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Press Release See e-mail attached brief bio on Craig B Hulet
Date: November 05, 2002    Subject:    Bush's Imperial Appetite II Empire as future:
By Craig B Hulet

The elections turned the country into somewhat of a one-party system, although there remain enough Democrats to stir some controversy up over issues that do not matter: that being abortion, gay rights, the environment, home schooling versus greater public school funding and teacher pay raises, and the like. Not that these are not issues in themselves, just issues the empire is not interested in and the Democrats and Republicans and Greens can have their day fighting the good fight over these mundane personal trophies. Issues that matter to empire, and issues that are of great importance to all (ignored by all but the few) like the WTO (I do not count street festivals self-important show-offs trying to demonstrate, not against the WTO, but demonstrating only that they belong to a tribe); perpetual wars against terrorism, the economic viability of the domestic economy, the Fed's monetary decisions, corporate issues: i.e. mergers and acquisitions, take-overs, China trade, companies downsizing and moving to China (and anywhere else they can to avoid paying decent livable wages) and all the issues surrounding government spending, are issues that only empire and its minions in both Houses will decide. You have no say. That this future is becoming clearer to some is little comfort. Empire won the mandate not Republicans. Can it be reversed? Not any time soon.

There are only two systems of governance left to decide upon: genuine freedom and free-enterprise versus slavery, monopoly and theft. We have opted for a future of some ill-conceived perception of an American-led corporate empire whose interests do not coincide with that of the American people; we ought to force the government to alter this course and return to some semblance of sanity; even at the risk of sounding un-modern, being called anti-American and a Luddite , anti-progressive and isolationist. Progress
should include moral progress, intelligent ethical progress: Is it progress if cannibals use a knife and fork? We must return the country to the people, their true representatives and the states. that isn't going to happen any time soon.

The difference is between two coins: liberty and theft. That is: 1) two sides of the one coin, the progressive Left and Corporatism coupled with ultra-right-wing libertarian greed and cynicism--both of which is theft and greed, and the other coin 2), which is Liberty with honor (character and virtue in moderation).

Two distinct versions of free enterprise are now prevalent: i.e. simplified as greed or honor. Takers versus care-takers or those willingly living within an Emersonian moderate poverty, or taking care of oneself so as to not be a burden to any one else without becoming a taker. A taker, like the progressive left burdens all workers by confiscating a portion of the worker's wealth into their own pockets. To not be a taker means what? That is to say, do not participate in any theft -- neither corporate, foundation 501c3, or grant money. Refuse to collect Social Security even though the federal system has stolen it from you for years to give it to the unwitting takers and some outright thieves, which are those presently collecting it. Would you rob your neighbor because you were robbed by a drifter? Thus, would you rob the younger working generation because the Fed's scheme presently robs you? That is Social Security.

The Left-led Progressives are no different than the CEO dominated Corporatism of monopoly-capitalism. Something the Libertarian Right and Republican cynicism has embraced as well (greed is good).

On the Right look at the salaries of CEOs and officers of monopoly corporations. Look at the salaries Right-wing no-nothings draw at various 501c3 "educational" foundations. Foundations funded by the same corporate monies and grants that the Left receives. The vast majority of Libertarians do not earn their own way as a productive enterpriser anymore than the socialist-leaning Left, which at least never pretended to support free-enterprise. Where is the so-called competition for ideas, books, activities whereby only those who "ought to" succeed, ought to be published and are rewarded, rather than those who learn to write grant monies, public and private, to themselves? If you have received a grant from a 501c3 to produce a work of art, book or activity, you are acting on the impulse of thievery, not liberty. Somebody paid the taxes the 501c3 avoids and the donor never paid. Ayn Rand, supposedly the great libertarian who valued the proper enterpriser based upon honor, actually embraced this theft on raw pragmatism; the government stole from you so why not take the money if you can get it. Take it from whom, Ms Rand?

