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40 lies of Bush the Bastard

by lifted from Portland by Sheepdog Sunday, Aug. 03, 2003 at 5:16 PM

Look at what I found @ Portland IMC.

top 40 lies on Iraq

02.Aug.2003 06:46


Bring 'em On!

The Bush administration's top 40 lies about war and terrorism

By Steve Perry

City Pages

Wednesday 30 July 2003

Author's note: In the interest of relative brevity I've stinted on citing

and quoting sources in some of the items below. You can find links

to news stories that elaborate on each of these items at my online

Bush Wars column,

1) The administration was not bent on war with Iraq from 9/11


Throughout the year leading up to war, the White House publicly

maintained that the U.S. took weapons inspections seriously, that

diplomacy would get its chance, that Saddam had the opportunity to

prevent a U.S. invasion. The most pungent and concise evidence to

the contrary comes from the president's own mouth. According to

Time's March 31 road-to-war story, Bush popped in on national

security adviser Condi Rice one day in March 2002, interrupting a

meeting on UN sanctions against Iraq. Getting a whiff of the subject

matter, W peremptorily waved his hand and told her, "Fuck

Saddam. We're taking him out." Clare Short, Tony Blair's former

secretary for international development, recently lent further

credence to the anecdote. She told the London Guardian that Bush

and Blair made a secret pact a few months afterward, in the summer

of 2002, to invade Iraq in either February or March of this year.

Last fall CBS News obtained meeting notes taken by a Rumsfeld

aide at 2:40 on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. The notes

indicate that Rumsfeld wanted the "best info fast. Judge whether

good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only

UBL [Usama bin Laden].... Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things

related and not."

Rumsfeld's deputy Paul Wolfowitz, the Bushmen's leading

intellectual light, has long been rabid on the subject of Iraq. He

reportedly told Vanity Fair writer Sam Tanenhaus off the record that

he believes Saddam was connected not only to bin Laden and 9/11,

but the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

The Bush administration's foreign policy plan was not based on

September 11, or terrorism; those events only brought to the

forefront a radical plan for U.S. control of the post-Cold War world

that had been taking shape since the closing days of the first Bush

presidency. Back then a small claque of planners, led by Wolfowitz,

generated a draft document known as Defense Planning Guidance,

which envisioned a U.S. that took advantage of its lone-superpower

status to consolidate American control of the world both militarily

and economically, to the point where no other nation could ever

reasonably hope to challenge the U.S. Toward that end it envisioned

what we now call "preemptive" wars waged to reset the

geopolitical table.

After a copy of DPG was leaked to the New York Times,

subsequent drafts were rendered a little less frank, but the basic idea

never changed. In 1997 Wolfowitz and his true believers--Richard

Perle, William Kristol, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld--formed an

organization called Project for the New American Century to carry

their cause forward. And though they all flocked around the Bush

administration from the start, W never really embraced their plan

until the events of September 11 left him casting around for a

foreign policy plan.

2) The invasion of Iraq was based on a reasonable belief that Iraq

possessed weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to the

U.S., a belief supported by available intelligence evidence.

Paul Wolfowitz admitted to Vanity Fair that weapons of mass

destruction were not really the main reason for invading Iraq: "The

decision to highlight weapons of mass destruction as the main

justification for going to war in Iraq was taken for bureaucratic

reasons.... [T]here were many other important factors as well."

Right. But they did not come under the heading of self-defense.

We now know how the Bushmen gathered their prewar

intelligence: They set out to patch together their case for invading

Iraq and ignored everything that contradicted it. In the end, this

required that Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al. set aside the findings of

analysts from the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (the

Pentagon's own spy bureau) and stake their claim largely on the

basis of isolated, anecdotal testimony from handpicked Iraqi

defectors. (See #5, Ahmed Chalabi.) But the administration did not

just listen to the defectors; it promoted their claims in the press as a

means of enlisting public opinion. The only reason so many

Americans thought there was a connection between Saddam and al

Qaeda in the first place was that the Bushmen trotted out Iraqi

defectors making these sorts of claims to every major media outlet

that would listen.

Here is the verdict of Gregory Thielman, the recently retired head of

the State Department's intelligence office: "I believe the Bush

administration did not provide an accurate picture to the American

people of the military threat posed by Iraq. This administration has

had a faith-based

intelligence attitude--we know the answers, give us the intelligence

to support those answers." Elsewhere he has been quoted as saying,

"The principal reasons that Americans did not understand the nature

of the Iraqi threat in my view was the failure of senior

administration officials to speak honestly about what the intelligence


3) Saddam tried to buy uranium in Niger.

