T Nation

Propoganda 101


20 falsehoods about the Iraq war


Glen Rangwala and Raymond Whitaker sift fact from fiction as controversy rages over the Iraq war.

1) Iraq was responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks.

A supposed meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta, leader of the September 11 hijackers, and an Iraqi intelligence official was the basis for this claim, but Czech intelligence later conceded that the Iraqi's contact could not have been Atta. This did not stop the stream of assertions that Iraq was involved.

At one stage opinion polls showed that two-thirds of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks. Almost as many believed Iraqi hijackers were on the crashed aircraft.

2) Iraq and al Qaeda were working together.

Claims by United States and British leaders that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in league were contradicted by a leaked British intelligence report, which said there were no current links between them. Bin Laden's "aims are in ideological conflict with present-day Iraq", it added.

Another strand to the claims was that al Qaeda members were being sheltered in Iraq, and had set up a poisons training camp.

When US troops reached the camp, they found no chemical or biological traces.

3) Iraq sought uranium from Africa for a "reconstituted" N-weapons programme.

The head of the CIA has admitted that documents purporting to show that Iraq tried to import uranium from Niger were forged, and that the claim should never have been in President George W. Bush's State of the Union address.

Britain sticks by the claim, but the Foreign Office conceded last week that this information was now "under review".

4) Iraq was trying to import aluminium tubes to develop nuclear weapons.

The US persistently claimed that Baghdad tried to buy high-strength aluminium tubes whose only use could be in gas centrifuges, needed to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the tubes were for artillery rockets. Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei told the UN Security Council in January that the tubes were useless for centrifuges.

5) Iraq still had vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons from the first Gulf War.

Iraq possessed enough dangerous substances to kill the whole world, it was alleged more than once. It had pilotless aircraft that could be smuggled into the US and used to spray chemical and biological toxins.

Experts pointed out that apart from mustard gas, Iraq never had the technology to produce materials with a shelf-life of 12 years, the time between the two wars. All such agents would have deteriorated to the point of uselessness years ago.

6) Iraq retained up to 20 missiles able to carry chemical or biological warheads, which would threaten British forces in Cyprus.

Apart from the fact that there has been no sign of these missiles since the invasion, Britain downplayed the risk of there being any such weapons in Iraq once the fighting began.

Chemical protection equipment was removed from British bases in Cyprus last year, indicating that the Government did not take its own claims seriously.

7) Saddam had the wherewithal to develop smallpox.

This claim was made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in his address to the Security Council in February. The following month the UN said there was nothing to support it.

8) US and British claims were supported by weapons inspectors.

According to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, chief UN weapons inspector Dr Hans Blix "pointed out" that Iraq had 10,000 litres of anthrax.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Iraq's chemical, biological and "indeed the nuclear weapons programme" had been well-documented by the UN.

Blix's reply? "This is not the same as saying there are weapons of mass destruction," he said last September.

In May he added: "I am obviously very interested in the question of whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction, and I am beginning to suspect there possibly were not."

9) Previous weapons inspections had failed.

Blair told the Independent in March that the UN had "tried unsuccessfully for 12 years to get Saddam to disarm peacefully". But in 1999 a Security Council panel concluded: "Although important elements still have to be resolved, the bulk of Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes has been eliminated."

Blair also claimed UN inspectors "found no trace at all of Saddam's offensive biological weapons programme" until his son-in-law defected. In fact, the UN got the regime to admit to its programme more than a month before the defection.

10) Iraq was obstructing the inspectors.

Britain's "dodgy dossier" in February claimed inspectors' escorts were "trained to start long arguments" with other Iraqi officials while evidence was being hidden, and inspectors' journeys were monitored and notified ahead to remove surprise.

Blix said in February that the UN had conducted more than 400 inspections, all without notice. "In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew the inspectors were coming."

11) Iraq could deploy its weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes.

This now-notorious claim was based on a single source, said to be a serving Iraqi military officer.

