Release Date: March 9, 1998
The Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
Website: -- Press Contact: Enver Masud

Did Israel Push U.S. to Brink of Needless War?

"Newsrooms that do not reflect America's diversity do their readers an injustice. They fail to tell the stories of its citizens, they give readers a distorted image of themselves and they grossly twist the reality of minority groups." -- Dorothy Gilliam, The Washington Post, December 20, 1997.
WASHINGTON, DC -- With the most recent "crisis" with Iraq averted, and more realistic assessments of the "crisis" being reported, one has to ask, "Who pushed the U.S. to the brink of a needless war with Iraq?"

At the February 18, 1998 meeting broadcast by CNN to the world from Columbus, Ohio, Defense Secretary Cohen told us "a 5-pound bag of Anthrax" could "kill half the population of Columbus," and that President Saddam Hussein of Iraq "was working on a missile that . . . could travel all the way from Baghdad to as far as Paris and perhaps other capitals in Europe and one day even perhaps to the United States."

At the Columbus meeting Secretary of State Madeleine Allbright said "the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."

And media moguls and pundits warned us of dire consequences if the world failed to stand up to "Saddam." The New York Times and The Washington Post devoted pages to the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. A dispute over inspection procedures had escalated to the virtual certainty of war.

Now the truth begins to emerge.

A British newspaper "The Independent" reported on March 3, 1998 that: "A senior American ambassador in the Middle East is reported to have told American citizens that Iraq's biological and chemical warheads were "very ineffective" just at the moment when the US and Britain were saying they posed a real threat which would justify airstrikes on Iraq."

Pictures of Israelis trying out gas masks stand out in contrast to a memo written by an American businessman who attended a briefing at the US embassy in Kuwait on February 3. He reports U.S. ambassador Larocco saying: "Gas masks are not required. No one at the American embassy has gas masks and the American embassy does not recommend any. They are not even interested in finding out a source for gas masks. The main reasons for this decision are the new interceptor missiles in place in Kuwait and the fact that the biological and chemical warheads are very ineffective."

And on March 6 the Washington Post, in an article by Martin van Creveld reported, "Now that the Iraq crisis appears to be over, we can see it for what it truly was. In my view, the threat that Saddam Hussein presents today has been vastly exaggerated both in the United States and here in Israel. With his military force still weakened by the 1991 Persian Gulf War and his economy crippled by seven years of sanctions, the Iraqi president is incapable of mounting a serious assault on anyone by air, land or sea."

One has to ask, "How could so many persons in government and media be so wrong about the threat from Iraq when we with our meager resources, and readily available facts, could see that the "crisis" was a sham as early as January 26?"

When one looks for common factors shared by key government and media players who "vastly exaggerated" the threat from Iraq, one is immediately struck by the fact that virtually all these players have close ties to Israel.

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