- "Of course, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia paid the bill
for daddy's war. But even on that count, many neo-cons were certain that
a grateful Iraq - under American administration - would be more than happy
to reimburse the United States on some kind of 'oil-for-invasion' program."
- "Iraq had no stockpile, no biological agents, no
chemical feedstocks, no plants to manufacture them and no delivery systems
to fire them. Saddam was no threat to us and had no weapons of mass destruction
to pass to terrorists. Brushing the UN inspectors aside in order to go
to war on false intelligence was a colossal blunder."
- -- Robin Cook, the British Foreign Minister who resigned
to protest the Iraq war
- No WMDs. No 9/11 link. No imminent threat. No intelligence
failure. Just well orchestrated lies to market a war based on manufactured
- How many "gotcha" articles have you read lately?
Unless you've spent the last year on Gilligan's island - it should now
be clear that Bush lied. Unfortunately, a lot of people who 'get it' are
missing the point. The question is no longer whether Bush lied but so what
if he did. It's no longer matter of whether we should trust the president.
Rather, the emphasis should be on how Bush dodged his WMD credibility problem
and whether he used public funds in the process.
- Charitable folks are still inclined to believe that Bush
lied only to protect the great unwashed from dealing with imperial realities.
As Irving Kristol, the godfather of the neo-cons, would say 'There are
different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths
appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths
that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate
for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set
of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't
- Listen up, children. If the President is guilty of anything
- it is faulty judgment. He just made a bad call based on his best instincts
and faulty risk/reward calculations tabulated by the CIA. He meant no harm
to the empire and he is in no position to turn back the clock.
- That above line of reasoning depends entirely on the
proposition that there was an 'intelligence failure' - not an 'intelligence
fix'. That proposition was blown out of the water with the recent publication
of a pre-invasion British memo that clearly establishes that 'the intelligence
and facts were being fixed around the policy.'
- This could be the start of a very messy affair. Rep.
John Conyers and 87 other members of Congress are already demanding answers
from the White House. If this story takes its natural course, we are about
to discover that Bush not only lied about the WMDs, not only fixed intelligence
but also misappropriated public funds to cover up his lie and pass it off
as an 'intelligence failure'. In the process, revelations of great import
are going to become part of the public record. Get ready for some startling
headlines about the role of the mass media in both fixing intelligence
and the subsequent cover-up. Prepare yourself for a long parade of complicit
politicians from both major parties knee deep in the muck of bamboozling
the American people. Bush's conspiracy was not the work of one man or one
party or one paper. This was a family affair.
- The makings of this conspiracy started with a faith based
foreign policy outlook that projected a short 'cake walk' in Iraq followed
by a triumphant victory parade that would drown out any further discussion
of the phantom WMD stockpiles. Invading Iraq was expected to be a brief
and inexpensive project in terms of both blood and treasure. The architects
of the war were certain that the outcome would dazzle all the cynics who
doubted the invincibility of the indispensable nation.
- For starters, Bush was counting on an operation that
ran up a leaner tab than his father's Gulf war. Mitch Daniels - the director
of the White House Office of Management and Budget - forecast a total cost
of 'between $50 billion and $60 billion' for the entire quagmire. Bush
got similar estimates from Dov Zakheim, the Comptroller of the Defense
Department. By comparison, the bill for the first Gulf War in 1991 was
$80 billion in inflation adjusted dollars.
- Of course, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia paid the bill for
daddy's war. But even on that count, many neo-cons were certain that a
grateful Iraq - under American administration - would be more than happy
to reimburse the United States on some kind of 'oil-for-invasion' program.
- So much for the dollar estimates. One can only speculate
on the Pentagon's worst case scenario for the cost in American lives. They
certainly didn't count on losing over 1,600 soldiers and carrying home
15,000 of their wounded comrades. In all probability, they calculated potential
casualties by looking backwards at recent conflicts in the Balkans, Afghanistan
and the first Gulf war. The war against Serbia resulted in one or two casualties.
Kosovo was probably the first major military encounter in history where
the victor didn't lose a single soldier. As for Afghanistan, the initial
casualty list was 13 American casualties - mostly special forces and CIA
agents. Less than 300 American soldiers and marines gave their lives in
the first Gulf War - when the Iraqi army was reputed to be the fourth largest
military in the world.
- It is often said that generals plan for the last war.
