Eric Berthelette on Sun, 22 Sep 2002 15:51:23 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> planners, signers + reporters x3[unamity,rjoly,Ododita]

I am a bit dismayed at the proliferation of the Neil Mackay article on a
number of academic, intellectual, and activist lists.

The "news" reported in this article is based on a report by The Project
for a New American Century (PNAC) released two years ago:

My concern is that this story has circulated among otherwise adept social
critics without the critical distance it warrants.  IMHO, this article is
an example of bad journalism by any definition. So bad, in fact, I breifly
wondered if the article was a hoax along the lines of Alan Sokal's
"Transgressing the Boundaries."

I might agree with the general gist of the article in so far as there is
ample documentation to show that members of the Bush Administration
include dangerous, deceitful cranks with malicious intentions (at least
according to any left-of-fascist logic).  Any quick web search is likely
to "uncover" reports by organizations like PNAC with high-profile
"participants" that would make any thinking person cringe.  More
specifically, however, Mackay's story does not seem to have its facts

For example, characterizing a report that was released two years ago and
posted to the PNAC web site as a "secret blueprint" "uncovered by the
Herald" is a bit off the mark.  Also, the article attributes statements in
the report to Cheney, Wolfowitz, and other current members of the Bush
Administration who are listed on the last page of the report as "Project
Participants."  But the report itself is principally attributed to Thomas
Donnelly, representing only the views of PNAC. Under the list of
participants reads the following disclaimer:

"The above list of individuals participated in at least one project
meeting or contributed a paper for discussion. The report is a product
solely of the Project for the New American Century and does not
necessarily represent the views of the project participants or their
affiliated institutions."

Mackay doesn't indicate how one might attribute specific statements to any
particular participant besides Donnelly, let alone attribute those
statements to any current policy directives. Moreover, Mackay uses the
report's own terminology of a "blueprint" to imply that there was a war
plan in place waiting for a Bush presidency to implement it.  The PNAC
report is barely a policy sketch, let alone a war blueprint.  It would be
better characterized as a policy wish list.

So the big "news" here is that several Bush appointees have probably
supported for some time a decade-old position that the U.S. should apply
its military powers to commanding greater control over oil supplies,
deposing Saddam Hussein, and generally imposing U.S. imperialism abroad.  
This is hardly a secret; it merely restates a long-standing policy
position among many conservatives and a widely held public opinion among
many Americans. Not only is that not news today, it wasn't news two years
ago when Bush's pro-war platform helped him *almost* get elected
president. And it wasn't news a decade ago when Bush, Sr. launched a "war
for oil" and enjoyed the highest approval ratings (for what they're worth)
of any U.S. president in a generation.

At best, this not-so-secret report adds to a mountain of evidence,
including open and widely reported public policy statements, that the most
dangerous rogue regime in the world right now is the U.S. government.
(After all, what other regime has equal power and inclination to impose
its interests in violation of international law and its own Constitution?)
In that light, Mackay's article is a statement of the obvious, though one
that hardly warrants unqualified circulation.

Frankly, there's enough hyperbole, ignorance, and outright lying generated
by the right-wing war machine.  Mackay's story does a disservice to its
own apparent cause of seeking some semblance of reason in foreign policy

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