Confidential Memo on Post-Iraq Plans
April 15, 2003
By Bernard Weiner, The
From: Paul Wolfowitz
To: Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Don Rumsfeld, Bill
Kristol, Jim Woolsey
In re: PNAC's next moves
**For Your Eyes Only**
Rather than submit this memo to the entire Project for the
New American Century board, I thought I'd run it by you guys
first - the front-line, so to speak, of PNAC.
OK, here goes.
I think we need to lay low for awhile, take it down a notch
or two, if you know what I mean.
Given what's happening in Iraq, with the Arabs throughout
the Middle East getting increasingly enraged about the U.S.
wanting to "colonize" them, and finally with with ABC's Nightline
doing an entire program about PNAC and our enormous influence
on U.S. foreign/military policy, and even a story on PNAC
in the New York Times - given all this publicity, plus the
shrill invective against us on the internet, maybe we're just
too much "out there," too visible, too much of a target.
What happens in such cases is that people start paying too
much attention and figuring out what we're up to, and their
take on those investigations often is quite negative. And,
of course, what we do affects the President, and, more than
anything, we need him to be re-elected in 2004 in order for
us to carry out our future plans.
It's great that we're in a position to more or less dictate
U.S. policy - after all (and ain't it fun?), we ARE the makers
of U.S. policy - but now that the military/political programs
we're advocating are being implemented, maybe we should disappear
from the spotlight for awhile and operate less publicly.
We needed the visibility earlier, when we were wandering
alone and reviled in the desert, so to speak, and needed to
get our ideas out to lure others to our cause, but we're in
power now and I don't think it wise to be scrutinized so carefully
these days, thus endangering our long-range goals.
So I'm suggesting at least a six-months moratorium on public
appearances and statements by PNAC officials, especially the
six of us, who are the ones usually called on by the media
for comments. Meanwhile, we work, sub rosa, to implement more
of our agreed-upon programs.
Which brings us to our strategy and the problems with being
so public about it: In our papers and articles, we talked
about aggressively using military and other means to establish
our primacy in various regions and in the world in general;
I think we should spin it so that, from now on, we throw in
the term "diplomatically" as well. So it doesn't appear that
the U.S. is just militarist in nature, with no other means
at our disposal to impose our will.
For example, after Iraq is stabilized more, we may want to
urge a move on Syria or Iran or even, some day, on Saudi Arabia
- although it might make more sense to start with a country
that, as with Iraq, can't put up much of a fight: Lebanon,
say - we go after Hizballah - or Yemen.
Iraq, as you know, was to be our "demonstration project,"
as it were: i.e., we would provide an example of the kind
of death and destruction we could visit on those leaders and
countries that chose to oppose our desires. It looks like
we might need one more demonstration project before everyone
finally gets the message: mess with us, prepare for a little
"shock and awe." And that's why I think it would be easier,
more practical, and certainly less dangerous to our trooops
to go after Hizballah in Lebanon, or Yemen. It'll be easy
as pie, with, most likely, the least number of casualties
all the way around.
Now, the object is to assert our hegemonic role in the area,
either occupying a nation ourselves or, even better, a la
Afghanistan, making sure that we help a native leader to power
who will do our bidding. Won't be hard to find someone willing
to join the "coalition" after we've destroyed half their country.
But if our goals and motivations are bandied about too publicly,
we may actually lose our influence and ability to program
the future of U.S. foreign/military policy.
Now, you may be surprised by the above. After all, I'm supposed
to be the giant "hawk" of the group - well, OK, Perle's up
there, too - and here I am seeming to be urging caution and
I know that some of you feel that, with the momentum generated
from Iraq, we should just keep going immediately into Syria,
while the Arabs are in a state of confusion and shock. But,
even though I think we could fight a mop-up war on Iraq and
take on Syria at the same time, and maybe even North Korea
is we have to, I just don't think it makes sense to stir up
the Arab hornets' nest in the Middle East one right on top
of another. It could backfire on us, and blowback is never
Plus, we have a lot of rebuilding, repairing and reshaping
of our military and stock of machines and weaponry after Iraq
- damn the intelligence that predicted a cakewalk and immediate
high-level surrenders! (On the other hand, the defense contractors,
who are our financial supporters, are quite happy that the
U.S. military depleted so much of its stores in Iraq.) So
a few months won't make that much difference, and would permit
us to get back up to fighting speed, so that our military
threat is credible and might induce Syria to give in without
Anyway, maybe it's all a moot point. Maybe things are proceeding
so fast - with Assad being provocative in Syria, harboring
Iraqi officals, making rude noises, thumbing his nose at the
U.S. - that we should consider kicking into the original plan
and try to get the current government to leave peacefully
or else. If it works, we democratize the place, putting in
U.S.-sympathetic officials and, as with Iraq, opening the
economy to U.S. corporations.
But taking on Syria frontally might be premature; I say,
let's hit them in their proxy, Hizballah in Lebanon. They'll
get the message.
Final note: Wherever we establish democracy in the Middle
East, we have to make sure that radical Islamicists are not
ever in a position where they could assume power. That is,
we can't have democratic elections in any of these countries
that turn out the wrong way; it wouldn't look good if we had
to go back in there after an election and re-do the whole
procedure. (Already, we're hearing too many Iraqis thanking
us for freeing them from Saddam's cruel yoke and then telling
us to get out and leave their country to them. Those ungrateful
We have a lot of work to do. How long we - I mean the Bush
Administration - will be able to get away with this kind of
policy is always unknown, so let's get our act together, before
our goals get unmasked and perhaps negatively impact on the
2004 election. If there is one.
Bernard Weiner, a playwright and poet, was a writer/editor
with the San Francisco Chronicle for 19 years, and now is
co-editor of The