war in Iraq is a miserable failure, any way you look at it. Retired
General Anthony Zinni, former commander of the US Central Command, had it
right when he said that by manufacturing a false rationale for war,
abandoning traditional allies, propping up and trusting Iraqi exiles, and
failing to plan for post-war Iraq, Bush has made the US less secure,
instead of safer.
Osama himself could
not have created the mess that Bush got us into, even if he had tried and
he's probably sitting in his cave laughing his fool head off as we speak.
By launching a war against a country that posed no real threat to anyone,
Bush not only sabotaged bin Laden's capture, he destroyed our credibility
all over the world. As we recently witnessed with Katrina, by
over-extending our forces, Bush has lessened our ability to respond to
emergencies at home which means we can logically assume that he has
lessened our ability to respond to an actual threat of terror should one
How Did We End Up With Bush Anyways?
During the 2000 presidential campaign, the Republican platform contained
the following statements:
* “Sending our military on vague, aimless, and endless missions rapidly
saps morale. Even the highest morale is eventually undermined by
back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and
equipment, inadequate training, and rapidly declining readiness.”
* “A comprehensive strategy for combating the new dangers posed by weapons
of mass destruction must include a variety of other measures to contain
and prevent the spread of such weapons. We need the cooperation of friends
* “Nor should the intelligence community be made the scapegoat for
The Republican prophets who wrote those comments should get a job in a
circus because they were able to predict exactly what would happen in the
Iraq war under the Bush administration, with its endless missions,
back-to-back deployments, inadequate training, poor pay, shortage of
equipment, no cooperation of friends and allies, and blaming the CIA for
misjudgments, and on and on and on.
We were told us that Iraqis would welcome us and thank us for getting rid
of Saddam. Immediately before the war, in a March 16, 2003, interview,
Dick Cheney said, “I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators.”
I am still waiting for someone to tell me why the Iraqis would thank us.
Saddam may be gone, but innocent Iraqis have suffered the same human
rights violations at the hands of the occupying forces that they did years
ago under Saddam.
They live in fear of torture every day; in fact more so than when Saddam
was in power. Incidents of rape, murder and kidnapping have skyrocketed
since we arrived to “save” them. The number of violent deaths went from an
average of 14 a month in 2002, to 357 a month in 2003, the year we went to
Iraqis still don’t even have the basic necessities that they had with
Saddam in power. Water and electricity operate now at lower levels than
they did before the war.
Joblessness is at a record high. Over half the workers in the country are
either without a job or working for less than a living wage, because of
the fact that the gang of profiteers made sure the reconstruction
contracts went to US companies, rather than Iraqi firms.
Why would Iraqis thank us? Or the lucky ones that have managed to stay
alive that is.
A Year Of Big Lies
In the months leading up to the war, Bush told the world, that the US had
to wage a preemptive war against Iraq, not only due to the imminent threat
of WMDs, but also because there were links between Saddam and bin Laden.
However, the administration has since said that it never claimed that
Saddam posed an “imminent” threat, and therefore, Bush cannot be accused
of misleading anyone.
How soon they forget. First of all, many officials did use the word
“imminent” and others used words that had the exact same meaning, like
"mortal," "urgent," "immediate", "serious and mounting," and "unique."
They even went so far as to say that Iraq was actively seeking to "strike
the United States with weapons of mass destruction."
Yet during a press conference a few months after the war began, when
reporters started to question why we were in Iraq, White House spokesman,
Scott McClellan said, “Some in the media have chosen to use the
word ‘imminent’. Those were not words we used.”
Could that be true? Am I a poor listener? No. It means that either Scott
lied, or he has a poor memory, because on February 10, 2003, Scott himself
used the “I” word and said, “This is about imminent threat.”
He apparently also forgot about the statement made by then, Bush
Communications Director, Dan Bartlett, on January 26, 2003, when he said,
“Well, of course he is,” in response to a reporter's question, “is
Saddam an imminent threat to US interests, either in that part of the
world or to Americans right here at home?”
Hands down, it is Scott who is the poor listener because he even forgot
the comment made by his old boss on May 7, 2003. When then Press
Secretary, Ari Fliescher, was asked whether or not Iraq was an “imminent
threat,” he responded, “Absolutely”.
Lets review some of the lies told in speeches and press conferences and
cable news shows, to convince Americans and Congress that we had to go to
war, beginning with the most masterful liar of all time, Dick Cheney, who
said 3 times over a period of only two days:
Iraq is “a serious threat to our country, to our friends and to our
Iraq poses “terrible threats to the civilized world.” 1/30/03.
Iraq “threatens the United States of America.” 1/30/03
Before that, on August 29, 2002, Cheney elaborated fully: “Iraq is busy
enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents,
and they continue to pursue an aggressive nuclear weapons program,” he
“These are offensive weapons for the purpose of inflicting death on a
massive scale, developed," Cheney advised, “so that Saddam Hussein can
hold the threat over the head of any one he chooses.”
“What we must not do in the face of this mortal threat,” he warned, “is to
give in to wishful thinking or to willful blindness.”
