Neocons to Americans: Trust Us Again

Exclusive: Marching in lockstep with Israeli hardliners, American neocons are aiming their heavy media artillery at the Iran nuclear deal as a necessary first step toward another “regime change” war in the Mideast and they are furious when anyone mentions the Iraq War disaster and the deceptions that surrounded it, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

America’s neocons insist that their only mistake was falling for some false intelligence about Iraq’s WMD and that they shouldn’t be stripped of their powerful positions of influence for just one little boo-boo. That’s the point of view taken by Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt as he whines about the unfairness of applying “a single-interest litmus test,” i.e., the Iraq War debacle, to judge him and his fellow war boosters.

After noting that many other important people were on the same pro-war bandwagon with him, Hiatt criticizes President Barack Obama for citing the Iraq War as an argument not to listen to many of the same neocons who now are trying to sabotage the Iran nuclear agreement. Hiatt thinks it’s the height of unfairness for Obama or anyone else to suggest that people who want to kill the Iran deal — and thus keep alive the option to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran — “are lusting for another war.”

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

Hiatt also faults Obama for not issuing a serious war threat to Iran, a missing ultimatum that explains why the nuclear agreement falls “so far short.” Hiatt adds: “war is not always avoidable, and the judicious use of force early in a crisis, or even the threat of force, can sometimes forestall worse bloodshed later.”

But it should be noted that the neocons and Hiatt in particular did not simply make one mistake when they joined President George W. Bush’s rush to war in 2002-03. They continued with their warmongering in Iraq for years, often bashing the handful of brave souls in Official Washington who dared challenge the neocons’ pro-war enthusiasm. Hiatt and his fellow “opinion leaders” were, in effect, the enforcers of the Iraq War “group think” and they have never sought to make amends for that bullying.

The Destruction of Joe Wilson

Take, for instance, the case of CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Hiatt’s editorial section waged a long vendetta against Wilson for challenging one particularly egregious lie, Bush’s nationally televised claim about Iraq seeking “yellowcake” uranium from Niger, a suggestion that Iraq was working on a secret nuclear bomb. The Post’s get-Wilson campaign included publishing a column that identified Plame as a CIA officer, thus destroying her undercover career.

At that point, you might have thought that Hiatt would have stepped forward and tried to ameliorate the harm that he and his editorial page had inflicted on this patriotic American family, whose offense was to point out a false claim that Bush had used to sell the Iraq War to the American people. But instead Hiatt simply piled on the abuse, essentially driving Wilson and Plame out of government circles and indeed out of Washington.

In effect, Hiatt applied “a single-issue litmus test” to disqualify the Wilson family from the ranks of those Americans who should be listened to. Joe Wilson had failed the test by being right about the Iraq War, so he obviously needed to be drummed out of public life.

The fact that Hiatt remains the Post’s editorial-page editor and that Wilson ended up decamping his family to New Mexico speaks volumes about the upside-down world that Official Washington has become. Be conspicuously, obstinately and nastily wrong about possibly the biggest foreign-policy blunder in U.S. history and you should be cut some slack, but dare be right and off with your head.

And the Iraq War wasn’t just a minor error. In the dozen years since Bush launched his war of aggression in Iraq, the bloody folly has destabilized the entire Middle East, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths (including nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers), wasted well over $1 trillion, spread the grotesque violence of Sunni terrorism across the region, and sent a flood of refugees into Europe threatening the Continent’s unity.

Yet, what is perhaps most remarkable is that almost no one who aided and abetted the catastrophic and illegal decision has been held accountable in any meaningful way. That applies to Bush and his senior advisers who haven’t spent a single day inside a jail cell; it applies to Official Washington’s well-funded think tanks where neoconservatives still dominate; and it applies to the national news media where almost no one who disseminated pro-war propaganda was fired (with the possible exception of Judith Miller who was dumped by The New York Times but landed on her feet as a Fox News “on-air personality” and an op-ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal).

The Plame-Gate Affair

While the overall performance of the Post’s editorial page during the Iraq War was one of the most shameful examples of journalistic malfeasance in modern U.S. history, arguably the ugliest part was the Post’s years-long assault on Wilson and Plame. The so-called “Plame-gate Affair” began in early 2002 when the CIA recruited ex-Ambassador Wilson to investigate what turned out to be a forged document indicating a possible Iraqi yellowcake purchase in Niger. The document had aroused Vice President Dick Cheney’s interest.

Having served in Africa, Wilson accepted the CIA’s assignment and returned with a conclusion that Iraq had almost surely not obtained any uranium from Niger, an assessment shared by other U.S. officials who checked out the story. However, the bogus allegation was not so easily quashed.

Wilson was stunned when Bush included the Niger allegations in his State of the Union Address in January 2003. Initially, Wilson began alerting a few journalists about the discredited claim while trying to keep his name out of the newspapers. However, in July 2003 after the U.S. invasion in March 2003 had failed to turn up any WMD stockpiles Wilson penned an op-ed article for The New York Times describing what he didn’t find in Africa and saying the White House had “twisted” pre-war intelligence.

Though Wilson’s article focused on his own investigation, it represented the first time a Washington insider had gone public with evidence regarding the Bush administration’s fraudulent case for war. Thus, Wilson became a major target for retribution from the White House and particularly Cheney’s office.

As part of the campaign to destroy Wilson’s credibility, senior Bush administration officials leaked to journalists that Wilson’s wife worked in the CIA office that had dispatched him to Niger, a suggestion that the trip might have been some kind of junket. When right-wing columnist Robert Novak published Plame’s covert identity in The Washington Post’s op-ed section, Plame’s CIA career was destroyed.

