Falsity of Nuclear Accusation against Iraq Was Known before Bush’s Invasion

As we approach the ten year anniversary of the launching of George W. Bush’s war on Iraq, it is worth my pointing out that I concluded even before the war began that the main rationale then given for it, Iraq’s alleged nuclear weapons program, was a fiction. I was following the inspectors which Bush had briefly let into Iraq and then abruptly pulled back out in early March when they weren’t finding anything. And I was following Muhammad Elbaradei, then head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who looked into the Judith Miller NYT/ Bush administration allegation that Iraq had ordered centrifuges and aluminum tubes for nuclear purposes and found that these were unsuited to such a program. I pointed out that Bush had gained the authorization for the war under false pretenses.

The administration went on claiming that the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ were there in Iraq somewhere for months after they had invaded the country and could inspect it further at will.

Bush apologists often later said that all the major Western intelligence agencies had come to the same conclusion about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. But in fact French military intelligence dissented, and most of the others were heavily dependent on the US for information. In any case, if I could come to this conclusion before the war based entirely on open sources, then intelligence analysts ought to have been able to.

Here’s what I wrote days before the war began:

“It appears to be the case that Iraq simply has no nuclear weapons program. Al-Baradei of the IAE[A] has swept the country with Geiger counters and cannot find evidence of such a thing. The program once employed 12,000 scientists, so it could not easily be hidden if it existed. The evidence given last summer and fall by US officials, including President Bush, included: 1) satellite photos showing expansion of buildings at a site once used for the program; 2) documents showing Iraqi purchases of uranium from Niger; 3) Iraqi purchase of aluminum tubing that might be used in centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium. Al-Baradei visited the buildings and found that they were now devoted to some other use and their expansion had nothing to do with nukes. The Niger documents were closely examined and found to be forgeries. The aluminum tubing has the wrong specifications for use in a centrifuge and was purchased for making conventional missiles. The case for an Iraqi WMD program in the nuclear area has thus now completely collapsed. Since it was the nukes that were truly scary (rightwing commentators kept saying Saddam might give a suitcase bomb to al-Qaeda, never a likely scenario), not botulism or mustard gas, one wonders if the Congress would have authorized the President to go to war if it had known there were no nukes. The Niger documents turn out to be clumsy forgeries, raising questions about whether Bush, Cheney and others who depended on them were attempting to deceive US public opinion and that of the world.”

30 Responses

  1. I also tried to exposed the WMD hoax before the invasion and later noted that Iraq’s denials proved to be truthful.

    Today I suspect the Iranian denials are truthful.

  2. Another reason the “everybody had bad intel” defense collapses: the Germans were telling US intelligence that Curveball was full of shit and could not be trusted.

  3. “The Niger documents were closely examined and found to be forgeries.”

    To me, the fact that the USA made no attempt that I know of, to find the perpetrator of the Niger document, and have him or her extradited, is pretty strong evidence of some kind of participation, or at least knowledge that the document was fake.

    fifteen million people around the world knew that the war was based on lies.

    Iraq submitted something like 12000 pages of documents to the UN to show that it had no WMD. I guess that was unexpected. Didn’t matter though. Bush and Blair wanted an (illegal) war.

    Now Iraq is destroyed. Maybe a million dead. hundreds of thousands of orphans begging. deformities in babies in Fallujah. on and on.

    I don’t know the legal definition of treason, but this clearly illegal Iraq invasion, started on lies, certainly fits most peoples understanding of the word.

    What is there to stop this from happening again, if not prosecution of the people that did this atrocity?

    • “Treason” is related to AIDING enemies. USA efforts w.r.t. Iraq did not aid any enemy (unless Al-Qaida), but rather harmed its (new and USA-created) enemy. Does not sound like “treason”. But does sound like “war crime”, as the USA was neither attacked not threatened. Bush and others should be prosecuted.

      Mis-spending USA’s money on the war generally and on the mercenaries (Blackwater) and on the re-building (Halliburton) is typical of wars, which are performed in considerable part as a means of enriching “merchants of death”; the absense of any mechanism for accounting and controlling those expenditures seems to me not an accident but rather as proof of this point. All this could be construed as robbery, robbing the USA to enrich the few — and this would not be the only example.

    • “I don’t know the legal definition of treason, but this clearly illegal Iraq invasion, started on lies, certainly fits most peoples understanding of the word.”

      No the Iraq War does not “fit most people’s understanding” of the definition of treason, at least not those with a reasonable IQ level. The Iraq War had nothing to do with “treason.”

      Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution.

  4. This is well worth posting a reminder of.

    It has unfortunately become part of the common mythology that “Bush lied us into a war with Iraq.” This story ignores the culpability of everyone who chose to go along with him, as well as the fact that they were thereby going along with a BS case for war, as was plain to many (myself included) from the outset.

    To anyone who was awake and thinking, it was obvious that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with preempting any kind of clear and present danger to Americans. It was just as obviously driven, instead, by decades-old Neocon schemes for American hegemony, combined with and happily exploiting a scared, frustrated citizenry that still wanted someone to “pay back” for the 9/11 attacks and had not been satisfied by beating up Afghanistan.

    That’s what the Iraq War was all about, Charlie Brown, from the very beginning. Let’s never let it slip completely down the memory hole.

    • I kinda understand oligarchs stampeding wanna-be oligarchs in Congress into voting to rape, loot, pillage and burn a foreign country.
      But I can’t fathom jailing the ex- for going along with hubby’s scheme to avoid points on a driver’s license.

  5. …not to mention the absolutely silly idea that the Al-Qaeda religious fanatics were in cahoots with their sworn enemy, the very secular Saddam Hussein. I tried to explain this at the time to Bill Hobby (former Lieutenant Governor of Texas) but he had totally bought into this stupid idea.

  6. I’ll always remember something Hans Blix said at the time of the inspections (not verbatim): How can you have 100% confidence that the WMD exist, and zero knowledge of where they are?

    Anyone who felt the real rationale for invading Iraq was the WMD, would become quite skeptical of the Bush administration claims when the UN inspection results started coming in.

    But I don’t recall any such reaction from the major political players (e.g.Clinton,Kerry) or the big media players. No shouts of HUH?

    The mood was that the Iraq invasion was going to be a piece of cake, and if you wanted a forkful, you better not argue.

  7. And….so what has changed?
    You might have thought that more members of congress might have seen through the BS but they still defend their decisions and even go a few steps further, as they always do, by perpetuating their militarism and crusade against our civil society and the world in general.
    I felt much the same as Juan then and what knowledge i got i read on the internet. News print and the tube were hardly reliable and again nothing has changed.
    We must vote those out and take to the streets against the Citizens United hoax among numerous other things. The older generation needs to realize their mistakes and join the youth of America.

