January 12, 2005

Time for an Accounting

The WMD Fraud


The great thing about being George W. Bush is never having to say you're sorry.

Several hundred billion dollars down the tubes in Iraq in a war that was started on the trumped up claim that Saddam Hussein had been building and stockpiling "weapons of mass destruction," and several hundred millions of secret dollars spent belatedly trying to find a hint of such weapons, all for naught.

Not only are there no such weapons, the few efforts that did exist to try to make something nasty having been dismantled by 1991, but the Iraqi scientists arrested by invading American troops, and held incommunicado for as long as two years now have been found to have been innocent of any wrongdoing.

In fact, some of the leaders of the so-called Iraq Survey Group charged with finding WMDs in Iraq have been calling on the Pentagon to release those scientists, who include Gen. Amir Saadi, who had been a liaison between the Hussein government and U.N. arms inspectors, Rihab Taha, the biologist American reporters breathlessly referred to as "Dr. Germ" for his alleged work years ago with germ weapon research, and Huda Amash, who was similarly, if somewhat sexistly, awarded the moniker "Mrs. Anthrax." ISG officials say they have cleared all three of involvement in any illegal WMD work for Hussein over the past decade or more, and add that they have been cooperating with investigators.

They shouldn't hold their breaths waiting for release, however. The Pentagon appears bent on keeping them in captivity indefinitely, as it is doing with most of the detainees at Guantanamo and other secret holding pens.

We shouldn't hold our breaths either for an honest accounting of what the ISG did and what it learned about the imaginary WMDs that were the causus belli of this ugly, bloody conflict in Iraq. The Bush administration and the Pentagon, clearly massively embarrassed by the failure to turn up even a shred of evidence of WMDs after two years of searching, are sealing the ISG's records, and are not giving any account of the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wasted in what was clearly a frantic political effort to find expost facto justification for an illegal war.

We're supposedly "building democracy" in Iraq, but meanwhile we're deconstructing it here at home, where the areas that the public has a right to know about are being shrunk by the day.

In the name of those non-existing WMDs, American soldiers continue to die at a rate of two or three a day, while Iraqi civilians, their cities flattened, their water rancid, and their hospitals swamped, are dying at about ten times that rate.

A policy mistake or fraud of this magnitude cries out for accountability.