49th Parallel

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Inventing the 'Axis of Evil': The Myth and Reality of Intelligence and Policy Making after 9/11

Maria Ryan
University of Birmingham

‘I don’t think we’ve ever had a…war in which the work of the intelligence community…(has) been as important as in this one’ claimed deputy secretary of defence Paul Wolfowitz of the war on terrorism.1 In early 2002 the focus of this new war was shifted clearly from the events of 11th September onto America’s “rogue states” that seek to develop weapons of mass destruction and sponsor terrorism that could threaten the US. In his State of the Union address in January, President Bush announced that the three greatest threats, Iran, Iraq and North Korea, constitute an ‘axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.’2 However, Wolfowitz’ --- and indeed the President’s --- assertion that this concept has been defined by the latest intelligence estimates is somewhat shaky to say the least. If CIA intelligence both pre- and post-9/11 is analysed it becomes apparent that it provides hardly any justification for Bush’s claims of an imminent threat and, in fact, points to arsenals far more dangerous and destructive than those of the ‘axis of evil;’ and the demands lobbied for by members of the Bush administration since the early nineties demonstrate that the deposing of Saddam Hussein, as well as a hard line stance towards Iran and North Korea thus justifying National Missile Defence (NMD) were decided well before their advocates sat in government. A long-term projection of American power was the aim of the Bush administration as it took office in January 2001. After 9/11 intelligence has been skewed and even invented to cynically manipulate the prevailing environment of fear and create an atmosphere that is, at last, conducive to those long-standing policy preferences of the Republican right which failed to gain widespread support at times of international peace and stability.


The Evidence: A Clear and Present Danger?

Since 1997 the CIA has produced a biannual Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Related to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Advanced Conventional Munitions (ACM)3 as well as National Intelligence Estimates4 and a lengthy study, Global Trends 2015,5 which all deal with the acquisition of WMD, ACM and chemical and biological weapons (CBW) by several rogue states, including Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

Iran is always labelled ‘one of the most active countries seeking to acquire WMD’ with a goal of self-sufficiency.6 It has purchased dual-use biotechnology equipment for civilian uses which could be converted for weapons programmes.7 Iran already has a stockpile of chemical weapons.8 Since 1997 it has been building a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power reactor in Bushehr which is subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and which Tehran claims is for civilian uses.9 In early 1998 it successfully tested the Shahab 3 medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) and leaders have publicly mentioned the possible development of Shahab 4 and 5.10 Tehran will ‘probably’ have an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by 2015 but it would ‘less reliable’ than missiles currently possessed by Russia and China and would be viewed ‘more as (a) strategic weapon of deterrence…than as (a) weapon of war,’11 a long-standing commitment from Tehran.12 The country is partially dependent on external sources of material for WMD and has undertaken ‘sustained co-operation’ with Russia, China and North Korea.13 During the US-China summit of October 1997, China pledged not to engage in any new nuclear co-operation with Iran, an agreement that appears to be holding.14 However, equipment for Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS), which could provide weapons grade uranium, was to be delivered to Iran from Russia in late 2000, but is currently held up due to US protests.15

Iraq has also purchased ‘numerous dual-use items for legitimate civilian projects that could also be diverted for WMD purposes,’ although in principle they are subject to U.N. scrutiny.16 Baghdad is developing two short-range missiles (SRBM) which fall within the UN-allowed 150km range and has the nerve agent VX but has not fully disclosed its biological weapons programme. Intelligence reports state that there have been ‘years of denials…(and) withhold(ing) (of) significant information’ and no UN inspections since December 1998 making it very difficult to estimate Saddam’s capabilities accurately and consequently the reports on Iraq are very repetitive, the latest containing no significant new intelligence.17 In December 1998, for instance, documents which showed that not as many munitions had been used in the Iran-Iraq war as Baghdad had claimed were seized from UNSCOM, leaving open the possibility of up to 6,000 hidden munitions.18 Yet it must be remembered that the CIA’s relationship with UNSCOM was controversial. The inspectors were subject to the political agendas of the permanent members of the Security Council and intelligence was passed back from UNSCOM to western security agencies including the CIA --- thus very little “pure,” un-politicised intelligence on Iraq has existed in recent years.19 However, in 1999 the CIA conceded that it did not have ‘any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its WMD programmes.’20 Whatever weapons Iraq does seek, the National Intelligence Estimates make it very clear that they would be for ‘deterrence’ and that ‘regional concerns (are) one of the primary factors in tailoring (their) programme.’21 In December 2001 (after 9/11) the Agency asserted that Iraq’s goal is to become a regional power, not to threaten the United States.22 Furthermore, just the development of a MRBM would require the erosion of sanctions, UN restrictions and political risks by both Baghdad and an external supplier. Even if there were no prohibitions, it is still unlikely that Saddam could test an ICBM by 2015. Neither does he possess any fissile material.23

For several years it has been clear that North Korea is the most advanced member of the ‘axis’ with regard to both long-range missiles and missile related technology proliferation. Pyongyang consistently attaches a very high importance to the export of WMD-related technology and is one of the key suppliers, along with Russia and China.24 It also possesses a wide variety of chemical weapons.25 In August 1999 North Korea launched the Taepo Dong ICBM missile. Although the third stage failed, the first and second parts were successful and once the final stage is completed, it should be able to deliver small payloads to ICBM range.26 It is estimated that Pyongyang has enough plutonium for one or two nuclear weapons, however, in accordance with the 1994 Agreed Framework between North Korea and the US, Kim Yong Il has frozen the development of his entire nuclear programme (although this has been both contested and confirmed by members of the Bush administration). In April 2000 the US and North Korea completed the canning of spent nuclear fuel from the Yongbyan complex in accordance with the Framework.27 In December 2001 it was confirmed that North Korea had unilaterally extended to 2003 the missile launch moratorium announced in 1999, as long as the US continued the negotiations from which Bush walked away after his election.28 Although North Korea should have an ICBM by 2015, again it is considered to be for deterrence and regional concerns, to ‘deter Washington from pursuing certain objectives’ in the Far East.29

George Tenet, current Director of Central Intelligence, gave his explicit backing to the CIA’s reporting on WMD in July 1998 when it was challenged by the ‘Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States,’ chaired by Donald Rumsfeld, also known as the Rumsfeld Commission.30 The report was a scathing criticism of contemporary intelligence estimates on WMD and ICBM capability, claiming that rogue states could ‘inflict major destruction on the US within about five years of a decision to acquire such a capability (ten years in the case of Iraq).’ The threat was described as ‘broader, more mature and evolving more rapidly than has been reported in estimates and reports by the intelligence community.’31 Tenet totally dismissed this: ‘where the evidence is limited and the stakes are high, we need to keep challenging our assumptions’ (emphasis added) and in the cases of Iran, Iraq and North Korea he claimed that ‘all appear more interested at this time in developing regional missile capabilities’ rather than threatening the US.32


Anomalies to the ‘Axis’

Therefore, the intelligence presented by the CIA does not support Bush’s assertion that Iraq, Iran and North Korea are ‘arming to threaten the peace of the world.’ While they certainly aspire to own certain weapons and are in the process of developing some, the evidence highlights anomalies to Bush’s simplistic ‘axis of evil’ and a very selective presentation of the facts.