Accusations of Lying

However, instead of showing any remorse for the harm his editorial section had done, Hiatt simply enlisted in the Bush administration’s war against Wilson, promoting every anti-Wilson talking point that the White House could dream up. The Post’s assault on Wilson went on for years.

For instance, in a Sept. 1, 2006, editorial, Hiatt accused Wilson of lying when he had claimed the White House had leaked his wife’s name. The context of Hiatt’s broadside was the disclosure that Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the first administration official to tell Novak that Plame was a CIA officer and had played a small role in Wilson’s Niger trip.

Because Armitage was considered a reluctant supporter of the Iraq War, the Post editorial jumped to the conclusion that “it follows that one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plame’s identity is untrue.”

But Hiatt’s logic was faulty for several reasons. First, Armitage may have been cozier with some senior officials in Bush’s White House than was generally understood. And, just because Armitage may have been the first to share the classified information with Novak didn’t mean that there was no parallel White House operation to peddle Plame’s identity to reporters.

In fact, evidence uncovered by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who examined the Plame leak, supported a conclusion that White House officials, under the direction of Vice President Cheney and including Cheney aide Lewis Libby and Bush political adviser Karl Rove, approached a number of reporters with this information.

Indeed, Rove appears to have confirmed Plame’s identity for Novak and also leaked the information to Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper. Meanwhile, Libby, who was indicted on perjury and obstruction charges in the case, had pitched the information to The New York Times’ Judith Miller. The Post’s editorial acknowledged that Libby and other White House officials were not “blameless,” since they allegedly released Plame’s identity while “trying to discredit Mr. Wilson.” But the Post reserved its harshest condemnation for Wilson.

“It now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame’s CIA career is Mr. Wilson,” the editorial said. “Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming falsely, as it turned out that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials.

“He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush’s closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It’s unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.”

A Smear or a Lie

The Post’s editorial, however, was at best an argumentative smear and most likely a willful lie. By then, the evidence was clear that Wilson, along with other government investigators, had debunked the reports of Iraq acquiring yellowcake in Niger and that those findings did circulate to senior levels, explaining why CIA Director George Tenet struck the yellowcake claims from other Bush speeches.

The Post’s accusation about Wilson “falsely” claiming to have debunked the yellowcake reports apparently was based on Wilson’s inclusion in his report of speculation from one Niger official who suspected that Iraq might have been interested in buying yellowcake, although the Iraqi officials never mentioned yellowcake and made no effort to buy any. This irrelevant point had become a centerpiece of Republican attacks on Wilson and was recycled by the Post.

Plus, contrary to the Post’s assertion that Wilson “ought to have expected” that the White House and Novak would zero in on Wilson’s wife, a reasonable expectation in a normal world would have been just the opposite. Even amid the ugly partisanship of modern Washington, it was shocking to many longtime observers of government that any administration official or an experienced journalist would disclose the name of a covert CIA officer for such a flimsy reason as trying to discredit her husband.

Hiatt also bought into the Republican argument that Plame really wasn’t “covert” at all and thus there was nothing wrong in exposing her counter-proliferation work for the CIA. The Post was among the U.S. media outlets that gave a podium for right-wing lawyer Victoria Toensing to make this bogus argument in defense of Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Libby.

On Feb. 18, 2007, as jurors were about to begin deliberations in Libby’s obstruction case, the Post ran a prominent Outlook article by Toensing, who had been buzzing around the TV pundit shows decrying Libby’s prosecution. In the Post article, she wrote that “Plame was not covert. She worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years of the date of Novak’s column.”

A Tendentious Argument

Though it might not have been clear to a reader, Toensing was hanging her claim about Plame not being “covert” on a contention that Plame didn’t meet the coverage standards of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Toensing’s claim was legalistic at best since it obscured the larger point that Plame was working undercover in a classified CIA position and was running agents abroad whose safety would be put at risk by an unauthorized disclosure of Plame’s identity.

But Toensing, who promoted herself as an author of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, wasn’t even right about the legal details. The law doesn’t require that a CIA officer be “stationed” abroad in the preceding five years; it simply refers to an officer who “has served within the last five years outside the United States.”

That would cover someone who while based in the United States went abroad on official CIA business, as Plame testified under oath in a congressional hearing that she had done within the five-year period. Toensing, who appeared as a Republican witness at the same congressional hearing on March 16, 2007, was asked about her bald assertion that “Plame was not covert.”

“Not under the law,” Toensing responded. “I’m giving you the legal interpretation under the law and I helped draft the law. The person is supposed to reside outside the United States.” But that’s not what the law says, either. It says “served” abroad, not “reside.”

At the hearing, Toensing was reduced to looking like a quibbling kook who missed the forest of damage done to U.S. national security, to Plame and possibly to the lives of foreign agents for the trees of how a definition in a law was phrased, and then getting that wrong, too.

After watching Toensing’s bizarre testimony, one had to wonder why the Post would have granted her space on the widely read Outlook section’s front page to issue what she called “indictments” of Joe Wilson, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and others who had played a role in exposing the White House hand behind the Plame leak.

Despite Toensing’s high-profile smear of Wilson and Fitzgerald, Libby still was convicted of four felony counts. In response to the conviction, the Post reacted with another dose of its false history of the Plame case and a final insult directed at Wilson, declaring that he “will be remembered as a blowhard.”

With Plame’s CIA career destroyed and Wilson’s reputation battered by Hiatt and his Post colleagues, the Wilsons moved away from Washington. Their ordeal was later recounted in the 2010 movie, “Fair Game,” starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. Though Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison, his sentence was commuted by President Bush to eliminate any jail time.

