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This is an overview of a strategic option for an honourable exit of the US-led Coalition of the Willing from Iraq under circumstances assessed by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (Strategic Survey 2007) in the following terms:
The strategic hole the US found itself in [in 2007] did not have any obvious escape and so constituted a political trap for both political parties'.
The strategy outlined below requires a configuration of appropriately timed and complementary initiatives. Through them the moral high ground can be successfully occupied once again.
It is important to recognize that credible evidence for the existence of Osama bin Laden, and his role as leader of al-Qaida, has not been subject to any confirmation by any independent authority of any credibility. Tapes appear, but it would cost very little to fake such representations of "Osama bin Laden" and feed them to appropriate sources sympathetic to anti-Coalition media. This is notably the case with the message of September 2007. It is important to remember how "solid" was held to be the evidence presented for the existence of WMD -- to the UN Security Council -- evidence "authenticated" by the same authorities that have "authenticated" the message of September 2007.
It is appropriate to recall the acknowledged links between Osama bin Laden and the CIA, notably with respect to his earlier role in Afghanistan. There is no credible evidence that in his current role he is not simply fulfilling a function previously agreed with the CIA to polarize and exacerbate a problematic situation as a means of advancing various agendas. The close financial relationship acknowledged between George Bush and the bin Laden family is indicative of many such possibilities..
Given the quality of evidence, and the lack of response to a $50 million reward for the world's "most wanted" man, it is reasonable to conclude that "Osama bin Laden" is in some respects a CIA operative -- if not a fabricated entity -- with message tapes fabricated as it is deemed necessary to maintain the credibility of the fiction. This is no questions the fatal reality of destructive incidents that may be understood to be reinforced by such messages, but the evidence for the ultimate responsibility for such devices remains unclarified. However it is totally unnecessary to focus on the reality of the existence of Osama bin Laden in spinning an exit strategy.
More credible is the possibility of simply discovering an "Osama bin Laden" -- dead or alive. Such a person could be easily fabricated by any actor, reasonably costumed, and "discovered" in reasonably credible circumstances. Consideration can be given to whether an actual living body needs to be found or whether to fabricate a story in which his location is determined and he is killed in a final battle -- suitably dramatized for the media. Evidence to the contrary can be credibly destroyed by collapsing a cave on the body's remains. Evidence relating to DNA confirmation (etc.) can simply be fabricated and appropriately publicized. Eminent "independent experts" can be appropriately rewarded, or guided in their decisions by appropriate threats -- or simply assassinated as a legitimate threat to "national security" if they are unwilling to confirm the story. This can be done through proxies. Any tapes purporting to come from the real Osama bin Laden can be simply discredited as fakes by the same process.
George Bush is then placed in a position of exemplifying the appropriateness of his search and the success of his quest to destroy the No. 1 enemy of the USA. As noted below, any weaknesses in the story can be skillfully covered by suitable media treatment.
This should appropriately vindicate and position George Bush, the neocons and the Christian Coalition as core supporters.
Although the official search for WMD has supposedly ceased and there has been a regrettable need to admit that some evidence for their existence was inappropriately fabricated, there is still scope for reinventing the story -- and justifying the whole intervention into Iraq.
It can readily be claimed, and appropriate evidence produced, that a continuing search has been underway over past years, despite formally announcing the cessation of such investigation. Much can be made of the mountains of detail that had to be sifted and the sophisticated analysis required to narrow the probable locations. More can be made of fortunate chance -- and vital assistance from interrogations -- that resulted in the discovery of entries to unsuspected storage zones in unsuspected locations. This will help to justify the unfortunate nature of such interrogations and any collateral damage.
Once "discovered", and appropriately photographed in detail to highlight the enormity of the threat they constituted, arrangements can be made to ensure that the evidence is immediately destroyed -- prior to any expert inspection. Possible arguments could be that the storage areas had been booby trapped -- and that some had died heroically in finding the contents, prior to triggering the destruction. Alternatively the storage areas could be claimed to have been urgently destroyed because the WMD were now highly unstable and posed an immediate threat -- perhaps to a city beneath which they were found.
It is totally unnecessary that such WMD should date from the period of Saddam Hussein. Surplus weaponry from the Coalition can be artificially aged to appear credible in photographs -- a trivial task for special effects specialists. The case would be all the more convincing if the weaponry corresponded in part to that shipped to Saddam Hussein when he was considered an ally. The evidence after the explosion can be suitably distributed to permit confirmatory analysis by suitable "experts of the highest integrity".
This "discovery" would counteract any tendency whatsoever to question the credibility and integrity of such as General David Petraeus, Commander of the Multi-National Force - Iraq in his long-awaited assessment of military progress -- on 10th September 2007 before the US Congress. It would render unworthy any comparison with problematic perceptions of the assertions regarding WMD before the UN Security Council made by his predecessor Colin Powell, formerly Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- who would thereby also be vindicated. It would confirm the highest values of the military "duty-honour-country" and avoid any completely inappropriate comparisons with a discredited enemy military commander of living memory who had famously declared, when finally brought to trial:
'people can always be brought to do the bidding of the leaders... All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce (opponents) pacifists for lack of patriotism".
Again George Bush and Tony Blair are then placed in a position of confirming the appropriateness of their painstaking search and the success of their quest to destroy the evil inspiration for terrorism -- despite the doubts and opprobrium to which they have been so widely, and so unfairly, subjected. As noted below, any weaknesses in the story can be skillfully covered by suitable media treatment.
This discovery should appropriately position George Bush, the neocons and the Christian Coalition -- completely vindicating their strategy.
It is important to recall that Saddam Hussein was renowned for having many doubles whose job it was to take on roles that were either risky or boring. Curiously little has been heard of them since 2003.
