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Revelations from the Watada Court Martial

A Religious Movtive for Iraq War Deceptions?

by CHRIS MOORE

Shockwaves from what more and more critics are saying was a Bush administration program to entangle the United States ever deeper into Middle East politics by deceiving the country into the Iraq war continue to reverberate through American society.

Testimony in the recent court-martial of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who has been charged with refusing to join his brigade’s deployment to Iraq, speaking contemptuously of the president and committing acts unbecoming an officer, has shone yet another spotlight on the possibly illegal means by which the administration secured the introduction of thousands of American troops into the Mideast under the pretext of eliminating Iraqi weapons of mass destruction from the hands of terrorists.

‘Most of the hearing was consumed by defense testimony, with three witnesses attacking the Bush administration’s approach to the war and asserting that an officer could justifiably refuse to participate,’ said a Seattle Times account of the court-martial.

"There was no authorization from the U.N. Security Council … and that made it a crime against the peace," said Francis Boyle, a University of Illinois professor of international law, who said the Army’s own field manual required such authorization for an offensive war.

Boyle, an outspoken critic of the administration policy in Iraq, went into considerable detail about the rules for war as detailed in the Army Field Manual. He accused the administration of using fraudulent means to persuade Congress to authorize the war, twice-failing to get U.N. Security Council authorization for the war and then allowing war crimes to occur.’

Watada’s case may be bolstered by a new book by Thomas E. Ricks, a military reporter for the Washington Post. Titled ‘Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq,’ Ricks’ book says the Bush administration deceived the American public about the existence Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that the administration claimed could one day be used against America–weapons that an exhaustive post-invasion search failed to turn up.

‘It already is abundantly apparent in mid-2006 that the U.S. government went to war with Iraq with scant solid international support and on the basis of incorrect information – about weapons of mass destruction and a supposed nexus between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda’s terrorism – and then occupied the country negligently,’ Ricks writes.

In a review of ‘Fiasco’ for the Seattle Times, Bruce Ramsey takes note of Ricks’ venture into fleshing out the psychological motives that might have animated Bush and his Iraq war policy makers: ‘Ricks profiles Defense Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz, an early champion of belligerency, and reveals how Wolfowitz’s family’s losses in the Holocaust shaped the way he thinksRicks argues that Bush and his senior advisers wanted a fight, and deceived themselves as well as the public about Iraq’s ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ ‘

This isn’t the first time Wolfowitz’s name has come up in relation to the allegedly deceitful use of his government employment on behalf of the pursuit of a personal vendetta or agenda. According to a 2004 report in Asia Times by Jim Lobe, ‘Wolfowitz was investigated in 1978 for providing a classified document on the proposed sale of a US weapons system to an Arab government to an Israeli official via an [Israel lobby] AIPAC staffer.

‘In 1992, when he was serving as under secretary of defense for policy, Pentagon officials looking into the unauthorized export of classified technology to China found that Wolfowitz’s office was promoting Israel’s export of advanced air-to-air missiles to Beijing in violation of a written agreement with Washington on arms re-sales.’

Douglas Feith, who served under Wolfowitz in the run up to the Iraq war, also has a checkered past of covert dealings on behalf of Israel. He was removed from his position as a Middle East analyst in the National Security Council in 1982 when he came under suspicion by the FBI for passing classified material to Israeli embassy officials, reports say.

In 2004 respected scholar James Petras took critical note of the large number of committed Jewish nationalists working in the Pentagon under Wolfowitz and elsewhere within the Bush administration and found that they were the driving force behind the Iraq war:

‘Wolfowitz, Feith, [Elliot] Abrams, [Richard] Perle, [Michael] Rubin et al were the most zealous promoters of the war against Iraq. They worked closely with other Zionist ideologues like Bush speechwriter David Frum to promote the notion of ‘axes of evil,’ to engage in a sequence of wars against Muslim regimes hostile to Israeli colonial policy in Palestine and beyond. Wolfowitz, Feith set up the parallel ‘intelligence’ agency (the Office of Special Planning) run by fellow Zionist Abram Shulsky using [Ahmed] Chalabi to provide phony data on Iraq to precipitate that war. An army of ‘Israel First’ academic and journalist ideologues wrote, spoke and acted to justify the US attack on Iraq as the first part of a regional war to destroy any and all regimes critical of Israeli expansionism.’

Certainly President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld were well-aware of the record of shady dealings on behalf of Israel by Wolfowitz, Feith and other Jewish nationalists eventually hired by the administration. Federal agencies perform exhaustive security clearance checks on all recruits to national security-sensitive areas of the government prior to their employment, which means that the administration knew exactly what it was getting when it brought them into service–and likely waived any national security concerns raised.

In fact, given Bush’s apparent Christian Zionists religious beliefs (a recent Nation magazine report says that the White House holds secret Middle East policy meetings with dispensationalist Christians who believe that "supporting Israel’s expansionist policies is ‘a biblical imperative’"), Wolfowitz and Feith’s staunch Jewish nationalist credentials and their reported history of attempting to advance that country’s interests through the co-opting of U.S. government resources on behalf of the Israeli agenda may well have been the exact characteristics the administration was looking for in those to whom it planned to entrust the formulation of America’s foreign policy.

In his testimony before the court-martial hearing, Lt. Watada’s expert witness Francis Boyle didn’t go into details about the motives of the Bush administration’s deceitful Iraq war initiative, only that the administration used fraudulent means to persuade Congress to authorize the war. To be fully effective, future critics may need to establish the administration’s motives as well. The Christian Zionist/Jewish nationalist religious/ethnic loyalties to Israel held by top administration officials may well be a good place to start.

CHRIS MOORE writes for Libertariantoday.com.