The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

The New History of the Iraq Invasion

with 4 comments

SaddamBushRobert Parry, in an article for (CBS Falsifies Iraq War History), shows how victors’ versions of things become commonly accepted “truth.” This particular illustration comes from watching Scott Pelley ponder the apparent lunacy of Saddam Hussein on the Jan. 27 episode of CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Pelley interviews an FBI agent who “debriefed” Saddam.

But first, consider the Iraq story we’ve grown to believe:

The officially sanctioned U.S. account, as embraced by Bush in speech after speech, is that Saddam Hussein “chose war” by defying the U.N. over the WMD issue and by misleading the world into believing that he still possessed these weapons. […]

On Jan. 27, 2004, for example, Bush said, “We went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution – 1441 – unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.” […]

Or, on May 24, 2007:

“As you might remember back then, we tried the diplomatic route: [U.N. Resolution] 1441 was a unanimous vote in the Security Council that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. So the choice was his [Hussein’s] to make. And he made a choice that has subsequently caused him to lose his life.”

On July 14, 2003, as the U.S.-led WMD search also was coming up empty, Bush began asserting that it was all Hussein’s fault because he had never let the U.N. inspectors in. Bush told reporters:

“We gave him [Saddam Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.”

Fair enough, right? Think again. Here’s the record:

[T]he United States launched an unprovoked invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, under the false pretense that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, even after Iraq had repeatedly – and accurately – announced that its WMD had been destroyed in the 1990s.

On Dec. 7, 2002, Iraq even sent to the United Nations a 12,000-page declaration explaining how its WMD stockpiles had been eliminated. In fall 2002, Hussein’s government also allowed teams of U.N. inspectors into Iraq and gave them free rein to examine any site of their choosing.

Those inspections only ended in March 2003 when President George W. Bush decided to press ahead with war despite the U.N. Security Council’s refusal to authorize the invasion and its desire to give the U.N. inspectors time to finish their work. […]

Piro [the FBI agent] said Hussein explained to him that “most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the ‘90s, and those that hadn’t been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.” […]

Bush never acknowledges the fact that Hussein did comply with Resolution 1441 by declaring accurately that he had disposed of his WMD stockpiles and by permitting U.N. inspectors to examine any site of their choosing. […]

[N]one of that reality is part of the history that Americans are supposed to know. The officially sanctioned U.S. account, as embraced by Bush in speech after speech, is that Saddam Hussein “chose war” by defying the U.N. over the WMD issue and by misleading the world into believing that he still possessed these weapons. […]

Remember thinking “Why on earth would someone like Saddam would risk his nation by not complying with the U.N.? And “How strange it is, when there are so many voices in the U.N. begging us not to invade, that we yet have, according to the President, approval by the U.N. to invade.”

But Saddam did comply with the U.N.; the U.S. did not. That’s not what you hear on the news in the USA. As Parry puts it:

Facing no challenge from the White House press corps, Bush continued repeating this lie in varied forms over the next four years as part of his public litany for defending the invasion.

And America came to believe it – including the corporate media, which now can remember nothing else. Coincidentally – or perhaps not – just a decade ago CBS was owned by Westinghouse, the biggest nuclear power plant manufacturer in the world, and the No. 3 U.S. government contractor for nuclear weapons. Perhaps the career cost of truth-telling in the corporate media is too high for a reporter to pay.

It’s the truth that sets us free. But—as often in the American story—it requires lighting matches in the rain.

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Written by Monte

January 28, 2008 at 9:24 pm

4 Responses

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  1. We don’t know everything about why this war started and what we’re really doing over there-and that’s the problem. We shouldn’t be finding this stuff out years after the fact. We shouldn’t have to hear what’s going on from people who have been pushed out or got out becuase they didn’t agree with what’s going on. A former member of one of Bush’s cabinets came out a few years ago and said that Bush wanted to invade Iraq as soon as he was inagurated in 2001. We shouldn’t be hearing that stuff years after the fact. The problem is that we, the American people, living in what is supposedly a democracy, do not know the truth on why we are at war with Iraq.

