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Daddy Bush’s Iraq War as Cravenly Lie-Based as Baby Bush’s

Joshua Holland has a fascinating article entitled “The First Iraq War Was Also Sold to the Public Based on a Pack of Lies”.

A 2013 CNN poll revealed that 54% of Americans maintain that George W. Bush deliberately “misled the U.S. public about whether Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction."

Holland suggests that as we watch some of the same craven players and motivators of the second Iraq War monger for another round of gratuitous and oxymoronic “US violence for peace” in Iraq it is time to look back at the first Iraq War for a reality check of the motivations assembled back then as well.

Holland contends that that first Iraq war which, he adds, most of the public considers the “good Iraq war” “was sold to the public on a pack of lies that were just as egregious as those told by the second Bush administration 12 years later.”

Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Iraq and its fellow Arab oil state had had longstanding economic and historical conflicts Holland points out. The invasion was illegal, as illegal as the US’s 2003 invasion, but Iraq had more justification to invade Kuwait than the US had to invade Iraq.

Kuwait had been an ally of Iraq and helped finance its 1980 invasion of Iran. Hussein wanted Kuwait to forgive some of his regime’s war debt because he had helped weaken Iran for all the Gulf Arab countries. Kuwait was also insensitive to a problem with Iraqi oil production and refused to lower the level of its production to raise prices on oil for Iraq’s sake.

Also, Kuwait was accused by Iraq of “slant-drilling” on the Iraq border to slyly siphon off Iraqi oil.

Holland shares as well that Saddam Hussein was given the impression from US diplomats that if he invaded Kuwait the US government would look the other way, instead of portraying him as “an irrational maniac bent on regional destruction.”

Holland:

As John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago and Harvard’s Stephen Walt wrote in 2003, “Saddam reportedly decided on war sometime in July 1990, but before sending his army into Kuwait, he approached the United States to find out how it would react.”

In a now famous interview with the Iraqi leader, U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie told Saddam, “[W]e have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” The U.S. State Department had earlier told Saddam that Washington had “no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait.” The United States may not have intended to give Iraq a green light, but that is effectively what it did.

snip

There is no dispute about one crucially important point: Saddam Hussein consulted with the US before invading, and our ambassador chose not to draw a line in the sand, or even hint that the invasion might be grounds for the US to go to war.

Holland describes both Kuwait and Iraq as “undemocratic petro-states”. The George HW Bush administration decided to demonize Hussein as an irrational, dangerous invader of Kuwait “without provocation". This was a lie!

However, it would take more to sell the US public on committing money and the lives of its troops on a conflict over oil half a world away!

The situation called for THE MANUFACTURE OF SERIOUS PROPAGANDA!

Again, Saddam Hussein was immediately painted as Hitleresque in having designs on the entire Middle East soon to be made to fall like “dominos” beneath his continuing assaults. First Kuwait, tomorrow the world!

Then Daddy Bush and his administration validated their case for Iraq’s full Mid-East dominance agenda, according to Scott Peterson in the Christian Science Monitor in 2002, by messaging that the Iraq army was preparing also to invade Saudi Arabia! Pentagon officials cited “top-secret satellite images” in mid-September 1990 that showed “up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.”

George HW Bush declared that was why he had deployed American troops to the Gulf in August to help the Saudi Arabian Government defend its homeland against Iraq’s Hitlerian Hussein. Bush maintained he was asking Americans to fight for what is right “all in the cause of peace.”

A reporter named Jean Heller of the St. Petersburg Times questioned George HW Bush’s claims, especially the top secret satellite evidence of 1/4 million Iraqi troops amassing on the border of iraq. She managed to obtain commercial satellite images of the same area at the same time that American intelligence guaranteed Saddam had a “huge and menacing army” poised there. Guess what? Those satellite images revealed nothing but “empty desert”!!!

Heller contacted Daddy Bush’s Secretary of Defense who was guess who? Dick Cheney! Holland explains that the official response from Cheney to Heller was “Trust us!” Heller would later tell Scott Peterson investigating for the CSM that Senior Bush’s “whole justification” for sending troops to the Gulf was that border buildup of massive Iraqi troops. IT WAS A LIE!

Of course, the propaganda required even more fuel. Holland explains that the brutal 6-month occupation of Kuwait by Iraq was still not enough justification for Americans to become “psychologically” committed to involve their troops in the bloodshed half a world away. The Iraqi army had to be portrayed as committing “Nazi-level atrocities” contends Holland to win their hearts and minds.