This individual has not been produced since the war, but in any case Blair contradicted the claim in April. He said Iraq had begun to conceal its weapons in May last year, which meant they could not have been used within 45 minutes.

12) The "dodgy dossier".

Blair told Parliament in February, when the dossier was issued: "We issued further intelligence over the weekend about the infrastructure of concealment. It is obviously difficult when we publish intelligence reports."

It soon emerged that most of it was cribbed without attribution from three articles on the internet.

13) War would be easy.

Public fears of war in the US and Britain were assuaged by assurances that Iraqis would welcome the invading forces.

Resistance was patchy, but stiffer than expected, mainly from irregular forces fighting in civilian clothes. "This wasn't the enemy we war-gamed against," one general complained.

14) Umm Qasr.

The fall of Iraq's only port was announced several times before Anglo-American forces gained full control - among others by Admiral Michael Boyce, chief of Britain's defence staff.

"Umm Qasr has been overwhelmed by the US Marines and is now in coalition hands," he said, somewhat prematurely.

15) The Basra rebellion.

Claims that the Shia Muslim population of Basra, Iraq's second city, had risen against their oppressors were repeated for days, long after it became clear to those on the ground that this was little more than wishful thinking.

The defeat of a supposed breakout by Iraqi armour was also announced by a military spokesman in no position to know the truth.

16) The "rescue" of Private Jessica Lynch.

Lynch's "rescue" from a hospital in Nasiriyah by American special forces was presented as the major "feel-good" story of the war.

She was said to have fired back at Iraqi troops until her ammunition ran out, and was taken to hospital suffering bullet and stab wounds.

But all her injuries were suffered in a vehicle crash, which left her incapable of firing.

Medical staff had tried to return her to the Americans after Iraqi forces pulled out, but the doctors had to turn back when US troops fired on them.

The special forces encountered no resistance, but made sure the whole episode was filmed.

17) Troops would face chemical and biological weapons.

As US forces approached Baghdad, there was a rash of reports that they would cross a "red line", within which Republican Guard units were authorised to use chemical weapons.

Lieutenant-General James Conway, the leading US Marine commander in Iraq, conceded later that intelligence reports that chemical weapons had been deployed around Baghdad were wrong.

18) Interrogation of scientists would yield the location of weapons.

"I have got absolutely no doubt that those weapons are there ... Once we have the co-operation of the scientists and the experts, I have got no doubt that we will find them," Blair said in April.

Other leading figures said interrogations would provide discoveries that searches had failed to supply. But almost all of Iraq's leading scientists are in custody, and claims that lingering fears of Saddam are stilling their tongues are beginning to wear thin.

19) Iraq's oil money would go to Iraqis.

Blair complained in Parliament that "people falsely claim that we want to seize" Iraq's oil revenues, adding that they should be put in a trust fund for the Iraqi people administered through the UN.

Instead, Britain co-sponsored a Security Council resolution that gave the US and Britain control over Iraq's oil revenue.

20) Weapons of mass destruction found.

After repeated false sightings, both Blair and Bush claimed on May 30 that two trailers found in Iraq were biological laboratories. "We have already found two trailers, both of which we believe were used for the production of biological weapons," said Blair. It is almost certain the vehicles were for producing hydrogen for weather balloons.

source http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3512516&thesection=news&thesubsection=world


What's even worse than the lies or gross stretching of the truth that the administration is using (even Republican lawmakers are raising a fuss about them), is the fact that most American still BELIEVE it.
I blame too American pathologies: a lack of inititative by the media to find the truth and a lack of inititative by the people to actually read instead of watching Fox News for all their updates.


Uh oh, here we go.


It's too bad Bush only lied about this piddly crap. If he'd lied about a blow job, boy then there'd be hell to pay!

I can imagine a conversation going something like this:

Bush II: "Can I have it daddy, please? Huh? Can I? Can I? Please?

