Reflection on This War - One Year Later

By image - March 22, 2004

It has now been one year since I first began writing the piece that started this website, This War is About So Much More. For those who took the time to read the entire piece, long as it is, it should have been recognized that the piece was not really about the war itself per se. I gave no real opinion about the war, never said that I was in favor of it nor that was against it, and I made no predictions about the outcome of the war itself. My piece, in truth, is not about the war in Iraq at all, but rather it is about America. It is about American society, and most specifically, it is about the American media.

I was prompted to write This War is About So Much More not because I was overly concerned with the war, bad as that may sound, but rather because I was concerned with the "so much more" aspect.

Having not witnessed the Vietnam Era, because I was born on its eve, this was the first time that I had ever witnessed a propaganda and manipulation campaign of this nature in my life and it shocked and frightened me.

I am a student of history, a follower of politics, and would consider myself fairly observant of social phenomena. What I witnessed in this country following the September 11th attacks and leading up to the launch of the war on Iraq was revolting and disgusted me to the very core. I was ashamed to even turn to the TV and have to see this man called President disgracing the nation with his lies and bold deceptions.

I fully recognized that there were legitimate reasons to invade Iraq, and under different circumstances and different leadership I could have been fully supportive of such an invasion, however the obvious use of lies and propaganda to manipulate the public, as has been used in this country for the past 2 or 3 years, was so shocking and so gratuitous that I found myself being amazed on an almost daily basis by the audacity of the Bush administration, and not just on the topic of the war but on virtually every topic that the administration addressed, from the economy to the environment. It was when I realized that not only was the Bush administration lying and making blatant use of propaganda, but that the entire major media was complicit in this endeavor and that in fact that vast majority of Americans bought into it, that I realized that this represented a real and serious problem, a true threat to our country, our future, and our humanity itself.

I want to recall just a little bit of what it was like a year ago today in America, at least by my experience.

The atmosphere was such that there was a real and true fear of speaking out in opposition to anything said by the President. To voice an opinion to co-workers that you felt the president was lying was simply not possible. Patriotic stickers, banners, ribbons, etc. were everywhere. Almost every other car displayed patriotic bumper stickers in support of the actions, and American flag window-flagpoles were a common sight, and still are to a lesser degree.

The idea of protesting brought real fear, and the idea of wearing an anti-Bush shirt or something of that nature in public was met with the realization that you may in fact be physically assaulted if you did such a thing.

My fear was not of terrorists, my fear was of the men in the White House!

I finally put a "Regime Change Starts At Home" sticker on my truck, after the statue of Saddam had come down, and was given the finger several times and friends commented that I may get my tires slashed, though that never happened.

During the time surrounding the start of the war I saw a total of 1 other anti-war display of any kind in person and of course thousands of pro-war displays (stickers, signs, shirts, etc) by private citizens. This was in Little Rock, Arkansas by the way.

I personally experienced a deep level of stress and anxiety over the issue, and talked to a few friends that did as well, mostly caused by seeing such a vulgar display of deception and realizing what this meant about our country, our leadership, and our society. I have never in my life felt so opposed to American leadership. I've pretty much always disagreed with American leadership in some way or another, I think probably most people do, at least in some fashion. I don't think it can be expected to be otherwise in a democracy. However, this was not a case of disagreement, this was a case of feeling seriously ill and revolted.

Looking back today it may be easy to somewhat dismiss the things that happened in the early part of 2003, or to forget the mood. I'm not going to forget though, and I don't think that many of the people who saw the writing on the wall at that time will.

If I'm not an "anti-war peacenik" then why was I so upset anyway?

I was upset because I knew that what was being said on television by American leadership, repeated and bolstered by so-called experts, supported by the biggest names in American reporting, and dramatized by our most powerful news organizations, was all a complete and total lie. I saw before my very eyes deception taking place on a scale that I had never imagined could take place in America, and I realized why and how it was possible for this deception to take place.

I decided at that point to document my perspective, not only to share it with others, but for my own sake and for posterity, not long term posterity, but for, in fact, today. I planned from the very beginning to revisit this issue one year later to reassess my initial assessment.

The objective of my paper, This War Is About So Much More, was to document the fact that it was possible to determine that the entire presentation of the motivation for war with Iraq was a lie at the time the war started, in fact before the war started. Before the war even started a critical examination of the available facts revealed that the entire public line of the Bush administration was a complete fraud. I am not a journalist; I am not making millions of dollars a year to "keep America informed;" I am not a respected public commentator, and in my opinion neither should any existing public commentator in America today be respected because they were all complicit in the deception.

If I was able to plainly see that the Bush administration was completely lying and manipulating the public, then I know that "professional" journalists either: A) are idiots, or B) also knew that he was lying and manipulating the public but failed to report it and went along with the deception.

