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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why did we invade Iraq? I. The Lies

Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, considers the two types of reasons the U. S. attacked Iraq. In this excerpt, she considers the lies; in the next, she considers the real reasons we invaded Iraq.


Why did we invade and occupy Iraq? We were told Iraq was strong and dangerous. We were told that sanctions were not working, and Saddam Hussein was not in compliance with the UN disarmament regime. We were told that Iraq was working on a viable chemical, biological and nuclear program, had many of these weapons already, and was also working with terrorists who targeted and would target the United States. It was suggested repeatedly in Presidential and Vice Presidential speeches, in statements by the Secretary of Defense and other administration mouthpieces that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the 9-11 attacks on the United States.

In the second half of 2002, a total of 27 different reasons were given by the administration or by Congresspersons as to why we needed to go into Iraq as soon as possible. I know this because a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign wrote her senior honors thesis entitled "Uncovering the Rationales for the War on Iraq: The Words of the Bush Administration, Congress and the Media from September 12, 2001, to October 11, 2002." Devon Largio did a detailed analysis identifying 23 different reasons put forth by the administration, and 4 more put forth by various congressmen in the run up to war.

That’s a lot of reasons. In the infamous words of then deputy secretary of defense and leading neoconservative thinker Paul Wolfowitz, "WMD became the reason upon which we could all bureaucratically agree."

Now, many people in the Pentagon, at CIA, at State, across this country and around the world knew that a lot of the reasons put forth were invalid, not true, or to be generous, were the result of a narrow political interpretation of a small and known to be uncertain data set.

People in America, in the Pentagon, at CIA and the State department knew that Iraq was a fourth rate military state, with no air force, no navy and not much of an Army, in part due to the destruction of the first Gulf War, a dozen years of sanctions and being bombed by the US and the UK since 1991. The Pentagon, CIA and State Department knew that Iraq had accounted for over 96% of all suspected WMD. This 4% – biological and chemical stores – was indeed a matter of debate. Was it our own faulty estimation (after all, we had the receipts), was the material we sought already destroyed or degraded and just missing the paperwork, or did it still exist in some viable form? Saddam Hussein had last sought material for his nuclear program in the late 1980s, and under sanctions and US enforcement of the no-fly zones, had made no observed progress in his nuclear program, and did not seem to be even trying to.

The Pentagon, CIA and State Department knew Iraq had no relationship with al Qaeda. Instead, we understood that they were competitors and adversaries on both governing and religious issues. Two things angered Osama bin Laden – US forces in Saudi Arabia, and a godless Ba-ath dictatorship in Iraq. We also knew that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11

The CIA knew that Saddam Hussein had not been associated with a foiled attempt on the life of former President George H. W. Bush, in 1993 when he and other Bush family members and friends were visiting Kuwait. President Clinton sent missiles into Baghdad in retaliation shortly thereafter, although at the time and more so today, this purported 1993 attempt foiled by the Kuwaitis, did not emanate from Iraq.

Now – there were many things the Pentagon, CIA and State department did not know, because we had no trustworthy human intelligence assets in Iraq. It seems we paid little attention to what we didn’t know, short of establishing bombing targets and cultivating potential Iraqi outsiders to replace Saddam, like convicted fraudster Ahmad Chalabi. We knew nothing of the culture, political or otherwise in Iraq, we didn’t understand the economy, the history, or the people of Iraq. In the winter of 2002 and 2003, a group at Pentagon, CIA and State madly rushed to create a plan for the US occupation, for the aftermath of the invasion. As a key member of the Bush team at the time, Lt General Jay Garner recalls, when he tried to give the plan to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, he was told curtly, to "Shelve it."

Rumsfeld used to like to talk about the known knowns, the known unknowns, etc. He forgot to mention the willful, criminal, purposeful unknowns because some people (Americans and Iraqis) just don’t matter a hill of beans in a world you make up as you go along.

Today, we generally understand that we were lied to by the Pentagon, and by our government. These lies were repeated and often expanded upon by politicians and our media in 2002 and for several years after the invasion. Suggestions by politicians and media outlets that the truth was actually somewhat different were met by scorn, and accusations of sleeping with the enemy. And we all fell in line, and marched in unison.


--from "Iraq – What Happened, Why and What Do We Do Now?" by Karen Kwiatkowski at http://www.lewrockwell.com/kwiatkowski/kwiatkowski193.html.

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