Another Christian Science Monitor reporter, Tom Regan, in 2002 revealed that a group named Citizens for a Free Kuwait hired, for $10.7 million, Hill & Knowlton, a NY PR firm which previously had done propaganda for the tobacco industry and some governments with “ugly human rights records.” The company agreed to “devise a campaign to win American support for the war.” Regan also revealed that Craig Fuller, the president and COO of Hill & Knowlton, had been chief of staff for George HW Bush when he had been VP under Ronald Reagan.

Hill & Knowlton, according to historical researcher and author, Robin Anderson, then spent $1 million on focus groups as to how best to sell the idea of war with Iraq to the American public. The solution according to the testing groups was to “focus on atrocities” to inspire a collective American will to “rescue Kuwait”.

The next thing you know, there is sensational and titillating testimony in a Congressional hearing that grabs mass media attention of despicable Iraqi troop atrocities.

Holland:

That’s where a hearing held by the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in October 1990 played a major role in making the case for war.

A young woman who gave only her first name, Nayira, testified that she had been a volunteer at Kuwait’s al-Adan hospital, where she had seen Iraqi troops rip scores of babies out of incubators, leaving them “to die on the cold floor.” Between tears, she described the incident as “horrifying.”

Her account was a bombshell. Portions of her testimony were aired that evening on ABC’s “Nightline” and NBC’s “Nightly News.” Seven US senators cited her testimony in speeches urging Americans to support the war, and George HW Bush repeated the story on 10 separate occasions in the weeks that followed.

snip

Subsequent investigations by Amnesty International, a division of Human Rights Watch and independent journalists would show that the story was entirely bogus — a crucial piece of war propaganda the American media swallowed hook, line and sinker. Iraqi troops had looted Kuwaiti hospitals, but the gruesome image of babies dying on the floor was a fabrication.

In 1992, John MacArthur revealed in The New York Times that Nayirah was in fact the daughter of Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the US. Her testimony had been organized by a group called Citizens for a Free Kuwait, which was a front for the Kuwaiti government.

snip

Arthur Rowse reported for the Columbia Journalism Review that Hill & Knowlton sent out a video news release featuring Nayirah’s gripping testimony to 700 American television stations.

Kuwait, the “white hats” of the propaganda campaign, weeks before the Iraq invasion had been accused by Amnesty International of jailing and torturing dissidents without trial. This reality had to be squelched necessarily as well, so the same Hill & Knowlton pr firm organized “Kuwait Information Day” on 20 college campuses to rally support for Kuwait, calling it a “national day of prayer for Kuwait” complete with bumper stickers and other propaganda paraphenalia.

However, it was really the bogus baby-killing lie that had been, says Holland, “splashed across front pages across the country” that was the propaganda "slam dunk" to outrage and sell the first Iraq War to Americans.

Holland concludes:

The first Gulf War was sold on a mountain of war propaganda. It took a campaign worthy of George Orwell to convince Americans that our erstwhile ally Saddam Hussein — whom the US had aided in his war with Iran as late as 1988 — had become an irrational monster by 1990.

Twelve years later, the second invasion of Iraq was premised on Hussein’s supposed cooperation with al Qaeda, vials of anthrax, Nigerian yellowcake and claims that Iraq had missiles poised to strike British territory in little as 45 minutes.

Now, eleven years later, as Bill Moyers put it last week, “the very same armchair warriors in Washington who from the safety of their Beltway bunkers called for invading Baghdad, are demanding once again that America plunge into the sectarian wars of the Middle East.” It’s vital that we keep our history in Iraq in mind, and apply some healthy skepticism to the claims they offer us this time around.

Remember then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney’s words “Trust us” ... and DON’T!!!

