[RIGHTWATCH - 2pm, Friday, 2/28/03
This is the final version! This is all text so
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13 MYTHS ABOUT THE CASE FOR WAR IN IRAQ (released 2/28)
[The idea for this fact sheet was announced at http://13myths.org
on February 7. Three weeks later, after input from over 100
people, we have a finished product. Please forward!!! A mirror
to the site is at http://13myths.com. Translations welcome.]
Table of Contents
Myth 1: Removing Saddam Will Punish 9/11 Perpetrators
Myth 2: Powell Presented Strong Evidence at UN
Myth 3: Saddam May Soon Threaten US
Myth 4: Experts 'Discover' Prohibited Missile
Myth 5: Bin Laden Tape Proves Iraq Connection
Myth 6: Iraq Still Has Large Nuclear Program
Myth 7: If US Pulls Out Now, It Looks Bad
Myth 8: A Cheap, Easy War
Myth 9: Wartime Press is Free and Unbiased
Myth 10: Goal is to Free Iraqis, Not to Grab Oil
Myth 11: War Solves the Energy Crisis
Myth 12: UN Commitments Don't Really Matter
Myth 13: Protesting a War is Unpatriotic
The United States government has now amassed over 150,000
war-ready troops in the Persian Gulf. The government argues
that the forced removal of Iraq's government is necessary to
protect us and the world from terrorism.
Other countries that have also been the victims of terrorism
have been reluctant to join the U.S. in this war. Even in
Great Britain, our strongest ally, polls show that 82-86% of
the public oppose initiating a war without approval by the
United Nations. Many British reservists are refusing to fight.
At no time in the last 30 years has our government put our
troops into the battlefield in the face of such widespread
opposition. Therefore, it is appropriate to examine: why are
so many countries now opposed to a war in Iraq? Are those
opposing war apologists for Saddam Hussein? Do the arguments
of those advocating unilateral war stand up under scrutiny?
We are fortunate that the U.S. Constitution includes a Bill
of Rights, to ensure that we have the right to ask questions
about government. President Eisenhower, in his farewell
address, warned "the potential for the disasterous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist" and stated that an
"alert and knowledgeable citizenry" was necessary to preserve
liberty. In that spirit, we release this document.
References for introduction:
UK Poll Shows Opposition to War is Growing
UK Reservists Trying to Avoid Service
Farewell Address of President Dwight Eisenhower
1) MYTH: Removing Saddam Hussein from power would eliminate a
key backer of the Al Qaeda terrorist networks responsible for
the 9/11 attacks.
RESPONSE: Just four days after the September 11th attacks, the
Wall St. Journal analyzed Iraqi involvement in an article titled
"U.S. Officials Discount Any Role by Iraq in Terrorist Attacks:
Secularist Saddam Hussein and Suspect bin Laden Have Divergent
Goals." The article linked Hussein with supporting the families
of suicide bombers in Israel, but strongly doubted any linkage
to Al Qaeda.
None of the hijackers came from Iraq; 15 of the hijackers came
from the same country as Osama Bin Laden: Saudi Arabia.
Attempts to link Iraq to 9/11 or to bin Laden have failed. In
April 2002 there was an announcement of a meeting between a 9/11
hijacker and an Iraqi that supposedly occurred in Prague. In
October 2002 the New York Times quoted Czech officials who
doubted that such a meeting occurred. In August, 2002, on a
mission to Japan to gain support for an attack on Iraq, Deputy
Secretary of State Richard Armitage refused to link Saddam
Hussein and al Qaeda. Armitage noted that al Qaeda members were
in Kurdish controlled areas in Iraq, outside the reach of Saddam
The latest claimed link -—through Ansar al-Islam —-lacks
evidence. The founder of Ansar disputes any tie to Iraq or al
Qaeda; Iraq denies supporting Ansar; and Rohan Gunaratna, a
terrorism expert and author of Inside al Qaeda links Ansar with
Iran. A recent New York Times report from the front between the
Kurds and Ansar al-Islam details evidence linking al Ansar with
al Qaeda; the report, however, mentions only ties to Iran, not
Iraq. Finally, such a link is unlikely for ideological reasons:
Ansar is a Taliban-style fundamentalist group; Saddam Hussein is
a secularist (see Myth #5).
The CIA and the FBI remain skeptical of a link between al Qaeda
and Saddam Hussein, despite continued political pressure to find
one, according to a front page article in the NY Times on Feb.
MYTH 1 References - Removing Saddam Will Punish 9/11 Perpetrators
Pope, Hugh, "U.S. Officials Discount Any Role by Iraq in Terrorist
Attacks," Wall St. Journal, September 19, 2001.
