This column owes a heartfelt apology to a top official of Bush Administration, whom we unjustly maligned some weeks ago. No doubt infected by the corrosive wave of cynical anti-Americanism now raging across an ungrateful world, we predicted that the report of David Kay–who was hired by the CIA to find Iraq’s elusive weapons of mass destruction–would be nothing but a sham, a whitewash: “the fix is in,” we sneered.
But we were wrong. Far from being a whitewash, Kay’s report has turned out to be one of the most devastating and unflinching exposés of war crimes in world history. In damning detail, Kay has revealed the torturous machinations and evil practices of a ruthless tyrant seeking to thwart the clear will of the UN Security Council and the international community, using false declarations and crude propaganda to mask his secret plans to abet terrorism, wage aggressive war and threaten the entire world with weapons of mass destruction. Those apologists for tyranny, who for months doubted the veracity of these charges, have now been shown to be nothing more than knaves, fools, lickspittles and dupes.
Given the success of Kay’s mission, you’d think the Bush Administration would be trumpeting the results of his investigation from every marble pillar and post in Washington. Instead, the report got only the most cursory airing, then was promptly deep-sixed into the shadowlands of “secret hearings” and “restricted access.” Strange behavior, you say? Not when you consider that the perfidy which Kay so thoroughly unmasked was, of course, perpetrated by the Bushists themselves.
Step by step, Kay and his investigators dismantled–inadvertently, one presumes–the public case for war laid out by Liar-in-Chief George W. Bush, Head Bagman Dick “Deep Pockets” Cheney, Warlord Don Rumsfeld and that lifelong toter of Establishment whitewash, Colin “First My Lai and Now This” Powell. Their relentless claims of the hell that Saddam could unleash against the Homeland “on any given day” (as Bush himself put it)–500 tons of chemical weapons, some already mounted in missile warheads, primed and ready for use; “mobile labs” cooking up deadly poisons on the run; eyewitness reports from Iraqi defectors providing irrefutable evidence of banned weapons production; and most ominous of all, an “active” and expanding nuclear arms program that could soon produce “a mushroom cloud” in America’s cities–were all completely debunked by Kay’s investigation, Newsday and the Washington Post reported this week.
Instead, Kay found that the combination of UN inspections and other international oversight efforts had worked a wonder of disarmament: Iraq’s production of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons–which had accelerated greatly in the late 1980s with the eager aid of Saddam ally George Bush I–ended in 1991 and was never re-started, Kay said. What’s more, those oh-so-informative defectors–many of whom were paid millions by the Bush Regime–“certainly fabricated much [evidence] that they supplied, and [some] perhaps were under the direct control” of Saddam’s secret service, Kay declared.
So: There were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no active WMD programs. There were no mobile weapons labs. There was no nuclear program, or any efforts to obtain the technology to start one–even after UN inspectors were withdrawn in 1998. “On any given day,” Saddam Hussein could not have threatened the United States or neighboring countries, nor passed any WMD material to any terrorist group anywhere in the world. These are not the ravings of anti-war dissidents, but the sober conclusions of David Kay’s official $300 million investigation.
The entire case for war, put forth so meticulously by the Bushists in national forums and at the UN, was based on lies, bribes, distortions–and threadbare intelligence cooked to order for the conspirators in the White House, who set up a system that deliberately ignored or rejected any finding that clashed with their unalterable plans for aggression and conquest, as Seymour Hersh reports in the New Yorker.
Not since the Nuremberg Trials has a criminal conspiracy to commit state terrorism been so nakedly revealed. For it’s glaringly obvious that the top guns in the Bush Regime knew in advance there was no WMD threat in Iraq. They would never have acted so precipitously if they really believed Saddam could unleash anthrax missiles on Jerusalem or slaughter tens of thousands of American troops with his “armed and ready” biochemical weapons. (Witness their circumspection when confronted with a real WMD threat from North Korea.) As for Saddam’s nuclear “menace,” they left his nuke plants unguarded for weeks after taking control of the country, allowing looters and terrorists to pillage them at leisure. The “aluminum enrichment tubes” that were the Bushists’ “smoking gun” for Saddam’s “aggressive” nuclear program were likewise abandoned to their fate by American forces, and why not? Even before the war, experts said the tubes couldn’t be used in nuclear weapons, a fact belatedly confirmed by Kay’s investigators. Some of these “sinister” tubes have been scavenged to make sewage pipes.
The Bushists are now in full flight from the reality of Kay’s report: hiding it, twisting it, pretending it doesn’t mean what it clearly says–but their own evidence cries out against them. They planned and executed a war of aggression in the full knowledge that their casus belli was false, a pious fig leaf cloaking their primitive lust for loot and dominance. They stand condemned–by their own man, their own words–of a sick and bloody crime against humanity.
CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. His CounterPunch piece on Rumsfeld’s plan to provoke terrorist attacks came in at Number 4 on Project Censored’s final tally of the Most Censored stories of 2002. He can be reached at: email@example.com