Paul Wolfowitz: The Biography Of A Neoconservative Warlord

Adam Fitzgerald
12 min readDec 16, 2019


Paul Wolfowitz was born in a well to do home where his father, Jacob Wolfowitz, was teaching at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. He yearned to follow in the footsteps of his father but not in the field of statistical theory, instead he grew up learning about World Views and Foreign Affairs. He would enroll at the University of Chicago where he would earn a Bachelor’s in Political Science while being influenced by a professor who’s Conservative views met his own. Albert Wohlstetter, was a Political Science teacher who also headed the dissertation committee of Paul Wolfowitz in 1965. Wohlstetter gathers a cadre of fiery young intellectuals around him, many of whom are working and associating with the magazine publisher Irving Kristol, his group includes Richard Perle, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Paul Wolfowitz. Wohlstetter, himself a protege of the Machiavellian academic Leo Strauss, is often considered the “intellectual godfather” of modern Neoconservatism.

Here Paul Wolfowitz would meet with two future Neoconservatives who would late have a major influence in World Politics, Albert Wohlstetter and Leo Staruss. Wohlstetter would later send two of his young proteges, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, to work on the staff of Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson a “Conservative” Democrat out of Washington. Henry Jackson was no ordinary democrat however, he was a strict conservative hawk committed to working on behalf of the US defense industry. Jackson assembles a staff of bright, young, ideologically homogeneous staffers who will later become some of the most influential and powerful neoconservatives of their generation, including Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Abram Shulsky, and Paul Wolfowitz.

Paul Wolfowitz, now with the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) is investigated for giving classified documents on the proposed sale of U.S weapons to an Arab government to an Israeli government official, through the auspices of an official with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). An inquiry is launched but later dropped, and Wolfowitz will continue with ACDA through 1980. In a visiting professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Republican Party. Following the 1980 election of President Ronald Reagan, the new National Security Advisor Richard V. Allen formed the administration’s foreign policy advisory team. Allen initially rejected Wolfowitz’s appointment but following discussions, instigated by former colleague John Lehman, Allen offered Wolfowitz the position of Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State.

Here Wolfowitz would gain intimate knowledge of Middle East Policy making under rising State Department officials such as Donald Rumsfeld and John Lehman. he hires fellow neoconservative academic Michael Ledeen as a “special adviser.” Ronald Reagan would be heavily influenced by the Kirkpatrick Doctrine pertaining to the Middle East. Named after Jeanne Kirkpatrick who was an influential political scientist, from the article “Dictatorships and Dictators”:

“Although most governments in the world are, as they always have been, autocracies of one kind or another, no idea hold greater sway in the mind of educated Americans than the belief that it is possible to democratize governments, anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances… (But) decades, if not centuries, are normally required for people to acquire the necessary disciplines and habits.”

Wolfowitz broke from this official line by denouncing Saddam Hussein of Iraq at a time when Donald Rumsfeld was offering the dictator support in his conflict with Iran. Other areas where Wolfowitz disagreed with the administration was in his opposition to attempts to open up dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and to the sale of Airborne Warning And Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft to Saudi Arabia. Wolfowitz demonstrated himself to be one of the strongest supporters of Israel in the Reagan administration, when most were preoccupied with the sales and arming of Afghan Mujahideen during the 1979 Afghan-Soviet war. On March 30, 1982, The New York Times predicted that “Paul D. Wolfowitz, the director of policy planning … will be replaced”, because “Mr. Haig found Mr. Wolfowitz too theoretical.” Instead, on June 25, 1982, George Schultz replaced Haig as US Secretary of State, and Wolfowitz was promoted.

In 1989 changes were rapidly seen inside the State department as Dick Cheney becomes defense secretary, he brings into the Pentagon a core group of young, ideological staffers with largely academic (not military) backgrounds. Many of these staffers are neoconservatives who once congregated around Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson. Cheney places them in the Pentagon’s policy directorate, under the supervision of Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, himself one of Jackson’s cadre. While most administrations leave the policy directorate to perform mundane tasks, Wolfowitz and his team have no interest in such. “They focused on geostrategic issues,” one of his Pentagon aides will recall. “They considered themselves conceptual.” Wolfowitz and his team are more than willing to reevaluate the most fundamental precepts of US foreign policy in their own terms, and in Cheney they have what reporters Franklin Foer and Spencer Ackerman call “a like-minded patron.” This would set the stage in the years to come for Middle East regional per-dominance and of course military strategic value. Wolfowitz and Cheney were on similar wavelengths when it came to U.S Foreign policy and Middle East Affairs as both were staunch proponents of the Neoconservative ideology and for Israeli politics, especially the Likud Party which was headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.