So, based on recent conflicts, how many men did the Pentagon expect to
lose? That remains an official secret. An intelligent guess would be less
than 150 - half of them lost to accidents and friendly fire. As for Iraqi
lives, the Pentagon continues to maintain that they 'don't do body counts.'
If they can't be bothered to keep a tally of actual verifiable Iraqi victims
- it follows that no estimates of potential Iraqi casualties were made
before unleashing the 'shock and awe' campaign.
- So, when the president stood under the 'mission accomplished'
sign and declared an end to major hostilities, he had every reason to gloat.
American troops had suffered 137 casualties and Baghdad had capitulated
with hardly a shot fired. Up to that point, his calculations were right
and most Americans lined up to march in his victory parade.
- It's hard to imagine that the existence or non-existence
of WMDs would have remained an issue if the war had really ended on 5/01/2003.
And that's exactly what Bush was counting on. At that point, who bothered
to notice that Saddam had no links to Osama Bin Laden? In the American
press, even anti-war skeptics succumbed to truimphalism and began publishing
their Mea Culpas and anointing Bush as a worthy reincarnation of Churchill.
- An aura of invincibility surrounded the president as
he delivered his V-day speech on board the Abraham Lincoln. At that precise
moment in the Iraq saga, few Americans doubted that the president was on
the right side of history. Fewer still ventured to ask why Saddam didn't
use his non-existent WMDs when his capital was under siege. After all,
wasn't he the same evil fella who was poised to attack major American cities
with his fictional but deadly arsenal of inter-continental anthrax missiles?
Hadn't Tony Blair warned his British subjects that England could potentially
come under attack in 45 minutes?
- Yet, in the chaos that followed the fall of Baghdad,
there was a curious lack of concern in Washington and London about Saddam's
fictional lethal arsenal. Couldn't they have fallen in the wrong hands?
Why didn't Bush or Rumsfeld seem worried?
- For those eccentric souls who continued to pay attention
to the missing WMDs, there were early hints that the administration had
told a big fib. A month after Bush told an ecstatic nation that the war
was over, Lt. General James Conway confessed that 'It was a surprise to
me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered weapons.
We were simply wrong.' Conway was the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary
Force. He honestly believed he was on a mission to protect the United States
from imminent danger. Because of the 9/11 atrocity, many zealous young
marines under Conway's command marched into battle with vengeance in their
heart - certain that Saddam had planned the assault on the WTC and the
- It is not clear if Conway was taken in by the preposterous
notion that Saddam had links to Al Qaeda. But he obviously fell for the
neo-con WMD hoax.
- Conway was not alone. Many other senior officials were
also victims of the WMD scam. An elaborate campaign of mass deception involving
neo-con operatives in the Office of Special Plans and Judith Miller clones
in the mass media had pretty much convinced the nation that the administration
had concrete evidence to back up its WMD claims.
- Individual experts like Hans Blix and Scott Ritter, both
seasoned UN weapons inspectors, tried in vain to contradict the prevailing
conventional wisdom. For their efforts, they were publicly defamed. Honorable
men like Robin Cook made valiant attempts to alert the public to the WMD
hoax. But even now - after their assessments have proven correct - their
voices are still muzzled. Instead, the 'experts' from the neo-con think
tanks that sold the war are still paraded before CNN and FOX cameras to
market more jingoistic mass media junk food.
- In fact, the WMD hoax was so successful that many Americans
continue to believe that chemical stockpiles have already been located.
On the same day that General Conway confessed he was baffled by the absence
of WMDs, George Bush was assuring the public that 'those who say we haven't
found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong,
we found them.'
- These days, the administration rarely mentions WMDs.
The new lie is that we launched the war as a noble mission to promote democracy
in the Middle East and far off lands like Uzbekistan. Apparently, we invaded
Iraq from American bases in Kuwait to set up a 'democratic model' in Baghdad
to convince the Emir of Kuwait to allow his female subjects to vote in
sham elections for a rubber stamp parliament.
- Confused? Here is more of this 'democratic wave' nonsense.
According to Bush, the Iraqi democratic experience was instrumental in
convincing our Saudi allies that the time was ripe to experiment with a
few municipal elections - where only men can vote for half the council
seats. Had it not been for George's war, the male citizens of Saudi Arabia
could never have dreamed of having half a say in how their garbage is collected.
- Now, a few simpletons might be tempted to ask why we
didn't set up a 'democratic model' in Kuwait after we liberated it in 1991.
