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.”