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They told lies to get their war...and they're still telling lies today
End the occupation now!

By Nicole Colson | July 23, 2004 | Page 16

THE ANTIWAR movement said it all along. But now even Congress has had to admit that the facts didn't really matter in the run-up to Washington's war on Iraq. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on U.S. intelligence failures in Iraq, "Most of the major key judgments in the intelligence community's October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate...either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting."

The report details flawed assessments leading up to the war at practically every level--with Iraq's biological, chemical and nuclear weapons capabilities all grossly exaggerated. The committee did go out of its way to say that the CIA was right about one thing--that there was never a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden or the September 11 attacks. According to the report, there was no credible information that the Iraqi government had knowledge of the hijackings or any other al-Qaeda operation.

The Republican majority on the committee kept the blame for the Iraq fiasco off the White House--putting the CIA on the hot seat. The report absurdly claims that committee staff "did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."

As Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), the vice chair of the committee, noted: "The committee's report fails to fully explain the environment of intense pressure in which the intelligence community officials were asked to render judgments on matters relating to Iraq when the most senior officials in the Bush administration had already forcefully and repeatedly stated their conclusions publicly...In short, we went to war in Iraq based on false claims."

No doubt the CIA and other intelligence agencies did systematically overstate the threat posed by Iraq before last year's invasion. But the truth is that the Bush administration--and a large number of Democrats--were set on going to war to topple Saddam Hussein as soon as September 11 gave them the excuse.

And now, with no weapons of mass destruction found in occupied Iraq, hundreds of U.S. soldiers dead, and support for the war at an all-time low, the Bush administration is scrambling to justify the quagmire. That scramble will get more frantic when the September 11 commission releases its own 500-page report--which is also expected to say that there was no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

Bush's invasion and occupation was never about "weapons of mass destruction"--or the later stand-in excuse of "liberating Iraqis"--but about a grab for oil and empire. That's why ordinary Iraqis continue to suffer under the heel of the occupation--in spite of the supposed June 30 "handover" of sovereignty.

In fact, the new rulers of Iraq--handpicked by the Bush administration--look pretty similar to the former regime. Iyad Allawi, the new prime minister recently signed a law reinstating the death penalty, imposing curfews, allowing "pre-emptive arrests" and giving him the ability to temporarily set aside many of the protections in the Iraqi Bill of Rights.

And now, he stands accused of carrying out cold-blooded executions just before taking power. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Allawi pulled out a pistol and executed as many as seven suspected resistance fighters at a Baghdad police station, just days before Washington handed him control of the country.

Witnesses say that the prisoners were handcuffed and blindfolded--and were lined up against a wall in a courtyard adjacent to the maximum-security cellblock where they had been held at the Al-Amariyah security center. One witness told the Herald that, before killing the prisoners, Allawi said he wanted to send a clear message to the police on how to deal with insurgents.

"The prisoners were against the wall, and we were standing in the courtyard when the Interior Minister said that he would like to kill them all on the spot," the witness said. "Allawi said that they deserved worse than death--but then he pulled the pistol from his belt and started shooting them."

After the murders were over, Iraq's Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib is said to have congratulated Allawi. And Washington dares to call this "liberation?" We have to build the struggle to end the occupation now!

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