15 October 2014

Barack Obama's horrific re-escalation of the war in Iraq gouges open the unhealed wounds of an illegal intervention perpetrated by a disgraced president who has never been prosecuted for his crimes against humanity.

Obama's renewed drone attacks, which may soon be joined by returning "boots on the ground," come as we hear definitive proof that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger treasonably intervened to prolong the Vietnam War in 1968, resulting in seven more years of senseless war and countless thousands of American and southeast Asian casualties.

Will we now see the same in Southwest Asia that we once saw in the Southeast?

Obama's unconscionable actions remind us that George W. Bush's "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq was built on a foundation of deliberate lies and led to a horrible tsunami of senseless death and crippling expense.

And now it rips open the terrible untreated bleeding that began in 2003 and guarantees the prospect of endless murder and destruction that Obama long ago promised to end as part of his covenant of election.

Conservative commentator George Will not only recently acknowledged Nixon’s betrayal of the American people, but also called Bush’s Iraq folly “the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history.”

Bush’s actions represent far more than a “blunder.”

George W. Bush threw his hat in the ring of treason in 2003 by illegally outing an active CIA agent. The felony came as part of the cover-up of the knowing lies Bush, Jr., employed to suck America into an illegal war. 

In the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Bush declared his commitment to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. At one point, American troops had bin Laden pinned down in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, and might have captured or killed him. But in a series of events still shrouded in mystery, he was allowed to slip away.

Not long after that, Bush all but abandoned the search for bin Laden. Instead he told the American public that war was needed to rid Iraq’s U.S.-sponsored dictator, Saddam Hussein, of “weapons of mass destruction.”

By all accounts, Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. He was in fact bin Laden’s sworn enemy.  Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has since confirmed that Bush knew full well Saddam had no such weapons of mass destruction. In fact, Rumsfeld writes in his recent autobiography that Bush’s real reason for going after Saddam was to settle a deep psychological score with his father. 

Among other things, Bush ordered Chief of Staff Colin Powell to lay out before the United Nations a series of blatant falsehoods meant to deceive world opinion into supporting a U.S. attack. 

Key to the lie was a false scenario in which Saddam was to have tried to obtain uranium for nuclear weapons from Niger. As Bush put it in an infamous sixteen words in his own deceptive 2003 State of the Union Address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

That Presidential lie led to a horrific war costing the lives of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis---not to mention trillions of US dollars.  

Bush’s lie was accompanied by an impeachable felony---a blatantly illegal betrayal perpetrated against an active CIA agent, putting her life and those of other agents in lethal jeopardy

It was done in retaliation against Valerie Plame, the wife of the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Joseph C. Wilson. 

On July 6, 2003---two days after Bush’s deceitful State of the Union---Wilson wrote an op-ed in the New York Times directly refuting Bush’s cover story for the war.

In “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” Wilson said he had “little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.”

In short, Wilson directly contradicted Bush’s claim that Saddam had obtained “yellow cake uranium” from Niger to build a radioactive weapon. As Wilson put it, “…selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, there’s simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.”

In retaliation, to cover the lie he had told to get the US into war, Bush decided to discredit and destabilize Wilson---by putting the life of his wife, a CIA agent, in danger. As became clear later, the White House worried that Plame had the hard evidence their story of Saddam’s WMDs was a lie.

But under the Intelligence Identity Protection Act of 1982 (passed while Bush’s father was Vice President), it is a felony to identify an undercover CIA agent. The law reads in part that “…whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent…shall be…imprisoned not more than ten years.”

After Wilson’s article appeared, senior White House advisor Karl Rove indirectly confirmed for syndicated Washington Post columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent. On July 11, Rove did the same for Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, according to Cooper’s later Grand Jury testimony. Cooper had previously confirmed the fact with Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Novack’s July 14 “Mission to Niger” attacked Wilson’s claim that the Bush administration was manipulating data to sell an unjust war. Then he wrote:  “Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.”

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan soon denied that Rove was Novack’s anonymous sources. Bush followed by saying: “…if there is a leak out of my administration I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of.”

But following an FBI investigation and a Grand Jury hearing, “Scooter” Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and two counts of perjury. Rove was never indicted for leaking Plame’s name to Novak. Rove’s defense was that he had only outed “Joe Wilson’s wife” as a covert CIA agent, but had never mentioned her name.

But Dick Cheney later publicly excoriated Bush for not protecting Libby. And in 2008 McClellan toured the nation with his tell-all book What Happened, charging that Bush had authorized the leaking of Plane’s identity. He told CNN that Cheney should be forced to testify under oath about the Plame leak. 

McClellan accused Team Bush of using an aggressive “political propaganda campaign” to sell an unjustified Iraq war.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, responsible for prosecuting Libby, had direct evidence including a handwritten note by Cheney that both the president and vice president were involved in the outing, according to David Swanson in his book Daybreak. Swanson argued that Bush’s commutation of Libby’s sentence “directly interfered with the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation of Plame’s ‘outing’ and therefore constituted obstruction of justice.”

In all Bush lied to the world about weapons of mass destruction he knew were non-existent. He then feloniously outed a CIA agent, putting her life at risk, at very least an impeachable offense. He then covered that up, also an impeachable offence, and again broke law by abusing his presidential power to cover it all up.

In other words: a lethal, knowing international lie followed by at least one felony breach of national security and a string of impeachable offenses, leading to an unnecessary war in which thousands of Americans have so far died and untold resources have been wasted, all to satisfy a president’s psychological problems with his father. 

Does this constitute treason? Well, if it doesn’t, what does? 

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Bob Fitrakis is Editor-in-Chief of the Columbus Free Press and freepress.org and Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor. See also their Free Press article on Nixon’s treason and Progressive Radio Network show.