Weapons of mass destruction: George W Bush's greatest mistake. Bush regrets misinformation but blames the secret service. A massive distortion of reality
By Hans Leyendecker
[This article published in: sueddeutsche.de, 12/2/2008 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/256/449979/text/print.html.]
The outgoing US president George W. Bush described the false statements about alleged weapons of mass destruction as the "greatest mistake" of his term in office.
"During my presidency, I regret most the failure of the secret service in Iraq," Bush said in his television interview. "Some people risked their reputations and said the weapons of mass destruction were a reason to overthrow Saddam Hussein."
He didn't want to speculate whether he would have launched the war without the false information, he said.
Many US presidents occasionally said falsehoods. But Bush's claim that he was wrongly informed by the secret service is one of the most offensive distortions of reality. After September 11, the US attacked Afghanistan because the instigator of the mass murder, Osama bin Laden, took refuge there but the real target was Iraq.
IRAQ-OBSESSION OF BUSH HENCHMEN
Author Bob Woodward revealed the Iraq-obsessions of the Bush henchmen. Early on former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the hawks Paul Wolfowitz and Vice-president Dick Cheney had Iraq in their sights. Since Cheney and Rumsfeld distrusted most secret services, a think-tank "Office of Special Plans" (OSP) was installed in the Pentagon at the beginning of 2002 that called itself "the cabal." "Cabal" means, "intrigue." This name was no exaggeration for the conspiratorial troop that had only two-dozen collaborators.
The task of the special division was to produce evidence for a link between the dictator Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden and reassess the arsenal of Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction. They had a relatively free hand since the US secret services did not have their own sources any more in Iraq after the withdrawal of UN inspectors.
American journalist Seymour Hirsch described the procedure of the OSP as the "stove pipe" principle. OSP information and fabrications went directly to the president as through a stove pipe without the usual review by the normal secret service system.
From the view of the influential OSP, the CIA was a company of ignorant lemmings who sought to downplay the connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. "The lens influences one's search," Wolfowitz explained. The lens showed a very dangerous all-powerful dictator. The OSP company gained false information from Ahmed Chalabi, the former head of the Iraqi National Congress.
Several secret service agents went into inner emigration or quit the service that mostly gave answers to the president according to the OSP style, especially with the former CIA head George Tenet. Supposedly Saddam had chemical and biological weapons and allegedly tinkered on a nuclear bomb. Al-Qaeda and Saddam supposedly collaborated. None of this was true.
The highest group of the secret service, the National Intelligence Estimate, also confirmed the alleged threat from Saddam in a detailed report. Bush relied on the essentially false NIE analysis. In September 2002 Bush repeated the claim of the Brits that Iraq could deploy chemical weapons within 45 minutes although his own secret service gave no credence to the false British source. The 45-minute lie did not appear in the NIE paper.
A month later Bush declared Iraq "could give biological and chemical weapons to terrorists at any time." That also was not in the report. Before the UN Secret Council on February 5, 2003, former Secretary of State Colin Powell explained why Saddam was very dangerous for the world. Powell's line of reasoning which was influenced by the OSP troop proved to be fireworks of disinformation, which still embitters the ex-Secretary of State today.
The assertion that Saddam had mobile bio-weapon laboratories was part of the disinformation. The fabricator of this news was a source of the German news service (BND). However the BND signaled to its partner US service in 2002 that the source was very unreliable. Would there have been an Iraq war without the BND in Bush's view today?
:Lying means saying untruths while knowing the truth," said Franz Josef Strauss who was a master in inventing stories and dealing with political swindling. According to this definition, Bush may not have lied since he presumably believed his own swindle.
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