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Monday | April 28, 2003

"Crying wolf": basing war on lies

As Bush administration officials crow about the fast one they pulled on the American people, the Independent reports that intelligence agencies in both the US and UK are furious their work was distorted to justify war.

On nuclear weapons, the British Government claimed that the former regime sought uranium feed material from the government of Niger in west Africa. This was based on letters later described by the International Atomic Energy Agency as crude forgeries.

On chemical weapons, a CIA report on the likelihood that Saddam would use weapons of mass destruction was partially declassified. The parts released were those which made it appear that the danger was high; only after pressure from Senator Bob Graham, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was the whole report declassified, including the conclusion that the chances of Iraq using chemical weapons were "very low" for the "foreseeable future".

On biological weapons, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, told the UN Security Council in February that the former regime had up to 18 mobile laboratories. He attributed the information to "defectors" from Iraq, without saying that their claims including one of a "secret biological laboratory beneath the Saddam Hussein hospital in central Baghdad" had repeatedly been disproved by UN weapons inspectors. [and subsequent post-war investigations -- kos] [...]

"You cannot just cherry-pick evidence that suits your case and ignore the rest. It is a cardinal rule of intelligence," said one aggrieved officer. "Yet that is what the PM is doing." Another said: "What we have is a few strands of highly circumstantial evidence, and to justify an attack on Iraq it is being presented as a cast-iron case. That really is not good enough."

Glen Rangwala, the Cambridge University analyst who first pointed out Downing Street's plagiarism, said ministers had claimed before the war to have information which could not be disclosed because agents in Iraq would be endangered. "That doesn't apply any more, but they haven't come up with the evidence," he said. "They lack credibility."

One has to remember that this war would've been a hell of a lot more difficult without Kuwait as a staging area. The US needs allies to undertake complex military operations far from its shores. Yet this war has shaken US credibility throughout the globe, and now that the US has cried "wolf", it may be increasingly more difficult to rally world support the next time we face conflict (even if legitimate).

So that's why it's so important for the US to find the WMDs Iraq supposedly possessed, regardless whether the Might Wurlitzer and administration officials try to shift the discussion to Iraq's "liberation". The world is still waiting to see whether the US lied to get its war on.

Which is why the administration continues its pathetic attempts to confuse the public about the lack of WMDs in Iraq. The latest effort surrounds the barrels found in northern Iraq that supposedly tested as nerve agents. News reports this morning (predicatably) indicate the barrels did not contain banned weapons.

Posted April 28, 2003 08:47 AM | Comments (155)





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