How We Got Into This Imperial Pickle:
A PNAC Primer
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
May 26, 2003
*snip* In the early-1990s, there was a group of ideologues and power-politicians on the fringe of the Republican Party's far-right. The members of this group in 1997 would found The Project for the New American Century (PNAC);
their aim was to prepare for the day when the Republicans regained control of the White House -- and, it was hoped, the other two branches of government as well -- so that their vision of how the U.S. should move in the world would be in place and ready to go, straight off-the-shelf into official policy.
This PNAC group was led by such heavy hitters as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, James Woolsey, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol, James Bolton, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, William Bennett, Dan Quayle, Jeb Bush, most of whom were movers-and-shakers in previous Administrations, then in power-exile, as it were, while Clinton was in the White House. But even given their reputations and clout, the views of this group were regarded as too extreme to be taken seriously by the mainstream conservatives that controlled the Republican Party.
Setting Up PNAC
To prepare the ground for the PNAC-like ideas that were circulating in the HardRight, various wealthy individuals and corporations helped set up far-right think-tanks, and bought up various media outlets -- newspapers, magazines, TV networks, radio talk shows, cable channels, etc. -- in support of that day when all the political tumblers would click into place and the PNAC cabal and their supporters could assume control.
This happened with the Supreme Court's selection of George W. Bush in 2000. The "outsiders" from PNAC were now powerful "insiders," placed in important positions from which they could exert maximum pressure on U.S. policy: Cheney is Vice President, Rumsfeld is Defense Secretary, Wolfowitz is Deputy Defense Secretary, I. Lewis Libby is Cheney's Chief of Staff, Elliot Abrams is in charge of Middle East policy at the National Security Council, Dov Zakheim is comptroller for the Defense Department, John Bolton is Undersecretary of State
, Richard Perle is chair of the Defense Policy advisory board at the Pentagon, former CIA director James Woolsey is on that panel as well, etc. etc. (PNAC's chairman, Bill Kristol, is the editor of The Weekly Standard.) In short, PNAC had a lock on military policy-creation in the Bush Administration.*end snip