By Jim Lobe
"....Indeed, a demonstration of such power could well be the fastest way to formalize a new international order based on the overwhelming military power of the United States, unequaled at least since the Roman Empire. It would be a "unipolar world" of the kind envisaged by the 1992 draft Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) commissioned by then-Pentagon chief Dick Cheney, overseen by Wolfowitz and Cheney's future chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, and contributed to by future ambassador to "liberated" Afghanistan and Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad and Bush's deputy national security adviser, J.D. Crouch.
It was that same vision that formed the inspiration for the 27 charter signatories – a coalition of aggressive nationalists, neoconservatives, and Christian Right leaders that included Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby, Khalilzad, and several other future senior Bush administration national-security officials – of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in 1997. It was the same project that began calling for "regime change" in Iraq in 1998 and that, nine days after the 9/11 attack on New York and the Pentagon, publicly warned that any "war on terror" that excluded Hussein's elimination would necessarily be incomplete.
In retrospect, it seems clear that Iraq had long been seen by this group, which became empowered first by Bush's election and then supercharged by 9/11, as the first, easiest and most available step toward achieving a "Pax Americana" that would not only establish the US once and for all as the dominant power in the region, but whose geostrategic implications for aspiring "peer competitors" would be global in scope.
For the neoconservative and the Christian Right members of this group, who were its most eager and ubiquitous war boosters, Israel would also be a major beneficiary of an invasion.
According to a 1996 paper drafted by prominent hard-line neoconservatives – including some, like Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, who would later serve in senior posts in Cheney's office and the Pentagon in the run-up to the invasion – ousting Hussein and installing a pro-Western leader was the key to destabilizing Israel's Arab enemies and/or bending them to its will. This would permit the Jewish state not only to escape the Oslo peace process, but also to secure as much of the occupied Palestinian (and Syrian) territories as it wished.
Indeed, getting rid of Hussein and occupying Iraq would not only tighten Israel's hold on Arab territories, in this view; it could also threaten the survival of the Arab and Islamic worlds' most formidable weapon against Israel – OPEC – by flooding the world market with Iraqi oil and forcing the commodity's price down to historic lows.
That's how it looked five years ago anyway."