Alternative Insight

Administration Co-opting

Using falsehoods and innuendoes, the U.S. administration co-opted the American people into supporting its war against Iraq. Before Iraq surrendered, the American people surrendered to its government's dictates and started on a road to a cloudy global future.

Pre-War Rhetoric
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld set the stage for the attack on Iraq with a press conference remark: "We must act fast. The fact is that Saddam Hussein can attack us at any time."

Secretary of State Colin Powell attempted to provide legitimacy to Rumsfeld's remarks. In a Feb. 5 speech to the UN body, Powell provided "intelligence and authoritative information" that Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction and "was in continued violation of UN Security Council resolutions to disarm." The lack of proof of Secretary Powell's assertions and the immediate refutation of his arguments by responsible sources did not deter government officials from continuing to persuade the American people that Iraq must be attacked

Public Broadcasting System's (PBS) Lehrer Report provided a convenient platform for government officials to convince the American people to support the eventual war:

Feb. 14, Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright: "The French are trying to show they are the masters of Europe."

Texas Sen. Kay Hutchinson, Feb. 16: "Evidently there are people out there who don't believe Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and will give them to terrorists.

Connecticut Sen. Lieberman, Feb. 26: "Fifteen countries are assisting the United States in the (eventual) war against Iraq."

President George W. Bush concluded the discussion with an ultimatum: "Iraq must disarm within 48 hours or face the consequences." Since no well-armed nation could possibly disarm within 48 hours, President Bush could not seriously believe that Iraq is armed or didn't care if it did disarm.

The lack of any defense by an Iraqi military to the invasion proved that Iraq had disarmed.

Adapting Rhetoric to Actuality
From Day One of the invasion of Iraq it became evident that Iraq had no military defense, was not prepared to fight any battles and would not offer any organized resistance. Iraq had disarmed. It posed no military threat to any nation.

The lack of validation to its arguments for the attack and apparent errors in the invasion strategy forced the U.S. government to modify its rhetoric to the American people. The American people now learned that the reason for the attack was not to defend Americans against terrorism but to liberate Iraq from the Saddam Hussein tyranny. The administration rhetoric became: "It's a good plan. We're changing the plan."

The war for liberation of Iraq, posed as an altruistic adventure, demanded that the dedicated American troops be supported by the entire American population. The polls showed a decisive shift in war sentiment - a greater number of citizens favored of the war. This shift included many known columnists and personalities who had been either against the war or only cooly for it. The American government had correctly gauged the pulse of its people - that once the war started, the usual American patriotic fervor would emerge and most Americans would support the troops. As victory became clear, others would rush forward to share the victory. In America, winning is everything and Americans love a winner. Even if almost all Americans had been against the war, the administration would have still moved forward with its contradictory plan.

Continuing the Co-opting
The direction of the war created many doubts.

The administration didn't directly respond to doubts. It adopted a standard method, similar to Israel's methods of responding to complaints on its aggressive military behavior. Israel makes Arafat and Palestinian terrorists responsible for the killing of Palestinians. The U.S. blamed Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party for any killing of Iraqis. The U.S. plowed ahead and co-opted the media to respond to any doubts with dubious reports.

President Bush simply stated: "The world can now see the crimes and war crimes of Saddam Hussein's regime." The U.S. president never defined or specified these war crimes. The American people became conditioned to think in terms of the vicious Iraqi regime and their war crimes. With the conditioning in place, the U.S. military could now find excuses for careless actions that affected civilian populations. After all, liberators and those who defend against "war crimes" can't be guilty of any "war crimes."

President Bush also stated: "The world can see how humane we are and the inhumanity of the Iraqi leader."

The invading military used enormous weapons of destruction of all types - cluster bombs, megaton bombs, random firing, stray missiles, etc. British parliament debated the use of cluster bombs against a defenseless Iraqi military. The U.S. Congress didn't discuss it. The extent of the damage to the civilian and population is shown by one of many stories in the war.

Associated Press, 4/25/2003 18:48
Hospital officials and residents say 43 civilians were killed in a U.S. bombing and battle April 2-3, one of the deadliest tolls for noncombatants known during the Iraq war, according to a U.S. radio report Friday.

