[You are probably expecting today's memo was written yesterday or today. Of course, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz should be fired, but this memo was written on October 9, 2001, almost one month after 9-11. It was clear even then that Wolfowitz was eager to use 9-11 to boost his plans for war against Iraq. I've known Rumsfeld since 1966 or 1967, when he was still a member of the House from Illinois. He of course did not take my advice, but did everything in his power to help Wolfowitz persuade President Bush to go to war. As a result of the fiasco now unfolding, it may be necessary for President Bush to fire Rumsfeld. The only good explanation of how the President believed he was telling the truth is that he was not experienced enough to be able to assess the material being fed to him by his Cabinet. Wolfowitz should surely go and I now think Rumsfeld should go too, and so should Condi Rice, the hapless National Security Advisor. Before this is all over, I suspect Mr. Bush will also have to pick a new running mate in 2004.]
October 9, 2001
Memo To: Don Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: The Monkeys on your Back
In case you have not noticed, Don, your deputy at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, has promoted himself and is now the Defense Secretary, and you are his deputy. We still see you quoted here and there, but Paul has already wrested policymaking from your hands and is making it himself. It is almost as if you have become his press secretary. He was bored with Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden long before the strikes began Sunday, as he is maniacally determined to cut to the chase, "finishing the war against Saddam Hussein," as his many followers in the pundit community put it.
Do you realize how much more difficult it is for President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell to hold together the coalition of the international community in the fight against terrorism when the Islamic world every day reads in the public prints or sees television commentary about how Iraq is next on the list? Do you realize that Wolfowitz, and his pal Richard Perle who chairs your Defense Policy Board, have been calling all their friends in the press corps, urging them to beat the drums for war with Iraq? Perle actually signed the famous letter of 41 drafted by Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, who is Perle's mouthpiece in Washington. (Bill Safire of the NYTimes is of course Perle's mouthpiece in New York.) It is incomprehensible to me that you would allow Perle to remain at that post, where he is permitted to read all the most sensitive secret traffic flowing through the Pentagon. Not that he wouldn't see it anyway, courtesy of Wolfowitz, but how brazen can he be and get away with it. The only thing I can conclude, Don, is that you have become so addicted to these monkeys over the years that you can't get them off your back.
Why is Wolfowitz so maniacal about Iraq? Remember that in 1991 he was the senior member of the network created by the late Albert Wohlstetter in the Bush administration, working for then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. It was Wohlstetter to whom I introduced you in 1975 when Albert was masterminding the strategic victory over the USSR from his office at the RAND corporation in Santa Monica and his seat at the Presidents Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). In 1991, the more senior Perle had left the government to make megabucks as a consultant to foreign governments (Turkey being the most generous at $800K per year). So Wohlstetter gave Wolfowitz, next in line, the assignment of persuading Cheney to not only kick Saddam out of Kuwait, but also to chase him all the way to Baghdad, slaughtering the Republican Guard on the way. Thank God Wolfowitz failed in his assignment!! Cheney sided with Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, thus keeping our word to the Islamic world. You are a smart fellow, Don. Did you ever think of the jihad that would have begun back then if we gave the finger to our Islamic allies? Take a few minutes, take a deep breath, and try to think this through.
One of my favorite conservative columnists, who has thus far resisted the mindless entreaties of Perle and Wolfowitz to finish the job in Iraq, on Monday wrote a boilerplate rendition of the nonsense being turned out by the press ringleaders: Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer and Michael Kelly. It was so alarming to me that they might persuade the President to take out Saddam that I wrote the fellow an e-mail. I won't mention his name, but here is how I put it:
Now that Osama bin Laden has pushed us into the arms of the Russians, Chinese and French...who have for years been advocates of lifting the embargo against Saddam...it is not likely that Wolfowitz is going to persuade Bush/Cheney they have to give Moscow, Beijing and Paris the finger. For the same reason, an outlay of a zillion dollars to build a silly national missile defense system that won't stop an ICBM, let alone a boxcutter, has to be forgotten.
Iraq was the least radical of all the Islamic states, the most civilized and modern and hospitable to Jews and multiculturalism....which is why the Iran/Iraq war was fought, with Saddam doing our killing for us, at times with the chemical weapons the CIA supplied him with. After the war, our State Department gave Saddam its passive assent to grab the Kuwaiti oilfields, but when he did, Maggie Thatcher and the Wohlstetter boys persuaded Bush to kick him out. Okay. Reluctantly I went along, after swallowing some whoppers about Saddam planning to invade Saudi Arabia. But Bush also announced that we would not lift the embargo as long as Saddam was in power and Nixon agreed that was the thing to do. Bin Laden DOES speak for the entire Islamic world in noting that at least a million Iraqi civilians have died as a result of that policy. There would have been no attack on the WTC if we had dealt honestly and responsibly with Iraq.
The reason Jack Kemp did not sign the Perle/Kristol letter is that I forced him to confront all these facts, which I dug out on my own. He actually assigned a researcher to check my facts because they seemed diametrically opposite of what the American people were being told. Jack met with Nizar Hamdoon when Hamdoon was Iraqi ambassador and was seriously considering a trip to Baghdad with Sam Nunn, endorsed by Jimmy Carter. But the Perle crowd was always a step ahead of any diplomatic solution, pushing the Clinton team and Mad Madeleine into expansions of the illegal no-fly zone and target-practice on Iraqi civilians. The Democrats went along with all this because the American-Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) thinks it's a good idea to keep Saddam "contained."
Here is a column by Gordon Prather, which is about what you should really be worrying. There are no nukes in Iraq. There are in Pakistan. If Bush gives the world the finger and turns on Iraq, there is no way the Pakistani government will survive, and Osama will have the Islamic bomb. Wolfowitz should be fired. He is a menace and one of the most dangerous men in the world as long as you let him play Defense Secretary. He must be fired!!