Who Lied Us Into War?

It was a moment of harmonic convergence, when the fibbers of the left and the prevaricators on the right were aligned in perfect cosmic harmony. Never mind who lied us into war, averred impeached presidential liar Bill Clinton:

“What happened, often happens. There was a disagreement between British intelligence and American intelligence. The president said it was British intelligence that said it. . . . British intelligence still maintains that they think the nuclear story was true. I don’t know what was true, what was false. I thought the White House did the right thing in just saying, ‘Well, we probably shouldn’t have said that.’ You know, everybody makes mistakes when they are president. I mean, you can’t make as many calls as you have to make without messing up once in awhile. The thing we ought to be focused on is what is the right thing to do now. That’s what I think.”

Leading Democrats were shocked, but Clinton’s comments are hardly surprising to the nonpartisan mind. For a confirmed sociopath there is no such thing as truth or falsehood: all that matters is what advances his ambitions and momentary desires. What’s astonishing is that the neocons are wearing Clinton’s endorsement of lying tactics as a badge of honor.

Opponents of the war, sniffs Charles Krauthammer, are trying to “change the subject.” – the subject being, in his view, the improved “strategic realities” of the postwar Middle East. The former Liar-in-Chief, avers Krauthammer, “has injected a note of sanity” into the discussion, because

“Everywhere you look the forces of moderation have been strengthened.”

If that is the message Krauthammer and his fellow war weenies are getting from the news of the latest casualties in Iraq – five killed in the last 24 hours – then they’d better check to see if their antennae are out of kilter. As shouting Shi’ites rally in their thousands, demanding that we get out of their country or face the consequences, one has to ask: These are voices of “moderation”?

Oh, but that is “changing the subject,” which ought to be focused exclusively on the “moral reality” of Saddam’s overthrow. Excuse me, but it is not Krauthammer’s prerogative to determine what is the subject. That privilege, if it belongs to anyone, should go to Lynn Bradach, the mother of a Marine killed in Iraq over the weekend, who says:

“I want everything to come out about why decisions were made. And I don’t want to hear, `Well, you know what, it’s over now, the decision was made.’ You know what? If you make a wrong decision, you have to pay for that. I want to make sure that changes are made or people are held accountable for what happened.”

Krauthammer and the rest of the Chickenhawk Brigade have no right to lecture anyone, especially not Ms. Bradach and the families of the fallen. Everything they said about the aftermath of this war has turned out to be flat out wrong: they said we’d be welcomed as “liberators,” but a look at the growing list of American casualties quickly dispels that illusion. They said we’d find the infamous “weapons of mass destruction” – but we’ve now searched every single suspect site, and the holy grail of WMD still eludes us. They denied the protests of their own officer corps, who said we’d need more troops for the occupation, because it wasn’t politically convenient to acknowledge what they knew to be true. In light of their dismal record, there is only one decent course open to Krauthammer and the rest of the War Party, at this point, and that is to shut up..

The only “moral reality” that matters, to Americans, is the one where their sons and daughters are dying every day. The parents have a right – nay, a sacred duty – to ask: did they die for a pack of lies? Increasingly, they are asking just that question, which is why deputy defense secretary and leading warmonger Paul Wolfowitz was recently queried by Fox News reporter Brit Hume:

“Well, what about public support for the war? Don’t you believe that whatever military significance it may or may not have, that politically, these continuing reports of American deaths are…

“WOLFOWITZ: The reports of deaths are terrible. Any American death is a terrible thing, but I think the American public understands that when you’re fighting a war against terrorists, when you’re fighting for the security of this country, that sacrifice is something that you have to expect.”

But the lack of a connection between what is happening in Iraq and the security of this country is precisely what’s in dispute. Illusory WMD, the Niger-uranium forgeries, the nonexistent Iraqi connection to Al Qaeda – who cooked up this stew of disinformation, and fed it to the White House?

The President, by all accounts, bypassed the broccoli proffered by the CIA and the State Department, and instead went for the rich confections conjured up by the Office of Special Plans (OSP).

Set up by Paul Wolfowitz, and run by Abram Shulsky, classical scholar and intelligence expert, the OSP may turn out to be the last domino to fall in the ongoing Washington blame game. First it was George Tenet who nobly offered to fall on his sword, by formally taking full responsibility for not deleting the reference to Niger uranium from the President’s state of the union speech. But everyone knew better. Then it was Robert Joseph who was slated to take the fall, but he was soon replaced by Stephen Hadley. Now it looks like Condolezza Rice is the latest sacrificial offering. But we ought not to stop there….

At the end of the paper trail lurk the real authors of this war, and it’s high time we flushed them out. Let’s find out exactly who knew what, and when. Let’s dig all the way down to the core of the War Party, and find out just who forged those documents that all the intelligence available to the President could not unmask as phony. Seymour Hersh has already given us an overview, and others have provided more details, of just how the OSP operated – and its foreign connections. The Democrats in congress are calling for a full-scale investigation. The hunt is on. Tally ho!

Like squid who sense danger, the war weenies are emitting clouds of obfuscating rhetoric and lying rationalizations, like this effusion from Wolfowitz:

“The nature of terrorism is that intelligence about terrorism is murky. I think the lesson of 9/11 is that if you’re not prepared to act on the basis of murky intelligence, then you’re going to have to act after the fact, and after the fact now means after horrendous things have happened to this country.”

More lies, and threats – that’s the only recourse the War Party has now that we’re hot on their trail. Wolfowitz is right about the murkiness of the circumstances that permitted a small cabal to drag a reluctant nation into war. The murk, however, is being generated by this administration and its amen corner in the media. Let’s shine the light of a congressional investigation into the cave-like darkness of the decision-making process so we can see, at last, the buried truth.


It’s pathetic, really, to see Bob Novak, who was right to oppose this war, now attempting to “refute himself,” as Al Hunt of the WSJ put it on “Capital Gang” last Saturday. This is “not a quagmire,” says Novak, “it’s not Vietnam.” Say, what? Now that everything he predicted before the war is coming to pass, Novak, the partisan Republican, sounds like fellow Gang member (and neocon shill) Kate O’Beirne. And maybe, just maybe, all the smears directed his way by the odious David Frum had some effect, in spite of Novak’s vociferous protestations.

Oh, wait…. It seems I spoke – or wrote – too soon.

The above was written as the show was in progress, but a few moments later, when they got to discussing the news about the deletion from the congressional report on 9/11 of a section supposedly having to do with Saudi Arabia, Novak was back in fine form, denouncing this rather fanciful interpretation of blank pages as “Israeli propaganda.” Oh ye of little faith! I might have known that Novak would be the last person on earth to be intimidated by the neocons. Go, Bob, go!

To the many readers who have written to me asking about the status of my book, The Terror Enigma: Israel and the 9/11 Connection, I have some good news. The August issue of Chronicles magazine is out, with my precis to the book. This won’t appear on their website, so you must purchase the August issue. I’ll let you know when the full book version is scheduled.

– Justin Raimondo

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Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is editor-at-large at Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is 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].