An Error of Supreme Dimensions

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The Nation

An Error of Supreme Dimensions

Not to risk blasphemy, but shouldn't a special commission look into whether God provided the warrior President with faulty intelligence? Recall that George W. Bush has confided to Bob Woodward that in shaping his plans for invading Iraq he relied on advice from a "higher father," not on Poppy Bush in Texas, the former President. Now we learn from advance news leaks that the 9/11 Commission has concluded from its investigation that it was Iran, not Iraq, that collaborated with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorists before their attack on America. Oops. Have we gone to war against the wrong country? One assumes it was not the Almighty who confused the two nations. Maybe Bush suffered from a fuzzy connection in his prayer circuitry. So close to God, yet so distant from the truth.

His mistake is not a joking matter, of course. It may be the most egregious example of how Bush's pious self-assurance led the United States into an ill-fated war with colossal misrepresentation of the facts. The 9/11 Commission's report will provide more details when it is released. Meanwhile, the press reports that Tehran, not Baghdad, formed cooperative relations with Al Qaeda some months before bin Laden's 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington. Iran gave safe passage to some Qaeda agents exiting Afghanistan including several on their way to fly 9/11's highjacked airliners. There's apparently no evidence to suggest the Iranians had advance knowledge of the attacks on US cities.

But the obvious question is, What did the President know and when did he know it? If these facts were known to US authorities before the war was launched against Saddam Hussein, why was this information not shared with the American public? Because Bush's warmaking logic would have been severely crippled. He wanted to attack Iraq, not the better-equipped Muslim nation next door. Alternately, why didn't the White House consider that Iran was a far more plausible partner for the terrorists? Bush did name Iran among his "axis of evil" but never swerved from the plan to launch "shock and awe" against Saddam, a far weaker military adversary. Iran, as we subsequently learned, was actually working on acquiring "weapons of mass destruction"--a nuclear bomb.

The dimensions of Bush's historic errors continue to expand, the more we learn after the fact. The official line characterizes these revelations as unfortunate "mistakes" or "faulty intelligence." However, the pattern of concocted threats and concealment of contradictory evidence suggests a deliberate intent that fits quite snugly with Bush's own political objectives. The "mistakes" all provide convenient support for his fateful decision to make an unprovoked war. Our President may indeed be holier than thou, but he should be made to answer for this here on earth.

William Greider

William Greider is national affairs correspondent for The Nation. He is author of "Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country" and, most recently, "Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country."

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