[R-G] Cheney Lied About Iraq Photos
nick at faunusherbs.com
Mon Sep 9 13:30:52 MDT 2002
Cheney Lied About Iraq Photos
When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf - to
reverse Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait - part of the
administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to
roll into Saudi Arabia.
Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in
mid-September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on
the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.
But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial
Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no
Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border - just empty desert.
"It was a pretty serious fib," says Jean Heller, the Times journalist
who broke the story.
The White House is now making its case. to Congress and the public for
another invasion of Iraq; President George W. Bush is expected to
present specific evidence of the threat posed by Iraq during a speech to
the United Nations next week.
But past cases of bad intelligence or outright disinformation used to
justify war are making experts wary. The questions they are raising,
some based on examples from the 1991 Persian Gulf War, highlight the
importance of accurate information when a democracy considers military
That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops
in there, and it just didn't exist," says Heller. Three times Heller
contacted the office of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (now vice
president) for evidence refuting the Times photos or analysis - offering
to hold the story if proven wrong. The official response: "Trust us."
To this day, the Pentagon's photographs of the Iraqi troop buildup
"My concern in these situations, always, is that the intelligence that
you get is driven by the policy, rather than the policy being driven by
the intelligence," says former US Rep. Lee Hamilton (D) of Indiana, a
34-year veteran lawmaker until 1999, who served on numerous foreign
affairs and intelligence committees, and is now director of the Woodrow
Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
The Bush team "understands it has not yet carried the burden of
persuasion [about an imminent Iraqi threat], so they will look for any
kind of evidence to support their premise," Mr. Hamilton says. "I think
we have to be skeptical about it." --CSM, Sept. 6, 2002
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