Richard Moore

Delivered-To: •••@••.•••
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 10:29:39 -0800
To: •••@••.••• (undisclosed list)
From: Tom Atlee <•••@••.•••>
Subject: waking up to lies and manipulation


By Stephen Zunes
January 29, 2003

    have been added to distinguish the President's
    comments from those of Professor Zunes.  In the
    original (see the URL above), these distinctions
    are made by formatting.

BUSH SAID:  "This threat is new; America's duty is
familiar. Throughout the 20th century, small groups of
men seized control of great nations, built armies and
arsenals, and set out to dominate the weak and
intimidate the world. In each case, their ambitions of
cruelty and murder had no limit. In each case, the
ambitions of Hitlerism, militarism, and communism were
defeated by the will of free peoples, by the strength
of great alliances, and by the might of the United
States of AmericaŠ. Once again, we are called to defend
the safety of our people, and the hopes of all mankind.
And we accept this responsibility."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  The attempt to put Baathist Iraq on
par with Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia is ludicrous.
Hitler's Germany was the most powerful industrialized
nation in the world when it began its conquests in the
late 1930s and Soviet Russia at its height had the
world's largest armed forces and enough nuclear weapons
to destroy humankind. Iraq, by contrast, is a poor
Third World country that has been under the strictest
military and economic embargo in world history for more
than a dozen years after having had much of its
civilian and military infrastructure destroyed in the
heaviest bombing in world history. Virtually all that
remained of its offensive military capability was
subsequently dismantled under the strictest unilateral
disarmament initiative ever, an inspection and
verification process that has been resumed under an
even more rigorous mandate. It is true that the
inspector's have reported that Iraq can not account for
large amounts of biological and chemical agents that
can be used as weapons of mass destruction, yet that
does not necessarily justify going to war. By contrast,
back in the 1980s, when Iraq really was a major
regional power and had advanced programs in weapons of
mass destruction, the United States did not consider
Iraq a threat at all; in fact, the U.S. provided
extensive military, economic, and technological support
to Saddam Hussein's regime.

BUSH SAID: "America is making a broad and determined
effort to confront these dangers. We have called on the
United Nations to fulfill its charter and stand by its
demand that Iraq disarm."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  There is nothing in the UN Charter
about the unilateral disarmament of a member state. By
contrast, articles 41 and 42 of the Charter--reiterated
in the final article of UN Security Council resolution
1441--make clear that the UN Security Council alone has
the authority to authorize the use of force to enforce
its resolutions. It should also be noted that there are
over ninety UN Security Council resolutions currently
being violated by governments other than Iraq, most of
them by such U.S. allies as Morocco, Israel, and
Turkey. However, the United States has blocked the
United Nations from enforcing these other resolutions.

BUSH SAID: "We're strongly supporting the International
Atomic Energy Agency in its mission to track and
control nuclear materials around the world."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  The IAEA has received very little
support from the Bush administration. For example, the
U.S. has blocked the United Nations from enforcing UN
Security Council resolution 487, which calls on Israel
to place its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of
the IAEA. In addition, administration spokespeople have
repeatedly belittled the organization and its

BUSH SAID: "We're working with other governments to
secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union,
and to strengthen global treaties banning the
production and shipment of missile technologies and
weapons of mass destruction."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  The Bush administration has
actually blocked efforts to strengthen international
treaties preventing the spread of biological and
chemical weapons and successfully instigated and led an
effort to remove the highly effective director of an
international program overseeing the destruction of
chemical weapons stockpiles around the world. In
addition, the Bush administration has cut funding for
programs to remove nuclear materials from the former
Soviet Union and rejected a proposed treaty by Russia
that would have destroyed thousands of nuclear weapons,
insisting that they instead simply be put into storage.
Finally, the Bush administration has rejected calls for
a nuclear-free zone for all the Middle East.

BUSH SAID: "We also see Iranian citizens risking
intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty
and human rights and democracy. Iranians, like all
people, have a right to choose their own government and
determine their own destiny--and the United States
supports their aspirations to live in freedom."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  It was the United States, through
its Central Intelligence Agency, that overthrew Iran's
last democratic government, ousting Prime Minister
Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953. As his replacement, the
U.S. brought in from exile the tyrannical Shah, who
embarked upon a 26-year reign of terror. The United
States armed and trained his brutal secret
police--known as the SAVAK--which jailed, tortured, and
murdered tens of thousands of Iranians struggling for
their freedom. The Islamic revolution was a direct
consequence of this U.S.-backed repression since the
Shah successfully destroyed much of the democratic
opposition. In addition, the repressive theocratic
rulers who gained power following the Islamic
Revolution that ousted the Shah were clandestinely
given military support by the U.S. government during
the height of their repression during the 1980s. As a
result, there are serious questions regarding the
United States' support for the freedom of the Iranian

