thomas Donnelly
Nicholas Eberstadt
Hillel Fradkin
Aaron Friedberg

Frank Gaffney Jeffrey Gedmin
Reuel Marc Gerecht Charles

Bruce P. Jackson
Eli S. Jacobs
Michael Joyce
Donald Kagan

Jeane Kirkpatrick
Charles Krauthammer
John Lehman
Clifford May
Martin Peretz
Richard Perle
Norman Podhoretz
P. Rosen


Gary Schmitt
William Schneider, Jr.
Richard H. Shultz Henry Sokolski
Stephen J. Solarz
Vin Weber
Leon Wieseltier
Marshall Wittmann

Like the letter, Mr. Bush failed to consider the nation building he is now faced with. Like the letter, he did not anticipate allied responses. Like the letter, he ignored the certain Iraqi/Islamic response to occupation.

Mr. Bush caught Hussein after a nine-month search while failing to catch bin Laden, the cause of it all. He has relied mostly on Pakistan to corral the ring leaders of Al Qa'da that have been caught.

He took years before trying to make peace with the Shiites, when they hold the key cards. At the very least, the Shiite have a voting majority and thereby will control any "democratic" government, or a theocratic government according to Islamic tradition. How can the Shiite mullahs not insist on the Qur'an as the last word in governance? This is mostly what the internecene fighting in Iraq is all about.

The tragedy is that this war is not over--in spite of the White-House spin to the contrary from an aircraft-carrier deck to the firing of Rumsfeld. This event has almost certainly destroyed Mr. Bush's legacy. Worse, America has moved into a danger zone where "defending American interests offensively," have negatively affected American morality, economic strength, and image in the world. The frequency of terrorist attacks ebbs and flows only a bit as it marches steadily upward.

Time is also running out on the nuclear equation (which Mr. Bush has bungled badly), and which the Neocon letter totally ignores. Iran loomed large in the last days of the Carter Presidency--and appears to be doing so again. And while that maybe real enough, we still have no evidence. But we have certainly provided Iran with pretext. Calling them part of an "Axis of Evil was just for starters." Again history will tell.


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