Kiss Iraq Goodbye ... What We Did for Israel!
Gary Leupp has written an enlightening and enraging article entitled “Not Behind Bars, Friends Still in Power, Iraq Destroyed: The Gloating of the Neocons” underscoring how the realpolitik motivation for what he calls “the greatest crime of the twenty-first century so far”, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, was primarily committed for the benefit of Israel.
In 2001 the Bush administration badgered the intelligence community to link up 9-11 and Al Qaeda with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. They couldn’t. Not honestly. So the Bush regime did it dishonestly with the tremendous help of an amoral media.
Our US government’s military destroyed a country and killed half a million people based on lies.
In early 2002 according to Leupp the “vilification of Iraq” began the journey of the American population down the “garden path to war.” A group of neoconservatives under Vice President Dick Cheney’s guidance earnestly began to build up a bogus case for war. These minions included senior political advisor Karl Rove’s “White House Iraq Group” and the “Office of Special Plans” of the Pentagon, under Douglas Feith.
Paul Wolfowicz was a deputy of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield, but his major obsession after 9/11 was an upcoming invasion and occupation of Iraq.
The New York Times in particular, according to Leupp, did so much to advance a bogus casus belli. It eagerly and efficiently spread disinformation about a “threatening Iraq.”
Iraq had tried to import aluminum tubes for use as uranium centrifuges. BIG LIE.
There were mobile biological weapons labs operating in Iraq. BIG LIE.
There were senior-level al Qaeda contacts in Iraq. BIG LIE.
A Kurdish al Qaeda group was producing chemical weapons on Saddam’s behalf in northern Iraq. BIG LIE.
Plane hijacking lessons for al Qaeda were happening in Iraq and drones were ready to disperse chemical and biological weapons against British forces in Cyprus within 45 minutes time. BIG LIE.
Saddam was intending to purchase uranium from Niger. BIG LIE.
Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national security advisor, made the infamous statement to CCN “... we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” and conjured the image of a nuclear explosion in the minds of Americans. Rice and the NYT succeeded in their war-mongering. A Gallup poll showed that 75% of Americans supported the assault on Iraq in March of 2003.
The rest of the world was not supportive of the US invasion of Iraq except, of course, ISRAEL!
The pro-Iraq war, Israel-first neocons of the Bush administration were too smart to draw attention to the major realpolitik pressure from Israel for invasion for the US to regime change Hussein in Iraq. US soldiers and innocent Iraqis would die or be psychologically and/or physically maimed as a consequence of the merciless will of the Israeli government and its US lobbies upon an amoral US government system.
According to Leupp, Israel’s chief advocates in the U.S. included Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Scooter Libby, David Wurmser, Elliot Abrams, Adam Shulsky, John Bolton. Perle, Feith and Wurmser, incidentally, were also citizens of Israel.
In 1996 Perle, Feith and Wurmser, as loyal citizens of Israel, had presented a paper to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu that advocated rather than the US negotiating with Israel’s Arab foes instead the US “TOPPLING the regimes in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Somalia replacing them with non-threatening governments” -- NON-THREATENING IN THE EYES OF ISRAEL!
Former NATO chief Gen. Wesley Clark has revealed that only weeks after 9/11 he was told by a Pentagon colleague of this Bush administration “five year plan” to transform the Middle East. Leupp writes:
Clark also noted in August 2002 that those favoring an attack on Iraq “will tell you, candidly and privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the United States. But they are afraid that at some point he might decide if he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel.” The war on Iraq was motivated less by U.S. oil companies’ desire for Iraqi concessions—which have never substantially materialized— than by ideologues’ drive to remold the “Greater Middle East.”)
Secretary of State Colin Powell thought it best to engage support of the UN and international support in the intended Iraq war misadventure. Cheney didn’t want to bother. On February 5, 2003 Powell presented to the UN Security Council a collection of lies justifying a US invasion. Powell, by the way, is one more high profile African American trusted leader whose credibility was useful for conning average Americans for policies against their welfare and the welfare of humanity, in general.
