Scott Ritter is back, telling the same truths he’s been telling for almost a decade, about the rank deception and violent aggression that has driven the bipartisan American effort to conquer and plunder Iraq. (It Doesn’t Matter If Hillary Apologizes for Her Iraq War Vote, AlterNet.) Ritter has been forced into this Sisyphean labor because these self-evident truths — lying in plain sight for many years — are still ruthlessly suppressed by the corporate media and forever removed from the public "debate" over U.S. policy.
The need for this reiteration is even more urgent now, as the early architects of the war crime in Iraq are now "surging" toward power in the White House once again — the Clinton machine. If they shimmy back to the top of the greasy pole, they will simply do what they did before: put a little lipstick on the great stonking pig of American militarism, dressing up the brutal drive for global dominance with earnest, pursed-lipped liberal rhetoric. That’s what happened in the last Clinton administration; that’s what will happen in the next Clinton administration.
Ritter knows this; Ritter was there. In the piece excerpted below, he tells — once again — of his direct, eyewitness experience of the deception and aggression practiced by the Clinton White House toward Iraq, practices that were, in miniature, the precise model of the depredations of his successor.
The House of Clinton and the House of Bush are deeply intertwined, in their policies, their philosophies, their politics, even their personal lives: witness the extraordinary "adoption" of Bill Clinton as a surrogate son by the elder George Bush and his wife. This rapprochement is usually attributed to the respect and friendliness that Clinton showed Bush during their goodwill trip to aid the tsunami victims, and perhaps this did spark a more personal affection between the men. But their relationship began much earlier, in a mysterious circumstance that still cries out for further explication: the fact that during their contest for the presidency in 1992, both Clinton and Bush shared the same major Arkansas financier Jackson Stephens. (More on this fascinating minence grise here.)
After his narrow victory, Clinton then proceeded to shut down the still on-going investigations into the corruption and crimes of his predecessor. Iran-Contra, BCCI, and especially Bush’s massive, secret and often illegal efforts to arm Saddam Hussein and supply him with material for chemical weapons — all of these probes were cut off, starved or shunted aside by the Clinton Administration. (For more, see Robert Parry on "The Clintons’ Real Trouble With the Truth.")
Also thwarted were probes into the "October Surprise" — the 1980 negotiations between the Reagan campaign camp, including Bush, with the Iranians who were holding American hostages. Direct intelligence from several credible sources emerged in the early 1990s about those meetings, in which Bush was almost certainly a personal participant, where the Reagan-Bush team secretly agreed to free up frozen Iranian assets and supply the extremist regime with military hardware in exchange for Tehran holding onto the hostages until after Jimmy Carter was defeated. These negotiations were, of course, high treason, a capital crime. The Clinton Administration helped quash these investigations too. Is it any wonder that the old man feels such affection for Big Bill? (For an overview of the Reagan-Bush machinations with the mullahs, see Speak, Memory; for an in-depth look, see the remarkable series by Robert Parry, The October Surprise Mystery.)
So now we face the distinct possibility of the continued rule of these intertwined Houses for the next four or even eight years, which would give us almost a quarter-century of Clinton-Bush corruption, deception, aggression and incompetence. Ritter is right to speak out, to remind us once again of the role that the Clinton Machine played in dragging us into the hell of our present day.
It Doesn’t Matter If Hillary Apologizes for Her Iraq War Vote (Scott Ritter, Alternet)
Excerpts: (In her 2002 vote authorizing Bush to use military force against Iraq, Hillary Clinton cited "Operation Desert Fox," the blitzkrieg of airstrikes launched against Iraq by Bill Clinton in 1998.) Hillary would have done well to leave out that last part, the one where her husband, the former President of the United States, used military force as part of a 72-hour bombing campaign ostensibly deemed as a punitive strike in defense of disarmament, but in actuality proved to be a blatant attempt at regime change which used the hyped-up threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as an excuse for action. Sound familiar? While many Americans today condemn the Bush administration for misleading them with false claims of unsubstantiated threats which resulted in the ongoing debacle we face today in Iraq (count Hillary among this crowd), few have reflected back on the day when the man from Hope, Arkansas sat in the Oval Office and initiated the policies of economic sanctions—based containment and regime change which President Bush later brought to fruition when he ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003
From January 1993 until my resignation from the United Nations in August 1998, I witnessed first hand the duplicitous Iraq policies of the administration of Bill Clinton, the implementation of which saw a President lie to the American people about a threat he knew was hyped, lie to Congress about his support of a disarmament process his administration wanted nothing to do with, and lie to the world about American intent, which turned its back on the very multilateral embrace of diplomacy as reflected in the resolutions of the Security Council Hillary Clinton so piously refers to in her speech, and instead pursued a policy defined by the unilateral interests of the Clinton administration to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
I personally witnessed the Director of the CIA under Bill Clinton, James Woolsey, fabricate a case for the continued existence of Iraqi ballistic missiles in November 1993 after I had provided a detailed briefing which articulated the UN inspector’s findings that Iraq’s missile program had been fundamentally disarmed. I led the UN inspector’s investigation into the defection of Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, in August 1995, and saw how the Clinton administration twisted his words to make a case for the continued existence of a nuclear program the weapons inspectors knew to be nothing more than scrap and old paper. I was in Baghdad at the head of an inspection team in the summer of 1996 as the Clinton administration used the inspection process as a vehicle for a covert action program run by the CIA intending to assassinate Saddam Hussein .
I sat in the office of then—US Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, as the United States cut a deal with then—United Nations Special Commission Executive Chairman Richard Butler, where the timing and actions of an inspection team led by myself (a decision which was personally approved by Bill Clinton) would be closely linked to a massive US aerial bombardment of Iraq triggered by my inspection. I was supposed to facilitate a war by prompting Iraqi non-compliance. Instead, I did my job and facilitated an inspection that pushed the world closer to a recognition that Iraq was complying with its disarmament obligation. As a reward, I was shunned from the inspection process by the Clinton administration
"So it is with conviction," Hillary said at the moment of her vote (on AUMF in 2002), "that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our Nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him — use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein — this is your last chance — disarm or be disarmed."
It turned out Saddam was in fact already disarmed. And it turned out that Hillary’s husband, President Bill Clinton, knew this when he ordered the bombing of Iraq in 1998. Hillary can try to twist and turn the facts as she defends the words she spoke when casting her fateful vote in favor of a war with Iraq. But no amount of re-writing history can shield her from the failed policies of her very own husband, policies she embraced willingly and wholeheartedly when endorsing war.