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935 lies—count them!

Broad ruling-class conspiracy behind war on Iraq

Published Feb 3, 2008 8:43 PM

Two organizations that analyze the media have counted 935 false statements made by the Bush gang between Sept. 11, 2001, and March 19, 2003, that greased the way for the invasion of Iraq. This useful information exposes almost by itself the responsibility of the entire U.S. ruling class for the conspiracy to wage war.

The Bush administration knew from the start that it had no real basis for its statements. War opponents pointed this out all along. Then, in interviews published in 2004, former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill admitted that the Bush administration began plotting the invasion right after Sept. 11, 2001.

Now the Center for Public Integrity, working with the Fund for Independence in Journalism, has counted 259 lies told by Bush himself, including 231 statements claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and 28 that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaida. Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, the only administration figure to be publicly embarrassed for lying, was a close second with 254.

While Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the lesser neo-cons of the Bush administration took the lead in both plotting the war and lying about it, the conspiracy extended to the entire ruling class and its institutions. The Pentagon went along willingly. The State Department and its head, Powell, presented the false statements to the United Nations.

Corporate media spread the lies

No one in the major corporate media seriously questioned or challenged these lies, although the anti-war movement could see through them easily. The influential New York Times and the Washington Post helped build toward the war and supported the U.S. invasion. Nor did the media allow war opponents to expose, for example, the patently false and illogical charge that Saddam Hussein collaborated with Osama bin Laden, who was Hussein’s ideological enemy.

In January and February 2003, mass mobilizations tried to stop the war. No major ruling-class politicians or business figures participated in them.

In a word, the vast majority of the super-rich ruling class, through their Democratic and Republican parties and all their institutions, were either enthusiastically pro-war or were willing to swallow their misgivings rather than mobilize to stop it.

The truth is that the corporate owners were watering at the mouth over the profits and plunder they thought would come from a quick and clean U.S. victory in Iraq. By the fall of 2002, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhilips, Halliburton and Bechtel were meeting with Cheney and lining up for the contracts to “reconstruct” Iraq.

The war conspiracy was not the work of a tiny group representing a small sector of the imperialists. It was a conspiracy that included the entire U.S. imperialist ruling class and its hired hands and hired brains, from neo-con to liberal. The military-industrial complex was key, of course, but also every sector from banking to oil to agribusiness had a long-term interest in U.S. military, political and economic domination of Southwest Asia and its oil reserves.

Five years later, the “quick victory” in Iraq has become a long-term debacle for U.S. imperialism. The determined resistance of the Iraqi people has exposed the Pentagon’s weakness—which includes having its ground troops stretched to their limit and demoralized.

The ruling class here made the same error that imperialists so often make. It’s the error German dictator Adolf Hitler made invading the Soviet Union in 1940. It’s the error Washington made sending a half-million troops to Vietnam in 1967, and that Washington and Tel Aviv made invading Lebanon in 2006. They underestimated the invaded and occupied population’s willingness to sacrifice and fight rather than submit.

Faced with this giant military flop, now sectors of the U.S. ruling class are beginning to see the war as a disaster for U.S. imperialist interests. Yahoo featured the report on Bush’s lies at the top of its news page. The same media that had promoted those lies to help build for the war is now exposing them to the world.

U.S. imperialism has full responsibility

Because the war has obviously harmed U.S. ruling-class interests, some analysts, including some progressive intellectuals, have made the mistake of looking for a mysterious element to explain Washington’s decision to invade Iraq. These analysts’ most serious error and the one that seems to have confused the most people is their argument that, without the efforts of what they call the pro-Israel lobby, the U.S. would not have carried out the invasion and occupation.

Now, there is a pro-Israel lobby. It includes fundamentalist Christians as well as pro-Israeli Jews and includes individuals with money and influence who are part of the imperialist establishment. It promoted U.S. intervention against Iraq. It also has played an utterly reactionary role within the U.S., defeating some progressive politicians like former Rep. Cynthia McKinney and suppressing anti-Zionist professors and the books they write.

But there is no evidence that this lobby has the power to impose a policy on the entire U.S. imperialist ruling class against its will and interests. Washington supports Israel, including the most virulent and aggressive forces there, not because it is duped by a lobby but because the interests of the class it represents have been served by the Israeli state for more than half a century. Indeed, Washington has paid handsomely for this service, especially in military aid.

As is shown above, the vast majority of the U.S. ruling class, including those who are part of the pro-Israel lobby, believed the Iraq war would lead to a quick victory. They believed the war would promote U.S. imperialist interests. But they underestimated the Iraqis.

To argue otherwise is to diminish the responsibility of the U.S. imperialist establishment for its war crimes against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, for the threats against Iran, and for whatever criminal wars Washington and/or its heavily armed Israeli client unleash in the region.

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