U.S. commission on Iraq just the latest surge in a Niagara of whitewash, Eric Margolis says
U.S. intelligence was "dead wrong" in its pre-war beliefs about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, a U.S. presidential commission reported 10 days ago.
And just as wrong about nearly every other charge levelled at Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
This column also used "dead wrong" over the past decade when attacking all the lies being manufactured about Iraq.
Interestingly, the many journalists and pundits who heaped abuse on my head and accused me of treason for daring to challenge the pro-war propaganda they so greedily lapped up have fallen strangely silent as the truth about Iraq emerges.
Still, let's recall that the prime mission of presidential and parliamentary commissions tends to be not fact-finding but sweeping scandal under the rug and deflecting blame from politicians.
After mouthing pious verities about needing better intelligence, the commission, appointed by President George W. Bush, amazingly found: (a) No one was really guilty of the Iraq intelligence fiasco; and (b) there was no White House political pressure on the intelligence community to justify the war.
So the mighty Niagara of whitewash flows on. The report made no mention of Bush's claims about Iraqi drones of death, Vice-President Dick Cheney's pressure on the CIA to declare Iraq a nuclear menace, or Condoleezza Rice's terrorizing Americans with talk of nuclear mushroom clouds.
It ignored evidence from senior Bush aides Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke that the president obsessively pushed for war with Iraq soon after taking office.
There was no mention of Doug Feith's Office for Special Plans, a covert Pentagon intelligence shop set up to funnel claims about Iraq to the White House and U.S. media produced by a cabal of pro-war neo-conservatives -- which was investigated for giving Israel classified material. No mention of patriotic CIA officers reportedly fired or demoted for refusing to participate in such activities.
No mention of how national security was corrupted, manipulated and distorted for partisan political gain.
The report called Iraq "one of the most damaging intelligence failures in recent American history."
But, amazingly, the whitewash committee found no one responsible for this disaster. Victory has a hundred fathers; defeat is an orphan.
Iraq just happened. Bad mogambo. A no-fault war.
This is the third preposterous whitewash foisted on credulous Americans.
Whitewash One was the 9/11 investigation.
That commission found no one responsible for allowing the worst attack on the U.S. since Pearl Harbor, though Bush and Rice were bombarded with warnings that an assault was imminent.
The awkward fact that then-attorney general John Ashcroft actually cut spending on terrorism right before 9/11 was conveniently ignored.
Whitewash Two: Torture scandals at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. detention camps. Seven senior military investigations found only a few cases of "minor misconduct" and "isolated abuse" by low-ranking personnel.
The torture of prisoners by electricity, freezing, drowning, sleep and sensory deprivation, beatings, dog attacks, and sexual humiliation were, claimed the Pentagon, all the fault of a few trailer trash sadists, though the chain of responsibility for these war crimes clearly ran right up to the secretary of defence.
Three whitewashes later, many Bush administration officials arguably guilty of monumental blundering or even possible criminal acts have instead been richly rewarded.
Donald Rumsfeld, accused Geneva Conventions violater, was renamed Pentagon chief. National Security Adviser Rice, asleep on guard duty on 9/11, became secretary of state.
Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz was forced on the World Bank as its new chief.
Loudmouth neocon buffoon John Bolton was nominated UN ambassador; faithful apparatchik John Negroponte was made intelligence czar. Only the CIA's hand-kissing chief, George Tenet, lost his job, albeit with a Medal of Freedom.
White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez, who wrote briefs justifying torture, was named attorney general. Poor bumbling Colin Powell went from secretary of state to deserved obscurity.And the commander-in-chief of the whole fiasco, George W. Bush, was triumphantly re-elected by grateful Americans, proving that nothing succeeds like failure -- provided you wave the flag hard enough and keep the whitewash coming.
From the Toronto Sun (link in title):