Tag Archives: Iraq War

Ron Paul, Hero, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Ron Paul has lit a fire, especially among younger people, that has yet to be extinguished. From Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. and lewrockwell.com:

This talk was delivered on November 9, 2019, at the Mises Institute symposium in Lake, Jackson, Texas.

I had the rare honor of serving as Ron Paul’s congressional chief of staff, and observed him in many proud moments in those days, and in his presidential campaigns. People today sometimes compare Ron Paul with Bernie Sanders. The comparison of Bernie to Ron goes like this: both launched insurgent, anti-establishment presidential campaigns while in their 70s, shook up their respective party establishments, and attracted large youth followings. But Bernie is no Ron.

Just on the surface: Bernie is a grump and difficult to work with; Ron is a kindhearted gentleman who always showed his appreciation for the people in his office.

More importantly, Ron urged his followers to read and learn. Countless high school and college students began reading dense and difficult treatises in economics and political philosophy because Ron encouraged them to. Ron’s followers, meanwhile, were curious enough to dig beneath the surface. Is the state really a benign institution that can costlessly provide us whatever we might demand? Or might there be moral, economic, and political factors standing in the way of these utopian dreams?

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16 Years After Iraq, the US Has Become a Nation of Passive Neocons , by Whitney Webb

The neocons who got us into Iraq under false premises should be living in ignominious exile. Instead, many of them still hold important positions, and keep pressing for more potentially disastrous interventions. From Whitney Webb at mintpressnews.com:

After Iraq, the neocons began waging another war, one for America’s soul.

Sixteen years have passed and the memory of the Iraq War is distant for many, save for the millions of people — Iraqi and American alike — who saw their lives destroyed by one of the greatest lies ever sold to the American public.

Yet, while plenty of Americans sleep easy thinking that such an atrocity as the invasion and occupation of Iraq could never happen again, the U.S. government has continuously been involved in many smaller, equally disastrous wars — both seen and unseen — largely thanks to the fact that those who brought us the Iraq War remain both respected and still present in the halls of power.

Indeed, the only thing the domestic outrage over the Iraq War seemed to accomplish has been a massive effort waged by the government and the corporate elite to engineer a public that doesn’t complain and doesn’t care when their government meddles or invades another country.

For many Americans today, much like the war itself, the outrage over the Iraq War is a distant memory and comparable outrage has failed to emerge over any other U.S. government crime committed or contemplated on a similar scale — whether it be the “regime change” invasion of Libya, the ongoing genocide in Yemen, or in response to crimes the government is now setting up.

Our forgetfulness has informed our silence and our silence is our complicity in the crimes — past and present — orchestrated by the neocons, who never left government after Iraq but instead rebranded themselves and helped to culturally engineer our passivity. As a consequence, we have again been hoodwinked by the neocons, who have transformed America in their image, creating a nation of neocon enablers, a nation of passive neocons.

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On The Anniversary Of The Iraq Invasion, Bush Press Secretary Claims Bush Didn’t Lie, by Caitlin Johnstone

Caitlin Johnstone demolishes Ari Fleischer. From Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

On the sixteenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, as the US government threatens punitive action against International Criminal Court investigators for attempting to look into US war crimes, former George W Bush administration Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has decided to publish a Twitter thread claiming that Bush did not lie to the world about Iraq.

Here is a transcript of the full thread by Fleischer:

The Iraq war began sixteen years ago tomorrow. There is a myth about the war that I have been meaning to set straight for years. After no WMDs were found, the left claimed “Bush lied. People died.” This accusation itself is a lie. It’s time to put it to rest.

The fact is that President Bush (and I as press secretary) faithfully and accurately reported to the public what the intelligence community concluded. The CIA, along with the intelligence services of Egypt, France, Israel and others concluded that Saddam had WMD. We all turned out to be wrong. That is very different from lying.

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Kept Secret For 17 Years: Intel Memo Warned Bush’s Iraq Invasion To Create “Perfect Storm”, by Tyler Durden

Many people foresaw the disaster that the 2003 Iraq invasion would become, even people in our own government. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

A newly declassified US intelligence memo has been unearthed this week and featured in a bombshell Wall Street Journal report. It proves that the year prior to the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq the White House was expressly warned in great detail of all that could and would go wrong in the regime change war’s aftermath, including the Sunni-Shia sectarian chaos and proxy war with Iran that would define Iraq and the whole region for years following. And crucially, it reveals that seven months before the US invasion of Iraq, American intelligence officials understood that Osama bin Laden was likely “alive and well and hiding in northwest Pakistan”   important given that a key Bush admin claim to sell the war was that Saddam Hussein and bin Laden were “in league” against the United States.

