A Clockwork Afghanistan
The root cause of what the United States suffers from today, both politically and economically stems from the psychological warfare campaign triggered by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. At that time, Americans responded dutifully if not robotically to the threat as a barrage of propaganda poured from a hoard of foreign policy “experts” claiming vindication for Vietnam while bemoaning America’s military weakness. Zbigniew Brzezinski himself claimed that the Soviet invasion was a vindication of his prediction that the Soviets would be emboldened by a lack of U.S. resolve elsewhere. The shaken president, Jimmy Carter announced a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the creation of a rapid deployment force to the Middle East and a new get tough posture toward the Soviet Union.
On January 2, 1980 the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour presented former U.S. Ambassador Theodore Eliot and Harvard Professor Richard Pipes to speculate on the implications of the invasion. As an unabashed neoconservative ideologue, Pipes should have been considered a controversial choice sitting alongside the thoroughly Eastern establishment Eliot. But on this evening Pipes had been carefully chosen to play the very special role of delegitimizing détente with the Soviet Union while moving the discussion permanently and irretrievably to the neoconservative right. Paired with Eliot, the dean of American diplomacy and soon to be Secretary General for the United States of a gathering of international elites calling itself, the Bilderberg group, the two were there to send the signal that the ideology of neoconservatism, globalism and the institutions of the American government were now one and the same.
It was a moment that would change the United States in ways that few Americans would immediately understand and many continue to find baffling. Years earlier, Pipes had been chosen to chair a highly controversial operation known as the Team B experiment in competitive analysis.
The decade of the 1970s had presented a series of strategic shocks to the United States. The Watergate scandal and the Arab oil embargo, campus protests, combined with the American military failure in Vietnam had shaken Washington’s own belief in the American narrative. Vietnam had removed the veil from America’s Cold War defense-intellectual elite, revealing their elaborate plans and complex mathematical formulas to be useless as a guide to action. But even before the end of that war in 1975, pressure had been building from a powerful collection of right-wing ideologues to ignore their own complete intellectual failure, wind back the clock and return to an openly militarized Cold War approach to the Soviet Union.
Backed by Gerald Ford’s CIA director George W. Bush, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) vice chairman, Leo Cherne, and the father of Cold War thinking, Paul Nitze, Team B’s goal was to turn the CIA’s thinking about the Soviet Union on its head.
“The intensity and scope of the current Soviet military effort in peacetime is without parallel in twentieth century history,” they claimed in their top secret 1976 report. The Soviets were preparing for a “third world war” and were comparable only to “Nazi remilitarization of the 1930s.” Given military superiority and the will to use it, they reasoned, at some point in the near future the Soviets would make a strategic move that the United States would be militarily unable to stop.
But it was in their claim that the Soviets would first “intimidate smaller powers . . . adjacent to the USSR . . . where pro-Soviet forces have an opportunity to seize power but are unable to do so without military help,” that the Team B assessment attained a level of prophecy.
If anything could be described as a psychological warfare operation come unhinged, it was the Team B experiment. Team B effectively exposed the government’s own process of rational analysis to an irrational exercise in personalized, politicized, ethnic and faith-based psychological warfare. And it succeeded.
By 1979, the Team B and its acolytes Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Zalmay Khalilzad had so managed to overlay their alternate reality onto the mind of government that when the invasion of Afghanistan took place in 1979 their fantasy appeared to be as real and foreordained as it was intended to be.
Richard Pipes made clear in that January 2, 1980 broadcast that Afghanistan was “a superb springboard from which to launch offensives both into the Indian subcontinent and into Iran and the Iranian Gulf….” And then invoked the magic of World War II by stating that never before had the Soviets “felt bold enough… to engage in a direct blitzkrieg. So if they get away with it in Afghanistan, there’ll not only be great danger for our whole Middle eastern position but we will have encouraged them to engage in actions of this sort in other parts of the world, including, for example, Southeastern Europe or possibly even Western Europe.”
A “direct blitzkrieg” aimed at the Middle East, India, Southeastern and even Western Europe? Just like the phantom threat posed by Saddam Hussein in 2003 and brought forward by the very same people, the idea that the Soviets might cut off a vital oil supply was all that was needed to capture public opinion. That spring CBS News anchor Dan Rather followed up with a coast to coast broadcast reinforcing the company line: the American people were asleep to Soviet designs and had better start supporting the Mujahideen “freedom fighters” before it was too late.
The major media had been priming the pump for months prior to the invasion citing Brzezinski and the importance of the “arc of crisis,” and predicting that the Soviet Union would be driven toward the Persian Gulf within the decade due to intelligence reports that it was “running short of the oil it needs to fuel an expanding economy.” Never mind that the Soviet economy was actually contracting at that point and the CIA’s secret 14-page memo titled “The Impending Soviet Oil Crisis,” was pure hokum.
Brzezinski and his Team B allies wanted the Soviets in Afghanistan as part of a long standing plan for the conquest of Eurasia and the psychological warfare campaign to convince Americans of the Soviets’ malevolent desires for world domination was already gearing up to make it reality.
International Rescue Committee Chairman Leo Cherne was well practiced in the arts of such deception. As of 1978, the year of the Marxist coup in Afghanistan the IRC was already at work stating in their Annual Report that they were actively engaged in bringing Afghan refugees to Europe and the United States following “The takeover of Afghanistan by dictatorial forces sympathetic to the Soviet Union…” The IRC’s Annual Report that year featured a photograph of Cherne’s old protégé at the Research Institute of America, board member William J. Casey while conducting a tour of Southeast Asia. Casey would serve as Chairman of the Executive Committee the next year before running Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election campaign and shortly thereafter becoming his CIA director.
The IRC in cooperation with the CIA had virtually created the elaborate psychological warfare mechanism that sold the U.S. military buildup in Vietnam to the American public. By 1975 their campaign of black lies had been exposed as a dangerous fraud. But in faraway Afghanistan, those mistakes would be forgotten with the help of the Europeans and a covert globalist agenda.
It was obvious to us in 1980 that the Soviet invasion was not what it seemed and even more obvious that the Western response to it was not what it should have been. 1979 was a critical moment in American history. Vietnam had created huge problems for the post World War II infrastructure and economy. Huge debt and a military resurgence was the last thing the U.S. needed. But when Theodore Eliot showed up at a preview of our first-person 1981 Afghan documentary on life behind Soviet lines and demanded to know who in the U.S. government had “authorized” our project, we realized we had penetrated a psychological warfare campaign that was steeped in the irrational.
Like clockwork, the 1979 Soviet invasion would open a back door for a small band of globalists to bleed, loot and ultimately disassemble the Soviet Union, just the way the very same people would use 9/11 to go through the front door to bleed, loot and disassemble the United States. Copyright © 2011 Gould & Fitzgerald All rights reserved