THE REVISION THING
A history of
the Iraq war, told entirely in lies
By Sam Smith
All text is verbatim from senior
Bush Administration officials and advisers. In places, tenses
have been changed for clarity. Originally from Harper's Magazine,
Once again, we were defending both
ourselves and the safety and survival of civilization itself.
September 11 signaled the arrival of an entirely different era.
We faced perils we had never thought about, perils we had never
seen before. For decades, terrorists had waged war against this
country. Now, under the leadership of President Bush, America
would wage war against them. It was a struggle between good and
it was a struggle between evil.
It was absolutely clear that the
number-one threat facing America was from Saddam Hussein. We
know that Iraq and Al Qaeda had high-level contacts that went
back a decade. We learned that Iraq had trained Al Qaeda members
in bomb making and deadly gases. The regime had long-standing
and continuing ties to terrorist organizations. Iraq and Al Qaeda
had discussed safe-haven opportunities in Iraq. Iraqi officials
denied accusations of ties with Al Qaeda. These denials simply
were not credible. You couldn't distinguish between Al Qaeda
and Saddam when you talked about the war on terror.
The fundamental question was, did
Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer was, absolutely.
His regime had large, unaccounted-for stockpiles of chemical
and biological weapons--including VX, sarin, cyclosarin, and
mustard gas, anthrax, botulism, and possibly smallpox. Our conservative
estimate was that Iraq then had a stockpile of between 100 and
500 tons of chemical-weapons agent. That was enough agent to
fill 16,000 battlefield rockets. We had sources that told us
that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders
to use chemical weapons--the very weapons the dictator told the
world he did not have. And according to the British government,
the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack
in as little as forty-five minutes after the orders were given.
There could be no doubt that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons
and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.
It was a different kind
of war because we were fighting people who sent youngsters to
suicidal deaths and they tried to find a dark cave. They were
lurching around in the dark corners of some cities around the
world, ooching around the dark corners of the world and looking
out, peeping out around the corner.
It was also a war where the enemy
didn't show up with airplanes that they own, or tanks or ships.
These were suiciders. [One] day we hauled a guy in named al Nashiri.
That's not a household name here in America. [You] could understand
why some went blank when they heard his name - yeah, those foreign
names sure shut us down.
In the old days you could count
tanks and figure out how strong the enemy was. This was an enemy
that hid in caves. They tried to find the darkest cave, the deepest
cave. It was a different kind of hater than we were used to.
The old haters used tanks.
Not in the final Harper's
piece but too good to forget
Iraq possessed ballistic missiles
with a likely range of hundreds of miles--far enough to strike
Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations. We also discovered
through intelligence that Iraq had a growing fleet of manned
and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical
or biological weapons across broad areas. We were concerned that
Iraq was exploring ways of using UAVs for missions targeting
the United States.
* * *
Saddam Hussein was determined to
get his hands on a nuclear bomb. We knew he'd been absolutely
devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believed
he had, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. The British government
learned that Saddam Hussein had recently sought significant quantities
of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources told us that
he had attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable
for nuclear-weapons production. When the inspectors first went
into Iraq and were denied-finally denied access, a report came
out of the [International Atomic Energy Agency] that they were
six months away from developing a weapon. I didn't know what
more evidence we needed.
Facing clear evidence of peril,
we could not wait for the final proof that could come in the
form of a mushroom cloud. The Iraqi dictator could not be permitted
to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases
and gases and atomic weapons. Inspections would not work. We
gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't
let them in. The burden was on those people who thought he didn't
have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they
We waged a war to save civilization
itself. We did not seek it, but we fought it, and we prevailed.
We fought them and imposed our will on them and we captured or,
if necessary, killed them until we had imposed law and order.
The Iraqi people were well on their way to freedom. The scenes
of free Iraqis celebrating in the streets, riding American tanks,
tearing down the statues of Saddam Hussein in the center of Baghdad
were breathtaking. Watching them, one could not help but think
of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain.
It was entirely possible that in
Iraq you had the most pro-American population that could be found
anywhere in the Arab world. If you were looking for a historical
analogy, it was probably closer to post-liberation France. We
had the overwhelming support of the Iraqi people. Once we won,
we got great support from everywhere.
The people of Iraq knew that every
effort was made to spare innocent life, and to help Iraq recover
from three decades of totalitarian rule. And plans were in place
to provide Iraqis with massive amounts of food, as well as medicine
and other essential supplies. The U.S. devoted unprecedented
attention to humanitarian relief and the prevention of excessive
damage to infrastructure and to unnecessary casualties.
The United States approached its
postwar work with a two-part resolve: a commitment to stay and
a commitment to leave. The United States had no intention of
determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice
belonged to the Iraqi people. We have never been a colonial power.
We do not leave behind occupying armies. We leave behind constitutions
and parliaments. We don't take our force and go around the world
and try to take other people's real estate or other people's
resources, their oil. We never have and we never will.
The United States was not interested
in the oil in that region. We were intent on ensuring that Iraq's
oil resources remained under national Iraqi control, with the
proceeds made available to support Iraqis in all parts of the
country. The oil fields belonged to the people of Iraq, the government
of Iraq, all of Iraq. We estimated that the potential income
to the Iraqi people as a result of their oil could be somewhere
in the $20 [billion] to $30 billion a year [range], and obviously,
that would be money that would be used for their well-being.
In other words, all of Iraq's oil belonged to all the people
* * *
We found the weapons of mass destruction.
We found biological laboratories. And we found more weapons as
time went on. I never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons
of mass destruction in that country. But for those who said we
hadn't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons,
they were wrong, we found them. We knew where they were.
We changed the regime of Iraq for
the good of the Iraqi people. We didn't want to occupy Iraq.
War is a terrible thing. We've tried every other means to achieve
objectives without a war because we understood what the price
of a war can be and what it is. We sought peace. We strove for
peace. Nobody, but nobody, was more reluctant to go to war than
It is not right to assume that any
current problems in Iraq can be attributed to poor planning.
The number of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region dropped
as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This nation acted to
a threat from the dictator of Iraq. There is a lot of revisionist
history now going on, but one thing is certain--he is no longer
a threat to the free world, and the people of Iraq are free.
There's no doubt in my mind when it's all said and done, the
facts will show the world the truth. There is absolutely no doubt
in my mind.