In his June
28, 2005 speech, President Bush asserted that the invasion of
Iraq was undertaken as part of "a global war against terror" that
the United States is waging. In reality, as anticipated, the invasion
increased the threat of terror, perhaps significantly.
misinformation and hidden agendas have characterised official
pronouncements about US war motives in Iraq from the very beginning.
The recent revelations about the rush to war in Iraq stand out
all the more starkly amid the chaos that ravages the country and
threatens the region and indeed the world.
In 2002 the
US and United Kingdom proclaimed the right to invade Iraq because
it was developing weapons of mass destruction. That was the "single
question," as stressed constantly by Bush, Prime Minister Blair
and associates. It was also the sole basis on which Bush received
congressional authorisation to resort to force.
to the "single question" was given shortly after the invasion,
and reluctantly conceded: The WMD didn't exist. Scarcely missing
a beat, the government and media doctrinal system concocted new
pretexts and justifications for going to war.
other words, Bush and Blair
began their war not in March 2003,
as everyone believed, but at the end
of August 2002, six weeks before
Congress approved military
action against Iraq."
do not like to think of themselves as aggressors, but raw aggression
is what took place in Iraq," national security and intelligence
analyst John Prados concluded after his careful, extensive review
of the documentary record in his 2004 book, "Hoodwinked."
the Bush "scheme to convince America and the world that war with
Iraq was necessary and urgent" as "a case study in government
dishonesty... that required patently untrue public statements
and egregious manipulation of intelligence." The Downing Street
memo, published on May 1 in The Sunday Times of London, along
with other newly available confidential documents, have deepened
the record of deceit.
came from a meeting of Blair's war cabinet on July 23, 2002, in
which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British foreign intelligence,
made the now-notorious assertion that "the intelligence and facts
were being fixed around the policy" of going to war in Iraq.
also quotes British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that
"the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure
on the regime."
Michael Smith, who broke the story of the memo, has elaborated
on its context and contents in subsequent articles. The "spikes
of activity" apparently included a coalition air campaign meant
to provoke Iraq into some act that could be portrayed as what
the memo calls a "casus belli."
National Intelligence Council
warned that "Iraq and other possible
conflicts in the future could provide
recruitment, training grounds,
technical skills and language
proficiency for a new class of
terrorists who are 'professionalisd'
and for whom political violence
becomes an end in itself."
began bombing in southern Iraq in May 2002 - 10 tons that
month, according to British government figures. A special "spike"
started in late August (for a September total of 54.6 tons).
other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003,
as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks
before Congress approved military action against Iraq," Smith
was presented as defensive action to protect coalition planes
in the no-fly zone. Iraq protested to the United Nations but didn't
fall into the trap of retaliating. For US-UK planners, invading
Iraq was a far higher priority than the "war on terror." That
much is revealed by the reports of their own intelligence agencies.
On the eve of the allied invasion, a classified report by the
National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community's center
for strategic thinking, "predicted that an American-led invasion
of Iraq would increase support for political Islam and would result
in a deeply divided Iraqi society prone to violent internal conflict,"
Douglas Jehl and David E. Sanger reported in The New York Times
In December 2004, Jehl reported a few weeks later, the NIC warned
that "Iraq and other possible conflicts in the future could provide
recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and language proficiency
for a new class of terrorists who are 'professionalised' and for
whom political violence becomes an end in itself." The willingness
of top planners to risk increase of terrorism does not of course
indicate that they welcome such outcomes. Rather, they are simply
not a high priority in comparison with other objectives, such
as controlling the world's major energy resources.
the invasion of Iraq, Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the more astute
of the senior planners and analysts, pointed out in the journal
National Interest that America's control over the Middle East
"gives it indirect but politically critical leverage on the European
and Asian economies that are also dependent on energy exports
from the region."
If the United States can maintain its control over Iraq, with
the world's second largest known oil reserves, and right at the
heart of the world's major energy supplies, that will enhance
significantly its strategic power and influence over its major
rivals in the tripolar world that has been taking shape for the
past 30 years: US-dominated North America, Europe, and Northeast
Asia, linked to South and Southeast Asia economies.
It is a rational
calculation, on the assumption that human survival is not particularly
significant in comparison with short-term power and wealth. And
that is nothing new. These themes resonate through history. The
difference today in this age of nuclear weapons is only that the
stakes are enormously higher.
Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and the author, most recently, of Hegemony
or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance. The essay first