As New York’s Forward remarked a few weeks ago, “the toothpaste is out of the tube” on the role of a handful of neo-conservative hawks in the Bush administration and their cohorts in the media pushing the United States into war with Iraq for the benefit of Israel. The war that began this week and what President Bush has told the nation and the world about it must therefore be considered in a rather different light.
The fact is that several of the president’s and the administration’s claims about Iraq are simply false.
Americans might want to think about that as this war—and perhaps future ones—continues.
In the first place, the administration has claimed that Iraq was connected to the September 11 attacks against this country. The truth is that neither the administration nor anyone else has ever offered any evidence whatsoever of that.
It has also claimed that Iraq is closely tied to Al Qaeda. There is no evidence for that either.
Then again, the president claimed last October that Iraq’s Al Samoud missiles have a range of “hundreds of miles” and are capable of striking “Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey and other nations.” In fact, as the Washington Post pointed out this week, the missiles have a range of less than 200 miles. They can strike those countries only if positioned close to their borders.
This week on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Vice President Cheney lobbed off some whoppers of his own. He strongly implied that Saddam Hussein has provided Al Qaeda with nuclear or biological weapons. Not only is there no evidence for that, but last year CIA Director George Tenet testified to Congress that Hussein would not give such weapons to terrorists unless he believed a terrorist attack on the United States “would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.”
Hussein may not have believed that then. He has good reason to believe it now.
Mr. Cheney also claimed that Iraq “has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” That claim is contradicted by the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who says “there is no indication of resumed nuclear activities” by Iraq.
It should be clear that the president and vice president are not merely in error. It should be clear that they—and other administration officials—are lying, telling the American people our country is in danger when in fact it is not.
Why did they lie to push us into war?
They lied because the above-mentioned neo-conservative hawks have manipulated the administration into waging war on behalf of Israel. Not all are Jewish, and it is largely irrelevant whether they are or not. What is important is that they have been pressing for war with Iraq since at least 1998—long before September 11, 2001 and long before the Bush administration even existed.
On Feb. 19, 1998, some 40 signers put their names on an open letter to President Clinton demanding that the United States force Saddam Hussein from power. The signers included at least twelve neo-con hawks now in the Bush administration (mainly in the Pentagon) known to have pushed for war against Iraq. They include Elliott Abrams (National Security Council), John Bolton and David Wurmser (State Department), Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld (all Defense Department), as well as such neo-con media luminaries as William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, and Martin Peretz, editor in chief of the New Republic. All are well-known as zealous supporters of Israel.
Only a few days after the 9/11 attacks, Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz began pressing President Bush for a U.S. attack on Iraq.
Neo-cons like Michael Ledeen and Norman Podhoretz have called for far more than that—what Mr. Podhoretz explicitly calls “World War IV,” that the United States launch wars against virtually all Arab states in the Middle East, including Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, among others, with which the United States has no quarrels whatsoever.
Is that what the Bush administration plans to do as an encore?
Last week the Boston Globe, in a story headlined, “Some ask who’s next after Iraq?” quoted State Department aide John Bolton, “a leading hawk,” (see above) as “telling Israeli officials that Iran would be ‘dealt with’ after the war with Iraq.” It also cited “one high-ranking Bush administration official who has the ear of Vice President Dick Cheney” who “explained recently that the administration was actively searching for ways to undo the 1979 Islamic revolution that created the modern world’s first theocracy” in Iran.
Don’t imagine the war we launched this week will be the last. With Israel’s Likud Party now effectively in charge of our foreign policy, you ain’t seen nothing yet.