This month marks the seventh anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Despite the passage of time, there is still much confusion, some of it deliberate, about why America made that fateful decision. The following questions are intended to clarify who’s to blame for the Iraq war.
1. Ahmed Chalabi, the source of much of the false “intelligence” about Iraqi WMD, was introduced to his biggest boosters Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz by their mentor, a University of Chicago professor who had known the Iraqi con man since the 1960s. Who was this influential Cold War hawk who has an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conference centre named in his honour?
2. In 1982, “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s” appeared in Kivunim, a journal published by the World Zionist Organization, which stated: “Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.” Who wrote this seminal article?
3. “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a report prepared for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, recommended “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq—an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.” Which then member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board was the study group leader?
4. A November 1997 Weekly Standard editorial titled “Saddam Must Go” stated: “We know it seems unthinkable to propose another ground attack to take Baghdad. But it’s time to start thinking the unthinkable.” The following year, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an influential neoconservative think tank, published a letter to President Clinton urging war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein because he is a “hazard” to “a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil.” The co-founders of PNAC were also the authors of the “Saddam Must Go” editorial. Who are they?
5. In Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, published by AEI Press in 1999, he argued that Clinton policies in Iraq were failing to contain the country and proposed that the US use its military to redraw the map of the Middle East. Who was this Mideast adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney from 2003 to mid-2007?
6. On September 15, 2001 at Camp David, the Deputy Defense Secretary attempted to justify a US attack on Iraq rather than Afghanistan because it was “doable.” In the lead-up to the war, he said that it was “wildly off the mark” to think hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed to pacify a postwar Iraq; that the Iraqis “are going to welcome us as liberators”; and that “it is just wrong” to assume that the United States would have to fund the Iraq war. Who is this chief architect of the Iraq war?
7. On September 23, 2001, which US senator, who had pushed for the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that there was evidence that “suggests Saddam Hussein may have had contact with bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network, perhaps [was] even involved in the September 11 attack”?
8. A November 12, 2001 New York Times editorial called an alleged meeting between Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi agent in Prague an “undisputed fact”? Who was the columnist, celebrated for his linguistic prowess, who was sloppy in his use of language here?
9. A November 20, 2001 Wall Street Journal op-ed argued that the US should continue to target regimes that sponsor terrorism, claiming, “Iraq is the obvious candidate, having not only helped al Qaeda, but attacked Americans directly (including an assassination attempt against the first President Bush) and developed weapons of mass destruction.” Who is the professor of strategic studies at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University who made these spurious claims?
10. George W. Bush’s January 2002 State of the Union address described Iraq as part of an “axis of evil.” Who was Bush’s Canadian-born speechwriter who coined the provocative phrase?
11. “Yet whether or not Iraq becomes the second front in the war against terrorism, one thing is certain: there can be no victory in this war if it ends with Saddam Hussein still in power”? Who is the longtime editor of Commentary magazine who made this assertion in a February 2002 article titled “How to win World War IV”?
12. Which Pentagon Defense Policy Board member and PNAC signatory wrote in the Washington Post on February 13, 2002, “I believe that demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk”?
13. “If we win the war, we are in control of Iraq, it is the single largest source of oil in the world…. We will have a bonanza, a financial one, at the other end, if the war is successful.” Who is the psychiatrist-turned- Washington Post columnist who tempted Americans with this illusory carrot on August 3, 2002?
14. In a September 20, 2002 Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “The Case of Toppling Saddam,” which current national leader claimed that Saddam Hussein could be hiding nuclear material “in centrifuges the size of washing machines” throughout the country?
15. “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990—it’s the threat against Israel.” Despite this candid admission to a foreign policy conference at the University of Virginia on September 10, 2002, he authored the National Security Strategy of September 2002, which provided the justification for a preemptive war against Iraq. Who was this member of President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board?
16. According to a December 7, 2002 New York Times article, during Secretary of State Powell’s efforts to negotiate a resolution on Iraq at the United Nations, this Iran-Contra conspirator’s role was “to make sure that Secretary Powell did not make too many concessions to the Europeans on the resolution’s wording, pressing a hard-line view.” Who was this senior director of Near East and North African affairs at the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration?
17. Who was Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, until he was indicted for lying to federal investigators in the Valerie Plame case, who drafted Colin Powell’s fraudulent February 5, 2003 UN speech?
18. According to Julian Borger’s July 17, 2003 Guardian article titled “The spies who pushed for war,” the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) “forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon’s office in Israel” to provide the Bush administration with alarmist reports on Saddam’s Iraq. Who was the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy who headed the OSP?
19. Which British-born professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, whose 1990 essay “The Roots of Muslim Rage” introduced the dubious concept of a “Clash of Civilizations,” has been called “perhaps the most significant intellectual influence behind the invasion of Iraq”?
20. Apart from their key role in taking America to war against Iraq, what do the answers to questions 1 to 19 all have in common?