A Pattern of Dishonesty

While perhaps Hiatt’s vendetta against Joe Wilson was the meanest personal attack in the Post’s multi-year pro-war advocacy, it was just part of a larger picture of complicity and intimidation. Post readers often learned about voices of dissent only by reading Post columnists denouncing the dissenters, a scene reminiscent of a totalitarian society where dissidents never get space to express their opinions but are still excoriated in the official media.

For instance, on Sept. 23, 2002, when former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech criticizing Bush’s “preemptive war” doctrine and Bush’s push for the Iraq invasion, Gore’s talk got scant media coverage, but still elicited a round of Gore-bashing on the TV talk shows and on the Post’s op-ed page.

Post columnist Michael Kelly called Gore’s speech “dishonest, cheap, low” before labeling it “wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible.” [Washington Post, Sept. 25, 2002] Post columnist Charles Krauthammer added that the speech was “a series of cheap shots strung together without logic or coherence.” [Washington Post, Sept. 27, 2002]

While the Post’s wrongheadedness on the Iraq War extended into its news pages with the rare skeptical article either buried or spiked Hiatt’s editorial section was like a chorus with virtually every columnist singing from the same pro-invasion song book and Hiatt’s editorials serving as lead vocalist. A study by Columbia University journalism professor Todd Gitlin noted, “The [Post] editorials during December [2002] and January [2003] numbered nine, and all were hawkish.” [American Prospect, April 1, 2003]

The Post’s martial harmony reached its crescendo after Secretary of State Colin Powell made his bogus presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, accusing Iraq of hiding vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. The next day, Hiatt’s lead editorial hailed Powell’s evidence as “irrefutable” and chastised any remaining skeptics.

“It is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction,” the editorial said. Hiatt’s judgment was echoed across the Post’s op-ed page, with Post columnists from Right to Left singing the same note of misguided consensus.

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 19-20, 2003, and months of fruitless searching for the promised WMD caches, Hiatt finally acknowledged that the Post should have been more circumspect in its confident claims about the WMD.

“If you look at the editorials we write running up [to the war], we state as flat fact that he [Saddam Hussein] has weapons of mass destruction,” Hiatt said in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review. “If that’s not true, it would have been better not to say it.” [CJR, March/April 2004]

Concealing the Truth

But Hiatt’s supposed remorse didn’t stop him and the Post editorial page from continuing its single-minded support for the Iraq War. Hiatt was especially hostile when evidence emerged that revealed how thoroughly he and his colleagues had been gulled.

In June 2005, for instance, The Washington Post decided to ignore the leak of the “Downing Street Memo” in the British press. The “memo” actually minutes of a meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his national security team on July 23, 2002 recounted the words of MI6 chief Richard Dearlove who had just returned from discussions with his intelligence counterparts in Washington.

“Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” Dearlove said.

Though the Downing Street Memo amounted to a smoking gun regarding how Bush had set his goal first overthrowing Saddam Hussein and then searched for a sellable rationalization, the Post’s senior editors deemed the document unworthy to share with their readers.

Only after thousands of Post readers complained did the newspaper deign to give its reasoning. On June 15, 2005, the Post’s lead editorial asserted that “the memos add not a single fact to what was previously known about the administration’s prewar deliberations. Not only that: They add nothing to what was publicly known in July 2002.”

But Hiatt was simply wrong in that assertion. Looking back to 2002 and early 2003, it would be hard to find any commentary in the Post or any other mainstream U.S. news outlet calling Bush’s actions fraudulent, which is what the “Downing Street Memo” and other British evidence revealed Bush’s actions to be.

The British documents also proved that much of the pre-war debate inside the U.S. and British governments was how best to manipulate public opinion by playing games with the intelligence.

Further, official documents of this nature are almost always regarded as front-page news, even if they confirm long-held suspicions. By Hiatt’s and the Post’s reasoning, the Pentagon Papers wouldn’t have been news since some people had previously alleged that U.S. officials had lied about the Vietnam War.

Not a One-Off

In other words, Hiatt’s Iraq War failure wasn’t a one-off affair. It was a long-running campaign to keep the truth from the American people and to silence and even destroy critics of the war. The overall impact of this strategy was to ensure that war was the only option.

And, in that sense, Hiatt’s history as a neocon war propagandist belies his current defense of fellow neocon pundits who are rallying opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. While Hiatt claims that his colleagues shouldn’t be accused of “lusting for another war,” that could well be the consequence if their obstructionism succeeds.

It has long been part of the neocon playbook to pretend that, of course, they don’t want war but then put the United States on a path that leads inevitably to war. Before the Iraq War, for instance, neocons argued that U.S. troops should be deployed to the region to compel Saddam Hussein to let in United Nations weapons inspectors yet once the soldiers got there and the inspectors inside Iraq were finding no WMD, the neocons argued that the invasion had to proceed because the troops couldn’t just sit there indefinitely while the inspectors raced around futilely searching for the WMD.

Similarly, you could expect that if the neocons succeed in torpedoing the Iran deal, the next move would be to demand that the United States deliver an ultimatum to Iran: capitulate or get bombed. Then, if Iran balked at surrender, the neocons would say that war and “regime change” were the only options to maintain American “credibility.” The neocons are experts at leading the U.S. media, politicians and public by the nose to precisely the war outcome that the neocons wanted from the beginning. Hiatt is doing his part.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

49 comments for “Neocons to Americans: Trust Us Again

  1. Herbert Dorsey
    August 23, 2015 at 15:01

    One particularly nasty faction of the Neocons are the Plan for a New American Century (PNAC) members. This fascist order was behind the 9/11 “inside job” – their “pearl harbor” that launched their many planned wars in the MidEast. They were calling for a “regime change” in Iraq while Billl Clinton was still President. Source: “The Secret History of the New World Order”:

  2. August 23, 2015 at 11:23

    We can also mention that there were no torpedoes in the Gulf of Tonkin, there was no Spanish mine in Havana harbor, Pearl Harbor was NOT a surprise, the Lusitania WAS carrying weapons, or any of the other hundred lies used to sell wars to those who bleed for them.

