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Connecting PNAC, September 11th and Katrina’s New Orleans Damage

September 7th 2005

Connecting PNAC, September 11th and Katrina’s New Orleans Damage

President Bush in Biloxi MS

Is it absurd to suggest that the political disaster that emerged from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina can be blamed on the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991?

That was the moment that the United States suddenly became the world’s "sole remaining superpower", and as such also became, in the minds of many politicos, the "indispensable nation". Those twin titles became a mantra for power hungry individuals who lusted to influence America’s presidency.

Kevin Phillips, in his book American Dynasty, documents the emergence of that international power lust during the buildup to the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. On July 24, 1990 Margaret Tutwiler, spokeswoman for the George H.W. Bush State Department, said, "We do not have any defense treaties with Kuwait and there are no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait." The next day, according to Phillips, April Glaspie, US Ambassador to Iraq, told Saddam Hussein, "We (the US Government) have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreements with Kuwait."

That pre-invasion ambivalence, however, was transformed into a national call for America to devote its resources to guarding the world against the horrors of despotism even while Mikhail Gorbachev’s USSR was entering its death throes. Eventually the American military led a coalition of nations to push its former ally in the battle against the spread Islamic radicalism back within its borders. From the end of that conflict up to the current occupation the US military enforced a military blockade against Iraq that prohibited the exportation of Iraqi oil on the open market, the importation of basic food and medical supplies except under UN scrutiny, and limits on the Iraqi government to exercise its authority within its borders.

Over that same time and throughout the Clinton Administration, major policy advisors to the current President Bush, specifically Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Lewis Libby, were busy speculating on America’s role in creating a "New World Order". Reports Phillips, on page 311 of American Dynasty, "Their blueprint included a section on realigning the Middle East by overthrowing Saddam Hussein....When terror struck on 9/11, Rumsfeld was one of those who wanted to make Iraq an immediate target."

Although the attacks of 9/11 gave a very public justification for striking at an enemy, the idea was being formed for a decade. "As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world’s most preeminent power," so declared a group taking the name Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in a 1997 document titled, Rebuilding America’s Defenses (RAD). In it the group, whose membership reads like the directory for both Bush Administrations, pondered, "Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?"

Among the goals PNAC listed in the RAD were regime changes in Kosovo (which was initiated on the eve of President Bill Clinton’s January 1999 impeachment vote) and Iraq. These objectives were for the sake of the "indispensable nation" assuring a "Pax Americana" in which commerce and wealth would be assured to everyone everywhere all the time. Working hand-in-hand with the military goals of past and present Bush Administrations came trade policies that have helped global corporations find the lowest cost labor market and distribute the products freely in this country through corporate retailers. Consequently American labor has gone into wage competition with workers in undeveloped countries.

Perhaps the biggest story of the disaster in New Orleans is how it has brought the nation to suffer the consequences of decisions made through almost two decades since the collapse of a global rival. Leaders in government and business in this country have been preoccupied with chasing the world’s treasures for the benefit of the "indispensable nation" and, as a result, abandoned the best interests of that nation’s "indispensable citizens". That pursuit has guided the American political system to centralize power, further remove states and communities from the balance of powers, and drain American resources for the very narrow purposes of a very narrow few.

Only a vigorous and self-assured populace could have devoted itself to the work demanded in the aftermath of a storm like Katrina. That populace, however, has been demoralized with demands on its wages, devaluation of its labor, and demeaned by expectations that its only worth comes from what it can borrow so it can consume the produce of factories in other countries. Clearly the current political and economic culture did not produce the people who helped the "indispensable nation" face down the "evil empire".

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By Bob Strodtbeck

Bob Strodtbeck has been writing editorial commentaries since 1993.  He has professional experiences in pharmaceuticals, radio, and education.  He has also served as a church elder in an Orlando congregation where he has made his home since 1986.

  Books about New Orleans

Keywords and misspellings:  New Orleans Orlenes Project for a new American Century Katrina Catrina


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:47 PM