In a link to 9/11, the administration claims that these countries could supply WMD to terrorists who could threaten the US. There is clear evidence linking Iran to Hezbollah and other groups opposed to Israel, however this has not come from the CIA but most recently from the State Department in its Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 report in which Iran is described as ‘the primary sponsor of terrorism’ against a US “friend and ally.”33 This suggests a widening of American interests to include its client states, not just the US mainland. However, the same report claimed that Iraq has not sponsored an anti-western attack since the 1993 attempted assassination of George Bush senior.34 A concerted effort was made by the current administration to link Saddam Hussein to the events of 9/11. It was reported that Mohammed Atta met an Iraqi official in Prague in April 2001 - but there is no evidence of what they discussed, let alone any connection to terrorism. North Korea did more to counter terrorism than sponsor it, by joining three rounds of anti-terrorism talks and releasing a joint declaration with the US reiterating its opposition to terrorism and agreeing to support international actions against terror. Patterns of Global Terrorism could only point to communist hijackers of a 1970 flight from Japan to North Korea who remain in the country.

Moreover, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) states that ‘countries developing missiles view their regional concerns as one of the primary factors in tailoring their programmes.’35 In the December 2001 National Intelligence Estimate, the CIA asserted that Iraq’s goal is to become ‘the predominant regional power.’ As one columnist has commented, the heart of the problem is that Iraq, Iran and North Korea have opposed US power in their regions for ten, twenty-three and fifty two years respectively.36 The Americans have a strong military presence in the Middle East (there are bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait37), sanctions allow them control over Saddam’s oil and before the 1979 revolution US intervention had propped up the Shah of Iran since 1953, still a source of bitter resentment.180 bases built during the Korean War remain in place, along with 37,000 troops.38 Consequently, all three countries would welcome some form of diplomatic leverage to use against the US in their own backyards.

The time scale involved and the conditions necessary, particularly for Iraq and Iran, to develop WMD make the immediacy of the threat claimed by Bush highly unrealistic. Even in comparison to Russia and China, the weapons of Iraq and Iran seem underdeveloped. There is only a possibility that Iraq will have an ICBM by 2015, even if the sanctions and UN restrictions were lifted and, the latest estimates suggest, it is only a possibility for Iran too, although previously it was considered a probability.39 Both are heavily dependent on foreign assistance. Although North Korea is continuing to develop the Taepo Dong-2 that would enable it to target parts of America, constructive engagement has also taken place with the US. The language being used by the Bush administration suggests a much more imminent threat of the kind proposed in the Rumsfeld Commission’s report. Yet the progress of their WMD programmes does not justify this.

Perhaps the most salient anomaly to the ‘axis of evil’ is the position of both Russia and China. Both are second only to the US in the huge amount of weapons that they own and deploy and both are major proliferators of technology related to WMD. In 2001 it was reported that Russia and China ‘already have substantial WMD programmes.’40 Until at least 2015 it is Russia that ‘will continue to be the most robust and lethal threat’ to the US.41 In December 2001 Russia had 700 ICBMs with around 3,000 warheads.42 Iran, Iraq and North Korea have a combined total of none. China is likely to have tens of missiles capable of targeting the US and its ICBM numbers will increase several fold by 2015.43 Both are already nuclear powers. Both supply missile technology to India, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, North Korea and especially Iran. Russian export controls on WMD are frequently circumvented44 and China is also taking a ‘narrow interpretation’ of its own non-proliferation commitment.45 One senior US official who had seen the intelligence on China’s arms sales admitted to the New York Times that ‘there is a tremendous skittishness about discussing this plainly…but the important point is that the Chinese profess to have a policy of non-proliferation, they insist they don’t export missile technology’! (emphasis added)46 The report also points out that American businesses have ‘virtually no dealings with Iraq, Iran or North Korea by law. But such relationships with China are blossoming, especially since the country’s recent entry into the World Trade Organisation.’

Russia and China are not the only nations far ahead of the ‘axis’ in their development of WMD. Pakistani and Indian capabilities have been monitored in the CIA’s Reports to Congress since 1999. Both countries have short and medium range missiles and there are rumours of ICBM development.47 Both successfully tested nuclear weapons in May 1998.48 The regional power struggle over Kashmir is unarguably the source of the arms race and it would be completely untenable to argue that they posed a direct threat to the US since there is no history of overt conflict between the US and either country, as there is with Iraq, for example. In this case the regional concerns of the powers involved are too self-evident to be denied and so neither made it onto the ‘axis of evil.’ Neither do they have the geopolitical importance of, for example, the oil-rich Caspian basin. Unsurprisingly the CIA reports do not even mention the only nuclear power that does exist in the Middle East --- Israel --- whose arsenal easily outguns that of the ‘axis of evil.’ Thus, the notion of the ‘axis of evil’ is based only to a limited extent on information provided by the CIA.


A New ‘Preponderance of Power’

The formation of policy under Bush is predominantly a battle between the Departments of State and Defence with the CIA fitting in with the dominant consensus rather than asserting its own voice. It has failed to challenge the great politicisation of intelligence that has taken place to fit specific pre-existing policy preferences and long-standing notions of how these three countries should be dealt with.

