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But the decisions made in that first year of the Bush administration were much bigger than Iraq, Afghanistan or even al Qaeda. The men in power at that time were intent on changing the way the United States waged its wars and, in the process, creating unprecedented powers for the White House. The days of fighting uniformed enemies and national militaries according to the rules of the Geneva Conventions were over. “The world is a battlefield” was the mantra repeated by the neoconservatives in the US national security apparatus and placed on PowerPoint slides laying out the plans for a sweeping, borderless global war.

The adversary’s closer to home. ” Rumsfeld told his audience, consisting of former defense industry executives turned Pentagon bureaucrats, that he intended to streamline the waging of America’s wars. ” Rumsfeld told his audience. “To them I reply, I have no desire to attack the Pentagon; I want to liberate it. ” Bush’s all-star foreign policy team had come into power with an agenda to radically reorganize the US military, to end what they characterized as the Clinton-era weakening of national defenses and to reenergize the drive for massive missile defense systems favored by Reagan and other Cold Warriors.

The PNAC crowd had concluded that the “United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. ” Within weeks of taking office, Rumsfeld and Cheney pressed to reverse President Clinton’s signing, at the very end of his time in office, of the Rome Statute, which recognized the legitimacy of an international criminal court. They would not stand for US forces being subjected to potential prosecution for their actions around the world. ” Even among the GOP foreign policy community of elders, these figures were viewed as extremists.

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