Whitmore, Brian, "Hijacker - Iraqi Meeting Disputed Differing Reports On
Whether Prague Encounter Occurred," New York Times, October 23, 2002
Doug Struck, "Al Qaeda Members Fled to Kurdish Area of Iraq, State
Department Says," The Washington Post, August 29, 2002
reprinted, The Tech, MIT
Don Van Natta Jr., "Mullah Who Leads Ansar al Aslam Denies U.S. Claims,"
International Herald Tribune, February 7, 2003
Iraq: Group Linked To Al-Qaeda Establishes Enclave In North (Radio Free
Michael Howard and Julian Borgan, "Al Qaeda Running New Terror Camp, Say
Kurds," The Guardian, August 23, 2002
Helena Cobban, "Bin Laden's voice aside, war on Iraq is not war on Al
Qaeda," Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 13
A British Reporter visits Ansar al-Islam in Northern Iraq
THREATS AND RESPONSES: TERROR LINKS; Split at C.I.A. and F.B.I. On Iraqi
Ties to Al Qaeda By James Risen and David Johnston, The New York Times,
February 2, 2003 Section 1; Page 13
"Prisoner casts doubt on Iraq tie to Al Qaeda: Story at odds with Powell's
UN case," Chicago Tribune, February 11, 2003.
2) MYTH: Secretary of State Colin Powell provided a "careful and
powerful presentation of the facts. The information in the
Secretary's briefing ... was obtained through great skill, and
often at personal risk. Uncovering secret information in a
totalitarian society is one of the most difficult intelligence
challenges. The Iraqi regime's violations [are] in direct
defiance of Security Council 1441." -- President Bush, Press
Briefing, February 6, 2003.
RESPONSE: Many of Powell's assertions were quickly refuted. For
example, Powell said, "By 1998, UN experts agreed that the
Iraqis had perfected drying techniques for their biological
weapons programs." Actually, the UN's 1/99 report on this matter
said only that Iraq had performed drying experiments prior to
the Gulf War, in 1989 -- not that it had perfected them.
A journalist for The Observer toured Ansar al-Islam’s alleged
chemical weapons factory and found it to be a bakery with
outhouses. Powell's claims that ricin found in Britain came from
Iraq were rejected by European intelligence agencies, who said
it was crude and “homemade” in Europe.
Even more appalling was the revelation in the British press
about the one of the key documents Powell used in his UN speech,
the "dossier" on terrorism prepared by the staff of UK Prime
Minister Tony Blair. Powell praised the document as a "fine
paper." However, much of it was plagiarized from source material
written before the current round of inspections, primarily from
a published article written by Ibrahim al-Marashi, a graduate
student in California. The al-Marashi article, published nearly
a year ago, relied on sources that were as much as 12 years old.
This is a far cry from the "James Bond 007" penetration of
Iraq's secrets alluded to by Bush.
MYTH 2 References - Powell Presented Strong Evidence at UN
Status of Verification of Iraq's Biological Warfare Programme, UNSCOM
Report, July 1999
Response to Secretary of State Colin Powell's UN Presentation, by Dr. Glen
Rangwala, Cambridge Univ.
Europe skeptical of Iraq-ricin link
"Revealed: truth behind US 'poison factory' claim," The Observer, Feb. 9,
Rangwala's Expose Of Plagiarism in British Dossier
Iraqi 'facilities of concern' yield no evidence of violations," Associated
Press, Jan. 18.
3) MYTH: Saddam Hussein cannot be contained. To prevent a repeat
of the situation with Nazi Germany, we must act immediately and
preemptively before he acquires weapons with which to threaten
"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." --
Condoleeza Rice, Sept. 8, 2002.
Iraq's programs to create weapons of mass destruction "are real
and present dangers to the region and to the world." -- Colin
Powell, speech to the UN, Feb. 5, 2002.
RESPONSE: The comparison to Nazi Germany is a bit of a stretch.
Germany, by 1938, was number one in military spending, and had
recovered from the Great Depression well before the other
leading nations. It formed a real military alliance -- the Axis
-- with two other powerful industrial nations, Italy and
By contrast, Iraq's military capability was largely destroyed in
the 1991 Gulf War, and the "Axis of Evil" that Iraq is
supposedly part of (Iran-Iraq-N. Korea) does not really exist as
an alliance. In fact, Iran and Iraq fought each other in a
9-year war from 1980-1989.
The $399 billion US military budget proposed at the end of
January 2003 is almost 300 times the size of Iraq's!
