By Barbra Streisand.
After nine long years, over eight billion taxpayer dollars spent, nearly 4,500 US soldiers killed, over 32,000 seriously wounded, and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, we now can assert that our government invaded Iraq based on a big lie. Why does this all matter now? Because the man who fabricated Iraq’s WMD program recently taped a two-part interview airing this week on BBC 2 to confirm what most Americans, outside the opinion elite, only heard rumours about but never knew for sure: that the public was sold a lie as the reason for invading Iraq.
Code- named “Curveball” by the CIA, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi’s claimed he worked as a chemical engineer at a plant that manufactured mobile biological weapon laboratories as part of Iraq’s WMD program. But al-Janabi had his own agenda from the start– to topple the oppressive Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein and obtain a German green card in the process. Unfortunately, he was lucky enough to find an Administration in power that was already searching for a reason to invade his country.
In 2003, prior to the start of the war, German intelligence questioned the authenticity of al-Janabi’s claims, and U.N. Chief Weapons inspector, David Kay, found serious holes in his credibility. Kay called al-Janabi’s account “maddenly murky,” stating that he had “nothing to do with actual production of biological agents and that he never saw [Iraqis] actually produce [an] agent.” In addition, al-Janabi’s claims did not corroborate with years of inspection reports re-affirming the absence of WMDs in Iraq.
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, finally admitted that U.S. officials worked hard to fit intelligence around the Administration’s policy to go to war. Now, CIA officials concede that al-Janabi fused fact, Internet research, and what his former co-workers called “water cooler gossip” to create a terrifying story that ultimately played on U.S. fears after the 9/11 attacks.
Patriots like Colin Powell were manipulated to advance the Bush/Cheney Administration’s agenda for war. Powell was duped into using his reputation and credibility to convince members of the U.N. to support the United States in going to war based on bad intelligence.
And the Fourth Estate mainly followed in lock step, choosing to blindly trust the administration, rather than pursue the facts, ask the right questions, and investigate the obvious contradictions. The public resisted the Iraq war from the beginning, and if the mainstream media had done their job digging deeper for the truth, we may have avoided one of the greatest follies in American foreign policy.
So after losing countless lives, spending billions of tax payer dollars (much of it paid to private war contractors like Halliburton and its subsidiaries), and squandering the good-will shown to the U.S. by other nations following the September 11th attacks, the political establishment feels it’s better to just move forward rather than hold those individuals in the Bush/Cheney Administration accountable for purposely leveraging a big lie for their own policy purposes. Whether their reasoning was to help satiate our country’s endless addiction to oil or to settle an old score, what we now know for sure is that it was all based on lies. Imagine the roads we could have repaired, the schools we could have built, the amount we could have lowered the deficit by, instead of spending nine years and over eight billion dollars waging a senseless war in a country that did not attack us or pose an imminent threat to begin with. Many innocent lives were lost and hundreds of thousands of lives have been permanently affected. Someone needs to be held accountable.