Bush I: "Ok son, I'll buy you the presidency, but only on one condition. You have to promise to get rid of that Saddam guy, whatever it takes. What the hell, I already own 5 Supreme Court justices and the Florida elections office, it shouldn't be too hard to swing."

Bush II: "Oh thank you daddy! Thank you! You won't regret it, I promise! And I'll get that nasty old Saddam, whatever it takes, I promise."


Thanks for your post. After due consideration, I've decided that on my side of the argument, saddam in hiding in a cave. On your side of the argument, saddam is still raping women, mutilating children, and putting people through the wood chipper. Thanks, but I'll stay on my side of the ideological fence.


oh dude, didn't you hear? Saddam wasn't a ruthless dictator that killed thousands of people, he's really a nice guy. I'd like to have him as our president.


I find it reassuring that I might be wrong about a significant part of the USA population and after all maybe not so many of you are brainless puppies tp the government propaganda like US=GG and some others on this forum.

I still find it hard to believe so many people can be so blind as to actually believe that Saddam could actually deploy himself of his thousands of liters of WMD's right under the most efficient satelite monitoring system that can even identity someone's face, let alone the movimentations required to execute such maneuvers.

You have been lied to and increased the list of innocent caualties atributable to the USA by a few thousand more. And for what? For a false feeling of safety? To support your 3 000 cc engines that you so proudly post pictures of?

Do you actually think that by killing children you will decrease terrorism?


And you're basing these claims on what? Your ass hairs?


Sure Saddam was a brutal tyrant, just as he was when he was a US friend & ally. Most of his worst crimes (gassing the Kurds, chem weapons against Iran, etc) were committed when he was being openly supported by the exact same crew that's in Washington now. I'm of course talking about Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc.

As for what Clinton did, don't bother attacking the other party when someone says something about Bush. The blowjob or whatever people talk about has absolutely nothing to do with the current government policies. I think all you "good guys" have a very good reason for wanting to divert people from the real discussion though.


I was just called cynical and miserable because I said US=GG has tunnel vision about our government. Does this make sense? I love the US, and I'm glad I live here. Do I agree with everything the government does and support them blindly? Hell no. Why? Because I can think for myself and formulate my own opinions about US policies. I don't agree with everything our country does, such as war, but I know who to support blindly: our troops. They get my utmost respect.

God dammit, I'm pissed off that I was called that.


trust no one. the truth is out there.


13)Korea and Vietnam we saw tens of thousands of casualties. THAT's stiff resistance.


Another BIG falsehood is the cost of the "peace effort". Rumsfeld's original estimates for post-invasion was 2 BILLION per MONTH. (sorry about the caps but I think it is warranted).

This week Rumsfeld admitted that the real cost in Iraq is almost double that, at 3.9 BILLION per MONTH.

He was "off" by DOUBLE.

Not ten percent off, not 25%. Frigging DOUBLE the costs.

Either these people are totally incompetent, or they are liars.

Got that, "good guys"? Almost FOUR BILLION per MONTH in Iraq, as a running tally. Maybe a "good guy" will remind me of our exit strategy for Iraq? I'm sure that in the weeks and months before we rushed to invade, there was some serious thought on what happens after we stomp the piss out of Saddam's puny forces?

As they close the senior centers, school lunch programs, fire stations, youth summer camps, after-school programs, public libraries, recycling programs, arts and music programs, soup kitchens for the homeless, and various other public programs in your town, ask yourself if you are happy about how the government spends your tax dollars?


monsiour, dude, learn to read. He was against Bush. He isn't a Good Guy. Hes a CSG....

...a Cock Sucker Guy.


The post was a direct copy and paste from an article ex the NZ Herald website as per the source tag at the end of it. The article is originally ex The Independent, a British newspaper.

Saddam's humanitarian atrocities have never been in doubt, just as the earlier funding by 'coalition' governments when they were already known is not.

It is naive to think this war is over, perhaps it has only just begun?


"As they close the senior centers, school lunch programs, fire stations, youth summer camps, after-school programs, public libraries, recycling programs, arts and music programs, soup kitchens for the homeless, and various other public programs in your town, ask yourself if you are happy about how the government spends your tax dollars?"

