Thu, Sep
4
2003

So, Why Did We Invade Iraq - II

I have said before, if not here, then on other boards, that the invasion of Iraq was, probably, inevitable. Saddam Hussein was not going to go away of his own accord or at the behest of his people, and the sabre rattling was just going to increase until something gave. I’ve also said that Saddam Hussein was one of the worst dictators then on the planet, and I’ve shed no tears at his departure. However, I stand by my government’s assessment that the United States’ invasion of Iraq was not, and should never have been, part of the global War on Terror (which, despite being in the lineup of the world’s Axis of Weasels, Canada still participates in).

Unfortunately, many Americans disagree with me. Even worse, they may have been actively duped.

The ever opinionated but very readable Tom Tomorrow walks me through some startling connections.

First up is this article from the Christian Science Monitor in March 2003, which pointed out that 45% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the terrorist attacks against America on September 11, 2001 — a belief that is conclusively and factually wrong.

Moreover, the Christian Science Monitor showed that the Bush Administration was doing things that appeared to encourage this fallacy. At best, the Bush Administration felt no need to relieve Americans from their mistaken impressions because they saw no reason to intervene on behalf of people unwilling to look up the facts for themselves. At worst, it was self-serving behaviour, as it gave the American people yet another reason to support the invasion of Iraq — to lend it the urgency that the War on Terror had, even though the two events were (to everybody else’s eyes) clearly not connected. This urgency is still on the minds of many Americans, as this New York Times piece shows.

Can we give the Bush Administration the benefit of the doubt? It is, after all, not their responsibility to tell Americans what not to think. The above facts alone do not indicate that the Bush Administration actively lied to Americans — at least in this instance. But then comes this link, from Time Magazine, laying out comprehensive and bold accusations against senior members of the Saudi Royal Family.

Tom Tomorrow quotes:

Posner elaborates in startling detail how U.S. interrogators used drugs—an unnamed “quick-on, quick-off” painkiller and Sodium Pentothal, the old movie truth serum—in a chemical version of reward and punishment to make Zubaydah talk. When questioning stalled, according to Posner, CIA men flew Zubaydah to an Afghan complex fitted out as a fake Saudi jail chamber, where “two Arab-Americans, now with Special Forces,” pretending to be Saudi inquisitors, used drugs and threats to scare him into more confessions.

Yet when Zubaydah was confronted by the false Saudis, writes Posner, “his reaction was not fear, but utter relief.” Happy to see them, he reeled off telephone numbers for a senior member of the royal family who would, said Zubaydah, “tell you what to do.” The man at the other end would be Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, a Westernized nephew of King Fahd’s and a publisher better known as a racehorse owner. His horse War Emblem won the Kentucky Derby in 2002. To the amazement of the U.S., the numbers proved valid. When the fake inquisitors accused Zubaydah of lying, he responded with a 10-minute monologue laying out the Saudi-Pakistani-bin Laden triangle.

On the surface we have to ask: why has the Bush Administration focused so much attention on Iraq when there are clearly far more connections to September 11 in Saudi Arabia? Why is the Bush Administration allowing lies to percolate in Iraq, while not unveiling the truth in Saudi Arabia. It certainly darkens the apparent laziness of the Bush Administration to relieve the American public of their misconceptions surrounding September 11, and it makes something of a mockery of the honest people who believe their sacrifices in Iraq are actually making America and the world safer.

Cynically speaking, perhaps “liberating” Iraq does reduce American dependence on Saudi oil, making the world more able to stand up to Saudi Arabia’s tacit support of Al Quida, but there is little evidence that the Bush Administration have started to hold the country leaders’ feet to the fire. And the Bush Administration would have to admit that it invaded Iraq, risked the security of the region and the lives of thousands of American troops on a pretext, even if it was only to give them wiggle room to move against a possibly more implacable foe.

Is it right for any presidential administration to manipulate its own citizens in such a manner? And is it right that such an administration be allowed to get away with it? I don’t think so.


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