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Remembering more ways than one

Iraq has slipped off the agenda in the media reporting on the country.     Those who invaded the country would also rather forget about it.    It was a disaster, on every level - from the lie which laid the foundation for the attack on Baghdad (remember the apt description of "Shock and Awe?"), violence to which the country was subjected, the deaths and dislocation of thousands upon thousands and the horrendous cost of it all.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served eighteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was Chief of Base in Barcelona from 1989 to 1992 designated as the Agency’s senior officer for Olympic Games support.  

Giraldi writes in "Why Remember Iraq" on CounterPunch.

"Iraq, correctly labeled the “worst mistake in American history,” has to be remembered because of what it should have taught about Washington’s false perception of the U.S. vis-a-vis the rest of the world. One of America’s poorest secretaries of state of all time, Madeleine Albright, once said that the U.S. is the only “necessary nation” because it “sees far.” She could have added that it sees far though it frequently doesn’t understand what it is seeing, but that would have required some introspection on her part. Albright’s ignorance and hubris have unfortunately been embraced and even expanded upon by her equally clueless successors and the presidencies that they represented. Iraq should be an antidote to such thinking, a prime lesson in what is wrong with the United States when its blunders its way overseas as the self-proclaimed arbiter of the destinies of billions of people.

Everyone but the “realist” and largely traditional conservative and libertarian minority that opposed the Iraq venture from day one has turned out to be dead wrong about the war and many continued to be wrong even when the U.S. military was eventually forced to leave the country by the Baghdad government. The Iraq war was born from a series of lies.

The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 based on two alleged threats as defined by the Bush administration and Congress. First, it was claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and also delivery systems that would enable it to strike directly against the United States. Second, it was frequently argued that Iraq had somehow been involved in 9/11 through its intelligence services. Both contentions were completely false, were known by many in the White House to be fraudulent, and, in some cases, were bolstered by evidence that was itself fabricated or known to be incorrect. Many in the Pentagon and CIA knew that the case being made for war was essentially bogus and was being contrived to satisfy United Nations requirements for armed intervention. Though there were a couple of principled resignations from the State Department, almost everyone in the bureaucracy went along with the fraud.

Digging deeper there were other uncited reasons for going to war and some led back to Israel and its lobby. All of the most passionate cheerleaders for war were also passionate about protecting Israel. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had been paying moneyto the families of Palestinians killed by Israel and there was a perception that he was a potential military threat. When the U.S. took over control in Baghdad one of the first projects to be considered was a pipeline to move Iraqi oil to the Israeli port of Haifa."


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