O'Neill, Powell Expose the Iraq Ruse
Published on Monday, January 12, 2004 by The Progressive
O'Neill, Powell Expose the Iraq Ruse
by Matthew Rothschild

The credibility of the Bush Administration's Iraq policy took several hits in the last few days.

First, there was the "WMD in Iraq" report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which concludes: "Administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat" that Iraq posed.

Point by point, this report refutes the Administration's rationales and dissects its distortions.

Here are a few of the findings: "Iraq's nuclear program had been dismantled and there was no convincing evidence of its reconstitution."

"Iraqi nerve agents had lost most of their lethality as early as1991." (Italics in original.)

"There was and is no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam's government and Al Qaeda."

"There was no evidence to support the claim that Iraq would have transferred WMD to Al Qaeda, and much evidence to counter it."

"The intelligence community began to be unduly influenced by policymakers' views sometime in 2002."

As damaging as this report was to Bush, more blows were to follow.

Colin Powell began to come clean, saying on January 8, "I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection" between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Contrast that, as The New York Times did, with what Powell said at the United Nations in February 2002: "Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with Al Qaeda. These denials are simply not credible."

It's a little late for candor from the Secretary of State, who did his part in hoodwinking the American people.

Also tardy but telling is the revelation from Bush's former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who told Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes that Bush always wanted to find a way to get rid of Saddam Hussein, though Bush claimed that September 11 is what initiated the move. "From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," O'Neill said.

O'Neill is also quoted in a new book as saying that the National Security Council failed to question Bush on this. "It was all about finding a way to do it," O'Neill says in Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty, according to CBS. "That was the tone of it," O'Neill continued. "The President saying, 'Go find me a way to do this.' "

These revelations should not come as a surprise, however.

Bush's obsession with going to war against Iraq was never about Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction or his alleged ties to Al Qaeda. Instead, it was about Bush's desire to "finish the job" that his dad left incomplete; to control the oil of Iraq, which has the second-largest reserves in the world; to vanquish an enemy of U.S. ally Israel; to flex American muscle; and to act on what the President considers his divinely inspired mission to rid the world of evil.

For these ulterior motives, 500 U.S. soldiers have been killed and thousands more injured. Bush's false-pretenses war has also killed between 7,900 and 9,800 Iraqi civilians and wounded 20,000 more, according to iraqbodycount.net. And it is draining our treasury, depriving us of funds for the social programs that are so vitally needed in this country to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and provide health care for all Americans.

Bush has a lot of explaining to do.

Copyright 2004 the Progressive