Labor Advocate Online

Another War Fueled By Lies
ABB, Fearing Collateral Damage, Limit Attacks To Sole Target
by Bill Onasch

After thousands of deaths, and the expenditure of at least a couple of hundred billion dollars, it has now finally been officially admitted that there were no WMDs, no ties to bin Laden, prior to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The bipartisan commissions acknowledging the absolutely false justifications for war, blame this on "faulty intelligence." Always in lock step with their American big brother and mentor, the British New Labour establishment has also ‘fessed up to similar "intelligence failures."

The CIA director fell on his sword, taking one for his President. More heads are sure to roll.

Many liberals and "leftists" are denouncing Bush for allowing himself to be "misled." They cite this as another proof that George W is incompetent and must be voted out. In the meantime they variously call for the firings of Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, even the impeachment of Cheney.

David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation, accepts the bashing of the CIA for good coin. "If CIA director George Tenet had not said good-bye to the CIA the day before the report came out, he would deserve immediate dismissal." He continues "but the report—justifiably harsh in its evaluation of the CIA—is part of an effort to protect Bush and his lieutenants." Personally, I’m not convinced that the CIA was so incompetent, but Corn is on the right track in suspecting an effort to protect Bush & Co.

But what about the congressional Democrats who got digests of those same CIA briefings? Were they genuinely taken in by the incompetence of the top spy agency? Did none of their staff read the European press either? Did they miss Byrd’s speeches on the Senate floor? Or, most likely, are they not being protected as well as Bush? Corn doesn’t touch on such speculation at all.

The Democrat dynamic duo hoping to unseat Bush/Cheney are more restrained about the commission findings. Under repeated questioning on Sixty Minutes Kerry and Edwards doggedly refused to regret their votes for the war or even to characterize the war as a mistake. They only charge that Bush mishandled the war and that they will set things straight.

If the Two Johns really believed they were hoodwinked by either or both faulty intelligence/Bush duplicity why would they not denounce this? Why not say, in light of new evidence, the war was not justified? Above all, why not say let’s get our GIs out of harm’s way now that we know they are fighting for what, at best, is a serious error of judgment?

The "faulty intelligence" in the run up to war could have been easily rectified by subscribing to the Independent or listening to the BBC. The whole rest of the world knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Anyone with a superficial knowledge of Middle East politics knew there was no love lost between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Even the Pope and Jimmy Carter were saying as much.

The reasons given for war were not mistaken—they were a lie. The lie didn’t come from Langley; it originated in the West Wing. If Bush and the congressional Democrats had said that we are going to war to advance the imperial interests of corporate America they wouldn’t have been greeted with enthusiasm.

Instead they played on manipulated fear and anger: This is all part of the War On Terror. Saddam Hussein is in cahoots with the terrorists of 9/11. Saddam Hussein is close to being able to launch missiles aimed at us armed with nuclear war heads and poison gas. We must get him before he gets us, etc, etc, etc.

This conscious deception was well known to all the major players in Washington. The Democrat leaders—including Senators John F Kerry and John Edwards—have been complicit co-conspirators in the deadly Iraq fraud every step of the way. Two Yale frat brothers now compete for the White House only in order to give the best service to Empire.

At about the same time that the commission reports were making headlines the Democrat Platform Committee was meeting in suburban Miami. Supporters of the only other candidate still nominally challenging Kerry for the nomination—Dennis Kucinich—offered language calling for a "quick withdrawal" from Iraq. They promptly settled for withdrawal "when appropriate so that the military support needed by a sovereign Iraqi government will no longer be seen as the direct continuation of an American military presence." That’s tellin’ ‘em.

The platform also makes the hard hitting statement that "people of good will disagree about whether America should have gone to war in Iraq." Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, platform committee chairman, and reportedly once on the short list of Kerry’s VP contenders, said it was clear that GIs must "stay there until the job is done." Just what job that is remains unclear.

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll found most Democrats holding a different position. By a margin of 56 percent to 38 percent, people who identify themselves as Democrats say United States troops should "leave Iraq as soon as possible, even if Iraq is not completely stable" and not "stay in Iraq as long as it takes to make sure Iraq is a stable democracy."

But Kucinich, the last one standing that held the position of the majority of his party, told his supporters not to make an embarrassing stink. Faintly reflecting the sentiment in the ranks, Ana Dias, the chief sponsor of the pullout proposal, said she was "terribly disappointed" not to get a vote on the issue. But, she quickly added, "we do want to be unified."

Far from disappointed, the Kucinich spin doctors proclaimed a great victory,

"Under pressure from the Kucinich for President campaign and a broad-based coalition of grassroots Democratic activists, the Democratic Party adopted an amendment to its national platform today declaring its intention to reduce U.S. military presence in Iraq and to push for a greater role for NATO and other nations.

"‘This is significant towards ending the occupation and bringing American troops home,’ said Kucinich Deputy Campaign Manager Tim Carpenter, one of the lead negotiators for the coalition, united under the name ‘Progressive Democratic Caucus.’"

Over at The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel was content to claim only a "modest" victory.

Also coinciding with the commission report on intelligence failure was a curious debate between Howard Dean and Ralph Nader. Dean, one time front runner quickly turned loser in the Democrats abbreviated primary season showed up to appeal to Nader to follow his lead—drop out and support Kerry. "I wish you were on our team, Ralph, because we need you."

Nader, never one for mushy niceties, promptly told Dean "You were an insurgent who has now adopted the role of being a detergent for the dirty linen of the Democratic Party." Nader went on to claim "we're taking apart the Bush Administration in ways that the Democratic party is afraid to," emphasizing opposition to the war.

Dean, realizing he was having no better luck than Kerry had in a private meeting with the "spoiler," lamented "what I see in this [Nader/Camejo] candidacy is the perfect becoming the enemy of the good." He offered some sound advice: "When the house is on fire, it's not the time to fix the furniture." For Dean, the real threat of another four years of Bush represents "an extraordinary emergency."

Dr Dean graphically lays out the bankrupt approach of lesser evilism with his House On Fire analogy. Once the fire alarm has sounded it’s too late for us to worry about the cause of the fire. And we can’t afford to strive for the perfect method of combating arson. We need husky guys with axes and hoses to save at least part of our humble abode. Anybody who questions our designated rescue heroes is no better than a pyromaniac.

Locked into this mentality smarter people than I pull punches, ignore outrages, swallow pride.

Never you mind all those dead and threatened in Iraq because of bipartisan support for war. Never you mind the bipartisan heritage of globalization. Never you mind there are more Black youth in jail than college because of the bipartisan War On Drugs.

No, they insist Bush must be the sole target of our defensive fire. There must be no collateral damage to our only friends and saviors—the good old Democrats.

Too bad for me that I’m not smart enough to understand their strategy. Being simple minded I still think in terms of class struggle between Them and Us. To me, the Democrats are, and always will be, with Them. We better start putting together a party for Us.

July 12, 2004