Bush doctrine

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Preemption, rather than reaction" summarizes the Bush doctrine which congealed in the wake of a conservative and national backlash against the weakening of the United State's power and security in the world.

Wolfowitz Doctrine

More accurately attributed as the "Wolfowitz doctrine", and detailed in the National Security Strategy Document (National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction) promulgated by the junior Bush's administration, it promotes use of unilateral preemptive force and persuasion rather than honest multi-lateral cooperation.

Preemption as Provocation

Preemption provides an avenue to achieve U.S. objectives by taking actions without reasonable cause. The first public global exercise of this doctrine was presented in the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, for which a number of justifications were presented to the Congress, the United Nations, and the people of the world; and none of those justifications were based in fact, a fact itself which has been subsequently well documented.


  • "There are basically two approaches to solving the problem of terrorism. One is that you understand the mind of the terrorist in order to establish defenses against it. The other is that you kill all the terrorists and all the potential terrorists." -- Jude Wanniski in a memo to Henry Kissinger regarding Richard Perle ("The Prince of Darkness"), September 18, 2001.


In the December 12, 2003 op-ed "A Deliberate Debacle" for the New York Times, Paul Krugman writes:

"I think the administration's hard-liners are deliberately sabotaging reconciliation [between America and its allies]. ... Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their fellow Project for the New American Century alumni viewed Iraq as a pilot project, one that would validate their views and clear the way for further regime changes."
"In short, this week's diplomatic debacle probably reflects an internal power struggle, with hawks using the [Iraq reconstruction] contracts issue as a way to prevent Republican grown-ups from regaining control of U.S. foreign policy. And initial indications are that the ploy is working -- that the hawks have, once again, managed to tap into Mr. Bush's fondness for moralistic, good-versus-evil formulations."
"In the end the Bush doctrine -- based on delusions of grandeur about America's ability to dominate the world through force -- will collapse. What we've just learned is how hard and dirty the doctrine's proponents will fight against the inevitable."

Krugman is not too far off the mark. See the articles revolution in military affairs, Andrew Marshall, and Office of Net Assessment, as well as John T. Correll's The Evolution of the Bush Doctrine published February 2003 in Air Force Magazine.

"with us or against us"

March 2004; after one year in Iraq: Echoing the Bush doctrine of with us or against us, ... "In Iraq and elsewhere, they have turned the Bush doctrine on its head. Just as Bush went after the terrorists and those who harboured them, and threatened those who would not support him, the terrorist attacks in Iraq and beyond have been against those who have helped Bush." [1]

"You're either with us or against us-" George W. Bush- mid-2001 He's beginning to paint this as a black and white issue, and it often has not been the case.

First Major Test

Gary Sick, who served in the National Security Council under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, notes [2] that

The invasion of Iraq was the first major test of the Bush Doctrine. By pre-empting against a sordid regime with unbridled hegemonic ambitions that had launched two aggressive wars against its neighbors, the invasion was intended to end the costly duel with Saddam Hussein that had run for over a decade.
The discovery that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, the principal rationale for the war, cast very serious doubt not only on the quality of U.S. and Western intelligence but also on the very concept of pre-emption. If you are planning to go to war to protect yourself against a dangerous future threat, you need to have, and to generate, great confidence in your threat assessment. Will Americans be willing to take their government's word the next time?
The Bush Doctrine was intended to be America's definitive strategy for dealing with a world of terrorism. By choosing to apply it first in Iraq, and then badly bungling its implementation, the Bush administration has cast doubt on the doctrine's validity and has reduced any chance that such policy remedies will be available in the future, when they may well be needed.

SourceWatch Resources

External links