BUSH SAID: "Throughout the 1990s, the United States
relied on a negotiated framework to keep North Korea
from gaining nuclear weapons. We now know that that
regime was deceiving the world, and developing those
weapons all along. And today the North Korean regime is
using its nuclear program to incite fear and seek
concessions. America and the world will not be

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  Indications are that North Korea
kept its commitment during part of 1990s but re-started
its uranium enrichment program when the
Republican-controlled Congress failed to appropriate
funds in a timely fashion for the energy projects that
were supposed to be funded under the framework. It is
widely believed that North Korea deepened these efforts
as a direct result of last year's State of the Union
address, when President Bush declared North Korea to be
part of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and Iran.
Seeing the United States prepare to invade Iraq and
increase its bellicose rhetoric against Iran and
themselves, the North Koreans apparently decided that
they needed to create a credible deterrent in case they
were next. They have offered to end their nuclear
program in return for a guarantee that the United
States will not invade them.

BUSH SAID: "America is working with the countries of
the region--South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia--to
find a peaceful solution, and to show the North Korean
government that nuclear weapons will bring only
isolation, economic stagnation, and continued hardship.
The North Korean regime will find respect in the world
and revival for its people only when it turns away from
its nuclear ambitions."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  Actually, the United States has
been at odds with North Korea's neighbors, taking a far
more hard-line position toward the communist regime
than those who have far greater grounds for concern
about any potential threat. Perhaps more significantly,
given that the United States has good relations with
other countries that have developed nuclear weapons in
recent years--such as India, Pakistan, and Israel--and
has demonstrated hostility toward North Korea well
prior to the start of its nuclear program, the North
Koreans may have reason to doubt that curbing their
nuclear ambitions will make much of a difference.

BUSH SAID: "Our nation and the world must learn the
lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even
greater threat to rise up in Iraq. A brutal dictator,
with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to
terrorism, with great potential wealth, will not be
permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the
United States."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  There was a very real threat of
Iraq dominating the region in the 1980s. During this
period, however, the United States provided Saddam
Hussein's regime with military, economic, and
technological assistance, even as it invaded Iran and
its internal repression and support of terrorism was at
its height. Now that the country has only a fraction of
its once formidable military prowess and it has little
direct access to its oil wealth, it is hard to imagine
how it could realistically dominate the region again,
much less threaten the United States.

BUSH SAID: "Almost three months ago, the United Nations
Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance
to disarm. He has shown instead utter contempt for the
United Nations, and for the opinion of the world. The
108 UN inspectors were not sent to conduct a scavenger
hunt for hidden materials across a country the size of
California. The job of the inspectors is to verify that
Iraq's regime is disarming. It is up to Iraq to show
exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay
those weapons out for the world to see, and destroy
them as directed."

director Mohamed El-Baradei have expressed concerns
that Iraq was not sufficiently forthcoming in some
potentially key areas, though they also noted where
there had been a high level of cooperation in other
areas. This is far short of "utter contempt."
Similarly, their mission is far from being a scavenger
hunt, given the extensive records from the eight years
of UN inspections during the 1990s. It is noteworthy
that the UNSCOM inspectors did not find any more hidden
materials during their last four years of operations
despite expanding the scope of their searches. Though
these inspectors were withdrawn under pressure from
President Bill Clinton in late 1998 before they could
complete their job, satellite surveillance and other
intelligence gathering since then has given this new
round of inspections--which have an even tougher
mandate regarding the timing and extent of their
searches--a good idea of where to look and what to look
for. Furthermore, they have equipment that can detect
radioactive isotopes and other telltale signs of WMD
development at a great distance from their source. It
is noteworthy that after insisting that Iraq's
four-year refusal to allow UN weapons inspectors to
return was cited as grounds for an invasion, the Bush
administration has suddenly challenged the inspectors'
effectiveness since they resumed inspections.
Furthermore, the United States has yet to put forward
any proof that Iraq currently has any banned weapons.

BUSH SAID: "The United Nations concluded in 1999 that
Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to
produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax--enough doses to
kill several million people. He hasn't accounted for
that material. He's given no evidence that he has
destroyed it. The United Nations concluded that Saddam
Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than
38,000 liters of botulinum toxin--enough to subject
millions of people to death by respiratory failure."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  This is like saying that a man has
enough sperm to impregnate several million women.
Theoretically true, but if you don't have sufficient
delivery systems, it simply cannot be done. There is no
evidence that Iraq has any delivery systems that can
effectively disseminate biological weapons in a way
that could endanger large populations.

