THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
October 12, 2007
Salon.com

Regime Change: 'Seven Countries in Five Years'

Wesley Clark's new memoir casts more light on the Bush administration's secret strategies for regime change in Iran and elsewhere

by Joe Conason

While the Bush White House promotes the possibility of armed conflict with Iran, a tantalizing passage in Wesley Clark's new memoir suggests that another war is part of a long-planned Department of Defense strategy that anticipated "regime change" by force in no fewer than seven Mideast states. Critics of the war have often voiced suspicions of such imperial schemes, but this is the first time that a high-ranking former military officer has claimed to know that such plans existed.

The existence of that classified memo would certainly cast more dubious light not only on the original decision to invade Iraq because of Saddam Hussein's weapons and ambitions but on the current efforts to justify and even instigate military action against Iran.

In "A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country," published by Palgrave Macmillan last month, the former four-star general recalls two visits to the Pentagon following the terrorist attacks of September 2001. On the first visit, less than two weeks after Sept. 11, he writes, a "senior general" told him, "We're going to attack Iraq. The decision has basically been made."

Six weeks later, Clark returned to Washington to see the same general and inquired whether the plan to strike Iraq was still under consideration. The general's response was stunning:

"'Oh, it's worse than that,' he said, holding up a memo on his desk. 'Here's the paper from the Office of the Secretary of Defense [then Donald Rumsfeld] outlining the strategy. We're going to take out seven countries in five years.' And he named them, starting with Iraq and Syria and ending with Iran."

While Clark doesn't name the other four countries, he has mentioned in televised interviews that the hit list included Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan. . . .

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Julian Borger, "The Spies Who Pushed for War," Guardian, July 17, 2003

Scott Ritter, "If You Had Seen What I Have Seen," Independent, October 10, 2004

"Iraq: America's Secret War," Strategic Forecasting, Inc, October 11, 2005


"Seven Countries in Five Years"--Gen. Wesley Clark, Commonwealth Club, October 3, 2007

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