By James Petras
"Wars in an imperialist democracy cannot simply be dictated by executive fiat, they require the consent of highly motivated masses who will make the human and material sacrifices.
Imperialist leaders have to create a visible and highly charged emotional sense of injustice and righteousness to secure national cohesion and overcome the natural opposition to early death, destruction and disruption of civilian life and to the brutal regimentation that goes with submission to absolutist rule by the military.
The need to invent a cause is especially the case with imperialist countries because their national territory is not under threat. There is no visible occupation army oppressing the mass of the people in their everyday life. The ‘enemy’ does not disrupt everyday normal life – as forced conscription would and does. Under normal peaceful time, who would be willing to sacrifice their constitutional rights and their participation in civil society to subject themselves to martial rule that precludes the exercise of all their civil freedoms?
The task of imperial rulers is to fabricate a world in which the enemy to be attacked (an emerging imperial power like Japan) is portrayed as an ‘invader’ or an ‘aggressor’ in the case of revolutionary movements (Korean and Indo-Chinese communists) engaged in a civil war against an imperial client ruler or a ‘terrorist conspiracy’ linked to an anti-imperialist, anti-colonial Islamic movements and secular states. Imperialist-democracies in the past did not need to consult or secure mass support for their expansionist wars; they relied on volunteer armies, mercenaries and colonial subjects led and directed by colonial officers. Only with the confluence of imperialism, electoral politics and total war did the need arise to secure not only consent, but also enthusiasm, to facilitate mass recruitment and obligatory conscription......
Professor Zelikow – Where do we go from here?
The key figure in and around the Bush Administration who actively promoted a ‘new Pearl Harbor’ and was at least in part responsible for the policy of complicity with the 9/11 terrorists was Philip Zelikow. Zelikow, a prominent Israel-Firster, is a government academic, whose expertise was in the nebulous area of ‘catastrophic terrorism’ – events which enabled US political leaders to concentrate executive powers and violate constitutional freedoms in pursuit of offensive imperial wars and in developing the ‘public myth’. Philip Shenon’s book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation pinpoints Zelikow’s strategic role in the Bush Administration in the lead up to 9/11, the period of ‘complicit neglect’, in its aftermath, the offensive global war period, and in the government’s cover-up of its complicity in the terror attack.
Prior to 9/11 Zelikow provided a‘blueprint’ for the process of an executive seizing extreme power for global warfare. He outlined a sequence in which a ‘catastrophic terrorist event’ could facilitate the absolute concentration of power, followed by the launching of offensive wars for Israel (as he publicly admitted). In the run-up to 9/11 and the multiple wars, he served as a member of National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice’s National Security Council transition team (2000-2001), which had intimate knowledge of terrorist plans to seize US commercial flights, as Rice herself publicly admitted (‘conventional hijackings’ was her term). Zelikow was instrumental in demoting and disabling the counter-terrorism expert Richard Clark from the National Security Council, the one agency tracking the terrorist operation. Between 2001-2003, Zelikow was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. This was the agency, which had failed to follow-up and failed to pursue the key intelligence reports identifying terrorist plans. Zelikow, after playing a major role in undermining intelligence efforts to prevent the terrorist attack, became the principle author of the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States, which prescribed Bush’s policy of military invasion of Iraq and targeted Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and other independent Arab and Muslim countries and political entities. Zelikow’s ‘National Security Strategy’ paper was the most influential directive shaping the global state terrorist policies of the Bush regime. It also brought US war policies in the closest alignment with the regional military aspirations of the Israeli state since the founding of Israel. Indeed, this was why the former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated at Bar Ilan University that the 9/11 attack and the US invasion of Iraq were ‘good for Israel’ (see Haaretz, April 16, 2008).
Finally Zelikow, as Bush’s personal appointee as the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, coordinated the cover-up of the Administration policy of complicity in 9/11 with the Vice President’s office. While Zelikow is not considered an academic heavyweight, his ubiquitous role in the design, execution and cover-up of the world-shattering events surrounding 9/11 and its aftermath mark him as one of the most dangerous and destructive political ‘influentials’ in the shaping and launching of Washington’s past, present and future catastrophic wars."