Simple questions and simple answers are never on the foreign policy menu
- especially when it comes to the Middle East.
- In any case, we need to forget about Bush's latest 'democracy'
distraction and remain focused on the WMD hoax. Before we resume our argument
about whether Bush went to war for oil or whether he was motivated by the
prospect of exporting a few more trillion 'petro-dollars'. Before we pile
up another zillion articles proving that Bush had a secret agenda to make
the 'Greater Middle East' a Disney Land theme park for Ariel Sharon and
to protect the absolute monarchs of the oil plantations. Before we move
on - we need to go back to the WMD scam.
- If the non-existent WMDs were a hoax - then the 'intelligence
failure' was also a scam. Which means all the subsequent investigations
of 'faulty intelligence' were very expensive diversionary tactics. Billions
of dollars were wasted on congressional investigations, independent commissions
and the post-invasion WMD searches conducted by David Kay. If you add it
all up - you come up with a very hefty price tag for what amounts to a
cover-up for the individual acts of a few deceptive and delusional policy
makers. This amounts to a pre-meditated illicit misappropriation of public
funds for the sole benefit of the miscreants who designed the WMD hoax
to launch a disastrous war of choice. In essence, public funds were spent
to protect the individual reputations of civil servants who - at the very
minimum - were already guilty of total incompetence, gross negligence and
- Now, there is nothing illegal about a president getting
the country into a quagmire or making a bad call on issues of war and peace.
- And there is nothing extraordinary about a politician
who shades the truth or has a secret agenda that has nothing to do with
his public pronouncement.
- Lying about WMDs to launch an illegal and unnecessary
war and committing war crimes in the process is par for the course. In
that sense, Iraq is very similar to Vietnam. The WMD hoax is a carbon copy
of the Gulf of Tonkin ruse. Abu Ghraib is no different from the notorious
Tiger Cages. And Fallujah is a repeat of the Christmas bombing of Hanoi.
- Because The United States has a very unique legal system,
no American president has ever paid a price for rotten foreign policy decisions
that result in the slaughter of innocents abroad. Such 'executive misjudgments'
don't even qualify as misdemeanors.
- However, in our glorious litigious past, we have seen
fit to impeach one president on account of a stain on a blue dress and
another one on account of conspiracy to cover-up a third degree burglary
at a posh hotel.
- On balance, though, the American legal system continues
to retain a fair amount of integrity. For example, even George Bush faces
felony charges if he lays his paws on public funds to cover up the tracks
of arrogant, ignorant and delusional policy makers. Consider the fact that
some of these very expensive cover-up activities took place while Bush
was running for re-election. Did Bush 'sex up' his image and dodge his
WMD credibility problems by manufacturing the 'intelligence failure' hoax?
If so, a reasonable case can be made that he used public funds to finance
his re-election campaign.
- It has taken two years to convince a vast majority of
Americans that Iraq had no WMDs. Many of us, perhaps a critical mass, are
now aware that there was an "intelligence fix" - not an "intelligence
failure". That was no mean feat. Had it not been for a few dedicated
alternative journalists who followed this story, the mass media bulldozers
would long ago have shredded the WMD files.
- For good reasons, the main stream press is ignoring the
London memo to make additional room for their latest Michael Jackson scoop.
They are not trying to protect the president - they are just taking care
of business. Let's not forget that the WMD hoax was essentially a propaganda
campaign that would never have succeeded without the able assistance of
key participants at the New York Times and the Washington Post. So, hold
your breath if you expect any assistance from those quarters. By the time
this gets to court, expect to see the fourth estate pleading the fifth.
- This saga still has a few unwritten chapters. We can
and should continue engaging in endless arguments with George Bush and
his partisans about the costs and dubious benefits of his war policies.
It is always worthwhile to have an honest public debate about whether a
chief executive has sound judgment. If he has miscalculated - and he has
- we might get a little satisfaction by proving that Bush doesn't have
a clue about the Middle East.
- But at this point, we ought to get the legal system cranking
to bring justice to those responsible for this 'colossal blunder.' I am
not a lawyer, but all those involved in this conspiracy are well advised
to seek legal counsel. Lying about WMDs and launching a war of choice might
not qualify as a crime. But it's still a felony to misappropriate public
funds to finance an 'intelligence failure' cover-up. I say we sue the bastards.
- By courtesy & © 2005 Ahmed Amr