The July 2002 memo was authored by William Burns, then serving as assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, and though clearly dismissed by the Bush neocons making the case for war, proved prescient on many levels. “Following are some very quick and informal thoughts on how events before, during and after an effort to overthrow the regime in Baghdad could unravel if we’re not careful, intersecting to create a ‘perfect storm’ for American interests,” Burns wrote in the memo, classified ‘Secret’ and sent to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

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Dollar Hegemony, Again, by Michael Doliner

Having the world’s reserve currency has allowed the US to amass a gargantuan debt. The debt won’t be paid with anything but hyperinflated dollars, and the dollar will lose its reserve currency status. From Michael Doliner at counterpunch.org:

The United States Entity lost the war in Iraq. That fact determines the Entity’s position in the Middle East today. After having destroyed Saddam’s army and dispossessing the Sunnis in favor of the Shi’ites, after Abu Ghraib and it’s indelible pictures, after the total destruction of Fallujah, in short after a victory achieved with the utmost brutality, contempt and humiliation of Iraq and Iraqis, the Entity was in charge. Then the “insurgents” appeared. They put improvised explosive devices along the roads so, with a phone call, they could destroy patrols of the Entity. They made car bombs so that every vehicle approaching a check-point might spell doom. They donned suicide vests to blow themselves and any nearby Entity soldiers up. Entity soldiers couldn’t go into the streets. Every move they made could be their last. The enemy was everywhere and nowhere. These people would rather die then be ruled by these idiotic mechanized barbarians. Everything seemed peaceful, but at any moment, out of nowhere, they could be blown to pieces. That kind of thing wears on you. Their patrols, pointless bouts of Russian roulette, ended up as parked “search and avoid” missions. Life went on without the clanking monsters. Entity bases were like Kaposi sarcoma in AIDS patients. The Entity’s attempts at reconstruction were comically inept – roads to nowhere and chicken processing plants for chickens no one wanted. In short the Entity’s occupation of Iraq after the victory, other than being a disaster of comical incompetence, was non-existent. Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shi’ite cleric, had much more power than the Entity. Eventually Iraq rejected the Entity’s status of forces agreement (SOFA). In other words the Iraqi puppets the Entity had installed unceremoniously kicked the Entity out of the country.

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Clapper’s Credibility Collapses, by James McGovern

James Clapper is a hack and a slimeball. From James McGovern at antiwar.com:

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s key role in helping the Cheney/Bush administration “justify” war on Iraq with fraudulent intelligence was exposed on Tuesday at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington by his own words quoted back to him from his memoir “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence.” Hard truths, indeed.

Clapper was appointed Director of National Intelligence by President Barack Obama in June 2010, almost certainly at the prompting of Obama’s intelligence confidant and Clapper friend John Brennan, later director of the CIA. Despite Clapper’s performance on Iraq, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. Obama even allowed Clapper to keep his job for three and a half more years after he admitted that he had lied under oath to that same Senate about the extent of eavesdropping on Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA). He is now a security analyst for CNN.

In his book, Clapper finally places the blame for the consequential fraud (he calls it “the failure”) to find the (non-existent) WMD “where it belongs – squarely on the shoulders of the administration members who were pushing a narrative of a rogue WMD program in Iraq and on the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.” (emphasis added).

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Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later, Maj. Danny Sjursen

The worst part of the second Iraq war is that those who conned the American people into going to war are never going to be called to account for it. From Maj. Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

We were always caught in the middle. We still are. As a young man, a new lieutenant, and a true believer, I once led a US Army scout platoon just south of Baghdad. It was autumn 2006, and my platoon patrolled – mainly aimlessly – through the streets and surrounding fields of Salman Pak. To our north lay the vast Shia heartland of East Baghdad, to our south and east, the disgruntled and recently disempowered Sunnis of the rural hinterlands. Both sides executed teenagers caught on the wrong side of town, leaving the bodies for us to find. Each side sought to win American favor; both tried to kill us.

It was a battle of attrition; a war for land, yes, but more importantly a war for the mind. Each day, the platoon had the distinct honor to drive our HMMWVs past the impressive ruins of an ancient Persian (Iranian) empire – the Sassanid. Some 1500 years earlier, Salman Pak was known as Ctesiphon and was the populous capital of a powerful civilization. The Iraqi Shia were proud of this past; the local Sunnis were not. Sunni insurgents still called the Shia “Sassanids,” or “Persians,” and they meant it as a pejorative. History was present and alive in Iraq. Still, few of my young soldiers knew – or cared – about any of this. They merely sought survival.

