Bush and Blair have some 'splainin' to do
By ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor
Toronto Sun | June 8, 2003
NEW YORK -- When I lived in Jamaica, many moons ago, there occurred a
bizarre national panic known as "the three-wheeled coffin."
According to a storm of rumours, a black, three-wheeled coffin, with three
black crows on top, was moving along Jamaica's roads.
Villages emptied in terror at reports the coffin was nearing. The
three-wheeled coffin was never found. The panic subsided.
North Americans and Britons have just experienced their own version of the
three-wheeled coffin - a national panic attack called Iraq.
It's becoming increasingly clear the Bush and Blair governments deceived
their citizens over Iraq, concocted false information and misled Congress
Both administrations face a rising storm of criticism and demands for
This column has been contacted by a number of retired intelligence
officers, both individuals and groups, backing up assertions made here two
weeks ago that a cabal of neo-conservatives in President George Bush's
administration distorted or faked information that formed the basis of
claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that
imminently threatened the U.S. and all mankind.
According to MI6 (British intelligence) officers and British press reports,
Tony Blair's government was fed this same tainted information and even sent
orders to MI6 to make it "sexier."
Former British foreign secretary Robin Cook, who resigned to protest the
Bush-Blair war on Iraq, calls the intelligence reports used to justify the
aggression "wrong" and "forged."
President Bush cited a crudely forged document about uranium sales from
Niger to Iraq in his state of the union address.
Blair claimed Iraq could attack the West with WMD "within 45 minutes."
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's UN Philippic against Iraq turned out
to be hot air.
To date, no WMD have been found in Iraq.
France had the best human intelligence sources in pre-war Iraq.
President Jacques Chirac warned Bush and Blair there were no such weapons,
and rightly refused to join their illegal invasion of Iraq. Blair foolishly
listened to Bush instead of Chirac.
According to intelligence sources outraged by the corruption and perversion
of the national intelligence function for political reasons, the main
source of lies and distortions about Iraq was Iraqi exiles, many on the
payroll of the U.S. government.
These anti-Saddam exiles fed the Pentagon and New York Times a stream of
phony claims about Iraqi WMD.
Though scorned by the CIA, they were closely linked to American
neo-conservatives in key positions within the Bush administration.
When the CIA couldn't find hard evidence of Iraqi WMD a new intelligence
unit, the Office of Special Plans, was created.
Intelligence community protests over this blatant politicization of
national security were ignored.
In fact, two more anti-Iraq intel teams, led by Pentagon neo-cons, were set
up and all three reportedly fed exaggerated information to Bush and Blair.
Similar reports came to Powell.
Meanwhile, neo-con writers in the American media provided agitprop for the war.
Many of the senior officials involved were members of the Project for the
New American Century, a hawk-ish, far-right group close to Israel's Likud
party that in 2000 (prior to 9/11) called for the invasion of Iraq and
Iran, and worldwide American dominion.
Given the lack of WMD in Iraq, these red-faced neo-cons now claim the
weapons were moved to Syria and Iran, their next war targets.
A few cans of poison or mustard gas and flasks of germs may yet be
discovered in Iraq (or, more likely, planted there).
Even so, these are not weapons of mass destruction. Mustard and nerve gas
are battlefield weapons. They are inefficient, and must be dispensed by
special aircraft, shells or missiles, none of which Iraq possessed in 2003.
The U.S. and Britain supplied Iraq with gas and germs in the 1980s for
battlefield use against Iran.
Napalm and fuel-air explosives kill far more effectively. The only real
WMDs are nuclear weapons.
The UN long ago confirmed Iraq had none.
The House intelligence committee's senior Democrat, Jane Harmon, calls
Bush's claims about Iraq, "conceivably ... the greatest intelligence hoax
of all time."
One akin, perhaps, to Joseph Goebbel's claim Poland was about to attack
Germany in 1939.
The president of the United States and prime minister of Britain have been
accused of lying to their people to embark on a war whose justification
appears to have been, as U.S. deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz
recently noted, "for bureaucratic reasons."
Britons are in an uproar.
Many Americans, by contrast, seem indifferent.
Former president Bill Clinton was impeached by Republicans in Congress for
lying about sex.
President Bush appears to have misled the American people, deceived
Congress, violated the UN Charter, blown billions of dollars and many lives
- both American and Iraqi - on a phony war, and will likely be re-elected.
Eric can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to the editor should be sent to email@example.com or visit his home
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