Like the main character in Christopher Nolan’s noir film Memento, members of the House and Senate intelligence committees seem to have lost their short-term memory.
They can’t remember who exactly pedaled Bush’s lies about Saddam’s illusory weapons of mass destruction.
They recall Iraq had WMD at one time, although they say nothing about who provided those weapons (the US government did).
Looking around for scapegoats to cover Bush’s calculated lies, or rather the calculated lies of his neocon advisors — Bush only repeats what these advisors tell him — members of the intelligence committees are determined to blame the CIA for “bad intelligence,” for the absurd contrivances repeated by the president.
It wasn’t the CIA who twisted the truth into a pretzel.
The CIA is guilty of many crimes, but distorting the truth on Saddam, at least in regard to his WMD, is not one of them. The CIA told the Bushites back in 2002 before Bush invaded Iraq that the “intelligence” provided by untrustworthy Iraqi exiles was garbage, and yet the neocons took said garbage and sold it to the American people as evidence of Saddam’s wickedness.
In fact, the Bushites waged war against the entire expert Middle East establishment — including the State Department, CIA and Pentagon area specialists — because they were not telling them what they wanted to hear.
“Inside the foreign-policy, defense and intelligence agencies, nearly the whole rank and file, along with many senior officials, are opposed to invading Iraq,” Richard Dreyfuss of the American Prospect wrote at the time. “But because the less than two dozen neoconservatives leading the war party have the support of Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, they are able to marginalize that opposition.”
“What we have is evidence that there are differences between what we knew going in and what we found on the ground,” national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told the Washington Post after CIA former weapons inspector David Kay admitted Saddam had no scary WMD.
Rice, of course, is playing footsie.
What Bush and the neocons “knew” was customized by a coterie of Straussian neocons who perpetuate “noble lies,” who believe in the “efficacy and usefulness of lies in politics,” as Shadia Drury terms it. The neocons lied, big time, the Senate and House intelligence committees know it, but nobody wants to level with the American people.
Instead, the Republicans want to whitewash the whole thing into oblivion, especially now that Bush is gearing up for his re-election.
Here’s what the House and Senate intelligence committees refuse to consider, muddled in their short term memory loss for the sake of political expediency: the so-called “bad intelligence” customized for Bush came from “a shadow agency of Pentagon analysts staffed mainly by ideological amateurs to compete with the CIA and its military counterpart, the Defense Intelligence Agency,” as Julian Borger of the Guardian described it last summer. “The agency, called the Office of Special Plans (OSP), was set up by the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to second-guess CIA information and operated under the patronage of hard-line conservatives in the top rungs of the administration, the Pentagon and at the White House, including Vice-President Dick Cheney.”
In other words, the OSP was a factory cranking out lies.
As Hitler knew, the big lie contains a “certain force of credibility… because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily, and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie.”
For instance, it was more effective to repeat over and over that Saddam was an evil dictator with a huge stockpile of ghastly WMD that he would use unremorsefully against innocent Americans — maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, certainly sooner before later — and the only credible, rational, moral response was to take him out. The “emotional nature” of this lie overwhelmed any logical response. Evidence need not be provided, only the threat repeated ad nauseam.
The OSP operates subversively; it pedals insidious and emotionally charged lies to the corporate media.
For example, the OSP told the NSC in 2002 that Saddam was attempting to buy aluminum tubes for a reconstituted nuclear program. In September of 2002, the OSP leaked this contrived “intelligence” to the New York Times. Once published in the New York Times, Bush and Condi Rice made reference to it, regardless of the fact anybody who knows anything about nuclear science said it was nonsense.
Same thing with al-Qaeda.
The CIA was unable to establish a link between Saddam and Osama, even with Cheney and Newt Gingrich breathing down their necks. No problem. Send in the neocon Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for Rumsfeld’s Pentagon. Feith and the OSP went to work establishing implausible links between Saddam and al-Qaeda by re-laundering existing intelligence information.