One of the revolutionary leaders of the first American Revolution experienced this situation as well:

"The most effectual engines for this purpose (pacifying a nation) are the public papers... You know well that the (British) government always kept a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, invented and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper."
-Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785.

Indeed Mr. Jefferson, and unfortunately, in this regard, times have changed little, only now the betrayal of the people is rooted in America itself and unfortunately, the effect is the same.

It is important to keep in mind that I wrote This War Is About So Much More during the early days of the war in Iraq, based on information that I had gathered prior to the start of the war. The fact that I was able to acquire this information, which was obviously publicly available, and then interpret it in such a way as to have, what I believe is, a fundamental understanding of the real motivations behind the war, proves that it was certainly possible to understand the truth about the war and the President's manipulations before the war even started. If I could connect the dots, then so could any reasonable professional press. 

Not only is the piece about the failure of the press to truthfully and objectively report and analyze the facts, but it is also about why the majority of society was so eager to believe the lies. The fact is, the level of belief in the President's lies that was displayed by our country is indicative of much deeper problems and is indicative of an entire world-view that exists in America that makes the American public so easily manipulated by such obvious and blatant lies.

The fact that the President of the United States was able to stand up in front of this country and tell bald faced lies repeatedly (and receive standing ovations for it no less!) is proof that the American public is truly asleep at the wheel.

Now, with the rhetoric out of the way, let us examine the statements made in This War Is About So Much More, from today's perspective - one year late.

Starting immediately with the introduction, among the the first words that I put down were:

President George W. Bush Jr. has lied to bring us to war with Iraq.  Whether this war be right or wrong, and whether its immediate consequences be good or bad, there can be no denial that the nation was moved to war with lies.

This War Is About So Much More - Introduction

This was written March 21st, 2003, and a year later, it is finally being confirmed in major presses. Why wasn't this properly reported a year ago when it could have actually made a difference?

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
-
Theodore Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 149 May 7, 1918

Indeed Mr. Roosevelt, the President is accountable to the people and of course to the truth, and the presses should have told the truth about Mr. Bush's lies when he initially told them. 

I then went on to present what I believed were the "real" motivations behind the war:

This war on Iraq was really designed to be a war on the European Union, OPEC, and the UN as much as a war on Iraq.  It was designed to indirectly attack the EU and UN via the Iraqi situation.  The three primary goals are to secure American influence in the Persian Gulf, weaken the EU and UN, and gain increased influence over OPEC.

This War Is About So Much More - Introduction

Surprisingly, the support for this statement actually comes from members of the Bush administration, a former member that is, Richard Perle. This will be address in deeper detail towards the end of this article.

One of the most important points was that the Bush administration was comprised almost exclusively of people who had collaborated on plans promoting the invasion of Iraq for years prior to the Bush entry into office.

The issue here is that the Bush "team", the future Bush administration, was already put together. It was a team of some of America's largest proponents of preemptive warfare and proponents of an invasion of Iraq in order to oust Saddam Hussein and impose US influence in the Persian Gulf. This is not just a case of saying one thing at election time and doing another once in office, this is a case of premeditated action. The Bush administration is a war cabinet that was put together with all of the most prominent advocates of war with Iraq. It is certainly not chance that George Bush just happened to select these people for his cabinet, and then we were attacked and evidence just "came to light" that Saddam was now a threat that had to be dealt with, however this is exactly how it was portrayed to the American people, and the world…

The Lies- The Bush team lied about intentions for war from the start

The Bush administration was assembled years prior to the 2000 presidential campaign. The common tie that the members of the Bush administration share is their position on American global preeminence, their shared vision of preemptive war, and their shared goal of invading Iraq. The Bush administration has claimed several times that war with Iraq was not the primary focus of the administration prior to 9/11, but if that is the case then why are so many members of the administration, which was put together prior to 9/11 and in fact actually prior to the year 2000, members of the PNAC and related to issues in Iraq. If someone were simply putting together an administration with no intention of going to war with Iraq, then why would virtually all of the members of the administration just happen to be people actively involved in developing long term plans to invade Iraq?

The fact is, this wouldn't happen.

Putting it all together

These statements are now supported by statements in the broader press such as:

Neoconservatives are fairly easy to study, mainly because they are few in number, and they show up at all the same parties. Examining them as individuals, it became clear that almost all have worked together, in and out of government, on national security issues for several decades. The Project for the New American Century and its now famous 1998 manifesto to President Clinton on Iraq is a recent example….