There is considerable scope for "re-examining" the evidence that the genuine Saddam Hussein was found, tried and hung. Investigation can demonstrate that errors were (perhaps deliberately) made in the collection and examination of that evidence, ensuring that one of the doubles had unfortunately been found, tried and executed -- an extremely unfortunate miscarriage of justice.
The "genuine" Saddam Hussein could be discovered under appropriate circumstances. His profile could be cleaned up on the basis that it had been rendered problematic by a variety of forms of misinformation -- inadvertently disseminated worldwide by the media.
Given that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, had not experienced the level of internal insecurity and failure of infrastructure that has been so evident in recent years, an argument could be developed for reinstating the "genuine" Saddam Hussein -- whether or not he was in fact one of the doubles. The argument could include recognition -- an insightful cultural breakthrough -- that the Iraqi culture requires a "strong man" demonstrably capable of responding appropriately to the current challenge in terms the Iraqis could understand and respect.
Given the primary policy challenge of "spreading democracy" to Iraq, this can be ensured by obtaining a written guarantee from the reinstated "Saddam Hussein" -- to allow everyone to move on. Any doubts could be readily reframed and rejected as "negative thinking". However it is clear that with the US Constitution as a model for democracy worldwide, outstanding progress has indeed been made in Iraq with respect to the provisos of its Second Amendment.
Again George Bush and Tony Blair are then placed in a position of having achieved their strategic objective -- despite all the doubts and criticism from around the world. This should confirm the supporters of the neocons and the Christian Coalition regarding the appropriateness of the actions taken and the price that unfortunately had to be paid to achieve this result.
There is considerable scope for de-emphasizing the Iraq situation relative to the extreme seriousness of some newly emergent problem -- to be discovered -- to which resources need to be most urgently allocated.
The nuclear threat in Iran offers one possibility of such a "threat" -- but it is rather too closely linked to the complexities of Iraq. Other possibilities are: epidemics (to be seeded as seems appropriate), "false flag" threats in other parts of the world (Venezuela offers one possibility, as with Chile in the past), imminent collision with an asteroid (as rendered credible by various movies), or even discovery of appropriately abominable, hostile "extraterrestrials".
It is quite unnecessary that any such threat should exist in reality -- in fact the threat can be given greater effective "reality" by not existing and disturbing the "evidence" presented for the extreme level of threat it constitutes. "Extraterrestrials" are therefore perhaps to be preferred as a threat -- there is considerable experience in the movie industry of creating credible effects. Existing footage might even be quickly used selectively.
The ability to shift nimbly from the "resolved" problem of Iraq (and "terrorism"), to one even more challenging for the future of humanity, can readily be presented as a mark of the highest art of governance and military excellence.
Again George Bush and the Coalition are successfully positioned on the high ground in defence of the planet under their God-given mandate -- vindicated in every respect.
The past years have demonstrated both the considerable ability of the Coalition to manipulate the global media in support of improbable events -- and the considerable willingness of the media to be manipulated in this way if the initiative provided marketable stories.
Whatever the fine detail of the above strategic elements, it should be relatively easy to structure stories around them and to enrich the detail necessary to render them credible -- as has been so successfully done for Iraq and for "terrorism". Media representatives should be consulted to determine how best to reframe the different elements of the strategy.
With such support from the media, any opposition can be successfully out-foxed. Again there is every opportunity to promote George Bush and the Coalition as the key to further success in response to the challenges of governance and world security.
As envisaged by the neocon PNAC program to "control the internet", now is the time to activate the procedures in place to filter out communications inappropriate to the coherence and credibility of the above stories.
Basically it is a case of moving from NEOCON 5 to NEOCON 3 (the information equivalent of the defence readiness condition DEFCON) -- making active rather than passive use of ECHELON. Possibilities to which attention has already been given include shutting down selected ISPs, websites, and users. More subtly there are obvious possibilities for activation of a higher level of filtration of search engine queries, as well as extending "nanny" program and spam filter intervention to eliminate critical communications. To this end "backdoors", already designed into computer systems as part of "national security" provisions, could be used. Periodical "updates" of applications (including operating systems, webmail and anti-virus files) over the internet could be "turned" so as to feed in viruses and other disabling code.
These procedures should successfully marginalize the many -- especially conspiracy theorists -- who raise awkward questions casting doubt on the good faith and credibility of the leadership of the Coalition of the Willing.
Clearly any opposition to the credibility of the above stories, tending in any way to undermine their coherence, could be investigated to determine whether it is more effective to eliminate such sources of problematic messages -- or simply to transfer critics to suitable locations such as Guantanamo Bay or Diego Garcia, as concentration camps for critics.
The legal provisions and "exceptions" are now well in place for seizure and rendition. The case for "targetted assassination" has long been made -- and even glamorized by the movie industry. Any apparently overzealous judicial intervention can be curtailed by well-rehearsed procedures. This could, as usual, be done honourably in the name of "national security", preferably extended to the even more noble task of safeguarding the "future of humanity".
Discussion of the issue of Iraq can be rapidly reframed by making the "imaginative"
proposal to relocate the HQ of the United Nations to Baghdad, as discussed
of Moving the UN HQ to Baghdad, 2003). It is irrelevant whether the
proposal is accepted. In a time of great stress, suspicion and uncertainty,
it would constitute a visible manifestation of concrete commitment to the challenges
of the Middle East and the regional peace process. It can be creatively presented
as shifting the centre of gravity of the international community from the North
and helping to provide a bridging function to the impoverished populations
of Africa and Asia.
Ron Suskind (Without a Doubt, The New York Times, In The Magazine, 17 October 2004) regarding an exchange with an aide in the decision-making circle of President Bush:
God Bless the Coalition of the Willing
God Bless America
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