  3. Paul
    August 22, 2015 at 17:06

    Aside from everything else, it needs to be said that this article illustrates, in an exemplary way, what the role of the free press actually is.

    This is a classic.

  4. jbass5
    August 22, 2015 at 12:04

    starting a war is not the best for the US. before JFK ran for President, his father Joe sent him on a world wide tour to build his foreign relations creds. when the Senator returned, the former interventionist had 2nd thoughts on the US deploying troops and money in areas where there was no national interest..

    no country has the resources to police the entire world. look at what China has done the last 30 or so years..i have not seen their army occupying foreign lands, and in the meantime they have built up enormous wealth while the US has gone broke…

  5. TJ Tucker
    August 21, 2015 at 12:31

    The false intelligence procured itself, out of demands by the neocons. Check out the way they destroyed Scott Ritter, who was better informed than anyone, and fought tooth and nail to stop the war, demanding that the claims were false. The testimonies from people who tried to speak the truth, and were dismissed, demoted, or otherwise silenced, is a mile long. Sure, the intelligence was false. But it was pruposefully so. The truth was also out there, but they did everything they could to keep it from being widely disseminated. The Washington post was at the leading edge of that one.

    I don’t know that we’re ready to be fooled again on this one. I can already see them preparing the false intelligence on Iran, to justify the next war. And yes, the Washington post is preparing to be fooled by the false intelligence, and to make sure that those who see through it are not allowed a public podium.

  6. curious
    August 18, 2015 at 03:04

    To the CN web site.

    I thought this was a site where opinions could be expressed. I’m surprised at the editing that has happened here re: 911. where my post was deleted. I won’t defend the post as the best written piece I’ve done, but it was still worth revisiting 911 and the fact that hardly anyone, in fact close to no one, mentions building 7 when they talk of that horrific day. B-7 is a story worth repeating, especially when Andrew waxes disingenuous about his annoyance with “conspiracy theoretical positions” He deserved to be chastised a bit in my opinion. Too bad this site has their own chicken algorithms. a shame.

  7. OH
    August 17, 2015 at 22:54

    It wasn’t long ago you couldn’t convince anyone that the conservatives and the centrists are desperate to go to war, now it’s only a question of how many of us realize the actual depth of betrayal they will go to.

  8. william heaton
    August 17, 2015 at 15:59

    The book “Hubris” is a must read for anyone with an interest in the Wilson/Plame outrage. The Special Prosecutor knew that Rove was instrumental in the original leak of the scandal but did not think he could have enough information to obtain an indictment. Rove continues to be a troublemaker, particular with much support from Fox. He belongs in jail, as does Cheney, Rumsfield and the whole bunch of neocons.

  9. Antonio Germano
    August 17, 2015 at 13:44

    About the Plame-gate Affair and Joseph Wilson, it seems you are equating two different things in your article.

    One sentence mentions the Iraqi attempt to acquire yellowcake from Niger, but a later sentence says that Joseph Wilson concluded that Iraq almost certainly had not acquired same.The actual acquisition and the attempted acquisition are not the same thing, are they?

    I am certainly no GWB apologist, but it seems to me that I recall that his statement at the SOTU speech was that Iraq had sought to acquire yellowcake from Niger, not that they had acquired it. This would not be in conflict with Joseph Wilson’s conclusion. He concluded that they had not acquired uranium; Bush said that they had tried. What’s the problem? Am I missing something?

    Maybe my recollections are faulty. Can you clarify what you are trying to say, and where the conflict lies?

    • F. G. Sanford
      August 17, 2015 at 15:42

      The Niger yellowcake story was based on a document supposedly obtained from a foreign embassy. The document was a forgery, and the U.S. intelligence community unequivocally identified it as a fraud. The Bush administration used it as “evidence” anyway. No conflict here at all.

      August 20, 2015 at 14:43

      The Iraqis neither sought to acquire yellowcake nor did they acquire yellowcake. One Niger official thought they might ask about yellowcake but they didn’t. To twist that statement into what Bush did would be an outright lie. In other words, if you fell for that word game, you were fooled like many other people.
      Robert Parry

  10. Abe
    August 17, 2015 at 13:04

    Neocons to Americans Part Deux:
    Trust Us Again on Russia


    the practice of “reading tea leaves” is based part on fraud, part on superstition, using one’s fears, ignorance and insecurities to gain advantage over them either socially or financially or both by claiming to hold exclusive insight into what otherwise random tea leaves are telling one about their future fortunes. And that is precisely what Higgins and his dubious methods are all about.

    He is compiling otherwise random and/or irrelevant facts and interpreting them under the guise of being an “expert” knowing that the general public lacks the experience or expertise to know whether he is being truthful or not.

    Russia’s evidence can and should be examined and scrutinized. But those that accuse Russia of downing MH17 are not even underpinning these accusations with their own evidence, but instead, resort to the intentional misinterpretation of circumstances, events and evidence presented by others to suit an already predetermined conclusion.
    Like Syria in regards to claims Damascus was behind the deadly 2013 chemical attack, or before that in Iraq where the United States claimed the government in Baghdad maintained a dangerous arsenal of “weapons of mass destruction,” the US is again convicting its enemies of crimes with a suspicious lack of evidence.