The Sunni fighters, once ascendant under Saddam Hussein’s regime, were backed by Saudi Arabia and other sympathetic Gulf states. In nighttime raids and daytime searches, we found Saudi “Wahhabi” Islamist propaganda on the floor of car bomb factories. Back then, the local Sunni insurgents called themselves TWJ (Tawhid al Jihad – Monotheism and Holy War). This group, a nonfactor at the time of the 9/11 attacks, would rebrand several times in the ensuing years: Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), and, finally, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

To continue reading: Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later

We Should Listen to the Iraqi Parliament, by Ron Paul

The Iraqi Parliament wants the US out of Iraq. Ron Paul and SLL say we should go. From Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

This month marks the 15th anniversary of the US war on Iraq. The “shock and awe” attack was launched based on “stove-piped” intelligence fed from the CIA and Pentagon through an uncritical and compliant US mainstream media. The US media was a willing accomplice to this crime of aggression committed by the George W. Bush Administration.

Despite the lies we were constantly bombarded with, Iraq never presented a threat to the United States. Iraq never had the weapons of mass destruction that the neocons used to frighten Americans into supporting the war. How many of them knew all along that there were no WMDs? We’ll never know. Attacking Iraq and overthrowing its leader was long a plan in the neocon playbook and they used the 9/11 attack on the US as an excuse to pull the plan off the shelf and put it into action.

The US “regime change” war on Iraq has directly resulted in the death of at least a quarter of a million civilians, and indirectly perhaps a million Iraqis have been killed. The Iraqi infrastructure was destroyed and the country was set back many decades in development. Far from the democratization we were promised, Iraq has been turned into a hell on earth. Due to the US use of depleted uranium and other chemical weapons like white phosphorus, Iraqis will continue to suffer from birth defects and other related illnesses for generations.

How did we get there? War propaganda was essential in paving the way for the Iraq war. Americans are generally skeptical about launching new wars, so it takes a steady media bombardment about the alleged depravities of any targeted regime before public opinion begins to shift in favor of war.

Because the neocons who helped launch the war have never had to face the consequences of their actions, they continue to promote war with impunity. Just this past week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was pushing for a US attack on North Korea in which millions may be killed. He said this weekend, “All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security.” That’s just what they said before the US attacked Iraq, and how did that turn out? I find it disgusting that the media continues to give airtime almost exclusively to those who promote more US disasters like Iraq.

To continue reading; We Should Listen to the Iraqi Parliament

Seven World-Historical Achievements of the Iraq Invasion of 2003, by Gary Leupp

None of the seven “achievements,” (consequences is probably a better word) are anything anyone would consider “good.” From Gary Leupp  at strategic-culture.org:

Here is a list of the noteworthy, ongoing results of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq beginning in March 2003. (Recall that invasion was denounced by the UN as illegal, based entirely on lies, and—given the U.S.’s hegemonic position in the world, allowing it to act with impunity—the crime’s architects have never punished.)

1) The principal achievement of the war and occupation was the dramatic expansion of the al-Qaeda network that had attacked the U.S. on January 11, 2001. An al-Qaeda franchise was established in Iraq for the first time, playing a key role in the Sunni “insurrection” against the occupiers and their Shiite allies, then expanding across the border into Syria where it split into the al-Nusra affiliate and its even more savage rival, ISIL. Iraq also served and serves as a training ground for jihadis now operating from Iraq to Libya and beyond.

2) The invasion and its consequences encouraged the cause of Kurdistan, an imagined state straddling Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The Kurds are the largest stateless people in the world, victims of British and French colonialists who divided the region between them after World War I. After the Gulf War of 1991, the U.S. established a “no-fly” zone over northern Iraq to discourage Baghdad from deploying troops in the region. Iraqi Kurdistan had already obtained a degree of autonomy before the invasion but the status became official under the occupation and a referendum for independence is likely to pass soon. This would infuriate Iraq and perhaps provoke Turkey’s intervention. As it is, the autonomous region is locked in struggle with Baghdad over territorial claims and control over oil fields.