  8. Responses to the False, Dubious, and Misleading
    Justifications of the Bush Administration
    For the Planned Invasion of Iraq

    Compiled by Bob Sheak
    (Ohio University, Sociology)
    November 2002

    OVERVIEW
    Some reasons to oppose a US-led invasion of Iraq.
    1) Contrary to the claims of the Bush Administration, there is no evidence that Iraq has WMD programs, much (if any) WMD, or the capacity to deliver WMD much beyond its own borders. The Iraqi military, far weaker now than in 1991, has not used WMD on surrounding countries or the Iraqi Kurds since the 1980s, and only then with the support and complicity of the U.S. and its Western European allies. There is no evidence that Iraq has plotted or been linked at all with Al Qaeda. The next round of inspections should be allowed to unfold and any WMD that may exist to be destroyed.

    2) In contrast to the claims of the Bush Administration, the earlier UN inspections of Iraqi WMD were, by and large, successful. The US actively worked to subvert the inspection process and ultimately called for the inspection teams in December 1998 to be withdrawn. The inspections just authorized by the UN’s Security Council should be allowed to go ahead without illegal or premature intervention by the US.

    3) Although the Bush Administration continues to claim that the Hussein regime is linked to Al Qaeda, no evidence of a link has yet to be uncovered or revealed. An invasion of Iraq will not weaken “international terrorism,” but strengthen it.

    4) Despite the claims by the Bush Administration that any harm to the Iraqi people is the result of the Hussein regime, the available evidence documents that US/UN policies have done great harm to the Iraqi people, as indicated by the massive destruction of Iraqi civilian infrastructure during the first Gulf War and the well-documented deterioration in the lives of the Iraqi people since then. The Oil-for-Food program is insufficient and has been further weakened by US influence on the UN Sanctions Committee. Another US-led war on Iraq will worsen an already dire situation. The US/UN should end economic sanctions and begin to repair the great damage and harm wrought by their policies.

    5) The Bush Administration claims that its only interest in Iraq is to rid the world of its alleged WMD, to “free” the Iraqi people, and to promote the development of “democratic institutions. This self-serving rhetoric is brought into question by the increasing dependence of the US economy on foreign oil, the huge reserves of oil in Iraq and the jockeying of US oil corporations, along with Russia, France, China, and other countries, to gain access or control of Iraq’s oil. (In addition, there are no “democratic” governments among our allies in the Middle East [Israel is a “special” case] – and Iran, Israel, and Turkey have WMD.) US interests would be better served by an energy policy that reduced America’s growing dependence on oil and other fossil fuels.

    6) Contrary to the claims of the Bush Administration, a US-led invasion of Iraq is more likely to generate instability in the Middle East region than to bring stability. A policy based on reasonable inspections, an end to economic sanctions, and support for rebuilding Iraq would do much more to win the US friends in the Middle East region than another disastrous war.

    7) While the Bush Administration continually assures the American people that an invasion of Iraq will have a minimal number of negative effects, the administration tends to underplay how a US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq will lead to a large number of US casualties, further fuel increases in military spending, reduce spending on important domestic programs in the US, and drive the federal budget deficit up. (There is also concern that an invasion will reduce the ability of the US to go after those groups promoting “international terrorism” and create a situation in the US that fosters fear among citizens, support for an extension of “a security state,” and erosion of constitutional rights and protections (i.e., of democracy). Rather than spending an enormous quantity of resources on an unnecessary war and enormous increases in military spending and an unreasonable extension of the state’s power, the government needs to balance its priorities and ensure that domestic needs are addressed and democracy is not further weakened.

    ——————————————————————————–
    SOME EVIDENCE

    I. Bush Adm. justification #1 – Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (WMD), has demonstrated its willingness to use them, and, as a ruthless and unrestrained aggressor state, is an imminent threat to other nations in the Middle East and to the U.S.

    Response #1a – If the Iraq government has WMD, the U.S. must be viewed as complicit in helping it to acquire and develop them. The U.S. government helped the regime under Saddam Hussein to acquire WMD during the 1980s. In an article entitled “The Bloodstained Path” (Progressive, Nov. 2002), Representative Dennis Kucinich writes that during the Reagan Administration, “sixty helicopters were sold to Iraq. Later reports said Iraq used U.S.-made helicopters to spray Kurds with chemical weapons. According to The Washington Post, Iraq used mustard gas against Iran with the help of intelligence from the CIA.” Kucinich adds: “Throughout 1989 and 1990, U.S. companies, with the permission of the first Bush Administration, sent to the government of Saddam Hussein mustard gas precursors and live cultures for bacteriological research. U.S. companies also helped to build a chemical weapons factory and supplied the West Nile virus, fuel air explosive technology, computers for weapons technology, hydrogen cyanide precursors, computers for weapons research and development, and vacuum pumps and bellows for nuclear weapons plants. ”
    Response #1b – “Administration officials brand Iraq as an aggressor state on the basis of its two wars with neighbors, Iran in 1980, and Kuwait in 1990 – and use of chemical weapons against Kurds in northern Iraq.” None of this is meant to excuse Iraq or Saddam Hussein, but to demonstrate that there is no basis in Iraq’s past behavior to brand it as a reckless aggressor state, much less driven by a visionary terrorist worldview, and thus no reason to lose confidence in the capacity to contain and deter Saddam Hussein in the future. Its dictatorial leadership is brutal and unprincipled, without question, but in its international relations it acts as a secular state, calculating its actions against probable costs, adjusting to miscalculations in a rational, self-serving manner.
    -Iran – Alan Simpson (chair of Labour Against War) and Dr. Glen Rangwala (lecturer in politics at Combridge U.), “The Dishonest Cast for a war on Iraq: Refuting the Blair Dossier), Sept 27, 2002 – http://www.traprockpeace.org: -

    The only occasion on which the Iraqi government used weapons of mass destruction against another country was against Iran from 1981/82 to 1988.The use of mustard agents had a devastating impact on Iranian troops in the first years of the war, and the civilian death toll from the use of sarin and tabun numbers in the thousands. However, it should be noted that the use of chemical weapons was undertaken with the compliance of the rest of the world. The US Secretary of State acknowledged that he was aware of reports of Iraqi use of chemical weapons from 1983, and a United Nations team confirmed Iraqi use in a report of 16 March 1984. Nevertheless, the US administration provided “crop-spraying” helicopters to Iraq (subsequently used in chemical attacks on the Kurds in 1988), gave Iraq access to intelligence information that allowed Iraq to “calibrate” its mustard attacks on Iranian troops (1984), seconded its air force officers to work with their Iraqi counterparts (from 1986), approved technological exports to Iraq’s missile procurement agency to extend the missiles’ range (1988), and blocked bills condemning Iraq in the House of Representatives (1985) and Senate (1988).
    Most crucially, the US and UK blocked condemnation of Iraq’s known chemical weapons attacks at the UN Security Council. No resolution was passed during the war that specifically criticised Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, despite the wishes of the majority to condemn this use. The only criticism of Iraq from the Security Council came in the form of non-binding Presidential statements (over which no country has a veto). The 21 March 1986 statement recognised that “chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian forces”; this statement was opposed by the United States, the sole country to vote against it in the Security Council (the UK abstained).
    In summary, Iraq has never used chemical weapons against an external enemy without the acquiescence of the most powerful states. It has done so only in the knowledge that it would be protected from condemnation and countermeasures by a superpower. There is no reason to suspect that the Iraqi leadership now places any military gains it might achieve through the use of chemical weapons above its desire to form international alliances with major powers.
    Kuwait -Tom Gorman, “Who is the Madman Here? Bush’s UN Non-Sequiturs,” http://www.counterpunch.org – 9-18-02: -
    -Provocation for invasion of Kuwait – “Kuwait had been slant-drilling the Iraqi oil field of Rumallah as well as driving down the price of oil at a time when Iraq was in desperate need of funds to rebuild its infrastructure after the Iran-Iraq War (in which Iraq was favored by the US). While it is arguable whether this was justification for an invasion, this provocation is significantly less specious than that cited for, say, the American invasion of Panama seven months earlier.”