On the Left look at the take-home (as in takers), money-pay they take home from the funding pool of the middle and working-classes income taxes held in trust by the trusts and foundations of the monopoly corporations (which the Left pretends to be fighting because of their corporate greed?); the lack of income taxes any of them personally pay? Salaries from corporate and 501c3 foundation grant money "taken"-home as income is outright theft. Taxes the corporate foundations never pay (and corporations avoid paying by placing the funds in trust with their own same foundations) are always paid by someone else: i.e. you and I, the poor and working poor, the moderate working middle-class. Funds then transferred to the progressive left activists who have never held a tax-paying productive job in the real world; often spending ten-years on university campuses (you paid for that as well) protesting not the corporate government but mostly now other ordinary citizens they do not like: i.e. heterosexual conservative white, black and brown males [god help them should they too be Christians and/or gun-owners] and then later simply taking these questionable skills (?) into the market place of ideas as further activists only now being paid once again by you and I, workers and the poor, as they work for lesser 501c3 organizations so as to avoid work and collect further tax-free funds at six-figure salaries. Ralph Nader became a multi-millionaire by such fraud; his followers and other activists at, say,  Laurie Wallach at Public Citizen, Pacifica Radio executives and the various satellite organizations (Human Rights Coalitions, Southern Poverty Law Center, ADL, etc.) hovering around each other, each drawing six-figure salaries from the same Federal Government approved corporate foundation trough.

We know who the thieves are on the Right and Left.

Problematical Empirical Evidence: Americans will not vote November 5th 2002: Not the ballot. But they vote every day; including Nov. 5th 2002 with a 100% turnout. Define vote: two definitions of vote are: 1) a formal expression of opinion or choice made by an individual or body of individuals, and 2), to declare by general consent. One metaphor has been "they voted with their feet," in describing a body of people who choose to leave..., therefore yet another is...Americans do vote, every day, in every way, with their dollars. Nihilism is materialism: Biological behavior. The dollar vote in economics. They will not vote for a Congress or mayor as they already voted for what they care about, "their expression of choice," i.e. their SUV, TV, drugs, music, booze, FOOD, and play (Clothes, shoes, travel and vacations). They vote every day; they vote for debt, indebtedness, slavery and loss of liberty in exchange for security. Nobody in debt, living beyond their means is free. They voted for slavery when they accept a lifestyle of work to pay for stuff they do not need and mostly never use. Nihilism is libertinism: They vote for sex, they vote for rights (gay, lesbian, marihuana, reproductive, to be free of some other's frown or disapproving look or comment [verbal hate crimes], free of other's who are different by religion, creed and color [total immigration reversal, Jerry Falwell's hate of everyone not of his religion; race-hate from all sides], free to play and acquire stuff, the right to buy an SUV), free to care about all the things that don't matter, all the while the government takes care of all that really matters in the areas of liberty, true freedom (to keep what you earned, to have what is rightfully yours, to produce, be productive and free) and economics. The government allows us to fight and vote over the things that do not matter and yet have no say at all in the things that do.  Libertinism is not liberty but nihilism.

That this means we have no genuine democracy becomes clear; the people voted not to have it, they voted for oligarchy, rule by the moneyed few over the many who only want for themselves more money; they vote with their few depreciating dollars everyday for Corporatism, no differently than GE and Time Warner AOL CNN ABC, as their own ideology of greed, wealth and security, not liberty, character or honor. The dollar is the vote in our moneyed democracy, so-called. Ultimately Dollarocracy = Oligarchy = Empire. That is why nobody votes the ballot except those who stand to gain financially by a paying job for themselves (the elected) or working for those elected. The others vote the value-added dollar-cost analysis of the miserly accountant in the monopoly corporate system of greed, just as Ralph Nader and Ross Perot do. Just as Warren Beatty and Sean Penn do.

Problem? Empire will continue to erode the US Constitution, replaced by Imperial decree, rubber-stamped by a Corporate Senate. Like the Republicans, Hillary Clinton voted to authorize George W. Bush to use force in the Middle East? Her vote must be seen in light of her own personal greed and lack of honor as board member and stock-holder of many major corporations like the notoriously exploitative non-union WalMart. Why? because this Empire will succeed in the short term and last one generation or more (fifty years). There is nothing in its way now except the global reaction from foreign lands; i.e. the global international guerrilla war arrayed against the perceived American-led empire. Therefore, American soil, American-led Empire's "interests" will be attacked forever. Americans will be targets. Americans voted (with their nihilistic dollars) to exploit the people of foreign lands for such things as artificially lower gasoline prices and cheaper "stuff", made by the foreign laboring poor in horrendous conditions.

