This War is Treason

Anyone who believes the attack on Iraq is about defending the U.S. against terrorism should listen to veteran FBI agent Coleen Rowley. Rowley, you’ll recall, caused a sensation when her testimony in front of Congress fingered higher-ups in the Bureau who inexplicably obstructed and effectively derailed the anti-terrorist effort in the crucial days prior to 9/11: she wrote a letter to the FBI’s top brass that exposed the near-criminal incompetence of her superiors and set off a firestorm of recriminations that has yet to abate. Now she has written another letter, pointing out that the problems she identified back then have gotten worse:

"In June, 2002, on the eve of my testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, you told me that you appreciate constructive criticism and that FBI agents should feel free to voice serious concerns they may have about senior-level FBI actions. Since then I have availed myself twice of your stated openness.

"At this critical point in our country’s history I have decided to try once again, on an issue of even more consequence for the internal security posture of our country. That posture has been weakened by the diversion of attention from al-Qaeda to our government’s plan to invade Iraq, a step that will, in all likelihood, bring an exponential increase in the terrorist threat to the U.S., both at home and abroad."

The capture (by Pakistan) of Bin Laden’s reputed second in command has led some to argue that the U.S. government can walk and chew gum at the same time, but the sudden elevation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed from number 22 to number 2 in the terrorist hierarchy strikes many as suspicious. In any event, Rowley’s accusations, this time around, are devastating, not only to the FBI high command but to the War Party. She writes:

"What is the FBI’s evidence with respect to a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq? Polls show that Americans are completely confused about who was responsible for the suicidal attacks on 9-11 with many blaming Iraq. And it is clear that this impression has been fostered by many in the Administration."

The government’s war propaganda is actively undermining the FBI’s effort to identify and root out terrorism in this country. Rowley points to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s contention that the Saddam-Osama connection is certain, counterposing it to Brent Scowcroft’s skepticism, and asks: which is it?

"The answer to this is of key importance in determining whether war against Iraq makes any sense from the FBI’s internal security point of view. If the FBI does have independent data verifying such a connection, it would seem such information should be shared, at least internally within the FBI."

Could it be because such a connection doesn’t exist?

Americans ought to be shocked by Rowley’s revelation that the FBI has yet to interview Zacarias Moussaoui, the man she was prevented from investigating, who has since been shown to have a direct connection to the events of 9/11. The "shoe bomber" Richard Reid has also, somehow, escaped extensive interrogation. What’s up with that? It’s a matter of priorities, says Rowley: and apparently the chief priority of the U.S. government is not preventing future terrorist attacks on American soil, but prosecuting a diversionary war against the wrong enemy.

Rowley shows that the break with our longtime closest allies hurts the war on terrorism, since the great majority of Al Qaeda operatives are based in Europe, and makes the cogent point that it was the French, after all, who fingered Moussaoui. She also exposes the mass round-up and detention of thousands of Arabs as largely a political ploy:

"After 9/11, Headquarters encouraged more and more detentions for what seem to be essentially PR purposes. Field offices were required to report daily the number of detentions in order to supply grist for statements on our progress in fighting terrorism."

Particularly striking is Rowley’s analogy likening the attack on Iraq to the FBI’s assault on the Branch Davidians at Waco. Like Saddam Hussein, David Koresh was demonized by government officials and the media in preparation for the strike: like Iraq, the Davidian "compound" was said to be the source of a weapons cache; like the Iraqi dictator, the Davidian guru was said to be abusing his own people (according to Janet Reno, he was sexually abusing the cult’s children). Much of the case against Koresh and his followers was debunked after the siege incinerated those children, and the FBI, says Rowley, has learned its lesson from the Waco disaster – but the U.S. government has failed to apply this lesson to the foreign policy realm:

"We learned some lessons from this unfortunate episode and quickly explored better ways to deal with such challenges. As a direct result of that exploration, many subsequent criminal/terrorist ‘standoffs’ in which the FBI has been involved have been resolved peacefully and effectively. I would suggest that present circumstances vis-a-vis Iraq are very analagous, and that you consider sharing with senior administration officials the important lessons learned by the FBI at Waco."

