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Mar-13-2010 13:39printcomments

Who's to Blame for the Iraq War?

A not-so-trivial quiz.

Scenes from Iraq
Iraq photos by Tim King

(OSAKA, Japan) - This month marks the seventh anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

Despite the passage of time, there is still much confusion, some of it deliberate, about why America made that fateful decision. The following questions are intended to clarify who’s to blame for the Iraq war.

1. Ahmed Chalabi, the source of much of the false “intelligence” about Iraqi WMD, was introduced to his biggest boosters Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz by their mentor, a University of Chicago professor who had known the Iraqi con man since the 1960s. Who was this influential Cold War hawk who has an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conference centre named in his honour?

2. In 1982, “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s” appeared in Kivunim, a journal published by the World Zionist Organization, which stated: “Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.” Who wrote this seminal article?

3. “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a report prepared for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, recommended “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq—an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.” Which then member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board was the study group leader?

4. A November 1997 Weekly Standard editorial entitled “Saddam Must Go” stated: “We know it seems unthinkable to propose another ground attack to take Baghdad. But it’s time to start thinking the unthinkable.” The following year, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an influential neoconservative think tank, published a letter to President Clinton urging war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein because he is a “hazard” to “a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil.” The co-founders of PNAC were also the authors of the “Saddam Must Go” editorial. Who are they?

5. In Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, published by AEI Press in 1999, he argued that Clinton policies in Iraq were failing to contain the country and proposed that the US use its military to redraw the map of the Middle East. Who was this Mideast adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney from 2003 to mid-2007?

6. On September 15, 2001 at Camp David, the Deputy Defense Secretary attempted to justify a US attack on Iraq rather than Afghanistan because it was “doable.” In the lead-up to the war, he said that it was “wildly off the mark” to think hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed to pacify a postwar Iraq; that the Iraqis “are going to welcome us as liberators”; and that “it is just wrong” to assume that the United States would have to fund the Iraq war. Who is this chief architect of the Iraq war?

7. On September 23, 2001, which US senator, who had pushed for the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that there was evidence that “suggests Saddam Hussein may have had contact with bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network, perhaps [was] even involved in the September 11 attack”?

8. A November 12, 2001 New York Times editorial called an alleged meeting between Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi agent in Prague an “undisputed fact”? Who was the columnist, celebrated for his linguistic prowess, who was sloppy in his use of language here?

9. A November 20, 2001 Wall Street Journal op-ed argued that the US should continue to target regimes that sponsor terrorism, claiming, “Iraq is the obvious candidate, having not only helped al Qaeda, but attacked Americans directly (including an assassination attempt against the first President Bush) and developed weapons of mass destruction.” Who is the professor of strategic studies at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University who made these spurious claims?

10. George W. Bush’s January 2002 State of the Union address described Iraq as part of an “axis of evil.” Who was Bush’s Canadian-born speechwriter who coined the provocative phrase?

11. “Yet whether or not Iraq becomes the second front in the war against terrorism, one thing is certain: there can be no victory in this war if it ends with Saddam Hussein still in power”. Who is the longtime editor of Commentary magazine who made this assertion in a February 2002 article entitled “How to win World War IV”?

12. Which Pentagon Defense Policy Board member and PNAC signatory wrote in the Washington Post on February 13, 2002, “I believe that demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk”?

13. “If we win the war, we are in control of Iraq, it is the single largest source of oil in the world…. We will have a bonanza, a financial one, at the other end, if the war is successful.” Who is the psychiatrist-turned- Washington Post columnist who tempted Americans with this illusory carrot on August 3, 2002?

14. In a September 20, 2002 Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled “The Case of Toppling Saddam,” which current national leader claimed that Saddam Hussein could be hiding nuclear material “in centrifuges the size of washing machines” throughout the country?

15. “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990—it’s the threat against Israel.” Despite this candid admission to a foreign policy conference at the University of Virginia on September 10, 2002, he authored the National Security Strategy of September 2002, which provided the justification for a preemptive war against Iraq. Who was this member of President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board?

