April 24, 2006
following report raises some very serious concerns. It points to the
involvement of US special forces in countries which do not represent a
threat to the US and with which the US is not at war. The SOCOM
program essentially carries out the mandate of the 2000
Project for a New American Century, which contemplated the sending
in of Special Forces in "non theater war" situations. These operations
were described in the PNAC as part of the so-called
Distinct from theater wars,
"constabulary functions" imply a form of global military policing using
various instruments of military intervention including punitive
bombings and the sending in of US Special Forces, etc. It goes beyond
the "preemptive war doctrine": the constabulory operations
are predicated on US military intervention in countries which are
acknowledged as not constituting a threat to US national security.
The PNAC outlines a roadmap of
conquest. The PNAC blueprint also outlines a consistent framework of
war propaganda. One year before 9/11, the PNAC called for "some
catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor," which
would serve to galvanize US public opinion in support of a war agenda.
(See http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NAC304A.html ).
PNAC architects seem to have anticipated with cynical accuracy, the use
of the September 11 attacks as "a war pretext incident."
Operations Command carries out the PNAC mandate pertaining to
constabulary functions. SOCOM is predicated on a Second 9/11, which
could be used to justify US military intervention in the 'global war on
terrorism". Its legitimacy rests on the shaky consensus that the
"war on terrorism" is real and that Al Qaeda is an outside enemy of the
US. The initiative goes beyond the pretext or justification. A
second 9/11 now constitutes a golden opportunity to intervene
militarily: "Another attack could create both a justification
and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some
The program is consistent with
the 2005 National Security Strategy. Whereas the preemptive war
doctrine envisages military action as a means of "self defense" against
countries categorized as "hostile" to the US, the new Pentagon doctrine
envisages the possibility of military intervention against countries
which do not visibly constitute a threat to the security of the
The conduct of the Special
Operations Command program raises serious issues of national
sovereignty. It is an imperial project predicated on US military
intervention anywhere in the World, using the war on terrorism as the
sole pretext. It provides legitimacy to US military
intervention in so-called "failed states" or countries which do not
share America's conception of a "free market" economy.
The SOCOM program is
characterized by a multibillion dollar budget and some 53,000 special
forces. As such, the program overshadows the more discrete covert
operations of the CIA. It also marks the militarisation of US foreign
policy, overshadowing the diplomatic/ intelligence functions of US
embassies around the globe
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 24 April 2006
[salient features in the Washington Post report are indicated in italics]
New Plans Foresee Fighting Terrorism Beyond War Zones
Pentagon to Rely on Special Operations
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 23, 2006; A01
Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld has approved the military's most ambitious plan yet to fight
terrorism around the world and retaliate more rapidly and decisively in the case of another major terrorist attack on the United States, according to defense officials.
The long-awaited campaign plan
for the global war on terrorism, as well as two subordinate plans also
approved within the past month by Rumsfeld, are considered the
Pentagon's highest priority, according to officials familiar with the
three documents who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they
were not authorized to speak about them publicly.
Details of the plans are
secret, but in general they envision a significantly expanded role for
the military -- and, in particular, a growing force of elite Special
Operations troops -- in continuous operations to combat terrorism
outside of war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Developed over about
three years by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, the
plans reflect a beefing up of the Pentagon's involvement in domains
traditionally handled by the Central Intelligence Agency and the State
For example, SOCOM has
dispatched small teams of Army Green Berets and other Special
Operations troops to U.S. embassies in about 20 countries in the Middle
East, Asia, Africa and Latin America, where they do operational
planning and intelligence gathering to enhance the ability to conduct
military operations where the United States is not at war.
And in a subtle but important shift contained in a classified order last year, the
Pentagon gained the leeway to inform -- rather than gain the approval
of -- the U.S. ambassador before conducting military operations in a
foreign country, according to several administration officials. "We
do not need ambassador-level approval," said one defense official
familiar with the order.
Overall, the plans underscore
Rumsfeld's conviction since the September 2001 terrorist attacks that
the U.S. military must expand its mission beyond 20th-century
conventional warfare by infantry, tanks, ships and fighter jets to fighting non-state groups that are, above all, difficult to find.
