Wouldn't you know it?
Iraq probably didn't have "weapons of mass destruction," which may have been the figment of Saddam Hussein's propaganda. How ironic his lies may have led to his undoing, that the WMD may only be so much Arab braggadocio.
So says the Los Angeles Times about the furtively stockpiled globe-threatening missiles, chemicals and germs, which Hussein was ready to use on the United States.
If true, we've been had again, and so have the American families who sent their sons to die at the command of George W. Bush.
The LAT story supports what many critics of the war have said from the start Hussein’s WMD are a neoconservative fantasy.
"U.S. and allied intelligence agencies," the paper reports, "have launched a major effort to determine if they were victims of bogus Iraqi defectors who planted disinformation to mislead the West before the war."
Former Iraqi operatives, officials tell the paper, "have confirmed since the war that Hussein's regime sent u2018double agents' disguised as defectors to the West to plant fabricated intelligence. In other cases, Baghdad apparently tricked legitimate defectors into funneling phony tips about weapons production and storage sites."
"u2018They were shown bits of information and led to believe there was an active weapons program, only to be turned loose to make their way to Western intelligence sources,' said the senior intelligence official. u2018Then, because they believe it, they pass polygraph tests … and the planted information becomes true to the West, even if it was all made up to deceive us.' "
An official told the paper our "analysts" were too eager to find evidence that supported neocon jitters about WMD, that defectors told "us what we wanted to hear."
Why would Hussein plant false stories? He wanted to bluff the world, the paper reports, and enhance his prestige in the Arab world. The story leads the reader to another conclusion: Hussein's opponents would have good reason to lie: They wanted him deposed, not unreasonably, and needed American power to do it.
For instance, Ahmad Chalabi, the opposition leader whom the neocons anointed Hussein's successor, "provided the Defense Intelligence Agency with three defectors who had personal knowledge of Hussein’s illicit weapons programs." One was a fraud, the paper reports, a second's claims were worthless, and the third's are in serious dispute.
Hilariously, American officials insist they'll find the elusive WMD.
Oh yeah? How? When?
Officials can claim they "were too eager to believe," but the simple truth is, the regicidal aims of Hussein's opponents meshed perfectly with the neocon tribe's cherished fantasy: invading Iraq. For years, they lay awake at night, planning World War IV.
They urged Boy Clinton to attack Iraq and promised full support. He didn't, but they got Sept. 11 instead, their Pearl Harbor. War Minister Rumsfeld suggested invading Iraq immediately.
The propaganda was ready, and war drums pounded the tocsin: Hussein will destroy the planet with WMD. Armageddon is nigh. He was connected to Al Queda and 9-11. Invade now.
But the truth always emerges. Someone, the LAT reports, probably lied. Every day, it looks more likely that Bush and his Myrmidons launched a war with intelligence they knew was bogus. They conned the American people.
An impeachable offense? We impeached Bill Clinton for fibbing about floozies. Bush sent men to die.
Time to decide which is worse.
August 30, 2003
Syndicated columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send him mail] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va.