September 04, 2003

Bush Was All Too Willing to Use Emigres' Lies

"American soldiers standing guard over the White House's imperial ambitions — a new Middle East as linchpin to a new world order — are now being shot like fish in a barrel...Shame on congressional Democrats, especially those running for president, who went along with this disgusting charade."
Bush Was All Too Willing to Use Emigres' Lies
Robert Scheer
Los Angeles Times

Tuesday 02 September 2003

American experts urged the White House to be
skeptical, but they hit a stone wall.

Oops. There are no weapons of mass destruction
after all. That's the emerging consensus of the second
team of weapons sleuths commanded by the U.S. in Iraq,
as reported last week in the Los Angeles Times. The
1,400-member Iraq Survey Group found what the first
wave of U.S. military experts and the United Nations
inspectors before them discovered — nada.

Nothing, not a vial of the 38,000 liters of
botulinum toxin or the 25,000 liters of anthrax or an
ounce of the materials for the 500 tons of sarin,
mustard and VX nerve agent claimed by George W. Bush
in his State of the Union speech as justification for
war. Nor any sign of the advanced nuclear weapons
program, a claim based on a now-admitted forgery. Nor
has anyone produced any evidence of ties between the
deposed Hussein regime and the Al Qaeda terrorists
responsible for 9/11.

The entire adventure was an immense fraud.
"We were prisoners of our own beliefs," a senior
U.S. weapons expert who worked with the Iraq Survey
Group told The Times. "We said Saddam Hussein was a
master of denial and deception. Then when we couldn't
find anything, we said that proved it, instead of
questioning our own assumptions."

How distressing that it turns out to be Bush,
leader of the world's greatest democracy, who is the
true master of denial and deception, rather than
Hussein, who proved to be a paper tiger. Bush is such
a master at deceiving the American public that even
now he is not threatened with the prospect of
impeachment or any serious congressional investigation
into the possibility that he led this nation into war
with lies.

But lie he did, at the very least in the crucial
matter of pushing secret evidence that even a
president of his limited experience had to know was so
flimsy as to not be evidence at all. U.S. intelligence
officials now say the administration was lied to by
Iraqi émigrés.

That excuse for the U.S. intelligence failure in
Iraq would be laughable were the circumstances not so
appalling. It means Bush ignored all the cautions of
career diplomats and intelligence experts in every
branch of the U.S. government over the unsubstantiated
word of Iraqi renegades.

Clearly, the administration, from the president
on down, did not want expert advice and intelligence
that would have undermined its excuse for invading
Iraq. This was a shell game from beginning to end in
which Americans' legitimate fear of terrorism after
Sept. 11 was almost immediately and cynically
exploited by the neoconservative gang that runs U.S.
foreign policy.

American soldiers standing guard over the White
House's imperial ambitions — a new Middle East as
linchpin to a new world order — are now being shot
like fish in a barrel. Had Congress dared question
Bush's claim of an immediate Iraqi military threat,
there would have been no excuse for invasion. But
Congress is kept on a tight leash by Republican
leaders, subverting its basic role as a check and
balance on executive power. Shame on congressional
Democrats, especially those running for president, who
went along with this disgusting charade.

In the disarray and dissolution of the U.S. role
as leader of the free world, we sadly witness
America's pathetic and isolated effort to rule Iraq
with some of the same émigrés who deceived us with the
false information that led us into a war that suited
their ambitions.

One of those Iraqi exile leaders who clearly
misled the U.S., Ahmad Chalabi, is now a senior figure
in the fig-leaf Iraqi shadow government in
U.S.-colonized Baghdad. Chalabi is a fugitive from
Jordan, where he was convicted of major financial
fraud, and he has no real base of support in Iraq. But
Bush still backs him, trafficking all too easily with
a liar who tells him what he wants to hear.

The British public, raised on a higher standard
of official honesty, is properly shocked. Prime
Minister Tony Blair is in deep trouble as Parliament
and a high judge are embarked on a truth-finding
investigation into their government's rationale
regarding the reasons for war. On Friday, Blair's
media spokesman, Alistair Campbell, accused by the BBC
of "sexing up" the intelligence data used to justify
going to war with Iraq, suddenly resigned.

The Brits don't like being fooled. That's not the
case in the United States, where for too many pundits
and politicians, accepting official mendacity has
become a mark of political sophistication.

More American soldiers have died since Bush
declared the war over than during the war itself. This
misadventure is costing nearly $4 billion a month just
for the troops, and billions more for reconstruction
by U.S. companies like Dick Cheney's old firm
Halliburton. But too many Americans betray the proud
tradition of an independent citizenry by buying into
the "aw shucks" irresponsibility of a president who
daily does a grave injustice to the awesome
obligations of the office that he has sworn — in the
name of God, no less — to uphold.


Posted by richard at September 4, 2003 01:27 PM