2024-07-14 3:26 AM

Editor’s Column: Truth Behind the Iraq Invasion on Its 20th Anniversary

Among all else cluttering up the news headlines this week, the latest Trump stuff and matters relevant to the prospects of World War 3 (the Xi-Putin summit), it was noted that the week marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

That God-awful move, and the horrific Bush 2 administration that was responsible for it, have temporarily been eclipsed in the public consciousness by, in chronological order, the meltdown of the global financial system, followed by the engineered rise of a new explicitly fascist movement in the U.S. in the form of the fake “grasstops” Tea Party movement, then in the blatant treason of the Trump administration, with the commensurate degeneration of the Republican Party, monstrous criminal aggression in Ukraine of Trump ally Putin and increasing military posturing of Xi.

How distant and how seemingly irrelevant that 2003 invasion was, we might now contend. It came three years after what at the time was considered the most damaging blow to our democracy ever, the highly contested outcome of the 2000 presidential election that was decided by an incredible intervention from the Rehnquist Supreme Court.

Then, of course, came the attacks of September 11, 2001, which served as the backdrop for the heinous, unprovoked March 2003 Iraq invasion. That Iraq “war” is estimated to have cost more than 300,000 Iraqi lives, and over 8,000 American lives, and of course was eclipsed by the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan that persisted until Biden’s pull out two years ago this spring.

Almost all the news coverage and commentary of the 20th anniversary of the Iraq invasion has treated the incident as taken in isolation of everything that led to and followed it. But it was as much of an inflection point of the world’s descent into hell as any single event before or after. 

It was based as much on a “big lie” as anything Trump has done since. One of the cornerstones on that “big lie” was the notion, now commonly held, that it was based on a terrible miscalculation, that, in fact, Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, and that, as it turned out, everyone was wrong about that. .

That is total B-S. This writer was dishing out his weekly commentaries, just like this one, published in his newspaper, the mighty Falls Church News-Press and posted online, in the very belly of the beast, within veritable shouting distance of the Pentagon and White House, on a weekly basis from 1997 on, all the way to the present, a total of over 1,000 columns in all to date, and counting, including every week through all the debate over and eventual invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.

I reported then that there was plenty of evidence arguing against the notion that Hussein was harboring those weapons and was engaged in a nuclear buildup. There was a United Nations nuclear investigating commision on site insisting this. Wikipedia reported, “In January 2003, United Nations weapons inspectors reported that they had found no indication that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons or an active program.”

There was an abundance of evidence backing up the fact that the CIA could confirm only by 2005 that there were no weapons of mass destruction being developed by Hussein.

Therefore, the entire invasion and all its terrible consequences could easily have been avoided if only voices, like mine, had been heeded.

In the D.C. press corps there was total capitulation to the administration line, including among the vaunted White House correspondents, with the lone exception of the late “Dean of the White House Press Corps,” the pioneering Helen Thomas, who repeatedly called out the W. Bush officials on this.

She wound up being run out of town, virtually, having been set up to make ostensibly racist remarks, given that, among other things, none of her shamed press colleagues would come to her defense. 

It wasn’t her remarks that were actually responsible, but her exposure of the Bush treachery behind the invasion of Iraq, that was the cause of her exit. But she and I and some others were alone in our criticisms which turned out to be spot on.

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