Charles Krauthammer is a Washington Post contributor awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his “distinguished commentary.” His recent offering, “Calling Iraq’s Bluff,” would be better distinguished as drivel. The title itself says it all. In what way was a disarmed Iraq, dissected by no-fly zones, supposed to be bluffing?
Some attempt had to be made to overcome the reddish glow of neocon embarrassment following weapons inspector David Kay's inescapable admission that there weren't any of the WMD that President George Bush and his cabal insistently pronounced were in Iraq. Krauthammer diverts attention to an assertion about "WMD-related activities." The Bush cabal decided upon an invasion of Iraq not based on "WMD-related activities" but because they claimed to know Iraq had the real WMD and they knew where they are!
Krauthammer’s article is replete with obfuscation and shifting goalposts? The invasion was predicated on the known possession of WMD and not on "U.N.-prohibited and illegally concealed activities." This reasoning applies much more to another renegade Middle East state. Israel is an undeclared nuclear power in serial violation of all kinds of UN Security Council resolutions and the US, and most of the western world by default, pathetically support this racist state spawned from ethnic cleansing and an ongoing slow-motion genocide. Can hypocrisy get much worse?
Then the neocon henchman Krauthammer asks us to suspend skepticism with two erroneous statements. He claims there was an intelligence failure. The politicians are absolved of fault. Oh really! That is why the neocons set up their own intelligence wing -- the Office of Special Plans (OSP)? That is why Vice President Dick Cheney and Congressional has-been Newt Gingrich were repeatedly turning up at the CIA headquarters not so subtly encouraging intelligence reports amenable to the neocon agenda? That is why the OSP relied on Iraqi National Congress members, which the CIA considered to be dubious sources?
Second, are we supposed to believe that the neocons are victims? And more egregiously, victims of that wily fox Saddam Hussein? Is Krauthammer really crediting Hussein with having outfoxed the vaunted US intelligence? (Was it really a spiderhole in which Saddam Hussein was discovered or a foxhole?) For Krauthammer it was all one big bluff game where everybody was bluffing each other. Over 10,000 Iraqi civilians died based on the supposed inability to read Saddam's poker face and the neocon acceptance of flawed intelligence.
In likelihood, Kay has presented a report every bit as deceitful as the Hutton whitewash was for UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. We are asked to trust Kay, who had hitherto insisted on the existence of WMD in Iraq, and disregard the fact that UNSCOM investigator Scott Ritter had been warning ever since UNSCOM was pulled out of Iraq by the US (and not kicked out by Saddam as the mendacious corporate media prefers to report) that Iraq was "fundamentally disarmed." This makes Krauthammer out to be either ignorant or a liar when he states, “When the U.N. inspectors left in 1998, they assumed that the huge stockpiles of unaccounted-for weapons still existed.”
Why should we believe reports carried out by government-appointed flunkies? Heck, Bush even tried to appoint the paragon of impartiality, Henry Kissinger, to initially head the 9-11 inquiry.
Even if “Bush was relying on what the intelligence agencies were telling him,” does that absolve him of responsibility? He self-admittedly dodges reading reports because he avers it is better to get his information from reliable, objective sources. Is he not choosing his own objective sources? If so then where does the buck stop? How many people have to take the fall for Bush? Does he have no responsibility for the team he assembled or the people he keeps in place around him? No heads have fallen for an aggression clearly based on a false pretext. Thousands of people have died for a mistake and the blame is brazenly pushed on the repository-for-all-things-evil-or-untoward: Saddam Hussein. Nevertheless it is easy enough to cook up new post-hoc pretexts and justifications. There is always the fall back of ends-justifying-the-immoral-means.
Krauthammer oleaginously tries to play both sides of the fence. He accuses Saddam of “concealment of both the weapons and their possible destruction.” Which is it? Are there WMD or were they destroyed? Kay has stated that there are none. Krauthammer agrees by calling it a colossal intelligence failure but he tries to keep alive the possibility that they do exist. This is so transparently disingenuous that it is a wonder if he retains an ounce of credibility.
How is Saddam Hussein supposed to prove that missiles that once existed no longer exist? It had already been researched by Ritter’s team and accounted for the inability to categorically state that Iraq was 100% disarmed. Krauthammer offered no solutions to this question.
The commentary only gets worse if one is able to read further. Krauthammer berates Iraq for being unstable when Bush took office. How stable can a country be when it strains under UN sanctions labeled as “genocidal” by UN humanitarian heads who quit in disgust, where reportedly 6000 Iraqis were dying a month, and an outbreak of genetic disorders were reportedly occurring against the backdrop of a depleted uranium-littered landscape?
Krauthammer’s twists the known facts when arguing that the US forces were required in the “garrisoning of Saudi Arabia.” What threat was the declawed -- and sanctions -- wracked Iraq to Saudi Arabia or to anyone else for that matter, much less the globe’s only superpower? After being bloodied in Kuwait why would Saddam further want to incur the forces of empire again, especially in his much-weakened form? Russian satellite-photos from the earliest phase of the Persian Gulf Slaughter had exposed the US administration lie that Iraqi tanks and troops were poised on the border ready to invade Saudi Arabia.
The perpetual and risible attempts to tie in al Qaeda with Saddam further sully Krauthammer’s integrity.
Krauthammer claims there were only two choices: “The United States could have either retreated and allowed Hussein free rein -- or gone to war and removed him.” This ignores that fact that Shiites in the South and Kurds in the north has risen up against Saddam following his defeat in 1991 but George Bush Sr. had chosen instead to allow Saddam to crush the revolt encouraged by then US administration figures; but in the end it was decided better the devil the US knew than the one the US didn't. The Shiites and Kurds were crushed. Anyway, what gives the US the right to arrogate unto itself the choice of which dictators will fall and which will stand? Why did the US cozy up to dictators like Somoza, the Shah, Suharto, Marcos, and why does it currently appease despots like the corrupt Saudi regime and Karimov in Uzbekistan? It reeks to someplace high in the firmament of hypocrisy.
How can such neocon drivel be taken seriously?
Kim Petersen is a writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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