In late 2002, as the Bushites were gearing up to invade Iraq, Rumsfeld told a compliant media he had “bulletproof” evidence Iraq was sheltering al-Qaeda terrorists. But according to experts it was highly unlikely the secular dictator Saddam would harbor Muslim fanatics, especially considering the violent animosity between Ba’athists and the Shi’ites in Iraq. It just did not make sense, but never mind.
Now, thanks to this fallacious nonsense and the corporate media’s willingness to repeat it as if demonstrated fact, an overwhelming number of Americans believe Saddam had something to do with 9/11. There is absolutely no evidence, but then none is required when dealing with the “emotional nature” of the American public.
Big lies worked big time for Hitler, and now they work big time for Hitler’s understudies, the Straussian neocons.
In order to convince the American people Iraq deserved to be invaded and a whole lot of people slaughtered, the OSP simply performed a bit of rudimentary editorial work on existing CIA documents. Words such as “likely,” “probably,” and “may” were excised, and then the reports were fed to Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, and others in the administration.
If wholly fabricated “intelligence” was required, the OSP relied on criminal organizations, such as the Iraq National Congress, or called on right-wingers in Sharon’s Israeli government to provide bogeyman scenarios.
Now, as the House and Senate looks into the “intelligence failures” that allowed Bush to invade a defenseless and impoverished nation, there is no mention of the OSP, of the neocons or their treachery.
Instead, Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the chairman on the Senate Intelligence committee, has characterized Bush’s purposed Iraq lies as “a world intelligence failure,” spreading the blame around, obscuring the real source of Bush’s lies.
Charles A. Duelfer, David Kay’s successor, and Maj. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, commander of the Iraq Survey Group, will present an interim report in late March “to show the public that every possible step has been taken to find the truth” concerning Iraq’s illusory WMD, according to the Washington Post.
David Kay went to Iraq and wasted millions of dollars looking for WMD the OSP said existed, even as those familiar with Iraq and UNSCOM’s destruction of weapons insisted otherwise.
“The people of the United States are still waiting for a heavily divided Congress to break free of partisan politics and launch a genuine investigation,” said former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter earlier this month. “This should certainly look at the massive intelligence failure surrounding the gross distortion of the Iraqi WMD threat put forward by the US intelligence community. But perhaps more importantly, the investigation should focus on the actions of the White House in shaping the intelligence estimates so that they dovetailed nicely with the political goals and objectives of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy-makers.”
Objectives and policy goals put forward for nearly a decade now by the Straussian neocons currently drive US foreign policy.
If Bush wins the election, we can expect more OSP lies and fabrications engineered in preparation for invasions of Syria, Iran, and possibly Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and beyond (see “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a policy paper written by an array of neocon warmongers in 1996 for then Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu).
Before the election, an independent investigation into the OSP’s bogus intelligence is in order.
Last year Representative Henry Waxman of California introduced HR 2625 in the House, a bill designed to set up just such an investigative body. As of late January, the bill had 138 co-sponsors, all Democrats with the exception of one Independent.
Is it possible the Democrats have finally grown a spine?
Maybe, may be not.
In November, in an effort to head off a move toward an independent investigation, Senate Republicans accused the Democrats of attempting to damage Bush politically in an election year and derail a Senate bi-partisan investigation currently underway.
“Some Democrat leaders are flirting with treason while the Republicans are acting like a bunch of sissies,” complained an unnamed “top figure” from the so-called national-security community.
In other words, merely calling for an independent investigation is a form of treason, an effort to “destroy the nation’s wartime Republican president,” as J. Michael Waller characterized it last December in Insight magazine. How best to deal with seditious Democrats? “Lincoln’s policy was to have treasonous federal lawmakers arrested and tried before military tribunals, and exiled or hanged if convicted,” Waller explained.
No doubt it is a solution Bush and the neocons can live with.
If Bush is not called to answer for his lies before the election, then he will never be called to answer. If he wins re-election, the neocons will continue their plans to invade in piecemeal fashion the whole of the Arab Middles East.
OSP will become a permanent fixture.
So will murderous lies.
KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/blogger.html . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org