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Posted July 22, 2003

Regarding "Wolfowitz Committee Told White House to Hype Dubious Uranium Claims" by Jason Leopold:

According to Robert Dreyfuss writing in the July 7th issue of The Nation ["More Missing Intelligence"], a secret unit was established last year in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that fed information to the Department of Defense's Office of Special Plans. Dreyfuss specifically mentions that the Israeli unit could have been the source of the forged documents about the supposed purchase of uranium by Iraq from Niger.

Why doesn't your article today even mention this Israeli unit? You are putting all the blame on Chalabi for the misinformation and not even mentioning the other likely source.

~ Daniel O'Connor

Jason Leopold replies:

You make a good point, however, my investigative work on the issue does not suggest that Israel had anything to do with supplying the US or Britain or even the OSP with this intelligence.

It should be of little surprise to those Americans who carefully watched the Iraq debacle unfold. Educated people could never digest the facts as they were presented and logically conclude that it was in America's best interest to make war half way around the world.

Unfortunately the non-thinking majority of Americans listen to biased talking heads, the biased national news and use blind flag-waving patriotism as a way to make the rest of us think all we need to do is Support our Troops and everything will be OK. We should collectively all be ashamed. American's lost their lives supporting policies formed from blatant lies and deception right from the start. It is way past time for us all to rise up and demand a full outright investigation. Not by the Congress but by an independent group who can have the power to turn over every last bit of evidence to fully expose the truth.

I have lost whatever faith I had left in the democratic process and we either turn things around now or our country as it was conceived is doomed.

~ Dr. A., San Clemente, California

Great article. Timely. Anyone who has followed this story knows that the likely source that promoted the Uranium story is the Office of Special Plans, created by Rumsfeld, headed by Wolfowitz and with the full backing of Cheney and Bush. The important thing is to get this story into the mainstream national media (CNN, Washington Post etc.). If this story gets there, Bush is in big trouble.

You also need to look at when the President knew about this claim and also whether he was informed about the CIA's objections to including the uranium allegation in the Cincinnati speech in October. If he did, then the American people will likely see the State of the Union speech quite differently. They will believe that Bush intentionally misled them or even lied.

~ Ravi Mahalingam


Nathan Higgins: I frequent your site regularly, and although I disagree with much of what is said and what is linked to, I am a libertarian and can appreciate much of the analysis that is done here. I'll not go on a tirade about my view, I simply have one request. The whole "Niger-gate" issue is being blown out of proportion and distorted to the utmost.

A good analysis of what is going on in the media regarding this can be found here. If you would read that article, and consider what it's saying, all of which is basically irrefutable.

Associate Editor Mike Ewens: What is "irrefutable" about the article you cite? Was the evidence used to support the Niger claim not a forgery? All parties agree that it was. Bush said:

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

From: "Anatomy of a Lie," by Paul Sperry,

"Yet a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's banned weapons programs cast doubt on the uranium claim last October – just months before the speech. In the high-level secret report, which went to Rice, the CIA said it couldn't confirm any African link to Iraq involving uranium sales, let alone the alleged Niger one. And the State Department called the claim 'highly dubious.' ...

"Truth is, Tenet thought so little of the uranium story that he personally got Rice's deputy to yank it from Bush's October speech on Iraq in Cincinnati. And he never once used it in any of his congressional testimonies or public statements prior to the State of the Union.

"Neither did Secretary of State Colin Powell. In fact, he chose not to use it in his own speech to the U.N. eight days after the State of the Union."

The article you cite whines about how the big bad media is printing headlines that Newsmax doesn't agree with.... sounds very similar to the Left complaining about the "conservative" media covering Bush's... rear... throughout the war; ignoring important issues and news pieces. Simply, these are not what one would call "arguments."

NH: The constant din of criticism over the Niger uranium issue that you link on your site is ridiculous considering how badly this entire issue has been distorted. Bush did not, in his state of the union address, claim that Hussein had purchased uranium from Niger, he simply said the the British, not the Americans, had intelligence that showed that Iraq had attempted recently to purchase uranium.

You are probably aware of that, however, your coverage of the issue tends to suggest otherwise. If you are aware of that fact, you are guilty of distortion, just as you accuse the Bush administration of distortion on this issue.

I'm not an apologist for the Bush administration by any means, but the coverage of this issue has been frighteningly inaccurate within the media. Just wanted to bring that to your attention. I appreciate the work you do.

