Tag Archives: Iraq

They Said That? 4/6/17

Some quotes from the past:

In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now – a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers, or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed. If we fail to respond today, Saddam, and all those who would follow in his footsteps, will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council, and clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program.

President Bill Clinton – Remarks at the Pentagon , February 17, 1998.

In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world — and we will not allow it.”

President George W. Bush addressing the AEI, Washington Hilton Hotel, February 26, 2003

There is no question that Iraq possesses biological and chemical weapons and that he seeks to acquire additional weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. That is not in debate. I also agree with President Bush that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must be disarmed, to quote President Bush directly.

Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) – Congressional Record , October 8, 2002.

Remember, Peter, this is a man who has used poison gas on his own people and on his neighbors repeatedly. He’s trying to get ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons. He could be a mass murderer of the first order of magnitude. We are not going to allow that to happen.

Vice President Al Gore – ABC News’ “Special Report,” December 16, 1998.

According to the CIA’s report, all U.S. intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons. There is little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop nuclear weapons.”

Senator John Kerry – Congressional Record, October 9, 2002.

We must eliminate that [potential nuclear] threat now before it is too late. But that isn’t just a future threat. Saddam’s existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose real threats to America today, tomorrow. … [He] is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East. He could make these weapons available to many terrorist groups, third parties, which have contact with his government. Those groups, in turn, could bring those weapons into the United States and unleash a devastating attack against our citizens. I fear that greatly.

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) – Congressional Record, October 10, 2002.

[It] is Hussein’s vigorous pursuit of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, and his present and potential future support for terrorist acts and organizations, that make him a terrible danger to the people to the United States.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Congressional Record, October 10, 2002.

We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction. But information from the intelligence community over the past six months does not point to Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States or a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.” –

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Remarks at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, October 27, 2002.

It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.

George W. Bush . Transcript of Bush speech. CNN (December 20, 2005).

No one was more surprised than I that we didn’t find (WMD’s).

General Tommy Franks . Transcript: An ‘American Soldier’. Fox News (December 5, 2005

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Media Downplays America’s Bombing of Civilians in Mosul, by Ben Norton

The media arm of the military-industrial-intelligence obfuscates American destruction and killing and amplifies that of our adversaries. There’s probably nothing new about that, but readers should be alert to it. From Ben Norton at theantimedia.com:

If you read the headlines of major corporate media outlets, you’d think hundreds of Iraqi civilians in Mosul coincidentally died in the same location that just so happened to be hit by a US airstrike.

A March 17 US attack in the city of Mosul resulted in a massacre of civilians. The monitoring group Airwars estimated that between 130 and 230 Iraqis were killed in the incident. Iraqi media reported similar figures.

Civilian victims of the US-led bombing campaign to oust ISIS from the major northern Iraqi city, which has been terrorized by the extremist group for three years, have received little media coverage.

The Washington Post (3/28/17) noted, nevertheless, that the recent airstrike “was potentially one of the worst US-led civilian bombings in 25 years.”

Yet just a few days before the Post published this stark fact, leading news networks went out of their way to craft some of the most euphemistic headlines imaginable.

ABC News (3/25/17) took the cake, giving its report the disjointed title “US Reviewing Airstrike That Corresponds to Site Where 200 Iraqi Civilians Allegedly Died.” (This story was also syndicated by Yahoo News—3/25/17.)

Note that the Iraqis simply died; they weren’t killed. The airstrike was a mere temporal and geographic coincidence.

The Los Angeles Times (3/25/17‎) used similarly obfuscatory language, with the headline “US Acknowledges Airstrike in Mosul, Where More Than 200 Iraqi Civilians Died.” This article, which was republished by the Chicago Tribune (3/25/17), made it sound like 200 Iraqis have been killed in all of Mosul.

To continue reading: Media Downplays America’s Bombing of Civilians in Mosul

From Nuisance to Threat: The High Cost of Truth, by Paul Craig Roberts

Truth, and respect for it, is vanishing. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

When one gives so much scarce time and energy from one’s life to a large and unknown public, one needs to know that it is sufficiently appreciated to be a worthwhile use of one’s time and energy. This is especially the case when there are large costs associated with the commitment.

Your response to my quarterly request for donations showed me that enough of you value what I am doing to justify its continuation.

