Iraq War Profiteers, Neocon Front Operations and White House Friends


Playboy Magazine has a very useful, long article out titled “Lockheed Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” that does a great job of exposing the power of informal networks in Washington and how such informal networks are moving billions of dollars around and teeing up military conflicts like Iraq.

Here is some of the juicy intro:

In November of 2002, Stephen J. Hadley, deputy national security advisor, asked Bruce Jackson to meet with him in the White House. They met in Hadley’s office on the ground floor of the West Wing, not far from the offices of Vice President Dick Cheney and then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Hadley had an exterior office with windows, an overt indicator of his importance within the West Wing hierarchy.
This was months before Secretary of State Colin Powell would go to the United Nations to make the administration’s case for the invasion of Iraq, touting the subsequently discredited evidence of weapons of mass destruction. But according to Jackson, Hadley told him that “they were going to war and were struggling with a rationale” to justify it. Jackson, recalling the meeting, reports that Hadley said they were “still working out” a cause, too, but asked that he, Jackson, “set up something like the Committee on NATO” to come up with a rationale.
Jackson had launched the U.S. Committee on NATO, a nongovernmental pressure group, in 1996 with Hadley on board. The objective of the committee, originally called the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO, was to push for membership in the NATO military alliance for former Soviet bloc countries including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
What Bruce Jackson came up with for Hadley this time, in 2002, was the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. The mission statement of the committee says it was “formed to promote regional peace, political freedom and international security by replacing the Saddam Hussein regime with a democratic government that respects the rights of the Iraqi people and ceases to threaten the community of nations.” The pressure group began pushing for regime change — that is, military action to remove Hussein — in the usual Washington ways, lobbying members of congress, working the media and throwing money around. The committee’s pitch, or rationale as Hadley would call it, was that Saddam was a monster — routinely violating human rights — and a general menace in the Middle East.
“I didn’t see the point about WMDs or an Al Queda connection,” Jackson says. In his mind the human rights issue was sufficient to justify a war.

More later.
— Steve Clemons


15 comments on “Iraq War Profiteers, Neocon Front Operations and White House Friends

  1. Shawn says:

    Why does Haley Barbour’s name keep coming up when it comes to questionable lobbying and insider deals?
    It seems Lieberman tried to use his influence on the Senate Armed Forces Committee to make up for the helicopter loss to Sikorsky:


  2. tryggth says:

    Is this Iraq liberation group the same group mentioned in this posting?


  3. Jean says:

    Bruce and me go way back–I’ve been watching him closely from Slovenia (and the US, when I was living there) since early 2002, when he was criss-crossing Central/Eastern Europe and browbeating political leaders here into unconditionally supporting U.S. foreign policy as the price of US endorsement of their NATO membership (which in any event was a bad move for Slovenia). He was the one who drafted the so-called Vilnius statement in early February, 2003, and manipulated, bullied, and blackmailed the foreign ministers of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia into signing it. It was released with great fanfare immediately after Powell’s ignominious presentation at the UN, and hailed as proof of “New Europe’s” resounding support for American policy on Iraq. Slovene Foreign Minister Dimitri Rupel, who has long been under Jackson’s influence, was universally reviled in strongly anti-war Slovenia, and nearly lost his job over the incident.
    I called up Jackson soon after the release of the letter and asked him outright if he had authored it. He denied it, but a series of articles in The Financial Times later that year revealed him as the principal author and architect. The supposed support of “New Europe” for the American invasion of Iraq was as fictional as everything else.
    Jackson is as odious, disingenuous, unscrupulous, and manipulative as they come; human rights and democracy have absolutely nothing to do with his agenda. He was a major propagandist for a war that has brought death, destruction and chaos, and deserves a place in the dock right next to all the other war criminals.


  4. Carroll says:

    This is the first I have heard of Jackson. The scariest thing is how open he was in talking about how he was willing to minipulate the public.
    If I were he I wouldn’t want the public to know I regularly dined at the Capitol Grill for fear some parent of a dead solider might do a Michele Corlone head shot on me.


  5. ... says:

    God Bless America<< talk about a backwards concept.. clearly god is saying “screw america” with the leadership it has at present…


  6. karenk says:

    Interesting article-the US govt isn’t referred to as a “Military Industrial Complex” for nothing.
    Since I rarely read Playboy(and by rarely I mean never) I brushed up on my “Sex News” while I was at it! Thanks Steve.