According to my computer's Thesaurus, mortal means “deadly”. Is
that kinda like “imminent”?
Lets move on to the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, whose comments
were always over the top. On November 14, 2002, Rummy used the ever
present fear over 9/11 to sell the war:
“I would look you in the eye and I would say, go back before September 11
and ask yourself this question: Was the attack that took place on
September 11 an imminent threat the month before or two months before or
three months before or six months before?” he asked. “When did the attack
on September 11 become an imminent threat?”
“Now”, Rummy said, "transport yourself forward a year, two years or a week
or a month ... So the question is, when is it such an immediate threat
that you must do something?" he asked reporters.
Here’s where Rumsfeld used the nuclear mantra, complete with the now
infamous line about Saddam seeking uranium from Africa:
“Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country. His regime has
the design for a nuclear weapon, was working on several different methods
of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant
quantities of uranium from Africa,” Rumsfeld claimed on January 1, 2003.
“Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent --
that Saddam is at least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons,”
Rumsfeld said, “I would not be so certain.”
There's that pesky “imminent” word again.
“And we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from
biological weapons,” Rummy warned on September 18, 2002. “Iraq has these
weapons,” he added.
Here’s where he claims Saddam is the worst threat on earth. “No terrorist
state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our
people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in
Iraq,” he said on September 19, 2002.
Colin Powell Plays The Starring Role
While we're at it, lets take some time to review the many statements made
by Colin Powell when he landed the starring role on the world stage, with
his speech at the UN. Colin knew it would be no easy sell, so he brought
photographs along to show where the WMD sites were, and informed the world
that he had "human sources," to back up all of his assertions.
“My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources,
solid sources. These are not assertions,” he stated. “What we're giving
you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”
Powell went on to say, "I will cite some examples, and these are from
He then introduced the pictures and said, “We also have satellite photos
that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number
of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities.”
Next he proceeded to hone in on specific photos and explained what each
“Let's look at one,” Powell said, “This one is about a weapons munition
facility, a facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji.”
Of another, he said, “This is one of about 65 such facilities in Iraq. We
know that this one has housed chemical munitions.” In fact, Powell told
the audience, “this is where the Iraqis recently came up with the
additional four chemical weapon shells.”
“Here, you see 15 munitions bunkers in yellow and red outlines,” he said
of another. “The four that are in red squares represent active chemical
munitions bunkers,” he added.
For some reason, everyone always seems to want to give Colin Powell a pass
on whatever he does. I don't.
By now, I would say this to Mr. Powell: here’s your chance to redeem
yourself. For starters, lets see those photos again, and then explain
exactly what happened to those yellow and red bunkers you pointed out in
the pictures. After that, I want to meet the photographers who claimed to
have taken the pictures.
And one more thing, I would request that Powell list the names and
whereabouts of each and every one of those solid "human" sources he kept
In his speech, Powell described the relationships between Al Qaida, Osama
and Saddam that, according to his account, had been strong for many
“Early Al Qaida ties were forged by secret, high-level intelligence
service contacts with Al Qaida, secret Iraqi intelligence high-level
contacts with Al Qaida,” he told the audience.
“Going back to the early and mid-1990s, when bin Laden was based in
Sudan,” Powell said, “an Al Qaida source tells us that Saddam and bin
Laden reached an understanding that Al Qaida would no longer support
activities against Baghdad.”
“We know members of both organizations met repeatedly," he said. In fact,
Powell claimed to know that they "have met at least eight times at
very senior levels since the early 1990s."
“In 1996,” Powell continued, “a foreign security service tells us, that
bin Laden met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Khartoum, and
later met the director of the Iraqi intelligence service.”
He obviously was trying to convince the world that Saddam was ecstatic
about all of the terrorist attacks against the US, when he said, “Saddam
became more interested as he saw Al Qaida's appalling attacks.”
“A detained Al Qaida member tells us that Saddam was more willing to
assist Al Qaida after the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya and
Tanzania,” Powell said. “Saddam was also impressed by Al Qaida's attacks
on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000,” he added.
I say its time for Congress to instruct Powell to produce this “detained”
Al Qaida member who gave the administration all of this valuable
information. That should be easy enough if the guy is “detained”.
Later in his speech, Powell made it sound like the Iraqis, Al Qaida,
Saddam and Osama were the best of buddies, even houseguests of one
another, backed up no less, by another “human source.”
“Iraqis continued to visit bin Laden in his new home in Afghanistan,”
So if true, this means that the Iraqis got to visit Osama's "new home" but
the world's superpower couldn't find a damn cave. Osama must have really
had a good laugh when he heard that line.
But in hindsight, it was even more comical when Powell said, “A senior
defector, one of Saddam's former intelligence chiefs in Europe, says
Saddam sent his agents to Afghanistan sometime in the mid-1990s to provide
training to Al Qaida members on document forgery.”
Think about that, a forgery college in Afghanistan. Funny thing, the only
forgeries I've ever heard about were the ones used by the Bush
administration to convince Americans we had to go to war.
