Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Why is there air?

The eternally baffled Matthew Yglesias wanders forlornly in a maze of puzzles within puzzles. Golly, those leaked British memos show that the Bush administration was determined to invade Iraq a year before they actually did it, and all that jive about Weapons of Mass Destruction™ and al Qaeda and the UN was just window dressing. Quite a shock to big Matt, who is not one of those naive, soft-in-the-middle, brie-stuffed liberals who thought the war was a bad idea all along.

But now he wonders, why oh why?

But what was the White House after? Why did they do it? We have plenty of evidence that not only were the specific claims the administration made about WMD false (often knowingly so), but also that all of this was basically irrelevant to their actual thinking about why we should go to war.

But what were they thinking? Lowballing the likely costs of war to build public support makes sense in a cynical-scumbag kind of way, but how is it that these lowballs seem to have become the actual basis for real-world policy? Nobody knows. Nobody knows because all the memos we've seen are British; but the United States surely produces memos of its own.

Why yes Matt, it does. And guess what? Some of them aren't actually secret! Yup, believe it or not, even though you're a "journalist" and I'm not, I know the answer to your question! And you have the power to know what I know. Yes you do. Read this:

By Neil Mackay

15 September 2002: A SECRET blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure 'regime change' even before he took power in January 2001.

The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a 'global Pax Americana' was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says: 'The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'

The PNAC document supports a 'blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests'.

The PNAC report also:

l refers to key allies such as the UK as 'the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership';

l says 'even should Saddam pass from the scene' bases in Saudi Arabia* and Kuwait will remain permanently -- despite domestic opposition in the Gulf regimes to the stationing of US troops -- as 'Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has';

l spotlights China for 'regime change' saying 'it is time to increase the presence of American forces in southeast Asia'. This, it says, may lead to 'American and allied power providing the spur to the process of democratisation in China';

l calls for the creation of 'US Space Forces', to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent 'enemies' using the internet against the US;

l hints that, despite threatening war against Iraq for developing weapons of mass destruction, the US may consider developing biological weapons -- which the nation has banned -- in decades to come. It says: 'New methods of attack -- electronic, 'non-lethal', biological -- will be more widely available ... combat likely will take place in new dimensions, in space, cyberspace, and perhaps the world of microbes ... advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool';


Glad to be able to help you out Matt. Let us know if you are troubled by any other difficult questions.

* With the U.S. effectively expelled from Saudi Arabia, permanent bases in Iraq became the alternative. And no, they have absolutely no intention of leaving, ever.

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