Magazine article Monthly Review

Notes from the Editors

Magazine article Monthly Review

Notes from the Editors

Article excerpt

The chief, indeed the only, justification that Washington offered for its invasion of Iraq during its build-up for war between September 2002 and March 2003, was the need to "disarm" an Iraqi regime that Washington contended had broken UN resolutions banning weapons of mass destruction in that country. The problem, though, was that there was no hard evidence that Iraq, which had effectively destroyed its weapons of mass destruction in the 1990s under UN supervision, had any such weapons--or if it did that they were functional and constituted a significant threat. Nevertheless, the Bush administration continued to insist (based on speculation, hearsay, and what turned out to be fabricated evidence) that Iraq had such banned weapons in significant quantities and was actually deploying them.

In an extraordinary propaganda campaign in which the whole mainstream media took part, the U.S. population was led to believe that they were in imminent danger of attack from these phantom weapons and had no choice but to support a preemptive invasion of that country.

In his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003, President Bush claimed that U.S. intelligence had reported that Iraq had 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard gas, and VX nerve agent, several mobile biological weapons labs and "an advanced nuclear weapons development program." In his presentation to the United Nations in February 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Calm Powell said: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets." And he went on to declare: "We know from sources that a missile brigade outside of Baghdad was dispersing rocket launchers and warheads containing biological-warfare agent." Powell at that time also made his famous statements on mobile-biological weapons facilities: "We have first-hand description of biological weapons on wheels and on rails," including eighteen trucks constantly moving on Iraqi highways. Finally he insisted, "Saddam Hussein is very much focused on putting in place the key missing piece from his nuclear-weapons program, the ability to produce fissile material."

So far none of these weapons or advanced weapons programs has materialized--either during the war or in the subsequent military occupation. This is not at all surprising since, as the UN inspectors pointed out shortly after these charges were made, they were based on false or unreliable evidence. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.