I am convinced that the US, and probably the entire Western world, that is, the American Empire, has entered an era in which respect for truth does not exist in public and private institutions. We have been watching this develop for some time. Think, for example, back to August 3, 2002, a recent time in terms of our present predicament, but a time prior to political consciousness of anyone younger today than 33 years old. In the summer of 2002, the world was being prepared by propaganda for a US invasion of Iraq. On August 3 of that year, the prestigous British publication, The Economist, summed up the consensus of ruling opinion in two sentences: “The honest choices now are to give up and give in, or to remove Mr. Hussein before he gets his [nuclear] bomb. Painful as it is, our vote is for war.”

As Lewis Lapham, myself and others asked at the time, what bomb? The only evidence of a bomb was fabricated and known to be fabricated. The UN weapons inspectors concluded that the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction were a creation of US propaganda. President George W. Bush eventually acknowledged that Iraq had no such weapons. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the lies he was deceived by the Bush regime into telling the UN about Saddam Hussein’s WMD are a stain on his career.

Despite the 2003 US invasion known to have been based entirely on lies, US troops were not pulled out of Iraq until 2011, and whether or not they were pulled out, they are back in Iraq now. None of these facts has had any impact on the good opinion that Washington and the media have of themselves.

To continue reading: From Nuisance to Threat: The High Cost of Truth

What a Mess: The US Blunders Deeper Into The Mysterious Levant, by Eric Margolis

Someday, in the distant future, the US will have lost so much in the Middle East that it will try something completely different. It will get out and stay out. The denizens of that region can’t eat their oil, they must sell it to someone, and the US is the world’s largest market. Israel has a nuclear arsenal and can take care of itself. A US withdrawal from the Middle East would be the first glimmer of sanity in US foreign policy in quite some time. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

We are now moving rapidly into stage II of Levantine Madness as the US boosts its intervention in the war-torn Mideast.

Five thousand US troops are back in Iraq to bolster the shattered nation’s puppet regime that is propped up by American bayonets. New Iraqi military formations have been formed, totally equipped with modern US M1 Abrams tanks, Humvees, and fleets of trucks. More US forces are on the way.

These US-financed Iraqi units are euphemistically called ‘anti-terrorism forces’ and are supervised by US officers. In fact, what we see is the old British Imperial Raj formula of white officers commanding native mercenary troops.

These Iraqi units are now assaulting ISIS-held Mosul, Iraq’s second city, and smaller towns. Most of America’s Iraqi ‘sepoys’ (as native troops in the British Indian Raj were known) are Shia bitterly opposed to the nation’s minority Sunnis. After its 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US encouraged animosity between Shia and Sunni as a way of breaking resistance to foreign occupation – ‘divide et impera’ as the Romans used to say.

Interestingly, the backbone of ISIS leadership is made up of senior officers of Saddam Hussein’s old Iraqi army. The ‘Mother of All Battles’ continues, as President Saddam predicted shortly before he was lynched.

Meanwhile, thousands of US troops and Special Forces are now also engaged in Syria though just whom they are battling remains confused. Syria has become a mad house of warring factions backed by outside powers – a sort of modern version of Germany’s dreadful 30 Year’s War of the 1600’s.

To continue reading: What a Mess: The US Blunders Deeper Into The Mysterious Levant

The Surge Delusion, An Iraq War Anniversary to Forget, by Danny Sjursen

The Iraq surge was a failure, not a success, but the surge mentality it engendered prevails throughout the Trump administration. That may lead to disaster. From Danny Sjursen at tomdispatch.com:

The other day, I found myself flipping through old photos from my time in Iraq. One in particular from October 2006 stood out. I see my 23-year-old self, along with my platoon. We’re still at Camp Buerhing in Kuwait, posing in front of our squadron logo splashed across a huge concrete barrier. It was a tradition by then, three and a half years after the invasion of neighboring Iraq, for every Army, Marine, and even Air Force battalion at that camp to proudly paint its unit emblem on one of those large, ubiquitous barricades.

Gazing at that photo, it’s hard for me to believe that it was taken a decade ago. Those were Iraq’s bad old days, just before General David Petraeus’s fabled “surge” campaign that has since become the stuff of legend, a defining event for American military professionals. The term has permanently entered the martial lexicon and now it’s everywhere. We soldiers stay late at work because we need to “surge” on the latest PowerPoint presentation. To inject extra effort into anything (no matter how mundane) is to “surge.” Nor is the term’s use limited to the military vernacular. Within the first few weeks of the Trump administration, the Wall Street Journal, for instance, reported on a deportation “surge.”

For many career soldiers, the surge era (2007-2011) provides a kind of vindication for all those years of effort and seeming failure, a brief window into what might have been and a proof certain of the enduring utility of force. When it comes to that long-gone surge, senior leaders still talk the talk on its alleged success as though reciting scripture. Take retired general, surge architect, and former CIA Director Petraeus. As recently as 2013, he wrote a Foreign Policy piece entitled “How We Won in Iraq.” Now “win” is a bold word indeed. Yet few in our American world would think to question its accuracy. After all, Petraeus was a general, and in an era when Americans have little or no faith in other public institutions, polls show nearly everyone trusts the military. Of course, no one asks whether this is healthy for the republic. No matter, the surge’s success is, by now, a given among Washington’s policy elite.

To continue reading: The Surge Delusion, An Iraq War Anniversary to Forget

5th Anniversary of America Withdrawing Troops from Iraq, by Dyfed Loesche

From The Burning Platform: 

In addition to the 4,524 dead soldiers, 31,952 soldiers were wounded, and a few hundred thousand Iraqis were killed or wounded. And it only cost $2 trillion, so far. The medical benefits to the soldiers and families will ultimately drive the total cost over $5 trillion. And what exactly did we accomplish?

From Dyfed Loesche at statista.com:

On Dec 15, 2011 the last combat troops that had taken part in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and the transitional Operation New Dawn (OND) left Iraq. It came over seven years after OIF began with the March 2003 invasion to remove Saddam Hussein. Around 4,500 U.S. troops died during that phase of American military involvement.

The number of fatalities is picking up again ever since the United States once more got involved in Iraq in August 2014, this time to help Iraqi forces combat the so-called Islamic State (IS). This engagement is called Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). Further official data on U.S. casualties can be retrieved here.

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2016/12/15/mission-accomplished-9/

Inside The Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton, & Trump, by John Pilger

There are a multitude of distressing aspects of the US and its allies interventions in the Middle East. One of the most distressing is the mainstream media’s complicity in spreading government propaganda. Had it not done so, and were it not continuing to do so, many lives might have been saved or would be saved in the future. From John Pilger at strategic-culture.com:

The American journalist, Edward Bernays, is often described as the man who invented modern propaganda.

The nephew of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psycho-analysis, it was Bernays who coined the term “public relations” as a euphemism for spin and its deceptions.

In 1929, he persuaded feminists to promote cigarettes for women by smoking in the New York Easter Parade – behaviour then considered outlandish. One feminist, Ruth Booth, declared, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!”

Bernays’ influence extended far beyond advertising. His greatest success was his role in convincing the American public to join the slaughter of the First World War. The secret, he said, was “engineering the consent” of people in order to “control and regiment [them] according to our will without their knowing about it”.

He described this as “the true ruling power in our society” and called it an “invisible government”.

Today, the invisible government has never been more powerful and less understood. In my career as a journalist and film-maker, I have never known propaganda to insinuate our lives and as it does now and to go unchallenged.

Imagine two cities.

Both are under siege by the forces of the government of that country. Both cities are occupied by fanatics, who commit terrible atrocities, such as beheading people.

But there is a vital difference. In one siege, the government soldiers are described as liberators by Western reporters embedded with them, who enthusiastically report their battles and air strikes. There are front page pictures of these heroic soldiers giving a V-sign for victory. There is scant mention of civilian casualties.

In the second city – in another country nearby – almost exactly the same is happening. Government forces are laying siege to a city controlled by the same breed of fanatics.

The difference is that these fanatics are supported, supplied and armed by “us” – by the United States and Britain. They even have a media centre that is funded by Britain and America.

Another difference is that the government soldiers laying siege to this city are the bad guys, condemned for assaulting and bombing the city – which is exactly what the good soldiers do in the first city.

Confusing? Not really. Such is the basic double standard that is the essence of propaganda. I am referring, of course, to the current siege of the city of Mosul by the government forces of Iraq, who are backed by the United States and Britain and to the siege of Aleppo by the government forces of Syria, backed by Russia. One is good; the other is bad.

What is seldom reported is that both cities would not be occupied by fanatics and ravaged by war if Britain and the United States had not invaded Iraq in 2003. That criminal enterprise was launched on lies strikingly similar to the propaganda that now distorts our understanding of the civil war in Syria.

Without this drumbeat of propaganda dressed up as news, the monstrous ISIS and Al-Qaida and al-Nusra and the rest of the jihadist gang might not exist, and the people of Syria might not be fighting for their lives today.

To continue reading: Inside The Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton, & Trump