ME: We at Antiwar.com never cared if Saddam had WMD... there is a little policy called "containment." Honestly, I am surprised that we didn't find anything after the war ended (for we sold Saddam most of his WMDs). Matt Barganier of Antiwar.com wrote:

"Instead of lending undue significance to weapons possession, we must reiterate our original arguments against the war: it didn't serve our national interests, it was immoral, and it could have awful repercussions."

Finally, coming back to Niger-gate.... Presidents (and politicians) always lie... libertarians know this... actually believe it an axiom. If it wasn't the uranium, then it was the aluminum tubes... if not that, how about those drones... the "mobile bio-labs"... etc. Our coverage of the event surrounding "Niger-gate" merely reinforces our suspicions and beliefs of the nature of the State and war. You have yet to demonstrate to me that Bush didn't mislead America. Hence, we are not "distorting" the issue.

Regarding "A Glimmer of Hope?" by Alan Bock:

Regarding your statement "Osama bin Laden didn't talk about Palestine until quite late in the day," are you familiar with this May 1998 interview with Osama Bin Laden where there is significant mention of the US support for Israel and Zionism as a grievance?

~ D. Namee

Alan Bock replies:

I know he didn't become universally notorious until more recently, but I consider 1998 rather late in Osama's terrorist career. Al Qaida was formed in 1988 and exiled to Sudan in 1992. It was accused (though there are still modest questions about just how validly) of attacks against the US and US interests as early as 1993, with the chief grievance being US military forces in Saudi Arabia. As late as 2001-2002 many Palestinians considered Osama's verbal support of the Palestinian cause more opportunistic than principled or long-standing.

Regarding "The 'Necessary' Hegemon Revisited" by Joseph Stromberg:

As a Brit I always relish sharp critiques of the pompous defenses of the White Man's Burden. ... I am particularly concerned that Europeans who dislike US hegemony and, so they think, imperialism in general, are drifting towards trying to construct an alternative EU imperialism – very moral, unlike the grubby and greedy Yanks. So in 20-35 years we will have a genuine Third World War.

Currently, the world media seem to be highlighting the alleged crimes of Aleksandr Lukashenka on the basis of minimal evidence, and the 'world community' seems to be, according to yesterday's BBC World Service ca 1415 hours BST, boycotting Abkhazia because the Abkahazians have dared to reverse Stalin's 1931 annexation of Abkhazia to Georgia (Shevardnadze's Georgia! see www.bhhrg.org for exposés).

Did not the Swedes (and most of the other Scandinavian countries) have a wonderful record of resiling from predatory imperialism to free trade and peaceful coexistence? Can something not be made of this?

~ Ben Cosin

Joseph Stromberg replies:

Thanks for your comments.

The Dutch might be another case like that of the Scandinavians. I'll have to think about all that.

Regarding the Taylor Nelson's letter posted July 15:

"All I have to say is move to a different country, you're not wanted here."

Not wanted by whom? Who died and made you God?

And what standing do you have to disallow the opinions of your fellow citizens? You have a brother over there: great. What the hell are you doing here? Join the Marines and get your ass over to Iraq. There are plenty of jarheads who will be more than happy to rotate out and let you get your ass shot off.

In your conversation with Mike, I didn't see any mention of your military service. What branch, what outfit and what time did you serve?

You didn't serve? Then you have no standing whatsoever to talk about sending somebody else into harm's way.

~ Carter Mitchell (an ex-Marine who opposed the war and opposes the ongoing occupation), Gurnee, Illinois

Regarding "Bogus from the Beginning" by Justin Raimondo:

I find it odd that Justin Raimondo, a self-professed libertarian would seek to defend the radical authoritarianism of Joe McCarthy. McCarthyism represented a fundamentalist crackdown on leftists of all but the most timid persuasions. It was far from an attack on the establishment, and its main achievement was the temporary neutralisation of those radical forces who might seriously have challenged the status quo – not just Stalinists, every kind of radical or militant. Just because Raimondo is on the right, I would not expect him to favour the expansion of state authority to include informants ratting out people to get them blacklisted, public interrogations, intimidation and bullying of witnesses.

As a libertarian of the left, I was emphatically opposed to the government murders of radical rightists and the firebombing of David Koresh's compound in Waco, just as I opposed the murders of the followers on John Africa. In the same sense, when Raimondo complains about the authoritarian measures in the PATRIOT Act and moves to create "one million busybodies", shouldn't he have the humility to recognise that such oppressive measures aimed at the left should also have been opposed?

If not, it's hard to see how one can seriously credit him as a libertarian.

~ Richard Seymour, London, England

Regarding DJ Gapp's letter posted July 15:

"Like the fact that if brave men and women had not gone to WAR with England between the years of 1775 to 1781, then you would not be able to have your stupid web site right now."

