Back in January, during his State of the Union address, President Bush planted a seed for a unilateral, preemptive military invasion of Iraq. He said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
We found out a few weeks ago that that assertion was a bunch of hooey. Finally, the administration-not Bush himself, mind you-has retracted the statement. Meanwhile, the CIA and its director, George Tenet, are taking the blame for the lie getting into the President's speech, even though, reports the Washington Post, it was Tenet himself back in October who successfully lobbied the administration to take out of a presidential speech an even more specific reference to Iraq trying to buy nuclear materials from Niger.
Bush's defenders are saying it was the British government that circulated the information about the phony Iraq-Niger connection; Bush was just reporting what the Brits were saying. But not only did the CIA get Bush to drop the language from the speech in October, the agency also urged the British to take it out of an intelligence report back in September.
Hell, Vice President Dick Cheney's office dispatched a guy, Joseph Wilson, to Africa to find out if the information was true, and he came back and reported to the administration almost a year before the State of the Union speech that it probably wasn't. Unnamed administration officials have told reporters that Wilson's report was widely circulated among high-level staff.
But you know what? The bit about Hussein buying uranium was just too good. International opinion was overwhelmingly against the invasion of Iraq, and the American public sentiment wasn't too gung-ho at that point, either. The administration needed it. It was the subtle way the hawks in Bush's inner circle were going to plant the idea that Hussein was building a nuclear arsenal. So what if it wasn't true? Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead!
Bush's damage controllers are now saying that it's really no big deal; it was just 16 words in a long speech. Sure, probably very few people would say that they jumped aboard the Bomb-Iraq Bandwagon because the President said Hussein was trying to score uranium in Africa. But it's part of a larger pattern of deception that CityBeat warned about before the U.S. military began its killing campaign in Baghdad.
And we didn't even know about this uranium-from-Niger fib back then. No, we were talking about Bush's lies about how Saddam Hussein was in some way responsible for Sept. 11 and how there was some Iraq-Al Qaeda connection. In his primetime speech right before he commenced his hostile takeover of Iraq, Bush repeated the words "September 11th" over and over again. It was the Big Lie that helped push public opinion favoring the invasion over the 50 percent mark.
Then, once the soldiers and their compliant embedded documentarians/propaganda tools were racing across the desert on their way to rescue the Iraqi people from Hitler-like evil, that was all Bush and his democratize-Iraq faction needed for public support for the invasion to shoot through the roof.
No weapons of mass destruction have been found. There's no evidence Iraq had anything to do with the Sept. 11 attacks. There are no clear links between Hussein and Al Qaeda. There's no evidence Hussein was trying to buy uranium.
We were duped. But it doesn't matter. The neo-conservatives got what they wanted. The Americans got rid of Hussein. American companies, some with strong ties to the White House, are profiting from the reconstruction of Iraq. The U.S. has control over Iraqi oil and has a military foothold in the region.
Now we're hearing protests from the Democratic weasels who were too afraid to utter a peep during the run up to war. They're outraged, they say, and they're demanding a full inquiry. Don't buy their slimy bull, either; they're just trying to gain some traction for the 2004 presidential election.Meanwhile, there's no end in sight for the American soldiers occupying Iraq. And still, day after day, the nightly news lets us know that more young Americans have died there-more than 30 since Bush declared victory.