Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq

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ISIL InternationalOne way to understand the effect of 9/11, in most general terms, is to see that it allowed the agenda developed in the 1990s by neoconservatives—-often called simply “neocons”—to be implemented. There is agreement on this point across the political spectrum. From the right, for example, Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke say that 9/11 allowed the “preexisting ideological agenda” of the neoconservatives to be “taken off the shelf . . . and relabeled as the response to terror.”1 Stephen Sniegoski, writing from the left, says that “it was only the traumatic effects of the 9/11 terrorism that enabled the agenda of the neocons to become the policy of the United States of America.”2

What was this agenda? It was, in essence, that the United States should use its military supremacy to establish an empire that includes the whole world–a global Pax Americana. Three major means to this end were suggested. One of these was to make U.S. military supremacy over other nations even greater, so that it would be completely beyond challenge. This goal was to be achieved by increasing the money devoted to military purposes, then using this money to complete the “revolution in military affairs” made possible by the emergence of the information age. The second major way to achieve a global Pax Americana was to announce and implement a doctrine of preventive-preemptive war, usually for the sake of bringing about “regime change” in countries regarded as hostile to U.S. interests and values. The third means toward the goal of universal empire was to use this new doctrine to gain control of the world’s oil,