The following will be a permanent state of affairs with but slight upturns in mostly unwarranted optimism: Do not count on retirement. It is the government's myth, by and large, you will never be able to retire. Interest rates will rise, unemployment will increase, downsizing and mergers & acquisitions will accelerate. Inflation will erode your savings at an exponential rate. Still save as much as you can, you need a six month cushion of living expenses should you lose all your income suddenly for whatever reason. If employed, always look for the better more secure job. If self-employed realize you are basically unemployed trying to make it on your own. Some of you can do/be both: self-employed and work for someone else simultaneously. Stay out of the banking-loan-debt structure. Only carry credit cards with no debt on them for major emergencies. There is no credit system, only a debt system. The dollar bill you hold is a debt instrument loaned to the Treasury by private banks to use as a medium of exchange guaranteed under the "full faith and credit of the United States of America". Define the latter quote, definition: "The full faith and ability to collect all debts, public and private, from its citizen subjects". That would be the 6-7 trillion dollars in public (governments) debt and the 100 trillion dollars in private corporate and personal debt (nobody knows for sure what the latter is). This is also why the IRS will begin 2003 contracting outside private collection agencies to collect back-taxes owed.

Anticipate: Tax rates will go up; inflation rates will go up; incomes will go down; property taxes, sales taxes, value-added taxes will go up or be established nation-wide if not state-wide. States without a state income tax will have one. States without a sales tax will create one. States will seek funds from every individual (increased fees and reduced renewal periods for: drivers license, toll-booths, property taxes, tax on the air you breath, etc.), to offset the reduced revenue from the Federal Government as it wages perpetual wars for Empire's corporate "interests" and the corporate structure continues to centralize itself under Empire's Corporatism. Monopoly corporations will win and rule, small non-monopoly corporations are fairly doomed. Corporate tax rates will be reduced if not slashed. Short term down-turns will alternate between long term goals achieved by reducing competition globally. Most larger banks will see record profits both short-term and long-term, both down-turns and up-swings.

Personal privacy will disappear. Guns will be registered (already are). Some guns confiscated. Personal property searches the norm. The First, Second, and Fourth Amendments will erode in anticipation of the Fifth and Fourteenth being functionally altered or eliminated. Everyone will be fingerprinted at some point and your SS number will become your Federal Identification Number ("May I see your Papers please".).  Without this electronic real-time checking capability you will be considered a non-person and therefore a potential terrorist/criminal which will become a distinction somewhat blurred.

There is no place to hide: This is the first ever truly global empire, without borders, technology driven, militarily enforced. this is not American Imperialism, the Left is wrong. This isn't the free-market's hidden hand of Adam Smith, the Right is wrong.

There is but one way to survive a regime which is becoming what it is, though not there yet, a kind of, sort of (we will not know how far it will go until it gets to its end and begins its own inevitable decline, a return to a past norm) tyranny. Everyone will define tyranny differently. Free speech and free press coupled with a right to protest must utterly disappear before one can call the system a "tyranny", but we can argue we are adrift, adrift towards  becoming something other than the founding liberty; that something has the beginnings of, the skeletal form of, tyranny as any empire must. When it begins to flesh-out, become itself, it will be too late to protest, too late to vote, too late to ask what the solutions are.

There are few things more tyrannical than a private monopoly corporation, few things less tolerant of dissent, nothing which owns one's life so completely than a GE or Time Warner AOL CNN ABC, etc., ad nauseam. The solution always rests within any problem; the problem's solution is "in" the problem. Much then, must be restored, remade; some going backwards needed, some going forward with a further evolution. Nihilism is beginning to reign and becoming the norm. With it follows empire, everywhere and always. Can Americans not succumb to nihilism? Can Americans begin exercising restraint; can Americans become ethical without foisting peculiar versions of their own upon each other; become moderate and overcome their childish exuberance about things that do not matter; become moral without moralizing? Can Americans grow up? That, then, is the real question. And presently, I do not think so. But that is just speculation based on what empirical evidence I can gather, what a priori reasoning gives me, my own fifty-four years and what sense of it I get. Once again I find myself wanting to write another paragraph calling it my "Conclusion", but I have yet to come to any.

