January 17, 2007

Al-Qaeda in Iraq: Lies, More Lies, and Damn Lies

Polls show that in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, White House disinformation strategy has worked

by Eric Margolis

As Americans turn increasingly against President George Bush's calamitous war in Iraq, and revolt spreads through Republican ranks, the White House is again resorting to its tried-and-true ploy of fanning grossly inflated fears of terrorism.

The president just made two preposterous claims last week that insult the intelligence of his listeners. First, Bush insisted US forces in Iraq are fighting "the same people who staged 9/11."

Second, withdrawing US forces from Iraq, as the Democratic-controlled Congress is urging, means "surrendering Iraq to al-Qaida."

These canards mark the latest steps in the Bush administration's evolving efforts to mislead Americans into believing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are all part of a global fight against al-Qaida.

When marketers want to change the name of an existing product, they first place a new name in small type below the existing one. They gradually shrink the old name, and enlarge the new one until the original name vanishes.

That's what's been happening in Iraq. When the US invaded, Iraqis who resisted were initially branded "Saddam loyalists," "die-hard Ba'athists," or, in Don Rumsfeld's colorful terminology, "dead-enders." Next, the Pentagon and US media called the Iraqi resistance, "terrorists" or "insurgents." The reason for invading Iraq, the White House insisted, was all about removing the tyrant Saddam, seizing weapons of mass destruction, defending humans rights and implanting democracy.

Then, a tiny, previously unknown Iraqi group that had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden appropriated the name, "al-Qaida in Mesopotamia."

This was such a breathtakingly convenient gift to the Bush Administration, many cynics suspected a false-flag operation created by CIA and Britain's wily MI6. Soon after, the White House and Pentagon began calling most of Iraq's 22 plus resistance groups, "al-Qaida."

The US media eagerly joined this deception, even though 95% of Iraq's resistance groups had no sympathy for bin Laden's movement. . . .

Polls show that in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, White House disinformation strategy has worked. Today, an amazing 60% of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks. . . .


[Eric Margolis, contributing foreign editor for Sun National Media Canada, is the author of War at the Top of the World.]

Bruce Morton, "Selling an Iraq-al Qaeda Connection," CNN, March 11, 2003

Standard Schaeffer, "'Al Qaeda Itself Does Not Exist'," CounterPunch, June 21, 2003

Deborah Charles, "Panel Says No Signs of Iraq, Qaeda Link," Reuters, June 16, 2004

Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Terrorized by 'War on Terror'," Washington Post, March 25, 2007

Clark Hoyt, "Seeing Al Qaeda Around Every Corner," New York Times, July 8, 2007

Peter Zeihan, "The Many Faces of Al Qaeda,", July 10, 2007

Michael R. Gordon and Jim Rutenberg, "Bush links Al Qaeda in Iraq to 9/11; critics reject connection," International Herald Tribune, July 13, 2007

[About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.--Ned Parker, "Saudis' role in Iraq insurgency outlined," Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2007]

"Investigative Reporter Seymour Hersh: US Indirectly Funding Al-Qaeda Linked Sunni Groups in Move to Counter Iran," Democracy Now!, July 28, 2007

back button