16. According to a December 7, 2002 New York Times article, during Secretary of State Powell’s efforts to negotiate a resolution on Iraq at the United Nations, this Iran-Contra conspirator’s role was “to make sure that Secretary Powell did not make too many concessions to the Europeans on the resolution’s wording, pressing a hard-line view.” Who was this senior director of Near East and North African affairs at the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration?

17. Who was Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, until he was indicted for lying to federal investigators in the Valerie Plame case, who drafted Colin Powell’s fraudulent February 5, 2003 UN speech?

18. According to Julian Borger’s July 17, 2003 Guardian article entitled “The spies who pushed for war,” the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) “forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon’s office in Israel” to provide the Bush administration with alarmist reports on Saddam’s Iraq. Who was the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy who headed the OSP?

19. Which British-born professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, whose 1990 essay “The Roots of Muslim Rage” introduced the dubious concept of a “Clash of Civilizations,” has been called “perhaps the most significant intellectual influence behind the invasion of Iraq”?

20. Apart from their key roles in taking America to war against Iraq, what do the answers to questions 1 to 19 all have in common?

Answers: 1. Albert Wohlstetter 2. Oded Yinon 3. Richard Perle 4. William Kristol and Robert Kagan 5. David Wurmser 6. Paul Wolfowitz 7. Joseph Lieberman 8. William Safire 9. Eliot Cohen 10. David Frum 11. Norman Podhoretz 12. Kenneth Adelman 13. Charles Krauthammer 14. Benjamin Netanyahu 15. Philip Zelikow 16. Elliott Abrams 17. Lewis “Scooter” Libby 18. Douglas Feith 19. Bernard Lewis 20. They are all Jewish Zionists.

This article originally appeared on: Islam Times


Maidhc Ó Cathail is a writer and educator. Born and raised in Ireland, he has been living in Osaka, Japan since 1999. is happy that this extremely diverse writer has joined forces with our team. In addition to writing a monthly column for the Irish language internet magazine Beo!, Maidhc's work has been published by, Dissident Voice, Foreign Policy Journal, Khaleej Times, Media Monitors Network, Online Journal, Palestine Chronicle and many more. Maidhc Ó Cathail was asked to join the Salem-News team because of his fantastic world coverage. His reports covering events like the conflict in Palestine, show a fantastic overview of the developing events that are shaping world history. We look forward to sharing stories from this well connected individual with our readers. It is a tough and complicated world out there, and we're all better off with the additional education gleaned from Maidhc Ó Cathail's research and reporting. You can write to Maidhc at:

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Bob Mac January 13, 2011 2:21 pm (Pacific time)

It's a sad but true commentary that shows the lack of common sense the majority of US citizens have and how pliable we are. It reminds me of how Hitler manipulated his country, I was so frustrated because I could see what the Bush ragime was up to and couldn't stop the run away freight train. I do not resent democrats or republicans for this. I resent the criminal Bush regime. Actually, I don't think Bush was smart enough to do this. He was just the puppet on the string and the puppet masters knew it before he was elected.

Carl March 15, 2010 11:53 am (Pacific time)

Tim King thank you for your response. I see you are very passionate about your opinion on this matter and I respect that. I was discussing "real time" intelligence and looking at the situation based on that invasion time period, not looking back via what historians call Presentism. What the general public knows, and that includes members of congress, is going to be considerably different than what the decision-makers know. Considering the leaks that come out of Congress, this can, and has cost many lives over the years, so info is tightly withheld for bonafide reasons. In hindsight, Bush should have gotten the Sedition/Treason Act, or something more intense, passed as soon as possible after 9/11. The First Amendment simply must be reined in during times of war or anytime national security is involved. Also Iraq had extensive WMD's and killed their own people as well as Iranians with them. The caualties were in the thousands. It does appear that Saddam was playing poker with the world, but he had considerable wealth, was constantly updating his military hardware, had used poison gas to kill thousands, and then we the public had imperfect information and we still do. Recall some intelligence made available to our political leaders (of both parties) caused them to go on public record warning us about Sadam Hussein's danger to American security. We had just buried nearly three thousand Americans and Iraq was a belligerent who violated 17 UN regulations. Please see the public record where Hillary Clinton claimed that Iraq was sponsoring and training Al Quada. To the inquiry about my past military experience. I specialized in many things on the infantry company level, I also have a working knowledge of tactics and strategy in "real time" combat. Not one man under me failed to come home. I have been privy to considerable info, and am confident that steps taken have made us safer and have no doubt saved countless lives. The future does not look good I'm afraid. Your recent story on the killings of Americans at the Mexican Consulate is the canary in the mine, and we have no place to run to, so expect some heat this summer.

