Why Bush lies about Iraq
US President George Bush's plans to invade Iraq have nothing to
do eliminating “weapons of mass destruction”, preventing
terrorism or ending human rights abuses. An attack on Iraq will
be the first phase of a pre-existing strategy to increase US
control of the world's oil supplies.
By John Pilger
Clearing House" -- --
In a document written more than two years ago and disclosed only
recently, the men who now surround Bush outlined in prophetic
detail Washington's grand strategy to dominate much of humanity
and the world's resources. However, what the US needed to win
public support to implement it, it said, was “some catastrophic
and catalysing event — like a new Pearl Harbor”.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, provided the “new
Pearl Harbor”, described as “the opportunity of ages”. The
extremists who have since exploited 9/11 come from the era of
the Ronald Reagan presidency, when far-right groups and
“think-tanks” were established to avenge the US “defeat” in
Vietnam. In the 1990s, there was an added agenda: to justify the
denial of a “peace dividend” following the Cold War.
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was formed,
along with the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson
Institute and other outfits that have since merged the ambitions
of the Reagan administration with those of the current Bush
One of Bush's “thinkers” is Richard Perle. I interviewed Perle
when he was advising Reagan; and when he spoke about “total
war”, I mistakenly dismissed him as mad. He recently used the
term again in describing America's “war on terror”.
Perle is one of the founders of the PNAC. Other founders
include: Dick Cheney, now US vice president; Donald Rumsfeld,
defence secretary; Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defence secretary; I
Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff; William Bennett, Reagan's
education secretary; and Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush's ambassador to
Afghanistan. These are the modern chartists of US terrorism.
The PNAC's seminal 2000 report, Rebuilding America's Defenses:
Strategy, Forces and Resources for A New Century, was a
blueprint of US aims in all but name. Two years ago it
recommended an increase in arms-spending of US$48 billion so
that Washington could “fight and win multiple, simultaneous
major theatre wars”. This has happened. It said the US should
develop “bunker-buster” nuclear weapons and make “star wars” a
national priority. This is happening. It said that, in the event
of Bush taking power, Iraq should be a target.
And so it is.
As for Iraq's alleged “weapons of mass destruction”, these were
dismissed, in so many words, as a convenient excuse, which it
is. “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the
immediate justification”, the PNAC's report says, “the need for
a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the
issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein”.
How has this grand strategy been implemented?
A series of articles in the Washington Post, co-authored by Bob
Woodward of Watergate fame and based on long interviews with
senior members of the Bush administration, reveals how 9/11 was
On the morning of September 12, 2001, without any evidence of
who the hijackers were, Rumsfeld demanded that the US attack
Iraq. According to Woodward, Rumsfeld told a cabinet meeting
that Iraq should be “a principal target of the first round in
the war against terrorism”. Iraq was temporarily spared only
because Colin Powell, the secretary of state, persuaded Bush
that “public opinion has to be prepared before a move against
Iraq is possible”. Afghanistan was chosen as the softer option.
If Jonathan Steele's estimate in the Guardian is correct, some
20,000 people in Afghanistan paid the price of this debate with
Time and again, September 11 is described as an “opportunity”.
In last April's New Yorker, the investigative reporter Nicholas
Lemann wrote that Bush's most senior adviser, Condoleezza Rice,
told him she had called together senior members of the National
Security Council and asked them “to think about `how do you
capitalise on these opportunities'”, which she compared with
those of “1945 to 1947”: the start of the Cold War.
Since September 11, 2001, Washington has established military
bases at the gateways to all the major sources of fossil fuels,
especially central Asia. The UNOCAL oil company is to build a
pipeline across Afghanistan. Bush has scrapped the Kyoto
Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, the war crimes provisions
of the International Criminal Court and the anti-ballistic
missile treaty. He has said he will use nuclear weapons against
non-nuclear states “if necessary”. Under cover of propaganda
about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, the Bush
regime is developing new weapons of mass destruction that
undermine international treaties on biological and chemical
In the Los Angeles Times, the military analyst William Arkin
describes a secret army set up by Rumsfeld, similar to those run
by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and which Congress
outlawed. This “super-intelligence support activity” will bring
together the “CIA and military covert action, information
warfare and deception”. According to a classified document
prepared for Rumsfeld, the new organisation, known by its
Orwellian moniker as the Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group,
or P2OG, will provoke terrorist attacks which would then require
“counter-attack” by the US on countries “harbouring the
In other words, innocent people will be killed by the US. This
is reminiscent of Operation Northwoods, the plan put to
President John Kennedy by his military chiefs for a phoney
terrorist campaign — complete with bombings, hijackings, plane
crashes and dead Americans — as justification for an invasion of
Cuba. Kennedy rejected it. He was assassinated a few months
later. Now Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but with
resources undreamt of in 1963 and with no global rival to invite
You have to keep reminding yourself this is not fantasy: that
truly dangerous men, such as Perle and Rumsfeld and Cheney, have
vast power. The thread running through their ruminations is the
importance of the media: “the prioritised task of bringing on
board journalists of repute to accept our position”.
“Our position” is code for lying. Certainly, as a journalist, I
have never known official lying to be more pervasive than today.
We may laugh at the vacuities in British Labour Prime Minister
Tony Blair's “Iraq dossier” and British foreign secretary Jack
Straw's inept lie that Iraq has developed a nuclear bomb. But
the more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked attack on Iraq
and linking it to would-be terrorists who are said to lurk in
every London Tube station, are routinely channelled as “news”.
They are not news; they are black propaganda.
This corruption makes journalists and broadcasters mere
ventriloquists' dummies. An attack on a nation of 22 million
suffering people is discussed by liberal commentators as if it
were a subject at an academic seminar, at which pieces can be
pushed around a map, as the old imperialists used to do.
The issue for these humanitarians is not primarily the brutality
of modern imperial domination, but how “bad” Saddam Hussein is.
There is no admission that their decision to join the war party
further seals the fate of perhaps thousands of innocent Iraqis
condemned to wait on America's international death row. Their
doublethink will not work.
You cannot support murderous piracy in the name of
humanitarianism. Moreover, the extremes of US fundamentalism
that we now face have been staring at us for too long for those
of good heart and sense not to recognise them.
With thanks to Norm Dixon and Chris Floyd.
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