The PNAC Myth
Conspiracy theorists, Loose Change among them, like to take a single quote out of a defense review produced by the group Project For a New American Century, as some sort of road map for why 9/11 was carried out. As Dylan puts it:
The Project for a New American Century, a neo-conservative think-tank whose members include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz, releases their report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defences." In it, they declare that " the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor. "
Yes, this is a quote from their report, but as I have shown repeatedly in the past, they like to take single quotes from sources, ignoring everything else they said, and use that to argue for a conspiracy.
So let's look at the full report available here, it is 90 pages long, they only give us part of one sentence.
First of all, was PNAC actually calling for a new Pearl Harbor, as being preferable to it not occurring? Aside from the idiocy of publicy announcing an attack on yourself ahead of time, the evidence says no.
If you look at the rest of the paragraph, on page 51, it becomes apparent that all they are doing is laying out a timetable for technological transformation of the military.
Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions.It continues:
Thus, this report advocates a two-stage process of change - transition and transformation- over the coming decade.
They are not saying taking a long time is a bad thing, just that this is the way it is going to be, and in fact the rest of the paper is based on this assumption. If this were somehow a call to action, that would completely invalidate the rest of the paper.
So even if we make the wild logical leap that PNAC is calling for a new "Pearl Harbor" in the form of 9/11, then what type of "transformation" are they calling for that would be accelerated by 9/11? Are they calling for increased airport security? Increased use of special operations forces? The US invasion of Afghanistan? The invasion of Iraq? No, they are calling for something complete different. From the same page as the "new Pearl Harbor" quote, they point out 3 "new missions", none of which have anything to do with the response to 9/11:
- Global missile defenses
- Control of space and cyberspace
- Pursuing a two-stage strategy for of transforming conventional forces.
Not only did their strategy not benefit from 9/11, it has been hurt by it. Once again, from page 50 in that same chapter (emphasis mine):
Moreover, the Pentagon, constrained by limited budgets and pressing current missions, has seen funding for experimentation and transformation crowded out in recent years. Spending on military research and development has been reduced dramatically over the past decade. Indeed, during the mid 1980's, when the Defense Department was in the midst of the Reagan buildup which was primarily and effort to expand existing force and field traditional weapons systems, research spending consisted of only 20% of total Pentagon budgets.
So even relatively minor operations in Bosnia and Kosovo were interfering with what they viewed as necessary funding for R & D, and the conspiracy theorists want us to believe that they thought the solution was to get the US involved in two vastly more expensive and manpower intensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have absolutely nothing to do with the technological transformation they are talking about.
One could say that is a stretch.