Justin Raimondo / AntiWar.com & Trevor Timm / The Guardian & Seth Colter Walls / The Huffington Post – 2016-07-08 00:15:02
Chilcot and the End of the Anglosphere
Justin Raimondo / AntiWar.com
(July 7, 2016) — Do we really need a 2.6 million word report on how Bush’s poodle, a.k.a. former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, allowed his country to be pulled into a conflict that claimed hundreds of British lives, thousands of American lives, and at least 150,000 Iraqi lives, while plunging the entire region into a maelstrom of terroristic chaos?
A good decade after being announced, the Chilcot report has finally been released, and what it shows is that the phrase “Bush’s poodle” is blatantly unfair to poodles: after all, even a poodle is known to have gone off its leash every once in a while — but not Tony.
Included in the report is a letter from the Prime Minister to Bush that, as Mark Hosenball reports for Reuters, lays the essential issue bare:
“In the very first sentence, Blair promised Bush: ‘I will be with you, whatever.’
“The inquiry report quoted a top Blair aide as saying that he and another adviser had tried to get the prime minister to drop the sweeping promise. But the aide told the inquiry Blair ignored their recommendations.”
The rest of the letter laid out the possible complications that could — and did — arise in the wake of invasion and occupation of Iraq, and here Blair’s qualms come out. But none of that matters because the first sentence obviates all possible objections and underscores what was and still is at stake: British sovereignty.
The neoconservatives who ginned up the Iraq war are enamored of the concept of the “Anglosphere”: Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States acting in concert as a stabilizing democratizing force on the world stage. Another variant of this schema is “Atlanticism,” i.e. a permanent military alliance between the US and Britain embodied in NATO as some kind of world police force.
Indeed, the Atlanticists have their very own lobbying group, the Atlantic Council, which includes all the requisite foreign policy bigwigs united behind the idea that the United States and Britain have a moral responsibility to recreate the old British Empire, albeit with Washington rather than London its imperial epicenter.
This New Statesman essay traces the influence of the Anglosphere idea on the British conservative movement, counterposing it to the left’s vision of a Britain immersed in the European Union.
You’ll note that both alternatives are essentially identical in that the British would renounce their sovereignty in favor of submergence in a larger entity. Independence isn’t an option.
Now that the British people have decisively rejected the EU, we can expect that this right-wing version of the same nonsense will rear its ugly head in “elite” circles. Which is yet more proof that these self-described “elites” just don’t get what is happening in Britain, and the world at large: the revival of nationalism, regionalism, and secessionism, as against the globalist daydreams of utopian world planners and world-savers.
What these folks refuse to understand is that the global trend is against globalism of any sort: in the US, nationalism is on the rise, as the unlikely victory of Donald “America First” Trump has made painfully clear to our panicked political class.
In Britain, the victory of “Brexit” — led, in large part, by the insurgent United Kingdom Independence Party and Nigel Farage, its fiery spokesman — was a victory for “Britain First.” And on the continent, nationalist-populist movements are arising that threaten the supranational constructs erected by political elites, including not only the EU but also NATO. Secessionist movements, like the drive for Catalonian independence, are on the rise, much to the dismay of the globalists.
The Chilcot report shows the dangers of subordinating national sovereignty to some overriding concept: British intelligence passively accepted the clearly doctored “evidence” of Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction.”
This was the operational corollary of Blair’s craven subservience to the Bush White House — although, as the massive Chilcot report is examined more closely, I’m sure we’ll find some instances in which the British improvised all on their own.
You’ll recall, for example, that President Bush cited the British as the source for his assertion that the Iraqis had sought uranium to make a nuclear weapon from “an African nation” that turned out to be Niger. This was based on a transparently fraudulent bundle of documents, and the saga of the Niger Uranium forgeries is one of the enduring mysteries of the lies that lured us into war.
The Chilcot report also tells us that Blair was fully aware that the invasion of Iraq would increase the incidence and severity of terrorism, both in the region and in the West. British intelligence warned that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-US/anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”
These warnings were ignored, naturally, because the neocons who were intent on regime change in Iraq and throughout the Middle East were and are fanatics, for whom the loss of human life and security is not only incidental but an opportunity for them to advance their agenda of militarism, domestic repression, and perpetual war.