    -Not massing to invade Saudi Arabia – “Satellite imagery showed no Iraqi military buildup on the border regions with Saudi Arabia in either Iraq or occupied Kuwait in September 1990, as revealed in a series of articles in the St. Petersburg (FL) Times in January 1991. Yet the elder President Bush fabricated this ‘aggression’ to justify Operation Desert Shield.”
    -Iraqi Kurds – Simpson and Rangwala: -
    “As part of the Anfal campaign against the Kurds (February to September 1988), the Iraqi regime used chemical weapons extensively against its own civilian population. Between 50,000 and 186,000 Kurds were killed in these attacks, over 1,200 Kurdish villages were destroyed, and 300,000 Kurds were displaced. The most infamous chemical assault was on the town of Halabja in March 1988, which killed 5,000 people. Human Rights Watch regards the Anfal campaign as an act of genocide.
    “The Anfal campaign was carried out with the acquiescence of the West.
    “Rather than condemn the massacres of Kurds, the US escalated its support for Iraq. It joined in Iraq’s attacks on Iranian facilities, blowing up two Iranian oil rigs and destroying an Iranian frigate a month after the Halabja attack. Within two months, senior US officials were encouraging corporate coordination through an Iraqi state-sponsored forum. The US administration opposed, and eventually blocked, a US Senate bill that cut off loans to Iraq. The US approved exports to Iraq of items with dual civilian and military use at double the rate in the aftermath of Halabja as it did before 1988. Iraqi written guarantees about civilian use were accepted by the US commerce department, which did not request licenses and reviews (as it did for many other countries). The Bush Administration approved $695,000 worth of advanced data transmission devices the day before Iraq invaded Kuwait.”
    Response #1c – Most of Iraq’s WMD were discovered and destroyed by UNSCOM by the end of 1998.
    -YES! Magazine, “10 Questions Americans are Asking as the US Prepares to go to War” – http://www.futurenet.org – October 30, 2002: -
    “Most observers believe that the threat is less than it was in 1991, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The former head of the UN inspection team, Scott Ritter, states that 90 to 95 percent of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were confirmed destroyed and that there is no evidence that Iraq retained any of its weapons or capacity for producing them. Because there have been no inspections since 1998, no one knows for sure just what Iraq has. Since 1991, Iraq has not used weapons of mass destruction nor engaged in war with any other country. Due to 12 years of UN sanctions, Iraq is now an impoverished country, making a large-scale weapons program far less feasible, Ritter said.”
    -Scott Ritter – televised lecture at the University of Maryland by C-Span, November 13, 2002 – Ritter said one indication of the success of the earlier inspections process is this: In 1994, the Israeli military ranked Iraq as the number one threat to Israel. In 1998, it ranked Iraq as number 6 on their threat list.
    Response #1d – Iraqi forces fire on U.S. and British planes over the “no-fly” zones, but with little effect. A key point is that the no-fly zones have been illegally imposed by the U.S. The Institute for Public Accuracy, “Detailed Analysis of Bush Oct 7 Speech”:
    Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence: “It is the U.S. government that is violating the United Nations Charter … by using military force to allegedly ‘police’ these illegal ‘no-fly’ zones that have never been authorized by the U.N. Security Council or by the U.S. Congress, in violation of the 1973 War Powers Resolution as well. Iraq is simply exercising its legitimate right of self-defense under U.N. Charter article 51. The Bush administration has deliberately put U.S. pilots in harm’s way in order to concoct a pretext for a catastrophic war of aggression against Iraq.”
    Response #1e – The best available evidence indicates that Iraq does not have nuclear weapons and does not have the infrastructure now to develop them.
    Simpson and Rangwala – In 1998, when the US ordered UN weapons inspectors to leave Iraq, it was widely accepted the Iraq’s nuclear capacity had been wholly dismantled. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), charged with monitoring Iraq’s nuclear facilities after the Gulf War, reported to the Security Council from 8 October 1997 that Iraq had compiled a “full, final and complete” account of its previous nuclear projects, and there was no indication of any prohibited activity. The IAEA’s fact sheet from 25 April 2002, entitled “Iraq’s Nuclear Weapons Programme”, recorded that “There were no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.” …. “IAEA experts maintain that Iraq has never had the capacity to enrich uranium sufficiently for a bomb and was extremely dependent on imports to create centrifuge facilities (report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 28 June 2002).
    …. Furthermore, enriching uranium requires substantial infrastructure and a power supply that could be easily spotted by US satellites. No such information has been provided. Over the past year, US and UK sources have made much of the fact that Iraq has attempted to import specialized steel and aluminum tubes that could be used in gas centrifuges that enrich uranium. According to the Washington Post (10 September 2002), such tubes are also used in making conventional artillery rockets, which Iraq is not prohibited from developing or possessing under UN resolutions. As David Albright, former IAEA inspector in Iraq and director of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the Washington Post, “This is actually a weak indicator for suggesting centrifuges — it just doesn’t build a case. I don’t yet see evidence that says Iraq is close.”

