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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

This is the third installment in DAYS time-travel series. Previously, we rode the Wayback Machine to late February '03 and listened in on Paul Wolfowitz's fuzzy math and false promises, and we took the Delorean for a spin to early March '03 to hear Rummy engage in some serious fearmongering. This time, we're going to let Dr. Sam Beckett take us on a quantum leap back to mid-March, 2003, less than a week before Operation F.U.B.A.R. officially lit up our television screens. Hey Al, can you punch 'Niger', 'uranium' and 'total bullshit' into Ziggy to see if she comes up with March 14, 2003? Oh boy.

Image hosting by Photobucket 'Honestly Al, can we leap somewhere less dangerous?'

The week of leading up to March 14th was a pivotal one. The decision to invade Iraq had been made long ago, this week was simply about appearing to exhaust all other options. At this point, Rummy and Dick were so jacked up to bomb the shit out of something, anything, they probably had to be locked up. They are conspicuously absent from the public eye the week leading up to the invasion. I would say they were busy planning, but the only thing they appeared to have planned prior to Shock and Awe was how best to divide the spoils of war between Halliburton and Bechtel.

Image hosting by Photobucket [freeway blogger]

On March 6th, our feckless leader took questions from a compliant press corps about pending action on Iraq in a prime-time press conference. In his preamble, he said this:

"In the event of conflict, America also accepts our responsibility to protect innocent lives in every way possible. We'll bring food and medicine to the Iraqi people. We'll help that nation to build a just government, after decades of brutal dictatorship. The form and leadership of that government is for the Iraqi people to choose. Anything they choose will be better than the misery and torture and murder they have known under Saddam Hussein."
Don't worry Iraq, we're still working on that whole reconstruction thing. Sort of. And your government will come together soon enough, we just forgot to mention that you'll have to go through a bloody Civil War first. Oh, and as for being better than it was under Saddam? Ummmm, yeah. Next question?

Image hosting by Photobucket 'Sure we have a plan. We'll tell you about it in 3 years.'

The next day, March 7th, The UN Security Council received an update on Iraq's disarmament activities from Hans Blix, then chief weapons inspector at the UN. It read, in part:

"In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties and certainly much less than those that were faced by UNSCOM in the period 1991 to 1998. This is not to say that the operation of inspections is free from frictions, but at this juncture we are able to perform professional no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance."

"How much time would it take to resolve the key remaining disarmament tasks? While cooperation can and is to be immediate, disarmament and at any rate the verification of it cannot be instant. Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude, induced by continued outside pressure, it would still take some time to verify sites and items, analyse documents, interview relevant persons, and draw conclusions. It would not take years, nor weeks, but months."
But the Bushies didn't have 'months'. They were set to invade in less than a week, damn any disarmament progress, damn world opinion, and damn the lack of a plan. That same day, Colin Powell responded to the Blix report before the UN Security Council, this time without waving his sinister sarin canister around. He stated that the progress reported was unacceptable, the general thrust of his thesis being that if Iraq was being so forthright they would present the WMD the administration already knew they had:

"If Iraq genuinely wanted to disarm, we would not have to be worrying about setting up means of looking for mobile biological units or any units of that kind. They would be presented to us. We would not need an extensive program to search for and look for underground facilities that we know exist. The very fact that we must make these requests seems to me to show that Iraq is still not cooperating."
The problem, as we now know, is that those things didn't exist. The intelligence Team Cheney cherry-picked was dead wrong. And now, three years later, Iraq careens further into chaos with our soldiers stuck right in the middle of the downward spiral.

Image hosting by Photobucket 'I know, I don't really believe this bullshit either.'

Which brings us to March 14, 2003. It was on this day, less than a week before Shock and Awe, that the following was reported:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Intelligence documents that U.S. and British governments said were strong evidence that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons have been dismissed as forgeries by U.N. weapons inspectors.

The documents, given to International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, indicated that Iraq might have tried to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger, but the agency said they were "obvious" fakes.

Sources said that one of the documents was a letter discussing the uranium deal supposedly signed by Niger President Tandja Mamadou. The sources described the signature as "childlike" and said that it clearly was not Mamadou's.