    Furthermore, what’s the point of being a part of the UN if we’re not going to work with them. Even if Suddam did not comply with the UN about disabling his weapons, almost everyone besides the US did not see Iraq as a threat that needed to be engaged in war.

    Monte says: And while I would wish for some changes in Obama’s platform, I do believe greater transparency is a serious issue with him, and one that could do something toward making America more democratic (with a small “d”).

    Regarding the UN, how ironic it is that Israel continues in violation of something like 47 UN resolutions, while America goes to war with Iraq – and threatens Iran – over a handful of resolutions, about which arguments can be made that compliance was accomplished.


    January 30, 2008 at 12:04 am

  2. Hi Deren – he did, in fact. Consider these excerpts from Reuters:

    “Tuesday, March 2, 2004 “Reuters” – UNITED NATIONS – U.N. arms inspectors on Tuesday complained that a lack of cooperation by the United States had stymied their efforts to completely account for Iraqi weapons. […]
    U.N. inspectors withdrew from Iraq a year ago, shortly before the U.S.-led invasion of the country. After the war, the United States deployed its own team under Kay and refused to allow U.N. inspectors to return. Kay’s team concluded that Iraq did not have stockpiles banned weapons as alleged by President Bush in making his case for war. […]
    The U.N. inspectors were banned from Iraq in 1998 after a U.S. bombing raid and did not return until invited back under U.S. and U.N. pressure in late 2002 in the run-up to war. […]
    But UNMOVIC, in all its reports, has never alleged that Iraq still maintained a stockpile of dangerous weapons as the Bush administration did before the war.

    1) The UN inspectors fiercely resisted the US invasion, having found no evidence of WMD
    2) The UN inspectors were at work in Iraq until just before the invasion
    3) Saddam had certified to the UN that no WMD existed
    4) After the invasion, the USA gave the UN inspectors far less cooperation than had Saddam, not even allowing them into the country. But even the US inspection teams could find nothing.

    Nothing Saddam could have said would have changed the outcome. As we now know, neocon think tanks advocated the invasion of Iraq in the mid-90s, but maintained it was impossible to accomplish under the American system “barring a Pearl Harbor-type event.” 9/11 provided the event, and Bush took advantage of it, knowing there was probably no connection between the two (but insisting publicly there was).


    January 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm

  3. I remember things a little differently…I remember all of the things that Bush stated, I am not questioning that. But I do remember the inspectors being allowed in. I remember that they were allowed in certain places. However, I also remember Saddam refusing to let the inspectors into certain places-they were not allowed to go everywhere and anywhere.

    If this is all true, as you say then the only thing that Saddam would have to do to avoid any kind of conflict was to offer an invitation and open his doors. All he would have to have done is to proclaim that UN inspectors were welcome to come on in and inspect! Or that they were already there? Why didn’t he shout that from the mountain tops? Why didn’t he go on live TV and offer an open invitation? Why did he act like he had something to hide or some sort of power to hold onto over the UN? Why did he not offer to be transparent?

    I don’t know, but he didn’t.

    I think the truth is still out there to be found.


    Derin Beechner

    January 29, 2008 at 10:53 am

  4. It sleighs me how much christians still stand behind Bush simply becuase he says he’s a Christian too. Evangelical right wingers (this is an overgeneralization I’m sure) have so focused on abortion and abortion being the pro-life issue that they/we often fail to see the broad spectrum of pro-life issues. Poverty, health care, oppression, and the war in Iraq are just as much pro-life issues as abortion is. This was is the most perposterous thing that I have lived through (except perhaps for 9-11 if the gov was more involved in it than we have been told) and it needs to end. Terrorism is terrorism no matter what country is leading it. Just because we are a democratic country doesn’t make our terror acts into freedom fighting.


    January 29, 2008 at 12:08 am

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