    When the United States and Europe find their media, the voice representing their collective civilization across the rest of the globe, deferring to an unemployed couch potato to bolster baseless lies through the blatant, intentional and systematic abuse of research and analysis, new lows have been plumbed that only reflects further on the depravity and intellectual destitution the once champions of science and reason have arrived at.

    Who is the West’s Lead MH17 Investigator?
    By Ulson Gunnar

  11. Khannea
    August 17, 2015 at 12:19

    Never again

  12. Ben
    August 17, 2015 at 08:06

    He’s made other “God” statements to others. I believe this is more indicative of serious mental illness than any reference to a planned outcome.

    Clinton showed serious symptoms of mental illness but I don’t believe he was any where near the bizarre, immature conduct of Bush Jr..

  13. August 17, 2015 at 04:09

    Editorial page editors write the content? I’m just curious. I always thought – and I am not Robert Parry, realize – that we could know editorial boards, but not exactly who on them writes, or provides the core narrative, for any given editorial? I’m familiar with my city’s editorial board, although I don’t pay that close attention to the individuals who make it up. I only mean to say that it’s a board, not one person. And I know some of the members who are on it and the full complement I believe can be known. But editorials are never signed and I always assumed that a reader can’t assume he (or…) knows exactly whose idea, mainly, an editorial position reflects.

  14. Joe Tedesky
    August 17, 2015 at 00:04

    When it comes to questioning the continually of the Iraq WMD supporters, and their still being in charge, question also the poll takers, or the U.S. Public. If our MSM poll’s are to be trusted then most Americans don’t back the Iran Nuclear Deal. Over the last week I read an article stating how world opinion is going in Obama’ direction, and away from Putin’s. Remember how Megan Kelly had it out with Carl Rove over Romney’s loss? Was this one time when Carl’s Reality didn’t come to be? If it is true that most Americans don’t approve of the P5+1Agreement then should we blame this on a poorly run press? Our American media is owned lock stock and barrel by the very ones we are subverting everything around us. With every crisis comes an imposition of new stringent laws. Whether false flag, or an over dramatization, the outcome is the same, less rights. Accountability of our leaders should not only be required, but this should be demanded, as well. While we are at it, let’s also hold our selfs accountable, and prove these pollsters wrong. All news media should be small and commercial free.

  15. Boris M Garsky
    August 16, 2015 at 20:39

    The neocons knew from the very beginning that Iraq had no WMD. Their goal was the removal of Hussein; they wanted his countrys oil (it’s called theft). They manipulated the evidence and brazenly lied to the public. They had to know that there would be many casualties; there always are. Let’s see, if you knowingly plan a persons death by someone elses hand and said person is killed because of your lies which resulted in that persons death, you are guilty of premeditated murder. These people are criminals- cold blooded killers. These neocons should be tried for first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and chaos. They should be forced to recompense all of those murdered and maimed on their order and instruction. I would regard, as I do, all those with dual citizenship, as foreign agents, which they are. What is the difference between an NGO and a foreign agent. Putin is entirely correct in his assessments of NGOs; they are foreign agents up to no-good for Russia and we have the same problem and are only now, albeit slowly, beginning to realize this.

  16. Mark
    August 16, 2015 at 20:23

    We are primitives whose technology has far outpaced our humanity and understanding while our greed and selfishness denies how we’re so precariously perched on the cliff of our own destructive making.

    In some, there is actually a “God gene” that predisposes us to religious sentiments and belief in God.

    It does seem instinctual on some level to be superstitious — but that too could be only due entirely to religious and social indoctrination — falsely attributing some events as consequences for our actions that displeased God(s).

    And for many, when things are beyond our personal control, there is nothing to lose by praying to a higher power — while this practice can positively and absolutely affect people’s emotional state it too may be instinct on some level.

    On another note, part of our genetic code provides cunning deceitfulness as is employed by religious and other con men — deceiving us — as the proverbial Great Deceiver would.

    And of course all religious doctrines and interpretations cannot be honoring the same God correctly — while they compete for followers and dream of killing the competition. Could God be sadistic and find pleasure in our own destructiveness? “Blasphemy”, says the one with religious text in one hand and offensive weapon in the other.

    Man certainly does not know everything and cannot prove everything — if we did and we could, then providing we were sane, there would be no conflicts concerning religion and God.

    Regardless of what anyone believes, a conscious or unconscious order in the universe may be the only hope for human survival — we’re not looking too good being left to our own devices — which may actually be the natural order.

    Humans are obviously out of control with rational conclusions being pushed aside for religious over-zeal — some of which is a complete fraud for the purpose of manipulating others to condone or participate in killing and thieving — again as the great deceiver would have it.

    So where does all of this leaves us? Right where we started. Humanity as made no progress to date as exemplified by the worlds most powerful country and the barbaric actions they choose to take — on their own behalf or that of others…

    • Mortimer
      August 17, 2015 at 12:06

      It appears the neocon object of worship is the state of Israel. — That reverence is dramatically detrimental to We The People of the United States. A remark by Ms. Clinton last week as she campaigned in New Hampshire is a telling clue.

      “I did not expect that I would hear about drug abuse and substance abuse and other such challenges everywhere I went.”

      International quality of life polls show our ratings are pretty low in a number of categories. Does excessive military spending have anything to do with our diminished standard of living… ?
      Is the 1%, and their lust for wealth the elephant in the country…?
      Our murder rate is devilishly absurd along with the suicide rate of returning servicemen and women. Yeah, all that and more equals devolution.