[cross-posted on open salon]

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Submitted by libbyliberal on

Here is more info about what is presently happening in real time with the US response to the messes it has created.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/06/28/syri-j28.html

US escalates intervention in Mideast crisis

Patrick Martin

1) Obama stepping up involvement in civil war that has spread from Syria to Iraq -- increasing slaughter and destruction

2) Last Thursday WH asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip Sunni insurgents fighting against Assad in Syria

THIS MEANS WE ARE ENHANCING THE BATTLE ON THE SAME SIDE AS ISIS IN SYRIA!!! $500 MILLION!!!! TO EQUIP SUNNI JIHADISTS WHO ARE NOT PRO-US BUT THE US GOVT WANTS ASSAD OUT -- REGIME CHANGE WHY? BECAUSE ASSAD LIKES IRAN --- AND ISRAEL AND SA AND US AND NATO WANT TO WEAKEN IRAN AND THEN RUSSIA AND THEN CHINA! SO THEY WANT ALL THE DOMINO COUNTRIES TO FAIL AND FALL AND USING JIHADIST TERRORISTS AND EVEN TRAINING THEM AND EQUIPPING THEM IS USEFUL FOR THE GOAL! LIKE WHEN THEY NURTURED AL QAEDA!!! LIKE WILL WE EVER LEARN? EVIL ENDS JUSTIFY EVIL MEANS!!!!

3) Last Thursday Pentagon deployed DRONES over Baghdad to help Maliki against ISIS. (the same people -- ISIS -- we are fighting WITH in Syria!) Also the US military advisers began operations in Baghdad.

REMEMBER THAT JFK SENT "ADVISERS" ONLY TO VIETNAM AT THE BEGINNING OF THAT WAR JUST TO GIVE ADVICE -- HAH!!... LOOK HOW THAT MISSION CREEP ESCALATED!!!

4) Martin writes:

"The contradictions in US policy are stark. The CIA and US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been arming and training Sunni Islamist fighters that are the backbone of the forces opposing the Assad government in Syria. The most extreme wing of the anti-Assad forces, ISIS, has now crossed the border into Iraq to wage war against the US-installed regime of Maliki, leading the US to step in to fight against a group that was tacitly allied with Washington in Syria.

5) the $500 million request for US military aid and training for Syrian insurgents is part of a larger $65.8 billion request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which in turn is a supplement to the $700 billion Pentagon budget!!!

PEOPLE IN DETROIT HAD THEIR WATER TURNED OFF. 1 IN 4 KIDS IS FOOD INSECURE IN AMERICA. BUT $700 BILLION FOR BOMBING THE SHIT OUT OF PEOPLE TO BRING PEACE AND DEMOCRACY TO THEM. BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT.

6) Most of the OCO budget of $65.8 billion will go to Afghanistan where 36,000 US troops are combatting Taliban forces in S and E districts. Also billions of money will finance Special Forces (death squads) and drone missile ops in Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere across North Africa. (assassinating anyone objecting to American interests I'm assuming-- or just terrorizing for effect!!!)

7) $5 billion of OCO earmarked for “counterterrorism infrastructure” initiative -- Obama wants this for region between Sahara Desert in Africa to Pakistan, training fighters to defend American and NATO interests there -- robbing resources of course and terrorizing civilians all in the name of counter-terrorism. The other half will go to operations of the Syrian civil war.

In the Syrian election nearly 80% of the people voted for Assad. WTF are we doing there regime changing???? Like to see a US election of 80% of citizens on same page.

8) also from the OCO $1.5 billion will go to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq—all US client states,for security enforcement and also to help with costs of the MILLIONS OF REFUGEES pouring out of Syria because of our enabling a civil war which really isn't a civil war if we and other countries are sending in and training and equipping militants from other countries and paying mercenaries or supporting extreme and violent fundamentalists.

9) $500 million will go to train Syrian opposition

10) remaining $500 million will go for unforeseen contingencies related to counterterrorism or regional instability”—according to Martin this means Pentagon, CIA and State Department operations related to the crisis in Iraq.

11) The WH is stressing that all the US training of Syrian insurgents will now involve more vetting to try to make sure Al Qaeda-linked groups such as ISIS and the Al Nusra Front are not included -- AS OPPOSED TO BEFORE WHEN THEY WERE!!!!. FAT CHANCE THIS IS GOING TO WORK.

Martin writes:

"It has been widely reported that hundreds of ISIS members—likely including many of those now engaged in the offensive against Maliki in Iraq—received military training from CIA operatives at camps in Jordan."

12) Congressional Dems (cowardly rat bastards) are backing the US support of Syrian insurgents (jihadist terrorists) with Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, declaring his support “in light of recent events in Iraq and Syria.” Also, US supplying Syrian troops with TOW anti-tank missiles last month, the first significant shipment of heavy weapons directly from Pentagon inventories. This is direct line of major weaponry from US to Syrian terrorists. Before this US weapons got to them via Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

13) US drones annihilating people in Baghdad is another direct and dramatic benchmark. Before last Thursday US drones were only allowed for unarmed reconnaissance. Now they are armed and operate from an air base in KUWAIT. You remember KUWAIT!!!