    Response #1f – There is no public evidence that Iraq has biological or chemical weapons, that they have used such weapons over the past 10 or 12 years, that they are rebuilding facilities since 1998 to produce such weapons, or that Iraq has the capacity or desire to threaten other countries by delivering these agents by missiles or other means.
    Simpson and Rangwala – UNSCOM discovered and destroyed a large amount of the biological and chemical weapons in Iraq, and that much of what remained has deteriorated. However, they say there “are two potential exceptions for materials that would not be expected to have deteriorated if produced before 1991. Mustard gas has been found to persist over time, as shown when Unscom discovered four intact mustard-filled artillery shells that would still have constituted a viable weapon. Unscom oversaw the destruction of 12,747 of Iraq’s 13,500 mustard shells. The Iraqi regime claimed that the remaining shells had been destroyed by US/UK bombardment. This claim has not been verified or disproved. However, as former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter notes, “A few hundred 155 mm mustard shells have little military value on the modern battlefield. A meaningful CW attack using artillery requires thousands of rounds. Retention of such a limited number of shells makes no sense and cannot be viewed as a serious threat.”
    Simpson and Rangwala – The major facilities that Iraq had prior to 1991 have all been destroyed. The Muthanna State Establishment, Iraq’s main plant for the production of chemical warfare agents, was destroyed partially through aerial bombardment and partly under Unscom supervision. Al-Hakam, Iraq’s main biological weapons facility that was designed to make up to 50,000 litres of anthrax, botulinum toxin and other agents a year, was destroyed in May-June 1996.
    Simpson and Rangwala – “journalists who visited the Taji warehouse in mid-August – which the US claimed days before was a major biological weapons facility – found only “boxes of powdered milk from Yemen, Vietnam, Tunisia and Indonesia and sacks of sugar imported from Egypt and India”, according to the Reuters correspondent. The visiting journalists are not weapons inspectors, and do not have the resources to monitor facilities for chemical agents or radiation; but they are able to ascertain if major new production facilities have been constructed. Now that the Iraqi Foreign Minister has made an unconditional offer to the UN to readmit weapons inspectors (on 16 September), allegations about the production of new facilities can be checked. However, the British Foreign Secretary and the White House have both disparaged the Iraqi offer, even though it could lead to the verified disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”
    Response #1g– Most of Iraq’s long- and mid-range missiles were destroyed. Simpson and Rangwala:
    The first problem with this claim is the very low number of longer range missiles that Iraq might have. According to Unscom, by 1997, 817 out of Iraq’s known 819 ballistic missiles had been certifiably destroyed. On the worst-case assumption that Iraq has salvaged some of the parts for these missiles and has reconstructed them since 1998, even Charles Duelfer – former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, deputy head of Unscom and strong proponent of an invasion of Iraq – has provided an estimate of only 12 to 14 missiles held by Iraq. Even under this scenario, it is difficult to see Iraq posing a threat to the rest of the world through its missiles. Furthermore, biological weapons cannot be effectively disbursed through ballistic missiles. According to the IISS, much of the biological agent would be destroyed on impact and the area of dispersal would be small. For example, if anthrax is filled into missile warheads, up to 95% of the content is not dispersed (according to the Director of Intelligence of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff: link to bt.usf.edu).
    Response #1h – Iraq has not used WMD since the 1980s. Simpson and Rangala point out:
    Iraq would face massive reprisals if its leadership ever ordered the use of weapons of mass destruction on the US or Europe. It is difficult to imagine circumstances in which the Iraqi regime would use these weapons directly against any western country. The only conceivable exception would be if the Iraqi leaders felt they had nothing left to lose: that is, if they were convinced of their own imminent demise as a result of an invasion. Weapons of mass destruction were not used by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, despite having both a much more developed capacity than it holds at present (see below) and the routing of its army. The best way to avoid prompting Iraqi leaders to use any non-conventional capacity would be to refrain from invading Iraq or attempting to assassinate or depose its rulers.
    Response #1i – No evidence that Hussein has shared WMD with “terrorists.” Simpson and Rangala:
    The State Department’s annual report on terrorism, released on 30 April 2001, stated that the Iraqi regime “has not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack” since 1993. The small paramilitary groups that Iraq supports, such as the Arab Liberation Front (in Palestine) and the Mujahidin e-Khalq (for Iran), have no access to Iraq’s more advanced weaponry, let alone weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, these groups have never carried out attacks on the US or Europe, and have little if any supporting infrastructure in those countries. The Iraqi regime has no credible links to al-Qa’ida, either in the perpetration of the 11 September attack, or in the presence in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan (controlled by the US-backed Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, not the Iraqi government, since 1991) of Ansar al-Islam. This group is an off-shoot of the US-backed Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan which has taken funds and arms from Iran and (reportedly) from al-Qa’ida.
    Response #1j – It would still be a good idea for inspections to resume in Iraq for the purpose of eliminating WMD. -Stephen R. Shalom and Michael Albert, “45 Questions and Answers,” http://www.zmag.org – Oct 9, 2002: –
    Most everyone favors the inspection of Iraqi WMD, other than Saddam Hussein and, as we can infer from its actions, Washington. Everything the United States has done for the last few months, and indeed for the last eleven years, has had the effect of discouraging Iraq’s cooperation with inspections. Security Council resolution 687 declared that sanctions would be lifted when Iraq was disarmed, but the United States promptly removed Hussein’s incentive for disarmament when in May 1991 deputy national security adviser Robert Gates officially announced that all sanctions would remain as long as Saddam Hussein remained in power. In March 1997, secretary of state Madeleine Albright stated that “We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted” and Hussein became more uncooperative with the inspectors.
    ————————————————-

    II. Second major justification offered by the Bush Administration for an invasion of Iraq: The Hussein regime subverted the earlier inspections – and will not comply with the requirements of future inspections.

    Response #2a – The U.N. inspections were effective.

    - Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq, writes:

    • “Scott Ritter points out that, ‘Most of UNSCOM’s findings of Iraqi non-compliance concerned wither the inability to verify an Iraqi declaration or peripheral matters such as components and documentation, which by and of themselves do not constitute a weapon or a program. By December 1998, ‘Iraq had, in fact, been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history….” (67)

    • According to Richard Butler’s final UNSCOM report for the Security Council on December 14 — — “In statistical terms, the majority of the inspections of facilities and sites under the ongoing monitoring system were carried out with Iraq’s cooperation” – “Butler only cited five incidents in 300 inspection operations over the previous month (52)

    Response #2b – The U.S. actively worked to subvert the previous inspection process. Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq, writes:

    -“US intelligence provided technology for UNSCOM to intercept secret, coded, Iraqi communications from January 1996. Mr Ritter sent the intercepts by satellite relay to Bahrain, the regional headquarters of UNSCOM, where a computer filtered the conversations for relevant key words – ‘chemical,’ missile,’ and so on – and relayed them to the US National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland for decoding and translation” – “Barton Gellman of the Washington Post learned in 1999 that in March 1996 a US military intelligence officer working for UNSCOM had secretly inserted special scanners into UNSCOM cameras, enabling US intelligence to spy on important nodes of Iraqi military communication, quite unknown to UNSCOM” (55)

    -“There are three reasons why the inspection and monitoring regime no longer exists in Iraq. First, the US penetrated and used UNSCOM for its own spying/assassination/coup purposes, including the coordination of an UNSCOM inspection with a CIA-backed coup attempt in June 1996. This damaged UNSCOM beyond repair when the truth became known in late 1998 and early 1999. Secondly, the US manipulated UNSCOM inspections and the final UNSCOM report in November and December 1998 to create an atmosphere of confrontation. Thirdly, the US ordered the withdrawal of all UNSCOM staff in December 1998 in order to make it politically possible to carry out Operation Desert Fox.” (201)
    Response #2c – Inspections can work again, if they are given a reasonable chance and not subverted by the U.S.
    ————————————————-
    III. Bush Administration justification #3 – Hussein is linked to Al Qaeda.
    Response #3 – There is no evidence of a link between the Iraqi government and Al Qaeda.