The US government released press statements in December that it
is "investigating" whether Iraq received 'weaponized' smallpox
from a Russian scientist in 1990. But these claims are widely
disputed. Even if they were true, a U.S bioweapons expert said
that it would not be possible to start a national epidemic by
releasing such a strain.
Last October, CIA Director George Tenet said that Iraq was
unlikely to use chemical or biological weapons unless it was
attacked. After Powell's speech, a group of retired CIA
officials re-emphasized Tenet's letter. They also warned that
"an invasion of Iraq would ensure overflowing recruitment
centers for terrorists into the indefinite future."
MYTH 3 References - Saddam May Soon Threaten US
Top Bush officials (Rice) push case against Saddam
Germany # 1 in military spending, 1938: The Rise and Fall of the Great
Powers, Paul Kennedy, 1987, p. 296
German recovery in 1936: Timelines Of The Great Depression
Iraq military strength "dramatically down"
DoD News Briefing, January 16, 1996 - 1:30 p.m:
Turkey and Saudi Arabia's combined GDP is 111/2 times that of Iraq,
combined military budgets 20 times as Iraq's.
CIA World Factbook 2002 - Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, USA
US Fiscal Year 2004 military budget in world comparison:
Smallpox in Iraq?
US paper to face Russian smallpox lawsuit
Piller, Charles, Smallpox Strike Called Unlikely; Experts say suicidal
efforts to spark an epidemic would probably fail. The Los Angeles Times,
Dec 13, 2002.
CIA Director Tenet said Iraq use of CBW unlikely unless attacked in letter
to Senator Bob Graham:
"CIA veterans' warning on Iraq war," UPI, Feb. 9, 2003
"Memo to the President," Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity,
Feb. 7, 2003
The Wartime Deceptions: Saddam is Hitler and It's Not About Oil
4) MYTH: A discovery on Feb. 12 by UN weapons inspectors
revealed, for the first time, that Iraq possessed missiles, the
Al-Samoud and Al-Fatah, with a range exceeding the limits
imposed by the 1991 UN Resolution 687.
RESPONSE: Though the Feb. 12 UN finding made the headlines, it
was not really new; it was based on information volunteered by
Iraq over a month ago.
The range of the missiles -- 110 miles -- is still less than
half of the distance from Iraq to Israel. By comparison, the CIA
reported on the same day that North Korea's Taepo Dong 2 missile
should be able to travel 50 to 100 times as far -- though as of
yet this new missile has not been tested.
According to the 2/13 NY Times and numerous other sources, "The
inspectors learned of the range of the missiles from test
results that were provided in the 12,000-page arms declaration
Iraq delivered at the start of the inspections." Colin Powell
had also mentioned the missiles on 2/5 in his United Nations
Though the missiles may have exceeded the official limit by
15-20 miles, Iraqi foreign minister Tariz Aziz argued that this
estimate was based on launching the missile without a guidance
system. However, according to an NPR report, the missiles
already have a guidance system; Aziz was talking about the
addition is a second guidance system, which is not absolute
necessary for the missiles to be used.
MYTH 4 References - Experts 'Discover' Prohibited Missile
UN Resolution 687 on elimination of certain weapons from Iraq
Source for distance from Iraq to Israel (250 miles) is: Candidate George W.
Bush on Israel
Experts Confirm New Iraq Missile Exceeds U.N. Limit
N. Korea Missile Can Hit U.S., CIA Says
Bush Issues Challenge to UN on Iraq
World Stands Divided Over War With Iraq
Dispute over Missile Destruction NPR Report, All Things Considered,
February 25, 2003
U.N. Finds No Long-Range Iraqi Missiles
5) MYTH: Bin Laden's recent tape proves that Bush's accusations
of an Osama bin Laden - Saddam Hussein collusion have been right
RESPONSE: According to the transcript of the 16-min. Al Jazeera
tape, bin Laden called Hussein a "Muslim apostate," i.e., a
turncoat against Islam. Bin Laden has long called for the
secular Baathist Party in Baghdad to be replaced with an Islamic
fundamentalist, cleric-led government. The new words were
intended to rally support for radical Islam in the Muslim world,
including factions within Iraq that are more anti-US than Saddam
According to Gen. Hamid Gul, the former chief of Pakistan's spy
agency InterServices Intelligence, bin Laden and Saddam cannot
work closely together because "Bin Laden and his men considered
Saddam the killer of hundreds of Islamic militants," a reference
to Saddam's attacks against domestic political rivals, including
Kurds and Shiites.