Craig B Hulet is former Special Assistant to Congressman Jack Metcalf (Ret.) and author of the recently released book The Hydra of Carnage: Bush's Imperial War-making and The Rule of Law -- An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire, 330pp, 2002, The Artful Nuance Publishing.




When American forces were first deployed in Central Asia in October, Washington stated they were there for a limited purpose and would be withdrawn once the mission was completed. The deployment was not welcomed by Russia, China and Iran, though Russia chose not to oppose it. Since then, the U.S. build-up in the region has been out of proportion with the stated intention. Most recently, leading American representatives have publicly stated that the presence in Central Asia would not only be long-term but expand. This is likely to lead to a worsening of American relations with regional powers, including Russia. -- Hooman Peimani, an independent consultant with international organizations in Geneva and does research in International Relations.

CENTRAL ASIA - AMERICAN MILITARY PRESENCE IN CENTRAL ASIA ANTAGONIZES RUSSIA

BACKGROUND: General Tommy L. Franks, commander of the American forces in Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, paid official visits to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in late August. In his meeting with Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Tashkent, the General confirmed the suspicion of many regional states, including Iran, Russia and China, when he stated that American forces in Afghanistan would stay there longer than expected. He also announced that the American military presence in Afghanistan and Central Asia would increase, while American military relations with the Central Asian countries would expand. His statements were repeated by an American Congressional delegation visiting Tashkent that day. Against a background of emerging disagreements between Russia and the United States added to Russia's vulnerability caused by its political, economic and military problems, a growing American military presence close to the Russian borders could accelerate a schism between Russia and the United States.

American military presence in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan since October 2001 has been a source of concern for countries having grievances with the United States, such as China, Iran and Russia. These regional powers, which share long borders with Afghanistan and/or Central Asia, were suspicious of the long-term objectives of the American military in their region, a region of interest to the Americans not least for its fossil energy resources. Strategic considerations, i.e., its potential to offer to the U.S. a regional presence to keep Iran, China and Russia in check, also add to American interests in the region.

Russia's opposition to the deployment of American troops in its neighboring Central Asia and the Caucasus as part of the American operation in Afghanistan made Central Asians wary to such deployment shortly after September 11. After a while, Russia's position changed. This was due to Russia's interest in ending the Taliban regime, in improving ties and expanding economic relations with the United States, and concern about the possibility of Central Asian states hosting American forces without Russian consent. The American government emphasized on many occasions that the American military presence in Afghanistan and Central Asia would be short-term, a means to address Russian concerns. It also stressed its troops would be withdrawn at the end of their military operation in Afghanistan. Despite such assurances, Russia, like China and Iran, understood the probability of a long-term American presence in the region, now that the U.S. was present and had the opportunity to stay.

IMPLICATIONS: About a year after the deployment of American forces in the region, there is little doubt that they are meant to also serve purposes other than the declared one. In fact, this became evident shortly after the military deployment began, as it was inconsistent with a limited war in Afghanistan. While operating from an airbase in Uzbekistan neighboring Afghanistan, the U.S. secured the use of an airbase in Kyrgyzstan. Lacking common borders with Afghanistan, the latter's usefulness was not apparent. The U.S. failed to receive an airbase in Kazakhstan, which also lacks borders with Afghanistan, but they secured over-flight and emergency landing rights there, an addition to their over-flight rights from Turkmenistan.

Moreover, the U.S. stationed large contingents of naval and air forces in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, although their suitability for the operation in landlocked Afghanistan separated from the Arabian Sea by Pakistan was questionable. Already having bases in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. also acquired new bases in Oman and Qatar, received over-flight rights from the UAE, and expanded their forces in Kuwait and Bahrain. It seems clear that the American military deployment is not proportional to the declared objective of neutralizing the remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Given this situation, the recent statements of General Franks should not come as a surprise to the three regional powers, including Russia, although they contradicted the American government's previous statements. Yet the announcement of long-term American military presence and the future growth of the U.S. forces in the region is likely to worsen Russian-American relations. The American military build-up reflects an emerging assertive American regional foreign policy that is aimed also at Russia, China, and Iran. Given growing American military ties with Azerbaijan and the deployment of American military "advisers" in Georgia, Russia will have every reason for concern about the long-term American military presence in Central Asia. Logically, Russia's fear about its encirclement by hostile countries will make it closer to its neighboring Iran, which also shares that fear.
Russia's friendly relations with Iran are not new, but its efforts to expand relations with Iraq and North Korea signify a new trend. Not only does it reflect its aim to regain its lost markets, but it also indicates its determination to pursue its national interests despite American disapproval. In expanding ties with the members of the "axis of evil", Moscow wants to demonstrate its strategic differences with the U.S. over a whole set of international issues, as a necessity for re-establishing their lost international status. This logically requires building a new Russian foreign policy not associated with the American one.