When Ron Paul defied the (bipartisan) conventional wisdom during the 2008 Republican presidential debates and declared that jihadist terrorism is “blowback” for decades of Western intervention in the Middle East, he was viciously attacked by the clueless Rudy Giuliani and the usual array of neocons, who all declared he was through as a serious candidate. That proved not to be the case: indeed, that moment catapulted him to national prominence, and energized a grassroots movement that is still growing today.
And what Chilcot shows is that the British intelligence community privately agreed with his view that they hate us for our policies and not our freedom, Yet the political class, both here and across the Atlantic, went ahead with their harebrained scheme to “democratize” the Middle East in spite of the risks and dangers it imposed.
No, we didn’t need a 2.6 million word report telling us what should be clear to any person with the least amount of common sense: that aggression invites retaliation. But the injured cries of phony remorse mixed with defiance and denial coming from the War Party are music to my ears, a concert of hypocrisy and brazen refusal to accept responsibility that will show anyone who cares to listen what I could’ve told you — and did tell you — from the first day of the war: that these people are monsters who have to be kept as far away from the levers of power as possible.
Justim Raimondo is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000).
The US Needs Its Own Chilcot Report
Trevor Timm / The Guardian
LONDON (July 7, 2016) — As the UK parliament released its long-awaited Chilcot report on the country’s role in the Iraq war on Wednesday, there have been renewed calls all over Britain to try former prime minister Tony Blair for war crimes. This brings up another question: what about George W Bush?
The former US president most responsible for the foreign policy catastrophe has led a peaceful existence since he left office. Not only has he avoided any post-administration inquiries into his conduct, he has inexplicably seen his approval ratings rise (despite the carnage left in his wake only getting worse).
He is an in-demand fundraiser for Republicans not named Donald Trump, and he gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak at corporate events. The chances of him ever saying in public, “I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you can ever believe,” as Blair did on Wednesday, are virtually non-existent.
The only thing close to the Chilcot report in the US was the Senate intelligence committee’s long-delayed investigation on intelligence failures in the lead-up to Iraq, released in 2008.
The Democratic-led committee faulted the CIA for massive intelligence failures and the Bush administration for purposefully manipulating intelligence for public consumption. [See article below â€“ EAW] It led to a couple days of headlines, denunciations from the Bush White House (still in office at the time) and that was it.
After that, the Senate intelligence committee continued to lavish the CIA with praise, increase its budgets and provide only a modicum of oversight, despite the many scandals that preceded and succeeded the report.
When the same intelligence committee later investigated illegal CIA torture — also directed by the highest levels of the Bush administration — they didn’t even bother mentioning the top officials who designed and sanctioned the program, only the anonymous (read: redacted) underlings who carried it out.
Bush himself suffered no consequences and, by that time, was claiming that the “Iraq surge had worked”, a misleading drumbeat meant to obscure his calamitous original decision. Barack Obama took prosecuting Bush officials for anything related its “war on terror” off the table before his administration ever took office, and his administration’s stance on torture turned a blatant war crime into a policy dispute. And that was that.
House Republicans’ investigations into Benghazi has lasted far longer than any sort of investigation into Iraq, despite there being little doubt that the Iraq war was the biggest foreign policy disaster of the last quarter century.
Not only did it lead to the deaths of well over a million people, but the US has spent trillions of dollars fighting it, and its chaotic ripple effects throughout the Middle East continue to dominate US foreign policy. Most notably, the war spawned the terrorist group Isis, which the US will likely spend the next generation fighting.
Coincidentally, a scathing new biography of Bush was published Tuesday by renowned historian Jean Edward Smith, and it sounds like it’s closer to an indictment than anything an official governing body has come close to producing.
Smith, who devotes a substantial portion of his book to the lead-up and aftermath of the Iraq war, concludes: “Whether George W Bush was the worst president in American history will be long debated, but his decision to invade Iraq is easily the worst foreign policy decision ever made by an American president.”
Beyond Bush, the political elite in the US has faced almost no punishment for supporting the invasion of Iraq. Dick Cheney and company are also living comfortably in retirement, and both political parties have nominated people who supported the invasion in 2003.