It is true that Saddam Hussein has expressed support for suicide
bombings against Israel, and that the bin Laden tape refers to
the suicide operations “that cause so much harm” in the U.S. and
Israel. However, the existence of such terrorism is quite
independent of Hussein. Many terrorism experts believe that "al
Qaeda may eventually transform itself into a 'leaderless
resistance' movement" that could have hundreds of cells.
German government spokesman Thomas Steg found no evidence in the
tapes of “an axis or close link” between Baghdad and al Qaeda.
Similar doubts were voiced by Sen. John McCain, Russian
President Vladimir Putin, and others. (see Myth #1)
MYTH 5 References - Bin Laden Tape Proves Iraq Connection
Text of Bin Laden tape aired an Al Jazeera, provided by BBC
Bin Laden Calls Iraqis to Arms
Osama Rallies Muslims, Condemns Hussein:
Bin Laden offers tips to defend Iraq:
Behind Bin Laden's message
Ties between bin Laden and Saddam? Yes, maybe any day now
Split at C.I.A. and F.B.I. on Iraqi Ties to Al Qaeda
US already knew of Bin Laden tape
Pass the Duct Tape
U.S. Misreading of Bin Laden Tape May Win Iraqi War For Al Qaeda
Only by Swallowing Big Lies Can Powell Justify a War
Deadly Puzzle of Terrorism
US, Germany Dispute Authenticity of Bin Laden Tape
Even Muslim community can't agree on Bin Laden's meaning:
Bin Laden Tape May Hint at Attack, C.I.A. Says
Paul Haven, "Disparate views make bin Laden, Saddam unlikely pair", The
Houston Chronicle, January 30, 2003 p.12
When Seeing and Hearing Isn't Believing (Technology to fake a tape)
6) MYTH: "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its
nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous
meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his
'nuclear mujahedeen' -- his nuclear holy warriors." - George
Bush, televised speech, October 7, 2002 in Cincinnati (1) Dr.
Khidhir Hamza, from 1987 to 1994, served as the head of Saddam
Hussein's nuclear weapons program" (2) and has said that "Iraq
runs its nuclear program under the very nose of the
international community."(3) -- Quotes by Larry Elder,
Worldnetdaily.com, and Hamza
RESPONSE: Saddam did refer to a nuclear energy program in a
speech he made on 9/10/00. According to the Rangwala memo cited
earlier, Bush is taking advantage of a mistranslation of this
speech that left out the word 'energy,' among other problems.
Although it would make sense to also forbid nuclear energy
programs in Iraq, the U.S. and the U.N. have not called for
that. There is no credible evidence that Saddam Hussein's
scientists are now working on nuclear weapons, even though
Hussein has wanted them in the past.
In his Jan. 27 report to the UN Security Council, the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Mohamed
ElBaradei concluded, "we have to date found no evidence that
Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons programme since the
elimination of the programme in the 1990s. .... we should be
able within the next few months to provide credible assurance
that Iraq has no nuclear weapons programme."(4)
In an article for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Dr. Khidhir
A. A. Hamza states that he was "for a brief period in
1987--director of weaponization" of Iraq's nuclear weapons
program (5) Hamza also states, in his book "Saddam's Bombmaker"
and in his 'Curriculum Vitae', that he was not employed in the
Iraqi nuclear weapons program after 1989. He left Iraq in 1994.
So it is clear that he has no personal knowledge of the status
of the Iraqi nuclear program after 1994, and the extent of his
personal knowledge after 1989 is open to question.(6)(7) Other
Iraqi defectors with more inside knowledge than Hamza have
disputed his claims.(8)(9)
The written IAEA report version said "By the end of 1992, we had
largely destroyed, removed or rendered harmless all Iraqi
facilities and equipment relevant to nuclear weapons
production... By December 1998... we were confident that we had
not missed any significant component of Iraq’s nuclear
MYTH 6 References - Iraq Still Has Large Nuclear Program
President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat
Larry Elder, "Interview with Saddam's Bombmaker", Jan. 2, 2003.
Middle East Forum, Saddam's Bombmaker, A briefing by Khidhir Hamza, April
"The Status Of Nuclear Inspections In Iraq: Statement to the United Nations
Security Council," Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General, International
Atomic Energy Agency Jan. 27, 2003.
Inside Saddam's Secret Nuclear Program, Dr. Khidhir Hamza.
Saddam's Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and
Biological Weapons Agenda (Chapter One available online)
Curriculm Vitae of Khidhir A. A. Hamza
Saddam's Bombmaker is Full of Lies,IMAD KHADDURI, 27 Nov 2002
Transcript of Interview with Iraqi Defector Hussein Kamel
Iraqi 'facilities of concern' yield no evidence of violations," Associated
Press, Jan. 18.