    -Stephen R. Shalom and Michael Albert, “45 Questions and Answers,” http://www.zmag.org October 9, 2002:

    The head of the Senate intelligence committee, Bob Graham, said he had seen nothing connecting al Qaeda and Iraq. Sen. Joseph Biden, who heard a classified CIA briefing on the matter, disputes Rumsfeld’s summary. Nebraska Republican, Senator Chuck Hagel, commented that “To say, ‘Yes, I know there is evidence there, but I don’t want to tell you any more about it,’ that does not encourage any of us. Nor does it give the American public a heck of a lot of faith that, in fact, what anyone is saying is true.” Intelligence experts inside and outside the U.S. government expressed skepticism, and a Pentagon official called the new claims an “exaggeration.” And French intelligence has found not a “trace” of evidence of any link. (NYT, 9/28/02; Newsday, 9/27/02; USA Today, 9/27/02; Washington Post, 9/27/02; Financial Times, 10/6/02.)

    -Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq.

    -no meeting between the ringleader of the suicide bombers,Mohamed Atta, with an Iraqi intelligence agent in the Czech republic in 2001 – When the Czech completed their investigation into this alleged meeting they found no documents showing that Atta visited Prague at any time this year – at the time of the alleged meeting, Atta was in Virginia Beach and Florida (130)

    -“The New York Times carried an article on Baghada record: ‘The Central Intelligence Agency has no evidence that Iraq has engaged in terrorist operations against the US in nearly a decade, and the agency is also convinced that President Saddam Hussein has not provided chemical or biological weapons to Al Qaeda or related terrorist groups, according to several American intelligence officers” (131)
    ————————————————-
    IV. Fourth Bush Administration justification for an invasion – We are the friends of the Iraqi people and want to help them.
    Response #4a – The facts belie the rhetoric. Institute for Public Accuracy – “Detailed Analysis of Bush’s Oct. 7 Speech”:
    Anthony Arnove, editor of the book Iraq Under Siege: “But the people of Iraq have good reason to feel otherwise. As Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times noted in his October 4 report from Baghdad, ‘while ordinary Iraqis were very friendly toward me, they were enraged at the U.S. after 11 years of economic sanctions…. Worse, U.S. bombing of water treatment plants, difficulties importing purification chemicals like chlorine (which can be used for weapons), and shortages of medicines led to a more than doubling of infant mortality, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.’ Another war on Iraq — this time, a ‘pre-emptive’ attack aimed at ‘regime change’ — will lead to more civilian casualties and damage to Iraq’s infrastructure. And Iraqis are right to worry that the regime Washington installs, in violation of their right to self-determination, will be one that serves U.S. interests, not their own. We should recall the impact of the last war. In the words of Gulf War veteran Anthony Swofford, a former Marine corporal, writing in the New York Times, October 2, ‘From the ground, I witnessed the savage results of American air superiority: tanks and troop carriers turned upside down and ripped inside out; rotten, burned, half-buried bodies littering the desert like the detritus of years — not weeks — of combat.’ We should be skeptical of Bush’s stated concern for the Iraqi people. His real interests in this war are not the Iraq people, or defending Americans from attack, but expanding U.S.hegemony in the Middle East.”
    Response #4b – The U.S. military is responsible for the destruction of Iraq’s physical (civilian) infrastructure

    -Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq.

    -“…the US-led forces had deliberately destroyed the civilian infrastructure which supported public health. The Arab Monetary Fund estimated the value of destroyed infrastructure and economic assets during the 1991 war at $232 billion. (By comparison, the eight-year Iran-Iraq war caused only $67bn worth of economic damage. Dr. Eric Hoskins, a UNICEF adviser, observes that: ‘Eighteen of Iraq’s twenty power-generating plants were rendered inoperative [during the 1991 war], reducing [immediate] postwar electricity to just 4 percent of prewar levels. Food storage facilities, industrial complexes, oil refineries, sewage pumping stations, telecommunications facilities, roads, railroads, and dozens of bridges were destroyed during the war’” (136).

    -“Without electricity, water cannot be purified, sewage cannot be treated, water-borne diseases flourish and hospitals cannot cure treatable diseases” (137).

    -Dr. Leon Eisenberg of Harvard Medical School noted that the destruction of the country’s power plants in 1991 ‘brought its entire system of water purification and distribution to a halt, leading to epidemics of cholera, typhoid fever, and gastroenteritis, particularly among children.’ Death rates doubled or tripled among children admitted to hospitals in Baghdad and Basra. Cases of marasmus, a disease of acute malnutrition, appeared for the first time in decades” (138).

    -“Deliberate destroying the means of containing water-borne disease is equivalent to the use of a biological weapon” (138)

    -These actions violate the Geneva Conventions – “It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, or cause them to move away, or for any other motive” (139).

    Response #4c – There is considerable evidence of how the Iraqi people have been harmed by the first Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions.

    - The War and the continuous bombing, along with the ongoing economic embargo, have left Iraq devastated. U.N. Under-Secretary-General Martti Ahtisaari described conditions in the country as “near apocalyptic” and that Iraq had been relegated to a pre-industrial age. The economic infrastructure has been largely destroyed. Denis Halliday stated that Iraq needs at least $50 billion to rebuild its agricultural, medical, and social infrastructure.

    -The U.N. Childrens’ Fund, UNICEF, found that between 1991 and 1998 there were 500,000 deaths above the anticipated rate among Iraqi children under five years of age, or, on average, 5,200 preventable under-five deaths per month. The 2002 edition of the State of the World’s Children, produced by UNICEF, found that the overall well-being of Iraqi children had declined more in the 1990s than in any other country. The infant mortality rate in Iraq went from one of the lowest in 1990 to the highest in 1998. There has been a 125% increase in children seeking help for mental health problems. Cancer rates among children have soared.

    -Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq.

    -“…a Humanitarian Panel of experts appointed by the UN Security Council concluded in March 1999 that, ‘Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war.’

    -“In August 1999, UNICEF revealed that in the south/center of Iraq – home to 85 percent of the country’s population – the death rate among children under five had more than doubled during the period of sanctions. The death rate had gone from 56 deaths per1000 live births (1984-1989) to 131 deaths per 1000 live births (1994-1999). Infant mortality – defined as death of children in their first year – had increased from 47 to 108 deaths per 1000 live births with the same period of time.”

    -“UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy noted that there had been a substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s. If this had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under five in the country as a whole during the eight year period 1991 to 1998” (176).

    Response #4d – The Oil for Food program has done too little to assist the Iraqi people; it has been sorely inadequate.

    The oil for food program, introduced to ease the effects of the economic embargo, has been inadequate. While the program technically exempts food and medicines, the U.N. Sanctions Committee, dominated by the U.S. and Britain, has frequently vetoed and delayed requests for baby food, agricultural equipment, heart and cancer drugs, oxygen tents, X-ray machines. As of October, 2001, over one-thousand contracts for humanitarian supplies worth $3.85 billion were “on hold” by the Sanctions Committee. The goods on hold increased in value from $3.71 billion on May 14, 2001, to $5.71 billion on May 17, 2002. Kofi Annan, U.N. General Secretary, has said: “Not one of the U.N.’s observation mechanisms has reported any major problems in humanitarian supplies being diverted, switched, or in any way being misused. The supplies are insufficient. Hans von Sponeck, former U.N. coordinator of humanitarian concerns in Iraq, denounced the oil for food program as completely inadequate, making available only $119.70 per capita a year in supplies.