  7. lukery says:

    sibel edmonds wrote a fantastic article about the revolving door recently


  8. TonyForesta says:

    The truth will set you free Do In. You might want to look into it, because quite obviously the fascist totalitarian dictator, – I mean THE PRESIDENT DID LIE AMERICA INTO WAR.
    Worse, the despotic tyrant, – I mean commander in chief continues lying to the American public relentlessly and repeatedly with regard to the shapeshifting justifications, longterm objectives, timeframes, woefull lack of accounting, and cost estimates of the costly bloody noendinsight horrorshow in Iraq.
    Further, the wanton profiteering ongoing in the prosecution of the nightmare in Iraq, and socalled neverendingwaronterror reaches deep into the pockets, tentacles, and oleaginous webwork of the cabals, klans, coteries, cronies, and oligarchs in, or beholden to the fascist warmongers, profiteers, and pathological liars in the Bush government.
    I suppose you expect your fellow American to believe “freedom is on the marth”, “we’re making progress”, and god speaks to Bush in the WH.
    “Deliver us from evil!”


  9. John says:

    The story does a good job of profiling Lockheed, but misses the complete picture, which can be encapsulated in the phrase “government energy security.” The Cheney family personifies the nexus. VP Cheney, former SecDef, former CEO Halliburton. Lynne Cheney, formerly on the Board of Lockheed. Cheney’s son-in-law, registered Lockheed lobbyist. Cheney’s elder daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern (oil) affairs.
    The results: defense spending and oil prices doubled since Bush took office. Exxon profits up 67% 2003-2005, Lockheed profits up 73% in the same period.
    Particularly instructive is the role the government’s national security office plays in creating and marketing the lie. Once created, the hired pens in the media and the foreign policy/national security mafia eargly take the lie and run with it.
    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State (and, I might add, of energy and military companies).” Joseph Goebbels


  10. ulla says:

    Thank you Steve for giving us such invaluable info re the forces behind the president like your post on the power of Cheney and now this .
    I’m also impressed with Playboy for printing this article. What would be a better forum to inform the great masses? I for one would have missed this article had it not been for you Steve to point it out.
    When the president was giving his speach on Wed. I couldn’t help but feel that he came across as a little boy who had had a talking to by a higher power (Cheney). The decider was not the decider after all.
    Keep up the good work, Steve, you are doing in helping us to understand the powers to be in Washington.


  11. mr. brownstone says:

    click the link to this christopher bollyn piece: The Zionist Occupation of Iraq
    Is the “War in Iraq” which gives more real truth than this playboy propaganda garbage.


  12. Prabhata says:

    “Why we fight” documentary does a good job, but it’s old news. The US is owned by corporations, and it’s been that way since forever.
    Corporations have used American blood to make sure their profits are stable and high. The reason our Founding Fathers, faught for independence was profit, not freedom. They were great people, and their legacy is greater than the reason they revolted against the monarchy. Anyone who does not believe that the US is in Iraq for oil does not want to see the truth. All other reasons given are propaganda to hide that truth. Bush has said it too.


  13. eCAHNomics says:

    I am, perhaps foolishly, optimistic about the forthcoming hearings to be conducted by the Democrats. The country is already overwhelmingly convinced that W’s actions are a complete failure. But the mental step that most voters still need to take is to learn how deliberately these policies against U.S. interest came to be. That gap will be filled by broader publication of the details–the kind to be found in all the books and articles, like the one in Playboy. Hopefully hearings will result in widespread promulgation of what those of us who follow it closely already know. Only when an overwhelming majority of the country realizes the depravity in the Administration, can accountability be pursued. We can’t undue the damage that has been done, but we can assign blame and hold those responsible to account–which may influence actions of those in power in the future. (One of the major problems with Ford’s pardoning Nixon.)


  14. Do In says:

    Bruce Jackson is obviously mistaken or lying when he says that in November 2002 the administration was “going to war and were struggling with a rationale.”
    How could this be true when Our President said that war was the last resort and everything possible would be done to avoid it. The UN inspectors had not even begun to renew inspections in Iraq yet.
    What Bruce Jackson is inferring is that Our President had his mind made up to attack Iraq before everything possible could be done to avoid it, like he said he would do.
    Is Bruce Jackson saying that Our President lied us into war!
    Subpeona Bruce Jackson front and center before some bigshot Congressional committee to answer for these slurs against Our President! I bet he flees the country.
    God Bless America


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