Lies and distortions tend to beget more lies and distortions, and here

is W's most notorious case in point: Once the administration decided

to issue a damage-controlling (they hoped) mea culpa in the matter

of African uranium, they were obliged to couch it in another, more

perilous lie: that the administration, and quite likely Bush himself,

thought the uranium claim was true when he made it. But former

acting ambassador to Iraq Joseph Wilson wrote an op-ed in the

New York Times on July 6 that exploded the claim. Wilson, who

traveled to Niger in 2002 to investigate the uranium claims at the

behest of the CIA and Dick Cheney's office and found them to be

groundless, describes what followed this way: "Although I did not

file a written report, there should be at least four documents in U.S.

government archives confirming my mission. The documents should

include the ambassador's report of my debriefing in Niamey, a

separate report written by the embassy staff, a CIA report summing

up my trip, and a specific answer from the agency to the office of

the vice president (this may have been delivered orally). While I

have not seen any of these reports, I have spent enough time in

government to know that this is standard operating procedure."

4) The aluminum tubes were proof of a nuclear program.

The very next sentence of Bush's State of the Union address was

just as egregious a lie as the uranium claim, though a bit cagier in its

formulation. "Our intelligence sources tell us that [Saddam] has

attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for

nuclear weapons production." This is altogether false in its

implication (that this is the likeliest use for these materials) and may

be untrue in its literal sense as well. As the London Independent

summed it up recently, "The U.S. persistently alleged that Baghdad

tried to buy high-strength aluminum tubes whose only use could be

in gas centrifuges, needed to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

Equally persistently, the International Atomic Energy Agency said

the tubes were being used for artillery rockets. The head of the

IAEA, Mohamed El Baradei, told the UN Security Council in

January that the tubes were not even suitable for centrifuges."

[emphasis added]

5) Iraq's WMDs were sent to Syria for hiding.

Or Iran, or.... "They shipped them out!" was a rallying cry for the

administration in the first few nervous weeks of finding no WMDs,

but not a bit of supporting evidence has emerged.

6) The CIA was primarily responsible for any prewar intelligence

errors or distortions regarding Iraq.

Don't be misled by the news that CIA director George Tenet has

taken the fall for Bush's falsehoods in the State of the Uranium

address. As the journalist Robert Dreyfuss wrote shortly before the

war, "Even as it prepares for war against Iraq, the Pentagon is

already engaged on a second front: its war against the Central

Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon is bringing relentless pressure to

bear on the agency to produce intelligence reports more supportive

of war with Iraq. ... Morale inside the U.S. national-security

apparatus is said to be low, with career staffers feeling intimidated

and pressured to justify the push for war."

In short, Tenet fell on his sword when he vetted Bush's State of the

Union yarns. And now he has had to get up and fall on it again.

7) An International Atomic Energy Agency report indicated that Iraq

could be as little as six months from making nuclear weapons.

Alas: The claim had to be retracted when the IAEA pointed out that

no such report existed.

8) Saddam was involved with bin Laden and al Qaeda in the

plotting of 9/11.

One of the most audacious and well-traveled of the Bushmen's fibs,

this one hangs by two of the slenderest evidentiary threads

imaginable: first, anecdotal testimony by isolated, handpicked Iraqi

defectors that there was an al Qaeda training camp in Iraq, a claim

CIA analysts did not

corroborate and that postwar U.S. military inspectors conceded did

not exist; and second, old intelligence accounts of a 1991 meeting in

Baghdad between a bin Laden emissary and officers from Saddam's

intelligence service, which did not lead to any subsequent contact

that U.S. or UK spies have ever managed to turn up. According to

former State Department intelligence chief Gregory Thielman, the

consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies well in advance of the war

was that "there was no significant pattern of cooperation between

Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist operation."

9) The U.S. wants democracy in Iraq and the Middle East.

Democracy is the last thing the U.S. can afford in Iraq, as anyone

who has paid attention to the state of Arab popular sentiment

already realizes. Representative government in Iraq would mean the

rapid expulsion of U.S. interests. Rather, the U.S. wants

westernized, secular leadership regimes that will stay in pocket and

work to neutralize the politically ambitious anti-Western religious

sects popping up everywhere. If a little brutality and graft are

required to do the job, it has never troubled the U.S. in the past.

Ironically, these standards describe someone more or less like

Saddam Hussein. Judging from the state of civil affairs in Iraq now,

the Bush administration will no doubt be looking for a strongman

again, if and when they are finally compelled to install anyone at all.

10) Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress are a

homegrown Iraqi political force, not a U.S.-sponsored front.

Chalabi is a more important bit player in the Iraq war than most

people realize, and not because he was the U.S.'s failed choice to

lead a post-Saddam government. It was Chalabi and his INC that

funneled compliant defectors to the Bush administration, where they

attested to everything the Bushmen wanted to believe about

Saddam and Iraq (meaning, mainly, al Qaeda connections and

WMD programs). The administration proceeded to take their

dubious word over that of the combined intelligence of the CIA and

DIA, which indicated that Saddam was not in the business of

sponsoring foreign terrorism and posed no imminent threat to


Naturally Chalabi is despised nowadays round the halls of Langley,

but it wasn't always so. The CIA built the Iraqi National Congress

and installed Chalabi at the helm back in the days following Gulf

War I, when the thought was to topple Saddam by whipping up and

sponsoring an internal opposition. It didn't work; from the start

Iraqis have disliked and distrusted Chalabi. Moreover, his erratic and

duplicitous ways have alienated practically everyone in the U.S.

foreign policy establishment as well--except for Rumsfeld's

Department of Defense, and therefore the White House.

