Nor is it evidence of fraud and complicity by dastardly UN bureaucrats and commie British lawmakers in the oil-for-food scandal. No, these smoking guns litter a fenced-off crime scene where the corpses of Presidential honour and integrity lie moldering and forgotten. And the fingerprints have Dubya written all over them.
The first smoking gun was found in England a couple weeks ago. It is a secret memorandum compiled in August 2002 after a meeting at the highest levels of the British government, including the Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, and the head of MI6. It shows conclusively that the Bush Administration had already decided at that time to attack and occupy Iraq.This decision was made at least eight months before hostilities commenced, and three months before the release of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) – which purportedly served as the basis for the decision.
The British memorandum dispenses once and for all with the notion that the invasion of Iraq was based upon mistaken intelligence. The head of British intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove, noted that an assault “was now seen as inevitable,” and that “the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy”.
Accusations that the Bush Administration knowingly manipulated, distorted, and fabricated intelligence to justify a needless war have now been proven beyond any doubt. Bush’s protestations on the eve of war that conflict was not inevitable were bald-faced lies. Promises to give UN inspectors a chance to prove or disprove allegations of Iraqi WMD were an empty farce.
The Administration thus knowingly misled Congress and the American people into a needless war against a country that posed no credible threat. The Foreign Minister of Britain is quoted in the memorandum as saying the patently obvious, that there was no justification for war because “Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capacity was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran”. Meanwhile Condi was on the talk show circuit warning about mushroom clouds over Miami while Dick Cheney claimed Saddam had done everything on 9/11 except fly a plane into a building.
The second smoking gun is in the same memo. We are involved in a savage guerrilla war that has killed and maimed tens of thousands of coalition troops and Iraqi civilians. Iraq is in complete chaos. Civil war could erupt at any moment. Virtually no infrastructure has been repaired after countless billions in hasty and mismanaged appropriations.
Unsupervised, untrained troops in Abu Ghraib have stained the honour of the American military forever. All of this was caused by a total lack of planning for the postwar environment. Contrary to Rumsfeld’s protests that no one could have foreseen this catastrophe, Sir Dearlove raised the alarm eight months before the invasion that “there was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath”.
Administration hawks should have foreseen the likely result of the war. Their British counterparts clearly did, and said as much. The State Department formulated a plan which was promptly dropped in the garbage by the Pentagon. Wolfowitz and Cheney did not want to disrupt their pipe dreams of American soldiers greeted with flowers and Iraqi oil revenues paying for the country’s reconstruction in the aftermath of shock and awe. Thousands of American soldiers are dead and maimed as a result of their criminal negligence.
The third smoking gun constitutes treason. The October 2002 NIE stated that a “growing ability to sell oil illicitly increases Baghdad’s ability to finance WMD programs”. Yet a report released recently by the United States Senate places the blame for this squarely at the door of the United States and the Bush Administration, which assisted favoured countries in breaking the embargo even in the weeks before the war.
It estimates that over half of all kickbacks to Saddam were paid out of oil proceeds from American companies – companies whose compliance with the sanctions regime was the responsibility of United States authorities, not the United Nations.
The report states that “the United States not only failed to exert an effort to stop the oil shipments, it appears to have facilitated them”. The Bush Administration intervened directly via the State Dept. to allow Jordan to smuggle tens of millions of dollars worth of oil out of Iraq on the very eve of the war.
The profits from this transaction went directly to the coffers of Saddam Hussein. The Bush Administration knew this, yet facilitated it. But if they believed their own intelligence, they must have also believed they were funding the Iraqi WMD programme at the very moment that war looked increasingly likely. For all they knew, American troops advancing on Baghdad might have been attacked with chemical weapons paid for with American dollars.
WMD were just a desert mirage, however, which probably explains why the Bush Administration was not concerned about the embargo being broken. Indeed, it conveniently contributed to the casus belli outlined in the October 2002 NIE. But if these countless millions did not go to pay for WMD, where did they end up?
It has long been staple fodder of right-wing media that oil-for-food kickbacks are the primary source of funding for the Iraqi insurgency. This is a plausible theory. But if the Bush Administration “facilitated” the majority of oil-related kickbacks as the Senate report claims, it means they provided the very funds which the guerrillas now use to kill American troops.
It’s a classic bit of Rove-cum-Machiavelli planning. Start funding the rebels before you even invade the country in the first place. American taxpayers bankroll both sides of the war while the soldiers and Iraqis pay in rivers of blood. Wave the flag during the campaign, talk about how your opponents aren’t supporting the troops in a time of war. Get re-elected. Simple.
It’s an old family trick. His father sold weapons to the terrorists who had just blown up hundreds of Marines in Beirut so that he could illegally send the profits down to more terrorists in Central America. His grandfather had major assets seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act in 1942 and was charged with “running Nazi front groups in the United States”. Inexplicably, they both went on to win national elections, instead of having their heads mounted on stakes as a warning to future traitors.
Hitler once commented “what luck for rulers that men do not think”. The Bush clan should adopt that as its motto. Tattoo it on the forearm of every firstborn male in the family with Saudi oil, using a needle made from Auschwitz gold. …
I like to think that we the people have learned a trick or two since then, and that one day a Bush is going to push his luck just a bit too far and precipitate a day of awful reckoning for generations of congenital crime. And when I look at Dubya’s blind and bumbling hypocrisy, I begin to hope that day may finally have come.
I cannot say if it has, of course. I do not know if the American people have the strength to look at their President and admit to themselves that he has betrayed their trust, whored their honour, and committed the greatest abuses of the public tru
st in the history of the nation. As George Washington stated in his inaugural address, “the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are …finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” Only time will tell if we deserve that trust.
Res ipsa loquitur.