Ron Paul, Iran Propaganda, and the Media’s Lies about Iraq

Pres. Bush’s “Shock and Awe” against Iraq

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul was interviewed by CNN’s Piers Morgan Friday. Repeatedly, Morgan pressured Paul about Iran. First he launched the hypotheticals, “If Iran was to strike at Israel, what would you do?” “If you believed Iran had enough enriched uranium to genuinely launch a nuclear attack against Israel, would that knowledge alone mean you would countenance military action?” “Would you ever countenance any preemptive strike? [Since] Ahmadinejad has made it quite clear he believes in wiping out Israel if he got a chance.” Then the great analogy to World War II, “If you were president during the Second World War, and you had been given knowledge the Japanese were planning Pearl Harbor, you would have preemptively struck, wouldn’t you?” Then the attempt to discredit, “You’re not seriously defending Ahmadinejad, are you?” ” There are a lot of Americans who may like you personally or whatever. But they think you are weak on this, because of the preemptive issue.”

Finally, Paul in exasperation said, “An imminent attack is quite different from this fiction. We shouldn’t have such short memories. Everything they are saying about Iran we said about Iraq. And they were all lies. How many men died? Eighty five hundred Americans died; 44,000 have come back crippled. This is the same principle.”

“I think Iran is a different situation,” Morgan replied, “because I think that they would, if they could, consider attacking Israel. If you’re America, you can’t let that happen.”

It’s worth remembering now, as the war-propagandists pump out all the same rhetoric and arguments as  their case against Iraq, that the unbiased, adversarial media elites in America all favored military action against Iraq. Here were the arguments from the Las Angelas Times, New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today in the days before the invasion:

LA Times (“Time for a Deadline,” Feb. 3, 2003):

The United Nations risks irrelevance unless it promptly sets a date on which it will use military force against Iraq if that nation does not disarm.Piling fact upon fact, photo upon photo Wednesday, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell methodically demonstrated why Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein remains dangerous to his own people, Iraq’s neighbors and, potentially, the Western world. Powell reminded the U.N. that the responsibility is Hussein’s alone for proving that he has destroyed the weapons of mass destruction his nation systematically acquired and that he has abandoned all efforts to develop more.

Although Powell did not directly link Baghdad to Al Qaeda’s Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, he did spell out what he characterized as clear links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. We were not convinced of the Al Qaeda connection. But we agree with Powell that as long as Hussein has anthrax or chemical agents there’s a chance some terrorist will use them — and that it’s irresponsible for the United Nations to ignore Hussein’s history.

The United Nations must then give Hussein one final chance to avoid war — by complying or fleeing — and be ready to launch missiles, planes and troops if he again disregards or disrespects the world’s clear disarmament demands.

Coin Powell holds up “the smoking gun”

The Washington Post (“A Winning Hand for Powell,” Feb. 6, 2003):

The evidence he presented to the United Nations — some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail — had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool — or possibly a Frenchman — could conclude otherwise.

The clincher, as it had to be, was not a single satellite photo or the intercept of one Iraqi official talking to another. And it was not, as it never could be, the assertion that some spy or Iraqi deserter had made this or that charge — because, of course, who can prove any of that? It was the totality of the material and the fact that Powell himself had presented it. In this case, the messenger may have been more important than the message.

This time, for instance, when the by-now hoary charge was made that a link existed between al Qaeda and Baghdad, it was Powell who made it — and it hit with force. This time, when it was said that Iraq had developed unmanned airplanes that could dispense chemical or biological agents, it was Powell who made the charge — and showed a picture of one. This time, the finger-pointer was the man who, heretofore, had been accused of what in the Bush administration is a virtual slander: prudence. Here was a reasonable man making a reasonable case.

If anyone had any doubt, Powell proved that it has defied international law — not to mention international norms concerning human rights — and virtually dared the United Nations to put up or shut up. There is no other hand. There is no choice.

USA Today (“Powell lays out convincing evidence of Iraq’s defiance,” Feb. 5, 2003):

Eight days after President Bush promised to present the world with compelling evidence of Iraq’s illegal weapons programs, Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered — and then some. The case he argued before the United Nations on Wednesday included new and forceful evidence that Iraq is concealing weapons of mass destruction, violating the U.N.’s own disarmament resolution and maintaining links with terrorist groups.

As he methodically documented Iraq’s continuing deception, Powell also illustrated the futility of indefinite weapons inspections advocated by critics at home and abroad. In doing so, he put a heavy burden on nations resisting military action to come up with credible — and quick — alternatives for pressuring Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein into compliance.
Powell told the Security Council that Iraq had put itself “closer to the day (when) it will face serious consequences for its continued defiance.” That date needs to be flexible enough to bring more countries into any U.S. alliance. But Powell provided convincing proof Wednesday of why it can’t be open-ended.

The New York Times (“Irrefutable and Undeniable,” Feb. 6, 2003): 

It isn’t the crime that gets you it’s the cover-up. Defenders of Saddam Hussein demanded absolute smoking-gun proof of illegal Iraqi possession of terror weaponry. Contrary to U.N. Resolution 1441, which demanded active Iraqi cooperation in demonstrating disarmament, Saddam’s protectors place the burden of proof on the U.S. To their surprise, Colin Powell made the case, with a half-dozen smoking guns, of a huge Iraqi cover-up.

 Will America ever learn?

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Daniel Bier

Daniel Bier

Daniel Bier is the executive editor of The Skeptical Libertarian.

View all posts by Daniel Bier

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