11) The United States is waging a war on terror.

Practically any school child could recite the terms of the Bush

Doctrine, and may have to before the Ashcroft Justice Department is

finished: The global war on terror is about confronting terrorist

groups and the nations that harbor them. The United States does not

make deals with terrorists or nations where they find safe lodging.

Leave aside the blind eye that the U.S. has always cast toward

Israel's actions in the territories. How are the Bushmen doing

elsewhere vis-à-vis their announced principles? We can start with

their fabrications and manipulations of Iraqi WMD evidence--which,

in the eyes of weapons inspectors, the UN Security Council,

American intelligence analysts, and the world at large, did not pose

any imminent threat.

The events of recent months have underscored a couple more


violations of W's cardinal anti-terror rules. In April the Pentagon

made a cooperation pact with the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), an

anti-Iranian terrorist group based in Iraq. Prior to the 1979 Iranian

revolution, American intelligence blamed it for the death of several

U.S. nationals in Iran.

Most glaring of all is the Bush administration's remarkable treatment

of Saudi Arabia. Consider: Eleven of the nineteen September 11

hijackers were Saudis. The ruling House of Saud has longstanding

and well-known ties to al Qaeda and other terrorist outfits, which it

funds (read protection money) to keep them from making mischief

at home. The May issue of Atlantic Monthly had a nice piece on the

House of Saud that recounts these connections.

Yet the Bush government has never said boo regarding the Saudis

and international terrorism. In fact, when terror bombers struck

Riyadh in May, hitting compounds that housed American workers

as well, Colin Powell went out of his way to avoid tarring the House

of Saud: "Terrorism strikes everywhere and everyone. It is a threat

to the civilized world. We will commit ourselves again to redouble

our efforts to work closely with our Saudi friends and friends all

around the world to go after al Qaeda." Later it was alleged that the

Riyadh bombers purchased some of their ordnance from the Saudi

National Guard, but neither Powell nor anyone else saw fit to revise

their statements about "our Saudi friends."

Why do the Bushmen give a pass to the Saudi terror hotbed?

Because the House of Saud controls a lot of oil, and they are still


tenuously) on our side. And that, not terrorism, is what matters most

in Bush's foreign policy calculus.

While the bomb craters in Riyadh were still smoking, W held a

meeting with Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Speaking publicly afterward, he outlined a deal for U.S. military aid

to the Philippines in exchange for greater "cooperation" in getting

American hands round the throats of Filipino terrorists. He

mentioned in particular the U.S.'s longtime nemesis Abu

Sayyaf--and he also singled out the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a

small faction based on Mindanao, the southernmost big island in the

Philippine chain.

Of course it's by purest coincidence that Mindanao is the location of

Asia's richest oil reserves.

12) The U.S. has made progress against world terrorist elements, in

particular by crippling al Qaeda.

A resurgent al Qaeda has been making international news since

around the time of the Saudi Arabia bombings in May. The best

coverage by far is that of Asia Times correspondent Syed Saleem

Shahzad. According to Shahzad's detailed accounts, al Qaeda has

reorganized itself along leaner, more diffuse lines, effectively

dissolving itself into a coalition of localized units that mean to strike

frequently, on a small scale, and in multiple locales around the

world. Since claiming responsibility for the May Riyadh bombings,

alleged al Qaeda communiqués have also claimed credit for some of

the strikes at U.S. troops in Iraq.

13) The Bush administration has made Americans safer from terror

on U.S. soil.

Like the Pentagon "plan" for occupying postwar Iraq, the

Department of Homeland Security is mainly a Bush administration

PR dirigible untethered to anything of substance. It's a scandal

waiting to happen, and the only good news for W is that it's near

the back of a fairly long line of scandals waiting to happen.

On May 26 the trade magazine Federal Computer Week published a

report on DHS's first 100 days. At that point the nerve center of

Bush's domestic war on terror had only recently gotten e-mail

service. As for the larger matter of creating a functioning

organizational grid and, more important, a software architecture plan

for integrating the enormous mass of data that DHS is supposed to

process--nada. In the nearly two years since the administration

announced its intention to create a cabinet-level homeland security

office, nothing meaningful has been accomplished. And there are no

funds to implement a network plan if they had one. According to the

magazine, "Robert David Steele, an author and former intelligence

officer, points out that there are at least 30 separate intelligence

systems [theoretically feeding into DHS] and no money to connect

them to one another or make them interoperable. 'There is nothing

in the president's homeland security program that makes America

safer,' he said."

