View Full Version : Pentagon Targeted Iran for Regime Change after 9/11

lord patch
05-08-2008, 02:36 PM
Pentagon Targeted Iran for Regime Change after 9/11

By Gareth Porter


06/05/08 - -- -WASHINGTON, May 5 (IPS) - Three weeks after the 9/11
terror attacks, former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
established an official military objective of not only removing the
Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as
well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East,
according to a document quoted extensively in then Undersecretary of
Defence for Policy Douglas Feith's recently published account of the
Iraq war decisions.

Feith's account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking
the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force
was supported explicitly by the country's top military leaders.

Feith's book, "War and Decision", released last month, provides
excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W. Bush on
Sep. 30, 2001 calling for the administration to focus not on taking
down Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing
"new regimes" in a series of states by "aiding local peoples to rid
themselves of terrorists and to free themselves of regimes that
support terrorism."

In quoting from that document, Feith deletes the names of all of the
states to be targeted except Afghanistan, inserting the phrase "some
other states" in brackets. In a facsimile of a page from a related
Pentagon "campaign plan" document, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein
regimes are listed as "state regimes" against which "plans and
operations" might be mounted, but the names of four other states are
blacked out "for security reasons".

Gen. Wesley Clark, who commanded the NATO bombing campaign in the
Kosovo War, recalls in his 2003 book "Winning Modern Wars" being told
by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states
that Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz wanted to
take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.

Clark writes that the list also included Lebanon. Feith reveals that
Rumsfeld's paper called for getting "Syria out of Lebanon" as a major
goal of U.S. policy.

When this writer asked Feith after a recent public appearance which
countries' names were deleted from the documents, he cited security
reasons for the deletion. But when he was asked which of the six
regimes on the Clark list were included in the Rumsfeld paper, he
replied, "All of them."

Rumsfeld's paper was given to the White House only two weeks after
Bush had approved a U.S. military operation in Afghanistan directed
against bin Laden and the Taliban regime. Despite that decision,
Rumsfeld's proposal called explicitly for postponing indefinitely U.S.
airstrikes and the use of ground forces in support of the anti-Taliban
Northern Alliance in order to try to catch bin Laden.

Instead the Rumsfeld paper argued that the U.S. should target states
which had supported anti-Israel forces such as Hezbollah and Hamas. It
urged that the United States "[c]apitalize on our strong suit, which
is not finding a few hundred terrorists in caves in Afghanistan, but
in the vastness of our military and humanitarian resources, which can
strengthen the opposition forces in terrorist-supporting states."

Feith describes the policy outlined in the paper as consisting of
"military action against some of the state sponsors and pressure --
short of war -- against others".

The Rumsfeld plan represented a Pentagon consensus that included the
uniformed military leadership, according to Feith's account. He writes
that the process of drafting the paper involved consultations with the
outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry Shelton and
the incoming Chairman Gen. Richard Myers.

Myers helped revise the initial draft, Feith writes, and Gen. John P.
Abizaid, who was then director of the Joint Staff, enthusiastically
endorsed it in draft form. "This is an exceptionally important memo,"
wrote Abizaid, "which gives clear strategic vision." In a message
quoted by Feith, Abizaid recommended to Myers that "you support this

After the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, Abizaid was
promoted to become chief of CENTCOM, with military responsibility for
the entire Middle East.

Neither Myers nor Abizaid, both of whom are now retired from the
military, responded to e-mails asking for their comments on Feith's
account of their role in the process of producing the Rumsfeld

Rumsfeld's aides had also drafted a second version of the paper, as
instructions to all military commanders in the development of
"campaign plans against terrorism".

That instructions document was a joint effort by Feith's office and by
the Strategic Plans and Policy directorate of Abizaid's Joint Staff.
It followed the broad outlines of the paper for Bush, arguing that the
enemy was a "network" that included states that support terrorism and
that the Defence Department should seek to "convince or compel" those
states to cut their ties to terrorism.

The Pentagon guidance document called for military commanders to
assist other government agencies "as directed" to "encourage
populations dominated by terrorist organizations or their supporters
to overthrow that domination".

That language was adopted because the campaign planning document was
issued as "Strategic Guidance for the Defense Department" on Oct. 3,
2001 -- just three days after the Rumsfeld strategy paper had gone to
the president.

Bush had not approved the explicit aim of regime change in Iran, Syria
and four other countries proposed by Rumsfeld. Thus Rumsfeld adopted
the aggressive military plan targeting multiple regimes in the Middle
East for regime change even though it was not White House policy.

The Defence Department guidance document made it clear that U.S.
military aims in regard to those states would go well beyond any ties
to terrorism. The document said that the Defence Department would also
seek to isolate and weaken those states and to "disrupt, damage or
destroy" their military capacities -- not necessarily limited to WMD.

The document included as a "strategic objective" a requirement to
"prevent further attacks against the U.S. or U.S. interests". That
language, which extended the principle of preemption far beyond the
issue of WMD, was so broad as to justify plans to use force against
virtually any state that was not a client of the United States.

The military leadership's strong preference for focusing on states as
enemies rather than on the threat from al Qaeda after 9/11 continued a
pattern of behaviour going back to the Bill Clinton administration

After the bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa by al Qaeda
operatives, State Department counter-terrorism official Michael
Sheehan proposed supporting the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in
Afghanistan against bin Laden's sponsor, the Taliban regime. However,
senior U.S. military leaders "refused to consider it", according to a
2004 account by Richard H. Shultz, Jr., a military specialist at Tufts

A senior officer on the Joint Staff told State Department
counter-terrorism director Sheehan he had heard terrorist strikes
characterised more than once by colleagues as a "small price to pay
for being a superpower".

*Gareth Porter is an historian and national security policy analyst.
The paperback edition of his latest book, "Perils of Dominance:
Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in


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6² Chambaz
05-08-2008, 02:44 PM
damn. polititians are fucked up people