A major long-term aim of right wing Republicans is the projection of US power on a global scale, into areas that are strategically important, especially those not already under Washington’s influence. At the dawn of the Cold War, the US strategy was to ensure a ‘preponderance of power’ by building an ‘empire’ of influence firstly in Europe --- intervention which was largely sought by European governments.49 Since then, the US has continually pursued ‘empires’ for itself --- only now the urge to project itself is more important than an invitation to do so. At the end of the Cold War, hawks within the Republican Party began to nurture ideas about US dominance in a world where it was no longer constrained by a rival superpower. In 1992 Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby authored the classified Pentagon document, Defence Planning Guidance, which formulated what has since been referred to as the ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine.’50 They claimed that the US should prevent any ‘hostile power from dominating regions’ whose resources would allow it to attain great power status (like Iraq or Iran in the oil-rich Middle East); should discourage attempts by any other nation to challenge US leadership or upset the established political and economic order and should prevent the emergence of any potential competitors.

Over twenty members of the current administration, including Vice-President Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, of the National Security Council and now the special envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Perle, chairman of the Defence Policy Board, an advisory panel to the Pentagon, Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State, John Bolton, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Paula Dobriansky, the Under Secretary for Global Affairs and Donald Rumsfeld were all active members of the right wing lobby group the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) established in 1997 to promote American global leadership51. The founding purpose of PNAC was to ‘make the case and rally support for American leadership’ as well as to ‘challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values’ and promote ‘the resolve to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests.’52 In 1998 PNAC proposed ‘a Reaganite reassertion of American power…and mastery’ referring specifically to Iraq and North Korea as well as other rogue states.53 The Rumsfeld Commission’s report chastised ‘those seeking to thwart the projection of US power,’ specifically mentioned Iraq, Iran and North Korea and expressed concern that ‘a number of countries with regional ambitions do not welcome the US role…they want to place restraints on the US capability to project power or influence.’54 The hallmark of the war on terrorism so far has been the establishment of American military bases in areas of geopolitical significance, such as the oil-rich Central Asia.55 The ‘axis of evil’ is simply another way to project influence and challenge nations the US sees as a potential threat, whether through diplomatic or military means. The strategy is also indicative of the recent trend towards “pre-emption” rather than “deterrence.” During the Cold War both superpowers placed their faith in the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) and the “existential deterrence” of WMD; but the post-Cold War years have witnessed the ‘dethroning of deterrence theory’ in favour of pre-emptive action against any potential aggressor.56 The Nuclear Posture Review, which was recently leaked, confirmed that the Pentagon is developing contingency plans for using nuclear weapons, not as retaliation but as a first strike, against seven countries, including Iraq and North Korea and in June the President announced that the US would strike at its enemies ‘before they emerge.’57

National Missile Defence (NMD) was vilified by America’s European allies in the early days of the Bush presidency so now Washington has cast it as part of the war on terrorism, a necessary protection of the homeland in the wake of 9/11. No sooner had Bush mentioned the ‘axis of evil’ in his State of the Union address, he was telling the world that ‘we will develop and deploy effective missile defences to protect America and our allies from sudden attack…The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.’ The massive increase in defence spending, which will bring it to a level 20% higher than the Cold War average by 2007 58, is justified ‘because while the price of freedom and security is high, it is never too high. Whatever it costs to defend our country we will pay.’

The Secretary of Defence is a long-time advocate of NMD and rearmament. The report by the Rumsfeld Commission ‘was seized upon by Republican activists as incontrovertible evidence that the United States must proceed rapidly with the development of a full-scale missile defence system.’ Rumsfeld also had a close association with the Centre for Security Policy, a think tank established by a former Reagan administration official, Frank Gaffney Jnr., to campaign for the deployment of “Star Wars” defences 59. This vision was set out more specifically in a 1998 article by PNAC in which the group asserted that ‘We need to spend much more on our armed forces. We need more money for readiness…more for procurement…more for troops, more for missile defence, more for everything…Let Clinton be the “cheap hawk.” Republicans should be the real hawks.’60 During his presidential campaign, Bush promised to pursue high-tech weaponry to defeat any power that threatened US interests. As Bill Clinton has commented, the Republican obsession with NMD is ‘a matter of theology, not evidence.’61 Hence ‘(Bush’s) rhetorical question asking what if the terrorists had been able to strike with a ballistic missile was primarily an attempt to steamroller frightened Americans to support missile defence.’62


Plans for Iraq, North Korea and Iran

In particular, it is clear that there was a pre-existing political consensus on Iraq. Despite the rhetoric about human rights, it is the lure of Saddam’s oil and increased US influence in the energy producing Middle East that has meant that talk of toppling Saddam has continued since the last failed attempt to oust him in 1992 by Bush Snr. In 1995, under Clinton, an unsuccessful Kurdish insurrection was ‘half-heartedly’ backed by the CIA and instigated by the Iraqi National Congress (INC).63 The INC itself has received $12.4 million from Congress since 1998 and small groups of American diplomats, intelligence analysts and officials periodically infiltrate northern Iraq to confer with the Kurds and other opponents of the Baghdad government. 64  The US and Britain have been bombing the no-fly zone since 1998. That same year Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act which allocated $97 million to the training of anti-Saddam guerrilla groups and confirmed that the ultimate objective of the US is the removal of Saddam and his government. Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the INC, who lobbied for the act, won the support of many conservatives, including Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld.65 In January 1998 PNAC sent a letter to President Clinton calling for ‘the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime’ in order ‘to protect our vital interests’ in the Middle East and ensure that Iraq does not pursue WMD programmes.66 The following September Paul Wolfowitz testified before the House National Security Committee on Iraq and accused the Clinton administration of being ‘unwilling to pursue a serious policy on Iraq, one that would aim at liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam’s tyrannical grasp.’67

It is revealing to witness the extent to which the Clinton administration’s warnings about al-Qaeda were ignored by the Bush government when it took office in favour of an emphasis on Iraq. After a concerted effort to capture Bin Laden and disrupt al-Qaeda, the Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 report demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama Bin Laden and close all terrorist training camps in accordance with UN resolutions 1333 passed in December 2000 and 1267 passed in November 1999. But when Bush came to power there was no interest in splintering al-Qaeda. Negotiations with the Taliban began in earnest to discuss the exploitation of the oil reserves of the Caspian Sea. The private business interests of members of the administration, such as Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice, determined that it was oil which would govern the administration’s dealings with Afghanistan. One former FBI agent, John O’ Neill, claimed that the Bush administration had been meeting with the Taliban since January 2001 to discuss the building of a pipeline through Afghanistan. O’Neill later resigned in protest at the administration’s obstruction into his investigation of Bin Laden.68 Clinton’s concern with Afghanistan was replaced by Bush’s obsession with Iraq. His ignoring intelligence about al-Qaeda demonstrated not only that there were other interests at work in Afghanistan which only the suicide hijackings could change, but also that for the Bush administration the war on Iraq existed before the war on terrorism.