3) The invasion destroyed the Iraqi state, causing it to fracture into three: Kurdistan, the Sunni zone in the west, and the Shiite-majority areas around Baghdad. The Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein had been extremely repressive and brutal. But it had maintained order; discouraged religion in politics; protected the Christian and other religious minorities; promoted women’s rights; imposed no dress code; enforced a criminal code modeled after the Napoleonic (not the Sharia); licensed rock n’ roll radio stations, allowed the brewing of beer and its sale etc. The Shiite-led regime boosted into power by the occupation has reversed much of this. (A bill to ban the production and sale of beer was just passed by Parliament last week.) But the regime’s power does not extend into much of Anbar Province, ISIL still governs Mosul, and again, Kurdistan has become autonomous.

4) Because Shiites are the majority in Iraq (60%), and dominate Iran next door; and because the leaders of Shiite parties have studied in Iran or lived their in exile and are sympathetic to Iran’s mullah-led regime; and because the U.S. was forced by peaceful mass protests to allow elections and the emergence of Shiites as the leaders of the country, Iran’s power and influence in the region has expanded dramatically. (Apparently no one in the State Department thought about that.) Since Iran has not attacked another country in centuries — but was savagely attacked by Saddam Hussein in 1981, sparking a long war killing over half a million people — and since Iran’s friendliness to its neighbor, one of the few Arab countries in which its co-coreligionists hold power, is entirely natural, one can ask why anyone might be alarmed by this. But it does alarm some, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, that crucial U.S. Arab ally governed by Wahhabi Sunnis, most of all.

To continue reading: Seven World-Historical Achievements of the Iraq Invasion of 2003

Whitewash Won’t Cover Blair’s Guilt, by Eric Margolis

Although the Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was restrained and “proper,” their’s no hiding the sins of those involved. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

This week’s Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was as polite and guarded as a proper English tea party. No direct accusations, no talk of war crimes by then Prime Minister Tony Blair or his guiding light, President George W. Bush. But still pretty damning.

Such government reports and commissions, as was wittily noted in the delightful program ‘Yes, Prime Minister,’ are designed to obscure rather than reveal the truth and bury awkward facts in mountains of paper.

And beneath mountains of lies. The biggest lie on both sides of the Atlantic was that the invasion and destruction of Iraq was the result of ‘faulty intelligence.’ The Bush and Blair camps and the US and British media keep pushing this absurd line.

This writer, who had covered Iraq since 1976, was one of the first to assert that Baghdad had no so-called weapons of mass destruction, and no means of delivering them even if it did. For this I was dropped and black-listed by the leading US TV cable news network and leading US newspapers.

I had no love for the brutal Saddam Hussein, whose secret police threatened to hang me as a spy. But I could not abide the intense war propaganda coming from Washington and London, served up by the servile, mendacious US and British media.

The planned invasion of Iraq was not about nuclear weapons or democracy, as Bush claimed. Two powerful factions in Washington were beating the war drums: ardently pro-Israel neoconservatives who yearned to see an enemy of Israel destroyed, and a cabal of conservative oil men and imperialists around Vice President Dick Cheney who sought to grab Iraq’s huge oil reserves at a time they believed oil was running out. They engineered the Iraq War, as blatant and illegal an aggression as Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

Britain’s smarmy Tony Blair tagged along with the war boosters in hopes that the UK could pick up the crumbs from the invasion and reassert its former economic and political power in the Arab world. Blair had long been a favorite of British neoconservatives. The silver-tongued Blair became point man for the war in preference to the tongue-twisted, stumbling George Bush. But the real warlord was VP Dick Cheney.

There was no ‘flawed intelligence.’ There were intelligence agencies bullied into reporting a fake narrative to suit their political masters. And a lot of fake reports concocted by our Mideast allies like Israel and Kuwait.

After the even mild Chilcot report, Blair’s reputation is in tatters, as it should be. How such an intelligent, worldly man could have allowed himself to be led around by the doltish, swaggering Bush is hard to fathom. Europe’s leaders and Canada refused to join the Anglo-American aggression. France, which warned Bush of the disaster he would inflict, was slandered and smeared by US Republicans as ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys.’

In the event, the real monkeys were the Bush and Blair governments. Saddam Hussain, a former US ally, was deposed and lynched. Iraq, the most advanced Arab nation, was almost totally destroyed. Up to one million Iraqis may have been killed, though the Chilcot report claimed only a risible 150,000. As Saddam had predicted, the Bush-Blair invasion opened the gates of hell, and out came al-Qaida and then ISIS.

To continue reading: Whitewash Won’t Cover Blair’s Guilt