Unsurprisingly, the Russian government announced in August plans for major economic contracts with Iran, Iraq and North Korea. The planned contracts for Iran envisaged the expansion of their annual trade to $5 billion and the sale of $5 billion worth of arms. Russia also expressed readiness to sell six more nuclear power reactors to Iran. Regarding Iraq, it announced preparing a plan for a 40 billion-dollar mainly oil-related contract. As for North Korea, President Vladimir Putin emphasized the Russian interest in connecting South Korean railways to the Russian ones via North Korea and China during his August meeting with President Kim Jong-Il in Russia.

CONCLUSIONS: After a decade of cooperation with the United States, the U.S. pursuit of regional interests in Central Eurasia and Russia's pursuit of its national interests are gradually creating grounds for conflict and tension in Russian-American relations. Despite the predictable disapproval and anger of the U.S., the Russian bid in August to expand relations with the members of the "axis of evil" symbolically ended their policy of extensive cooperation with the Americans and may signal the beginning of a period of conflict in their relations.

(Sources: CENTRAL ASIA - CAUCASUS ANALYST, Wednesday/October 23, 2002 and Johns Hopkins University, SAIS)


Moscow Times
Friday, Nov. 1, 2002. Page XXIV
Global Eye -- Into the Dark
By Chris Floyd

This column stands foursquare with the Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary, when he warns that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. We know, as does the Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary, that this statement is an incontrovertible fact, a matter of scientific certainty. And how can we and the Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary, be so sure that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large?
Because these attacks will be instigated at the order of the Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary.
This astonishing admission was buried deep in a story, which was itself submerged by mounds of gray newsprint and glossy underwear ads in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times. There -- in an article by military analyst William Arkin detailing the vast expansion of the secret armies being massed by the former Nixon bureaucrat now lording it over the Pentagon -- came the revelation of Rumsfeld's plan to create "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that will "bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence and cover and deception."