Odd, I could have sworn the UK, Australia and Canada have freedom of speech and they never fought a war with England. In fact, the Constitution mostly enshrined the rights of Englishmen as they were understood at the time (with a few innovations of course.) The US would probably have about the same number of freedoms, practically speaking, as it has now with or without the War of Independence.

~ John Purdy

Regarding "Top US General in Iraq to Soldiers: Shut Up!" by Mike Ewens:

Gee I thought one of the reasons we had an army was to defend the Constitution of the United States of America. So having freedom of speech seems like something someone DEFENDING the constitution with their life ought to have. Funny that General Abizaid would say that. Just the other day just after Rumsfeld said that our troops in Iraq were NOT facing guerilla warfare, General Abizaid said that we are guerilla warfare. I guess freedom of speech only applies to Generals, not the soldiers.

Funny too during the Clinton years, I heard lots of people in service criticize the president, and I never heard a general order them to shut up.

~ Wade Kane, Chinook crewchief/ door gunner, A co 228th ASHB, 1st Air Cav, June 67-June 68

For real fun reading for the summer you could have your following (or the soldiers in Iraq) perform these two Google searches and visit the Web sites that pop up:

1 – "Prescott Bush", and
2 – "Carlyle Group" ...

Here are some more Google searches that may interest your readers (and the soldiers in Iraq):

3 – Iraq chemical weapons Britain,
4 – Iraq chemical weapons Winston Churchill,
5 – Iraq chemical weapons United States, and
6 – CIA overthrow governments. ...

Assuming that only 1% of the Web sites found are true, this sure beats American intelligence of three independent sources! ...

~ Ron Brown

First, I don't think this Nation had any business in Iraq.

Second, I am a 1964 length of service military retiree who was BETRAYED by this government along with 432,000 other military retirees back in the mid-1960s after we had done our time for retirement. The government changed a 170-year old law regarding how retired pay would be paid in the future.

As one of less than 30,000 still surviving we have endued a pay discrimination of at least 1/4 less pay per month. I have endured this discrimination along with my wife for over 39 years.

Medicare did now even exist when I retired, but I knew that I had "earned" lifelong health care on the low draft-era pay. The government took this away from us also.

In my day it took at least 40 days for a message from my mother or vice versa to be consummated. No instant messages. All we ate was C Rations and corned beef.

These troopers are being well paid for the mission that the president has levied on them.

~ W.D. Gray, Illinois

The concept that members of a democratic nation's armed forces are somehow deprived of their superior (to any military regulation) Constitutional Rights including free speech is totally a farce.

Should General Abizaid (or other persons) seriously consider any punishment for exercising free speech, those persons should resign or be removed from office. Efforts to muzzle citizen-soldiers' Constitutional rights serve merely to mislead, conceal and deceive the citizenship of their greater right to be fully informed.

General MacArthur was punished, when he publicly disagreed with President Truman, by being removed from command and the Korean conflict.

If General Abizaid wishes to sanitize the truth, I am sure any citizen soldier (who disagreed with the 'approved view') would gladly accept removal from the conflict and dismissal from the service.

~ David Keeler, Gilbert, Arizona

I am a Canadian British citizen who was director of a Military Family Resource centre it seems to me that the US who is supposed to be a democracy with free speech is becoming more of a Bush dictatorship every day. The lies out of the Bush administration, and us supposed to believe them is an insult to my intelligence.

~ Colleen Gagnon

Why am I not surprised? As an army veteran I can remember being told the same thing in Vietnam: "Ours is not to question, but to do as we are told". One little rub in that statement: sometimes the big brass needs to know how the common soldier feels, I believe we call it morale. I would remind the new commander of the Iraq forces: You don't demand respect, that respect must earned by the way you command, that includes not only military but civilian leaders.

~ Gary Brown

I think it would be useful to support our troops on the ability to express their concerns. They keep calling for people to "support the troops", so lets support them.

~ Frances Lynch

Regarding "The Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions" by Jason Leopold:

Like the recall procedure currently in place in California, impeachment was intended to protect us against abuses of power, but it has turned into part of the problem. Impeachment has nothing to do with law, just politics. No President has ever been impeached for a sound reason, which is why neither of the two impeached Presidents were convicted and removed from office.

Defying a law which would have denied the President the power to fire his own employees, as Andrew Johnson did, and lying to a special prosecutor exceeding his authority by poking into the President's love life, as Clinton, are simply not good reasons for impeachment. That they were impeached anyway tells us that in practice only petty, mean and power-hungry Congressmen ever seriously consider impeachment in the first place.