BUSH SAID: "Our intelligence officials estimate that
Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as
500 tons of sarin, mustard, and VX nerve agent. In such
quantities, these chemical agents could also kill
untold thousands. He's not accounted for these
materials. He has given no evidence that he has
destroyed them."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  This figure is far higher than most
independent estimates. The former chief weapons
inspector for UNSCOM stated that at least 95% of Iraq's
chemical weapons had been accounted for and destroyed
by 1998. With the embargo preventing the import of new
materials, satellites eyeing possible sites for new
production, and the return of UN inspectors, it is
highly dubious that Iraq could develop an offensive
chemical weapons arsenal, particularly since virtually
all of their ballistic missiles capable of carrying
such weapons have also been accounted for and
destroyed. In addition, if Saddam Hussein's possession
of chemical weapons is really such a major concern for
the U.S. government, why did the United States send
Iraq tons of toxic chemicals during the 1980s, even
when it became apparent that they were being used for

BUSH SAID: "The International Atomic Energy Agency
confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an
advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a
design for a nuclear weapon, and was working on five
different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  True. What the president failed to
mention is that in 1998 the International Atomic Energy
Agency also reported that Iraq's nuclear capability had
been completely dismantled. More importantly, IAEA
director El-Baradei, in his January 27 report to the UN
Security Council, reported there was no evidence to
suggest that Iraq had resumed its nuclear program.

BUSH SAID: "Our intelligence sources tell us that he
has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes
suitable for nuclear weapons production."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  As "60 Minutes" and other
independent investigations have revealed, these
aluminum tubes also have commercial applications. The
IAEA has investigated the matter and has reported that
there is no evidence to suggest they were intended for
a nuclear program.

BUSH SAID: "Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to
elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great
risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction.
But why? The only possible explanation, the only
possible use he could have for those weapons, is to
dominate, intimidate, or attack."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  This is hardly the "only possible
explanation." The most likely reason for a country in a
heavily armed region within missile range of two
nuclear powers to pursue weapons of mass destruction is
for deterrence. Even the CIA has reported that there is
little chance that Iraq would use WMDs for offensive
purposes in the foreseeable future. By contrast, so
says this CIA analysis, there is a far greater risk
that Saddam Hussein would use whatever WMDs he may
possess in the event of a U.S. invasion, when
deterrence has clearly failed and he no longer has
anything to lose.

BUSH SAID: "And this Congress and the America people
must recognize another threat. Evidence from
intelligence sources, secret communications, and
statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam
Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members
of al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he
could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists,
or help them develop their own."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  Reports from the State Department,
the CIA, and other intelligence agencies have found no
credible proof of any links between the Islamist al
Qaeda movement and the secular Iraqi government. In
fact, they have been at odds with each other for many
years. Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism peaked in
the 1980s, when the U.S. dropped Iraq from its list of
states sponsoring terrorism in order to make the regime
eligible to receive U.S. military and technological
assistance. Furthermore, most biological weapons--the
only WMDs threat that Iraq realistically might possess
at this point--do leave fingerprints and could easily
be traced to Iraq.

BUSH SAID: "Before September the 11th, many in the
world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained.
But chemical agents, lethal viruses, and shadowy
terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine
those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other
plans--this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take
one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this
country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever
known. We will do everything in our power to make sure
that that day never comes."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  Again, there is no evidence of any
connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden,
who has called the Iraqi dictator "an apostate, an
infidel, and a traitor to Islam." Iraq has never
threatened nor been implicated in any attack against
U.S. territory and the CIA has reported no
Iraqi-sponsored attacks against American interests
since 1991. It is always easy to think of worst case
scenarios, but no country has the right to invade
another on the grounds that the other country might
some day possess weapons that they might decide to pass
on to someone else who might use these weapons against

BUSH SAID: "The dictator who is assembling the world's
most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole
villages--leaving thousands of his own citizens dead,
blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced
confessions are obtained--by torturing children while
their parents are made to watch. International human
rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the
torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with
hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with
electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape. If this
is not evil, then evil has no meaning."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  The use of chemical weapons by the
Iraqi armed forces against Kurdish villages took place
in the 1980s when the U.S. was backing Saddam Hussein's
government. The U.S. even covered up for the Halabja
massacres and similar atrocities by falsely claiming it
was the Iranians--then the preferred enemy--who were
responsible. Human rights organizations have indeed
reported torture and other human rights abuses by the
Iraqi regime and did so back in the 1980s when the U.S.
was supporting it. As a result, one can only assume
that this professed concern about human rights abuses
is insincere, particularly since the Bush
administration is currently sending military and police
aid to repressive regimes such as Indonesia,
Uzbekistan, Colombia, Egypt, and others that are guilty
of similar human rights abuses. If President Bush
really thinks that this constitutes evil, why does he
support governments that engage in such crimes?

