Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | May 29, 2003

WMD's the "bureaucratic" reason for war

Hundreds of US and UK soldiers, and thousands of Iraqis have died (and continue to die) for a war based entirely (at least initially) on Saddam's alleged possession of WMDs and links to Al Qaeda.

The Al Qaeda claims were a joke from Day 1. But the WMD rationale has failed to pan out.

Now, the administration and its chickenhawk warmongers are tripping all over each other trying to minimize the importance of the WMD arguments. The latest is Chief Chickenhawk himself, Paul Wolfowitz:

Wolfowitz, seen as one of the most hawkish figures in the Bush administration's policy on Iraq, said President Saddam Hussein's alleged cache of chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons was merely one of several reasons behind the decision to go to war.

"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on," Wolfowitz was quoted as saying in Vanity Fair magazine's July issue.

No chemical or biological weapons have been found in Iraq despite repeated assertions by President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair before the March 20 invasion that the threat posed by Saddam's vast stocks of banned weapons warranted a war to eliminate them.

Uh huh. So let's get this straight -- Wolfowitz's ranting and raving about Iraqi nuclear weapons was merely bureaucratic bluster?

But we all knew that. The administration had to manufacture reasons for war, since reality didn't support the cost we would pay (and are still paying) in blood and treasure. So "bureaucratic" decisions were made based on political expediency, rather than real intelligence or necessity.

So what does Wolfowitz think was one of the real reason for war?

Wolfowitz said another reason for the invasion had been "almost unnoticed but huge" -- namely that the ousting of Saddam would allow the United States to remove its troops from Saudi Arabia, where their presence had long been a major al Qaeda grievance.
It's nice to know that the men and women doing the bleeding and dying in Iraq are doing so to provide the US with a new base of operations in the Middle East.

It was not about "imminent threat", or "WMD" or "Al Qaeda". It was about needing shiny new barracks in a Middle East nation with a friendly and compliant puppet regime. (And it wasn't just the US. The UK's Blair did his share of lying to rally public support.)

So why didn't Wolfowitz make this argument before the war? He says it was "almost unnoticed", but of course it was. Would the US public been as complacent had the real reasons for war been clearly stated in Bush's State of the Union address? I don't recall him saying, "Saudi Arabia wants us out, so we need new bases elsewhere."

It's true the American people don't give a flying F about the rationales for war. Right now. That could very well change as more and more soldiers lose their lives in what is fast becoming a quagmire.

Update: Amazingly good stuff over at Billmon's joint.

Posted May 29, 2003 08:35 AM | Comments (196)


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