Postmodern Potlatch

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-- PNAC --


Understanding the

Project for the New American Century




The Institution, Ideologies, and Interests behind Washington’s New Paradigm of Aggression


"This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there ... If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
 Richard Perle       

quoted in the New Statesman 12/16/2002

All links in red, scroll down for overview

        background*The Players*Publications





In the early 1990’s, then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney ordered a quadrennial review of military strategy to be known as the Defense Planning Guidance.  The controversial first draft was authored largely by Paul Wolfowitz, and laid out a bold, new approach of unilateral pre-emptive warfare in pursuit of American interests abroad. 


After the project was shelved by the Clinton administration, a number of figures from the former defense establishment joined several right-wing academics and military-contractor shareholders in The Project for the New American Century, a think tank founded by neoconservative Bill Kristol.  Therein a merger of stark realpolitik, extensive self-interest, and an abstract political philosophy yielded a radical ideology which was transfused into the Bush administration as PNAC alumni assumed a number of high-level cabinet positions.


The events of 9/11/2001 created an environment of fear and lust for action that was exploited by the PNAC ideologues.  The ideas and plans hatched at their institution years earlier were cloaked in the language of “antiterrorism” and “homeland security,” and sold to the public as a genuine, necessary reaction to the violent attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.  Thus, the installation and execution of a dangerous agenda, legitimized by platitude and pretense.   


The above story is far from over, and whether it ends in a new era of American violence and hegemony should ultimately not be decided by a small band of radical elites.  To that end the site is divided into three sections: 


The background section tells the basic story of PNAC – which is to say the story of a small group of individuals who developed a dangerous and unprincipled plan, and have been given the means of implementing it by an unwitting public.  If you haven’t heard much of the Project for the New American Century, this would be the place to start.


The Players is a long list (though by no means comprehensive) of many of the individuals who have been a part of PNAC during its brief tenure as a center for neoconservative thought.  If you follow current events and politics, you will see a great number of familiar names and faces on this page.


Publications  is basically an annotated bibliography of many of PNAC’s reports and letters.  It is clear as these reports progress through time that a distinct, if bizarre, ideology emerges, one which values self-interested use of military force and absolute American dominance in all spheres – from more conventional realms to space and cyberspace.


All sections of the Primer will be periodically updated.  Check Back.



This site was created by Patton Price, beginning in May, 2003.  Special thanks are due to a few people who contributed feedback, and, most importantly, links.  More than anyone else, Metafilter’s troutfishing proved to a valuable resource.  My friend Erik Szabados and some girl named Eliza also deserve thanks.


Any feedback is appreciated