us into war – and now they're lying about the
lies. Yes, my friends, it's come to this. Having
exhausted, for the moment , their supply of fabrications,
the War Party is now rationalizing – in effect, recycling
previously exposed lies. The Guardian reports:
officials are circulating a story that Saddam Hussein may
have been hoodwinked into believing that Iraq really did possess
weapons of mass destruction. The theory, which is doing the
rounds in the upper reaches of Whitehall, is the result of
an attempt to find what one official source called a 'logical
reason' why no chemical and biological weapons had been found
reasons for the apparent absence of WMD in Iraq – that they
never existed in the first place, or else were destroyed after
Gulf War I, as Hans
Blix and Scott Ritter aver –
are completely inadmissible, but logic has little to do with
it. My theory that the 9/11
terrorist attacks ripped a hole in the space-time continuum
and fundamentally altered the laws of nature, and the structure
of the human mind is here, I fear, proved all too true.
In the upside-down
world we're living in, only illogic can help us
idea, according to British officials, is that Saddam had his
scientists and second tier military leaders so cowed that
they vied with each other in exaggerating their achievements
and capabilities. In a modern-day version of "The
Emperor's New Clothes," the Iraqi dictator's obsequious
subordinates assured him of his military prowess when in reality
there was nothing there. Unfortunately for British intelligence,
their sources of information were supposedly all in Saddam's
inner circle, while it was the second and third-tier apparatchiks
who authored the deception. We are asked to believe that the
effects of this massive and longstanding charade rippled outward,
reaching all the way to London and Washington.
aside the impossibility of maintaining such a large-scale
deception, involving thousands of people over an extended
period of time, one has to agree with former UN weapons inspector
David Albright, who now heads the Washington-based Institute
for Science and International Security, cited by the Guardian
as arguing that "the system in which those scientists worked
was guaranteed to produce misleading information. 'Scientists
would hoodwink their own bosses with all sorts of exaggerations
of their achievements.'"
systems break down because they are based on lies, but the
same principle applies to … us.
manufacturing the case for war, the neoconservatives in the top
echelons of the Defense Department set up their own parallel
intelligence apparatus, as Seymour Hersh,
Jim Lobe, Robert Dreyfuss,
and Julian Borger
have reported, devoted to churning out war propaganda rather
objective analysis. Rather than discover the facts, the "Office
of Special Plans" and Vice President Cheney's staff "cherry-picked"
data to suit their agenda.
Karen Kwiatkowski details in her multi-part account of
life inside the Pentagon's policy bunker during the run-up
to war, the system in which OSP chief Abram Shulsky
and his policy shop worked was guaranteed to produce misleading
information. It was created for that purpose.
isn't the only ruler with self-serving and disloyal subordinates.
After all, somebody hookwinked a clueless President
outright lies based on a forgery in his State of the
millions marched against war, the neocons whispered in the
presidential ear, reassuring him that they had the goods on
Iraq. Thousands of troops – who might have been used to keep
order were diverted
to the task of finding the missing WMD – and retroactively
justifying the invasion. While looters carried
away the ancient treasures
of Iraq's museums, and much else,
the WMD-hunters came up empty-handed. Leaving
our empty-headed President, pressed by Dianne Sawyer on the
question of WMD as hard fact rather than mere possibility,
to blurt out his essential indifference to the truth:
"So what's the
liars who rule us
have taken their art to a whole new level. Truth, falsehood,
it's all the same to this White House. Denying everything,
conceding nothing, when caught in a lie they brush it off
as irrelevant. This kind of brazen arrogance, combined with
such power, has no real precedent in world history: not even
the maddest of the Roman emperors, who claimed to be divine,
exhibited such a lordly disdain for truth.
Greeks had a word for the illness that afflicts the warlords
of Washington: they called it hubris.
This sin was always punished by the gods, who struck
down the offender in his tracks: but instead of a bolt of
lightning, divine blowback aimed at the Bush administration
may come in the form of a Special
Prosecutor by the name of Patrick J. Fitzgerald.
His appointment by the Justice Department to look into the
matter of who outed CIA agent Valerie
Plame to columnist Bob Novak may teach this administration
the meaning of humility, a word often used by candidate Bush
in speaking about his foreign policy views. My prediction
for the new year: the Fitzgerald appointment will reacquaint
him with this virtue.
is the wife of Joseph
C. Wilson, a former diplomat, who believes her name was
leaked in retaliation for his statements
that the administration hyped phony "intelligence" on Iraq's
nuclear capability to bolster the case for war.
Plame disappeared beneath the media's radar for what seemed
like an awfully long time, but has now resurfaced with a vengeance.
The trail leading to the leaker could take us to the office
of the Vice President – or higher.
importantly, the investigation into the attempt to discredit
Ambassador Wilson could well unearth a number of other crimes
committed by over-zealous officials who sought to make the
case for war. Wilson's allegations about the hyping of Iraq's
allegedly active nuclear program were validated by the provenance
of the "evidence" – documents that turned out to be crude
forgeries. Perhaps now we'll find out who lied to George
W. Bush and told him that Saddam had procured uranium in the
African nation of Niger – an allegation that somehow made
it into the President's 2002 State of the Union address.
can hardly wait to see if my
own hunch is proved correct.
matter what direction the investigation takes, one thing seems
increasingly likely, if not certain, as far as the Bush White
House is concerned: the Plame quagmire will soon come to mirror
and exacerbate the one that ensnared them in the Middle East.
was a bad year for the truth. Perhaps, with a bit of luck,
2004 will be a lot better.
IN THE MARGIN
got a few complaints about the rather startling ad – hey,
I thought it up myself! – that we ran at the top of the front
page advertising my latest book. Yes, I have to admit that
it was a little much. But, you know what? The
Terror Enigma was up to 703 on Amazon.com for a while,
and stayed above 1000 as long as we kept the ad up. When we
took it down, the book plummeted to below 10,000. Are you
happy now, all you malcontents out there?
I understand and sympathize with the criticisms, but I must
respectfully disagree. I don't mind a little drama in the
service of getting the truth out there. (And I might add that
Malcom Garris, our intrepid illustrator, did a great job of
putting the ad together.) If that's what I have to do in order
to draw attention to the facts surrounding 9/11, then so be
it. The Bad Guys are doing a lot worse.
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