 According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization -- the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)" -- will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.
In other words -- and let's say this plainly, clearly and soberly, so that no one can mistake the intention of Rumsfeld's plan -- the United States government is planning to use "cover and deception" and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. Let's say it again: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the other members of the unelected regime in Washington plan to deliberately foment the murder of innocent people -- your family, your friends, your lovers, you -- in order to further their geopolitical ambitions.
For P2OG is not designed solely to flush out terrorists and bring them to justice -- a laudable goal in itself, although the Rumsfeld way of combating terrorism by causing it is pure moral lunacy. (Or should we use the Regime's own preferred terminology and just call it "evil"?) No, it seems the Pee-Twos have bigger fish to fry. Once they have sparked terrorists into action -- by killing their family members? luring them with loot? fueling them with drugs? plying them with jihad propaganda? messing with their mamas? or with agents provocateurs, perhaps, who infiltrate groups then plan and direct the attacks themselves? -- they can then take measures against the "states/sub-state actors accountable" for "harboring" the Rumsfeld-roused gangs. What kind of measures exactly? Well, the classified Pentagon program puts it this way: "Their sovereignty will be at risk."
The Pee-Twos will thus come in handy whenever the Regime hankers to add a little oil-laden real estate or a new military base to the Empire's burgeoning portfolio. Just find a nest of violent malcontents, stir 'em with a stick, and presto: instant "justification" for whatever level of intervention/conquest/rapine you might desire. And what if the territory you fancy doesn't actually harbor any convenient marauders to use for fun and profit? Well, surely a God-like "super-Intelligence Support Activity" is capable of creation ex nihilo, yes?
The Rumsfeld-Bush plan to employ murder and terrorism for political, financial and ideological gain does have historical roots (besides al-Qaida, the Stern Gang, the SA, the SS, the KGB, the IRA, the UDF, Eta, Hamas, Shining Path and countless other upholders of Bushian morality, decency and freedom). We refer of course to Operations Northwoods, oft mentioned in these pages: the plan that America's top military brass presented to President John Kennedy in 1963, calling for a phony terrorist campaign -- complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans -- to provide "justification" for an invasion of Cuba, the mafia/corporate fiefdom that had recently been lost to Castro.
Kennedy rejected the plan, and was killed a few months later. Now Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but on a far grander scale, with resources at his disposal undreamed of by those brass of yore, with no counterbalancing global rival to restrain him -- and with an ignorant, corrupt president who has shown himself all too eager to embrace any means whatsoever that will augment the wealth and power of his own narrow, undemocratic, elitist clique.
There is prestuplyeniye here, transgression, a stepping-over -- deliberately, with open eyes, with forethought, planning, and conscious will -- of lines that should never be crossed. Acting in deadly symbiosis with rage-maddened killers, God-crazed ranters and those supreme "sub-state actors," the mafias, Bush and his cohorts are plunging the world into an abyss, an endless night of black ops, retribution, blowback, deceit, of murder and terror -- wholesale, retail, state-sponsored, privatized; of fear and degradation, servility, chaos, and the perversion of all that's best in us, of all that we've won from the bestiality of our primal nature, all that we've raised above the mindless ravening urges and impulses still boiling in the mud of our monkey brains.
It's not a fight for freedom; it's a retreat into darkness.
And the day will be a long time coming.

______________________________________________________________________

The Secret War
 Frustrated by intelligence failures, the Defense Department is dramatically expanding its 'black world' of covert operations

October 27, 2002
By William M. Arkin, William M. Arkin is a military affairs analyst who writes regularly for Opinion. E-mail: warkin@igc.org

SOUTH POMFRET, Vt. -- In what may well be the largest expansion of covert action by the armed forces since the Vietnam era, the Bush administration has turned to what the Pentagon calls the "black world" to press the war on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

The Defense Department is building up an elite secret army with resources stretching across the full spectrum of covert capabilities. New organizations are being created. The missions of existing units are being revised. Spy planes and ships are being assigned new missions in anti-terror and monitoring the "axis of evil."

The increasingly dominant role of the military, Pentagon officials say, reflects frustration at the highest levels of government with the performance of the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies and much of the burgeoning homeland security apparatus. It also reflects the desire of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to gain greater overall control of the war on terror.

Insulated from outside pressures, armed with matchless weapons and technology, trained to operate below the shadow line, the Pentagon's black world of classified operations holds out the hope of swift, decisive action in a struggle against terrorism that often looks more like a family feud than a war.

Coupled with the enormous effort being made throughout the government to improve and link information networks and databases, covert anti-terror operations promise to put better information in the hands of streamlined military teams that can identify, monitor and neutralize terrorist threats.

"Prevention and preemption are ... the only defense against terrorism," Rumsfeld said in May. "Our task is to find and destroy the enemy before they strike us."

The new apparatus for covert operations and the growing government secrecy associated with the war on terrorism reflect the way the Bush administration's most senior officials see today's world:

First, they see fighting terrorism and its challenge to U.S. interests and values as the 21st century equivalent of the Cold War crusade against communism. Second, they believe the magnitude of the threat requires, and thus justifies, aggressive new "off-the-books" tactics.

In their understandable frustration over continued atrocities such as the recent Bali attack, however, U.S. officials might keep two points in mind.

Though covert action can bring quick results, because it is isolated from the normal review processes it can just as quickly bring mistakes and larger problems. Also, the Pentagon is every bit as capable as the civilian side of the government when it comes to creating organization charts and bureaucracy that stifle creative thinking and timely action.

The development of the Pentagon's covert counter-terror capability has its roots in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The Army created a highly compartmentalized organization that could collect clandestine intelligence independent of the rest of the U.S. intelligence community and follow through with covert military action.

