The Lies and theTruth About the U.S. War on Iraq
Revolution #024, November 27, 2005, posted at revcom.us
Facing growing criticism about the Iraq war from high-level politicians as well as from the public (a just-released Zogby poll found that 53 percent of people surveyed favored impeachment if Bush lied about the reasons for going to war with Iraq), the Bush regime has been snarling back. Vice President Cheney said that the charge that the Bush administration "purposely misled the American people on prewar intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city" and called the charges "cynical and pernicious falsehoods." In a press conference in South Korea, Bush backed Cheney and called critics of the war "irresponsible."
Let's get down on the ground. Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the regime did not "mislead" about the reasons for going to war: THEY LIED!
They lied. They know they lied. And now these liars are lying about having lied.
These lies--and the war they led to--have had horrific consequences. More than 100,000 Iraqis have been killed, and a whole country has been devastated. Rampant torture is being carried out by the U.S. forces and the regime that the U.S. put in place in Iraq. More than 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died in this unjust war of conquest.
Millions of people around the world are aware of the central lie that Bush & Co. used as justification for the war: that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat with his weapons of mass destrucion. And everybody knows what happened after the U.S. invasion: No such weapons of mass destruction were found.
Let's review their lies--and the truth--more closely. Note that most of the evidence exposing these lies of the Bush regime were on public record before they launched the war on Iraq. (A caveat--these are just some of the lies that the Bush regime told leading up to the March 2003 launch of the war against Iraq.)
The Lie. Sept. 7, 2002, Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed that a new report from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed Iraq was "six months away" from building a nuclear weapon. Bush, in his January 28, 2003 State of the Union speech shortly before the start of the war, said Iraq's government had "an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb."
The Truth. There was no new IAEA report. After UN inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq in 1998, IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei said: "There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance." (October 1998 report to UN Security Council) Just before the U.S. invasion, ElBaradei told the UN Security Council: "After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq." (March 7, 2003)
The Lie. Despite the ElBaradei statement, the U.S. government claimed it had proof of a nuclear "revival" in Iraq: purchases of uranium and some aluminum tubes for the gas centrifuges that refine bomb materials. Bush, in his State of the Union speech, Jan. 28, 2003 uttered the now-infamous 16 words: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
The Truth. Bush was referring to the west African country of Niger. Career U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson was sent by the U.S. government to Niger in February 2002 to investigate the claim of Iraqi uranium "yellow cake" purchases. He reported to his superiors (including Vice President Cheney) that "it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place." When Wilson made his finding public in a NY Times Op-Ed piece in July 2003, the Bush White House (including the recently indicted Cheney aide "Scooter" Libby) mobilized to protect their lies and discredit Wilson, including by revealing the name of Wilson's wife, a covert CIA agent, to journalists.
The Lie. Bush, January 2003 State of the Union: "Our intelligence sources tell us that [Hussein] has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."
The Truth. Former U.S. weapons inspector David Albright said that "people who understood gas centrifuges almost uniformly felt that these tubes were not specific to gas centrifuge" for production of enriched uranium. (CBS60 Minutes, Dec. 8, 2002)
Washington Post reported: "Significantly, there is no evidence so far that Iraq sought other materials required for centrifuges, such as motors, metal caps and special magnets, U.S. and international officials said." (Jan. 23, 2002)
Biological and Chemical Weapons
The Lie. George Bush, Jan. 7, 2003: "Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent ... upward of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents ... materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin."
Bush's then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told the UN, "There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce many, many more." (Feb. 5, 2003)
The Truth. Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector summed up a year and half before the war: "Under the most stringent on-site inspection regime in the history of arms control, Iraq's biological weapons programs were dismantled, destroyed or rendered harmless during the course of hundreds of no-notice inspections. The major biological weapons production facility--al Hakum, which was responsible for producing Iraq's anthrax--was blown up by high explosive charges and all its equipment destroyed. Other biological facilities met the same fate if it was found that they had, at any time, been used for research and development of biological weapons... No evidence of anthrax or any other biological agent was discovered. While it was impossible to verify that all of Iraq's biological capability had been destroyed, the UN never once found evidence that Iraq had either retained biological weapons or associated production equipment, or was continuing work in the field." (Guardian, Oct. 19, 2001)
The Lie. Colin Powell at the UN, Feb. 5, 2003: "We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails. The trucks and train cars are easily moved and are designed to evade detection by inspectors. In a matter of months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount that Iraq claimed to have produced in the years prior to the  Gulf War."
The Truth. Before the war, UN inspectors investigated several U.S. "tips" about "mobile labs"--but they turned out to be food-testing trucks. Raymond Zilinskas, microbiologist and former UN weapons inspector, said the whole idea of mobile labs producing bio-weapons was " far-fetched," since the Iraqis wouldn't have been able to dispose of the large quantities of highly toxic waste. (Washington Post, Feb. 6, 2003)
The Lie. George Bush, Oct. 7, 2002: "We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical and biological weapons across broad areas. We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using UAVs for missions targeting the United States."Bush also claimed, "Of course, sophisticated delivery systems are not required for a chemical or biological attack--all that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it."
The Truth. Military use of biological agents like anthrax or chemical agents require means of dispersal to reach large numbers of people. The 2001 anthrax incident in the U.S. shows that small containers of such weapons have very localized health effects. Moreover, the U.S. is many thousands of miles from Iraq. None of Iraq's missiles or drones could travel more than a few hundred miles. No Scud missiles and no biological or warheads with such agents have been found so far since the war.
Inventing Iraqi Links to al-Qaida and 9/11
The Lie. NY Times, Sept. 27, 2002: "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today that American intelligence had bulletproof evidence of links between al-Qaida and the government of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.".
NY Times (Oct. 11, 2001) reported that intelligence officials from Jordan, Israel, and Saudi Arabia do not believe there is any serious Hussein-bin Laden connection.
On Sept. 11 itself, top Bush officials decided to use the airliner attacks to justify war with Iraq. "CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq--even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks." (Sept. 4, 2002) In October 2002, the NY Times reported that Rumsfeld created a Pentagon operation "to search for information on Iraq's hostile intentions or links to terrorists"--despite CIA reports saying there were none. Shortly afterward, Rumsfeld announced that he had "solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qaida members" (Seymour Hersh, May 28, 2003). Soon other officials of the U.S. government were presenting what he said as "evidence."
The Lie. Shortly after Sept. 11 CNN reported: "U.S. officials revealed Thursday that Mohammed Atta--one of the suspected suicide hijackers--had two meetings, not one, with Iraqi intelligence officers in Prague, Czech Republic. The first meeting was in June 2000 and the second one was in April 2001, sources said. In both cases Atta met in Prague with Iraqi intelligence officers operating under cover as diplomats." (Oct. 11, 2001) U.S. intelligence supposedly got this information from Czech intelligence agencies.
The Truth. A year later, the New York Times reported (Oct. 21, 2002): "The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, has quietly told the White House he has concluded that there is no evidence to confirm earlier reports that Mohammed Atta, the leader of the Sept. 11 attacks, met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague just months before the attacks on New York and Washington, according to Czech officials.... Czech security officials also say that they have never seen any other evidence that Iraqi intelligence officers stationed in Prague were involved in terrorist activities."