14) The Bush administration has nothing to hide concerning the

events of September 11, 2001, or the intelligence evidence collected

prior to that day.

First Dick Cheney personally intervened to scuttle a broad

congressional investigation of the day's events and their origins. And

for the past several months the administration has fought a quiet

rear-guard action culminating in last week's delayed release of

Congress's more modest 9/11 report. The White House even went

so far as to classify after the fact materials that had already been

presented in public hearing.

What were they trying to keep under wraps? The Saudi connection,

mostly, and though 27 pages of the details have been excised from

the public report, there is still plenty of evidence lurking in its

extensively massaged text. (When you see the phrase "foreign

nation" substituted in brackets, it's nearly always Saudi Arabia.) The

report documents repeated signs that there was a major attack in the

works with extensive help from Saudi nationals and apparently also

at least one member of the government. It also suggests that is one

reason intel operatives didn't chase the story harder: Saudi Arabia

was by policy fiat a "friendly" nation and therefore no threat. The

report does not explore the administration's response to the

intelligence briefings it got; its purview is strictly the performance of

intelligence agencies. All other questions now fall to the independent

9/11 commission, whose work is presently being slowed by the

White House's foot-dragging in turning over evidence.

15) U.S. air defenses functioned according to protocols on

September 11, 2001.

Old questions abound here. The central mystery, of how U.S. air

defenses could have responded so poorly on that day, is fairly easy

to grasp. A cursory look at that morning's timeline of events is

enough. In very short strokes:

8:13 Flight 11 disobeys air traffic instructions and turns off its


8:40 NORAD command center claims first notification of likely

Flight 11 hijacking.

8:42 Flight 175 veers off course and shuts down its transponder.

8:43 NORAD claims first notification of likely Flight 175 hijacking.

8:46 Flight 11 hits the World Trade Center north tower.

8:46 Flight 77 goes off course.

9:03 Flight 175 hits the WTC south tower.

9:16 Flight 93 goes off course.

9:16 NORAD claims first notification of likely Flight 93 hijacking.

9:24 NORAD claims first notification of likely Flight 77 hijacking.

9:37 Flight 77 hits the Pentagon.

10:06 Flight 93 crashes in a Pennsylvania field.

The open secret here is that stateside U.S. air defenses had been

reduced to paltry levels since the end of the Cold War. According to

a report by Paul Thompson published at the endlessly informative

Center for

Cooperative Research website (,

"[O]nly two air force bases in the Northeast region... were formally

part of NORAD's defensive system. One was Otis Air National

Guard Base, on Massachusetts's Cape Cod peninsula and about 188

miles east of New York City. The other was Langley Air Force

Base near Norfolk, Virginia, and about 129 miles south of

Washington. During the Cold War, the U.S. had literally thousands

of fighters on alert. But as the Cold War wound down, this number

was reduced until it reached only 14 fighters in the continental U.S.

by 9/11."

But even an underpowered air defense system on slow-response

status (15 minutes, officially, on 9/11) does not explain the

magnitude of NORAD's apparent failures that day. Start with the

discrepancy in the times at which NORAD commanders claim to

have learned of the various hijackings. By 8:43 a.m., NORAD had

been notified of two probable hijackings in the previous five

minutes. If there was such a thing as a system-wide air defense

crisis plan, it should have kicked in at that moment. Three minutes

later, at 8:46, Flight 11 crashed into the first WTC tower. By then

alerts should have been going out to all regional air traffic centers of

apparent coordinated hijackings in progress. Yet when Flight 77,

which eventually crashed into the Pentagon, was hijacked three

minutes later, at 8:46, NORAD claims not to have learned of it until

9:24, 38 minutes after the fact and just 13 minutes before it crashed

into the Pentagon.

The professed lag in reacting to the hijacking of Flight 93 is just as

striking. NORAD acknowledged learning of the hijacking at 9:16,

yet the Pentagon's position is that it had not yet intercepted the

plane when it crashed in a Pennsylvania field just minutes away

from Washington, D.C. at 10:06, a full 50 minutes later.

In fact, there are a couple of other circumstantial details of the crash,

discussed mostly in Pennsylvania newspapers and barely noted in

national wire stories, that suggest Flight 93 may have been shot

down after all. First, officials never disputed reports that there was a

secondary debris field six miles from the main crash site, and a few

press accounts said that it included one of the plane's engines. A

secondary debris field points to an explosion on board, from one of

two probable causes--a terrorist bomb carried on board or an Air

Force missile. And no

investigation has ever intimated that any of the four terror crews

were toting explosives. They kept to simple tools like the box

cutters, for ease in passing security. Second, a handful of

eyewitnesses in the rural area around the crash site did report seeing

low-flying U.S. military jets around the time of the crash.