    Response #4e – An invasion will make the already desperate situation of the Iraqi people even worse than it is. Save the Children in the UK makes the following points:
    Three things resulting directly from military action will dangerously undermine the livelihoods and the very survival of Iraqi civilians.
    First, supplies of humanitarian goods imported under the UN Oil-for-Food program (OFF) will be interrupted. Neighboring states may close their borders, UN agency, international and local aid staff will evacuate their posts, and local authorities may obstruct or be unable to deliver supplies to the needy.
    Second, armed conflict is likely to encompass centers of high population density and affect key aspects of their infrastructure. Power cuts and closure of transport routes leading to public health hazards can endanger the lives of large numbers of Iraqis in the medium term.
    Third, a breakdown in communications and logistics in the Iraqi civil administration will leave civilians without access to centrally warehoused supplies and hamper distribution.
    “…. Based on its eleven-year experience in northern Iraq Save the Children UK maintains that military intervention in Iraq could significantly increase the civilian suffering of the majority of Iraqis, almost half of whom are children under the age of 14. The livelihoods and lives of the most vulnerable Iraqis could be critically endangered. International law requires that warfare is never indiscriminate and disproportional. Damage to civilians and civilian objects must be minimised and can never be in excess of the military advantage gained. Attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless infrastructure and facilities on which large numbers of civilians currently depend for their very survival would fail this test of distinction and proportionality. International law further affords civilians protection and obligates the parties to the conflict to provide adequate food and medicine. Undermining food security through the interruption of supplies, border closures or disabling local transportation and distribution mechanisms (whether these consequences were intended or not) would deny children further their right to be protected.”
    High altitude bombing to “soften up” areas before ground troops go in guarantees high levels of civilian casualties – and, further civilian harm could stem from, the use of indiscriminate weapons such as cluster bombs and the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure such as electrical-power generation and water facilities. Whether the military will discover Iraqi underground bunkers that can only be reached with “bunker buster” tactical nuclear warheads is unknown.

    V. The Bush Administration claims it has no interests in Iraq but the end of the military threat allegedly posed by the Hussein regime. We are the “good guys” and they are the “bad guys.”

    Response #5 – There is evidence that the U.S. government is interested in Iraq’s oil.
    Whatever other reasons, oil is an increasingly important factor in why the Bush Administration has singled out Iraq for even higher levels of obliteration. Keven Danaher of Global Exchange has said, “If the chief export of this area were broccoli, do you think this stuff would be going on?” When we take certain evidence into account the salience of oil becomes all too obvious.

    1) The United States is the largest user of crude oil in the world. With only 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. consumes nearly 26 percent of the world’s oil, even though it only produces 11 percent of total world oil.

    2) The U.S. dependence on foreign oil will increase as long as we continue to rely mostly on fossil fuels for our energy. According to Michael Klare, the U.S. imports of oil will rise from 10 million barrels, or 53% of its total consumption a day, to 17 millions barrels, or 65% of total consumption, by 2020.

    3) The Bush Administration has emphasized the importance of opening up oil fields in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 20.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil may lie in these fields. By 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, ANWR would add about 1 percent, 1.4 million barrels a day, out of 112 to 220 million barrels worldwide. Not enough to reduce our increasing dependence on foreign oil.

    4) The Bush Administration’s energy policy emphasizes the continuing and overwhelming importance of fossil fuels in the U.S. energy mix for the foreseeable future, even though nearly 73% of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions in the past twenty years are attributable to fossil fuels. Renewable energy plays only a minor role in the Administrations energy plans. Oil, gas, “clean” coal, and nuclear are highlighted. The construction of 1,300 new polluting fossil fuel and nuclear power plants is highlighted. There is no consideration for the environmental devastation that these forms of energy will generate and how oil, gas, and coal will accelerate global warming. From 1990-2000, the total U.S. greenhouse emissions grew by 13.6%, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. Under the new Bush energy plan, emissions will likely increase by another 13% between 2002 and 2012. Conservative estimates put the international cost of global warming at $1 trillion a year.

    5) In his new book, The Hydrogen Economy, Jeremy Rifkin refers to the estimates of a score of petroleum experts and consultants who project that the total world production of oil will peak sometime between 2008 and 2035. In this time period, the oil production will top out in Russia, the Caspian Sea area, the Alaskan North Slope, the areas off the shores of West Africa, and other regions, making the Middle East increasingly important.

    6) Rifkin notes that twenty-six of [the] forty super-giant [oil] fields are in the Persian Gulf… and while other giant fields, especially those in the U.S. and Russia, have peaked and are now in decline, and the oil fields in Norway and the Caspian Sea will peak by 2010, the Middle East fields are still ascending the bell curve.

    7) Iraq and Saudi Arabia have the largest proven and suspected reserves of oil. Iraq has 113 billion barrels of proven reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia, and as much as 220 billion barrels in undiscovered reserves. American, Russian, French, and Chinese oil companies are already maneuvering for a stake in Iraq’s huge oil supply.

    8) U.S. business connections to the oil nations of the Middle East are not only about oil. U.S. banks and other corporations benefit when the surplus revenues of the oil nations are sent to the U.S. for deposit or investment and U.S. arms producers benefit when Middle East petrodollars are used to buy sophisticated weapons.

    9) There are significant political connections to oil. The Center for Responsive Politics notes that $10 million out of $14 million in political contributions from oil and gas companies in the 2000 election went to Republican candidates. The Bush family has roots in the oil business. President Bush began his own “career” with a series of unsuccessful drilling ventures and was bailed out by bigger oil companies. Big oil backed his campaigns for governor in Texas and for the presidency. Cheney is former CEO of the giant Halliburton company, which does 70 percent of its $15 billion sales of exploration and drilling equipment to Arab governments. Don Evans Bush’s Commerce Secretary, has been chairman and CEO of the Texas-based Tom Brown oil company. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice served on the board of oil giant Chevron for the decade before assuming her current position. The Task Force that developed the Bush Administration energy plan was based on consultations with those who have ties to fossil fuel and nuclear multinational corporations. There was no representation of renewable or energy efficiency experts.

    ————————————————-
    VI. The Bush Administration claims a U.S. military victory in Iraq will bring stability to the Middle East region.

    Response #6a – An invasion of Iraq will fuel hatred of the US and generate recruits for terrorist organizations. Fawaz A. Gerges, “US should be wary of alienating Muslims through its focus on Iraq – http://www.latimes.com Oct 31, 2002 — a professor in international affairs and Middle Eastern studies at Sarah Lawrence

    -Young men who are unconnected to Al Qaeda but outraged by U.S. policies toward the Palestinians or Iraq can apparently be nudged by the inflammatory rhetoric of Al Qaeda leaders to pursue freelance terrorism and kill Westerners on their own, complicating and prolonging the U.S. war on terror. The assassination of a senior American diplomat in Jordan appears to fall into this freelance category.