Counter Dossier II (nuclear section), by Dr Glen Rangwala, an independent
analyst at the University of Cambridge, UK
7) MYTH: "If the United States marches 200,000 troops into the
region and then marches them back out . . . the credibility of
American power . . . will be gravely, perhaps irreparably
impaired." -- Henry Kissinger, quoted in NY Times, Feb. 15,
RESPONSE: Top US officials have repeatedly stated they want to
avoid war in recent weeks:
"I will tell my friend Silvio [President of Italy] that the use
of military troops is my last choice, not my first." --
President Bush, quoted in White House News Release, January 30,
"We still hope that force may not be necessary to disarm Saddam
Hussein... Let me be clear: no one wants war." - Donald
Rumsfeld, In Munich, Germany, Feb. 8, 2003.
The U.S. position is that "Force should always be a last
resort." -- Colin Powell, response to weapons inspection head
Mohamed El Baradei, February 14, 2003.
If the U.S. can disarm Saddam without war -- the
administration's stated objective -- how is our credibility
hurt? Even French Prime Minister Chirac, a critic of war, has
credited the presence of U.S. troops with increasing Iraqi
Kissinger and top Bush administration officials are not
satisfied with this progress. However these individuals have
conflicts of interest. They have strong ties with companies that
produce weapons, drill oil, and build military bases.
The President's father, and his 2000 recount advisor James
Baker, are, respectively, 'Asian Advisor' and Partner of Carlyle
Group. According to Fortune magazine, Carlyle makes much of its
profits by buying smaller "defense" companies, assisting them in
winning huge taxpayer-funded contracts, and then selling them at
a large profit. Dick Cheney's wife, until January 2001, was on
the board of Lockheed, and 8 other administration officials had
Lockheed ties before they were appointed. Donald Rumsfeld and
Paul Wolfowitz were involved in a think-tank advocating for
"global military dominance" that is funded by family foundations
whose fortunes came from military contracting and whose founders
included a Lockheed executive. These ties must be taken into
account when evaluating the legitimacy of 'fears' about a
peaceful outcome of the Iraq crisis.
MYTH 7 References - If US Pulls Out Now, It Looks Bad
The Venus Trap (Quote by Kissinger)
Powell's Response: Iraq Fails to Comply With U.N. Terms
President Bush Meets with Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi
Chirac says U.S. military deployment laid the groundwork to peacefully
Conflicts of Interest
KISSINGER QUITS AS CHAIRMAN OF 9/11 PANEL Kranish, Michael, The Boston
Globe, December 14, 2002, p.1.
Oil Ties of Bush Administration are documented here:
"Invading Iraq not a new idea for Bush clique," Philadelphia Daily News,
January 27, 2003.
Bush Team Denies Oil Link to War Policy
Bush Administration Ties to Lockheed, Military Companies
The Big Guys Work For the Carlyle Group
see also http://www.democrats.com/preview.cfm?term=Carlyle%20Group
Dick Cheney's Corporate Ties
The neo-conservative Project for a New American Century (PNAC) includes
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, etc.
Top Bush advisors (later in PNAC) advocated global dominance plan over 10
years ago: "The Anniversary of a Neo-Imperial Moment"
1998 letter from members of PNAC (including Rumsfeld) to President Clinton,
urging him to invade Iraq:
Sept. 2000 PNAC document "Rebuilding America's Defenses" states "While the
unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the
need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the
issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
8) MYTH: War in Iraq will involve 150,000-200,000 troops and
only cost $50 billion -- less than it did in 1991.
RESPONSE: Bush's former economic advisor Laurence Lindsey
estimated to the Wall Street Journal last summer that the war
would cost $100-$200 Billion. A veteran ABC News reporter
revealed on 1/13/03 that the actual deployment planned was
One reason the proposed war would cost so much more than the
Gulf War is that the administration plans to occupy Baghdad, a
city of 5 million people. Another is that other countries have
declined to pay the costs of the war as they did in 1991;
instead, the U.S. is planning to pay Turkey $30 billion for its
As Colin Powell wrote in Foreign Affairs in 1992, "The Gulf War
was a limited-objective war. If it had not been, we would be
ruling Baghdad today at unpardonable expense in terms of money,
lives lost and ruined regional relationships.”