BUSH SAID: "We will consult. But let there be no
misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully
disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace
of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  To invade Iraq without the
authorization of the United Nations Security Council
would be a direct violation of fundamental legal norms
and would make the United States an international
outlaw. A unilateral U.S. invasion and the
repercussions of such an act of aggression would be a
far greater threat to the safety of Americans and the
peace of the world than maintaining the current UN
strategy of rigorous inspections, military sanctions,
and deterrence.

BUSH SAID: "Tonight I have a message for the men and
women who will keep the peace, members of the American
Armed Forces: Many of you are assembling in or near the
Middle East, and some crucial hours may lay ahead. In
those hours, the success of our cause will depend on
you. Your training has prepared you. Your honor will
guide you. You believe in America, and America believes
in you."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  No doubt the thousands of armed
forces personnel currently assembling in that region do
believe in America. One hopes America will believe in
them enoughnot abandon them as they did the veterans of
the previous war against Iraq who suffer the
debilitating effects of Gulf War Syndrome without the
support and recognition of the government that sent
them into combat. It is also ironic to hear such high
praise of the men and women readying for combat from a
man who--despite his support for the Vietnam
War--refused to fight in it, instead using family
connections to get into a National Guard unit from
which he was AWOL for much of his time of service. In
addition, it is Orwellian to claim that an army poised
to bomb and invade a sovereign nation is there to "keep
the peace." The best way American servicemen and
servicewomen can keep the peace would be to refuse to
obey any illegal orders of their commander-in-chief
that command them to fight in an illegitimate war.

BUSH SAID: "We seek peace. We strive for peace... If
war is forced upon us, we will fight in a just cause
and by just means--sparing, in every way we can, the
innocent. And if war is forced upon us, we will fight
with the full force and might of the United States
military--and we will prevail."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  The palpable eagerness of the Bush
administration to go to war belies any claims of
seeking peace. Iraq has neither attacked nor threatened
the United States, so it cannot be said that war is
being forced upon the country. Virtually all of
America's allies oppose this threat of war. In the
United States, the Catholic bishops and every mainline
Protestant denomination have gone on record declaring
that a U.S. invasion would not constitute a just war, a
sentiment echoed by religious leaders around the world.
The U.S. record of sparing the innocent in its recent
wars has been quite poor, with upwards of 5,000
civilians killed in the first Gulf War, an estimated
500 civilians in Yugoslavia and approximately 3,000
civilians in Afghanistan. Most scenarios predict a far
higher level of civilian casualties in a U.S. invasion
of Iraq, particularly should American troops have to
seize Baghdad--a city of five million--by force.

BUSH SAID: "And as we and our coalition partners are
doing in Afghanistan, we will bring to the Iraqi people
food and medicines and supplies--and freedom."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  The United States has spent only a
miserly amount of money for food, medicine, and other
humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan relative to the
billions of dollars spent to bomb that country. Despite
greater political pluralism in Afghanistan under the
post-Taliban regime, most of the country is not
enjoying freedom, but is subjected to the abuse of war
lords, opium magnates, and ethnic militas that have
gained in power since the U.S. intervention.

BUSH SAID: "Americans are a resolute people who have
risen to every test of our time. Adversity has revealed
the character of our country, to the world and to
ourselves. America is a strong nation, and honorable in
the use of our strength. We exercise power without
conquest, and we sacrifice for the liberty of

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  The character and resoluteness of
the American people is worthy of praise. Unfortunately,
the United States government has frequently used its
military and economic power to suppress liberty, such
as supporting the overthrow of democratically elected
governments in countries like Guatemala and Chile while
backing scores of dictatorial regimes throughout the
world. The United States has also used powerful
international financial institutions to force poor
countries to weaken environmental and labor laws to
enhance the profits of U.S.-based multinational

BUSH SAID: "Americans are a free people, who know that
freedom is the right of every person and the future of
every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's
gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity."

BUT CONSIDER THIS:  What would God think of a
government that supplies more weapons, training, and
logistical support to more dictatorships and other
human rights abusers than any other? If freedom and
liberty are indeed the will of God, the foreign policy
of the Bush administration is nothing short of

Stephen Zunes <•••@••.•••> is an associate
professor of politics and chair of the Peace & Justice
Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. He
is Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus
Project (online at <>) and is the
author of the recently released book "Tinderbox: U.S.
Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism"


Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * PO Box 493 * Eugene, OR 97440 *
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