June 18, 2006

Why Is the U. S. in Iraq?

by Rodrigue Tremblay


"We know where [the weapons of mass destruction] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." [ABC 'This Week', March 30, 2003]

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense


"It’s obvious. [The Iraq War] was a mistake. And I’ve said this from the very start. I mean, you had no weapons of mass destruction, you had no connection with al-Qaeda, there was no danger to our national security. We don’t put young people in harm’s way unless we have a threat to our national security."

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), MSNBC- Meet the Press, June 18, 2006


"If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest."

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 3rd American President


Journalists keep asking the above question but are frustrated they never receive a straight answer. It has become more and more obvious to them that, from the start, the official story on Iraq never made sense. Last April, political commentator Chris Matthews of MSNBC-Hardball tried again to elicit an answer when he interviewed Republican Congressman Vin Weber, a card carrying member of the Project for the New American Century. Here is one exchange:


Chris MATTHEWS:  "What was the reason we went to war? -I‘ve never gotten that straight from anybody, why did we go to war with Iraq?"


Congressman Vin WEBER"Because we had a dangerous dictator who‘d made war on three of his neighbors and who hated the United States of America and had used weapons of mass destruction in the past." (April 6, 2006) 


Most of the American people are in the same position as Chris Matthews. They were never truthfully told the reasons why young Americans went to Iraq to kill and to be killed and why their government violated international law to launch a war of aggression. According to Congressman Weber, it was to punish a dangerous dictator who had waged war, ten or twenty years before, with neighboring Kuwait and Iran, was not friendly enough with Israel, 'hated' the United States and had weapons of mass destruction in the past. Of course, Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons during the 1980's, because the Reagan administration had helped in supplying them to Iraq to fight Iran. —But it was well known that Iraq had destroyed all of these weapons in 1991. We are dealing with the absurd when one country attacks another because it has weapons provided to the latter by the former, even if the attacker has the knowledge that such weapons have been destroyed years before.


It will be an historical irony that the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of Saddam Hussein was given as the chief reason for the decision of the Bush-Cheney administration to invade Iraq and topple his government, in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The same justification was used by Tony Blair's government for involving the United Kingdom in the illegal war. However, on October 6, 2004, the United States Senate Armed Services Committee definitely established that the group did not find any evidence that Iraq under Saddam Hussein had produced and stockpiled any weapons of mass destruction since 1991, when the first UN sanctions were imposed.


The real but undiscloseable reasons why the Bush-Cheney administration defied international law and invaded Iraq have been known for a long time and had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, hypothetical links with al-Qaeda or the vaporous concept of democracy in the Middle East. Rather, things are much simpler: the war was launched because powerful interests connected to the state of Israel, to the oil industry and to the Pentagon wanted to take advantage of the political opportunity created by the 9/11 attacks to implement a plan of invasion of Iraq they had prepared years before. For example, in an in-depth and well-researched article in September 2002, titled "The president's real goal in Iraq", author Jay Bookman, the deputy editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, convincingly identified the real and explicit reasons for the rush to war. Bookman also identified Bush Jr.'s main neocon advisers in favor of a war against Iraq and their plan to turn that country into a client state. They were the ones who had been pushing for such a war for many years and had launched the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), in 1997, i.e. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle, Kristol, Kagan, Libby, Podhoretz, Wurmser, Abrams, Khalilzad, Krauthammer, Shulsky and Co. They were joined later on in the cabal by Ledeen, Rubin, Cohen, Franklin, Frum, Bolton, Kirkpatrick, Woolsey, Gaffney Jr., etc. —As Tom Friedman of the New York Times put it, in 2005, [the Iraq War] "is a war of an elite. ... I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened."


Super-religious Bush Jr. and super-nationalist Cheney were, from the very first days of their administration, obsessed with the security of oil supplies. That is the reason why they so naturally teamed up with the pro-Israel Neocon cabal. They considered the security of oil supplies a basic US strategic goal. Thus, the strategy of controlling petroleum resources globally through military means, especially in the Middle East, the richest oil region of all. But that goal of U.S. strategic dominance of oil resources has been a failure and will haunt the U.S. and world economies for years to come.


A fourth reason is related to George W. Bush himself, and to his political ambitions. In 1999, Bush confided in Mickey Herskowitz, who interviewed him extensively for an autobiography, that it was his opinion that a "successful" president of the United States "needs a war" to gain political clout domestically. Bush already had the idea of invading Iraq, if given the chance. He got his chance after winning the 2000 presidential election with half a million votes fewer than Democrat Al Gore, and especially after the 9/11 attacks provided an opportunity for any military excursion the 'Commander-in-chief' wanted to undertake to avenge the traumatism that resulted in the population. In taking a militarist posture, George W. Bush was only trying to profit politically from the deeply ingrained war mentality that exists in a large segment of American society.


And, as an indication of the kind of person GWB is, he told Herskowitz that "as a leader, you can never admit to a mistake; that is one of the keys to being a leader." —He don't admit mistakes! —But it is the essence of democracy that leaders must be accountable and answer to the people. Otherwise, it is not called democracy, but dictatorship. In Bush Jr.'s mouth, words like "democracy," "freedom," "liberty," "peace," "justice," seem to be empty of any meanings and are unrelated to reality.


Let us all compare what President Woodrow Wilson had to say, in July 1919, with George W. Bush's utterances: "For my own part, I am as intolerant of imperialistic designs on the part of other nations as I was of such designs on the part of Germany. The choice is between two ideals; on the one hand, the ideal of democracy, which represents the rights of free peoples everywhere to govern themselves, and, the ideal of imperialism which seeks to dominate by force and unjust power, an ideal which is by no means dead and which is earnestly [sought] in many quarters still." Well, eighty-seven years later, President Wilson's words still ring true, but you would not find them in G. W.  Bush's mouth.




Posted by Rodrigue Tremblay, June 18, 2006, at 9:00 am


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