From El Universal.com via Watching America, a Venezuelan op-ed piece that describes just how seriously the Pentagon is taking Hugo Chavez.
...(The) Pentagon's position confirms information given out by Washington Post Military analyst William M. Arkin, that Venezuela looms as a "potential military threat" in a new "axis of evil" made up of Iran, China, Syria, and North Korea.The reference is to a piece by Arkin in the Washington Post last November.
In other words, 9/11 provided suitable cover for some of the policy initiatives of the Project for a New American Century (like an invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the use of a pre-emptive first strike), but the PNAC and the Bush administration (if that is not redundant) will not think twice about military intervention, even if the threat of terrorism is absent.
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.
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.
You heard it here first, folks. Over a year ago.