    The U.S. must take seriously the rage against U.S. foreign policies in the world of Islam. The festering Palestinian wound fuels anti-Americanism, as does the U.S. stand toward Iraq even as Washington maintains cozy relations with more pliant dictators. A U.S. invasion of Iraq, with large civilian casualties, would only make these young Muslims more inclined to join jihadi cells of the Al Qaeda variety.

    Response #6b – An invasion will generate untold instabilities that will haunt us for generations. Richard Falk, “Opposition to War Against Iraq,” The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research,” Sept. 20, 2002 – http://www.transnational.org
    “…. [the] side-effects that should give pause to the war-makers in Washington: an Islamic coup in Pakistan leading to a regional war with India in which both sides have nuclear weapons; escalating oil prices triggering a world depression; civil strife in the Middle East, with anti-West regime changes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt; an inter-civilizational holy war between Islam and the West (which would amount to an unintended endorsement of Osama bin Laden’s approach to world history!); and possibly most serious of all, a loss of international support for the struggle against the persisting al Qaeda threat, which should remain the overriding security concern of the White House.”
    Response #6c – The experience so far in Afghanistan does not provide much confidence for what awaits the Iraqi people. -Institute for Public Accuracy – “Detailed Analysis of Bush’s Oct. 7 Speech”
    Bush: The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan’s citizens improved after the Taliban.
    Toensing: “Given what is known about the return of warlordism and chaos to Afghanistan — not to mention the fiction that Afghan women have all thrown away their burqas — this is a debatable proposition, and indicative of the administration’s lack of interest in rebuilding Afghanistan. Why would Iraq be any different?”
    ————————————————-

    VII. A seventh justification from the Bush Administration for an invasion of Iraq is that we can “afford” it.

    Response #7a – $269 billion? For a war based on such flimsy reasons? -William Neikirk, “Critics of War Point to Costs,” Chicago Tribune, Nov. 4, 2002
    In a detailed estimate, the Congressional Budget Office differed from Lindsey’s prediction of a $100 billion to $200 billion cost. The CBO said it would cost as much as $13 billion to redeploy U.S. troops in Iraq; up to $9 billion a month to fight the war itself; as much as $7 billion to send the troops back home; and up to $4 billion a month to occupy Iraq…. A war lasting two months with a five-year occupation, in other words, could cost as much as $269 billion.
    Response #7b – Why risk so many American lives? Can we afford to lose U.S. troops in an unnecessary war and have tens of thousands return with wounds and illnesses that may affect them for the rest of their lives?

    There are various estimates of how many U.S. troops will be deployed in this planned war. One estimate indicates there will be 250,000 troops engaged in the assault on Iraq. Some estimates suggest the number could be larger than 250,000, even as high as 500,000. Americans have not, in these numbers, been involved in a war since the Vietnam War. As of this time, there seems to be little likelihood that, with the exception of Britain, other countries from the Middle East or anywhere else in the world will commit soldiers to the anticipated war. Out troops alone will suffer the effects of the Bush Administration driven war policy. We don’t know how many U.S. soldiers will die or become casualties, but there will be some – perhaps in the hundreds, perhaps in the thousands. About 150,000 troops from the first Gulf War have since received partial or total disability benefits from the V.A. Will this happen again?

    Response #7c – The “war” will help to provide a further rationale for the Bush Administration to raise military spending and selectively reduce revenues for pressing domestic programs. Rising deficits will provide further justification for reduced spending on important domestic programs.

    -Distorted government spending priorities – Correspondent James Dao details the proposed dramatic increase in military spending in an article of February 2, 2002, for the New York Times. “In a military buildup rivaling that of the Reagan era, the Bush administration will call for increasing the Pentagon’s yearly budget by $120 billion over the next five years, to $451 billion in 2007, according to Defense Department documents.” Given the large and growing budget deficit this year, and anticipated for the next few years, spending on the war will drive the deficits higher and reduce support for a host of important existing and potential domestic programs. This situation will loom poorly for those Democrats who have some interest in job creation, the child care crisis, the continuing inequities in the public school system and the inadequate role of the federal government, protecting Social Security and Medicare (and other health care reforms), and so forth.
    -A rising federal budget deficit – Ross Finley, “Financing a U.S. War on Iraq Stirs Anxiety,” Yahoo!News, Sept. 22, 2002.
    “Government spending is sharply on the rise and expectations are for poor income tax receipts next year owing to capital losses from the stock market rout. Even without a war on Iraq, it is highly likely the budget deficit for the next fiscal year, which begins in October, will be higher than the $165 billion White House estimate for fiscal 2002.”

    • Too bad you did not summarize your piece above. Someone might have actually read it. As it is, one falls asleep after the first six paragraphs.

  9. I seem to recall that the U.S. Department of State’s internal intelligence office similarly concluded that Iraq had no nuclear program.

    • You are correct, Joe. The State Department’s Bureau for Intelligence and Research (INR) has a sterling reputation for intelligence analysis. INR did not hop on board the WMD bandwagon and registered skepticism from the beginning.

    • What’s the point you and Bill are tag-teaming here? That the State Internal Intelligence people can tell St. Peter that they “registered skepticism” at the time? Did any of them go out on any kind of Bradley Manning limb, and make a woeful noise unto the MSM and Congress and the Joint Chiefs and the Web?

      I might give a pass to the FBI investigators who pushed the careerists and the NeoBlob a little bit, in trying to point to the machinations of Mr. Atta and his merry band, to no freakin’ avail. But to annotate a file or three, send a couple of memos, and maybe you know what else the sterling State Department’s Bureau for Intelligence and Research (INR)(adding the parenthesized acronym makes you sound so much more In The Loop, right?) may have done to be Honorable Men? Does that get them into Heaven? “We” still invaded Iraq, in what the perps themselves now have christened a “war of choice.” A “preemptive war.” And other sicknesses.

      Even I, silly little me, was aware enough, as were a significant number of My Fellow Americans, including a lot of Viet Vets, to know, way back then, that this was just another bullshit Gulf of Tonkin idiocy, backed by some guy named Milo Minderbinder and his Syndicate, and I sent a few messages to my Congresscritters and newspaper editors and useless stuff like that… That won’t get me into Heaven, either…

      • “What’s the point you and Bill are tag-teaming here? That the State Internal Intelligence people can tell St. Peter that they “registered skepticism” at the time? Did any of them go out on any kind of Bradley Manning limb, and make a woeful noise unto the MSM and Congress and the Joint Chiefs and the Web?”

        No tag-teaming by us, Mr. McPhee. I would say you are the tagger. I suppose we should be flattered by the amount of attention you pay us, even though we have our separate, individual take on issues.

