By Mike Shannon
this isn't a case of the snowman calling the polar bear white,
I don't know what is. For George Bush to accuse people of
"revisionist history" while sitting at the apex of an organization
that has lifted the remaking of reality to an art form is
the very height of hubristic hypocrisy.
That the President of the United States is being forced
to repeat the same inane talking point which was first wielded
by Colin Powell and Condaleeza Rice shows precisely how desperate
the administration is to keep the truth at bay. They know
that if they do not keep up a fevered offensive they are in
mortal danger of being squeezed by two very unpleasant pincers.
The first, regarding the severity and credibility of the threat
prior to the invasion of Iraq and the second, whether the
United States has bitten off more than we care to chew.
Addressing the latter point first: As this is being written,
the United States Central Command has released more information
on the latest series of attacks on American soldiers in Iraq.
In the past 24 hours 10 American have been wounded by grenade
and small arms fire. Although this is the largest single day
casualty count to date, from a strictly militarily perspective
it is not much of a concern. The Iraqis are completely incapable
of defeating the American military on a face to face encounter;
every time they make a stand and, either now or during "major
combat operations", try to go toe to toe with the American
army, they get annihilated. Unfortunately for both parties,
they do not appear to be getting the message that their cause
Donald Rumsfeld - a man you don't hear as much from now
that things have gotten a little more "untidy" than he expected
- gave an interview on his swing through Europe this past
week which if it was meant to put a best case view on the
current situation it certainly fell short. Mr Rumsfeld, in
that incredibly annoying way of his, both asked the question
and answered it. "Will the situation on the ground in Iraq
improve in the next one, two or three months? Probably not.
Will it improve with the addition of one, two, three divisions?
Not necessarily." Perhaps the Secretary was suffering from
a rather advanced case of jet lag when he made those comments,
but we gladly accept such moments of candor regardless of
In spite of his dire assessment, the main message from the
administration remains; not to worry. We are constantly being
reassured that the men who are continuing to take up arms
against the US are relegated to Baathist loyalists, criminal
elements and maybe even some rogue foreign fighters. While
this all may be true, it belies the underlying dynamic. Every
day that United States is forced to exert its will at the
point of a gun the resentment of the Iraqi people will grow.
If one half of one percent of the Iraqi population decides
to actively resist the American occupation, that will mean
our troops will be faced with an enemy totaling approximately
125,000 people. If that many people come to believe that "those
who fear not the death of a thousand cuts will dare to unhorse
the emperor," we have a problem.
As for the primary point under discussion these days, the
evidence is piling up on a daily basis that the Bush administration,
at best, grotesquely exaggerated the threat posed by the Iraqi
regime. At the root of their strategy, they have chosen to
counterattack their critics by dismissing the claim that Saddam
never had WMD as preposterous. In a legalistic parsing of
the claim they are technically correct. And they know it.
Jay Leno told a joke in the weeks leading up to Iraq II
which makes that point very nicely, "Of course we know Saddam
has weapons of mass destruction. We have the receipts."
The following lengthy quote from an article
by Robert Novak, published on September 26, 2002 on the CNN
website, is not nearly as witty but makes the very same point.
The setting is Mr Rumsfeld testifying before a Senate sub-committee
concerning Iraqi chemical and biological weapons and boldly
denying any knowledge of American participation in supplying
That suggests Rumsfeld also has not read the sole surviving
copy of a May 25, 1994, Senate Banking Committee report.
In 1985 (five years after the Iraq-Iran war started) and
succeeding years, said the report, "pathogenic (meaning
'disease producing'), toxigenic (meaning 'poisonous') and
other biological research materials were exported to Iraq,
pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department
of Commerce." It added:
"These exported biological materials were not attenuated
or weakened and were capable of reproduction."
The report then details 70 shipments (including
anthrax bacillus) from the United States to Iraqi government
agencies over three years, concluding, "It was later learned
that these microorganisms exported by the United States were
identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and
recovered from the Iraqi biological warfare program."
If this report - by a Cabinet level agency of the United
States Government - is this damning, one can only imagine
what was contained in the 4,000 pages of the Iraqi arms disclosure
which were edited out before even Congress got to see them.
Every time another such document reaches the light of day,
every time another disgruntled insider takes a stand, and
most importantly, every time another American soldier takes
a bullet, the truth is going to be harder and harder to ignore.
Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org