Every President who has taken America to war since 1945 should have been impeached for that reason alone, and the current Congress should have been forced to resign for not insisting on a declaration of war on Iraq. If FDR had to ask Congress for a declaration of war on Japan, then there's no excuse for treating Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution like it's not even a binding law on this land. We will never get a President impeached for a sound reason until we stop electing bad people to public office in this country.

~ Ted Seals, Citizen

Regarding "Tony Blair Polling Well in Hell's Eighth Circle" by Matthew Barganier:

Thanks for directing me to the "Thank You, Tony!" website in your article.

I believe that you should always take advantage of these great opportunities. Here's what I sent:

"You must find it regrettable that all of the false, dishonest shenanigans that you perpetrated upon the public are now being exposed.

"Both you and Bush lied to get support for the war, and, amazingly, both the US and the UK still have enough independent media sources to challenge your mendacity.

"And, worst of all, your lies to start the war are now becoming your lies to perpetuate the war. Almost daily, I encounter extremely disturbing news about more dead and wounded soldiers.

"Invariably, egotists like you get into situations beyond your capabilities. Sadly, in this instance, innocent Americans, Britons and Iraqis are dying as a result."

~ Richard Estes, Davis, California

No thanks we don't won't him. Maybe you could auctioned Tony and get some compensation for damage he inflicted on UK.

~ Jana Skopec, Australia

Regarding "We've Been Neo-Conned" by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX):

Great thinking and effort.

As a liberal I was hoping a true conservative would speak out. I could see how a real conservative could support the current people in the administration and their policies. I truly believe as you do that the course we are now on will eventually be our downfall, both economically and lost of our precious freedoms. I felt the tax cuts did not benefit anyone in the middle or lower classes, only the big guys. It was an irresponsible act, deficits of the current size cannot continue, Congress never should have given in!

Keep trying from your conservative position to change our government and I will work from my liberal position too. Maybe together we can stop this carnage. I certainly don't want to see endless war ... and definitely do not want to see a continued erosion of my civil liberties.

~ Greg Winner

Regarding "Howard Dean? Antiwar!?" by Anthony Gancarski:

I want to comment on Gancarski's piece. I liked his Ann Coulter story and other recent pieces. I think that he's wrong about Dean, wrong about Liberia and wrong about Hillary Clinton. I've given money to MoveOn, Dean and Antiwar.com (small sums). I like Antiwar.com although I often disagree with details of what you say.

1. Why does AG begin by stressing Howard Dean's height? Does he think that the Presidency is a beauty contest? If so, maybe John Edwards is his man.

Yes, Dean has been the governor of a small state, and few people are familiar with his record in office. That of course will be rectified by January 1; every minor speech that he ever made will be scrutinized.

The Bush campaign may finance ads against Dean in the early primaries, just like California Governor Gray (such an apt first name) Davis targeted Dick Riordan in the Republican primaries. There's no smoking gun to be found; the fact that Dean has been mostly a fiscal conservative will help him. Calling him a tax and spend liberal won't fit with the facts. Some Muslims worry about him; I personally wish that he were less cozy with AIPAC. I favor a pro-Israel but anti-Sharon approach. I feel that Arafat and Sharon have been major obstacles to any Israeli-Palestinian settlement. Gancarski seems to be asking for Edward Said or Noam Chomsky, who between them can get 0.25% of Democratic votes. Dennis Kucinich would be acceptable to me. However, I don't see him winning the presidential nomination.

It's urgent to get Bush, Delay and Frist out of power. By 2008 they can put 3 more Scalias on the Supreme Court. I can't see Kerry or Gephardt leading a successful campaign – if they come down hard on these bogus Iraq claims, they get the question, "why did you vote to allow him free rein in Iraq?"

Dean is believable. The fact that he's short and not a glamor guy goes with his straight-talking persona. He's not without sex appeal – many have remarked on the similarities between Dean and Josiah Bartlett. West Wing and Martin Sheen may help to cancel out the talk radio bile. Dean resembles Jimmy Carter who fought with the Democratic Party, and relied too much on Georgians. You say that Karl Rove wants Dean to be the nominee. So what?

Many Democrats thought that Bush would be easier to beat than McCain – they couldn't convince enough people to bother to vote, and that's likely to happen with the obvious alternatives to Dean. A left wing firebrand won't bring out the Black and Latin voters that we need. Dean is not a one-issue candidate, like George McGovern. Most of us who support him now were attracted by the combination of a believable forceful-speaking person who opposed the war and wasn't afraid to attack Bush personally. By year's end, Dean will have more money and more focus on the economy. He will lose some one issue people, but I think people who begin to believe that Bush can be voted out will outnumber them.