Before the Iraq invasion, many of these same players labored together for literally decades to push a defense strategy that favored military intervention and confrontation with enemies, secret and unconstitutional if need be.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2004/03/10/osp_moveon/

Another point that I made was:

From the time that the Bush administration began pushing for war in Iraq they have repeatedly made press statements that have proven to be false and statements made on unsupported information. This has been done to inspire a feeling of fear among the public with the hope that people would support the war out of a fear of imminent attack from Saddam Hussein.

The Bush administration has repeatedly lied to support the war

This has been broadly supported now in a variety of presses, though the finger is often pointed back at the "intelligence" as being at fault. One of the first sources to support this was Colonel Sam Gardner in his paper, Truth from These Podia, in which he outlined how fabricated or distorted statements were put out in the press or made by members of the administration, in what he terms the use of psyops (Psychological Operations) against the American public.

The fact that the Bush administration has now tried to point fingers at the intelligence community is a farce as well, which is indicated by my inclusion of this statement in my paper from March of 2003:

In discussing the resignation of Rand Beers from the National Security Council James Bamford, author and intelligence expert, said that "There is a predominant belief in the intelligence community that an invasion of Iraq will cause more terrorism than it will prevent. There is also a tremendous amount of embarrassment by intelligence professionals that there have been so many lies out of the administration -- by the president, (Vice President Dick) Cheney and (Secretary of State Colin) Powell -- over Iraq."

The Bush administration has repeatedly lied to support the war

Clearly, anyone who was really following the issues in 2003 would have known that the intelligence community was saying that Bush was in fact NOT representing their views and was taking liberty with their intelligence or in fact just completely making stuff up. This was known prior to the start of the war.

This has been further substantiated by a government report: Iraq on the Record - The Bush Administration's Public Statements on Iraq, which details 237 misleading statements that were made by the Bush administration regarding the war in Iraq.

In my piece I outlined 5 basic lies or misrepresentations about the situation with Iraq that were presented or supported by the administration. All five were in fact confirmed to be false prior to the war even starting, and they have since been further verified as false:

The Bush administration has repeatedly lied to support the war

I stated that the Bush administration took office with the desire to go to war with Iraq:

The Bush administration took office with the intention of going to war with Iraq. Clearly the events of September 11th, 2001 catalyzed these events. That is not to say that the Bush administration would have necessarily moved for a war with Iraq on their own, but they were clearly looking for any possible excuse to get involved in a war with Iraq. When the attack on September 11th happened there was an immediate effort to draw links to Saddam Hussein.

"Rumsfeld wrote, according to a later CBS News report, that he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. at the same time. Not only UBL" - meaning Osama bin Laden. He added: "Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.""

Of course all possibilities had to be explored, but its plain to see that there was a desire to "hit" Saddam Hussein (S.H.) and that it was not a case of discovering evidence that linked Saddam to the attacks, but an initial desire to link Saddam to the attacks.

Putting it all together

This was further substantiated in January 2004, first by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill:

The Bush administration began planning to use U.S. troops to invade Iraq within days after the former Texas governor entered the White House three years ago, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill told CBS News' 60 Minutes.

In the book, O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting asked why Iraq should be invaded...

It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying "Go find me a way to do this," O'Neill said.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/01/10/oneill.bush/index.html

In the book, O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting asked why Iraq should be invaded...

It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying "Go find me a way to do this," O'Neill said.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/01/10/oneill.bush/index.html

 And again by Richard Clark of the Security Council in March of 2004:

Clarke says that as early as the day after the attacks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was pushing for retaliatory strikes on Iraq, even though al Qaeda was based in Afghanistan.

Clarke suggests the idea took him so aback, he initially thought Rumsfeld was joking.

 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/19/60minutes/main607356.shtml

I also highlighted the issues relating to the European Union and the relationship between the euro and the American dollar:

Currently the largest threat to America's position of power is the European Union. The European Union is primarily an economic threat to the United States, not a military threat.

The successful euro has proven to be the greatest emerging competition that the American dollar has seen in decades. In addition, the European Union has been growing and organizing in such a way that it was obvious to any astute observer that the EU would soon be a partner of equals with America seeking to share global authority.

Remember that members of the Bush administration have said that the US must, "discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."

The EU certainly fits that bill...

The Bush administration designed their approach to Iraq in a way that was intended to undermine the UN and weaken the European Union. I believe that the Bush administration sought to either pull Britain away from the EU and possibly prevent Britain from joining the euro-zone, or to push Britain into a stronger leadership position in the EU in order to get Britain to direct the EU in line with American interests. They were probably willing to take either scenario, as both would serve American interests.

