A California superior court judge sent me the following quotation, which is well worth pondering:
“We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.”
This declaration was made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel L. Jackson, America’s senior representative at the 1945 Nuremberg war crimes trials, and the tribunal’s chief prosecutor.
Those now exulting America’s conquest of Iraq should ponder Judge Jackson’s majestic words. Particularly now that the U.S.-British justifications for invading Iraq are being revealed as distortions.
Every nook and cranny of Iraq has yet to be searched, but so far nothing incriminating has been discovered to validate lurid claims made by President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair. Let’s review the big ones:
* “The Iraqi regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised,” said President Bush, warning Iraq was intent on attacking the U.S. But Mohamed el-Baradei, chief of the UN nuclear weapons inspection agency (IAEA), concluded in March: “No evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq.” The same for gas and germs.
* U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed before the UN, backed up by a dossier from British intelligence, that Washington and London had a long list of sites in Iraq containing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). When inspected by the UN, and, later, U.S. troops, none contained any WMDs. Part of London’s damning dossier on Iraq was revealed to have been plagiarized from a 10-year-old graduate thesis.
* “Iraq is trying to procure uranium,” thundered Colin Powell at the UN. Washington and London claimed Iraq imported yellowcake uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons. In March, UN experts concluded the documents purportedly confirming the uranium sales were “not authentic” and in fact “crude fabrications.”
* Bush: “Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminium tubes for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.” The uranium to be enriched was, of course, the same fictitious uranium from Niger. UN inspectors found the tubes were for short-range, 81-mm artillery rockets.
* The U.S. claimed Iraq was an ally of al-Qaida. No terrorist links have so far been found. Just a retired Palestinian thug, Abu Abbas. The notorious Ansar al-Islam “terror and poison camp” turned out to be mud huts occupied by motley Islamists who regularly denounced bin Laden.
* The mobile germ warfare trucks Powell warned about – a.k.a. “Winnebagos of Death” – turned out to be mobile food inspection labs. Iraq’s “drones of death” that Bush warned might fly off ships to attack the U.S. with pestilence were, on inspection, two rickety model airplanes.
* The Bush administration concealed from Americans that in 1995 Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Gen. Hussein Kamel, had told the UN arms inspection agency and the CIA he had personally supervised destruction of all of Iraq’s biological and chemical weapons (mostly supplied by the U.S. and Britain in the 1980s). Glen Rangwala, of Cambridge University, who exposed London’s plagiarized Iraq dossier, obtained the transcript of the Kamel interview.
Torrent of propaganda
And so it went. A torrent of propaganda deceiving Americans into believing Iraq was armed to the teeth with WMDs, somehow responsible for 9/11, and intending, as Bush repeatedly claimed, to attack the U.S.
Inspectors found no WMDs. So far, neither have U.S. occupation forces. No nukes. No poison gas and dispersing systems. No Scud missiles. No al-Qaida camps. Just lots of palaces filled with hideous Mesopotamian baroque furniture and a ruined, destitute nation.
The U.S. has refused to readmit UN inspectors to Iraq. Two teams of U.S. intelligence specialists are sifting through the wreckage. Cynics suspect the U.S. will shortly “discover” a smoking gun to justify the invasion, even if one must be created. Otherwise, why would the U.S. refuse to allow UN inspectors to join the hunt? Doing so would authenticate any future U.S. claims.
No one, least of all this writer, who spent a harrowing time in Iraq under Saddam’s brutal, sinister, megalo-despotism, mourns him. But in their lust to invade Iraq, the Bush administration and Tony Blair deeply discredited their own nations’ moral standing, credibility, and democratic ideals by outrageously misleading their own people and whipping them into mass hysteria to justify an imperial war.