The Janet Reno school of foreign policy has potentially deadly consequences for the U.S. and the security of its citizens, and the real shocker of Rowley’s letter is her contention that we are all made much less safe by the War Party’s Iraqi adventure:

"Such an attack, though, may have grave consequences for your ability to discharge your responsibility to protect Americans, and it is altogether likely that you will find yourself a helpless bystander to a rash of 9-11s. The bottom line is this: We should be deluding neither ourselves nor the American people that there is any way the FBI, despite the various improvements you are implementing, will be able to stem the flood of terrorism that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack on Iraq. What troubles me most is that I have no assurance that you have made that clear to the president."

For months we have been told, again and again, that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil is "inevitable." Now a veteran of 22 years in the FBI has come forward to testify that we don’t have the power to stop it – because our government is dragging its feet in the anti-terrorist investigation while going all out to prosecute a war abroad. The "flood of terrorism" that is about to engulf us is seemingly of little concern to U.S. government officials at the highest level. But how could that be?

"A rash of 9/11s?" Could a more horrific possibility be imagined? Yet our government is willing to risk it in order to "democratize" the Middle East and make the world safe for Israel.

That opponents of this war are being called "traitors" and denounced as the ideological equivalent of "enemy combatants" is surely one of the cruelest ironies ever witnessed by history. Yet patriots like Ms. Rowley are speaking out because they sense that a very real danger to our country is being ignored – and, I believe, tacitly encouraged.

This is either a case of the most incredible incompetence on the part of the FBI tops and other high officials, or else it is nothing less than treason. It won’t matter much, in the end, since the consequences will be the same.

Think, for a moment, how this administration would react to "a rash of 9/11s." Attorney General John Ashcroft denies the administration has any plans for a Patriot Act II, but the reality is that Patriot Acts II, III, IV, and V would be rammed through a cowed Congress before the smoke cleared.

The rhetoric of the President, who invents an Iraq-Al Qaeda connection without evidence, and then conjures up a fearsome picture of another 9/11, is echoed and amplified by the War Party and its pet pundits, who, at times, seem to yearn for another devastating attack on the U.S. – if only to silence the growing antiwar chorus.

As terrible and irrational as it seems, it’s almost as if they want to see another terrorist attack on this country. I get letters every day from war-maddened idiots who write:

"Just wait until a nuclear ‘dirty bomb’ goes off in this country. Then maybe people like you will wake up. I hope it explodes near you!"

The alienation of our allies, the wrecking of the American economy, the increased risk of another 9/11 – all this and more the Bushites are willing to pay in order to carry out their monomaniacal Middle East policy. What’s another 3,000, or 6,000, or 10,000 American lives – as long as we "liberate" Iraq? No price is too high. That is their attitude, and if it isn’t treasonous, in the technical sense, it is pretty damned close.

Never mind the "liberation" of Baghdad: we won’t be safe until and unless we liberate Washington, D.C. from officials who don’t seem to realize that their one and only legitimate function is to protect Americans on American soil.


There are a lot of indications that’s analysis of the reasons for this war are making significant headway in the "mainstream" media. Arnaud de Borchgrave’s recent article in the Washington Times was just the most widely-noted of many recent instances in which our view of the key role played by the neoconservatives has been given wider circulation. Wednesday’s "Nightline" program explored the issue in depth.

This perspective is shared by a growing number of conservatives, and they are getting organized in a group called "Right Against the War": this effort, led by Dan Charles, chairman of the America First Party, is worth supporting. The one element missing from the antiwar movement is an organized group of conservatives and libertarians, whose arguments – and presence – are bound to be more effective than the usual pseudo-pacifist soporifics. To contact Right Against the War, phone: 866-SOS-USA1, or email:

– Justin Raimondo

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].