The Republican Party platform of 2000 called for ‘a comprehensive plan for the removal of Saddam Hussein,’ and after the election it was reported in the Wall Street Journal that ‘senior officials…held almost weekly meetings…to discuss whether to push for the Hussein government’s ouster.’69 In February 2001 Bush recommenced funding of the Iraqi National Congress. Before 9/11 there had been much discussion on how to effectively reform the Iraqi sanctions and Bush also backed an ‘airwaves assault on Saddam.’70 According to exclusive national security files shown to the Washington Post, the Bush administration agreed on 12th September that it should pursue a general ‘war on terrorism’ wider than just Afghanistan and there was general agreement that Iraq would be a target eventually.71 PNAC sent yet another letter to the president on 20th September which stated that ‘any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.’72 But since al-Qaeda had no connections with Baghdad, the administration had to invent some in order to include Iraq in the war on terror. Vigorous attempts to link Saddam to 9/11 ensued and unsuccessful efforts were made to link Baghdad to the anthrax outbreak.73 However, the rhetoric was escalated gradually and Iraq eventually became part of the ‘axis of evil.’ In this context, it becomes discernible why the US continues to reject all Iraqi overtures for talks and its offer to allow British weapons inspectors into Iraq, an unprecedented move which hardly even made the press on either side of the Atlantic.74

Paul Wolfowitz has led attempts to discredit Hans Blick and his UN inspection team in case inspections do go ahead --- Wolfowitz reportedly ‘hit the ceiling’ when the CIA found insufficient evidence to undermine him. Similarly the US has ousted José Bustani, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons because of fears that his inspectors may be allowed back into Iraq, as Bustani favoured, (they were allowed to stay when UNSCOM left in 1998), thus removing a pretext for war.75 “Intelligence” about Iraqi chemical arms and nuclear capability has been conveniently talked up in the press by members of the administration to garner support for “regime change” in Baghdad, although, interestingly, the fact that the US has actually known about Saddam’s chemical weapons since the eighties and even turned a blind eye to their use against his own people is never aired.76 (Similarly, reports of a “dirty bomber” and al-Qaeda activities in Kashmir have been made to give justification to the continuing war on terrorism, although both were effectively retracted when the administration was forced to admit that insufficient evidence could be found.)

This is the culmination a policy which was first formalised in the Iraq Liberation Act and had been heavily pushed before that particularly by members of the current administration. It poses a problem for US Allies in the war on terror who are being pressured to support an attack on Iraq and to trust that the US has sufficient intelligence to justify this. Without access to the intelligence in its raw form it remains difficult to oppose the US. Prime Minister Tony Blair recently promised to publish a dossier of evidence against Saddam but has so far failed to do so. But while Blair (although perhaps not all of his Labour Party) will remain “shoulder to shoulder” with the US for other political reasons --- such as the preservation of the hallowed “special relationship” --- there is a massive strain on the rest of the coalition. Germany’s Gerhard Schröder has refused to support an attack and the last vestiges of multi-lateralism are disappearing rapidly.

There is also evidence of pre-existing plans among Republicans on how to deal with Iran and North Korea, although the cases were never as clearly stated or as detailed as the plans for Iraq. Nevertheless, the Bush administration has overlooked the co-operation that previously took place between the US and North Korea, although they accuse Kim Jong Il of violating the Agreed Framework and he accuses the US of ‘failure to live up to its obligation.’77 The Clinton administration undertook a policy of engagement with North Korea but Bush failed to continue the ongoing talks, to the irritation of Pyongyang. North Korea also signed two anti-terrorism conventions post-9/11 and has not sponsored terror for fifteen years according to the Council on Foreign Relations.78 In January 2002 a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited North Korea announcing that it was ‘a small but welcome step towards a return to full-fledged inspections required under North Korea’s safeguards agreement.’79 Prior to this, PNAC had been highly critical of Madeleine Albright’s visit to Pyongyang in October 2000. It claimed that global security ‘has (never) been achieved by appeasing communist tyrannies…Cold War divisions end when the communist governments that gave rise to them collapse.’80 In Wolfowitz’ testimony to the House National Security Committee of September 1998, he complained that the Clinton administration was ‘going through semantic contortions to explain that North Korea is not in violation of the Framework Agreement.’81 North Korea’s inclusion in the ‘axis’ was foreshadowed in November when Bush demanded that Pyongyang open its entire territory to weapons inspectors, even though some members of the government believe Kim Jong Il is complying with the Agreed Framework.82 North Korea is still viewed by Republican hawks as a rogue state, a communist relic from the Cold War - the traditional foe - which also happens to proliferate more WMD than any of the other rogues. It also occupies a strategic position close to China, Taiwan, Japan and the Pacific Ocean.

Iranian co-operation with the US post-9/11 has also been ignored. On 10th November Mohammed Khatami gave his first interview to a western publication since 1997 when he told the New York Times that Iran rejected Osama bin Laden’s group as ‘a cult of fanatics.’83 Iran received Jack Straw, the first British foreign secretary to visit Tehran since 1979, and agreed to end its insistence that military action be backed by UN approval84. However, in the lead up to the ‘axis’ speech the Bush administration has chosen to concentrate on reports of Iranian political meddling and weapons distribution on the Afghan-Iranian border.85 Yet this served simply make Iran’s inclusion in the ‘axis’ tenable. Once again, there are more established US concerns about Iran and its relationship with Israel. The Karine-A affair in early January 2002 provided a telling insight into this. Israel claimed that this Iranian ship carrying 50 tons of weapons was destined for Gaza, a claim vehemently and repeatedly denied by several members of the Iranian government. Afterwards Shimon Peres asked the international community to label Iran a ‘terrorist nation.’86 In March, US and Israeli intelligence claimed they had uncovered a Palestinian alliance with Iran, personally approved by Arafat, to transfer heavy weapons and millions of dollars to the Palestinians.87 Israel ‘has long portrayed the Islamic Republic as its gravest long term threat, rogue state at its most menacing.’88 While it is plausible that Iran could be sending weapons to anti-Israel groups it is also possible that this is a product of Israeli lobbying of the US, within the context of America’s special security guarantee. As former CIA political analyst on the Middle East, Kathleen Christison, put it: ‘I think it’s entirely possible that Israel has manufactured this so-called evidence,’ citing the inaccuracies in the documents Israel released and Washington’s refusal to comment on them.89