      Meanwhile, savagery and bloodshed continues and “these are the birth pangs of A New Middle East,” as proclaimed by neocon Condalezza Rice. — The new middle east as devised by a group of planners with ties to Washington “officials.”

      To Wit: Thomas Harrington – professor of Iberian Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut – writes:

      [While there are some good articles on the chaos in Iraq, none of them] consider whether the chaos now enveloping the region might, in fact, be the desired aim of policy planners in Washington and Tel Aviv.


      One of the prime goals of every empire is to foment ongoing internecine conflict in the territories whose resources and/or strategic outposts they covet.


      The most efficient way of sparking such open-ended internecine conflict is to brutally smash the target country’s social matrix and physical infrastructure.


      Ongoing unrest has the additional perk of justifying the maintenance and expansion of the military machine that feeds the financial and political fortunes of the metropolitan elite.

      In short … divide and rule is about as close as it gets to a universal recourse the imperial game and that it is, therefore, as important to bear it in mind today as it was in the times of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, the Spanish Conquistadors and the British Raj.

      To those—and I suspect there are still many out there—for whom all this seems too neat or too conspiratorial, I would suggest a careful side-by side reading of:

      a) the “Clean Break” manifesto generated by the Jerusalem-based Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS) in 1996


      b) the “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” paper generated by The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in 2000, a US group with deep personal and institutional links to the aforementioned Israeli think tank, and with the ascension of George Bush Junior to the White House, to the most exclusive sanctums of the US foreign policy apparatus.

      To read the cold-blooded imperial reasoning in both of these documents—which speak, in the first case, quite openly of the need to destabilize the region so as to reshape Israel’s “strategic environment” and, in the second of the need to dramatically increase the number of US “forward bases” in the region ….

      To do so now, after the US’s systematic destruction of Iraq and Libya—two notably oil-rich countries whose delicate ethnic and religious balances were well known to anyone in or out of government with more than passing interest in history—, and after the its carefully calibrated efforts to generate and maintain murderous and civilization-destroying stalemates in Syria and Egypt (something that is easily substantiated despite our media’s deafening silence on the subject), is downright blood-curdling.

      And yet, it seems that for even very well-informed analysts, it is beyond the pale to raise the possibility that foreign policy elites in the US and Israel, like all virtually all the ambitious hegemons before them on the world stage, might have quite coldly and consciously fomented open-ended chaos in order to achieve their overlapping strategic objectives in this part of the world.

  17. August 16, 2015 at 16:47

    And that’s why I call it The War Criminal Post.

  18. August 16, 2015 at 15:47

    One litmus test that is more than fair is whether Iraq War 2.0 was a prohibited war of aggression. By any measure, it was, even by its advocates’ justifications before and after its launch. There is no “preventive war” exception to the U.N. Charter’s prohibition against launching a war not authorized by the Security Council. (The Charter is binding law in the U.S. through the Constitution’s Treaty Clause.) That puts the war’s perpetrators in the category of war criminals and puts its advocates in the category of advocates for the commission of what the Nuremburg Tribunal called the “ultimate” war crime, waging a war of aggression. The U.S. and Allies hanged Nazi and Japanese leaders for the same crime.

    Advocacy for a war of aggression as part of a “common plan or conspiracy to wage a war of aggression is also a crime against peace under Nuremberg Principels Article 6:

    “The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
    (a) Crimes against peace:
    (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
    (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

    That prohibition also finds expression in Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, another treaty to which the U.S. is a party:

    “1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.”

    While Article 20 standing alone poses a potential clash with the Constitution’s First Amendment as applied to journalists in the private sector, no such clash exists as applied to U.S. government officials’ speech in their official capacities, nor would such a clash likely be found as to private journalists when engaging in a “common plan or conspiracy” with government officials.

    • Mark
      August 16, 2015 at 16:58

      Now, if we could get the pro-Zionist controlled media to inject these realities into the American psyche and justice system…

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 16, 2015 at 21:37

      “Preventative war, is like committing sucide to prevent Death.” – Bismarck

  19. August 16, 2015 at 14:29

    All the major media is and was then very much under Zionist control and they were already disposed to lie on subjects like Iraq and Iran, no matter who tried to lead whom……

    You need to say this, Robert.

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy [armor – Vietnam era] retired. POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775. 802 645 9727 [email protected]

  20. Abe
    August 16, 2015 at 14:04

    Perhaps the single most important objective for US strategic planners though is to prevent Iran’s integration into the emerging non-western, Eurasian political, economic, and military architecture. Washington has watched over the last few years as institutions such as BRICS, the SCO, the New Silk Roads, and the EEU grew from drawing board ideas into tangible realities which now threaten to coalesce into all-encompassing geopolitical alliances.

    With Russia and China becoming closer by the day, and the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia following suit, regional integration has been proceeding at breakneck speed. Add to that the emergence of a still chaotic, but increasingly less NATO-dependent Afghanistan, along with the newly added SCO members India and Pakistan, and it is clear that the United States is faced with a daunting geopolitical imperative.

    Therefore, the US must create a mechanism to slow down, if not stop and reverse, this burgeoning integration. It is here that Iran serves its most useful purpose in the eyes of imperialists in the US whose primary goal is the maintenance and expansion of US hegemony for another hundred years.

    While Iran already has “observer” status in the SCO, its formal relationship with the bloc is uncertain at best. There are some who believe that the lifting of sanctions and normalization of relations would lead to Iran’s quick accession to the SCO. However this is perhaps a bit of wishful thinking.

