lied us into war?
easy answer: George W. Bush. But that's too easy. It's
highly unlikely the President of the United States got up
there and knowingly fibbed about the existence of weapons
that would surely not be found. No doubt he fully expected
the evidence to turn up, verifying what he and other members
of his administration had
been saying all along: that Iraq possessed weapons of
mass destruction capable of posing a regional threat. When
no such evidence was forthcoming, however, the President's
partisan critics in Congress – most of whom supported the
war, and voted for the authorization to use force –
were quick to jump on this administration's growing credibility
case for war was made on many grounds, but WMD was surely
the most convincing, at least to the general public. Tony
Blair regaled the Brits with tales of how Saddam could order
the deployment of terror weapons "within
45 minutes," and Bush, not to be outdone, declared that
contiental U.S. was in danger from unmanned Iraqi drones
capable of wreaking destruction on American cities. Clouds
of deadly anthrax, chemical weapons, and other bioengineered
horrors were conjured by the War Party as imminent threats,
but the argument that Saddam was on the verge of acquiring
nuclear weapons was the trump card in the President's deck,
and he played
it in his 2003 state of the union address
British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently
sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our
intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase
high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons
assertion that the U.S. had to act to avert a nuclear catastrophe
was echoed by Vice President Dick Cheney, who said of Saddam
on the eve of war
believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
months later, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was backpedaling
as fast as he could:
don't know anybody that I can think of who has contended that
the Iraqis had nuclear weapons."
Cheney's definitive assertion was the culmination of a long
string of public statements by the President and his top officials
that Saddam could acquire and deploy nukes in the near future.
In a Cincinnati
speech last year, Bush averred that Saddam "is moving
ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon," a line of argument
by Condoleeza Rice's pronouncement on CNN the day after
the first anniversary of 9/11:
don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
turns out that the only smoking gun is the one left in the
hands of the President after he shot off his mouth and propounded
White House now acknowledges was inaccurate information.
But who supplied the ammunition? What was the source of the
intelligence that convinced White House speechwriters to include
the reference to uranium?
aluminum tubes were soon shown to be unsuited to producing
nuclear materials. But this uranium business is particularly
embarrassing for the President, who faces a rising chorus
of questions about the course and conduct of the continuing
war in Iraq, since the whole thing turns out to have been
a crude hoax.
submission of outright forgeries to the United Nations inspection
team, purporting to show that the Iraqis had tried to
buy uranium in the African country of Niger, was the last
straw as far as the Europeans were concerned. It was the crudeness
of the forgeries that seemed to underscore Washington's contempt
for its former allies. The documents referenced individuals
who hadn't work for Niger's government for years, the letterheads
were odd, and there were any number of other errors that marked
them as pretty obviously phony.
with elementary computer skills and a few minutes to spare
could have debunked the Niger uranium story: yet the White
House was bamboozled. Bush-haters of a partisan hue are inclined
to believe the forgery was concocted by the President's men,
but the Washington Post report
on the official investigation took a different and far more
FBI is looking into the forgery of a key piece of evidence
linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program, including the possibility
that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to
foster support for military action against Iraq."
author of the Post piece was silent on the question
of which foreign government. However, CNN was quick to cite
government officials who said:
got the documents from the intelligence service of another
country, which was not Britain and was not Israel, which they
will not name."
was another lie.
source of much disinformation seems to have been a unit of
the Defense Department set up by Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
and lorded over by his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, the "Office of Special
Plans." But Robert Dreyfuss, writing in The Nation,
cites a former U.S. ambassador with strong ties to the CIA
who says there is another layer
to the onion
to the former official, also feeding information to the Office
of Special Plans was a secret, rump unit established last
year in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel.
This unit, which paralleled Shulsky's and which has not previously
been reported prepared intelligence reports on Iraq in English
(not Hebrew) and forwarded them to the Office of Special Plans.
It was created in Sharon's office, not inside Israel's Mossad
intelligence service, because the Mossad which prides itself
on extreme professionalism had views closer to the CIA's,
not the Pentagon's, on Iraq. This secretive unit, and not
the Mossad, may well have been the source of the forged documents
purporting to show that Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake
uranium for weapons from Niger in West Africa, according to
the former official."
could be plainer?
war has, from the beginning, been a war for Israel's sake.
In spite of the President's rather comic bookish scenario
of unmanned drones catching NORAD
unawares, Saddam's WMD, if they ever existed, never represented
a credible threat to the U.S. Our massive and ongoing projection
of military power in the region is clearly meant to secure
some breathing space for our beleaguered ally.
the idea of a war launched in order to divert the Intifada
away from Israel and toward ourselves would have been a hard
to Jerry Falwell and his dispensationalist flock. What
amounted to a covert operation had to be undertaken by the
Israelis, in cooperation with the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Perle
faction in the U.S. government, in order to deceive the American
people – and, apparently, even the White House – into believing
war was necessary and inevitable.
ignoring the other factors that went into the making of this
fateful war, it seems clear that Israel and its American amen
corner were chiefly responsible for taking active measures
that led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Niger
uranium story is but a single thread in the mosaic of lies.
If we go down the trail of deception, however, from the White
House to the Defense Department to the Office of Special Plans
– we'll find the same liars at the end of the road.
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