14) Meanwhile US officials trying to get Iraqi parliament to dump Maliki. To try to get the next puppet for US as prime minister who isn't as hated by the Sunni and Kurdish minorities as if the US gave a toss before now!

15) John Kerry, SOS, busy collaborating with Saudi Arabia Jordan and UAE -- Sunni countries hostile to Shiites and Maliki.

US sets up rat bastards in control but when inconvenient stabs em in back. The amoral gamesmanship of hegemony!

Pray for the people entrapped in the US nightmare foreign policy. Ooops. That is all of humanity!

best, libby

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...and war is the meal. Its apatite is voracious and only war can feed it...
Hang on, it's a long ride.

Submitted by lambert on

Dear Lord, how could anybody be heartless enough not to want to help little babies...

* * *

I think the entire mess is proof the US is operating from a position of weakness and not strength. We have the Bush administration to thank for creating the problem -- after all, they lost* two wars and broke the Army, and also pissed away our soft power with Abu Ghraib** (and, to be fair, extraordinary rendition and Cheney's "dark side").

But we have Obama to thank for the solution; since we can't put boots on the ground -- 300 Special Forces ops to evacuate the embassy? Laughable -- that means we can't hold ground, ergo, we cannot create client states (beyond Israel and the Saudis, both extremely manipulative clients with relative autonomy stemming from nukes ad oil, respectively, plus funding for the political class).

So what we are doing instead is making sure that an arc from the Black Sea to the Western Mediterranean, from Ukraine, through Syria, through Iraq, then Egypt, then Libya, simply continues to bleed as long as possible, hopefully forever.

This strategy is like classic Anglo "balance of power" politics, since it's done from offshore with intel and money and drones (instead of the British Navy) but unlike, because of the constant bleeding. (It's as if the guerillas that helped Wellington defeat Napoleon in Spain weren't part of a campaign or in one threatre, but operating constantly and everywhere.) As a opposed to a narrative with a beginning (casus belli), a middle (the war), and an end (victory), we have a sort of post-modern bricolage of atrocities and events and stock figures. It doesn't make sense because it doesn't make sense. One might think of this as a degenerate version of "the long war." Remember that one?)

If this were the world of finance, we'd call the bleeding churn, and speculators who hold options on outcomes like churn, so they try to create a churning environment. Since "the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas," it is not surprising that Obama would adopt a FIRE-like strategy in the Mediterranean. (There is also the idea that the 0.01% is infested with libertarians who view states as the enemy, hence would prefer churn to states, even if client states, doctrinally.)

Which Preznit, Bush or Obama, is more evil is a hard question, but frankly, I lean toward Obama. Bush at least had a core, even if a dry drunk's core.

NOTE * Yeah yeah, Halliburton made money. States make wars, and win or lose them, not corporations. If the US won either Iraq or Afghanistan, then where are the victory parades, and where are the politicians taking credit?

NOTE ** The hi so Thais are ticked off at the US for not supporting their junta, and throw Abu Ghraib out as an example of US hypocrisy, and of course they're right. (Modulo that Thailand supported a US "black site," so there is plenty of hypocrisy to go around.)

NOTE Strangely, I give the Bush administration more credit for good intentions than I give the Obama administration. I think that W -- bless his heart -- genuinely believed, in his famous gut, that his administration could "stand up" (remember how they kept using that phrase?) a genuinely democratic Iraqi government, a "beacon" to the rest of the Middle East, and so on. The problem was that the social basis of the Bush administration was the Southern Christian right, and as a political class, they simply didn't have the skills -- cultural, intellectual, ethical, administrative, imperial -- to get the job done. That's why the Tea Party leadership is local elites, like big automobile dealers; they grabbed for the imperial brass ring, and missed. Benghazi is a symptom of this; the Republicans have been able to use it to campaign (and as red meat for funding for their base) but not to rule. They can't even explain the "scandal" well enough to get beyond the kneejerk phrase.

hyperpolarizer's picture
Submitted by hyperpolarizer on

Forget about good intentions on the part of W. The second Iraq war was undertaken simply because Rove thought it would be good politics-- a wartime president would be unbeatable in the upcoming election. That, and also, W liked to play dress-up, which was not an inconsiderable part of the enterprise. Remember his army jacket with the name 'Bush' emblazoned on it?