Which only raises another question. Shooting down Flight 93 would

have been incontestably the right thing to do under the

circumstances. More than that, it would have constituted the only

evidence of anything NORAD and the Pentagon had done right that

whole morning. So why deny it? Conversely, if fighter jets really

were not on the scene when 93 crashed, why weren't they? How

could that possibly be?

16) The Bush administration had a plan for restoring essential

services and rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure after the shooting war


The question of what the U.S. would do to rebuild Iraq was raised

before the shooting started. I remember reading a press briefing in

which a Pentagon official boasted that at the time, the American

reconstruction team had already spent three weeks planning the

postwar world! The Pentagon's first word was that the essentials of

rebuilding the country would take about billion and three

months; this stood in fairly stark contrast to UN estimates that an

aggressive rebuilding program could cost up to 0 billion a year

for a minimum of three years.

After the shooting stopped it was evident the U.S. had no plan for

keeping order in the streets, much less commencing to rebuild.

(They are upgrading certain oil facilities, but that's another matter.)

There are two ways to read this. The popular version is that it

proves what bumblers Bush and his crew really are. And it's

certainly true that where the details of their grand designs are

concerned, the administration tends to have postures rather than

plans. But this ignores the strategic advantages the U.S. stands to

reap by leaving Iraqi domestic affairs in a chronic state of (managed,

they hope) chaos. Most important, it provides an excuse for the

continued presence of a large U.S. force, which ensures that

America will call the shots in putting Iraqi oil back on the world

market and seeing to it that the Iraqis don't fall in with the wrong

sort of oil company partners. A long military occupation is also a

practical means of accomplishing something the U.S. cannot do

officially, which is to maintain air bases in Iraq indefinitely. (This

became necessary after the U.S. agreed to vacate its bases in Saudi

Arabia earlier this year to try to defuse anti-U.S. political tensions


Meanwhile, the U.S. plans to pay for whatever rebuilding it gets

around to doing with the proceeds of Iraqi oil sales, an enormous

cash box the U.S. will oversee for the good of the Iraqi people.

In other words, "no plan" may have been the plan the Bushmen

were intent on pursuing all along.

17) The U.S. has made a good-faith effort at peacekeeping in Iraq

during the postwar period.

"Some [looters] shot big grins at American soldiers and Marines or

put down their prizes to offer a thumbs-up or a quick finger across

the throat and a whispered word--Saddam--before grabbing their

loot and vanishing." --Robert Fisk, London Independent, 4/11/03

Despite the many clashes between U.S. troops and Iraqis in the

three months since the heavy artillery fell silent, the postwar

performance of U.S. forces has been more remarkable for the things

they have not

done--their failure to intervene in civil chaos or to begin

reestablishing basic civil procedures. It isn't the soldiers' fault.

Traditionally an occupation force is headed up by military police

units schooled to interact with the natives and oversee the

restoration of goods and services. But Rumsfeld has repeatedly

declined advice to rotate out the combat troops sooner rather than

later and replace some of them with an MP force. Lately this has

been a source of escalating criticism within military ranks.

18) Despite vocal international opposition, the U.S. was backed by

most of the world, as evidenced by the 40-plus-member Coalition of

the Willing.

When the whole world opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the outcry

was so loud that it briefly pierced the slumber of the American

public, which poured out its angst in poll numbers that bespoke little

taste for a war without the UN's blessing. So it became necessary to

assure the folks at home that the whole world was in fact for the

invasion. Thus was born the Coalition of the Willing, consisting of

the U.S. and UK, with Australia caddying--and 40-some additional

co-champions of U.S.-style democracy in the Middle East, whose

ranks included such titans of diplomacy and pillars of representative

government as Angola, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Eritrea, and

Micronesia. If the American public noticed the ruse, all was

nonetheless forgotten when Baghdad fell. Everybody loves a


19) This war was notable for its protection of civilians.

This from the Herald of Scotland, May 23: "American guns, bombs,

and missiles killed more civilians in the recent war in Iraq than in

any conflict since Vietnam, according to preliminary assessments

carried out by the UN, international aid agencies, and independent

study groups. Despite U.S. boasts this was the fastest, most clinical

campaign in military history, a first snapshot of 'collateral damage'

indicates that between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi non-combatants died

in the course of the hi-tech blitzkrieg."

20) The looting of archaeological and historic sites in Baghdad was


General Jay Garner himself, then the head man for postwar Iraq,

told the Washington Times that he had put the Iraqi National

Museum second on a list of sites requiring protection after the fall of

the Saddam

government, and he had no idea why the recommendation was

ignored. It's also a matter of record that the administration had met

in January with a group of U.S. scholars concerned with the

preservation of Iraq's fabulous Sumerian antiquities. So the war

planners were aware of the riches at stake. According to Scotland's

Sunday Herald, the Pentagon took at least one other meeting as

well: "[A] coalition of antiquities collectors and arts lawyers, calling

itself the American Council for Cultural Policy (ACCP), met with

U.S. Defense and State department officials prior to the start of

military action to offer its assistance.... The group is known to

consist of a number of influential dealers who favor a relaxation of

Iraq's tight restrictions on the ownership and export of antiquities....