Iran is not only seen as a threat to Israel, but also to the US plans to exploit Central Asian energy supplies. For several years American oil companies have been anxious to take advantage of the greatest source of untapped fuel in the world.90 However, the boundaries of the Caspian Sea remain disputed, particularly by Iran and Russia. On 23rd July 2001 an Iranian gunboat and two jets challenged a research vessel working on behalf of BP, which subsequently suspended all exploration of the Caspian, pending a resolution of the boundaries. On 10th August the Iranian deputy foreign minister announced that further energy development in disputed areas was impermissible.91 At about this time, observers expressed concern that ‘a continued lacklustre international response to Iranian provocations could invite further steps by Tehran, endangering promising energy projects’ into which billions of dollars had already been invested.92 Where as Iran would like to divide the Caspian equally, Washington wants to limit the energy influence of Tehran. As a former vice-chairman of the NIC has commented, ‘whoever has control over certain kinds of pipelines and certain kinds of investments in the region does have a certain amount of geopolitical clout. Such clout is something of a commodity itself.’93 Thus, the inclusion of Iran in the ‘axis of evil’ was also a warning that the US will not permit it to become a regional power, threaten the use of force or challenge long-standing US interests in Central Asia.


Bypassing the CIA

Throughout the war on terror, the main bureaucratic wrangling within the Bush Administration has been between the departments of Defence and State. The dynamic between these two departments, along with the National Security Council (NSC) and the CIA has differed from president to president. However, under Bush, the views of the CIA (and the NSC for that matter) are not prominent and are rarely seen in the press. Newspaper reports demonstrate the dominance of State and Defence: when the Los Angeles Times reported in February that Iraq would be the target of a military campaign, its most important point was that ‘voices of caution fell silent’ because Rumsfeld had finally got Powell ‘on board.’94 The initiative for policy is undoubtedly with these two departments, with Defence normally gaining the upper hand. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz make a formidable team and appeal to the Cold War mindset of Bush who, not being the brightest of American presidents and with a delegatory style, defers to his cabinet for advice. The unfinished business of his father in Iraq means the belligerent ideas from Defence appeal to Bush more than Colin Powell’s caution. Moreover, the president agrees with the vision of a unilateral, preponderant America so well envisioned by senior members of his team. The only argument is how and when to carry out these policies now that they finally can.

The administration is dominated by well-known hawks: the President, himself, the many active in PNAC as well as Condoleezza Rice of the NSC. Moreover, Bush has reinstated several members of the Reagan administration such as John Negroponte, the new ambassador to the UN, Otto Reich, the assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Elliott Abrams, the head of the Office of Human Rights - all of whom were involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.95  This makes George Tenet a very lonely Democrat within the administration and it is unclear why he was even kept on.96 Even if he tried to promote a more moderate approach to foreign policy, none of the most influential members of the administration would listen and he could risk the CIA being frozen out completely from operations as well as policy making. Since the demands of private networks such as PNAC dominate over intelligence, Tenet has pragmatically fitted the CIA in with the administration’s plans in order to promote his Agency as much as possible, to play a role and avoid being completely sidelined. Neither is it the first time that the Agency has taken such a stance.

In 1976 outside experts, known as the B Team were hired to examine Soviet air defences, missile accuracies and strategic objectives since the deputy secretary for defence, Robert F. Ellsworth, believed that the CIA (the A Team) was underestimating the Soviet threat. The B Team estimated that the Soviets no longer agreed with the MAD doctrine and were attempting to overtake the US in the arms race. Under pressure, the CIA began to revise its estimates of Soviet military spending. In 1976 it estimated that the Soviet Union spent 11-13% of its GNP on defence rather than the 5-7% it had previously estimated.97 Similarly, in the eighties the Reagan administration showed scant regard for intelligence estimates that did not support its chosen political course, for instance the warnings of Robert Gates’, the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, that the administration was grossly exaggerating Soviet defence spending. Reagan’s response was to continue to hammer home again and again the exaggerated estimates of Soviet power to encourage the public to actually believe it.98 Perhaps mindful of the disregard for intelligence in the past, George Tenet has not voiced an independent opinion since 9/11 but has fitted in with the consensus within the administration. This has meant ignoring much of the evidence cited in recent CIA reports, including those presented after 9/11, that he once defended against the Rumsfeld Commission and making the most of the CIA’s role in Afghanistan.

In Tenet’s testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a week after the ‘axis of evil’ speech he successfully managed to slot the CIA in with the stance the administration was taking.99 By February it was clear that “regime change” in Iraq is coming100 and Tenet clearly wants his Agency to play a prominent role stating: ‘Let me be clear: Saddam remains a threat.’ Despite the lack of evidence linking Baghdad to terrorism, he refused to dismiss the link: ‘was there a convergence of interest here between al-Qaeda and the Iraqis? Don’t know the answer to that question yet - pursuing it very, very carefully.’ He speculated that ‘linkage’ between Iraq and any group of terrorists was ‘possible’ because of ‘mutual antipathy towards the United States’ but no evidence was given. The DCI also managed to turn around criticism that the CIA had failed to predict 9/11 by focusing attention onto its successful role in the Afghan campaign. Furthermore he confirmed that the CIA considers Iran to be ‘the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world.’ This stance may be new for George Tenet, but it is indicative of major policy preferences that hard line Republicans have held for the last decade.


