Sunday, June 22, 2003

Robert Dreyfuss has written an excellent article on the mechanics of the preparation of the intelligence background to the weapons of mass destruction lie. There were two major deceptions, both out of the same source:

  1. The weapons of mass destruction lie.

  2. The lies about what post-attack Iraq would be like, particularly the lies of how welcoming the Iraqi people would be to their 'liberators', which lies have led to the current disaster in Iraq caused by complete absence of planning for the reconstruction.

Both lies were generated out of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, led by extreme neo-con Abram Shulsky. Referring to this group, Dreyfuss writes:

"It was set up in fall 2001 as a two-man shop, but it burgeoned into an eighteen-member nerve center of the Pentagon's effort to distort intelligence about Iraq's WMDs and terrorist connections. A great deal of the bad information produced by Shulsky's office, which found its way into speeches by Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, came from Chalabi's INC. Since the INC itself was sustained by its neocon allies in Washington, including the shadow 'Central Command' at the American Enterprise Institute, it stands as perhaps the ultimate example of circular reasoning."

That last point is the key. While Chalabi and his INC pals provided much of the faulty information, it is completely misleading to put the blame entirely on them. As the State Department and the CIA realized, Chalabi and the INC had an agenda in trying to get back to their homeland, and a particular animus against Saddam, which should have rendered their information highly suspect. Instead, Cheney and his American Enterprise Institute pals cultivated and encouraged both the INC and its faulty information with the specific purpose of providing a propaganda base for the attack on Iraq, an attack which was planned for reasons completely different than Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. But here's the really good stuff. Dreyfuss refers to a former U. S. ambassador with strong links to the CIA, and writes:

"According to the former official, also feeding information to the Office of Special Plans was a secret, rump unit established last year in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel. This unit, which paralleled Shulsky's - and which has not previously been reported - prepared intelligence reports on Iraq in English (not Hebrew) and forwarded them to the Office of Special Plans. It was created in Sharon's office, not inside Israel's Mossad intelligence service, because the Mossad - which prides itself on extreme professionalism - had views closer to the CIA's, not the Pentagon's, on Iraq. This secretive unit, and not the Mossad, may well have been the source of the forged documents purporting to show that Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake uranium for weapons from Niger in West Africa, according to the former official."

So Rumsfeld and Cheney carved out an area in the Pentagon for the express purpose of justifying the attack on Iraq, gave this unit the bogus appearance of an intelligence office rather than a propaganda office, staffed it with neo-cons who are in on the Bushite agenda, and then fed information into it from: 1) Chalabi and the INC, who were essentially feeding Cheney what Cheney wanted to hear; and 2) Sharon's office! This is essentially Iran-Contra all over again, with deep parallels to the nature of Oliver North's office, the failure of any of the Iran-Contra operatives to hear anything other than what they wanted to hear, the essential stupidity of the operation, and the direct intellectual involvement of Israel (more direct involvement than I had thought they would dare), to the extent that Israel became the operating mind of the operation. The arrogance of the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Sharon cabal was so extreme that the Pentagon did not even bother to do the minimal intelligence work to determine what post-war Iraq would look like, and that arrogance has led to the current problems. The Iraqi Shi'ite leaders, who are very close to the extreme conservatives in Iran, are just waiting out the current Sunni unrest so they can establish an Islamic fundamentalist theocracy. Dreyfuss refers to political pressure that will develop in the United States for the Americans to withdraw, especially as the death of one American soldier a day starts to sink into the thick heads of the Fox-watching hillbillies who seem to make up the vast majority of the American population, but I cannot see how withdrawal is even conceivable. American troops are necessary to protect the assets that Bush's crony capitalist friends intend to steal, and a Lebanon-style craven withdrawal will show the rest of the world that Americans are yellow-bellied cowards after all, thus ruining one of the main goals of the PNAC crowd (to be, as one cartoonist put it, "the number-one head motherfucker in charge"). It is going to cost the American taxpayers upwards of $36 billion a year for the foreseeable future to maintain the occupation of Iraq (and another $18 billion a year for Afghanistan), and all of this for the benefit of a tiny few of Bush's friends and the insane dreams of the neo-cons and their Israeli masters.