John McCain: Brought to You by PNAC

by Michael Jackman

Recently, I reported on Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisors and discussed figures such as Lee Hamilton and Tim Roemer, and their potential conflicts of interest and past experience. This week I want to go into the Republican Nominee Senator John McCain and his advisors as well as the Iraq War. Watching the RNC, one can certainly see they are getting as much mileage as possible out of the events of 9/11 and continuing to scare the populous into supporting their platform, and continued war. Democrats and other McCain nay-sayers have been repeatedly saying how McCain has voted with and supported the Bush Administration “ninety percent of the time.” That is true, but it appears to be a lot worse than that when it comes to foreign policy and neo-conservative views of war and imperialism with which McCain agrees and surrounds himself.

The Project for a New American Century or “PNAC” which was founded in 1997 by arch neo-cons William Kristol (an early Iraq War proponent and media pundit) and Robert Kagan (a former adviser to Jack Kemp and a member of Council on Foreign Relations) has been a major influence on the Bush Administration’s foreign policy and its Iraq War plan. PNAC’s goal, by its own admission, was to “promote American global leadership.” In other words, spread the American Empire far and wide and especially in the Middle East. William Kristol later said on March 5, 2003, “I think we’ll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq.” Robert Kagan also said “The US is and should be an empire.”
John McCain was president of The New Citizenship Project, which was founded by William Kristol in 1994. The New Citizenship Project was used to fundraise for PNAC. McCain would also work with PNAC and Paul Wolfowitz to try to go into Iraq for regime change in the late 90’s. In 1998, McCain co-sponsored The Iraq Liberation Act which was drafted by PNAC and called for “regime change” in Iraq to be official US policy. $97 million in U.S. military aid was appropriated to the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which was run by Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi was the Iraqi informant whose dubious testimony would be used and cited by McCain to support intervention in Iraq. Chalabi made faulty claims that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and had ties to al-Qaeda. Additionally, McCain co-chaired with Senator Joe Liebermann, the committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Formed in 2002 by PNAC, it continued to funnel millions of American taxpayers’ dollars to Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. That’s a very conservative use of money isn’t it?

Seventeen members or signatories of PNAC were appointed to top positions in the Bush Administration. Before Bush came into power in 2001, a group of PNAC members sent a letter to President Clinton on January 26, 1998 urging regime change in Iraq. Signatories of the letter included Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton and Richard Armitage. Armitage is now an adviser to the McCain campaign. With PNAC signatories such as Robert Zollick and Gary Schmitt serving as McCain advisers it’s not a stretch to suggest that a McCain presidency would be an extension of the last eight years.

During the primary season, when asked about Iran, McCain even sang a little jingle indicating a desire of things to come with “Bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran,” an obvious parody of The Beach Boys song “Barbara Ann.” It is even more disturbing knowing that the same neo-cons who deliberately manipulated intelligence in regard to Iraq are still claiming that Iran is an immediate threat, despite an NIE report that said Iran discontinued it’s nuclear weapons program in 2003. Another McCain adviser is Randy Scheunemann, who used to work for Donald Rumsfeld and was also the co-director and executive director for the Committee for Liberation of Iraq. Always a team player, Scheunemann is also an advocate for attacking Iran.

McCain has also enlisted foreign policy hawk Henry Kissinger. Kissinger has a history of abuses of power and aggressive war policy during the Vietnam Era. In 1968, he along with Richard Nixon’s team set out to sabotage the Paris Peace talks because they feared that if successful, it would cost Nixon the election. Kissinger exploited his contacts within the Johnson Administration to give the Nixon camp specific information about the talks and deals being offered to South Vietnamese by the Democrats. Using this leaked information, the Nixon camp privately offered a better deal and the South Vietnamese withdrew from the talks on the eve of the election.

With Nixon’s victory, Kissinger received a top role in his Administration and the war continued for several more years, which yielded the un-necessary deaths of 20,000 more US troops and an untold number of Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian lives. Why would McCain want a war mongerer like Kissinger who helped bring about vast death and destruction just to advance his own career? Years later, President George W. Bush tapped Kissinger to head the 9/11 Commission but he resigned when 9/11 victim’s family members demanded he disclose his Saudi clients publicly. Wanting Kissinger to head an investigation is wanting a cover-up and wanting Kissinger to be a part of your foreign policy is wanting more needless war.

Many are touting McCain’s experience and judgment on the Iraq War as good reasons for him to be President. Part of the fear campaign following 9/11 also included the political use of the Anthrax Attacks, which McCain suggested “May, and I emphasize may, have come from Iraq.” Where did he receive that information from? Pundits and politicos are saying that McCain was right in his support for “the surge.” That point is moot when you consider how wrong he was in his support for the war in the first place. In the days following 9/11, McCain appeared on CNN and was asked what countries should be subject to retaliation, “Very obviously Iraq is the first country,” he replied. Why would we want or trust someone to be President who was promoting the idea of a connection between Iraq and 9/11, something that was also promoted by the Bush Administration even though it was known not to be true from very early on. McCain also said that “the evidence is clear,” and there are “credible reports of involvement between Iraqi administration officials, Iraqi officials and the terrorists.” He also supported the fictitious claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague. He was obviously eager to go into Iraq and support the PNAC agenda of regime change, regardless of whether or not Saddam was a threat or possessed weapons of mass destruction. On January 2, 2002 he would tell US troops on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, “Next stop, Baghdad!”

The American people want the Iraq debacle to end, putting McCain in office will ensure its continuation for several years and his foreign policy will be nearly identical to that of the last eight years. Considering the policies of the last eight years have proven to be destructive to both our Republic and international community, why would we want to put Sen. McCain in the highest and most powerful office in our government?

Good write-up...


Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?