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How PNAC took over the American administration

I just disovered has a wonderful exposé on how PNAC took over the American administration over at

Of the eighteen figures who signed the PNAC’s 1998 letter to Clinton calling for regime change in Iraq, eleven took positions in the Bush administration. In addition to Armitage, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, they were Elliot Abrahms (senior director for near east, southwest Asian and North African affairs on the National Security Council); John Bolton (undersecretary, Arms Control and International Security); Paula Dobriansky (undersecretary of state for global affairs); Zalmay Khalilzad (president’s special envoy to Afghanistan and ambassador-at-large for Free Iraqis); Richard Perle (chair of the Pentagon’s semi-autonomous Defense Policy Board); Peter W. Rodman (assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs); William Schneider, Jr. (chair of the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board); and Robert B. Zoellick (U.S. trade representative). Other PNAC associates and/or prominent unipolarists who landed high-ranking positions included Stephen Cambone (director of the Pentagon Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation); Eliot Cohen (Defense Policy Board); Devon Gaffney Cross (Defense Policy Board); I. Lewis Libby (Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff), William Luti and Abram Shulsky (eventually, directors of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans), James Woolsey (Defense Policy Board), and David Wurmser (special assistant to the undersecretary of state for arms control). Libby served as assistant to the president and national security adviser to the vice-president in addition to being Cheney’s chief of staff, an unprecedented trifecta of positions that amplified Cheney’s influence.

By all appearances this extraordinary harvest of appointments put the neo-cons in the driver’s seat of the new administration. But for eight months, until 9/11, they didn’t feel that way. They worried about Powell’s influence over the president, Rice was hard to read, and Bush had other priorities. The complaining began very early. Shortly before Bush’s inauguration, Kagan declared that the incoming administration had an obvious split between its leading hawks (Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz) and doves (Powell and Rice), and that even Bush’s commitment to missile defense was jeopardized by it.

Gary Dorrien’s article takes the reader behind the scenes of the Project for the New American Century machinations by following its founder William Kristol’s trajectory through the Clinton presidency, the Gore election and 9/11.

For more info on PNAC, the Project for the New American Century. More PNAC info at Wikipedia. But for shock and awe nothing beats the original paper Rebuilding America’s Defenses where they argue that US does not spend enough money on the military.

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