According to this article at ABCNEWS.com administration officials in Washington are privately admitting that the threat of Iraq was exaggerated so the U.S. could have a plausible justification to show off its military muscle and put a little fear into the Middle East by making Saddam into George’s bitch.
WASHINGTON, April 25—To build its case for war with Iraq, the Bush administration argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but some officials now privately acknowledge the White House had another reason for war—a global show of American power and democracy.
Officials inside government and advisers outside told ABCNEWS the administration emphasized the danger of Saddam’s weapons to gain the legal justification for war from the United Nations and to stress the danger at home to Americans.
“We were not lying,” said one official. “But it was just a matter of emphasis.”
Deception through added emphasis is still deception.
Officials now say they may not find hundreds of tons of mustard and nerve agents and maybe not thousands of liters of anthrax and other toxins. But U.S. forces will find some, they say. On Thursday, President Bush raised the possibility for the first time that any such Iraqi weapons were destroyed before or during the war.
Let me get this straight: We justified the war by claiming Saddam had tons of chemical and biological weapons stacked up ass-high so we go over there and massacre anywhere from around 2,000 to possibly as high as 10,000 Iraqi soldiers let alone a couple thousand civilians (who really knows for sure seeing as we only kept accurate counts of American and British deaths) and now we’re saying they might have destroyed all those weapons before or during the war so we might not find any at all.
And that’s not considered lying?!
It would seem the Bush administration has been attending classes in Bill Clinton’s School of Telling A Non-True Truth.
If weapons of mass destruction were not the primary reason for war, what was? Here’s the answer officials and advisers gave ABCNEWS.
The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks changed everything, including the Bush administration’s thinking about the Middle East—and not just Saddam Hussein.
Senior officials decided that unless action was taken, the Middle East would continue to be a breeding ground for terrorists. Officials feared that young Arabs, angry about their lives and without hope, would always be looking for someone to hate—and that someone would always be Israel and the United States.
I get it. It’s the old logic of: If-they’re-going-to-hate-us-anyway-then-let’s-give-them-a-good-reason-to-hate-us line of thinking.
Europeans thought the solution was to get a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. But American officials felt a Middle East peace agreement would only be part of the solution.
The Bush administration felt that a new start was needed in the Middle East and that Iraq was the place to show that it is democracy—not terrorism—that offers hope.
We’ll show ‘em how great Democracy is WHETHER THEY WANT US TO OR NOT! Oh the irony of it all.
The Bush administration wanted to make a statement about its determination to fight terrorism. And officials acknowledge that Saddam had all the requirements to make him, from their standpoint, the perfect target.
Other countries have such weapons, yet the United States did not go to war with them. And though Saddam oppressed and tortured his own people, other tyrants have done the same without incurring U.S. military action. Finally, Saddam had ties to terrorists—but so have several countries that the United States did not fight.
But Saddam was guilty of all these things and he met another requirement as well—a prime location, in the heart of the Middle East, between Syria and Iran, two countries the United States wanted to send a message to.
The message? We can make you our bitch anytime we want to.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey said on Nightline this week that although he believed Saddam was a serious threat and had dangerous weapons, going to war to prove a point was wrong.
“I don’t think you should go to war to set examples or send messages,” Woolsey said.
No shit. I think most reasonable people would agree with you on that one, Woolsey.
But what if Sept. 11 had never happened? Would the United States have gone to war with Iraq? Administration officials and others say no, at least not now.
There’s a lot of crap that’s come down the pipe that wouldn’t have if 9/11 hadn’t occurred. The damage from that event is still being felt in the national psyche, the economy and in the slow erosion of our civil liberties to this day.
The Bush administration could probably have lived with the threat of Saddam and might have gone after him eventually if, for example, the Iraqi leader had become more aggressive in pursuing a nuclear program or in sponsoring terrorism.
But again, Sept. 11 changed all that.
Listen closely, officials said, to what Bush was really saying to the American people before the war.
“I hope they understand the lesson of September the 11th,” Bush said on March 6. “The lesson is, is that we’re vulnerable to attack, wherever it may occur, and we must take threats which gather overseas very seriously. We don’t have to deal with them all militarily, but we have to deal with them.”
And what better way to deal with them than by kicking around a two-bit tyrant right smack dab in the middle of the Middle East? For an encore Bush plans to get rid of a problematic hornet’s nest in the rose garden by going in and smacking it a few times with a big stick.
OK, I’ve quoted more of this article than I probably should already so I’ll stop here before I get sued. It wraps up by asking if the war in Iraq has accomplished what the administration hopes it would and the consensus is that it is too early to tell as of yet.
On the one hand I want to do the I-told-you-so dance, but that wouldn’t really be appropriate seeing as all of these officials we’re speaking strictly off the record and the “official” explanation is that we went there because Saddam was a bad, bad man who had lots of nasty weapons of mass
distractiondestruction we had to take away from him before he poked someone’s eye out. On the other hand I don’t enjoy having my cynicism and distrust of my Government reaffirmed by reading stuff like this. I truly want to believe that my Government is just and fair and really means it when they say that war is a measure of last resort when all other options has failed. We are going from being the World’s Policeman to the World’s Bully. Instead of leading by example we are trying to demonstrate how much better democracy is by forcing it on a weaker nation using the full might of our military as the hammer to drive it home.
Every time I stop to think about this I can’t help but tie this approach to the fact that Bush’s religious background consists of a fundamentalist Christian belief system. The statements he makes and the actions he takes are consistent with the fundamentalist’s belief that they are superior in their viewpoint to anyone who isn’t a fundamentalist Christian and that they are acting in a compassionate and loving manner when they attempt to impose their beliefs on others. Whether or not the people they’re trying to convert to their way of thinking want to be converted is a non-issue in their minds. They are so convinced that they have it all figured out that not trying to impose that belief on others is almost a sin unto itself. So while I won’t go as far as to say that Bush’s motivation for his little war in Iraq was based on his religious viewpoints per se I do believe his religious viewpoint directly influenced his decision making process with regards to how he should bring about what he considers a positive change in the Middle East.
A man is never so dangerous as he is when he believes himself superior to all others.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
—George Bernard Shaw
Story link was found via Atrios.