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Three weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regimes in Iran, Syria, and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith's recently published account of the Iraq war decisions.
Feith's account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country's top military leaders.
Gen. Wesley Clark, who commanded the NATO bombing campaign in the Kosovo War, recalls in his 2003 book Winning Modern Wars being told by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states that Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz wanted to take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia.
Clark writes that the list also included Lebanon. Feith reveals that Rumsfeld's paper called for getting "Syria out of Lebanon" as a major goal of U.S. policy.
When this writer asked Feith after a recent public appearance which countries' names were deleted from the documents, he cited security reasons for the deletion. But when he was asked which of the six regimes on the Clark list were included in the Rumsfeld paper, he replied, "All of them."