Cake walk
Date: Friday, July 18 @ 16:05:29 UTC
Topic: Bush-Saddam

By Chris Floyd, Moscow Times

The convoluted controversy over whether or not Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium "yellowcake" ore from Niger last year and whether or not George W. Bush should have mentioned this alleged attempted transaction in his State of the Union address last January is a classic case of fretting about a molehill when a mountainous volcano is erupting right behind you.

While it is of course highly edifying to see the designer-shod feet of George W. Bush and Tony Blair held to the fire over their mendacious manipulation of crudely forged documents concerning the Niger nukestuff, the persnickety parsing of a few words in a couple of speeches is merely a diversion from the larger moral corruption that stems from aggressive war and military occupation -- a corrosive flow that eats away the very spirit of a nation.

But let us, too, eat cake -- or parse cake -- for a moment, resorting to the highly unusual expedient of consulting the actual facts. As Professor Norman Dombey reports in The Guardian, uranium ore is not fissile material; it can only be weaponized in elaborate enrichment plants. And all such plants in Iraq had been dismantled by UN inspectors by 1995. What's more, Saddam already had tons of the non-fissile stuff; he didn't have to go to Niger to get it, as the warmongers well know. Their lack of genuine concern over such material is shown by their failure to secure Iraq's nuclear plants after the invasion, allowing looters to cart away yellowcake by the barrelful. Thus, even if Bush and Blair somehow "prove" their scaremongering tales of African ore-shopping to be true, it doesn't matter: Iraq could not have used uranium ore from Niger -- or any other country -- for nuclear weapons.

Nor does this controversy affect the Anglo-American "case" for going to war. Despite all the blue smoke and red herrings we've seen the past two weeks, the true casus belli has been clear for months, even years. It has nothing to do with terrorism or big boogey-man weapons. It certainly has nothing to do with mass graves, Saddam's tyranny or "Iraqi freedom," none of which has ever been of the slightest concern to the architects of the aggression.

These architects -- a clique of extremist ideologues and Establishment heavies closely associated with the Bush Family -- announced their intentions publicly years ago, in September 2000. Here's what they said: "While the unresolved conflict with Saddam Hussein provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

Yes, we're back in PNAC country. For those who came in late, the "Project for the New American Century" is a gaggle of right-wing war-wonks whose ranks included Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, plus a slew of other Bushist minions now swaggering along the corridors of power. PNAC's 2000 broadside called for a vast militarization of American society and an aggressive foreign policy geared to "pre-emptive" military action and the establishment of "substantial American force presence" throughout the world. The stated goal was to ensure that no other nation or group of nations could ever challenge American political and economic hegemony, even in their own regions -- on pain of "pre-emption." America alone would be the dominant authority in all areas relevant to "energy security."

PNAC did acknowledge that such "revolutionary" changes could take decades to bring about -- unless, of course, the United States was struck by what the Cheney-Rumsfeld group called "some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor." Lucky duckies, they got their wish just a year later -- on Sept. 11 -- and the entire PNAC agenda became national policy. The longed-for planting of American bases in Iraq could now proceed without serious hindrance.

So there you have it. Iraq was invaded because this elitist clique wanted a "substantial American force presence" in the Gulf region. That's it. That's all. Their witless lust for ever-more loot and ever-more power "transcended" the "issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." They were always going to invade Iraq, come hell or high water -- or yellowcake. The hysterically hyped and constantly changing "justifications" they offered for the attack were just the aggressor's usual "sound and fury, signifying nothing."

The "threat" posed by Saddam's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction was always their most flimsy smokescreen. The warmongers knew from top Iraqi defectors that Saddam had destroyed Iraq's WMD in 1994 -- a fact duly reported by Newsweek last February then promptly forgotten. Likewise, the bestial repression of Saddam's regime -- now increasingly cited as the sole justification for the war -- never troubled our world dominators. George Bush I ordered U.S. officials to strengthen ties with Saddam long after the infamous gassing of Kurds and other atrocities. Cheney, as a corporate chief, happily signed deals with Saddam after the invasion of Kuwait, after the murderous suppression, with Bush I's collusion, of the Shiite revolt in 1991 -- the main source of those mass graves now so mournfully cited by Bush II and Blair.

No, a few yellowcake lies are the least of our worries. What's worse is the rising magma of moral corruption: torture, assassination, secret arrests, mass murder of civilians, and the human sacrifice of one's own soldiers to the greed and incompetence of pampered elites. The blinkered, blundering fools who have deliberately sent America and Britain down the path of aggression have committed a folly far greater than their own cramped and tainted minds will ever comprehend.

Dossiergate Goes Nuclear
The Guardian, July 15, 2003

Bush Faced Dwindling Data on Iraq Nuclear Bid
Washington Post, July 16, 2003

The Defector's Secrets
Newsweek, March 3, 2003 issue

Rumsfeld's Personal Spy Ring, July 16, 2003

Rebuilding America's Defenses
Project for the New American Century, September 2000

No Real Planning for Post-War Iraq
Knight-Ridder, July 11, 2003

The Dirty Route to War
Boston Globe, July 16, 2003

Niger Upset by Uranium Slur
BBC, July 16, 2003

Letter From a Young Soldier in Iraq
Information Clearing House, July 4, 2003

Allies Hushed Up Weapons' Destruction
The Scotsman, Feb. 24, 2003

Core of Weapons Case Crumbling
BBC, July 13, 2003

Little Caesar's Quicksand
William Grieder, July 10, 2003

Selective Intelligence
New Yorker, May 5, 2003

US Changes Reason for Invading Iraq
Toronto Globe and Mail, July 10, 2003

Rumsfeld Ignored WMD in Pursuit of Oil Pipeline
Institute for Policy Studies, March 24, 2003

Intelligence Unglued
CounterPunch, July 14, 2003

Pattern of Corruption
New York Times, July 15, 2003

Iraq: The Human Toll
The Observer, July 6, 2003

Our Designated Killers
Village Voice, Feb. 14, 2003

A U.S. License to Kill
Village Voice, Feb. 21, 2003

America's Secret Prisoners
Newsweek, June 18, 2003

Copyright 2002, The Moscow Times.

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