Archive for February 16th, 2011
Remember the Iraq War? The one the CBO estimates will have cost us $1.7 trillion by 2017? With over 4,000 American soldiers killed and over 30,000 wounded? With at a minimum over 100,000 Iraqis dead (Iraq Body Count has about 100,000 civilians killed and about 50,000 combatants, though some had much higher numbers)? With about 2.2 million Iraqis fleeing their homes? The one that saw countless people tortured by Americans? The one that brought Al-Qaeda to Iraq (who continue killing people)? The guy that gave us some of the evidence we needed has admitted he just made shit up, but all of this was worth it.
I’m sure he has to tell himself that, otherwise being a main reason for all of the above would seem pretty awful.
Colin Powell didn’t say I was the only reason for this war. He talked about three things. First of all, uranium; secondly, al-Qaida; and thirdly, my story.
I don’t know why the other sources, for the uranium and al-Qaida, remained hidden and my name got out. I accept it, though, because I did something for my country and for me that was enough.
Powell went ahead and used Curveball’s (which was the US codename for Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi) report, though he had been warned that he was “suspected of being mentally unstable and a liar.
Couple this with the fact that the yellowcake uranium in question was based on forgeries (which was known) and the dubious claim that Al-Qaeda was in Iraq (which was disputed before the war). It has even been alleged that officials seeking to justify the war after these claims proved false ordered the forgery of a document.
Sorry to get back into all of this stuff, but I think sometimes we forget just how at best this was an epic intelligence failure and at worst it was the intentional use of false information to justify war. The costs continue, and we didn’t have a leg to stand on. I guess there is the fact that weapons inspectors didn’t have perfect access, though even on our tips they couldn’t find anything.
I think if we want the real reasoning behind the war, we need look no further than ten days after Bush took office. At his very first National Security Council meeting, Bush was already talking regime change in for Iraq. The rest of the evidence just a means to get people to go along with it. He thought Saddam was a bad dude and that was enough for him. So it didn’t matter that we should have known a guy like Curveball was full of it, because their mind was made up. Our leaders thought the cause was right even if the intelligence was wrong, so it should be no surprise that they didn’t care that it was wrong.
As Paul O’Neill put it, “It was ‘Go find me a way to do this.’ For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.”
It’s a really huge leap, indeed. We leaped right into the first paragraph of this post.
Enjoy Curveball’s clean conscience.
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