Powell’s UN-presented lies were not bought by such countries as France and Germany. Some may remember an angry propaganda campaign against France during this time. For example, when the cafeteria in Congress suddenly labeled French fries “freedom fries” instead? Yes, craven Congress that, Leupp reminds us, passed the PATRIOT Act -- unread -- in October of 2001, a document which has augmented a fascistic power of the state against any political opposition.
Leupp explains that fascism is the merger of state and corporate power. Elements of our corporate press, he points out, may take differing stances over gay marriage or abortion rights, for example. But when it comes to supporting the State and Defense Departments, they are in “lock step” with presenting false narratives to promote US militaristic imperialism. One example of this is how during the Feb. 22 coup in Ukraine the US worked closely and ruthlessly with Nazi and fascist Ukrainian elements to overcome a legitimately elected president.
It sadly seems that much of the American population is as vulnerable and gobsmackingly gullible to an ever-lying government and mainstream media today as it was in 2003.
Leupp takes a long and hard look at the nature and impact of the war criminality of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
... the U.S. had committed the most heinous of crimes, a crime against peace. It was far worse than a madman’s mass murder in an elementary school, or a crazed fiend enslaving women in his basement. We’re talking at least half a million civilians dead due to the invasion, a modern nation murdered, dismembered. We’re taking two million internal refuges, and two million external refugees—one out of eight Iraqis.
We’re talking about massive ethnic cleansing unthinkable in the Baathist era when mixed marriages and mixed communities were not even controversial. We’re talking about the flight of most of the Iraqi Christians, the plummeting status of women, the imposition of Shiite fundamentalist rules (or Sunni ones, in some places) on secular-minded people. An absolute disaster.
And no one in this country ever charged with a crime in connection with it! No accountability!
And the US and Israel continue to refuse to join the International Criminal Court and sign the Rome Statute which 153 other countries have endorsed. Their international war criminality gallops on.
Leupp acknowledges that in July 2004 the US Senate released a report on the examination of “pre-Iraq War intelligence” that explained that there were no weapons of mass destruction nor operational ties to al-Qaeda. The report was A “QUIET” (Leupp’s word) AND COWARDLY admission that the Iraq War was based on LIES. The report also conveniently and cravenly excused the travesty of justice as mere “intelligence errors” and concluded that no laws had been broken in constructing the war.
One might say it was an invitation for future liars in government to make up stories as they see fit (about a Libyan leaders intention to commit genocide, or a Syrian leader’s use of chemical weapons, or an Iranian regime’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program, etc.), without having to worry about any consequences after the lies are exposed.
In 2008, Barack Obama, claiming to represent the will of US citizens but more loyal to such backers as Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Time Warner, etc., promised to bring “change” and “hope” after the shameless and horrifying crimes of the Bush regime. Immediately after the election, Obama refused to instruct his Justice Department to make the Bush administration liars, torturers and mass murderers legally accountable.
So the whole rotten lot of them live comfortably, while Iraq bleeds uncontrollably. Bush appears these days occasionally, interviewed by Diane Sawyer or Jay Leno about his new painting avocation. The more voluble Cheney gets elder statesman treatment. There is no mass movement demanding their imprisonment. That is a national shame.
The fruition of the crimes of 2003 is the emergence of the Islamic State. No one can convincingly argue that this beast would have materialized without the U.S. destruction of the Iraqi state, and the forcible disbandment of its basic (secular) institutions including the army and the Baathist Party that alienated the Sunnis (and threw them out of work!).
Leupp cites the “savagery” of US forces that cultivated such hatred for the west among the Iraqi Sunnis. He writes of the US massacre on April 29, 2003 of what turned out to be 17 Iraqis, including children, and the wounding of over 70 for a stone or two being hurled at US troops who had commandeered a school in the city of Fallujah. Then, in March 2004, four armed US Blackwater contractors were killed by resentful Iraqis. The US responded with “Operation Phantom Fury” whereupon the city of Fallujah was almost entirely destroyed, its population massacred or dispersed. The weapons used against Fallujah ensured that childhood cancer there has increased fourfold since that US-engineered hell of 2004.
