Good for Donald Trump for Exposing Bush’s Lies on Iraq
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Notwithstanding Donald Trump’s fascist economic views, the war he wishes to expand against illegal immigrants, the bombing campaign that he desires to continue against iSIS, the drug war that he wants to continue waging, and the welfare state to which he remains committed, let’s give credit where credit is due.
In the most recent Republican presidential debate, Trump had the courage to do what no other Republican candidate for president or, for that matter, the mainstream media, would dare to do: Point out that President George W. Bush lied about the reason he ordered the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
For that, Donald Trump deserves credit.
Ever since Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Republican establishment, the mainstream media, American neocons, and many American conservatives have insisted on simply accepting Bush at his word. There is no way he would have lied the nation into war, the mindset goes. No president would ever do such a thing.
Really? What about the bogus attack at the Gulf of Tonkin, which President Lyndon Johnson used to secure the approval of Congress to initiate war against North Vietnam, including massive bombing campaigns on the North Vietnamese carried out by the U.S. Air Force? Didn’t that entail lying the nation into war by a U.S. president and his national-security establishment?
Don’t look for a confession by Bush or any of his cohorts. That’s not going to happen, any more than Lyndon Johnson ever confessed to his lie. But as any judge in the land will tell you, direct evidence is not the only type of evidence that can convict someone. Circumstantial evidence is just as valid as direct evidence in a court of law. Moreover, jurors don’t leave their common sense and their ability to deductively reason back at home.
Bush told the American people that he needed to invade Iraq to protect the United States from an imminent attack by Saddam Hussein involving weapons of mass destruction. That’s what the reference to “mushroom clouds” was all about. U.S. officials knew that there are few things that scare Americans to death more than nuclear bombs. Everyone knows what nuclear bombs did to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Bush and his national-security state cohorts knew that by pushing that particular button within the psyche of the American people, he would have them. The American people wouldn’t question or challenge him. They would automatically take the position that “We have got to trust our president and his troops. He has information that we are not privy to.”
After all, the image that Bush and his crew conjured up was not just Saddam’s possession of WMDs — that is, the image that some tinpot dictator thousands of miles away has stockpiled some chemical and biological weapons. No, the image that Bush and his people clearly wanted to convey was that the American people were in very real danger of having a WMD attack unleashed against them in the very near future.
That’s why some Bush supporters were justifying the invasion as a “preventive war” — that is, a war to prevent a nuclear attack on the United States in the not-too-distant future.
Here’s the question so many Americans have never dared to ask Bush or themselves: If the invasion of Iraq was really to prevent a WMD attack by Saddam Hussein on the United States, why did U.S. troops stay in Iraq for 11 years, killing ever-growing numbers of people who had never attacked the United States and destroying the entire country? Once it was confirmed that Saddam Hussein had, in fact, destroyed his stockpile of chemical and biological weapons, as official inspectors of the United Nations were steadfastly maintaining, why didn’t Bush simply apologize for his “mistake” and order his troops home?
How was Bush so sure that U.S. troops would find WMDs in Iraq? The answer is simple: U.S. officials had the receipts! What most Americans still don’t realize is that it was the United States and other Western regimes that delivered those infamous WMDs to Iraq in the first place, so that he could use chemical and biological weapons against the Iranian people. See here and here.
Thus, Bush’s plan was obviously to “find” some of those WMDs that the U.S. had delivered to Saddam and then proudly announce, “I was right! I have saved America!”
Only, Saddam Hussein foiled Bush’s plan for glory by destroying the WMDs that the U.S. had delivered to him. Thus, when U.S. troops found rusted out old chemical weapons canisters several years into the occupation, U.S. officials ordered them to keep the find secret. Why secret? U.S. officials were too scared that Americans would find out that those WMDs that Bush had used to garner support for his invasion of Iraq had been “made in America.”
If Bush had simply made an honest mistake, wouldn’t he instead have apologized for all the death, destruction, torture (Abu Ghraib), incarcerations, abuse, and humiliation that his army had “mistakenly” wreaked on the Iraqi people and ordered his troops to immediately return home?
Instead, he kept his troops in Iraq for some 11 years, during which time they were killing, maiming, injuring, and abusing ever-growing numbers of people who he knew had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.