It’s unlikely that anything will ever actually happen to Tony Blair or any of the other war architects in the UK despite the report’s damning conclusions. And he’ll continue to spend much of his time doing PR work for some of the world’s worst dictators, helping them avoid the same fate that he will almost certainly miss himself.
Senate Report: Bush Used Iraq Intel He Knew Was False
Seth Colter Walls / The Huffington Post
(July 13, 2006) â€“ More than five years after the initial invasion of Iraq, the Senate Intelligence Committee has finally gone on the record: the Bush administration misused, and in some cases disregarded, intelligence which led the nation into war.
The two final sections of a long-delayed and much anticipated “Phase II” report on the Bush administrationâ€™s use of prewar intelligence, released on Thursday morning, accuse senior White House officials of repeatedly misrepresenting the threat posed by Iraq.
In addition, the report on Iraq war intelligence harshly criticizes a Pentagon office for executing “inappropriate, sensitive intelligence activities” without the proper knowledge of the State Department and other agencies.
In addition to judgments that could prove troublesome for the White House and make waves in the presidential race, the report also contains some stinging minority reports from Republican committee members who allege that Democrats turned the intelligence review process into a “partisan exercise.”
However, when the GOP controlled the intelligence committee and steered its “Phase I” reporting on the use of Iraq war intelligence, critics complained that tough questions about the Bush administrationâ€™s actions had been kicked down the road, and thus required a second round of fact finding — dubbed “Phase II.”
The committeeâ€™s delay in producing that full report to the public was seen by Democrats as evidence of a stonewalling campaign executed by President Bushâ€™s Republican Senate allies.
Former Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) often vacillated over whether or not the report was worth completing, first promising in 2004 that the work would be finished, and then calling it a “monumental waste of time” later in 2005.
When Democrats gained control of the Senate after the 2006 midterm elections, they gained a majority of seats on the committee and set the course for the production of the final reports. Whether by partisan design or simple chance, however, the committee managed to save some of the best questions for last.
The “Phase II” report states — in terms clearer than any previous government publication — that there was no operational relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, that Bush officials were not truthful about the difficulties the United States would face in post-war Iraq and that their public statements did not reflect intelligence they had at the time, and, specifically, that the intelligence community would not confirm any meeting between Iraqi officials and Mohamed Atta — a claim that was nevertheless publicly repeated.
“Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence,” Rockefeller said in a statement provided to >i>The Huffington Post.
“In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed. . . .
There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence. But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.”
In a minority report authored by Sens. Orrin Hatch, Christopher Bond and Richard Burr, the Republicans accuse committee Democrats of committing a key error of governmental logic.
“Intelligence informs policy. It does not dictate policy,” they wrote. “Intelligence professionals are responsible for their failures in intelligence collection, analysis, counter-intelligence and covert action. Policymakers must also bear the burden of their mistakes, an entirely different order of mistakes. It is a pity this report fails to illuminate this distinction.”
The key findings released by Rockefeller and his divided committee brings the five-part “Phase II” of the committeeâ€™s report on prewar intelligence to completion. The investigationâ€™s first phase was released on July 2004, and two less controversial parts of “Phase II” were declassified in September 2006.
The potential election year impact of these latest findings is uncertain. On the stump, Sen. John McCain has explained his support of the “surge” strategy in Iraq by saying the country has become the “central front” in the war on terror — a framing that attempts to shoot past the question of Iraqâ€™s status in the terror hierarchy during the 2003 campaign waged in Congress to authorize military action.
Still, the breadth of the Committeeâ€™s citations of examples in which the Bush administrationâ€™s comments were not supported by intelligence could reignite public dissatisfaction over the war.
According to a release from Rockefellerâ€™s office that was provided to The Huffington Post, these examples include:
* Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qaâ€™ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qaâ€™ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.
* Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.
* Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.
* Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraqâ€™s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence communityâ€™s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.
* The Secretary of Defenseâ€™s statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.
* The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.
“It has been four years since the Committee began the second phase of its review,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote in her note attached to the report.
“The results are now in. Even though the intelligence before the war supported inaccurate statements, this Administration distorted the intelligence in order to build its case to go to war.
The Executive Branch released only those findings that supported the argument, did not relay uncertainties, and at times made statements beyond what the intelligence supported.”
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.