10 years later Fallujah is in the hands of ISIL. What a surprise.
People who defend the Iraq War and rationalize what a mean man Saddam Hussein was aren’t wrong about him. But he was also a cherished CIA asset from 1959 to 1990 while being a bastard to his people. He was a useful bastard/dictator for the US until the neocons decided to destroy Iraq for the sake of Israel and oil exploitation and Hussein’s being a dictator became a convenient propaganda talking point for the false narrative of invasion for the sake of the Iraqi people.
Whether Dem or Republican, US imperialists have always been and are still quite fond of dictators. It is only after a dictator has been or is being overthrown does the US government and media posture that the US government is on the side of the little people being oppressed. Such craven bullshit. But it seems to work with us low-information and lied to average Americans.
It was Paul Wolfowitz who came up with the label “full spectrum dominance” for US hegemonic strategy. Leupp asks what victories the neocons can list for themselves from this policy. ISIL’s expanding caliphate owes its existence to the US NEOCONS.
I suppose the main victory for the neocon rat bastards who engineered the Iraq War is total immunity from moral and legal accountability afterwards. NO ACCOUNTABILITY FOR MASS MURDER, TORTURE, NATION-DESTRUCTION.
Wolfowitz was nominated by Bush as World Bank president in 2005. Douglas Feith was hired by Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service despite pushback from principled members of the faculty there.
Iraq War rat bastard neocons are also still available to promote dangerous active present day neocons like Victoria Nuland, architect of the Ukraine coup fiasco, Hillary Clinton, terrifying war mongering presidential hopeful, and war maniacal Senator John McCain, as a few examples.
All of the neocon amoral monsters have the gratitude and support of the Israeli government and its lobbies in the US.
Yes, Leupp concedes, oil profitmaking in Iraq was a serious priority for Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and Rice, but especially for the rest of the neocon crew, accommodating the will of the Israeli government was the number one priority. They used 9/11 as an opportunity to bring so-called security to Israel by bringing about grotesque insecurity to the rest of the Middle East, and, yes, insecurity to an obtuse Israel, as well.
The aggressive US policy in the Middle East often was justified in “bringing democracy there.” But then there were those pesky unintended consequences. The hubristic US neocons never dreamed Middle Eastern countries would elect non-western and/or non-Israeli puppets into power. Islamists in Egypt. Hizbollah advanced in Lebanon. Hamas won a majority in 2006 when the first free Palestinian election happened. So much for that “democracy-bringing” talking point by the US State Department!
In conclusion, Gary Leupp declares that the Iraq War was “pushed by neocons to destroy a foe of Israel.”
That It did, but at the same time it produced a “vicious Sunni successor state in Anbar Province potentially far more threatening to Israel than Saddam ever was.”
Nevertheless, Leupp mourns, Netanyahu stubbornly insists Iran is a far greater threat than ISIL.
Leupp points out that Iran, a Shiite-dominated regime, allows Iranian Jews, the largest community of Jews in the Middle East outside Israel, to go to synagogues, attend Hebrew schools, maintain kosher shops and elect Jewish representatives to its parliament. Also in Iran, Sunni Muslims, Christians and Zoroastrians enjoy at least some degree of religious freedom. Really, Bibi? Iran is more threatening than an absolutist and intolerant beheading ISIL?
Victoria Nuland, a Jewish American neocon, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, is a protege of Dick Cheney AND Hillary Clinton. She seems to Leupp as unchallenged by the rise of Ukraine’s anti-Semitic Svoboda Party as Netayahu seems to be by the ferociously anti-Semitic ISIL. WTF?
So the neocons will continue to be in American leadership positions, as well as the agenda of a self-serving and self- and other-destructive Israel.
Will we Americans ever stop being seduced down the garden path to war, being jerked around by leaders and media promoting human and even planetary destruction?
Will we continue to deny or minimize the unconscionable and massive injuries our government perpetrated on the people of Iraq and of so many other regions in this world in our name but really on behalf of sociopathic corporatist profiteers and a sociopathic Israeli government?
[cross-posted on open salon]