Remembering the Bush Lies that Started it all

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Aamer Madhani and Josh Boak at the Associated Press report that President Biden in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly this year will seek to bring the curtain down on 20 years of American war, and will argue that instead the US will wage a multilateral campaign against the climate emergency, poverty and the pandemic.

It was George W. Bush who kicked off all those years of war with his 2002 speech to the U.N., which announced his impending war on Iraq.

Precisely because he knew that launching yet another attack on a Muslim country in the wake of the Afghanistan campaign risked turning the whole Muslim world (some 56 countries of 194 at the UN are Muslim-majority) against the United States.

Bush therefore sought to give the Muslims and Arabs a sop– the pledge that he would work toward an independent Palestinian state:

    “Our common security is challenged by regional conflicts — ethnic and religious strife that is ancient, but not inevitable.
    In the Middle East, there can be no peace for either side without freedom for both sides.
    America stands committed to an independent and democratic Palestine, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.
    Like all other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices.
    My nation will continue to encourage all parties to step up to their responsibilities as we seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the conflict.”

Bush did not follow through on this pledge, and no subsequent president followed through, until Trump just threw the Palestinians completely under the bus and implied they should get used to living under Apartheid.

A Palestinian state of the sort Bush envisaged only 20 years ago now seems impossible, with the West Bank a Swiss cheese of Israeli squatter-settlements amid a brutalized indigenous population.

(For those confused on this issue, no, Polish Jews are not indigenous to modern Palestine.

When Bonarparte conquered the latter he found only 3,000 Jews and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, and it had been like that for a thousand years.)

Bush then pivoted to his favorite parlor sport, of attempting to hang the fundamentalist al-Qaeda around the neck of Iraq’s secular, socialist dictator, Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with it.

    “Above all, our principles and our security are challenged today by outlaw groups and regimes that accept no law of morality and have no limit to their violent ambitions.
    In the attacks on America a year ago, we saw the destructive intentions of our enemies . . .”

Having brought up al-Qaeda, Bush suddenly pivots to Iraq:

    • ” In one place — in one regime — we find all these dangers, in their most lethal and aggressive forms, exactly the kind of aggressive threat the United Nations was born to confront.

Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation.

And the regime’s forces were poised to continue their march to seize other countries and their resources.

Had Saddam Hussein been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the peace and stability of the world.

Yet this aggression was stopped — by the might of coalition forces and the will of the United Nations.”

So Bush, as was his wont, heavily hinted around that Saddam Hussein had something to do with al-Qaeda or the September 11 attacks. He did not.

His secret police were instructed to capture any al-Qaeda agents in Iraq, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Bush then ran down the litany of UN Security Council resolutions that Saddam Hussein had defied.

What he did not say is that the UNSC did not see these violations as a legitimate cause for war.

It would over the next six months steadfastly refuse to authorize Bush’s war.

The UN Charter gives the right to declare a legitimate war to the UN Security Council.

Then Bush accused Iraq of having an active and wideranging set of unconventional weapons programs:

    • ” United Nations’ inspections also revealed that Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents, and that the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.

Oil Burning GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

And in 1995, after four years of deception, Iraq finally admitted it had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War.

We know now, were it not for that war, the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993.

Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its nuclear program — weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials and documentation of foreign assistance.

Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians.

It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon.

Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon.

Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year.

And Iraq’s state-controlled media has reported numerous meetings between Saddam Hussein and his nuclear scientists, leaving little doubt about his continued appetite for these weapons.”

Everything Bush said was a falsehood.

I think much of it was a lie, but who knows, maybe he believed this garbage.

The UN inspectors who had worked in Iraq in the mid-1990s directly contradicted Bush, saying that almost all Iraq’s weapons programs had been rolled up.

Iraq turned over the evidence of the destruction of the chemical weapons to the UN that fall. Bush wouldn’t believe it.

Iraq did not have stockpiles of VX, mustard or other poison gas.

Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was small and backward and never made much progress, and Iraq was nowhere near having a weapons capability.

The UN inspectors rolled the vestigial program up entirely by 1995.

The aluminum tubes Iraq bought from India were not for nuclear centrifuges, they had the wrong specifications, as the International Atomic Energy Agency pointed out before Bush went to war.

Saddam could meet with scientists all he liked, there was no nuclear program. None. Zilch. Nada.