What were those again? A college student's term paper from many years ago
and the documents purporting to show that Saddam was seeking uranium from
Africa? As I recall, all were easily identified as fake, but we still have
never learned who exactly forged the Africa-uranium documents or why they
ended up at the White House.
When the truth finally comes out, I suspect that a few members of the Bush
gang may wish that they had attended the “forgery training” college
Next, Powell held up a photo and told the audience that it showed a poison
and explosive training camp, located in northeastern Iraq.
“You see a picture of this camp,” he said, “The network is teaching its
operatives how to produce ricin and other poisons.”
Powell then proceeded to give the world a chemistry lesson, complete with
hand gestures, and said: “Let me remind you how ricin works. Less than a
pinch -- image a pinch of salt -- less than a pinch of ricin, eating just
this amount in your food, would cause shock followed by circulatory
failure,” he explained.
He followed up with the dire warning: “Death comes within 72 hours and
there is no antidote, there is no cure,” he said, “It is fatal.”
If he wants to clear his name, Powell needs to hold a televised press
conference and explain to the world exactly what happened to the training
camp in that photo, with its pinches of deadly ricin, because it has
apparently vanished off the face of the planet.
Or being that I'm just a lowly taxpayer funding this disaster, would that
be too much to ask?
The Puppet In The White House
Last but certainly not least (except IQ-wise), lets review a few
statements made by the puppet orchestrating the scheme, President Bush
himself. Here are a few of the lines that he threw out there to us in the
run-up to the war:
“The Iraqi regime is a threat to any American. ... Iraq is a threat, a
real threat.” 1/3/03
“Saddam Hussein is a threat to America.” 11/3/02
“I see a significant threat to the security of the United States in Iraq.”
“There is real threat, in my judgment, a real and dangerous threat to
America in Iraq in the form of Saddam Hussein.” 10/28/02
“There are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone
because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq
could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon
to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.” 10/7/02
“The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency.” 10/2/02
“There's a grave
threat in Iraq. There just is.” 10/2/02
“This man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly
Looking at the above comments with 20/20 hindsight, they may have provided
a sign that Bush was back on the bottle. As anyone who has spent time
around a drunk knows, drunks have a habit of repeating themselves over and
over and over. And that goes double for all that Cheney said, because even
after 2 drunk driving tickets, he remained on the sauce, bad ticker and
Four months into the war, on July 2, 2003, Bush showed signs of being
drunk again now that I think about it, when he stated: “Saddam Hussein is
no longer a threat to the United States because we removed him, but he was
a threat,” and then said, “He was a threat. He's not a threat now.”
This from a guy who swears who he's been on the wagon since age 40.
Taxpayers Left Holding The Bag
In the months leading up to the war, we were told that Iraqi oil would pay
for the country's reconstruction after we destroyed it. A March 2003
report by the White House Office of Management and Budget said: “Iraq will
not require sustained aid.”
In testimony before Congress on March 27, 2003, Paul Wolfowitz said Iraq
“can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”
As a taxpayer, I demand to know when “relatively soon” is going to get
On April 23, 2003, Andrew Natsios, head of the US Agency for International
Development, gave a televised interview and outlined the costs of
rebuilding Iraq to the taxpayers, “the American part of this will be $1.7
billion,” he said. “We have no plans for any further-on funding for
Within five months of Natsios' assessment, Bush was back asking Congress
for another $20 billion.
And being that he has probably never had to balance a checkbook in his
life, Bush obviously has never heard the term “in the red.” But then
again, why should he care, it’s only our money.
Never mind that Bush has not received a single flower or thank-you note
from the Iraqis, the good-hearted fellow that he's known to be, he just
keeps telling Congress to go ahead and write out another check to fund a
war which he now says is for “freedom”.
In February 2003, Rumsfeld predicted that the war “could last six days,
six weeks,” but “I doubt six months,” he said. Well here we sit, 31 months
into the war, with an endless stream of casualties day after day, and our
country headed towards bankruptcy, and there is no end in sight.
On October 2002, the day the senate voted on the resolution, John Kerry
took to the floor of the senate and during a speech, gave the nation a
prophetic forecast of what would happen if Bush attacked Iraq without good
cause and without other countries.
“If we go it alone without reason,” Kerry warned, “we risk inflaming an
entire region, breeding a new generation of terrorists, a new cadre of
anti-American zealots, and we will be less secure, not more secure, at the
end of the day, even with Saddam Hussein disarmed.”
In closing, Kerry stated: “When I vote to give ... the authority to use
force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam, it is because I believe that a
deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat,
and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian
The fact is, there was no arsenal of weapons and Saddam was no threat,
imminent or otherwise. Bush and his band of chickenhawks lied to Kerry, to
other members of Congress, to taxpayers, and the world, in order to pull
off their grand profiteering scheme.
Now that we know the truth, the whole damn bunch should be tried as war
criminals, and once they are convicted and sent to prison, they should be
treated every bit as well as they have treated prisoners jailed under
their watch over the past five years.
columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative journalist focused
on exposing corruption in government. She can be reached at:
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