From 1989 to 1993, Wolfowitz served in the administration of George H.W. Bush as Under Secretary Of Defense for Policy, under then U.S Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. But in 1991 after the Persian Gulf War, Wolfowitz and his then-assistant Scooter Libby wrote the “Defense Planning Guidance of 1992”, which came to be known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine. It would be leaked to the NY Times and the public outraged ensued. The document was widely criticized as imperialist as the document outlined a policy of unilateralism and pre-emptive military action to suppress potential threats from other nations and prevent any other nation from rising to superpower status. One of the reports objectives:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

Military strategist, Andrew Bacevich, once described the Wolfowitz doctrine as follows:

“Before this classified document was fully vetted by the White House, it was leaked to The New York Times, which made it front-page news. The draft DPG announced that it had become the “first objective” of U.S. policy “to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival.” With an eye toward “deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role,” the United States would maintain unquestioned military superiority and, if necessary, employ force unilaterally. As window dressing, allies might be nice, but the United States no longer considered them necessary.”

From 1994 to 2001, Wolfowitz served as Professor of International Relations and Dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Wolfowitz used his perch at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies as a test-bed for a new conservative world vision. From here he would begin a political formula with Bill Kristol, his old protege at the University of Chicago.

In 1997 a neconsertaive think tank focused on the future of US foreign policy was created. Project for the New American Century (PNAC), founded by Kristol and Robert Kagan. It would promote global American, political-military leadership. The organization stated that “American leadership is good both for America and for the world,” and sought to build support for “a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity.”

PNAC’s first public act was to release a “Statement of Principles” on June 3, 1997. It described the United States as the “world’s pre-eminent power,” and said that the nation faced a challenge to “shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests.”

The PNAC signees and its petitions to the Clinton Administration proved instrumental in prompting Operation Desert Fox, although the Clinton Doctrine’s concluding iteration of what became a National Security Strategy proved pivotal as well. The “social welfare” associated with neoconservative ideas has been critiqued as a revival of social imperialism, particularly in the contexts of overseas assets, security interests, oil, oil technologies, and the doctrine of preemption.

The number of figures associated with PNAC that had been members of the Reagan or the first Bush administration and the number that would take up office with the administration of the second President Bush demonstrate that it is not merely a question of employees and budgets. In order to achieve this goal, the statement’s signers called for significant increases in defense spending, and for the promotion of “political and economic freedom abroad.” And in 1998 the PNAC leadership would pen an open letter to then U.S President Bill Clinton about entering a war with Iraq. Persuasion would be held under the threat Saddam Hussein poses to the region’s oil supply and to Saudi interests.

The letter is signed by many who will later lead the 2003 Iraq war. 10 of the 18 signatories later join the Bush Administration, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and Robert Zoellick, Undersecretaries of State John Bolton and Paula Dobriansky, presidential adviser for the Middle East Elliott Abrams, Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle, and George W. Bush’s special Iraq envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Other signatories include William Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Peter Rodman, William Schneider, Vin Weber, and James Woolsey. Clinton was hesitant to follow thru, and in December 19,1998 he would be impeached.

From 2001 to 2005, during the George W. Bush administration, Wolfowitz served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense reporting to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It was here Wolfowitz and the Neoconservatives would hold the most influence than at any other period. using the book published by Laurie Mylroie, Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein’s Unfinished War Against America, to place blame on Saddam’s Iraqi regime for the 1993 WTC bombing and influence the Bush administration to enter a war with Iraq. In her acknowledgements, she thanks John Bolton, I. Lewis Libby, and Wolfowitz for their support and help in writing the book. The new transition team of Neoconservatives are also taking their place under the newly elected Bush administration.

This abject idealism enthusiastically supported by the staunch Bush Neocons was defined by Jonathan Clarke (a libertarian based at Cato Institute) in 2004 as unique to conservatism and dangerous. Clarke categorized the neocons as follows:

  1. A belief deriving from religious conviction that the human condition is defined as a choice between good and evil and that the true measure of political character is to be found in the willingness by the former (themselves) to confront the latter.
  2. An assertion that the fundamental determinant of the relationship between states rests on military power and the willingness to use it.
  3. A primary focus on the Middle East and global Islam as the principal theater for American overseas interests.

American economist, Paul Krugman, criticized the neoconservatives for causing a war unrelated to 9/11 attacks and fought for wrong reasons.

Richard Armitage eventually becomes deputy secretary of state. Elliot Abrams will join the National Security Council; Zalmay Khalilzad, Douglas Feith, and Abram Shulksy will join the Defense Department; and Richard Perle will head the Defense Policy Board, an independent group that advises the Pentagon. Meanwhile the push for the Iraq War from the Neoconservative think tank (PNAC) continues, as published letters to major media outlets and White House daily briefs. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith set up a secret intelligence unit, named the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group (CTEG — sometimes called the Policy Counter-terrorism Evaluation Group), to sift through raw intelligence reports and look for evidence of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Defending the project, Paul Wolfowitz will tell the New York Times that the team’s purpose is to circumvent the problem “in intelligence work, that people who are pursuing a certain hypothesis will see certain facts that others won’t, and not see other facts that others will.” He insists that the special Pentagon unit is “not making independent intelligence assessments.”