Carl: Thanks for that, and it looks like our beliefs may have some common ground.

Hank Ruark March 14, 2010 6:31 pm (Pacific time)

  Why don't you simply reveal your military rank and professional standing, sir, if you have any...
  Easy-claims re amateurism in analysis fall freely from far too many tongues of those who never commit theirs to full and documented writing ready for public checkability by others, willing and ready to sign name in full and submit to public check on published and other experience.

  I.e., frend Carl, don't beat your tongue any longer, just put it out there for "see with own eyes" and public-comment check.

  Until, unless you do, yours goes directly to round-can, for me...from experience over years with those who talk it but cannot walk it...straight, that is.

  Re what future will uncover, here you et al have little to fear since you've never put it out there right on-the-line.

Hank Ruark March 14, 2010 1:32 pm (Pacific time)

J.K. et al
  "In Bush's 2002 State of the Union address, a speech designed to shift the political debate from a battle against al-Qaeda to a possible confrontation with Iraq, the president mentioned North Korea, Iraq and Iran and declared: "States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. . . . In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic." (Wikipedia)

  For further clarification of actions via Bush/Cheney-cabal, check out Project for New American Century, thinktank set up to promote moreofsame including Clinton-attack on Iraq,refused then.

Carl March 14, 2010 6:15 pm (Pacific time)

Tim King I was not referencing any particular news agency in my below post, though it appears that every news agency had reporters embedded during the invasion and all were reporting in real time. I knew several of these journalists who were part of the primary invasion and have heard their analysis of the changes they have seen over the years throughout Iraq. When looking back at this time period I look at the entire history going back to the 1940's, but then I was not privy to the info either the Clinton or Bush Administration had. We all heard the battle crys coming out of the senate during the 1990's about the claimed WMD's and nuclear program Saddam Hussein was developing. As you know this is all historical record. I frankly doubt there is any reporter, domestic or from abroad who could claim they knew what intelligence was available to the decision-makers in real time. Just the same, the current Obama Administration is following the same tact as the Bush one, which is in effect, nation building for both Iraq and Afghanistan. I imagine the writer of this article is more familiar than most Americans about what it's like (Ireland) to be under the heel of England, but what does he, as well as you and most all of the world, know about what really precipitated the Iraq invasion? We have some successful experience in nation building, and hopefully we can be successful in our current pursuits. It would be a win-win for all involved. I believe the American people can sort out whose being straight with them and who isn't, that's why some organizations thrive while others decay.

Tim King: OK Carl, I guess that as a serious student of history I don't look at the theories, they are all over the place.  I spent time at Balad while covering the war and that is where Saddam kept his MiG-29's.  That is about as close as they came to having WMD's.  It is a fantastic aircraft, especially a few years ago.  So, you know that the U.S. and England in the years following WWII, did not allow the Iranians to see the books?  That is the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.  In 1953 the first Democratically elected President of Iran talked publicly about nationalizing Iran's oil, and the SAS and the CIA took that President out, kidnapped the Shah, put him in a CIA reeducation camp for nine months, and reinstalled him as a puppet western friendly leader who lasted until the Islamic Revolution of 1979.  We were just oh so cool with Saddam then, the U.S. government thought he was wonderful, while he ruled with the same iron hand he always used.  So, the U.S. was so put out by the Hostage Crisis, that the U.S. government called on old buddy Saddam Hussein, and they financed him to invade Iran.  Then a long and bloody war ensued, thanks to the USA and then the Iraqi's lost and returned home.  Then a few years later, when Kuwait was allegedly ripping off Iraq's oil through some innovative drilling techniques, April Gillsepe gave Saddam a green light to do what he would do and the U.S. would have nothing to say about it.  Then the invasion came and Americans asked, where is Kuwait?  Oil interests, that is what precipitated the war in Iraq, and George W Bush's ego, and the mad drive to inflate the budgets of groups like Haliburton.  I can't say a lot, I am no expert, but I have been all over Iraq during the war and there is little positive to say.  There are good Americans and Iraqi people all over that country. Some are terrible, on both sides.  It is not a war that many people look forward to returning to, but they go, over and over and over.  That is because Americans are good people and they have BEEN HAD by Bush and his band of criminal politicians.  I sense that you are trying to make a point and you are not rude, so forgive me if I am, but I am being very level with you, from my perspective, and that is all I can do.  There is little hope there Carl.  We divided Sunni and Shi'ite people; we built walls to divide them, literally.  The designation by religion was forced by the US government, just like in Rwanda when the Hutu and Tutsi's were forced to designate who they were culturally.  The US didn't do that, nor did the US learn from it.  I love our people, I support out veterans, but to somehow justify Iraq as some kind of a good decision or one that leaves the place better off is simply a misleading fantasy.  I could go on and on but I will leave it at that.  Watch for a video coming out later today on that contains the most horrific images of what that war is really about.  It is worse than anything any person ever imagined, and produced by the people who fight the Coalition. 