The plans each run more than
100 pages and cover a wide range of overt and clandestine military
activities -- such as man-hunting and intelligence gathering on
terrorist networks; attacks on terrorist training camps and recruiting
efforts; and partnering with foreign militaries to eliminate terrorist
sanctuaries. Together, they amount to an assignment of responsibilities
to different military commands to conduct what the Pentagon envisions
as a "long war" against terrorism.
The main campaign plan sets
priorities, allocates resources such as manpower and funding, and
coordinates operations among regional military commands to implement
the Pentagon's broader National Military Strategic Plan for the War on
Terrorism, published in unclassified form in February. It lays out nine
key goals, such as targeting terrorist leaders, safe havens,
communications and other logistical support, and countering extremist
A second detailed plan is
focused specifically on al-Qaeda and associated movements, including
more than a dozen groups spread across the Middle East, Central Asia,
Southeast Asia and Africa. Such groups include the Egyptian Islamic
Jihad and Ansar al-Islam in the Middle East, Jemaah Islamiya in
Indonesia, and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat in Saharan
A third plan sets out how the military can both disrupt and respond to another major terrorist strike on the United States.
It includes lengthy annexes that offer a menu of options for the
military to retaliate quickly against specific terrorist groups,
individuals or state sponsors depending on who is believed to be behind
an attack. Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets, according to current and former defense officials familiar with the plan.
This plan details "what
terrorists or bad guys we would hit if the gloves came off. The gloves
are not off," said one official, who asked not to be identified because
of the sensitivity of the subject.
The Pentagon declined to
comment on the counterterrorism plans or their approval, citing
longstanding policy. "We do not discuss contingency plans or future
operations," said Cmdr. Greg Hicks, a Defense Department spokesman.
SOCOM's deputy commander, Vice Adm. Eric T. Olson, said earlier this
month in Senate testimony that the plans had been approved.
Special Operations Command, led
by Gen. Doug Brown, has been building up its headquarters and writing
the plans since 2003, when Rumsfeld first designated it as the lead
command for the war on terrorism. Its budget has grown 60 percent since
2003 to $8 billion in fiscal 2007. President Bush empowered the
53,000-strong command with coordinating the entire military's efforts
in counterterrorism in 2004.
"SOCOM is, in fact, in charge
of the global war on terror," Brown said in testimony before the House
last month. In this role, SOCOM directs and coordinates actions by the
military's regional combatant commands. SOCOM, if directed, can also
command its own counterterrorist operations -- such as when a threat
spans regional boundaries or the mission is highly sensitive -- but it
has not done so yet, according to Olson, and other officials say that
is likely to be the exception to the rule.
To extend its reach to more
countries, SOCOM is increasing by 13,000 the number of Special
Operations troops, including Special Forces soldiers skilled in
language and working with indigenous militaries, and Delta Force
operatives and Navy SEAL teams that form clandestine "special mission
units" engaged in reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and
man-hunting. Already, SOCOM is seeing its biggest deployments in
history, with 7,000 troops overseas today, but the majority have been
concentrated in Iraq and Afghanistan, with 85 percent last year in the
Middle East, Central Asia or the Horn of Africa.
But SOCOM's more robust role --
while adding manpower, specialized skills and organization to the fight
against terrorism -- has also led to some bureaucratic tensions, both
inside the military with the joint staff and regional commands, as well
as with the CIA and State Department. Such tensions are one reason
SOCOM's plan took years.
When SOCOM first dispatched
military liaison teams abroad starting in 2003, they were called
"Operational Control Elements," a term changed last year because "it
raised the hackles of regional commanders and ambassadors. It was a bad
choice of language," said one defense official, adding: "Who can pick
on Military Liaison Elements?"
State Department officials,
meanwhile, said that although, for the most part, cooperation with the
military teams has been good, they remain concerned over continued
"gray areas" regarding their status. "Special Ops wants the flexibility
and speed to go in there. . . . but there's understandably questions of
how you do that and how you have clear lines of authority," one U.S.
official said. There remains "continuing discussion, to put it
politely, in terms of how this is going to work," the official said.
SOCOM says the teams work for the regional commanders.
Copyright the Washington Post 2006