“As U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense during the Presidency of George W. Bush, he was “a major architect of President Bush’s Iraq policy and, within the Administration, its most passionate and compelling advocate” (Boyer 1)”
Deputy Secretary of Defense
From 2001 to 2005, during the George W. Bush administration, Wolfowitz served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense reporting to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
The September 11 attacks in 2001 was a turning point in administration policy, as Wolfowitz later explained: "9/11 really was a wake up call and that if we take proper advantage of this opportunity to prevent the future terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction that it will have been an extremely valuable wake up call," adding: "if we say our only problem was to respond to 9/11, and we wait until somebody hits us with nuclear weapons before we take that kind of threat seriously, we will have made a very big mistake."
In the first emergency meeting of the National Security Council on the day of the attacks, Rumsfeld asked, "Why shouldn’t we go against Iraq, not just al-Qaeda?" with Wolfowitz adding that Iraq was a "brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily—it was doable," and, according to John Kampfner, "from that moment on, he and Wolfowitz used every available opportunity to press the case." The idea was initially rejected, at the behest of Secretary of State Colin Powell, but, according to Kampfner, "Undeterred Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz held secret meetings about opening up a second front—against Saddam. Powell was excluded." In such meetings they created a policy that would later be dubbed the Bush Doctrine, centering on "pre-emption" and the war on Iraq, which the PNAC had advocated in their earlier letters.
After the September 11 attacks, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to fight Al-Qaeda, which orchestrated the attack . The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001. And, although victory was declared on March 6, 2002, fighting continues as of August 28, 2012. On October 10, 2001, George Robertson, then Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, went to the Pentagon to offer NATO troops, planes and ships to assist. Wolfowitz rebuffed the offer, saying: "We can do everything we need to." Wolfowitz later announced publicly, according to Kampfner, "that 'allies, coalitions and diplomacy' were of little immediate concern."
Wolfowitz with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark at the Pentagon, March 26, 2002.
Ten months later, on January 15, 2003, with hostilities still continuing, Wolfowitz made a fifteen-hour visit to the Afghan capital, Kabul, and met with the new president Hamid Karzai. Wolfowitz stated, "We’re clearly moving into a different phase, where our priority in Afghanistan is increasingly going to be stability and reconstruction. There’s no way to go too fast. Faster is better." Despite the promises, according to Hersh, "little effort to provide the military and economic resources" necessary for reconstruction was made. This criticism would also re-occur after the U.S. invasion of Iraq later that year.
On April 16, 2002 the National Solidarity Rally for Israel was called in Washington to promote US support and collaboration with Israel. Wolfowitz was the sole representative of the Bush administration to attend, speaking alongside Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. As reported by the BBC, Wolfowitz told the crowd that US President George W. Bush "wants you to know that he stands in solidarity with you". Sharon Samber and Matthew E. Berger reported for Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) that Wolfowitz continued by saying that "Innocent Palestinians are suffering and dying as well. It is critical that we recognize and acknowledge that fact," before being booed and drowned out by chants of "No more Arafat."
Following the declaration of victory in Afghanistan the Bush administration had started to plan for the next stage of the War on Terror. According to John Kampfner, "Emboldened by their experience in Afghanistan, they saw the opportunity to root out hostile regimes in the Middle East and to implant very American interpretations of democracy and free markets, from Iraq to Iran and Saudi Arabia. Wolfowitz epitomised this view." Wolfowitz "saw a liberated Iraq as both paradigm and linchpin for future interventions." The 2003 invasion of Iraq began on March 19.
Prior to the invasion, Wolfowitz actively championed it, as he later stated: "For reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason"
The job of finding WMD and providing justification for the attack would fall to the intelligence services, but, according to Kampfner, "Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz believed that, while the established security services had a role, they were too bureaucratic and too traditional in their thinking." As a result "they set up what came to be known as the 'cabal', a cell of eight or nine analysts in a new Office of Special Plans (OSP) based in the U.S. Defense Department." According to an unnamed Pentagon source quoted by Hersh, the OSP "was created in order to find evidence of what Wolfowitz and his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, believed to be true—that Saddam Hussein had close ties to Al Qaeda, and that Iraq had an enormous arsenal of chemical, biological, and possibly even nuclear weapons that threatened the region and, potentially, the United States."
Within months of being set up, the OSP "rivaled both the CIA and the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, the DIA, as President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Qaeda." Hersh explains that the OSP "relied on data gathered by other intelligence agencies and also on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, or I.N.C., the exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi." According to Kampfner, the CIA had ended its funding of the I.N.C. "in the mid-1990s when doubts were cast about Chalabi’s reliability." Nevertheless "as the administration geared up for conflict with Saddam, Chalabi was welcomed in the inner sanctum of the Pentagon" under the auspices of the OSP, and "Wolfowitz did not see fit to challenge any of Chalabi’s information." The actions of the OSP have led to accusation of the Bush administration "fixing intelligence to support policy" with the aim of influencing Congress in its use of the War Powers Act.
Kampfner outlined Wolfowitz’s strategy for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which "envisaged the use of air support and the occupation of southern Iraq with ground troops, to install a new government run by Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress." Wolfowitz believed that the operation would require minimal troop deployment, Hersh explains, because "any show of force would immediately trigger a revolt against Saddam within Iraq, and that it would quickly expand." The financial expenditure would be kept low, Kampfner observes, if "under the plan American troops would seize the oil fields around Basra, in the South, and sell the oil to finance the opposition."
On March 27, 2003, Wolfowitz told the House Appropriations Committee that oil revenue earned by Iraq alone would pay for Iraq's reconstruction after the Iraq war; he testified his "rough recollection" was: "The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, but ... We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon." By October of that year, "Law