That's just killing two birds with one stone. Getting rid of Saddam and a lot of unneeded social programs. There's nothing in the Constitution about after-school programs, school lunches, youth summer camps, public libraries, recycling programs, arts and music programs, soup kitchens, or senior citizen programs.


As far as the entire region is concerned, it has just begun. Those countries aren't going away and several of them have nuclear arms.

My only agreement with the Iraq war has nothing to do with the reasons the government provided to the public. I believe a lot of it has to do with an attempt to bring democracy to a region that is highly unstable.

Saddam was probably more of a threat to the US through Israel more than anything, and their support for the Palestinians was probably a thorn that needed to be dealt with.

I can only hope that the new government manages to get off the ground and flourish. The problem here is that it isn't going to happen overnight. I would think that its going to take at least 8-10 years before things would be smooth and an American presence wouldn't be necessary anymore. Then again, there was Germany after WWII. We were there for much longer than that.

Who's to say that there wouldn't be something akin to a "cold war" in this region? Clearly nuclear weapons are required which is probably a great fear of the current administration. This war was pre-emptive in the sense that you do not allow the development of these weapons in the first place. No weapons, no standoff.


Glen Rangwala and Raymond Whitaker are two tea drinking lefties that seemed to be more concerned with humanitarian aid and international laawww than U.S or British soldiers. Rangwala helped run an orgainzation called "Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq", so naturally he's going to be objective, right?

I'll be the first to admit that President Bush shouldn't have used WMD as his main reason for regime change in Iraq. Despite what the anti-war camp was saying, Iraq had WMD. The Clinton administration even knew this. Whether they are still in the country is another question.

What was lost in all of this was Saddam's defiance of the U.N and the Allies. The last U.N resolution stated that all Saddam had to do was account for his weapons. Where were they? Were they destroyed? If so, then who destroyed them and when. The ball was clearly in Saddam's court, but instead of cooperating he decided to be a tough guy. So the blame was on Saddam. It's too bad innocent lives were lost because of his defiance.

The links between Saddam and Al-Quada have been documented time and time again. Bush haters and liberals can believe what the want. I'll give this administration the benefit of the doubt before I would a vile piece crap in Saddam.

Do I follow the president blindly, no. I've stated my disdain with his cash give away to Africa for aids before. Bush has done a complete 180 since the war with Iraq. He's no more conservative than Lumpy is. Obviously trying to get liberal votes. All the while ignoring the U.S's current border situation and not speaking to the citizens of the U.S about what the hell is going on in Iraq. No, to busy taking tours of Africa to seem more comppaaassionate.



Has someone put T-Mag veneer over our favourite political site? One one hand we have our Coach X and Big X's and on the other hand we now have Political "handles"


I myself got out of the army close to 2-3 weeks before my unit jumped in there. Bush's reasons for going were wrong or he hid his true reasons behind justified ones. Do you guys remember him saying "This is the man who tried to kill my father."? I do.
I would have supported going if the people asked us, if he was a serious threat to our ALLIES or US, but not for a personal vendetta.
AFN, the military channel in europe, had nothing but propaganda for the troops to watch, no facts, only digital DRAWINGS of what MIGHT POSSIBLY ON A CHANCE BE THERE. like their spyplane that looded exactly like our predator only it was digital with an irag flag on it.
sure he's a murderous bastard, and he kills his own people, but we weren't asked to go over to that hostile country to help them, in that region, certain religions and races aren't considered as valuable as others. They would have done something themselves if they wanted it bad enough.
and as for them not complying for the last 12 years, it was the U.N's fault. If they really wanted him to comply they would have made him, but they didn't. he could've been taken out by at least FIVE snipers we know of in the last war but they said no.
If bush himself had someone in his administration with foreign affairs knowledge and he was sincere about wanting not to go until the last resort the war could easily have been avoided.

I love america but i have to poop when i see bush.