By David Swanson
There are still people alive in the United States who support the continued occupation of Iraq, and in many cases the same people are open to supporting an aggressive attack on Iran. While they inhabit a very different worldview from my own, they are able to recognize basic facts if made aware of them. If you should meet one of these war supporters, I would recommend making them aware of the two most jarring facts least likely to fit with their preconceptions. One of these facts became known to a certain segment of the population in February 2006, but remains unknown to most consumers of American news media. The other fact was just revealed this month and is certain to remain equally unknown.
1. FACT #1 Bush wanted to provoke Saddam Hussein into attacking Americans
On January 31, 2003, prior to the full-scale invasion of Iraq in March 2003, President George W. Bush met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the White House. After their meeting, they spoke to the media and claimed not to have decided on war, to be working hard to achieve peace, and to be worried about the imminent threat from Iraq to the American people. They claimed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and had links to al Qaeda and — Bush implied but avoided explicitly stating — to the attacks of September 11, 2001. They also claimed to already have UN authorization for launching an attack on Iraq. Here’s the video:
Behind closed doors, however, other words were spoken. Blair advisor David Manning took notes that day. Here is what he wrote down. It has never been challenged by Bush or Blair.
Bush proposed to Blair a number of possible ways in which they might be able to create an excuse to launch a war against Iraq. One of Bush’s proposals was “flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them,” Bush argued, “he would be in breach” of UN resolutions. In other words, Bush wanted to falsely paint US planes with UN colors and try to get them shot at. This is how he really thought about the horrible evil threat of Saddam Hussein: he wanted to provoke him.
Bush understood that the United Nations had not passed a resolution that would have legalized an attack on Iraq. He told Blair that “the US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would ‘twist arms’ and ‘even threaten’. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.” In other words, going to the United Nations was not actually an attempt to avoid war, but an attempt to gain legal cover for a war that would be launched regardless of whether that project succeeded.
Knowing this might open a few minds to the overwhelming evidence that each of the specific claims Bush and Cheney made about particular weapons was known by them at the time to be false:
2. FACT #2 Cheney and Gang Want to Manufacture an Excuse to Attack Iran
Journalist Seymour Hersh reports that at a meeting this year in the Vice President’s office, soon after the incident in the Strait of Hormuz in which a U.S. carrier almost shot at a few small Iranian speedboats…
“There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of — that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation. But that was rejected.”
Here’s video of Hersh:
Now, that idea may have been rejected, but which ideas were not rejected? Some pretty bad ones according to Scott Ritter’s recent report on what the United States is already doing in Iran:
So, both Bush and Cheney (or at least the people Cheney meets with) treat wars not as last resorts but as desired outcomes of closed-door plotting and scheming of crazy keystone cops scenarios that would be laughable if not so potentially deadly. And these two facts reveal a whole different perspective on the motivations of the people controlling the largest imperial military force the world has ever known.