[Editor’s note: The following text is taken from an address delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan during a world press conference held May 3, 2004 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
In 1997, a special interest group called The Project for a New American Century was formed. I have four letters in our possession, which you can get on the web site, that state the aim and the principle of this Project for the New American Century. The signers of this project were men and women who are now known as neo-conservatives.
A letter was sent to President William Clinton on January 26, 1998 from this Project for the New American Century. In this letter, these neo-conservatives were telling President Clinton that he must attack Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein. The letter outlines exactly what was offered to President Clinton, which he rejected.
Who are the signers of the letter? Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, William Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey and Robert B. Zoellick. In the original statement of aim by this group, Jeb Bush was a signer. These are called the “neo-cons” or the neo-conservatives.
After President Clinton rejected this offer, these neo-conservatives sent a letter to Newt Gingrich, who was then the Speaker of the House, and to Senator Trent Lott. But in this, they criticized President Clinton for failing to adhere to their counsel. If you read this letter, you will see that what they said to the congressional leaders ultimately became the policy of President George W. Bush.
After 9/11, they wrote a letter to President Bush, but before he entered the office of the presidency of the United States, George W. Bush was committed to regime change in Iraq.
The objective of this group of neo-conservatives was to reshape American foreign policy. From their own statement of their principles, it reads: “Conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America’s role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. We aim to change this.” Dick Cheney signed it. Jeb Bush signed it. Donald Rumsfeld signed it. Paul Wolfowitz signed it, Elliott Abrams signed it. Gary Bauer, Elliot Cohen, Aaron Friedberg, Steve Forbes, Dan Quayle, Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Peter Rodman, Stephen Rosen, Henry Rowen, Vin Weber and George Weigel signed it.
Some of these people were not in government at that time. They were on the outside looking in during President Clinton’s administration. Some of them were, however, with the father Bush, Herbert Walker Bush.
Now, when George W. Bush became the president, many of these people came into government. Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States; Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense; Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense; Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State; John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Security; Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Chief of Staff and national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney; Richard Perle, former chairman of the Defense Policy Board at the Pentagon—and it’s interesting that he had a nickname, titled “The Prince of Darkness.”
These neo-conservatives had in mind the destruction of Iraq. They thought that their idea was the right idea for the time, but every idea needs a vessel that will bring that idea to fruition. So, the neo-conservatives were shopping around for the right vessel—and they found that vessel in George W. Bush.
When you read the book, “The Price of Loyalty” written about Paul O’Neill (former Treasury Secretary in the Bush administration), that book was correct, when he said President Bush came into office with a predisposition to remove Saddam Hussein. I said it to the president first, in my letters of warning. Now, out of his administration, are coming witness-bearers of the rightness of what I wrote to him.
Richard Clarke, in his book “Against All Enemies,” wrote: “President Bush was preoccupied with Iraq and was not focused on the war on terror.” Thus, it becomes clear why Pres. Bush asked after 9/11, “Was there a tie between Iraq and al-Qaeda?” Even though the best information from the intelligence community said there was no link, according to Richard Clarke, President Bush continued to urge them to find a link.
Why find a link? Because the aim was to destroy the regime of Saddam Hussein. Early on in the President’s administration, he said, “My administration is committed to regime change in Iraq.”
I believe that President Bush did not know of 9/11 in advance. However, had he not been so preoccupied with the neo-conservative idea on Iraq, he might have been able to connect the dots of the many warnings that were coming to America from her friends around the world, and avoid the tragedy of 9/11. He might have been able to direct the FBI and the CIA to bring him whatever intelligence they had that would have allowed his administration to connect the dots.
I believe that even though he didn’t know, somebody knew. And those who knew, knew that if this happened, it would put President Bush and the administration in the position that would allow them to fulfill the aim of the neo-conservatives.
You may not agree. You may ask, “Minister Farrakhan, do you think that anyone would be so wicked as to allow the deaths of 3,000 American and non-American citizens to pursue a political and economic objective?”
Forty-four years ago, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to me, “Brother Farrakhan, you cannot fathom the depth of Satan.” Those of us who can’t think like that would never believe that a human being was capable of planning the deaths of innocent people to further a political and an economic objective.
This happened during the Kennedy administration when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was fixed on Cuba, Fidel Castro and a communist regime 90 miles from the American shore. It is written that some of his generals came to him suggesting that an American ship should be bombed in Guantanamo Bay and blamed on Cuba, so that the American press could whip up the American people into a fervor for war and it would justify America in a war against Fidel Castro, in order to remove that regime.
President Kennedy rejected that advice.
Do you remember the USS Maine? The Maine was a ship in the harbor of Havana. When someone wanted a war with Spain, the Maine was bombed in the Havana Harbor, killing those on board. The press whipped the story up as something that the Spanish did, thus the Spanish-American War was launched. Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines then came under the power and rule of the United States of America.
Do you remember the Gulf of Tonkin? Another ship, which was supposedly involved in an altercation with a gunboat from North Vietnam. This was whipped up by the American press, and President Lyndon Baines Johnson deceived the American Congress and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was signed, committing 500,000 American soldiers to that area of the world.
A political objective was won. And now, America is on a course that will be difficult for her to change. An economic objective was again won. The treasury of the people of America was raped. Over $100 billion gone and more to come, so that Halliburton and Bechtel and the war machine of America can profit from the suffering of soldiers, sailors and Iraqi people.