[Archaeological Institute of America] president Patty Gerstenblith

said: 'The ACCP's agenda is to encourage the collecting of

antiquities through weakening the laws of archaeologically rich

nations and eliminate national ownership of antiquities to allow for

easier export.'"

21) Saddam was planning to provide WMD to terrorist groups.

This is very concisely debunked in Walter Pincus's July 21

Washington Post story, so I'll quote him: "'Iraq could decide on any

given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist

group or individual terrorists,' President Bush said in Cincinnati on

October 7.... But declassified portions of a still-secret National

Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released Friday by the White House

show that at the time of the president's speech the U.S. intelligence

community judged that possibility to be unlikely. In fact, the NIE,

which began circulating October 2, shows the intelligence services

were much more worried that Hussein might give weapons to al

Qaeda terrorists if he were facing death or capture and his

government was collapsing after a military attack by the United


22) Saddam was capable of launching a chemical or biological

attack in 45 minutes.

Again the WashPost wraps it up nicely: "The 45-minute claim is at

the center of a scandal in Britain that led to the apparent suicide on

Friday of a British weapons scientist who had questioned the

government's use of the allegation. The scientist, David Kelly, was

being investigated by the British parliament as the suspected source

of a BBC report that the 45-minute claim was added to Britain's

public 'dossier' on Iraq in September at the insistence of an aide to

Prime Minister Tony Blair--and against the wishes of British

intelligence, which said the charge was from a single source and

was considered unreliable."

23) The Bush administration is seeking to create a viable Palestinian


The interests of the U.S. toward the Palestinians have not

changed--not yet, at least. Israel's "security needs" are still the U.S.'s

sturdiest pretext for its military role in policing the Middle East and

arming its Israeli proxies. But the U.S.'s immediate needs have tilted

since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the Bushmen need

a fig leaf--to confuse, if not exactly cover, their designs, and to give

shaky pro-U.S. governments in the region some scrap to hold out to

their own restive peoples. Bush's roadmap has scared the hell out of

the Israeli right, but they have little reason to worry. Press reports in

the U.S. and Israel have repeatedly telegraphed the assurance that

Bush won't try to push Ariel Sharon any further than he's

comfortable going.

24) People detained by the U.S. after 9/11 were legitimate terror


Quite the contrary, as disclosed officially in last month's critical

report on U.S. detainees from the Justice Department's own Office

of Inspector General. A summary analysis of post-9/11 detentions

posted at the UC-Davis website states, "None of the 1,200

foreigners arrested and detained in secret after September 11 was

charged with an act of

terrorism. Instead, after periods of detention that ranged from weeks

to months, most were deported for violating immigration laws. The

government said that 752 of 1,200 foreigners arrested after

September 11 were in custody in May 2002, but only 81 were still

in custody in September 2002."

25) The U.S. is obeying the Geneva conventions in its treatment of

terror-related suspects, prisoners, and detainees.

The entire mumbo-jumbo about "unlawful combatants" was

conceived to skirt the Geneva conventions on treatment of prisoners

by making them out to be something other than POWs. Here is the

actual wording of Donald Rumsfeld's pledge, freighted with enough

qualifiers to make it absolutely

meaningless: "We have indicated that we do plan to, for the most

part, treat them in a manner that is reasonably consistent with the

Geneva conventions to the extent they are appropriate." Meanwhile


administration has treated its prisoners--many of whom, as we are

now seeing confirmed in legal hearings, have no plausible

connection to terrorist enterprises--in a manner that blatantly

violates several key Geneva provisions regarding humane treatment

and housing.

26) Shots rang out from the Palestine hotel, directed at U.S. soldiers,

just before a U.S. tank fired on the hotel, killing two journalists.

Eyewitnesses to the April 8 attack uniformly denied any gunfire

from the hotel. And just two hours prior to firing on the hotel, U.S.

forces had bombed the Baghdad offices of Al-Jazeera, killing a

Jordanian reporter. Taken together, and considering the timing, they

were deemed a warning to unembedded journalists covering the fall

of Baghdad around them. The day's events seem to have been an

extreme instance of a more surreptitious pattern of hostility

demonstrated by U.S. and UK forces toward foreign journalists and

those non-attached Western reporters who moved around the

country at will. (One of them, Terry Lloyd of Britain's ITN, was

shot to death by UK troops at a checkpoint in late March under

circumstances the British government has refused to disclose.)

Some days after firing on the Palestine Hotel, the U.S. sent in a

commando unit to raid select floors of the hotel that were known to

be occupied by journalists, and the news gatherers were held on the

floor at gunpoint while their rooms were searched. A Centcom

spokesman later explained cryptically that intelligence reports

suggested there were people "not friendly to the U.S." staying at the

hotel. Allied forces also bombed the headquarters of Abu Dhabi TV,

injuring several.

