The US Congress and media bayed for action against Iraq. As war fever swept over the United States, this writer, an old Iraq hand and war correspondent, warned Powell’s claims were absurd and that Iraq had neither weapons of mass destruction nor delivery systems.
Other veteran Mideast observers were brushed aside or ignored. Journalists like me who were “not with the program” were silenced, sometimes at the direct demand of the White House Oval office. George Orwell’s famous line about how telling the truth in a time of mass lies becomes an act of sedition was never truer.
A final apogee of absurdity and lying was reached when President George W. Bush warned of Iraq’s “drones of death” based on freighters lurking in the Atlantic Ocean, ready to shower unspeakable germs on sleeping America.
Bush must have gotten this idea from watching the 1940’s serial, Flash Gordon, in which the fiendish Ming the Merciless planned to shower his lethal “Purple Death” powder on America.
I take little pleasure in being vindicated. I’d have much preferred the US had never invade Iraq, an unnecessary war that killed hundreds of thousands, ravaged Iraq, and cost US taxpayers close to $1 trillion – so far.
Ironically, it was Saddam Hussein, not Bush or Cheney, who was telling the truth. He was lynched after the 2003 US invasion in good part to prevent him from revealing the full extent of deep US-Iraqi collaboration prior to 1991.
The US media played a major role promoting the Iraq war. It trumpeted White House war propaganda, headlined false stories, and kept the American public in a state of constant fear and confusion.
Thanks to collusion between the Bush White House and the media, over 80% of Americans wrongly believed Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks.