Why They Don’t Present Honest Answers
On Wednesday, July 30, 2003, George Bush held one of his rare press conferences. When a reporter asked about the erroneous statement in his State of the Union address about Iraq buying uranium from Africa, Bush quickly changed the subject. He responded that he himself had "analyzed a thorough body of intelligence–good, solid, sound intelligence", and that this showed him the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
Once again George W. Bush has evaded explaining how the charges made against Iraq in his State of the Union speech were the product of forged documents. In a similar way, Paul Wolfowitz, Assistant Secretary of Defense, came up with a different reason for the war in Iraq in his presentation to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, July 29, 2003. He painted Saddam Hussein as a villain whose government had to be removed in Iraq. Yet just a few days earlier, Wolfowitz had explained that sending U.S. troops into a war could not be justified on the basis of wanting to change the government of another country. Only a threat to the lives of the people of the U.S., he maintained, could justify sending soldiers to war.
In the past few weeks, several articles in the press have pointed out that the Bush administration is constantly shifting the reasons given for the war against Iraq. A similar pattern of shifting reasons was used by George W. Bush’s father to justify the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq:
The American administration continually changed the reasons given to justify a war against Iraq. Such a changing string of explanations clarifies that there wasn’t a good or honorable reason in the first place to justify sending massive amounts of American troops to the Gulf region. The reasons also contradicted each other.
Michael Hauben, The 1991 War Against Iraq
This article helps to provide perspective. In a way reminiscent of the lack of a legitimate justification for the 1991 war against Iraq, the current Bush administration lacks any legitimate justification for the 2003 Iraq war. What has become clear in 2003, however, is that the real, but illegitimate reasons for the war, are being hidden from the public by the Bush administration. In her article, The Neocons in Power, Elizabeth Drew writes:
The conflict within the Bush administration in recent months over policy for postwar Iraq has caused much confusion and has already damaged the reconstruction effort….Almost from the outset of the Bush administration there have been battles between the State Department and the Defense Department, but the controversy over postwar Iraq has brought out bitterness and knife-wielding of a sort that Washington has seldom seen.
More recently, Washington Post reporters provided some particulars of the bitterness and knife-wielding. Reporters Peter Slevin and Dana Priest describe a meeting in February 2003 where plans for the occupation of Iraq were unveiled to Jay Garner and others, who were to be in charge of the U.S. occupation. These plans had been created by the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans (OSP, see: "Macbeth" and the Forged Documents of Niger).
There, the Special Plans staff handed out spreadsheets on four dozen ies, all policy recommendations for key decisions: war crimes prosecution, the elimination of the Baath Party, oil sector maintenance, ministry organization, media strategy and ‘rewards, incentives and immunity’ for former Baath Party supporters.
"To the outsiders at the meeting," they write, "it looked like a ‘fait accompli’. ‘We had no input into the Special Plans office,’ said one reconstruction official who was there."
Meanwhile the Bush administration promises that a free Iraq will change the nature of the Middle East. What is the free Iraq he is describing? Bush and the Neo-conservative oriented officials he has appointed to powerful offices in his government want to have Iraqi oil privatized. So the U.S officials in the Pentagon and National Security Council involved in Iraq policy, are part of a "cabal" of officials, as they call themselves, interested in protecting the Israel Likud Party. They are not concerned with the interests and the desires of the majority of Iraqi people
Instead of recognizing the desires of the people of the Middle East to benefit from their oil and other resources, the U.S. government is planning to change the nature of Iraq and to try to change the nature of the Middle East. The model they have is not a model that has proven itself to benefit the majority of people. Rather it is a model that provides for the privatization of the resources of a nation and for indebting the nation to foreign interests. The Bush administration has given the responsibility for the "reconstruction" of Iraq to the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The plans, according to a summary recently carried at the electronicIraq.net website, "are definitely not to rebuild Iraq in the way it was before Phase III of this war."
Instead, Iraq is to be turned into a "market economy" where the "occupation forces are quickly working toward selling the Iraqi governmental services to private companies." The Office of Special Plans, according to Douglas J. Feith, the No. 3 official at the Pentagon, was called "Special Plans because, at the time, calling it Iraqi Planning Office might have undercut our diplomatic efforts." Their goal in planning for the future of Iraq is for a Neo-conservative designed Iraq and then Middle East.
While there is internal opposition in the U.S. government to some aspects of this plan being reported by journalists like Elizabeth Drew and Seymour Hersh, that opposition hasn’t challenged the goals of the plan, but rather the methods for carrying them out. One journalist, recently, in an editorial, warns the Neo-cons that they will fail if their plans are kept secret. Instead he encourages them to present their goals openly and engage in a broad public debate about these plans.
It seems such an open presentation of the plans for Iraq’s future needs to be presented not only to the people of the U.S., but also to the people of Iraq. Privatizing the Iraqi resources or selling off their country to foreign firms is contrary to the long struggle of people in Iraq. The camouflage the Bush administration and their allies in the U.S. press use to present the goal of the Bush administration in Iraq, is a problem.
There is a serious need for open discussion of the Neo-conservative plans and the camouflage they use to keep these plans from being openly understood and examined. That’s what the journalists at the Bush press conferences failed to question Bush about. Some few journalists have begun to investigate this hidden strata of the Bush administration policy with regard to the reasons for the war against Iraq. There is the need for extending this investigation to the Neo-con plan for the future of Iraq and the Middle East.