27) U.S. troops "rescued" Private Jessica Lynch from an Iraqi


If I had wanted to run up the tally of administration lies, the Lynch

episode alone could be parsed into several more. Officials claimed

that Lynch and her comrades were taken after a firefight in which

Lynch battled back bravely. Later they announced with great

fanfare that U.S. Special Forces had rescued Lynch from her

captors. They reported that she had been shot and stabbed. Later

yet, they reported that the recuperating Lynch had no memory of

the events.

Bit by bit it all proved false. Lynch's injuries occurred when the

vehicle she was riding in crashed. She did not fire on anybody and

she was not shot or stabbed. The Iraqi soldiers who had been

holding her had abandoned the hospital where she was staying the

night before U.S. troops came to get her--a development her

"rescuers" were aware of. In fact her doctor had tried to return her

to the Americans the previous evening after the Iraqi soldiers left.

But he was forced to turn back when U.S. troops fired on the

approaching ambulance. As for Lynch's amnesia, her family has told

reporters her memory is perfectly fine.

28) The populace of Baghdad and of Iraq generally turned out en

masse to greet U.S. troops as liberators.

There were indeed scattered expressions of thanks when U.S.

divisions rolled in, but they were neither as extensive nor as

enthusiastic as Bush image-makers pretended. Within a day or two

of the Saddam government's fall, the scene in the Baghdad streets

turned to wholesale ransacking and vandalism. Within the week,

large-scale protests of the U.S. occupation had already begun

occurring in every major Iraqi city.

29) A spontaneous crowd of cheering Iraqis showed up in a

Baghdad square to celebrate the toppling of Saddam's statue.

A long-distance shot of the same scene that was widely posted on

the internet shows that the teeming mob consisted of only one or

two hundred souls, contrary to the impression given by all the

close-up TV news shots of what appeared to be a massive

gathering. It was later reported that members of Ahmed Chalabi's

local entourage made up most of the throng.

30) No major figure in the Bush administration said that the Iraqi

populace would turn out en masse to welcome the U.S. military as


When confronted with--oh, call them reality deficits--one habit of

the Bushmen is to deny that they made erroneous or misleading

statements to begin with, secure in the knowledge that the media

will rarely muster the energy to look it up and call them on it. They

did it when their bold prewar WMD predictions failed to pan out

(We never said it would be easy! No, they only implied it), and they

did it when the "jubilant Iraqis" who took to the streets after the fall

of Saddam turned out to be anything but (We never promised they

would welcome us with open arms!).

But they did. March 16, Dick Cheney, Meet the Press: The Iraqis

are desperate "to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome


liberators the United States when we come to do that.... [T]he vast

majority of them would turn on [Saddam] in a minute if, in fact,

they thought they could do so safely").

31) The U.S. achieved its stated objectives in Afghanistan, and

vanquished the Taliban.

According to accounts in the Asia Times of Hong Kong, the U.S.

held a secret meeting earlier this year with Taliban leaders and

Pakistani intelligence officials to offer a deal to the Taliban for

inclusion in the Afghan government. (Main condition: Dump Mullah

Omar.) As Michael Tomasky commented in The American

Prospect, "The first thing you may be wondering: Why is there a

possible role for the Taliban in a future government? Isn't that

fellow Hamid Karzai running things, and isn't it all going basically

okay? As it turns out, not really and not at all.... The reality... is an

escalating guerilla war in which 'small hit-and-run attacks are a daily

feature in most parts of the country, while face-to-face skirmishes

are common in the former Taliban stronghold around Kandahar in

the south.'"

32) Careful science demonstrates that depleted uranium is no big

risk to the population.

Pure nonsense. While the government has trotted out expert after

expert to debunk the dangers of depleted uranium, DU has been

implicated in health troubles experienced both by Iraqis and by U.S.

and allied soldiers in the first Gulf War. Unexploded DU shells are

not a grave danger, but detonated ones release particles that

eventually find their way into air, soil, water, and food.

While we're on the subject, the BBC reported a couple of months

ago that recent tests of Afghani civilians have turned up with

unusually high concentrations of non-depleted uranium isotopes in

their urine.

International monitors have called it almost conclusive evidence that

the U.S. used a new kind of uranium-laced bomb in the Afghan war.

33) The looting of Iraqi nuclear facilities presented no big risk to the


Commanders on the scene, and Rumsfeld back in Washington,

immediately assured everyone that the looting of a facility where

raw uranium powder (so-called "yellowcake") and several other

radioactive isotopes were stored was no serious danger to the

populace--yet the looting of the facility came to light in part because,

as the Washington Times noted, "U.S. and British newspaper

reports have suggested that residents of the area were suffering from

severe ill health after tipping out yellowcake powder from barrels

and using them to store food."