    With Iran free to make such decisions, it might decide that it has vested economic interests in the West that would make jeopardizing them with Russian and Chinese friendship a risky move. Iran could be made to feel that the advantages it will easily gain from cooperation with the West outweigh the potential of junior status within the SCO-EEU-New Silk Road framework, especially with Iran being a competitor with Russia for energy exports both to Europe and China. Indeed, this is part of the calculus as far as Washington sees it, that is to say, those in Washington with even a little vision. They want to force Iran into a competitive, rather than cooperative, relationship with Russia. Additionally, they’d like to see Iran playing the role of SCO home-wrecker, as it plays China against India in major investments such as Chabahar, the all-important Iranian port seen as a major prize by both Beijing and Delhi.

    In this way, the US wants to remake Iran from a bulwark against US-NATO-GCC-Israeli hegemony, into a weapon to be used as a wedge against BRICS-SCO-EEU-New Silk Road cooperation. If this sounds far-fetched, it shouldn’t; this is precisely the same sort of tactics the US employed throughout the Cold War with many different countries that it sought to “weaponize” against the Soviet Union and the non-aligned states.

    With a “New Cold War” being trumpeted by many, as well as the growing US-China conflicts in the South China Sea, Washington seeks to remake the geopolitical chessboard in both Eastern Europe and Asia. In order to do so it must realign its strategy and forge new alliances, de facto or otherwise. The seemingly eternal villain of Iran might just fit the bill.

    The Geopolitics and Economics of the Iran Nuclear Deal
    By Eric Draitser

    • Abe
      August 16, 2015 at 14:13

      The neocons have NOTHING to offer the United States of America except yet another opportunity to attack one of Israel’s ancient and modern regional rivals.

      The normalization of US-Iran relations is the death knell of the US-Israel special relationship. That’s why the neocons and their liberal interventionist comrades will continue fighting fang and claw against it.

      • August 16, 2015 at 21:04

        Republican candidates’ promise to America — “We will put American combat troops on the ground somewhere in the Middle East, as our leader Netanyahoo directs.”

      • Brad Owen
        August 18, 2015 at 09:36

        Death knell is right. The specialness of the “relationship” was as a beachhead for the Western Empire (informed by an Egypto-Greco-Roman “zeitgeist”, reconstituted several times over the centuries, from the British Empire, into an Empire of City-of-London/Wall Street financial centers) to regain its’ historic “Eastern Provinces”. The Empire will not have gone this far east since Alexander the Great. Likewise, Iran has been the location of an even older, Imperial “Zeitgeist” (Sumerian-Assyrian-Babylonian-Persian), with a “sense-of-itself” NOT merely as a part of the West or the East proper.
        As a force moves further inland from the “beachhead”, that beachhead becomes less-and-less important. I think you’re on to something.

    • Abe
      August 16, 2015 at 14:19

      Polar Reorientation In the Mideast (US-Iran)? — Part I
      By Andrew Korybko

    • Abe
      August 16, 2015 at 14:20

      Polar Reorientation In the Mideast (US-Iran)? — Part II
      By Andrew Korybko

    • david t. krall
      August 16, 2015 at 20:11

      Excellent points !!! The BRICS, The AIIB etc. and the effects of China devaluing its currency…follow the money trail and its political and related/accompanying economic effects as well…I am wondering if what happened in China (that “explosion”) is NOT (?)
      related to this…seems odd that with all the knee-jerk reactions and almost spontaneous suspicions always being voiced that here, within the US Media (while The Chinese Gov. is still trying to figure things out) that the one obvious implication and potential result has NOT been even mumbled let alone voiced oddly in US media outlets…sabotage or terrorism…when authorities tell residents 70+ miles away to close and keep closed their windows and doors…it’s certainly appears to be more than just an “explosion”….

    • Peter Loeb
      August 17, 2015 at 06:08


      Abe’s summary above of the probable power relationships of key
      actors is on target. We shall have to wait to see if these predictions
      are realized.

      Many thanks to “Abe”.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, M, USA

  21. Pablo Diablo
    August 16, 2015 at 14:00

    The Neoconservatives and their corporate sponsors make money off of war. Lots of money. WE PAY. No more Bushes AND no more Clintons. WAKE UP AMERICA.
    THANK YOU Robert Parry.

    • August 23, 2015 at 14:38

      Speaking of money, I get newsletters from Neocon orgs and they make incredible amounts of money from soft headed donor, incl a lot of “Christians” who think that supporting the atheistic Likud party and its leader Netanyahu is the godly thing to do even if it means bombing Iranian citizens. One such group, the United West, says in has 4 classes of donors, one of which donates $1000. Another Neocon says he has gotten $25,000 in donations in one month.

  22. david t. krall
    August 16, 2015 at 13:57

    “trust us again”…WHAT??? That’s like asking the local professional arsonist to trust him in preventing fires and letting him run the local fire dept. or better yet, telling us, “with a wink and a nod” to his other “buddies” how to prevent “fires” (wars)…They don’t trust us, that is the reality…any of us…none of us…
    They have no respect for us, any of us…because they HAVE NO RESPECT FOR TRUTH, OBJECTIVE ANALYSIS, OR PEACE…to them it is lies and war (or wars) at ANY price…Throw all of them in jail, starting with any who are still alive, and starting with Cheaney and Rumsfeld, their allies and “friends” in the security, defense and intelligence agencies, INCLUDING THE SECRET SERVICE ( connect the dots…the deep ones too !) and in the media and all their others of their duplicitous ilk and obsessive lying and greedy profit need for war, under the counterfeit and false cloak of protecting us and…but in reality having absolutely no respect for, nor recognizing the law, the constitution…or the principles of this nation and the people who reside within the shores and borders of this nation…trust them???..I would not even want them exiled, as I want them contained, and charged with treason and crimes against this nation, and humanity….

