A man who helped to make the case for invading Iraq – starting a nine-year war costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of pounds – will come clean in his first British television interview tomorrow. "Curveball", the Iraqi defector who fabricated claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, smiles as he confirms how he made the whole thing up. When it is put to him, "We went to war in Iraq on a lie. And that lie was your lie", Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi simply replies: "Yes." His lies were presented as "facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence" by Colin Powell when making the case for war at the UN Security Council in February 2003, after US officials "sexed up" Mr Janabi's drawings of mobile biological weapons labs, admits General Powell's former chief of staff. Mr. Janabi tries to defend his actions: "My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq."
Tag Archives | Iraq War
Thomas Frank on the establishment economists, bankers, journalists, and foreign policy experts who create our consensus reality, via the Baffler:
A résumé filled with grievous errors in the period 1996–2006 is not only a non-problem for further advances in the world of consensus; it is something of a prerequisite. Our intellectual powers that be not only forgive the mistakes; they require them. You must have been wrong back then in order to have a chance to be taken seriously today; only by having gotten things wrong can you demonstrate that you are trustworthy, a member of the team. (Those who got things right all along, on the other hand, might be dubbed “premature market skeptics”—people who doubted the consensus before the consensus acknowledged it was all right to doubt.)
Many commenters on CNN’s website believe this article unfairly conflates PTSD and homicidal behavior. What do you think?
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A man opens fire in a national park, killing a ranger who was attempting to stop him after he blew through a vehicle checkpoint.A second man is suspected in the stabbing deaths of four homeless men in Southern California.
Both men, U.S. military veterans, served in Iraq — and both, according to authorities and those who knew them, returned home changed men after their combat service.
A coincidence — two recent high-profile cases? Or a sign of an increase in hostile behavior as U.S. troops complete their withdrawal from Iraq, similar to that seen when U.S. troops returned home from the Vietnam War?
“You’re going to see this more and more over the next 10 years,” said Shad Meshad, founder of the National Veterans Foundation, who has been working with veterans since 1970.
Just so you know, that’s $4,000,000,000,000. Christopher Hinton explains for Marketwatch:
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The nine-year-old Iraq war came to an official end on Thursday, but paying for it will continue for decades until U.S. taxpayers have shelled out an estimated $4 trillion.
Over a 50-year period, that comes to $80 billion annually.
Although that only represents about 1% of nation’s gross domestic product, it’s more than half of the national budget deficit. It’s also roughly equal to what the U.S. spends on the Department of Justice, Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency combined each year.
Near the start of the war, the U.S. Defense Department estimated it would cost $50 billion to $80 billion. White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey was dismissed in 2002 after suggesting the price of invading and occupying Iraq could reach $200 billion.
“The direct costs for the war were about $800 billion, but the indirect costs, the costs you can’t easily see, that payoff will outlast you and me,” said Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at American Progress, a Washington, D.C.
U.S. officials had originally claimed that “nothing inappropriate” had occurred during a controversial incident in 2006 in the town of Ishaqi, Iraq. A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks, however, tells a different story. In this version of events, according to an autopsy of the bodies in Tikrit (along with several witness reports which were vigorously denied by U.S. officials) four women and five children (all of which were five years old or younger) were handcuffed and then shot in the head, after which an air-strike was called in to destroy the home in which the massacre had transpired. Not surprisingly, the Pentagon has thus far declined to comment. I hope you all will join me in pinching the bridge of our noses and muttering “Sweet fucking Christ”. (More on McClatchy)
The Iraq War probably didn’t start out being about oil — it just seems to be ending that way. Oil industry watchdog PLATFORM London gained access to a leaked copy of a contract between BP and the Iraqi government which reveals the extent to which the company has gained control over Iraq’s resources. New Left Project writes:
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BP was awarded the 20-year deal at an auction in June 2009, but suspicions were raised when the company did not sign the contract until four months later. The Iraqi government said nothing had changed in the interim, only “clarifications” – claims that the leaked contract show not to be true.
PLATFORM obtained from a reliable source a version of the Rumaila contract with BP/CNPC dated 8 October 2009. This leaked version was compared with the official model contract, dated 23 April 2009, which formed the basis of the first bid round.Several key changes were made, including:
> BP could opt to be paid for oil not produced as a result of OPEC quotas or Iraqi infrastructure bottlenecks.
When enlistment is down, what’s the military to do? Outsource. Seventy thousand of the people in the Pentagon’s war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan are not U.S. soldiers, but “third-country nationals” — Filipinos launder our soldiers’ uniforms, Bosnians repair electrical grids, Indians serve up iced lattes. Many say they are being held in conditions resembling indentured servitude by subcontractors who operate outside the law, the New Yorker reports:
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In the morning of October 10, 2007, the beauticians boarded their flight to the Emirates. They carried duffelbags full of cosmetics, family photographs, Bibles, floral sarongs. More than half of the women left husbands and children behind. In the rush to depart, none of them examined the fine print on their travel documents: their visas to the Emirates weren’t employment permits but thirty-day travel passes that forbade all work, “paid or unpaid”. And Dubai was just a stopping-off point. They were bound for U.S.
Noah Shachtman writes in Wired’s Danger Room:
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In the early years of the Iraq war, the U.S. military developed a technology so secret that soldiers would refuse to acknowledge its existence, and reporters mentioning the gear were promptly escorted out of the country. That equipment – a radio-frequency jammer – was upgraded several times, and eventually robbed the Iraq insurgency of its most potent weapon, the remote-controlled bomb. But the dark veil surrounding the jammers remained largely intact, even after the Pentagon bought more than 50,000 units at a cost of over $17 billion.
Recently, however, I received an unusual offer from ITT, the defense contractor which made the vast majority of those 50,000 jammers. Company executives were ready to discuss the jammer – its evolution, and its capabilities. They were finally able to retell the largely-hidden battles for the electromagnetic spectrum that raged, invisibly, as the insurgencies carried on.
They shouldn’t beat themselves up over it — just yesterday it took me twenty minutes to find my keys. The Los Angeles Times reports:
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In the year after the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration flooded the conquered country with cash to pay for reconstruction — wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.
This month, the Pentagon and the Iraqi government are finally closing the books on the program that handled all those Benjamins. But despite years of audits and investigations, U.S. Defense officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion in cash. For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error.