September 11, 2001 the nation under attack from Al Qaeda hijacked planes, leads to the WTC towers to their fall and destruction while the Pentagon suffers a major attack. This would be the “New Pearl Harbor” styled attack that the members of (PNAC) had described in their document just two years prior. It would also lead the Neocons to the war they had wanted since 1997. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith argue in three memos why Iraq should be included as a target in the war on terrorism. One memo, “Were We Asleep?,” is dated September 18, 2001, and suggests links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Paul Wolfowitz arranges for Christopher DeMuth, president of the neoconservative think tank The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), to create a group to strategize about the war on terrorism.

In the first emergency meeting of the national security council on the day of the attacks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asked, “why shouldn’t we go against iraq, not just al-qaeda?” with Wolfowitz adding that Iraq was a “brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily — it was doable,” and from that moment on, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz used every available opportunity to press the case. In the Office of Special Plans, a Pentagon unit created by Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz held secret meetings about opening up a second front — against Saddam where Secretary of State Colin Powell was excluded. Austere independent investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, would later say of the Office of Special Plans:

“The office was created in order to find evidence of what Wolfowitz and his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, wanted to be true — that Saddam Hussein had close ties to Al Qaeda, and that Iraq had an enormous arsenal of chemical, biological, and possibly even nuclear weapons (WMD) that threatened the region and, potentially, the United States. The agency [CIA] was out to disprove linkage between Iraq and terrorism.”

The group comes to quick agreement after just two days of discussions and a report is made from their conclusions. They agree it will take two generations for the US to defeat radical Islam. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the keys to the problems of the Middle East, but the problems there are too intractable. Iran is similarly difficult. But Iraq is weak and vulnerable. DeMuth will later comment:

“We concluded that a confrontation with Saddam Hussein was inevitable. He was a gathering threat — the most menacing, active, and unavoidable threat. We agreed that Saddam would have to leave the scene before the problem would be addressed.”

The office’s staff members presumably “develop defense policies aimed at building an international coalition, prepare the secretary of defense and his top deputies for inter-agency meetings, coordinate troop-deployment orders, craft policies for dealing with prisoners of war and illegal combatants, postwar assistance and reconstruction policy planning, postwar governance, Iraqi oil infrastructure policy, postwar Iraqi property disputes, war crimes and atrocities, war-plan review and, in their spare time, prepare congressional testimony for their principals.” George Bush began formally making his case to the international community for an invasion of Iraq in his 12 September 2002 address to the United Nations Council. And then on October 16,2002 the United States Congress jointly enacted Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, which was also called the Iraq resolution. The Iraq War would commence in March 20,2003 with an invasion into Baghdad.

In a 2003 report by the British publication, The Guardian, the Office of Special Plans had a foreign asset involved in the “re-shaping” of the Middle East. Israel.

“The OSP was an open and largely unfiltered conduit to the White House not only for the Iraqi opposition. It also forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon’s office in Israel specifically to bypass Mossad and provide the Bush administration with more alarmist reports on Saddam’s Iraq than Mossad was prepared to authorise. None of the Israelis who came were cleared into the Pentagon through normal channels,” said one source familiar with the visits. Instead, they were waved in on Mr Feith’s authority without having to fill in the usual forms. The exchange of information continued a long-standing relationship with Mr Feith and other Washington neconsertaive had with Israel’s Likud party.”

Allegations have also been made that Pentagon employees in the Feith office have been involved in plans for overthrowing the governments of Iran and Syria. These policies were also echoed by a decades old Israeli document entitled the “Oded Yinon Plan”. The plan was to analyze the weaknesses of Arab countries, by citing what he perceives to be flaws in their national and social structures, concluding that Israel should aim to bring about the fragmentation of the Arab world into a mosaic of ethnic and confessional groupings. Although this has been labeled as “conspiracy” talk, some of it’s specific outlines, have been fulfilled.

Years later, in 2005 Paul Wolfowitz would become president of the World Bank, appointed by George Bush. He would also become part of a steering committee at the Bilderberg group. Today Paul Wolfowitz can be seen doing interviews with NY Times, MSNBC and Washington Post about Foreign Policy and critiquing the democratic base. he is still active in American politics and often advises for the Republican Party. However, Wolfowitz own policies would helped to aid in the needless slaughter of over one million and a half Iraqis' during a ten years period. His strict neconsertaive views would help fundamentally shape US imperislaim in the Middle East which would ultimate aid in the killing of over another million in countries such as Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Sudan. His crimes should never be forgotten nor forgiven.



Adam Fitzgerald

Geo-political scientist/researcher into the events of September 11th 2001.