What is this war really all about

In the section titled OPEC, Iraq, the euro, and global economics I highlighted the currency war that was beginning to mount prior to the freefall of the dollar and its being overtaken by the euro, in addition to explaining how and why involvement in Iraq was a move to try to mitigate the inevitable challenging of the American dollar by the euro. Since that time, news of the dollar's fall is well known. This is another topic that should have been discussed prior o the war, if not directly in relation to the war it should have actually been being discussed long before, in fact years prior. America has been relatively ignorant of the EU and the euro since before George Bush even took office, again highlighting the insufficiency of the American presses and American leadership.

In fact, some of the most solid support for my conclusion that the war on Iraq included anti-European Union motivations has come from members of the Bush administration. In An End to Evil, co-authored by Richard Perle, it states:

The United States has long supported European unification. A united Europe, American policy makers believed, would have a stronger economy and could better contribute to the common defense against the Soviet Union...

The possibility that the integrated Europe we had nurtured for so long might emerge as a 'counterweight' to the United States, particularly on the most sensitive issues of national security, would never have occurred to the Eurocentric American foreign policy establishment.

So what should we do? These four things:

First, acknowledge that a more closely integrated Europe is no longer an unqualified American interest.

They then go on to state:

We must do our utmost to preserve our British ally's independence from Europe.

I remember distinctly telling a friend before the war had started that the entire affair was designed to disrupt the European Union. First he said, "What's the European Union?" Then he said I was crazy for thinking that.

Furthermore, in my section on the EU I quoted British Ambassador John Kerr from 1998 and commented on his statements:

"The idea that there is an alternative 'blue water' foreign policy open to a UK which turned its back on Europe is one which would find very few takers in the United States. As Ray Seitz warned in a memorable speech, the extent to which the United Kingdom is listened to in America will be affected by American judgments about the extent to which the United Kingdom is listened to in Europe, and would be able to rally EU support for a common United States/United Kingdom policy prescription."  

I will discuss the alterative "blue water" policy of Britain again later, but I believe that while there may have been few takers on such a strategy that those few takers are currently in the White House. As Sir Kerr does point out, America's interest in the EU is highly dictated by the extent to which the EU can be kept in line with British, and hence American, interests. Everyone involved is well aware of this…

"Nor do Americans see the widening of the EU as an alternative to its deepening. They tend to believe that the two go together. They see, or say they see, a strong US interest in a strong EU.  

Now, a cynic might say that a US definition of a strong EU is not always the same as a European definition. The ideal US prescription for European Defense Cooperation has for example often seemed to be European co-operation to buy US-made defense equipment."  

I wouldn't be so surprised to see Sir Kerr proved wrong on this opinion of his. Bush is now prescribing large increases in the national "defense budget"; I think Sir Kerr may want to re-evaluate. What I am saying is that the Bush administration sees Europe as less of partner in defense than previous administrations and will probably focus more on an internal market for defense equipment.

The European Union

Summary

The point that I am trying to make is that if I was able to understand these issues prior the start of the war with Iraq then that means that the facts were out there that made it possible to properly understand what was really going on before the war even started. The question is then, why was an entire nation moved by lies, lies which were capable of being seen as lies when they were told? Why did so few people get "the big picture?"

Certainly the press is largely to blame. The major presses all went along with the party line in spite of major flaws in the party line and major questions about the character of the leadership promoting what was obviously a giant set of lies.

Are we to blindly follow whoever gets into office (through a disputed election no less)? Is that how this is supposed to work? I don't think so. If we want to understand the greatest threat to our national security we need look no further than the White House today. Sitting in the Oval Office is the biggest threat to America that exists in the world today, but while that may be the case (it is the case), simply removing George Bush from the presidency will not solve America's problems, because the way in which the Bush administration was able to manipulate the American public and the American government is indicative of much deeper and more troublesome problems.

It is indicative of a flawed system, a corrupt society, and a society with a world-view that is out of touch with reality. Our society is going to be facing some of the most difficult economic and political times that it has faced in 60 years over the coming decade, and quite frankly this episode does not bode well. That so many people are so easily deceived, and that many of our largest institutions were complicit in that deception, represents what is truly the greatest challenge to America today: understanding the world.

Before I end this I want to bring a charge against Vice President Dick Cheney. It is my allegation that Vice President Cheney made up his mind to pursue an occupation of Iraq back in 1992 or 1993 and that he specifically joined Halliburton to build it into a tool for use during the occupation of Iraq. That Halliburton received priority status in the allotting of contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq was not a matter of "favoritism," rather Halliburton had been specifically geared towards specific roles to be played in the occupation of Iraq. Cheney's time at Halliburton was a part of the execution of the plan to invade and occupy Iraq, and I suspect that Vice President Cheney was the primary motivator of the entire affair.

The men currently occupying the White House should instead be occupying a prison.

 

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