“Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers.” (from the Hart-Rudman U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century report, Sept 15, 1999 )
Look back again, you read that right: “Sept 15, 1999.” In the late 1990s the highest levels of US government and policy-makers organized the broadly bipartisan Hart-Rudman Commission to sketch out major issues of national interest and national security and to make strategic policy recommendations for the 21st century. Their prediction: “Danger Ahead!”
Well, they were right about that one! But does this show the Commissioners were smart in anticipating dangers we face? Or does this show these leaders’ plan to cold-bloodedly pursue policies in their own interests that they know full well expose us to danger?
The Hart-Rudman report, issued some two years ago: (1) declared that control of Mid-East oil resources would become more necessary in the future, (2) anticipated that severe resistance would challenge US control of the Mid-East both at home and abroad, (3) called for many of the Homeland Security/Patriot Act measures implemented since Sept 11 and (4) warned that domestic cynicism, apathy, and lack of support would have to be overcome by whatever means necessary, because maintaining the US world position will require sacrifice and risk on the part of all citizens.
On one hand, it’s a little hard to swallow the notion of the US as a target of terrorism when the US is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, against civilians, at that. Or when its government kills at least 4000 Afghani civilians in a War against Terror. Or when it destroyed water purification facilities in Iraq and prevented importing water purification chemicals, knowing that it would cause widespread epidemics,. particularly among kids. Or when its Secretary of State, when asked if maintaining the US oil interests in the Mid-East was worth killing half a million Iraqi children by disease, told nationwide TV: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."
On the other hand, we also cannot ignore terrorism. US wars and other interference in the under-developed world to control the production and distribution of oil have caused rage in millions of working people suffering death and misery, and envy in local businessmen who want to get their own hands on the oil profits. These policies, have also caused a more or less permanent warfare/terrorism that has intensified and gradually spread, through the MidEast, to Africa and Europe, to US military and diplomatic stations abroad, and finally to the shores of the US, when 3000 largely working people were killed in New York. This is not the end. More attacks will come.
These Hart-Rudmann documents are an excellent exercise in reading between the lines. The Phase 1 report and supporting analysis are about social and political changes needed to make public opinion accept the sacrifices and risks of perusing US foreign policy, in other words, wars over oil and oil profits.
The following quotes are from the first Hart-Rudman Commission report of Sept, 1999.
*** “Although a global competitor to the United States is unlikely to arise over the next 25 years, emerging powers—either singly or in coalition—will increasingly constrain U.S. options regionally and limit its strategic influence. As a result, we will remain limited in our ability to impose our will, and we will be vulnerable to an increasing range of threats against American forces and citizens overseas as well as at home. American influence will increasingly be both embraced and resented abroad, as U.S. cultural, economic, and political power persists and perhaps spreads. States, terrorists, and other disaffected groups will acquire weapons of mass destruction and mass disruption, and some will use them. Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers.” ... “Despite the proliferation of highly sophisticated and remote means of attack, the essence of war will remain the same. There will be casualties, carnage, and death; it will not be like a video game.”
*** “Demand for fossil fuel will increase as major developing economies grow, increasing most rapidly in Asia. American dependence on foreign sources of energy will also grow over the next two decades. In the absence of events that alter significantly the price of oil, the stability of the world oil market will continue to depend on an uninterrupted supply of oil from the Persian Gulf, and the location of all key fossil fuel deposits will retain geopolitical significance.”
*** “While much of the world will experience economic growth, disparities in income will increase and widespread poverty will persist.” “The economic future will be more difficult to predict and to manage. The emergence or strengthening of significant global economic actors will cause realignments of economic power. Global changes in the next quarter-century will produce opportunities and vulnerabilities. Overall global economic growth will continue, albeit unevenly. At the same time, economic integration and fragmentation will co-exist. Serious and unexpected economic downturns, major disparities of wealth, volatile capital flows, increasing vulnerabilities in global electronic infrastructures, labor and social disruptions, and pressures for increased protectionism will also occur. Many countries will be simultaneously more wealthy and more insecure. Some societies will find it difficult to develop the human capital and social cohesion necessary to employ new technologies productively. Their frustrations will be endemic and sometimes dangerous. For most advanced states, major threats to national security will broaden beyond the purely military.”