‘Puritans on the Warpath’

Yet there is something above the CIA, above the bureaucracy, which, always closely allied with geopolitical and strategic considerations, influences every case of US intervention. The undisputed ideological superiority of American values, which was confirmed by the US “victory” in the Cold War, has led to a new imperialism whereby the US interventions in other sovereign nations are both justified and caused by ideological rhetoric about American freedom and democracy.101 Since its inception the nation has been imbued with a sense of its own “exceptionalism” and moral propriety sanctioned by God: America is the home of freedom, the protector of democracy and, from its puritan founders, it has inherited a missionary-like zeal to make the rest of the world over in the image of itself.102 US exceptionalism constitutes an integral part of the country’s national identity and has been particularly strong post-9/11. Bush’s State of the Union address was full of the language of crusade and exceptionalism: ‘Our cause is just and it continues…History has called America …it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom’s fight.’ There is currently widespread public support for a very hawkish agenda. Furthermore, the focus on Osama bin Laden, followed by the ‘axis of evil’ provides the country with something that has been inconsistent since the end of the Cold War: an external enemy against which to construct its own identity.103 The Cold War provided certainty for fifty years that America was the polar opposite to ‘the focus of evil in the modern world.’104 By the time that state reached its anti-climactic end in 1989, the habit of ‘negative self-definition’ had become entrenched.105 It left a political and psychological void, which the country looked to Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, China, Kosovo and Iraq again to fill, interventions all cloaked in ideological rhetoric. The war on terrorism provides an all-embracing struggle, the ideological and psychological replacement for the Cold War, which provides a plethora of new enemies, such as Osama, Saddam, terrorism and more. American interventions are always framed as such so it is unsurprising that Bush used this kind of language. The underlying causes of terrorism remain beyond scrutiny and the threat is largely manufactured and packaged in the language of Good and Evil. Indeed ‘as long as the consensus of an American supremacy of values goes unchallenged, the United States will march into new battles against new enemies.’106

When Paul Wolfowitz spoke of the importance of intelligence in the war on terror, he cannot have been referring to the CIA. While it is true that Iran, Iraq and North Korea aspire to regional power status and to develop certain weapons of mass destruction, something which has preoccupied successive US administrations, the most recent CIA intelligence simply does not support the hawkish, hard line stance taken by Bush. Instead, the Agency, led by a Democrat, has been sidelined as far as policy is concerned and the departments of State and Defence vie for influence on implementing their long-standing policy preferences by fashioning the post-9/11 war on terrorism to fit them. If the aim was to prevent the production of WMD, then Russia and China and, indeed, many Western countries, including the US itself should be on the list, but the ‘axis of evil’ is simply a way for the US to further its preponderance in these strategically important areas. The CIA has always slotted into the approach that its parent administration has chosen on foreign policy and this case is no different, with George Tenet recognising that this time the Agency can have a prominent role in operations, but not in policy making - the policies were already decided before the Republicans came to power. 9/11 provided fertile ground to implement them both practically and ideologically.


[1] Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview with CNN Novak and Shields, 16th March 2002, available at   http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2002/t03162002_t0316dsd.html

[2] Full State of the Union address of 30th January 2002 available at   http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4345979,00.html

[3] Since 1997 there have been eight Unclassified Reports to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Related to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions (henceforth URCAT re: WMD) Although the law requires a biannual report, there was only one in 1997 and only one for the first half of 2001 to which an extra section was added in the wake of 9/11. All are available at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications

[4] There are two recent unclassified versions of National Intelligence Estimates from September 1999   (henceforth NIE 99), available at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/nie/nie99msl.html, and   December 2001 (henceforth NIE 01), available at   http://www.cia.gov/nic/pubs/other_products/Unclassifedballisticmissilefinal.htm

[5] Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernmental Experts (henceforth  GT2015), December 2000, available at    http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/globaltrends2015/index.html

[6] See all URCAT re: WMD reports 1997-2001

[7] URCAT re: WMD 1997

[8] URCAT re: WMD Jan-June 1999

[9] See all URCAT re: WMD reports 1997-2001

[10] See URCAT re: WMD Jan-June 1998 and URCAT re: WMD Jan-June 1999 and July-Dec 1999

[11] See NIE 99

[12] See NIE 01 p.13 and GT 2015 p.35

[13] See, in particular, URCAT re: WMD July-Dec 1999 p.2

[14] URCAT re: WMD Jan-June 1998 p.3

[15] URCAT re: WMD July-Dec 2000  p.3

[16] URCAT re: WMD 1997, p.4 and URCAT re: WMD Jan-June 1998 p4

[17] See, for instance, URCAT re: WMD Jan-June 1998 p.4, but similar sentiments are stated in every  URCAT re: WMD report.

[18] URCAT re: WMD Jan-June 1999 p.4

[19] See for instance admissions made by Richard Butler, Executive Chairman of UNSCOM from July  1997, Richard Haas, currently director of Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings Institution as well as   the recollections of Barton Gellman of the Washington Post available at   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/unscom/exprets/faustian.html

[20] URCAT re: WMD July-Dec 1999 p.4

[21] NIE 99 p.3

[22] NIE 01 p.14

[23] Ibid. p15

[24] All URCAT re: WMD reports contain a section on the key suppliers of WMD. North Korea is the   only member of the ‘axis’ included in this section, which also includes Russia and China.

[25] URCAT re: WMD Jan-June 1998 p.5

[26] For CIA response to the Taepo Dong missile launch, see Robert D. Walpole’s speech of 8th    December 1998, available at    http://www.odci.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/archives/1998/walpole_speech_120898.html

[27] See URCAT re: WMD July-Dec 2000 p.5

[28] NIE 01 p.8

[29] NIE 99 p.5

[30] The full unclassified summary of the Rumsfeld Commission’s report (henceforth Rums.Comm.) is  available at http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/bm-threat.htm

[31] Rums.Comm. p.3

[32] CIA press release, 15th July 1998, available at     http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/press_release/archives/1998/pr071598.html

[33] Full Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 report available at     http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2000/2419pf.htm

[34] On lack of Iraqi sponsorship of terror, see also ‘Terror Acts By Baghdad Have Waned, US Aides  Say,’ New York Times (henceforth NYT) 6 February 2002

[35] NIE 99 p.3

[36] Seamus Milne ‘Can the US be defeated?’ Guardian (henceforth G.) 14 February 2002

[37] For full list of US bases worldwide, see ‘Here, There and Everywhere,’ New Statesman (henceforth  NS) 28 January 2002, pp.32-33

[38] ‘Here, There,’ NS, 28 Jan 2002

[39] NIE 01 pp.13-15 and NIE 99  p.2

[40] URCAT re: WMD 2001 p.2

[41] NIE 99 p.7

[42] NIE 01 p.10

[43] Ibid. p.5

[44] URCAT re: WMD Jan-June 1999 p.9 All the URCAT re: WMD reports contain a section each on  Russia and China and their role as proliferators. Every report contains similar concerns about this.

