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Pentagon War Plans in 2001: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, & Iran

Published: September 25, 2014
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General Wesley Clark (Source: YouTube / Democracy Now

General Wesley Clark (Source: YouTube / Democracy Now

U.S. General Wesley Clark (ret.) revealed that he was informed, in the days following 9/11/2001, that the Department of Defense was planning wars with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, & Iran.

Clark was regarded as an esteemed commander during his service from 1966 to 2000, and obtained the rank of 4-star general. He discussed the matter in an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now on March 2, 2007.

Here is the transcript of Gen. Clark’s account.

CLARK: About 10 days after 9/11, I went to the Pentagon, and I saw [Defense] Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary [Paul] Wolfowitz. I went downstairs to say hello to some of the people on the joint staff that used to work for me.

One of the generals called me in and said, “Sir, you gotta come in and talk to me.” I said, “Sir, you’re too busy.” And he said, “No, no! We’ve made the decision — we’re going to war with Iraq!” This is on or about the 28th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why!?” He said, “I don’t know!” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Did they find some information connecting Saddam to al Qaeda?” He said, “No, no, there’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess its like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.”

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time, we were bombing in Afghanistan. And I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, its worse than that.” He said– he reached over on his desk and he picked up a piece of paper, and he said, “I just got this from upstairs,” meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office. And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years. Starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off Iran.”

What can be made of this?

One explanation, as some suggest, is that it is not unexpected for the Pentagon to maintain ongoing contingency plans; keeping ready to pursue various far-fetched wars at all times. But even if that much is true, why would this seven-country invasion plan be put into official memos in the weeks following the 9/11/2001 attack? Those countries had nothing to do with the hijackings — yet American generals were being briefed about serious plans to attack. Why?

The proposed plan obviously did not pan out exactly as written, but it may have very well given us a look at the agenda of some very bloodthirsty policy-makers, as they tried to exploit the anguish felt following the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Disturbingly, we cannot even be sure that “the plan” is not still being pursued. The Pentagon has maintained a steady course of aggressive foreign interventionism throughout both the Bush and Obama administrations. As we have witnessed, much of what General Clark revealed has ultimately moved forward, albeit with a modified timeline.

Iraq’s government was toppled by the U.S. during the bloody full-scale invasion in 2003. U.S. commandos have been operating clandestinely in Sudan since at least 2005. The U.S. has been operating Somalia since 2007, clandestinely and through missile strikes. Libya’s government was toppled with the help of U.S. missile support in 2009. The U.S. began itsbombing campaign in Syria in 2014. Iran’s fate remains yet to be determined, but was a frequent target of pro-war rhetoric in the ’12 election cycle.

If one subscribes to the idea that it is the U.S. military’s proper role (and the U.S. taxpayers’ economic burden) to clean up every undemocratic cesspool on the planet, then this brand of foreign policy might make sense or seem appealing. But even if that much is accepted, one must acknowledge that the leaders and policymakers clamoring for war are the same folks who gave us the Patriot Act, the NDAA, the ACA, the TSA, mass domestic spying, giant bailouts, exponential debt growth, and so many other harmful policies.

Americans’ patriotism and support of democracy have long been exploited by leaders with a far less altruistic foreign policy agenda. The country is not being kept in a state of perpetual conflict because it is good for the USA, good for the world, or destined to promote freedom.

Could it be that the purpose of pursuing war is to be at war? War is the perfect tool to centralize and expand government, degrade civilian liberties, suppress dissenting voices, maintain high levels of state secrecy, unaccountably disperse large sums of taxpayer money, militarize law enforcement, spy on the people, among other things. As Randolph Bourne famously wrote, “War is the health of the state.”

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