*** “As a result, for many years to come Americans will become increasingly less secure, and much less secure than they now believe themselves to be. That is because many of the threats emerging in our future will differ significantly from those of the past, not only in their physical but also in their psychological effects. While conventional conflicts will still be possible, the most serious threat to our security may consist of unannounced attacks on American cities by sub-national groups using genetically engineered pathogens.” (Major Themes and Implications, pp.3-8)
*** “And yet since the end of the Cold War we have taken on, however reluctantly and even absent-mindedly, a world role that requires much potential sacrifice and the mobilization of substantial national resources and will. Can this role coexist for very long with an America that does not feel threatened, and that is focused instead on domestic issues?” ... “[If] such threats become reality, or even if they merely become more apparent, Americans are likely to abandon their attitude of “supportive indifference.”
*** “If the stakes rise in such a fashion, one thing is likely to become vividly clear: The American people will be ready to sacrifice blood and treasure, and come together to do so, if they believe that fundamental interests are imperiled. But they will not be prepared to make such sacrifices over indirect challenges, over what seem to them to be abstract moral imperatives. This is the history of American responses to foreign challenges, and that appears also to be its future.” (Supporting Research and Analysis, p. 130)
“Political changes abroad, economic considerations, and the increased vulnerability of U.S. bases around the world will increase pressures on the United States to reduce substantially its forward military presence in Europe and Asia.. “As the United States confronts a variety of complex threats, it will often be dependent on allies; but it will find reliable alliances more difficult to establish and sustain.” “Citizens will communicate with and form allegiances to individuals or movements anywhere in the world. Traditional bonds between states and their citizens can no longer be taken for granted, even in the United States.” “Deterrence will not work as it once did; in many cases it may not work at all. There will be a blurring of boundaries: between homeland defense and foreign policy; between sovereign states and a plethora of protectorates and autonomous zones; between the pull of national loyalties on individual citizens and the pull of loyalties both more local and more global in nature.”
These are quotes from the Phase I documents and their supporting documents. The Phase II and III reports (not extracted here) deal with tightening and centralizing federal control over security and police functions for improved “homeland security.”
Reflection on the Enron scandal, the airline bailout, and the giveaway of the national budget surplus to the richest corporations, makes it clear that this is not a time when US leaders and US workers are pulling together for a common interest. This is a time of increased exploitation of workers and planning for war to exploit workers abroad. Put simply, the Hart-Rudman Commission’s report is a strategy for war and fascism in the US.
In a sense, these plans have been in preparation for decades. Following the US defeat in Vietnam, Business Week (10-12-74) wrote :"It will be a hard pill for many Americans to swallow --- the idea of doing with less so that big business can have more. Nothing that this nation or any other nation has done in modern history compares to the selling job that now must be done to make people accept the new reality. And there are grave doubts about whether the job can be done at all. Historian Arnold Toynbee, filled with years and compassion, laments that democracy will be unable to cope with approaching economic problems and that totalitarianism will take its place."
United States Commission on National Security/21. “New World Coming: American Security in the 21st Century.” (1) Major Themes and Implications; and (2) Supporting Research and Analysis. September 15, 1999. http://www.nssg.gov, accessed 10-8-01. All 4 documents making up the report can be downloaded in pdf format from the Web site.
A few representative Commissioner profiles:
James R. Schlesinger, Senior Advisor to Lehman Brothers and Chairman of the MITRE Corporation. Previous positions and affiliations: Secretary of Defense; Secretary of Energy; Director, Central Intelligence Agency; Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission; Assistant Director, Bureau of the Budget (OMB); Director of Strategic Studies, RAND Corporation; Professor of Economics, University of Virginia.
Newt Gingrich, CEO of The Gingrich Group, an Atlanta based management consulting Firm; political commentator for FOX News Network; Senior Fellow at The American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.; distinguished Visiting Fellow at The Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Previous positions and affiliations: Former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives; United States House of Representatives, Georgia; former Professor of History and Environmental Studies, West Georgia College.
Andrew Young, Chairman of GoodWorks International and President-Elect of the National Council of Churches. Previous positions and affiliations: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Chairman, Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund; United States House of Representatives, Fifth District, Georgia; Mayor of Atlanta; Co-Chairman, Centennial Olympic Games; Executive President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Leslie H. Gelb, President, Council on Foreign Relations. Previous positions and affiliations: Editor, New York Times Op-Ed page; Columnist for New York Times; New York Times National Security and Diplomatic Correspondent; Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Assistant Secretary of State, Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs; Director of Policy Planning and Arms Control for International Security Affairs at the Department of Defense.