William Rivers Pitt | How To Start A War In Iraq
How To Start A War In Iraq
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 29 August 2003
"We've all got it coming, kid."
1. Lose an election and win a lawsuit. Move into the White House. Surround yourself with ideological extremists from the far-right wing of the Republican Party. Put them get to work planning 'regime change' in Iraq, something they themselves have been planning for years.
2. Pointedly ignore a variety of specific warnings about a looming terrorist attack against the American homeland. Capitalize on the chaos and fear after the attack has come. On the very day of the attack, get your people to start making public connections between the terrorist attack and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
3. Use the terror attack to pass ruinously contra-constitutional legislation like the Patriot Act, and later the Homeland Security Act. Send your Attorney General to Congress and have him state bluntly that anyone who disagrees with these bad new laws is aiding terrorism. This new legislation will help quash dissent surrounding the actions you plan to undertake, and will also help to insulate you from serious investigation, as the Homeland Security Act essentially destroys the Freedom of Information Act.
4. Periodically terrify the American people with warnings of looming death and destruction, so as to cow them into submission. Time these agitated warnings to coincide with moments when your own political standing is under assault because of your actions.
5. Lose any shame whatsoever about using the massive terror attacks as a rhetorical tool against your own people in the pursuit of your ideological goals. Say things like, "We need to counter the shock wave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates" (G.W. Bush 10/4/01) to help get what you want. Remember: No shame.
6. Have your Defense Secretary organize a group of like-minded ideologues whose task will be to cherry-pick, and often manufacture, evidence to support your push for war in Iraq. Call this group the Office of Special Plans, and remove them from any Congressional oversight. Have the powerful office of the Vice President be their sponsor and defender. When the CIA and State Department tell this Office that their plans and intelligence make no sense, use the influence of the Vice President's office to cut them completely out of the loop. Your Office of Special Plans will now be the main source of information delivered to the National Security Council, Congress, and the American people.
7. Pile up a couple hundred thousand of your troops on the border of Iraq before any consensus has been reached for war within your own government or the international community. This will help develop a sense of inevitability about your plans for war, no matter who disagrees
8. Go to the United Nations and deliver a lot of cooperative happy talk about wanting to work with the United Nations. Get a unanimous vote from the Security Council for your resolution on the matter, sure in the knowledge that this body has no idea that you have no intention of actually working with them. When weapons inspectors are dispatched to Iraq, per the resolution you saw passed, denigrate and insult their work as being useless. Have your troops on the border begin publicly sharpening their swords.
9. Deliver the information from the Office of Special Plans to the American people on a daily basis, making connections each time between the terrorist attack and the nation of Iraq. Scare the citizens you are supposed to lead, and scare them often. When career intelligence officials complain about your rotten intelligence and outright lying, ignore them completely.
10. When the international community begins to realize they've been led down the primrose path, start denigrating and insulting the United Nations. When no proof of your allegations about Iraq can be found, begin attempting to bribe nations like Turkey with billions of dollars in trade agreements, weapons, and cash on the barrelhead to get them to come along for the ride. When they refuse, proclaim that you can go it alone.
11. Stand before the American people during your constitutionally-mandated State of the Union address and lie like a rug about the threat posed by Iraq. Use evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program based upon crudely forged documents from Niger. Ignore other career intelligence officials, including the one you sent to investigate your 'evidence' who returned to label it fake and forged, when they state flatly that your estimations of the Iraq threat are far from accurate or honest.
12. Send your Secretary of State into the well of the United Nations Security Council to make your case, full in the knowledge that you are going to war no matter what that body decides. Show the UN absolutely no respect by allowing your Secretary of State to argue for war using intelligence data that is ten years old and plagiarized from the work of a graduate student. Note the irony surrounding the fact that this presentation comes a week after your State of the Union address, but that your Secretary of State refused to use the evidence you used before the American people in front of the international community.
13. Do not, at any point, stop lying. Lie about the weapons Iraq possesses. Lie about the threat posed to the American people, thus deepening their fear. Lie about connections between Iraq and al Qaeda. Lie about the efficacy of weapons inspections. Lie about how much the war will cost. Lie about how long we will be there. Lie about your goals. Do not forget that shame has no place here. Avoid press conferences whenever possible.
14. Use the same discredited intelligence from Niger to convince Congress that a vote for war is absolutely necessary. Try to get them to pass a resolution that authorizes you to make war "on the region" surrounding Iraq as well as Iraq itself. When you don't get those three important words in the resolution, settle for what you did get.
15. With the world essentially united against you, with half of the American people convinced that your rhetoric connecting Iraq to the terrorist attack is actually true, with that half bolstering questionable approval ratings for war, with Congressional approval for war in hand despite the fact that their approval was motivated by your lies, and with four full divisions of your young troops ready to go, begin the attack.
16. Bomb Baghdad in a 'Shock and Awe' campaign that kills untold scores of civilians in their beds and on their streets. Roll tanks and troops into the country and beat the hell out of it, knowing full well that there is no army worth mentioning to stand against you after ten years of economic sanctions. To make sure, pay off the commander of Baghdad's Republican Guard to make sure neither he nor his troops fight at the city's gates.
17. Declare an end to combat operations. Strut across the deck of an aircraft carrier and proclaim yourself to be the savior of the Iraqi people. When your soldiers continue to die, scoff at any concerns about this. Dare the killers of your troops to keep it up by sticking your chin out and saying, "Bring 'em on."
18. Ignore the fact that none of the weapons you terrified your people with have turned up, despite the best efforts of your troops and investigators to find them. Ignore the fact that no connections to al Qaeda have turned up. Ignore the fact that more troops have died since your carrier strut than died during the war. Ignore the fact that your war will cost billions and billions more than you said it would.
19. Most importantly, and do not forget: Ignore the fact that you have made your country far, far less safe. You lied about Iraqi connections to the terrorist attack, and to al Qaeda. Your war will have turned Iraq into what it was not before the war - a hotbed of al Qaeda activity. This war has also been an al Qaeda recruiter's dream. Pay absolutely no attention to this. Smile. Talk about courage and staying the course.
20. Make plans to have the 2004 national convention of your party next to the hole in the ground in New York which the terrorist attack caused. Dance on the graves of the dead who helped you get your war. Remember: No shame.
William Rivers Pitt is the Managing Editor of truthout.org. He is a New York Times and international best-selling author of three books - "War On Iraq," available from Context Books, "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available from Pluto Press, and "Our Flag, Too: The Paradox of Patriotism," available in August from Context Books.
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