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June 21, 2005

What Is Bush's Agenda in Iraq?


by Paul Craig Roberts

For what purpose has President Bush sent 1,741 U.S. troops to die in Iraq (as of June 19, 2005)?

For what purpose have 15,000-38,000 U.S. troops been wounded, many so seriously that they are maimed for life?

Why has the U.S. government thrown away $300 billion in an illegal and pointless war that cannot be won?

These questions are beginning to penetrate the consciousness of Americans, a majority of whom no longer support Bush's war.

Bush's Iraq war is the first war for which Americans have not known the reason. The reasons they were given by their president, vice president, secretary of defense, national security adviser, secretary of state, and the sycophantic media were nothing but a pack of lies.

The top-secret British government memos leaked to a reporter at the London Sunday Times make it completely clear that prior to the invasion President Bush knew that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.

The memos make it completely clear that Saddam Hussein had no responsibility whatsoever for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The memos make completely clear that the British government regarded the invasion of Iraq as a war crime. The memos show the British government scrambling to find some way of creating "cover" in order to obfuscate the illegality of the invasion that Prime Minister Tony Blair had promised Bush to support.

One of the cover plans was itself illegal. According to yet another leaked top-secret British memo in the Sunday Times on June 19, Bush decided to sharply increase the U.S. bombings of Iraq in the hopes it would goad Saddam Hussein into a response that could be used as a pretext for invading Iraq.

According to the Sunday Times, the British Foreign Office advised the British Cabinet that legally, "the allies had no power to use military force to put pressure of any kind on the regime."

The Bush administration falsely claimed that the bombing was legal in order to enforce compliance with UN Resolutions 688 and 687. However, the British Foreign Office advised Bush's poodle, Tony Blair, that the American view "is not consistent with resolution 687, which does not deal with the repression of the Iraqi civilian population, or with resolution 688, which was not adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and does not contain any provision for enforcement."

In his June 18 weekly radio address last Saturday, Bush again lied to the American people when he told them that the U.S. was forced into invading Iraq because of the Sept. 11 attack on the WTC. Bush, the greatest disgrace that America has ever had to suffer, actually repeated at this late date the monstrous lie for which he is infamous throughout the world: "We went to war because we were attacked, and we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens."

Whoever the "people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens" might be, they were not Iraqis, at least not until Bush invaded their country, killed tens of thousands and maimed tens of thousands more, detained tens of thousands others, destroyed entire cities, destroyed the country's infrastructure, and created mass unemployment, poverty, pollution, and disease.

The only reason Iraqis want to harm the U.S. is because George W. Bush inflicted, and continues to inflict, tremendous harm on Iraqis.

If the Bush administration has its way, the Iraqi insurgents will be joined by the Iranians, Syrians, Saudis, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Jordanians, and Palestinians. The "people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens" will increase exponentially.

In print and on TV, Bush's neocons have made clear their desire to see the U.S. at war with the entire Muslim world: Today Iraq, tomorrow the Middle East. That the neocons believe the U.S. can win such a war when the U.S. cannot even occupy Baghdad or control the road to the airport indicates a frightening insanity at the center of the Bush administration and a criminal disregard for the lives of Americans and Muslims.

The neocons assured Americans that the war in Iraq would be a cakewalk over in three weeks!

The neocons told us that only 70,000 troops were needed to bring Iraq to heel!

Neocons fired the top generals who had truthfully told Congress that several hundred thousand troops, at least, would be needed!

Neocons told Congress that Iraqi oil would pay for the invasion and that America did not have to worry about the cost! So far, that is a $300 billion mistake.

And Bush has retained and promoted these morons!

No one has been held accountable for this enormous disaster.

How many more American troops are going to be killed and maimed for Bush's lies? How many more Iraqi civilians must be killed, maimed, and locked up?

Bush's Iraq policy is based on lies, and force based on lies cannot bring democracy to Iraq or any other country.

Bush's lies are discrediting and destroying democracy in America. His PATRIOT Act alone has done more damage to Americans' freedom than Osama bin Laden.

Why did Bush invade Iraq? Cynical Americans say the answer is oil. But $300 billion would have bought the oil without getting anyone killed, without destroying America's reputation in the world, and without stirring up countless terrorist recruits for al-Qaeda.

Congress gave Bush the go-ahead for the invasion because Congress trusted Bush and believed his word that Iraq had fearsome weapons that would be unleashed on America unless we preempted Saddam Hussein's attack by striking first. Congress did not give Bush the go-ahead for initiating a war in order to spend hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American lives "building democracy in Iraq."

Will President Bush ever tell us the real reason why he committed America's treasure, the lives of American soldiers, and the reputation of our country to war in Iraq?

Does he even know?


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    Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

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