[45] URCAT re: WMD July-December 1999, p.9

[46] ‘China is Treated More Gently Than North Korea for Same Sin,’ NYT, 21 February 2002

[47] NIE 01 pp.16-20

[48] URCAT re: WMD 2001 p.7

[49] For these two highly influential arguments, see Melvyn Leffler. A Preponderance of Power:   National Security, The Truman Administration and the Cold War (Stanford 1992) and Geir   Lundestad. ‘Empire By Invitation? The United States and Western Europe 1945-1952’ in Charles S.  Maier (ed.) The Cold War in Europe: Era of a Divided Continent (New York 1991) pp.143-56.

[50] See ‘The US search for absolute security is a threat to US all,’ G., 9 August 2001; ‘Answering the  Wolfowitz Doctrine on American Empire’ by John Basil Utley available at http://www.antiwar.com/rep/utley4.html and ‘Rumsfeld and His Crew,’ available at http://www.currentconcerns.ch/archive/20011106.php

[51] See the PNAC web site at http://www.newamericancentury.org and also the very brief ‘The  Project for a New American Century’ at http://www.currentconcerns.ch/archive/20011107.php

[52] Taken from the PNAC Statement of Principles available at     http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm

[53] ‘Foreign Policy and the Republican Future,’ Weekly Standard, 7 Sept 1998

[54] Rums. Comm. P.4

[55] Post-Cold War American interventions can nearly always be tied to US desire to (re)build military  bases, see Zoltan Grossman. ‘New US Military Bases: Side Effects or Causes of War?’ available at    http://www.zmag.org/content/TerrorWar/grossman_new_bases.cfm  See also ‘Reaching the Parts  Other Empires Could Not Reach,’ G. 16 January 2002 and ‘US in Replay of the Great Game,’  Observer (henceforth Ob.) 20 January 2002.

[56] For the decline of deterrence theory see Keith B. Payne ‘The Case for National Missile Defense’ available at ’ available at    http://www.fpri.org/americavulnerable/11.CaseforNationalMissileDefense.Payne.pdf

[57] ‘Pentagon Details Nuclear Plans,’ Los Angeles Times, 9 March 2002 and ‘Bush: US Will Strike First  at Enemies,’ Washington Post (henceforth WP), 2 June 2002.

[58] For figures on increase in defence spending see ‘President to Seek $48 Billion more for Military,’  NYT, 24 January 2002 and ‘Bush Billions Will Revive Cold War Army,’ G. 6 February 2002 

[59] See Michael T. Klare. ‘Rumsfeld: Star Warrior Returns,’ The Nation, 29 January 2001. For the  impact of the Rumsfeld Commission in garnering support for NMD see Payne, ‘Case for NMD’ See  also Michael O’ Hanlon ‘Star Wars Strikes Back,’ Foreign Affairs (November/December 2001) and  pp.68-82 and I. Ivanov ‘The Missile Defence Mistake: Undermining Strategic Stability and the ABM   Treaty’  Foreign Affairs (September/October 2000)

[60] ‘Foreign Policy and the Republican Future,’ The Weekly Standard, 7 September 1998, available  at http://www.newamericancentury.org/RepubFuture-Sept%207,%2098.pdf

[61] Walter C. Uhler. ‘Missile Shield or Holy Grail?’ The Nation, 28 January 2002

[62] Uhler, ‘Missile Shield,’ 28 Jan 2002. See also ‘Rumsfeld Warns of Potential Deadly Threats Ahead,’  NYT, 31 January 2001

[64] ‘Old Strategy on Iraq Sparks New Debate,’ WP, 27 December 2001

[65] ‘US Infiltrates Iraq to Reach Saddam,’ NYT, 27 March 2002

[66] For information on the INC  and the Iraq Liberation Act, see ‘Old Strategy…’ WP, 27 Dec 2001; Hans Von Sponeck. ‘There Are Alternatives to a Military Option,’ available at     http://www.zmag.org/content/Mideast/sponeckalts.cfm; ‘Should We Go to War Against Saddam?’  Ob. 17 March 2002; ‘Is This the Man Leading Us to War with Iraq?’ G2 (G. supplement) 9 April 2002

[67] Copy of the letter available at http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

[68] Wolfowitz’ testimony available at http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqsept1898.htm

[69] For a brief history of US attempts to exploit the Caspian, including building a pipeline through  Afghanistan, see Tom Turnipseed ‘A Creeping Collapse in Credibility at the White House: From   Enron Entanglements to Unocal, Bringing the Taliban to Texas and Controlling Afghanistan,’  available at http://www.counterpunch.org/tomenron.html See also Michael Griffin’s excellent ‘Oil  and Troubled Waters,’ available at http://www.nthposition.com/politics_griffin_1.html

[70] See Larry Everest. ‘Creating Pretexts: The Post-9/11 Campaign Against Iraq,’ available at  http://www.zmag.org/everestiraq.htm

[71] ‘Bush Backs Airwaves Assault on Saddam,’ Independent (henceforth Ind.) 29 August 2001. Reports  about “smart sanctions” appeared so frequently that citation is superfluous.

[72] ‘We Will Rally the World,’ WP, 28 January 2002

[73] See ‘Rumsfeld and His Crew,’ http://www.currentconcerns.ch/archive/20011106.php

[74] In fact, a member of the Federation of American Scientists confirmed that the anthrax strain ‘was  derived almost certainly from a US defence laboratory.’ See Everest, ‘Creating Pretexts.’ See also  Scott Ritter. ‘Iraq: The Phantom Threat,’ available at    http://www.zmag.org/content/TerrorWar/ritter0123/cfm 

[75] See ‘Iraq Proposes UN Talks, Gets a Wary Reply,’ NYT, 5 February 2002; rejection of British   weapons inspectors is buried deep at the end of ‘Iraq and UN Hold First High Level Talks in a  Year,’ NYT, 7 March 2002. Iraqi overtures have continued throughout summer 2002, see for instance ‘Iraq invites UN weapons inspectors to talks,’ G. 2 August 2002 and the subsequent ‘Britain and US  dismiss Iraqi offer,’ G. 3 August 2002.

[76] See ‘Skirmish on Iraq Inspections,’ WP, 15 April 2002.  See also ‘Rumsfeld Disputes Value of Iraq  Arms Inspections,’ WP, 16 April 2002. On Bustani, see George Monbiot ‘Chemical Coup,’ available   at http://www.counterpunch.org/monbiot0417.html and his ‘Diplomacy US style,’ G., 23 April 2002.  After a 2 week visit to Iraq in July 2002, Hans von Sponeck, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for  Iraq from 1998-2000, claimed that the Department of Defence and the CIA ‘know perfectly well that   Today’s Iraq poses no threat to anyone in the region, let alone the United States…Is it really too far-   fetched to suggest that the US government does not want UN arms inspectors back in Iraq?’ See   Hans von Sponeck ‘Go on, call Bush’s bluff,’ G. 22 July 2002.

