Welcome to the Joan Jerkovich Show. I’m going to be presenting that much-awaited final segment on the documentary film Hubris: Selling the Iraq War. Seems I’ve had quite a few listeners who don’t like to hear anything derogatory about the Republican Party. If you hold on with me and you come back to listen next week, I want to talk about the abuses that I see going on with the Presidential Executive Power within the Obama Administration. Later in my show I to have more to say on just that.
This blog is taken from “The Joan Jerkovich Show” radio transcript and edited for easier reading. Listen to the Podcast and post your COMMENTS at http://joanjerkovich.com/2013/04/13/hubris-part-3-elected-official-uses-n-word-actor-tyrese-allen-comments-musician-staying-off-drugs/
Starting back in with the commentary on Hubris, as you remember I talked about Paul Wolfowitz. From 2001 to 2005 during the George W. Bush administration he was a US Deputy Secretary of Defense reporting to the US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld…I want this segment to focus on some of why and how. How did it happen that we ended up in a war with Iraq based on faulty intelligence? Well, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld were two of the kingpins running this propaganda machine. It was their idea initially, which was rejected by the then Secretary of State Colin Powell, to try and tie in Iraq to the Al Qaeda 9/11 attacks.
As I found in a Wikipedia article, commenting about the journalist John Kampfner, Mr. Kampfner said that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz held secret meetings about opening up a second front against Saddam. Powell was excluded (from these meetings). They created in these meetings a policy that would later be dubbed “The Bush Doctrine” that centered on a preemption (preemptive war) and the war on Iraq. They saw this as an opportunity to root out hostile regimes in the Middle East and to implant American interpretations of democracy and free markets from Iraq to Iran and Saudi Arabia.
I’ve done a lot of research trying to find out what the motivation was of these key players in taking us into this war…This journalist (Kampfner) also reported that Wolfowitz saw a liberated Iraq as both the paradigm and the linchpin for future interventions. Of course, the job of finding those weapons of mass destruction and providing actual justification for the attack, was going to fall to the intelligence service agencies.
According to Kampfner, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz believe that while the established security services did have a role to play, they were just too bureaucratic and too traditional in their thinking. As a result, they came in and set up what was known as the “cabal”, a cell of eight or nine analysts in a new special office called “the office of special plans (OSP)” based in the US Defense Department. This new office of intelligence became President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible connection to Al Qaeda and possible possession of weapons of mass destruction.
In later history it was the actions of this very intelligence group that they pulled together, the OSP, that led to many of those accusations of the Bush administration actually “fixing” the intelligence to support their policy and his own agenda. This was also used to influence the congressional vote to go to war.
Okay, so maybe they want to bring democracy and free markets to the Middle East, but one other conjecture of why they wanted to start this war, and this is really a sad and sickening thought, is that operations in the war in Afghanistan were actually winding down. Let’s talk about following the war making money machine. Is that possibly a reason why we were drawn into another conflict?
Even though we have this somewhat sketchy intelligence, the administration starts pushing hard for Congress to take quick action against Saddam. Sen. Tom Daschle, the Democratic majority leader, even said the president made the point that there was “an urgency” to taking action, and that it couldn’t wait, and he got very animated. He used, uncharacteristically, profanity and used the middle finger to demonstrate Saddam Hussein’s disdain for the United States and for him personally.
When I heard that, I had to wonder if this is something of a personal vendetta for Bush? We do know that his father HW Bush was criticized for not finishing the job by taking out Saddam Hussein.
Was then-President Bush’s motivation for going into war with Iraq based on his belief that Saddam Hussein had called for the assassination of his father? I heard one journalist make a comment saying, “I love my father too but sending all these people to war to avenge their own father…very few of us have that power… and I think none of us in our country should.”
Based on this hurry up mode that the Bush administration had everybody in, the Senate intelligence committee did request that a national intelligence estimate, which is a comprehensive summary of the intelligence evidence, be compiled. The NIE’s are routinely delivered on intelligence issues, yet this being one of the most grave matters our country might undertake…sending our servicemen to war…they pulled this together in only three weeks. This (NIE) is something the CIA normally would put together in months. So, with this hurry up attitude, not only did they pull it together in just a few short weeks, but it was delivered to Congress for them to review just days before the congressional vote for war.
Here is the really scary bombshell. In October 2002 the congressional vote came out 373 “yes” votes to go to war to 156 “no”. Of those votes, Michael Isikoff, as you know as the co-author of the book “Hubris: Selling the Iraq War”, said that as far as his investigation could tell only about half a dozen of the US senators accessed that NIE report that is kept in a classified vault. He went on to say that, otherwise, if they had read the report, they would have seen that it was filled with dissents, meaning dissenting opinions on whether there were actually weapons of mass destruction.
How did Colin Powell, who was called the most trusted US warrior of the time, weigh in on all of this? He was the one that was slated to give the speech to sell this war to the United Nations. Well, for one, Colin Powell called the contacts with Al Qaeda and 9/11 BS. He wanted it out of his speech. He wasn’t going to represent the United States to the UN unless he had what he felt was clear credible information from solid intelligence. He pretty much shot this right back to the CIA director Tenet (George Tenet). According to the film, it only took minutes for Tenet to show up on Powell’s doorstep. He was explosive in saying that, Yes, we do have an operative who has admitted to us that there are these contacts, so put it back in the speech!
Powell moved forward, convinced that the CIA knew something that he didn’t know and believed what Tenet was telling him. Powell’s 90-minute speech was presented to the UN and later he admitted that the intelligence that was submitted to him was not solid.
One of the most wrenching parts of this whole film was when Walter Jones, who was the Republican congressman from North Carolina, said that one of the most serious responsibilities a Congress person has is to cast a vote to send a young man or woman to war to die. He is quoted as saying in the film, “I probably would have done myself a favor by being better informed than listening to the administration. We were two months out from an election and no one wants to be viewed as weak on national security. In my heart, I knew that a “No” to the authority for the president was the right vote, but yet, I was not strong enough to vote my conscience.” He went on to say, “I was more concerned about the politics of my decision rather than what is right and what is wrong. I prayed to God many times that he would forgive me for sending his children into a war that never had to happen.”
The vote passes and President George W. Bush has the free hand to take us into war with Iraq. In March 2003, the military invades Iraq. Soon after, we saw the quick conquest of Bush on the aircraft carrier declaring victory. Soon after that, everything dissolved into chaos. After 19 months of scouring the country no weapons of mass destruction were found. The information that we would go in and find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction did not come true.
Why did I put up this piece on “Hubris: Selling the Iraq War”? Let me put these numbers out as a reminder: casualties of US soldiers are at 4,486, wounded 32,021, and Iraq civilians (which must not be forgotten) are over 100,000.
Do I have concerns that our elected congressmen did not do their job in voting for this war? Yes I do. Do I have concerns that any administration can take on too much Presidential Executive Power and abuse that? Absolutely.
I want to go on into the final segment of my show today and tell you some of what I’m researching for next week regarding the concerns I have over President Obama and his administration doing the very thing he was critical of his predecessor for, which is overusing and overstepping his presidential authority. No president in any administration should be allowed to do this without oversight, especially where the lives of people, not just in the United States, but in the world, are concerned.