Bush tried to invent one out of thin air by equating a photo op by a ramshackle defeated regime with such a program.

Bush continued his litany of lies:

    • ” As we meet today, it’s been almost four years since the last U.N. inspectors set foot in Iraq, four years for the Iraqi regime to plan, and to build, and to test behind the cloak of secrecy.

We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country

. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left?

The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave and gathering danger.

To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence.

To assume this regime’s good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take.”

President Bill Clinton pulled the UN weapons inspectors out of Iraq in 1998 in order to bomb Iraq, at the demand of the Republicans in Congress and the Project for a New American Century.

Saddam did not kick them out, as a generation of American journalists went on to proclaim.

In the four years after they left, Saddam not only did not reconstitute any weapons programs, his regime allowed the sites that used to house them to be extensively looted for copper wiring, plumbing pipes, and wallboard.

Bush actually argued that his lack of knowledge of what was going on in Iraq was proof that something sinister and threatening was taking place there.

When weapons inspectors went back in early in 2003, with a list of 600 suspect sites provided by the CIA, they cleared the first 100 without finding anything at all.

A frantic Bush, seeing his case for war evaporate, demanded that they come back out immediately. Then he went to war.

George bush shoe gif 3 » GIF Images Download

Bush pretended that he was a great liberator:

    “The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they’ve suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal.”

Bush went on to become the proximate cause for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, with three times as many wounded, the creation of hundreds of thousands of orphans and widows, and the displacement of four million Iraqis, who would be made homeless, out of 26 million.

As for liberty, when Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani demanded elections on the basis of one person, one vote, Bush fought him tooth and nail. Bush wanted a semi-appointed dictator, not a democratically elected prime minister.

Now for the big finish:

    “If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future.
    The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity.
    They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world.
    These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond. And we will show that the promise of the United Nations can be fulfilled in our time.”

Democracy, unconventional weapons, ties to al-Qaeda– they were all lies and pretexts to cover for a war to open Iraq’s oil market.

These falsehoods formed the foundation of America’s 20-year war.

There was to be no Palestine at all, much less a democratic one, as Washington caved into the belligerent demands of the Israel Far Right.
Afghanistan, the fourth-poorest country in the world, was warlord-ridden under American auspices and the house of cards Bush erected there collapsed on Biden’s watch.

Iraq was cast into civil war and fell victim to hard line fundamentalist irredentism in the form of ISIL.

The Muslim world does have a great tradition of scholarship. Any of those scholars could have told Bush that his plans were a latticework of imperialist fantasies that would bankrupt the United States and rend the fabric of the greater Middle East.

How should Palestinians respond to “israeli” threats of annexation?

The fact that Israeli political leaders across the political spectrum are pursuing annexation is hardly surprising.

Expansionism into Palestinian land is the raison d’etre of the Israeli regime and has been since its foundation.

Israeli settlement building has never ceased since 1948 when the ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine began.

And it was a so-called left-wing Israeli government that spearheaded the settlement enterprise in the West Bank and Gaza following their occupation in 1967.

The Palestinian leadership reacted to these latest developments with more of the same fiery rhetoric and empty threats.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas once again threatened to “completely cancel” agreements with Israel and the US if Israel proceeded with annexation and warned that Palestinians would “not stand hand-cuffed”.

With the PA highly dependent on the international donor community and the Israeli government for its survival, it is unlikely it will ever be able to present a real challenge to annexation.

Decades of capitulation discussions dressed up as “peace negotiations” have left Palestinians in this historically vulnerable situation.

2 June 2015 – Israeli soldiers kick and beat an elderly Palestinian man as they evict his family and demolish their home in East Jerusalem

Indeed, despite the PA president’s bravado, Palestinians are already “hand-cuffed” and caged in an open-air prison where even Abbas himself has to request permission from the Israelis to leave Ramallah.

Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has put Palestinians under lockdown, living in acute fear of infection and unable to put up a significant challenge to the Israeli takeover of their land.

This, however, does not mean the Palestinian people have given in. The struggle against the Israeli regime continues, as do attempts to hold it accountable and make it pay the economic and legal cost of oppression, through the BDS Movement and the International Criminal Court investigation into its war crimes.

This is all important but it is not enough. Now is the time for a refocusing of efforts and a change in political strategy.

