The Burning Bush

A. Scott Piraino

We are going to lose the war in Iraq, and by lose I mean we will not bring peace and democracy to that unfortunate country. Instead we will endure a steady trickle of American casualties until public pressure forces the U.S. to withdraw. Most Everyone knows this.

Everyone except perhaps our president, George W. Bush.

It is tempting to believe that President Bush is nothing but a paid mouthpiece for the American oligarchy. But if that were true, then there would be some logical reason for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. There isn’t.

800 U.S. service members have died since the war began last year, over 4,500 have been wounded, at a cost approaching 200 billion dollars. Defense Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz recently told Congress that military operations in Iraq are now costing about $4.7 billion a month. The cost of our war in Iraq is approaching the cost of the Vietnam War, after adjusting for inflation.

And for what?

Saddam Hussein’s war machine had been rendered impotent after the first Gulf War and the sanctions imposed by the United States. Iraq was not manufacturing Weapons of Mass destruction, nor was Saddam Hussein involved in the 9/11 attacks. Yet the Bush administration has still not provided any justification for the invasion, or accepted any responsibility for the bungled war in Iraq.

The only Weapon of Mass Destruction that has been found is an artillery round containing the nerve agent sarin. The shell was rigged as a makeshift explosive device, and detonated next to a passing U.S. convoy. Two Americans were treated for minor exposure to the sarin nerve agent, but there were no serious injuries. Weapons experts have dated the artillery shell to before the first Gulf War, meaning it was not produced after sanctions were put in effect.

Even some members of the Bush administration are finally admitting that somebody lied about Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. Secretary of State Colin Powell recently acknowledged as much NBC: “The Central Intelligence Agency and other US government institutions were in some cases deliberately misled about alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the war.”

If that is true, then where did the faulty “intelligence” about Iraq’s weapons programs come from? Richard Clarke served four U.S. presidents, and was chief of counter-terrorism for the Clinton and Bush administrations. After resigning in January of 2003 he published Against All Enemies, the most revealing account to date of the Bush administration’s march toward war.

Richard Clarke states matter-of-factly where the propaganda alluding to Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction came from. “The people in Rumsfeld’s office and in Wolfowitz’s operation cherry-picked intelligence to select the intelligence to support their views. They never did the due diligence on the intelligence that professional intelligence analysts are trained to do. [The OSP] would go through the intelligence reports including the ones that the CIA was throwing out.”

The Office of Special plans was the creation of Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. The purpose of this secret office was to “cherry-pick” any intelligence that hinted Iraq had WMD, and publicize that evidence. After the U.S. invaded Iraq, the office was shut down, and the blame for faulty intelligence pertaining to Iraq was placed squarely on the CIA.

Most Americans know they were deceived about Iraq’s WMD. However, few know that the propaganda about Saddam Hussein’s weapons came from an obscure office in the Defense Department. Since all the material is classified, and the CIA cannot investigate the Defense Department or the White House, the real “source” of the missing WMD goes unnoticed.

Some pundits have suggested that the real reason for the invasion was a secret plan to take control of Iraq’s oil wealth. Halliburton, the infamous company with ties to Vice President Cheney has received lucrative, non-competitive contracts for Iraqi oil. But conspiracy theorists may rest assured that if the Bush Administration invaded Iraq for oil, their plan has failed miserably.

In the months immediately after the invasion Iraqis were rationing fuel, and oil was actually imported from Kuwait, Jordan, and Turkey. Since then, Iraqi saboteurs and a crumbling infrastructure have crippled Iraq’s oil output. Data released by the US Army Corps of Engineers shows Iraqi oil exports declined from nearly two million barrels per day before the war, to 860,000 barrels per day today.

Crude oil prices worldwide, and gasoline prices in the United States have climbed to new record highs precisely because of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

There are no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and the Bush administration knew it before we invaded. Otherwise they would not have needed to lie. If they engineered the invasion to control Iraq’s oil supplies and give war contracts to Halliburton, they are the most despicable administration in U.S. History. But there could be another explanation, if not a proper reason.

The President and his cabal of close advisors believe in the war, and they have lied to the American people to pursue it.

On February 7th 2004, the President was interviewed in the Oval Office by Tim Russert. In a taped interview for Meet the Press, the President fielded candid, straightforward questions about the U.S. war in Iraq. Here is a brief transcript:

Russert: The night you took the country to war, March 17th, you said this: “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
President Bush: Right.

Russert: That apparently is not the case.
President Bush: Correct.

Russert: There’s a sense in the country that the intelligence that was given was ambiguous, and that you took it and molded it and shaped it — your opponents have said “hyped” it — and rushed to war.
President Bush: Yeah.

Russert: Now looking back, in your mind, is it worth the loss of 530 American lives and 3,000 injuries and woundings simply to remove Saddam Hussein, even though there were no weapons of mass destruction?
President Bush: Every life is precious. Every person that is willing to sacrifice for this country deserves our praise, and yes.

President Bush did attempt to justify his war in Iraq with this statement:

“I’m a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind. Again, I wish it wasn’t true, but it is true. And the American people need to know they got a president who sees the world the way it is. And I see dangers that exist, and it’s important for us to deal with them.”

In other words, the President declared that we were invading Iraq because of that nation’s WMD…But there were no weapons of mass destruction, and yes, the intelligence was fudged. We give praise to those who have been killed or wounded, and yes, the war is worth their sacrifice, (their lives).

He’s a war president, and by God, he has done what must be done. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction so he could do the right thing, and invade Iraq. We the people should just accept the lies, and be grateful that our President is doing whatever it takes to defeat our enemies.

In the three months since that interview was conducted, the Iraqi insurgency has grown, and the media has revealed widespread abuse of prisoners in Iraq. Polls show most Americans are uneasy about the war, and the President’s approval ratings are well below fifty percent. Last week President Bush made another public appearance, in an attempt to allay concerns about Iraq and shore up his crumbling support among voters.

His speech at the Army War College said nothing new. The President vowed to stay the course, and promised more troops if they were necessary. Bush trumpeted the removal of Saddam Hussein as the new raison d’etre of our war. He declared that Iraq is the headquarters of terrorists who “seek weapons of mass destruction.” Instead of admitting that Iraq’s WMD do not exist.

More important than the President’s empty words is what was left unsaid. He did not offer one word of contrition for the dead and wounded American soldiers, or express any concern for the war’s escalating costs. If the President has any doubts about his war in Iraq, he did not reveal them.

The truth is, President Bush and his neo-conservative advisors did not expect the war to get so out of hand. If they had been successful, no one would care about the lies they used to justify the invasion. They planned to take over Iraq and overthrow Saddam’s regime, but they did not plan on the Iraqi insurgency.

The Bush administration has yet to admit that the war is wrong, let alone apologize to the American people. But they can never claim that the war in Iraq is a mistake. It is a lie, and it could be the biggest military debacle in U.S. history.

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Published in: on June 1, 2004 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

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