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Foreign Correspondent
by international syndicated columnist & broadcaster Eric Margolis


Copyright: Eric S. Margolis, 2005

April 11, 2005

US intelligence was `dead wrong’ in its prewar beliefs about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, reported a US presidential commission on 31 March. And just as wrong about nearly every other charge leveled at Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

This column also used `dead wrong’ over the past decade when attacking all the lies being manufactured about Iraq. Interestingly, the many journalists and pundits who heaped abuse on my head and accused me of treason for daring to challenge the pro-war propaganda they so greedily lapped up, have fallen strangely silent as the truth about Iraq emerges.

Speaking of truth, ironically, it was Iraq’s President, Saddam Hussein, who told the truth about having destroyed all weapons of mass destruction left over from the Iran-Iraq War, and President George W. Bush who was not telling the truth.

Still, let’s recall the prime mission of presidential and parliamentary commissions is not fact-finding but sweeping scandal under the rug, and deflecting blame from politicians.

After mouthing pious verities about needing better intelligence, the commission, appointed by President Bush, amazingly found: a. no one was really guilty of the Iraq intelligence fiasco; and b. there was no White House political pressure on the intelligence community to justify the war.

And so the mighty Niagara of whitewash flows on. The report made no mention of President Bush’s claims about Iraqi drones of death, VP Dick Cheney’s incessant pressure on CIA to declare Iraq a nuclear menace, or Condoleeza Rice’s terrorizing Americans with talk of nuclear mushrooms clouds.

It ignored evidence from senior Bush aides Paul O’Neill and Richard Clarke the president obsessively pushed for war with Iraq soon after taking office.

There was no mention of Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans, a covert Pentagon intelligence shop set up to funnel fake claims about Iraq to the White House and US media produced by a cabal of pro-war neoconservatives and a special Israeli disinformation unit.

No mention of patriotic CIA officers fired or demoted for refusing to join this giant fraud. No mention of how national security was gravely corrupted, manipulated and distorted for partisan political gain.

The report called Iraq `…one of the most damaging intelligence failures in recent American history.’ But, amazingly, the whitewash committee found no one responsible for this disaster.

There was no mention of the more than 1,549 US soldiers killed, and the 17,184 American casualties caused by the war. Nor Iraqi dead, possibly as high as 100,000, nor the destruction of parts of Iraq, nor the $6 billion a month cost of this imperial war. And certainly no reference to the view advanced by Bush’s own Mideast envoy, Marine general Anthony Zinni, that the war was really about oil and benefiting Israel.

Victory has a hundred fathers; defeat is an orphan. Iraq just happened. Bad mogambo. A no-fault war started for either dead wrong or utterly false reasons for which no one was responsible.

This is the third preposterous whitewash foisted on credulous Americans.

Whitewash One was the 9/11 investigation. That commission found no one responsible for allowing the worst attack on the US since Pearl Harbor, though Bush and Rice were bombarded with warnings an assault was imminent.

The awkward fact that America’s little Savanarola, then attorney general John Ashcroft, actually cut spending on terrorism right before 9/11 was conveniently ignored.

Whitewash Two: torture scandals at Abu Ghraib and other camps in the US secret gulag. Seven senior military investigations found only a few cases of `minor misconduct’ and `isolated abuse’ by low-ranking personnel.

The tortures by electricity, freezing, drowning, sleep and sensory deprivation, beatings, dog attacks, and sexual humiliation were, claimed the Pentagon, all the fault of a few trailer-trash sadists, like Pvt. Lyndie England and her boyfriend, though the chain of responsibility for these war crimes clearly ran right up to the Secretary of Defense.

Three whitewashes later we are assured no one was guilty of anything. In fact, many Bush Administration officials guilty of monumental blundering or even possible criminal acts have been richly rewarded for their bungling and misdeeds.

Rumsfeld, violator of the Geneva Conventions, was renamed Pentagon chief. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, asleep on guard duty at 9/11, became Secretary of State. Iraq War architect, neocon Paul Wolfowitz, was forced on the World Bank as its new chief. Loud-mouth neocon buffoon John Bolton nominated UN ambassador. Faithful aparatchick John Negroponte made intelligence czar. Only CIA’s handkissing chief, George Tenet, lost his job, albeit with the Medal of Freedom.

White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez, who wrote briefs justifying torture, was named Attorney General instead of being disbarred. Poor, bumbling Colin Powell went into to deserved obscurity.

Never, never have so many senior American officials been so wrong about a major question of foreign policy. Never has the US government made such a fool of itself before world opinion, or so besmirched America’s reputation.

The commander-in-chief of the whole Iraq fiasco, Abu Ghraib, and the outrageous dereliction of duty on 9/11, George W. Bush, was triumphantly re-elected by a grateful American people, proving that nothing succeeds like failure provided you wave the flag hard enough and keep the whitewash coming.

Published at Bigeye.com since 1995 with permission, as a courtesy and in appreciation.

To read previous columns by Mr. Margolis: Click here

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