2. Liberia is a small country, without oil or strategic value. The US is historically tied to Liberia, more than any other African country. There is far more misery and suffering in the Congo and indeed tremendous suffering all over Africa. I think that AG doesn't want American troops sent anywhere.

I absolutely don't want them sent to Iran, and will stop supporting Dean if he goes along with any kind of US invasion of Iran, under any pretext. A few thousand Marines can help in a big way because this is a small country – a few thousand marines in the Congo would soon become 25,000. Dean could develop a speech for African-American audiences built around modest numbers of American troops in Liberia, real medical aid (Bush's promises for AIDS funds won't be activated until next summer, when the election campaign is active) coupled with insistence that Charles Taylor be turned over to the International criminal Court. The Bush/ Republican resistance to the International criminal Court is based on their idea that the US must have troops all over the world, and indifference to the local anger that this provokes, as in Okinawa. I say shrink our overseas forces and Pentagon budget, help the Liberians, and help Latin America.

3. Hillary Clinton is a lightning rod. About 20% of Democrats really love her but she gets no crossover votes. Hatred of the Clintons is pervasive in the Middle West, South and mountain states. I couldn't support Clinton or Gore under any circumstance; that's how most of my friends feel – even less inclined to support Hillary than Joe Lieberman. Terry McAuliffe owes his position to the Clintons, and might support Hillary as a late candidate, but that will go nowhere. She has more negatives than Newt Gingrich. If AG wants to worry about a Clinton candidacy, that's fine, but he might think about how a Pat Buchanan candidacy could undercut Bush. Pat just needs a few people to say, "Bush is crossing the Rubicon".

~ Bob Snodgrass, Pasadena, California

Anthony Gancarski replies:

1. I understand that a lot of the Dean support is sincere. I bring up his height not to disparage him, but as an allusion to the historical tendency among Americans to vote for tall men. I see him as an AIPAC candidate, and the next months will bear that position out or cause me to rethink my stance. That said, I think he'd say anything to get elected President (as would Kucinich and all the others).

2. Regarding Liberia, Mr. Snodgrass is right: I don't want American troops sent anywhere. Our record since the end of the Cold War of bringing those troops back is a poor one. Clearly, there is a gap between how interventions are sold and how they play out. Until that is resolved, it's hard for me to see taking a more ecumenical position on this issue.

3. HRC is a lightning rod. But she's a lightning rod who will get serious money behind her. She is a winner, and as Richard Daley said in 1968, "I listen when power moves." Hillary is moving, and she has a posse.

Thanks for your comments, Mr. Snodgrass. I would love to see Buchanan run again, but I think that bug's out of his system. And it looks to me as if Ron Paul will stick around in the House, since he's running point on cable news shows about 'getting the US out of the UN, and the UN out of the US'. I've said my share of critical things about the President, but he looks like the best on offer this time around.

Regarding "Who Is Robert Joseph?" by Justin Raimondo:

You're wonderful. Who needs to read detective novels these days? Just read Cursor! We're getting to know these shady characters that are running the USA today. I'm taking notes, writing down names, and report to people with no access to the Internet.

Hope these idiots fall into their own hole. Too bad so many people in the world have to suffer because of them, and not to forget that we all contribute to this with our complacency and ignorance. Your article helps to relieve a bit of this ignorance.

What becomes more and more apparent as you look into the shadows is the influence of the pro-Israel lobby. I loathe to say it, but as the Israeli writer Israel Shamir writes: "There is an elephant in the living room."

The truth always remains the truth, under all the lies upon lies. This I hang onto, and the simple words of the Lord's prayer. "....Thy kingdom come...." Even the idiot fundamentalists can't spoil it.

~ Astrid Watanabe, Hawaii

Isn't it true that the "yellow cake" purchase by Iraq, that Mr. Blair spoke of in his press interview, was approved of by the Reagan/ Bush team? Isn't it also true that these same Neo-cons were operative within that administration? Doesn't it appear rather like a set up to help supply a leader (or country) with dangerous weapons, then use the possession of those very weapons as justification for preemptive war against that country?

We are being played for fools and our youth used as fodder by these corporate terrorists that have a strangle hold on the American government. If there is truly such a thing as American justice, then Guantanamo Bay will open it's doors to a new group of terrorists, leaving plenty of job openings in Washington, DC!

~ Dennis Cox, Shelton, Washington

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