Credible estimates of cost of a "short" Iraq war start at $120
billion. This is on top of a 2003 military budget that is
already expanded dramatically. The numbers tell the story: the
military budget in 2001 was $304 billion after 9/11 expenses
were added. The military budget in 2003 is already $407
including homeland security and military construction. Adding
the cost of the war, it could reach $527 billion or more. The
cost of the increase from 2001-3 comes out to $2000 for every
family in the U.S.
The administration is planning larger military budget increases
in 2004, and is also contemplating additional wars. The Bush
administration does not seem concerned with the fact that their
own budget projections two years ago anticipated a surplus of
over $300 billion in 2004, but their projections now anticipate
a 2004 deficit of over $350 billion.
MYTH 8 References - A Cheap, Easy War
Powell's Foreign Affairs article is republished in Intervention: The Use of
American Military Force in the Post-Cold War World, Revised Edition (1999),
by Richard N. Haass, as Appendix E.
Troops Already Working in Iraq (150,000 troop minimum reached)
David E. Sanger with Dexter Filkens, "U.S. Pessimistic Turks Will Accept
Deal on Iraq," the New York Times, February 20, 2003 p. A1.
Bigger Buildup: U.S. May Call for More Military [350,000 troops]
The Lindsey estimate of cost as a percentage of GNP: Wall St. Journal,
September 30, 2002. The 1991 Gulf War cost $79.9 billion; the U.S. paid
only $10-$15 billion; most of cost was paid by other countries: NY Times,
September 30, 2003.
Edmund L. Andrews, "Federal Debt Near Ceiling, Second Time in 9 Months," NY
Times, 2/20/03 p. A27
Krugman, Paul, "Is the maestro a hack?" NY Times, February 7, 2003.
Johnathon Fuerbringer, "Nothing Like Big Deficits to Hearten Bond Traders,"
NY Times, 2/5/03 p.C1
The Cost of the War on Terrorism and the Cost of Social Security
The War and your Wallet (trifold leaflet, with references)
Analysis of 2004 Military Budget
Project for a New American Century, Letter to President Bush, 1/23/03
Powell: Commitment in Iraq Would Be Long
9) MYTH: Freedom of the Press in the U.S. exists even in times
of war. The U.S. news media has been extremely skeptical of the
official stories put out by the government, in order to uphold
RESPONSE: The last 20 years have seen a trend towards
"management" of the press by the government: restricted access
press pools, fabricated stories, fake letters to the editor, and
even violence against U.S. war reporters.
According to the Winter 2002 Navy War College Review, citing the
book America's Team: Media and the Military, the military had
assigned reporters to a pool to cover the U.S. invasion of
Panama in 1989, but the Defense Secretary at the time, Dick
Cheney, "delayed calling out the pool."
During the 1991 Gulf War, according to Pulitzer Prize winning
journalist Patrick J. Sloyan, "The Associated Press, which
benefited most from a system that turned all journalists into
wire service reporters, sent photographer Scott Applewhite to
cover victims of a Scud missile attack near Dahran. The warhead
had hit an American tent, killing 25 army reservists and
wounding 70... Applewhite, an accredited pool member, was
stopped by US Army military police. When he objected, they
punched and handcuffed him while ripping the film from his
Dick Cheney, quoted in America's Team, was honest after the the
Gulf War about his treatment of the media. "Frankly, I looked on
it as a problem to be managed," he said after the war. "The
information function was extraordinarily important. I did not
have a lot of confidence that I could leave that to the
The most famous Gulf War media fiasco occurred right here at
home. Employees of the large PR firm Hill & Knowlton arranged
for a speech to be made by a 15-year-old girl, "Nayirah," to an
unofficial "Congressional Human Rights" group in October 2000.
Her so-called eyewitness story about Iraqi soldiers removing
babies from hospital incubators was publicized by the entire
news media and even by Amnesty International. But Nayirah was
actually the daughter of Kuwait’s Ambassador to the United
States; the other eyewitness recanted his story, and other
eyewitnesses have said that the story was fabricated. Amnesty
was forced to issue a rare retraction.
MYTH 9 References - Wartime Press is Free and Unbiased
Do we really have a "free" press? by Patrick J. Sloyan
Klein, William S, Faking the voice of the people,
America's Team: Media and the Military (Entire Book!)
'NO BAD STORIES' The American Media-Military Relationship, Navy War College
Bodies? What Bodies? by Patrick J. Sloyan
Collective Amnesia, from American Journalism Review, October 2000.
See the quote by Max Uechtritz, attending a journalism conference in the
summer of 2002, "We now know for certain that only three things in life are
certain - death, taxes and the fact the military are lying bastards.", in
News World Asia Conference Day 3 Report.