Iraq has been occupied for over one year, yet we have not discovered any weapons of mass destruction.
They cannot, with truth, tie al-Qaeda to Saddam Hussein. If you know anything about Osama bin Laden, he is what you would call “a religious zealot,” who saw Saddam Hussein as a hypocrite who went away from Islam to follow the path of socialism. So there’s no way that Osama would have been connected to Saddam.
But the neo-conservatives wanted to make a case for war, and they did. The grief of the American people was manipulated, so that you would back your president in this evil misadventure.
And now everything that I warned them would come to pass is now coming to pass. The coalition is falling apart. Every day, American soldiers are dying. Dying for what? No weapons of mass destruction, no tie or link to terrorism. “But he was a brutal dictator who killed his own people,” they maintain. Well, that’s a justification then to go to war with China or to go to war with any country on the earth, because there is no country, no leader who has not at some time killed some members of his own country. America killed some of her own citizens at Waco. Is that a predicate for war?
Ari Shavit, a writer for the Daily Haaretz in Israel, had an interview with some of the neo-conservatives. He interviewed William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer.
Mr. Shavit wrote: “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neo-conservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of the journalists, William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer say it’s principle. But another journalist, Thomas Friedman, not part of the group, is skeptical.”
Mr. Shavit asked Mr. Kristol the question: “What is this war about?” This interview was published on May 4, a few days after President Bush’s landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln saying, “Mission Accomplished.”
Mr. Kristol replied that, “At one level, it is the war that George Bush is talking about—a war against a brutal regime that has in its possession weapons of mass destruction. But at a deeper level, it is a greater war for the shaping of a new Middle East. It is a war that is intended to change the political culture of the entire region.”
Now, is that what your children are going to be asked to fight for? Because the neo-conservatives are now advancing a war with Syria, a war with Iran, and soon Sudan. I’m hoping that Muammar Ghadafi, though he has gotten rid of weapons of mass destruction and is on a course of rapprochement with America, I’m hoping that Colonel Ghadafi won’t think that these neo-conservatives intend to be at peace with him. As long as that man lives, what is in his mind, they will consider a threat and they will ultimately work to remove him from power.
Pakistan must be careful because Pakistan already has weapons of mass destruction. Now, Pakistan is an ally of the United States of America, but America has said that, if a radical regime comes to power in Pakistan, America will swoop down on Pakistan and remove all of her nuclear weapons. In reality, they do not want any Muslim nation to have weapons of mass destruction.
Syrian President Bashir al Assad said recently, “I will get rid of mine when Israel gets rid of hers.”
Resolution 687 of the UN Security Council said, “No weapons of mass destruction should be in the Middle East.” So no Arab nation has it, but Israel has enough weapons to destroy the whole Arab world. This is why there’s no real movement in the peace process, because weapons of mass destruction on both sides in the Cold War produced detente. People have to sit down and talk when they both have the power of mutual annihilation. As long as one has that power and the other doesn’t, then you’ll get peace, but on the terms of the one with the greatest amount of arms. That’s why there’s no peace in the Middle East and there will not be any.
But of even deeper concern to Muslims is another article by Mr. Jim Lobe called, “U.S. from Nation Building in Iraq to Religion Building.” What does he mean, “religion building?” Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, says: “We need an Islamic reformation.” Daniel Pipes, who was appointed by President Bush to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute for Peace, said that the ultimate goal of the war on terrorism had to be Islam’s modernization.
What America is seeking is actually to change Islam, to make Islam suitable and non-threatening to Western hegemony over the entire world.
So, the war is not just against brutal dictators; the war, at the root, is against Islam. The government will not admit to that, but I see signs. In Iraq, when the Shiites asked for a popular election, knowing that they are 60 percent of the population of Iraq, they said they wanted an Islamic government. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said, “We will not have any of that.” If they want an Islamic government that’s not democratic, America will not tolerate that.
In the neo-conservative idea, America must reshape the world in America’s image or be shaped in the image of the world. That’s at the root of the war, and that war will rage on. But I say to you that there’s no way that I, as a Muslim, could countenance my children or grandchildren fighting a war against fellow believers in any part of the world. Once the American people understand the agenda of the neo-conservatives, you would be foolish to send your children to die for that which is against the best interest of America, but in the best interest of Israel.
All of the agenda of the neo-conservatives was to bring President Bush in line with Israel and use the power of the American military to destroy the real and perceived enemies of Israel. Iraq never threatened America; could not threaten America. But as long as Saddam Hussein was alive, in their minds he was a threat to Israel. Syria is a threat to Israel. Iran is a threat to Israel. Anyone that does not believe in their justification of the State of Israel on Palestinian lands is an enemy that must be destroyed.
Do you want your children to die for this? The former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before the war in Iraq, was patrolling the halls of Congress, lobbying American senators to send our children to die, really for Israel. Since Israel’s existence, American taxpayer dollars have contributed over a $100 billion to maintain that state, and the neo-conservative idea was to bring President Bush totally in line with the ideas, the thinking, the policies of the Likud Party in Israel. Now, they are saying that President George W. Bush is the greatest friend that Israel has had of any president in this country.
Well, if George W. Bush is their greatest friend, then how can he be an honest broker in a search for peace?
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