Carl March 14, 2010 12:32 pm (Pacific time)

Key to evaluating historical events is to be aware of PRESENTISM, and how it can taint analysis. In the review of how we got involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, it is also helpful to have a background in military strategy and tactics, coupled with knowing what intelligence the decision-makers had available to them during each step of the invasion and combat process. Otherwise supposition is pretty much a by-product of making an historical assessment in this matter, which has minimal reliability and validity in my opinion. In time more classified documents will become available which should help clear up a lot of misinformation out there that is no doubt driven by agenda amateurism.

Tim King: Well Carl, you make a good point and remind me of how criminal it is for the U.S. to allow FOX to publish and broadcast such blatantly false and agenda driven information; all part of the right wing war machine we are all so thoroughly learning to despise.  Perhaps we need to return to the teachings of the great Marine officer Smedley Butler, who warned us all about the government military industrial complex and what it really represented for us, back in the 1930's.  I'm sure you also agree that we are extremely talented to be in the presence of a writer like Maidhc whose observations are so on target.  Now that we know the 'information' presented to our national leaders was pure horse manure, we know the Bush Administration was simply motivated to turn the USA into an aggressive warring nation.  The 'War President' title meant so much to him.  But letting mentally deficient people run a nation... now that is one most of us have still never really accepted or adjusted to.   

Jeff Kaye~ March 14, 2010 8:36 am (Pacific time)

Thank you, Maidhc, for putting the pieces of this puzzle together... the world needs to know, to see the connection, and to understand that the true evil lies in Israel and in its supporters, many of which are unfortunately to be found in the US and its pro-Israeli government. Re DJ's comment on item #10, I believe the original term was "Axis of Hate", but Bush thought "Evil" sounded better, as in his perpetual "evil-doers" comments ad nauseum. "Hate-doers" just didn't have that special ring he was looking for. Duby, Cheney, Libby and the lot are the ones who actually perpetrated evil, in lying to US and the world about the situation on 9/11 involving Iraq, which it did not. Saddam was a bad man, and he did apparently wish Dubya's daddy dead, so let's throw a couple of trillion dollars down the toilet and thousands of young American lives as well so that the two birds could be killed with the proverbial single stone; 1. Take out Saddam, 2. Make Dubya's cronies very rich, by trashing America's economy and imperiling the world's economy, indeed the Earth itself. I guess now those of us speaking the truth about it will all be arrested as "belligerents". And we should pray for Jesus and Jehosephat to come take all these whackos away. Then we'll be "left behind", like the popular ridiculous Tim Lahaye books and subsequent movies. If only that could really happen... Peace on Earth, at last!

Daniel Johnson March 13, 2010 4:18 pm (Pacific time)

There are not many places (if any) where all the dots get connected. But here they are. Just a detail on #10, Frum apparently coined the term "axis of something or other" and another person decided that "evil" would be better. Whether this is true or not, is irrelevant and taks nothing away from this penetrating piece of exposition.

gp March 13, 2010 4:08 pm (Pacific time)

shocking but not surprising. And they call us conspiracy theorists...

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