Censorship of News in Wartime is Still Censorship
Even in Wartime, Stealth and Democracy Do Not Mix
How PR Sold the War in the Persian Gulf (Nariyah Accounts)
(note: thanks to http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/myths.html for a good
account of the "Nariyah" incident, which we incorporated and trimmed.)
10) MYTH: "We can give the Iraqi people their chance to live in
freedom and choose their own Government." -- President Bush,
Feb. 6, 2003 press statement.
"Iraq's oil and other natural resources belong to all the Iraqi
people - and the United States will respect this fact."
-- Stephen Hadley, US Deputy National Security Advisor, Feb. 11, 2003.
RESPONSE: The U.S. government has made statements elsewhere
asserting that we will control both Iraq's government and its
oil, for quite some time.
Excerpt from the Oil and Gas International, an Industry Trade
Publication, 1/27/03: "France and Russia have been warned they
must support the US military invasion and occupation of Iraq if
they want access to Iraqi oilfields in a post-Saddam Hussein
Excerpt from the Globe and Mail, quoting US Congressional
Testimony on 2/12/03: "The United States intends to rule postwar
Iraq through an American military governor, supported by an
Iraqi consultative council appointed by Washington, Iraqi
opposition leaders gathered in this northern Kurdish city said
yesterday. 'While we are listening to what the Iraqis are
telling us, the United States government will make its decisions
based on what is in the national interest of the United States,'
said Mark Grossman." Grossman, the Under Secretary of State for
Political Affairs, was testifying to the Senate Foreign
A recent policy paper by the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace concluded that "The increasingly popular
idea in Washington that the United States, by toppling Saddam
Hussein, can rapidly democratize Iraq and unleash a democratic
tsunami in the Middle East is a dangerous fantasy."
MYTH 10 References - Goal is to Free Iraqis, Not to Grab Oil
Statement by the President, Feb. 6, 2003
Contingency Plans Underway For Post-War Iraq, U.S. Official Says
France & Russia warned support US war on Iraq or no Iraqi oil
Plan: US general to run Iraq
Plan would see U.S. rule postwar
Democratic Mirage in the Middle East, Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace, Policy Brief #20, October, 2002
Iraqi oil may be taken as 'spoil of war'
11) MYTH: War will reduce energy prices and make the U.S. more
independent, because oil from Iraq would reduce the current U.S.
dependence on Saudia Arabian oil (and prevent the Saudis from
pushing us around).
RESPONSE: It is true if someone handed us unfettered control of
all Iraq's oil, Saudi Arabia would have less influence than it
does now as the lead oil exporter in the world.
But acquiring that control through war has enormous costs, and
these costs have to be factored in to assess the true cost of
The Rocky Mountain Institute, an independent research
organization in Colorado, points out: "Since 1970, oil imports
have been responsible for nearly 75 percent of the U.S. trade
deficit and have resulted in a net outflow of $1 trillion to the
OPEC nations - much of which is respent on armaments... the
peacetime readiness cost of U.S. military forces earmarked for
Persian Gulf intervention is around $50 billion a year, raising
the effective cost of Gulf oil to around $100 per barrel." This
was before the post-9/11 buildup (see myth #8).
If the government charged the oil companies a larger portion of
the taxpayer cost of obtaining the oil, and subsidized a massive
switch to use of off-the-shelf renewable energy sources, it
would be possible to gain energy independence, and reduce sales
of weapons to what is a very unstable region.
RMI also points out that "increasing fuel efficiency from 20 mpg
to 23 mpg would eliminate the need for our [pre-1991 level] oil
imports from Iraq and Kuwait. Increasing it to 33 mpg would
eliminate the need for ALL Persian Gulf oil." Comparable
reductions could also be achieved through a combination of
technologies, including wind, solar, and energy efficiency.
Technology is not a barrier.
One of the costs of stationing so many troops in the Gulf is
that the U.S. has fewer resources with which to defend the U.S.
in the case of an actual attack on the mainland U.S.
MYTH 11 References - War Solves the Energy Crisis
IPS "On Oil and War" Fact Sheet
Fuel Savings from Energy Efficiency
Hypercars could increase fuel efficiency 3-5 times:
Bush budget cuts funding for renewable energy:
Why? The oil and gas industry overwhelmingly dominates in campaign spending
and skews strongly Republican.
Oil & Gas: http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?ind=E01
Alternative Energy: http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?ind=E1500
US Considered 'Suicide Jet Missions' (on the unavailability of armed jets
on 9/11 to shoot down the hijacked planes)
12) MYTH: "The course of this nation does not depend on the
decisions of others" -- George Bush, State of the Union Address,
Jan. 28, 2003.