Known as the Intelligence Support Activity, or ISA, when it was established in 1981, this unit fought in drug wars and counter-terror operations from the Middle East to South America. It built a reputation for daring, flexibility and a degree of lawlessness.

In May 1982, Deputy Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci called the ISA "uncoordinated and uncontrolled." Though its freelance tendencies were curbed, the ISA continued to operate under different guises through the ill-starred U.S. involvement in Somalia in 1992 and was reportedly active in the hunt for Bosnian Serbs suspected of war crimes.

Today, the ISA operates under the code name Gray Fox. In addition to covert operations, it provides the war on terrorism with the kind of so-called "close-in" signals monitoring -- including the interception of cell phone conversations -- that helped bring down Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Gray Fox's low-profile eavesdropping planes also fly without military markings. Working closely with Special Forces and the CIA, Gray Fox also places operatives inside hostile territory.

In and around Afghanistan, Gray Fox was part of a secret sphere that included the CIA's paramilitary Special Activities Division and the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command.

These commands and "white" Special Forces like the Green Berets, as well as Air Force combat controllers and commandos of eight different nations report to a mind-boggling array of new command cells and coordination units set up after Sept. 11.

An Army brigadier general commands the Joint Interagency Task Force at Bagram air base north of Kabul to coordinate CIA, Defense Department and coalition forces in Afghanistan. A new Campaign Support Group has been established at Ft. Bragg, N.C. The Special Operations Joint Interagency Collaboration Center has been created in Tampa, Fla.

In Europe, the Joint Interagency Coordination Group handles information-sharing and logistical support with NATO. Hawaii's Pacific Command stood up a Joint Interagency Counter-Terrorist Group this summer.

Meantime, old commands are being morphed into new ones for the covert war. The two Joint Interagency Task Forces in the United States previously devoted to fighting drugs now have the war on terrorism as their highest priority.

The epicenter of the Pentagon's covert operations remains the North Carolina-based Joint Special Operations Command, often referred to as Delta Force. The super-secret command is still not officially acknowledged to exist. Its two-star commander, Army Maj. Gen. Dell L. Dailey, who spent much of the Afghan war in Oman, has no public biography.

Among Dailey's assets is a fleet of aircraft specially equipped for secret operations -- conventional and covert military planes and helicopters, and even former Soviet helicopters. The bulk of those craft, including the reconfigured Russian choppers, fly from airfields in Uzbekistan and from two Pakistani air bases, Shahbaz and Shamsi.

The Air Force and the CIA collect additional intelligence from unmanned Predator and Global Hawk drones. They also have low-profile reconnaissance assets that look like transport planes and operate under such code names as ARL-Low, Keen Sage, Scathe View and Senior Scout.

Not to be left out, the Navy's Gray Star spy vessel, reminiscent of the old Pueblo, captured by North Korea in 1968, now sweeps up sophisticated -- and obscure -- "measurements and signatures intelligence" to monitor the ballistic missile capabilities of Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

Even with all this, the Pentagon wants to expand covert capabilities.

Rumsfeld's influential Defense Science Board 2002 Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism says in its classified "outbrief" -- a briefing drafted to guide other Pentagon agencies -- that the global war on terrorism "requires new strategies, postures and organization."

The board recommends creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity, an organization it dubs the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG), to bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception.

Among other things, this body would launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to "quick-response" attacks by U.S. forces.

Such tactics would hold "states/sub-state actors accountable" and "signal to harboring states that their sovereignty will be at risk," the briefing paper declares.

Never to be outdone in proposing hardware solutions, the Air Force is designing its own Global Response Task Force to fight the war on terrorism. The all-seeing, all-bombing Air Force envisions unmanned A-X aircraft capable of long-range, nighttime gunship operations and an M-X covert transport, as well as hypersonic and space-based conventional weapons capable of delivering a "worldwide attack within an hour."

Who says the arms race is over? Rumsfeld's science board warns against overemphasis on equipment even as it recommends more. Washington is well on its way to an arms race with itself.

And for those who worry that all these secret operations and aggressive new doctrines will turn the United States into the world's policeman, there is a ray of hope.

Rumsfeld is now the field marshal of the war on terrorism, but the Pentagon is also creating new layers of bureaucracy that may save it from itself. Not to mention the rest of us