[77] See for instance, ‘Iraq close to nuclear bomb goal,’ G. 1 August 2002 and ‘Rumsfeld Says Iraq Has  Chemical Arms Ready.’ NYT, 11 June 2002. and ‘When US turned a blind eye to poison gas,’ G.  1 September 2002.

[78] See both ‘US to Report North Korea Is Not Meeting A-Pact Terms,’ NYT, 19 March 2002 and  ‘North Korea May Abandon Nuclear Freeze,’  http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/east/05/16/nkorea.us.missile The Agreed Framework is  in which North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear programme in exchange for two nuclear reactors  built by a US-led consortium is available at    http://www.korea-np.co.jp/pk/011th_issue/971001genevaagreemet.htm

[79] Council on Foreign Relations terrorism web site available at     http://www.mle.net/c?2620044-vRHdN06mlVfg2%4011540-alGgIR9JQ4gk%2e

[80] Press release by the International Atomic Energy Agency available at      http://www.iaea.or.at/worldatom/Press/P_release/2002/prn0201.shtml

[81] Statement available at http://www.newamericancentury.org/chinaoct2500.htm

[82] See http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqsept1898.htm

[83] See ‘Bush Aides Say Tone Put Foes on Notice,’ NYT, 31 January 2002

[84] ‘Iran’s Leader Rejects bin Laden’s Message,’ NYT, 10 November 2001

[85] ‘Iran softens its anti-west line,’ G., 26 September 2001 and ‘Iran takes a wary step towards the west,’  G., 25 September 2001.

[86] See ‘Concern Grows Over Iran’s Influence in Afghanistan,’ WP, 23 January 2002 and ‘US and Iran accused of bribing rival warlords,’ G., 8 February 2002.

[87] See ‘Israel thrusts Iran in line of fire,’ G., 5 January 2002; Iranian foreign ministry denial available at     http://www.mfa.gov.ir/English/Html-Files/Spokesman/Statements/Statements-255.htm; Peres'   request reported in ‘US Envoy Holds Talks Despite Row Over Arms Ship,’ 6 January 2002 available  at http://www.muslims.net/english/news/2002-01/06/article12.shtml

[88] See ‘A Secret Iran-Arafat Connection Is Seen Fuelling the Mideast Fire,’ NYT, 24 March 2002.

[89] ‘Israel thrusts Iran’ G. 5 Jan 2002

[90] Live online interview with Kathleen Christison, WP, 8 April 2002, available at     http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/liveonline/02/world/world_christison0408.htm

[91] See Ariel Cohen. ‘Iran’s Aggressive Moves in the Caspian Basin Challenge International Economic   and Security Interests,’ available at     http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/busines/articles/eav081401.shtml ; ‘Caspian Sea dispute pits  Russia, Iran, US. against each other,’ Associated Press, 28 February 2002, reprinted at   http://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2002/02/02282002/ap_46541.asp ; ‘Troubled Waters in  Caspian Sea,’ Asia Times, 1 March 2002; ‘Iran and Azerbaijan Argue Over Caspian’s Riches,’ NYT,  30 August 2001; ‘Iran Is Accused of Threatening Research Vessel in Caspian,’ NYT, 25 July 2001.

[92] Cohen.‘Iran’s Aggressive Moves’

[93] Graham Fuller. ‘Geopolitical Dynamics of the Caspian Region,’ Caspian Crossroads Magazine,  available at http://www.ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/usazerb/322.htm

[94] ‘Bush’s Team Targets Hussein,’ Los Angeles Times, 10 February 2002.

[95] See ‘Friends of terrorism,’ G., 8 February 2002

[96] It has been suggested that Tenet was kept on due to his expertise on the Middle East, something  which others in the administration lacked. See ‘The accidental CIA boss,’ G., 6 June 2001.

[97] Robert F. Ellsworth and Kenneth L. Adelman ‘Foolish Intelligence,’ Foreign Policy, 36 (1979)  p.149 cited in Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones. The CIA and American Democracy (Yale, New Haven &  London 1989) p.213  pp.212-13

[98] Jeffreys-Jones, CIA and American Democracy, chapter 13.

[99] Full text of Tenet’s testimony and the questions in public session available at     http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/06/international/06TENET-TEXT.html

[100] A plethora of stories about this appeared, including, ‘Old Strategy on Iraq Sparks New Debate,’  Washington Post (henceforth WP), 27 December 2001; ‘Bush Says Tone Put Foes on Notice,’ NYT,  31 January 2002 which reported that funding to the Iraqi National Congress had been restored; ‘US  Weighs Tackling Iraq on Its Own, Says Powell,’ NYT, 7 February 2002.

[101] For the ideology of “freedom” see Scott Lucas. Freedom’s War: the US Crusade Against the Soviet  Union 1945-56 (Manchester 1999), especially pp.277-83. See also his article ‘How a Free Press Censors Itself,’ NS, 12 November 2001, pp.14-15. The influence of America’s Puritan founders is discussed in Tristram Hunt ‘A Puritan on the Warpath,’ Ob., 1 September 2002.

[102] An excellent survey of the cultural characteristics shaping American foreign policy is Michael  Hunt’s Ideology and US Foreign Policy (New Haven & London 1987)

[103] For excellent arguments on the need for an external enemy, see Lucas Freedom’s War, especially  the conclusion and Christopher Thorne’s ‘American Political Culture and the End of the Cold War,’ Journal of American Studies, December 1992, pp.303-30.

[104] Ronald Reagan, March 1983, quoted in Stephen E. Ambrose. Rise to Globalism: American Foreign  Policy Since 1938 (New York 1993) p.303

[105] David Green. Shaping Political Consciousness: The Language of Politics in America From  McKinley to Reagan (Ithaca & London 1987), pp.249-70

[106] Lucas Freedom’s War p.283 See also Scott Lucas and Maria Ryan,’ The Manufacture of Fear: 9/11, Intelligence and the “Axis of Evil”’ available at      http://www.nthposition.com/politics_lucas_ryan.html