        As for the State Department’s Bureau for Intelligence and Research going out on a “Bradley Manning limb,” of course they didn’t. They have too much integrity to violate the trust placed in them by virtue of their position.

        • “As for the State Department’s Bureau for Intelligence and Research going out on a “Bradley Manning limb,” of course they didn’t. They have too much integrity to violate the trust placed in them by virtue of their position.”

          I don’t know why these people didn’t blow the whistle. They may have had valid reasons. On the other hand, they may have only been thinking only of themselves, their careers (and paychecks) and not the consequences of an illegal war.

          We need more Daniel Ellsbergs and Bradley Mannings, but the Obama Administration is going full bore to discourage that sort of integrity.

  10. I remember reading your blog every day during the build up of the war.

    You were 100% right about everything. I wish you weren’t. It wasn’t brain science. I mean, Juan Cole is an expert, the expert says, the case is flimsy, this will be a disaster. Case closed.

    I’m sure you’re doing ok as a tenured prof at one of the best universities in the US. But, your appointment at Yale was scotched over this. Whereas, everyone who was 100% wrong, keeps getting promoted.

    One thing that’s particularly vexing is the Orwellian term that has entered our lexicon as a result of all this: WMD’s

    To categorize (i) WWI mustard gas together with (ii) 50 megaton Tsar Bomba hydrogen bomb, is a gross perversion of the English language.

  11. Your comments then were both perceptive and brave, as well as rather rare among both scholars and the media. There were many signs that WMD was not the main cause of invasion. The so-called Downing Street Memo, which was the minutes of a British war cabinet meeting dated 23 July 2002, which were published after the war clearly showed that eight months prior to the invasion the decision to go to war had already been taken and the alleged existence of WMD was only to be used as an excuse to justify the war.

    The head of MI6 who had recently returned from Washington after meeting his American counterpart and other senior security officials “reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”

    That passage tells us all we need to know. The tragedy is that not only the officials who used those lies to wage an illegal war and commit many war crimes have not been punished they are allowed to repeat the same lies these days in order to justify another devastating war in the Middle East. It is no good just to condemn such practices, it is the time for all of us to take real action to bring those people to book and prevent further atrocities in the future.

  12. And what about the liars who spread the propaganda that greased the skids for this greatest crime against humanity of the 21st Century? They remain as celebrities and eminent citizens and purveyors of more lies, including on Iran. Two became secretaries of state, one is vice president, and one was one of the first two females given membership in the Augusta National Golf Club (aka The Masters). In this last instance, Donna Brazille demonstrated on a talk show how incestuous the Democrats and Republicans are when she declared she had a lot of respect for Condoleeza Rice, she of mushroom cloud infamy.

  13. So what’s new? From the very get go, we have hidden behind a wall of “we’re the only good people”. The American sense of superiority, arrogance and god given right to do as we please, to whomever we please and when we please is the law of the land. It’s not the government, it’s us and always has been. All whatever ruling power has to do is feed into that and we follow along like any other herd. Want to become an outcast, just don’t follow.

  14. Anyone interested before the war should surely have taken note of Robin Cook’s opposition. As former foreign minister (1997-2001 ?), he must have had close ties to UK intelligence — even after he was no longer foreign minister.
    I am saddened to see the kinds of people in this country, who seem to get arrested and tried for mini crimes (use of pot), but no one even seeks and prosecutes the real evil doers.

    • You are absolutely right. Robin Cook was one of the most intelligent and bravest members of Tony Blair’s cabinet. He resigned just on the eve of the invasion and in a brilliant speech in the House of Commons on 17 March 2003 he said, “I can’t accept collective responsibility for the decision to commit Britain now to military action in Iraq without international agreement or domestic support.” His speech was received by an unprecedented standing ovation by fellow MPs in the House of Commons, which showed the depth of the feeling about the illegal invasion. Clair Short resigned later and said that there had been no proper discussion of the invasion in the full cabinet and the decision had been taken by a small number of people, some of them from outside the cabinet.

  15. “I seem to recall that the U.S. Department of State’s internal intelligence office similarly concluded that Iraq had no nuclear program.”

    This was a feature of a “60 Minutes” segment during which, as I recall, senior members of the state department’s intelligence staff ridiculed Colin Powell’s speech at the UN Security Council. Greg Thielmann was one of these senior people.

    One of the more squalid post-invasion events occurred at the Radio and Television Correspondents dinner on March 24, 2004 when George W. Bush was featured in a supposedly funny skit looking for the non-existent WMDs. (Check link to c-spanvideo.org) The Washington elites who attended this annual event and who are regular participants in the corruption of Washington found this sordid skit to be hilarious. Only one person, David Corn, now with Mother Jones, had the integrity to walk out over the objections of some of his fawning corporate media colleagues. So the next time you are watching a political talk show on television, ask yourself if the pundit on the tube found that skit funny.

    Another revelation of the lies we were told came, probably inadvertently, from Dick Durbin (D-IL) when he was talking in the senate and revealed that the senators on the intelligence committee got a different version of intelligence than that fed to the public. He claimed he couldn’t go public because he was sworn to secrecy. Like Colin Powell, he declined the opportunity to be a profile in courage and allowed hundreds of thousands of people to be slaughtered and maimed.

  16. This may sound too much like a conspiracy theory, but I do not have the resources to make the case and would like to know if the case can be made. Is it possible that Valeri Plame was outed because she was a key person in the Iranian nuclear spy team and the administration knew it couldn’t sell the invasion case if that team was in place? I suspect this only because of the timing. If Iraq hadn’t fallen apart, Bush/Cheney figuted they were poised to tackle Iran next having virtually surrounded the country.

  17. Ten years ago I was 60 years old, an average American woman, not especially politically savvy. My cousin teaches in Czech Republic, and some time before the Iraqi invasion he sent a very worried e-mail to several family members from his perspective. He attached links to articles printed in the UK. I really respect this cousin, and paid attention to his warnings about the impending invasion. I found that some late night TV shows – AFTER the war rah-rah of the evening news – were indeed troubling. I came to believe there were no weapons, either – and have my published letter to the editor contradicting our U.S. Rep. John Kline. I joined a protest march, for the first time in my life. I wore a sign saying “No Attack on Iraq” and literally expected to be hit on the street – such was the mood in this country. Later we sadly attended the funeral for my husband’s relative who was blown to bits over there. I despise George Bush. Before we involve ourselves in another disastrous war, maybe we should talk to my cousin. It wasn’t all that hard to figure out.

  18. TL;DR seems to be one of the factors exacerbating this ongoing fiasco. When salient points of definite falsehoods and delusion are summarized, the knives come out to eviscerate the realities outlined. Expounding at length, documenting every deceit, every ignorance, every denial is met with inferences of some selfish and unproductive motive on the part of the critic. The same dementia infects the discourse on global warming and its collective effects.

    Too long; didn’t read. Sad epitaph for a planet.

  19. Seems like it’s high time that Bush and his foreign policy advisers be indicted for their crimes. I believe that at Nuremberg, the charge used was “planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace.” The appropriate penalty would be death.

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