"[UN Resolution] 1441 gives us the authority to move without any
second resolution." -- George Bush, Press Conference with Tony
Blair, January 31, 2003.
RESPONSE: First of all, we should not forget that when the U.S.
was achieving independence from Britain, we did not do it alone.
In the wake of World War II, the US took a leading role in
establishing the UN to prevent future world wars. The recent
unilateral position of the Bush administration runs counters to
decades of US policy, the language in resolution 1441, and
international law. To ignore the usefulness of the United
Nations at this time would strengthen the hand of those who want
global war, including anti-U.S. terrorist groups.
As President Bush himself said during one of the 2000
presidential debates, "If we are an arrogant nation, they will
resent us, If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome
us." He went on to add, It's important to be friends with people
when you don't need each other so that when you do, there's a
strong bond of friendship. And that's going to be particularly
important in dealing not only with situations such as now
occurring in Israel, but with Saddam Hussein." Cooperation with
other nations is especially vital for fighting terrorism.
The text of 1441 concludes, “[The Security Council] Decides to
remain seized of the matter,” meaning that it retains
jurisdiction, and has not given anyone else the power to act.
The US Senate ratified US agreement to the UN Charter by a vote
89 to 2 on July 28, 1945. Under Article 2 of the Charter, the
use of military force is prohibited without explicit
authorization (under Article 42). Even threatening use of force
-- as the US is currently doing to Iraq -- violates the language
of Article 2.
MYTH 12 References - UN Commitments Don't Really Matter
France Allied With American Colonies:
State of the Union Transcript:
Text of UN Resolution 1441:
Press conference: PM Tony Blair and President George Bush, 31 January
The Guardian: Nov 11, 2002: "To War Or Not To War"
At The U.N., It's Not Just About Iraq
Salon (premium required): Nov. 8. 2002: "U.N. adopts new Iraq resolution"
Article on Ratification of UN Charter
Presidential Debate Transcript:
13) MYTH: "'Anti-war' protesters ... are giving, at the very
least, comfort to Saddam Hussein." Therefore they can be accused
of committing treason according to the Constitution. -- NY Sun
Editorial, February 7, 2003
RESPONSE: Since the American Revolution, democracies have
steadily replaced dictatorships, in part because open debate
produces a more responsive and accountable government. Punishing
dissenters is the hallmark of totalitarianism; it throws away
one of democracy’s greatest strengths.
After John McCain -- the Senator from Arizona -- was released
from captivity as a POW in Vietnam, he was asked, "How did it
feel when you heard Americans were protesting the war?" He said,
"I thought that's what we were fighting for -- the right to
It is true that courts have not always fully supported free
speech in the face of government attempts to curtail our rights.
But in 1964, thanks to Martin Luther King and the civil rights
movement, the US Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on the
matter. They ruled that the New York Times could not be sued for
an ad critical of the actions of Montgomery, Alabama police
against civil rights protesters. According to one account, the
court "made explicit the principle that seditious libel --
criticism of government -- cannot be made a crime in America and
spoke in this connection of `the central meaning of the First
The Sun's editors also missed the fact that Osama bin Laden's
terrorist group attacked New York, and that this group wants to
end the rule of Saddam Hussein. By calling for the overthrow of
Hussein, the Sun is actually supporting the position of the
terrorists who attacked Manhattan.
MYTH 13 References - Protesting a War is Unpatriotic
Editorial: Comfort and the Protesters
The Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10 of the U.S. Constitution)
The U.S. Constitution, Article III:
Famous Quote by John McCain
http://www.life.com/Life/heroes/visions06.html Cited in Stars & Stripes,
Pacific Edition, May 4, 1997
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, Supreme Court Decision, Mar. 9, 1964
Quote on Supreme Court Case is from Jamie Kalven, editor's introduction to
Harry Kalven's A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America (Harper &
Investigate 'Communist-style' peaceniks, says Right Wing Leader
See the famous quote by Nazi leader Goering, who said after Germany lost
World War II that to win people's support for war, all that was necessary
was to "tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for
lack of patriotism."
Editing: Rich Cowan, Paul Rosenberg, and Abigail Caplovitz
Research and proofreading team: Marc Schuler, Jules Siegel, Rodger
Payne, Brit Eckhart, Deborah Conner, Bonnie Britt, plus over
75 visitors to the http://13myths.org web site.
Also, a big thanks to software designer Dan Schueler for work on
the 13myths collaborative editing web site. If you need to hire a
'Cold Fusion' specialist, see his site http://islandimage.net.
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