  23. Andrew
    August 16, 2015 at 12:47

    The amount of conspiracy theorists in the comment section is getting annoying. 9/11 was not an “inside job” and the holocaust did indeed happen. This nonsense needs to stop.

    • Andrew
      August 16, 2015 at 12:54

      Oh and what I meant to say, great article as always. I was too young to follow politics leading up to the Iraq war back in 2003, but I’m always amazed to read now just how much of the media was backing that war and attacking anyone who questioned it. In one of Parry’s books he goes into great detail on the topic, I can’t remember which one it was though.

    • OH
      August 17, 2015 at 22:59

      If it wasn’t an inside job then why did Bush insist on Kissinger to head the 911 commission, and then Kissinger abruptly quit before doing any work.

  24. Mortimer
    August 16, 2015 at 11:10

    Zelikow was chairman of the 9/11 commission and oversaw the writing of the report. He is a neocon big shot who flies under the radar and is one of the cultivators of the New Pearl Harbor proposition. The more you learn about this man intensifies and clarifies the “mystery” of 9/11…
    Catastrophic Terrorism: Tackling the New Danger

    Journal Article, Foreign Affairs, volume 77, issue 6, pages 80-94

    >>>>>>>November / December 1998<<<<<<<>>Ashton B. Carter<<>>>>>>>>>>IMAGINING THE TRANSFORMING EVENT<<<<<<<<<<>>>>Like Pearl Harbor,<<<<< this event would divide our past and future into a before and after. The United States might respond with draconian measures, scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and use of deadly force. More violence could follow, either further terrorist attacks or U.S. counterattacks.

    See Also:

    • Mortimer
      August 16, 2015 at 11:21

      Foreign Affairs
      November/December 1998, Volume 77, Number 6

      CATASTROPHIC TERRORISM: Tackling the New Danger


      Authors: Ashton B. Carter, Former Co-Director, Preventive Defense Project, Harvard & Stanford Universities,

      John M. Deutch, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs,

      Philip D. Zelikow, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Former Faculty Affiliate, International Security Program

      Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security; Preventive Defense Project

      • August 16, 2015 at 22:17

        Condi Rice also co-authored a book with neocon Zelikow in 1999.

      • no
        August 17, 2015 at 14:25

        is this the same one cheney did, specifically on the towers?

  25. Tom Welsh
    August 16, 2015 at 10:41

    In any decent country people like Hiatt, Krauthammer and Kelly would have been hanged along with Bush and his crew of degenerate criminals.

    But the USA is a hopeless case, and there is simply no point in reading or discussing its “media”. Why waste time trying to find a few shreds of truth in a stinking morass of deliberate lies? There are far better sources of honest and reliable information.

    • Bob Loblaw
      August 18, 2015 at 12:49

      “Why waste time trying to find a few shreds of truth in a stinking morass of deliberate lies? There are far better sources of honest and reliable information.”
      Because desperation requires effective measures. Attempting to show the people at large that they are eating lies and propaganda by the spoon is not going to happen until they see the evidence.
      Sane rational facts are not going to be enough in this nascent Idiocracy. Americans are taught to ignore, or attack anything that threatens our consumer habit and the exceptional mindset.

      Anti-vaxxers is a perjorative term that nearly criminalizes everyday citizens who dare question the conventional wisdom. This is a symptom of the disease we have, where the truth is denied in favor of our preferred illusion. This applies across the board dividing liberals from conservatives and splitting factions further amongst liberals and conservatives.

  26. Tom Welsh
    August 16, 2015 at 10:37

    “…resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths (including nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers)”.

    That’s 2.8 million and counting – see “Genocide in Iraq” (2 volumes) by Abdul-Haq Al-Ani and Tarik Al-Ani. Just about half of the highest estimate usually given for the Holocaust, which was the Nazi regime’s deliberate and methodical attempt to exterminate the Jewish race. Given that the US government has never claimed that it set out deliberately and methodically to exterminate the Iraqi race – insisting on the contrary that the millions of deaths it caused were the results of unfortunate accidents – that’s a pretty remarkable number.

    Incidentally even mentioning the 4,500 US soldiers who died is appalling bad taste. One for every 500-plus Iraqis killed… and the Americans were the attackers, the perpetrators, the ones who launched and carried through an unprovoked war of aggression, the supreme international crime. It’s like counting the 9/11 terrorists along with their nearly 3,000 victims.

    • Anonymous
      August 16, 2015 at 12:38

      I’m very relieved that someone other than myself picked up on that. Otherwise a decent article.

    • OH
      August 17, 2015 at 22:57

      When our rulers told us “killing 6 million people is bad”, they opened the door to a lot of contradictions.

    • Bob Loblaw
      August 18, 2015 at 12:54

      “Incidentally even mentioning the 4,500 US soldiers who died is appalling bad taste”

      You are far too kind, I personally find it obscene to put American lives at a premium over those of the unwashed brown people.

      [sarcasm]But America is exceptional, thus the lives of the killers we send overseas to destroy and kill obviously are worth more.[/sarcasm]

      This movement to elevate the lowest scum(trained killers) to some vaunted glory presumably for defending our freedom AKA the price of liberty is pernicious. I’m thoroughly condemned for suggesting that trained killers should be shamed and treated as the lowest among us, but the homeless seem to fill that role nicely.

Comments are closed.