US history is replete with presidents who have lied us into a war. From the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, Vietnam, and both Iraq wars, all began with falsehoods and fabrications designed to justify US military attack.
I realize that Americans are now desperate for a leader they, and the world, can look up to. Perhaps they regard the elder Bush as close enough. But before we canonize the him as the Father of a kinder, gentler America, let us remind ourselves of the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi victims, not to mention US veterans, who were slaughtered or made ill because of a needless war the elder Bush pushed us into.
George Will, in his column from 1992, “The Emptiness of Desert Storm”, wrote: “On the first anniversary of the gulf war, we see that the war triggered a burst of triumphalism that was self-refuting: If that war, in which the United States and a largely rented and Potemkin coalition of allies smashed a nation with the GNP of Kentucky, could, as was then said, make America “feel good about itself,” then America should not feel good about itself. Twelve months later, it doesn’t.”
Why should we feel good about ourselves? Wars of opportunity, not defense, are neither moral nor honorable. Nora Eisenberg, in her article,”George Herbert Walker Bush and the Myth of the Good Gulf War writes that common targets were mosques, homes, factories, schools, hospitals, markets, office buildings, vehicles on highways, bridges and roads. Of the 100,000 civilian casualties about 50% were estimated to be children. Through the destruction of the country, another half a million children, and a similar number of adults, died from dysentery, malnutrition, and exposure to contaminated water. The sanctions of both Bush and Clinton kept baby formula, medicines and other essentials from the Iraqi people. Ms Eisenberg states that legal scholars considered these actions to be Crimes against Humanity and Genocide, as in Nuremberg.
WHY did President Bush push for war against Iraq? The real reason, as documented by Francis Boyle, is that the Pentagon began planning for the destruction of Iraq in 1988, after the end of the Iran-Iraq War. Their thinking was that the US needed to position itself in the Middle East in order to exert more control over the region. It was then up to President Bush to sell the idea to Congress, the American people, and the world. Geopolitical games.
What happened next was a masterpiece of manufacturing consensus. First, Saddam Hussein somehow got wind of the Pentagon plans against him and complained to Ambassador Glaspie, who assured him that the US had no such plans, and would not take a side in his ongoing dispute with Kuwait about their stealing his oil. The US implicitly gave Iraq the green light to invade Kuwait. They then used this invasion to turn on Saddam and paint him as a Hitlerian aggressor.
Once the war between Kuwait and Iraq broke out, Kuwait hired the advertising firm Hill and Knowlton to massage US public opinion. The highlight was when the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter, posing as a hospital orderly, testified to Congress that Iraqi soldiers barged into the hospital and killed Kuwaiti babies in incubators by tossing them on the floor. This lie was exposed after the US attacked Iraq.
Cheney, Powell, and company then met with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Their mission: to persuade him to allow the US military to plop themselves on Saudi soil. They showed the King doctored photographs of Saddam massing troops on the Saudi border, ready to invade. The King agreed. Only later, when the Japanese press published Russian satellite images showing no Iraqi troops near the border, that this also was a lie.
By then the President was publicly peddling the baby story and portraying Saddam as another Hitler. The Israelis bullied Bush, calling him a Neville Chamberlain, in other words, a wimp, if he didn’t do something about Iraq. Cheney also chimed in claiming that Saddam would have nuclear weapons within the year and would use them. Brent Scowcroft piled on more crap by claiming that Saddam was sponsoring terrorism.
On the President’s orders, 700,00 troops were sent to the region. More bombs were dropped than in all of World War II. Weapons using depleted uranium were used for the first time, causing cancer in victims and Gulf War Syndrome among US soldiers.
What’s wrong with us? Is it possible we have been hijacked by a military industrial complex that needs to manufacture wars and death to line the pockets of their board of directors and pay off their political stooges?