Trump should have also pointed out that Bush lied about what his troops were doing for those 11 years after it was determined that there never had been a WMD threat to the United States.
For those entire 11 years of brutal, deadly, and destructive occupation, Bush, the Pentagon, and the CIA repeatedly told the American people that the troops were over there defending “our rights and freedoms.”
That was a lie too, one that many Americans bought hook, line, and sinker as well.
The truth was that neither the Iraqi people nor their government ever threatened the rights and freedoms of the American people. Their worst “crime” — if you can call it that — was in trying to rid their nation of an illegal foreign aggressor and occupier. After all, during those 11 years, the Iraqi people, including the insurgents who were attacking U.S. troops, knew that Bush’s WMDs claims had been bogus. They knew that contrary to what Bush and his people had told the American people, the Iraqi government had never threatened to attack the United States, with or without WMDs.
Trump is also right to point out that Jeb Bush’s claim that his brother kept America safe is another lie. After all, Trump points out the obvious: George W. Bush was president when the 9/11 attacks occurred. How was that keeping America safe?
Unfortunately, Trump failed to point out another of George W. Bush’s lies, one repeated by the national-security establishment and the Republican establishment.
That lie related to the reasons that the terrorists carried out the 9/11 attacks. Immediately after the attacks, Bush and his people announced that the terrorists had attacked America because of its “freedom and values.”
That was a flat-out lie too and Bush knew it. The terrorists had long made it clear that they were initiating terrorist attacks in retaliation for the U.S. national-security establishment’s interventions in the Middle East, including the Persian Gulf War, the intentional destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage facilities with the intent to spread illness due to sewage-infected water, the decade of brutal sanctions that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, the deadly (and illegal) no-fly zones over Iraq, the stationing of U.S. troops near Islamic holy lands with the knowledge that it would provoke Muslims, and, of course, the unconditional financial and military support of the Israeli government, not to mention the support provided various dictatorships in the region.
That’s what motivated the people who carried out the terrorists on the World Trade Center in 1993, the USS Cole, the U.S. Embassies in East Africa, and 9/11, and Bush knew it when he instead falsely told Americans that they attacked because of their hatred for “our freedom and values.”
Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, had left Saddam Hussein in power during the Persian Gulf War. That struck in the craw of the Republican establishment and his son W. Throughout the 1990s, all we heard, day after day, from the Republican establishment was: “Saddam, Saddam, Saddam! We have to go get Saddam and replace him with another pro-U.S. dictator. National security demands a regime change in Iraq.”
That’s what the 11 years of deadly and brutal sanctions were all about. No, not about convincing Saddam to “disarm,” as U.S. officials were falsely maintaining. That was just one more lie among many. The sanctions were about regime change. As soon as Saddam relinquished power, the sanctions would be lifted.
It didn’t matter that the sanctions were killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. As U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright (who is now campaigning for Hillary Clinton) put it in 1996, the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were “worth it.” The sanctions went on for another five years, in the administrations of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Bush could have terminated the sanctions when he came into office. But he wasn’t about to do that. Instead, he was champing at the bit to finish the job that his father started but didn’t finish. He was determined to redeem his father’s reputation by being the man who ousted Saddam Hussein from power and replaced with a pro-U.S. dictator.
But Bush knew that he couldn’t tell people that he was invading Iraq for the purpose of regime change. The American people might not approve and, anyway, that sort of thing was not only illegal under the U.S. Constitution and the rules of the United Nations, it was also a war crime under the principles set forth against the Nazis at Nuremberg.
But along came the 9/11 attacks, in retaliation for what the U.S. national-security establishment had been doing in the Middle East ever since it lost its official Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union, and Bush knew that he had his chance. He knew that the American people were scared to death and that all he needed to do was to conjure up the image of WMDs and mushroom clouds and he would have no problems garnering the support of the American people.
Jeb Bush and his brother W, along with the entire Republican establishment, and no doubt the entire national-security establishment, are hopping made that Trump has told the truth about W’s deception on Iraq. But the truth needs to be told if Americans are ever going to come to terms with all the death and destruction, including the rise of ISIS, that George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, the Pentagon, and the CIA have wreaked on the Iraqi people.