By Farooq Sulehria
"The conflict with Iraq is about weapons of mass destruction.
It has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.
It has nothing to do with the religion" -- Defence Minister
Donald Rumsfeld. (CBS News. Nov 14, 2020)
Five falsehoods were shaped to justify Bush's crusade in Babyloon.
Two years on, all five lies stand exposed.
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (WMDs): Bush claimed to
have 'solid proof' that Iraq possessed such weapons. A year later,
Colin Powell told 60 Minutes: "But long before the war started,
there was plenty of doubt among intelligence analysts about Saddam's
Earlier, Paul Wolfwitz had more candidly presented 'solid proof'
to Vanity Fair (June 2003): "For reasons that have a lot
to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on one issue
everyone could agree, which was weapons of mass destruction..."
Despite a lapse of two years, US hounds remain unsuccessful in
finding any WMDs in Iraq. Fascinating, that Bush can have 100
per cent certainty about the existence of these weapons, but none
about their whereabouts. Those WMDs found so far were detected
by Dr Khalid ash-Shakhli, an official at Iraq's health ministry.
Assigned by the ministry to assess health conditions in Fallujah
following the November assault to crush the Iraqi intifada, Dr
Khalid found that US occupation forces had used internationally
prohibited substances, including mustard gas and nerve gas.
Iraq's al-Qaeda connection: The US defence Secretary, Donald
Rumsfeld, claimed that he had 'bullet proof evidence' that Iraq
was behind 9/11. The 'bullet proof evidence' was never made public.
In the first place, the avowedly religious puritan al-Qaeda could
never have established links with Saddam Hussain's 'atheist' Baath
regime. In a taped message broadcast by Al Jazeera prior to the
US invasion, Osama bin Laden regretted that 'socialist' infidels
of Baath party ruled Iraq yet he clearly pointed out that Iraq
should be defended despite it. In this 16-minute recording, Osama
clearly disassociated himself from Iraqi regime on the basis of
his puritan vision of Islam. Saddam, on the other hand, no doubt
was ruthless but no idiot. He would not risk inviting al-Qaeda
troublemakers that no Muslim country was ready to host. Not even
Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia who were instrumental in organising
Saddam's threat to the USA: Ralph Nader, aptly exposes the lie,
noting that "Until the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussain was
our government's anti-Communist ally in Middle East. We also used
him to keep Iran at bay. In so doing, in the 1980s under Reagan
and first Bush, corporations were licensed by the Department of
Commerce to export the material for chemical and biological weapons
that President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney later
accused him of having."
Saddam's threat to neighbouring countries: Iran? But it was the
USA itself that unleashed Saddam on Iran. Kuwait? Again, it was
the US ambassador in Baghdad, April Glaspie, who laid the trap.
"We have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflict, like your border
disagreement with Kuwait," she told Saddam on 25 July, a
week before the Kuwait invasion.
President Bush, she assured Saddam, wanted better and deeper
relations with Iraq. "President Bush is an intelligent man,"
she said. 'He is not going to declare an economic war against
Iraq'. Should one entirely blame Saddam for his invasion after
these 'assurances'? His other neighbours (Turkey, Syria, and Saudi
Arabia) were too strong to be attacked by an Iraq crippled by
'Liberation' of the Iraqi people: The people in Iraq have refused
this 'liberation' both by armed resistance and by ballot.
In response to these five lies, two years of Iraq war has shaped
The Iraq war, from the beginning, has been a war for oil: This
objective was set long ago by Dick Cheney's Defence Policy Guidance
report presented back in 1992: "Our overall objective is
to remain the predominant outside power in the [Middle East] region
and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil."
No surprise therefore that in the hours and days before the United
States and Britain invaded Iraq, a team of British Petroleum (BP)
engineers in Kuwait was teaching combat troops from the 516 Specialist
Team Royal Engineers how to run the oil fields in southern Iraq.
No surprise either that, during the initial assault on Baghdad,
soldiers set up forward bases named Camp Shell and Camp Exxon.
The invaders tolerated the widespread ransacking of private and
public property, but moved swiftly to secure the country's oil
facilities. In Baghdad, they protected the oil ministry, which
was thus spared the fate of other Iraqi ministries that went up
The Guardian made an interesting slip in its June 4, 2020 edition,
which it later retracted (freedom of press!): "Asked why
a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently
from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been
found, the (US) deputy defence minister (Paul Wolfowitz) said:
'Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between
North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice
in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil'."
Building the $9.6 billion Halliburton empire: Halliburton, the
world's second biggest oilfield services company, became the sixth
largest US military contractor in 2004. The company, formerly
headed (1995-2000) by Dick Cheney, moved up the list for the second
straight year. It was seventh in 2003 with $3.9 billion in contracts,
breaking into the top ten for the first time.
"Halliburton could get $1.5 billion more Iraq work,"
reported Reuters (Feb 26, 2021). Halliburton's logistics contract
with the US Army in Iraq has been worth at least $9.6 billion
since the start of the war and is mounting at a cost of about
$6 billion a year (United Press International, Feb 25, 2021).
Biggest cultural disaster since 1258: "One million books,
10 million documents, and 14,000 archaeological artefacts have
been lost in the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of
Iraq -- the biggest cultural disaster since the descendants of
Genghis Khan destroyed Baghdad in 1258," laments Venezuelan
writer Fernando B·ez.
"US and Polish soldiers are still stealing treasures today
and selling them across the borders with Jordan and Kuwait, where
art merchants pay up to $57,000 for a Sumerian tablet," B·ez
told IPS a couple of months ago. No wonder B·ez was refused
a visa to enter the United States for a conference. And no wonder
either that he has been barred from returning to Iraq.
The death toll: "We don't do body counts," said General
Tommy Franks claimed. And when the Iraqi Health Ministry attempted
to count civilian deaths, the US occupation authorities summarily
ordered them to stop. So we have to depend on the British medical
journal, Lancet, which published findings (reported in the mainstream
media in Oct 2004) by a team of public health researchers from
the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Columbia
University School of Nursing, and the College of Medicine at Al-Mustansiriya
University in Baghdad, who had undertaken an epidemiologic survey
of "excess Iraqi" deaths since the March 2003 invasion.
The researchers estimated that there were 98,000 more deaths in
the first 18 months after the invasion than there would have been
if Iraqis had died at the same rate as during the 15 months prior
There are still ethnic and religious divides in Iraq, but for
the first time since the 1958 Revolution, all Iraq is united on
one point: End the US occupation.
Not just Iraq, masses on all continents across the globe are
united on this one agenda: USA out of Iraq!!