Friday, November 04, 2005

Pentagon Planning for Possible War with Venezuela

WILLIAM M. ARKIN, WASHINGTON POST - The Pentagon has begun contingency planning for potential military conflict with Venezuela as part of a broad post-Iraq evaluation of strategic threats to the United States. The planning has been precipitated by general and specific directives issued by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his civilian policy assistants...

Though autocratic, Chavez has also presided over unprecedented growth in the Venezuelan economy, setting the stage for a significant increase in public services. Given solid resources and political backbone, Chavez has been able to keep much of his word to the poor, resulting in a level of domestic popularity that Karl Rove would kill for...

Military sources ascribe Venezuela's emergence on a list of actual military threats as a reflection of an important post 9/11 war reality: The events themselves of September 11 provide justification -- and perceived need -- to take risks in thinking about unanticipated threats. "The Global War on Terror is rightfully our near-term focus, but we certainly don't want to be caught flat-footed by a series of other possibilities," says one Defense Department planning document. Oil rich Venezuela provides approximately 15 percent of the oil imported to the United States.

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