Someone once told me if you're going to tell a lie make it a
whopper based on the premise the more outrageous the lie, the more likely it is
to be believed. At the time, I wrote off his advice as hogwash but as we see
from the Iraq debacle, he was right. Five years later, the deceit continues
undiminished and nobody has been held to account.
Britain's Gordon Brown Monday promised to hold an enquiry
into the "mistakes" made in Iraq. Sounds good, but don't hold your
breath. All previous inquiries have been labeled "whitewashes." They
can't afford the truth to come out else they might get a one-way ticket to The
Ambassador David Satterfield, and adviser to Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, is doing the rounds of talk shows lauding America's
victories over Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
On one occasion the host interjected to mention the
unpalatable fact that Al-Qaeda members only flocked to Iraq once the Americans
were in place leaving Satterfield momentarily nonplussed.
It's obvious that Satterfield is so saturated in the party
line he forgot the Pentagon's recently published study that found with
certainty that Saddam Hussein had absolutely no links to Al-Qaeda. And lest we
forget, Saddam didn't have WMD either, which means not only was the war immoral
the prewar sanctions on that country that contributed to the deaths of over
half-a-million Iraqi children were too.
Think about it for a moment. The warmongers invaded, crushed
and occupied a country that was no threat to anyone. They stood by as it was
looted, exacerbated sectarianism, flattened entire towns, tortured untold
numbers of innocents, brought in gum-chewing, tattooed foreign mercenaries and
paid crony companies billions of dollars for mythical reconstruction projects.
They then pretended to hand over sovereignty to that country
while at the same time constructing permanent bases and the biggest US Embassy
in history resembling a small town. They said they had no interest in Iraq's
oil, yet they are putting immense pressure on the Iraqi government [sic] to
sign into law a bill that permits foreign (read American) oil companies to lock
up decades-long deals. Let's be frank. Iraq wasn't a blunder, it was a crime.
So how did they manage to get away with implanting their long-conceived plot to
do away with Israel's No. 1 foe, ensure their competitors couldn't get their
hands on Iraq's resources and entrench their military might in the region? Future
historians will no doubt be scratching their heads over this one. You had to
live through it to believe it.
First, they cleverly used the politics of fear to sway
public opinion. As noted in the Project for the New American Century's document
"Rebuilding America's Defenses," the warmonger signatories -- who
later became senior members of the Bush administration -- needed "a new
Pearl Harbor." On Sept. 11, 2001, they got it. Americans and their allies
were in shock. Almost every country in the world was sympathetic and willing to
do anything to help. And, boy, did they capitalize on that empathy, even
managing to persuade Russia to stay silent as they made deals with Caspian
states to allow US bases.
Step one was a country where a giant bogeyman was supposed
to be hiding out in a cave presumably equipped with a dialysis machine and a
production studio and whose black-turbaned government forced women to wear a
burqa and disallowed nail polish. But then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
was disappointed because there weren't enough targets for his bombs. It was no
fun bombing a country into the Stone Age when it was already there.
Step two was the insidious demonizing of Muslims, thousands
of whom were arrested and held for months without charge or access to lawyers.
In that climate of fear, it was relatively simple to persuade the American
people that Saddam Hussein was conniving with the people who brought down the
World Trade Center. US officials warned of mushroom clouds; Prime Minister Tony
Blair said British interests could be attacked within 45 minutes of Saddam
giving the order. Then Secretary of State Colin Powell allowed himself to be
used as their fall guy. He spouted the most unbelievable scripted codswallop
the UN had ever heard . . . yet, bullied and bribed, nation after nation
pretended to believe him as IAEA chief Mohammed El-Baradei and UN weapons
inspector Hans Blix did little to discredit the hoax.
Step three entailed replacing Osama in people's minds with
Saddam, who overnight morphed into a hydra-headed monster whose idea of a
pleasant weekend was gassing and torturing his own people.
Step four was 'Shock and Awe' which illuminated the Baghdad
skyline on March 19, 2003. As their bombs and missiles rained down on crowded
marketplaces scattering limbs, they told us those bombs and missiles were
Saddam's even though the Independent's Middle East correspondent inconveniently
dug up their Made in the USA shards.
As the months went on, we began to wonder what happened to
the WMD. They told us it was only a matter of time before it would be unearthed
from under the sands or discovered in a tunnel under one of Saddam's palaces.
They even suggested it may have been shipped off to a neighboring country for
Step five was an orchestrated administration campaign to
inject us with mass amnesia. Never mind about the weapons, they said. We are
here to liberate the poor Iraqi people from their evil dictator and deliver
freedom and democracy. Look, look, they said. The Iraqis have purple fingers!
With up to one million dead, Iraqis are lucky they have any fingers at all.
To be fair, they couldn't have done it without the aid of a
compliant, supine media, which embedded its reporters with US battalions and
agreed not to show captured US soldiers, flag-draped coffins, military funerals
or scenes of blood-soaked Iraqi civilians. Independent reporters who neglected
to abide by the script were discredited, refused access to information and even
I still recall a live report from David Chater of Sky News,
who saw the barrel of a US tank slowly turn toward the Palestine hotel -- known
to be a journalist's hang-out -- before firing its shell killing three
reporters. The Baghdad offices of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya were also hit.
With so much information on tap I'm flabbergasted that so
many people still believe the Iraq fairytale. I wish they'd get in touch with
me. I've got a few pyramids and a sphinx going cheap. Sad, isn't it?
S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes
feedback and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.