Another, written on paper from a 1980s military government in Niger, bears the date of October 2000 and the signature of a man who by then had not been foreign minister of Niger in 14 years, sources said.

"The IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts that these documents -- which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger -- are not in fact authentic," ElBaradei said in his March 7 presentation to the U.N. Security Council.

President Bush even highlighted the documents in his State of the Union address on January 28.

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," Bush said.

16 words, count 'em.

Image hosting by Photobucket 'I thought I told you take care of the Niger thing Scooter? You're so taking the fall for this. And what's with the fucking eyeliner Harriet?? Jesus!'

Senator Rockefeller hit the nail on the head that day when he suggested the forgeries "may be part of a larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq." Indeed.

So who cares, right? What's done is done. Why does it matter to look back now? Well, because it's all happening again, that's why. If you're reading this, you probably already know that the war drums are thumping once again, this time with Iran in the crosshairs. It seems incomprehensible, after mucking up Iraq so bad, that these incompetent criminals would even consider such a thing, but it's happening. Every single one of them -- Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Bolton -- have all sabre-rattled on Iran in the last week. Before most Americans can even say Shock and Awe, American jets will probably be flying sorties over Tehran.

And if you think I'm just a paranoid loon, consider the following, for starters:

Bolton: U.N. Security Council Faces 'Real Test'
"The use of force is certainly an option that's out there," Bolton said. "When you see the risk of a government led by a president like [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, a man who has denied the existence of the Holocaust, who has said Israel ought to be wiped off the map imagining somebody like that with his finger on a nuclear button means that you can't take any
option off the table if you believe, as President Bush does, that it's unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons."

Security Council Still at Odds Over Iran
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said Washington agrees the IAEA has a role, but also believes "the Security Council has an independent obligation when faced with the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in violation of treaty obligations, which is what the case of Iran is." He said the Bush administration wants to move "as quickly as we can. Every day that goes by is a day that permits the Iranians to get closer to a nuclear weapons capability," Bolton said.
Now you know why Bush forced Bolton into the UN. This has been planned for months, probably years. But that's not all the evidence we have, how about Bush himself, who yesterday added this little nugget to his tired spin on Iraq:

Bush Defends Iraq, Points Finger at Iran
While blaming sectarian violence on the "enemies of freedom" in Iraq, Bush also pointed the finger at Iran, saying some of the homemade bombs wreaking havoc in Iraq had been traced to its eastern neighbor.

Locked in a test of wills with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, Bush said: "Coalition forces have seized IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and components that were clearly produced in Iran."
Only one problem: it turns out there's absolutely no evidence of Iranian interference. Not that facts have ever stopped this band of criminals before.

Image hosting by Photobucket 'Facts? Ha!'

Still need more evidence? How about McCain's comment that "Iran may be the greatest single threat to America since the end of the Cold War. If the Iranians acquire nuclear weapons, then my friends, we are in trouble.”? How about Frist responding to Russ Feingold's call for censure by saying he was “hoping deep inside that the leadership in Iran was not listening.”? How about the fact that the Pentagon is looking into Israeli strike capabilities? How about the fact that the usual cheerleaders like O'Reilly are urging the administration to "blow Iran off the face of the map."? Or that wack-job Coulter who thinks we should invade Iran AND China?

Scared yet? You should be. Fellow blogger Arthur Silber, who's seen this coming for a long time, opines that there's no better cure for terminally ill poll numbers than a war, so we better be careful what we ask for. I just hope Bush doesn't need another 9/11 to justify an Iranian invasion. *gulp*

So this is why I continue to look back at how we got where we are, because it's all happening again and it's always good to be prepared and aware. In fact, after I finish this post, I may just go hide under my bed for the remainder of the decade.

Image hosting by PhotobucketJust a scared little monkey am I.

Progress: Atomic Incompetence
Whitney: Shock and Awe, part deux
DAYS Redux: The Bolton Appointment

[Return to DAYS home]

Excellent summary and very scary. Scott Ritter has been warning us about this for quite a while.
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