Most of the deaths, 31, were attributed to the bombing in the village of Taniya, National Public Radio reported. Twelve other civilians died in a ground battle as Republican Guardsmen fled Aziziyah, nine miles south of Taniya.

NPR correspondent John Burnett, reporting for ''All Things Considered,'' broadcast details including that many of those killed in the bombing were children.

Bomb craters 30-feet wide pocked an area of the village that, according to residents, once held about 20 adobe homes.

Lt. Col. Ed Worley of the U.S. Central Command in Qatar confirmed that F-15 Strike Eagles dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs in the vicinity on April 2. The munitions were aimed at tanks and tracked vehicles, Worley said, and the pilots who dropped them did not report missing any targets.

More civilians died the following day as the 5th Marines pursued the Baghdad Division of the Republican Guard.

One U.S. Marine was shot in the leg.

The news report failed to include all aspects of the NPR report. A reporter with Iraqi civilians in Azaziyah added information. The Iraqis claimed that 100 civilians had been killed. The reporter accompanying the Iraqis verified that the huge crater made from the bombing did not contain any destroyed tanks or artillery. Interviewed Iraqi civilians also claimed that 61 fleeing Iraqi soldiers, their weapons discarded and their arms up in surrender, had been killed by helicopter gunships.

The debates continued:

The administration explained all these doubts with one word, Hussein, the menace of the invisible (if not dead) Saddam Hussein:

Using Saddam Hussein to satisfy doubts to the American military mission continued, even after the war had ended. Carol Morrelo, Washington Post staff writer, reported from Baghdad:

BAGHDAD, April 27-His portraits are
tom to shreds, his name is openly cursed,
his palaces are occupied by U.S. troops, but
Saddam Hussein still retains the power to
convince many Iraqis that he is plotting
one final, fiendish surprise for his birthday
on Monday.
The streets of the capital were filled
with speculation today that the former
president was still alive and in hiding and
would orchestrate a major attack to mark
the day he turns 66.

Post -War Deceptions
The mighty nation that finally decided that it had invaded Iraq to liberate a nation, had made no preparation to prevent the post-war from developing into anarchy. No airplanes, vehicles or ships arrived with the immediate needs of the distressed Iraqis. Food, electrical equipment, construction equipment, administration did not appear. Anarchy and looting appeared.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld had explanations for the looting:

It's untidy. And freedom's untidy. And free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.

We see the same image over and over again. How many vases do they have in Iraq?

The Military Central Command explained in a March 29 briefing why no administration had been prepared for Iraq: "It took several months before we installed Karzai as Afghan leader."

April 26, Washington Post: "The U.S. has yet to find weapons of mass destruction at any of the locations that Secretary of State Colin Powell cited in his key presentation to the Security Council in February, according to U.S. officials."

Why hadn't U.S. forces located weapons of mass destruction?

President Bush supplied the answer in an address in Lima, Ohio, April 24: "Iraq may have destroyed weapons." So, why was Iraq attacked?

Raymond Whitaker, in the British newspaper, The Independent, 27 April 2003, provided a more reliable answer:

The case for invading Iraq to remove its weapons of mass destruction was based on selective use of intelligence, exaggeration, use of sources known to be discredited and outright fabrication, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

A high-level UK source said last night that intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were furious that briefings they gave political leaders were distorted in the rush to war with Iraq. "They ignored intelligence assessments which said Iraq was not a threat," the source said. Quoting an editorial in a Middle East newspaper which said, "Washington has to prove its case. If it does not, the world will for ever believe that it paved the road to war with lies", he added: "You can draw your own conclusions."

It seems presumptive that any nation can unilaterally decide who has been guilty of war crimes, and in what war? The quizzical "deck of cards" of Iraqi leaders, that described the Iraqi leaders that the U.S. wanted in custody, solicited a question:

Did the U.S. want to capture these leaders for intelligence reasons or to prevent them from speaking out on topics that might have embarrassed the administration? Do they have much to state that contradicts the assumptions that have been made concerning the Saddam Hussein regime?

For certain, the American people have been dealt cards from the bottom of the deck. They have been co-opted into accepting an aggressive policy that has alienated Americans from the world. The administration has steered the American people into surrendering to its dictates and directed them to pursuing a cloudy future.

april 30, 2003