Palestinians have to clean up their own house and demand new representative and legitimate leadership which no longer bows down to an international community enabling Israeli expansionism.

While elections are an important democratic practice, in the West Bank and Gaza they would only serve to prop up the current authorities.

What is required is a complete overhaul of the current political system which, for over the last two decades, has been focusing solely on keeping Palestinians subdued and contained.

Such an overhaul requires a return to a revolutionary consensus achieved through plurality and reconciliation of political groups, geographic fragments, and collectives and a popular mobilization around a political agenda of liberation. Only then will we stand a chance to stop the theft of Palestinian land.

Jared Kushner is a Threat to US Security

Israeli firster Kushner is a big backer of Israeli Apartheid and the Israeli squatter settlements, and for people with his commitments, Muhammed Bin Salman is a godsend. His relationship to Bin Salman is now a threat to US national security.

Since Trump put Kushner in charge of Palestine policy, the administration has 1) moved the US embassy to the disputed city of Jerusalem, 2) cut off funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency that provides aid to millions of Palestinian refugees kicked out of their homes by the Israelis, 3) cut off $5 bn in funding for West Bank development to the US Agency for International Development, and 4) permitted a tripling of Israeli squatter housing units on Palestinian land.

CNN’s Nic Robertson has been informed of the contents of a transcript of the Turkish intelligence recording of the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He was clearly kidnapped and then strangled. His last words were, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” The transcript shows that the leader of the assassination team made several phone calls, which Turkish intelligence says went to the Saudi royal court. It also recorded the sounds of a bone saw after the murder.

Kushner famously made a relationship with Bin Salman when he was still third in line to the throne, in spring of 2017, and may have tried to pull strings for his friend so as to slip him into the position of crown prince in summer of 2017. Kushner has stood with Bin Salman through a whole series of crimes, including extorting $100 bn from some 200 fellow princes and his Yemen war that has resulted in starving 85,000 Yemeni children to death. And now the advice to “weather the storm” of being caught red-handed murdering Khashoggi.

Journalism focuses on personalities and often depicts Kushner as a lonely young man eager to have a Saudi BFF. But Israeli journalist Michael Bachner at The Times of Israel has proposed a structural explanation for the link: Bin Salman is using his willingness to throw the Palestinians under the bus as a way of bonding with Kushner and getting the latter’s support in the Trump White House. (Trump has his own reasons for supporting Bin Salman, mainly petroleum and purchases from the US arms industry.)

(L-R) U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner leave notes at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 22, 2017.

The Trump team has a vision of a ‘deal of the century’ for the Palestinians and Israelis, which appears to simply be a rubber stamp on the Likud Party’s Colonization Project aimed at the Palestinian West Bank, and which is gradually illegally usurping the latter. The Palestinians are weak and relatively poor and helpless, and it is most often the case in history that such people are dealt with horrifically and with impunity.

Since Trump put Kushner in charge of Palestine policy, the administration has 1) moved the US embassy to the disputed city of Jerusalem, 2) cut off funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency that provides aid to millions of Palestinian refugees kicked out of their homes by the Israelis, 3) cut off $5 bn in funding for West Bank development to the US Agency for International Development, and 4) permitted a tripling of Israeli squatter housing units on Palestinian land.

This full court press to crush the Palestinians and leave them with nothing at all is intended to force their acquiescence in permanent Israeli Apartheid rule over them and gradual expropriation of what is left of their land.

Bin Salman told a group of Jewish Americans in New York that he doesn’t care about the Palestinians. There is in fact no good evidence that he cares about anyone at all aside from himself and a couple of cronies. Bin Salman wants to do a deal with Israel whereby it is recognized by the Gulf Cooperation Council states, just as it was recognized by Egypt and Jordan.

But as with Egypt, which negotiated a separate peace with Israel and the US that left the Palestinians in the lurch, Bin Salman is perfectly willing to trade his own security as crown prince for the 5 million or so Occupied and stateless Palestinians. Hence Kushner’s unwavering support for the crown prince, said to be the most vocal and steadfast in the White House.

Kushner is a big backer of Israeli Apartheid and the Israeli squatter settlements, and for people with his commitments, Muhammed Bin Salman is a godsend. His relationship to Bin Salman is now a threat to US national security.