34) U.S. troops were under attack when they fired upon a crowd of

civilian protesters in Mosul.

April 15: U.S. troops fire into a crowd of protesters when it grows

angry at the pro-Western speech being given by the town's new

mayor, Mashaan al-Juburi. Seven are killed and dozens injured.

Eyewitness accounts say the soldiers spirit Juburi away as he is

pelted with objects by the crowd, then take sniper positions and

begin firing on the crowd.

35) U.S. troops were under attack when they fired upon two

separate crowds of civilian protesters in Fallujah.

April 28: American troops fire into a crowd of demonstrators

gathered on Saddam's birthday, killing 13 and injuring 75. U.S.

commanders claim the troops had come under fire, but eyewitnesses

contradict the account, saying the troops started shooting after they

were spooked by warning shots fired over the crowd by one of the

Americans' own Humvees. Two days later U.S. soldiers fired on

another crowd in Fallujah, killing three more.

36) The Iraqis fighting occupation forces consist almost entirely of

"Saddam supporters" or "Ba'ath remnants."

This has been the subject of considerable spin on the Bushmen's

part in the past month, since they launched Operation Sidewinder to

capture or kill remaining opponents of the U.S. occupation. It's true

that the most fierce (but by no means all) of the recent guerrilla

opposition has been concentrated in the Sunni-dominated areas that

were Saddam's stronghold, and there is no question that Saddam

partisans are numerous there. But, perhaps for that reason, many

other guerrilla fighters have flocked there to wage jihad, both from

within and without Iraq. Around the time of the U.S. invasion, some

10,000 or so foreign fighters had crossed into Iraq, and I've seen no

informed estimate of how many more may have joined them since.

(No room here, but if you check the online version of this story,

there's a footnote regarding one less-than-obvious reason former

Republican Guard personnel may be fighting mad at this point.)

37) The bidding process for Iraq rebuilding contracts displayed no

favoritism toward Bush and Cheney's oil/gas cronies.

Most notoriously, Dick Cheney's former energy-sector employer,

Halliburton, was all over the press dispatches about the first round

of rebuilding contracts. So much so that they were eventually

obliged to bow out of the running for a billion reconstruction

contract for the sake of their own PR profile. But Halliburton

subsidiary Kellogg Brown Root still received the first major plum in

the form of a billion contract to tend to oil field fires and (the real

purpose) to do any retooling necessary to get the oil pumping at a

decent rate, a deal that allows them a cool 0 million in profit.

The fact that Dick Cheney's office is still fighting tooth and nail to

block any disclosure of the individuals and companies with whom

his energy task force consulted tells everything you need to know.

38) "We found the WMDs!"

There have been at least half a dozen junctures at which the

Bushmen have breathlessly informed the press that allied troops had

found the WMD smoking gun, including the president himself, who

on June 1 told

reporters, "For those who say we haven't found the banned

manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we

found them."

Shouldn't these quickly falsified statements be counted as errors

rather than lies? Under the circumstances, no. First, there is just too

voluminous a record of the administration going on the media

offensive to tout lines they know to be flimsy. This appears to be

more of same. Second, if the great genius Karl Rove and the rest of

the Bushmen have demonstrated that they understand anything

about the propaganda potential of the historical moment they've

inherited, they surely understand that repetition is everything. Get

your message out regularly, and even if it's false a good many

people will believe it.

Finally, we don't have to speculate about whether the administration

would really plant bogus WMD evidence in the American media,

because they have already done it, most visibly in the case of Judith

Miller of the New York Times and the Iraqi defector "scientist" she

wrote about at the military's behest on April 21. Miller did not even

get to speak with the purported scientist, but she graciously passed

on several things American commanders claimed he said: that Iraq

only destroyed its chemical weapons days before the war, that

WMD materiel had been shipped to Syria, and that Iraq had ties to

al Qaeda. As Slate media critic Jack Shafer told WNYC Radio's On

the Media program, "When you... look at [her story], you find that

it's gas, it's air. There's no way to judge the value of her

information, because it comes from an unnamed source that won't

let her verify any aspect of it. And if you dig into the story... you'll

find out that the only thing that Miller has independently observed is

a man that the military says is the scientist, wearing a baseball cap,

pointing at mounds in the dirt."

39) "The Iraqi people are now free."

So says the current U.S. administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, in a

recent New York Times op-ed. He failed to add that disagreeing can

get you shot or arrested under the terms of the Pentagon's latest

plan for pacifying Iraq, Operation Sidewinder (see #36), a military

op launched last month to wipe out all remaining Ba'athists and


partisans--meaning, in practice, anyone who resists the U.S.

occupation too zealously.

40) God told Bush to invade Iraq.

Not long after the September 11 attacks, neoconservative high priest

Norman Podhoretz wrote: "One hears that Bush, who entered the

White House without a clear s
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