During the 1990s, even when President Clinton and the supporters of an economic empire advocated a policy of «containment» with Iraq, the Bush family and the supporters of a military empire, on the contrary, declared themselves in favor of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. They had three objectives:

  To control access to oil resources in order to have a means of pressure over the European consumers (Kissinger doctrine);

  To force the Europeans to renounce an independent foreign policy thus having them involved in a conflict that goes beyond their control (Wolfowitz doctrine);

  To remodel the Middle East dismantling Iraq, like they did with Yugoslavia, deporting Palestinians to this country and privatizing the possessions of the Iraqi state (Perle doctrine).

1998: The PNAC Ambitions Regarding Iraq

The supporters of the offensive grouped in the heart of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a think-tank (center of investigation, propaganda and spreading of ideas, generally of a political nature) that later served to design the electoral program that George W. Bush presented to those who financed his campaign. The campaign of the offensive supporters began with an open letter addressed to President Clinton, on January 26, 1998 [1].

In this document, the PNAC wondered about a possible resumption of the Iraqi program of weapons of mass destruction. The letter described as ineffective the inspection procedures of the United Nations and, thus, recommended not to try to reactivate them but to resort to military initiatives without waiting for the unanimous approval of the UN Security Council, which would be impossible to obtain.

The text was signed by 18 personalities such as Elliot Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, John Bolton, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Bristol, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and James Woolsey.

This pressure did not change the attitude of Bill Clinton and, on February 23, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan signed an agreement with Iraq to plan new inspections. Taking note of Iraq’s good will, the White House ordered a partial withdrawal of the US forces in the region.

The PNAC reacted strongly. On May 29, 1998, a letter was sent to the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, and to the president of the Republican group in the Senate, Trent Lott [2] . The association described Bill Clinton’s policy as a «capitulation in the face of Saddam Hussein» and that this attitude was «an incalculable blow to the US leadership and credibility». Then, it suggested accusing the dictator for committing war crimes in order to undermine his legitimacy; starting to act in order to overthrow him thus recognizing a provisional Iraqi government; and preparing the use of force in the region.

These verbal excesses would not have had any major consequences if, on August 5, 1998, Iraq wouldn’t have stopped its cooperation with the UN inspectors. President Clinton then sent a warning to Saddam Hussein. The PNAC took advantage of the situation to increase its lobbying in Congress.

During a Senate hearing, an exile of the Iraqi opposition, Ahmed Chalabi, managed to convince the US Congress people that Saddam Hussein could be overthrown by the opposition without the intervention of US troops. He declared: «Put at the disposal of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) a base that is protected from Saddam Hussein’s tanks, give us the temporary support that we need to feed, give shelter and heal the liberated population, and we will give you a free Iraq, without weapons of mass destruction and with a free market economy. What else can someone ask? The INC will do all that free of charge» [3] .

Very pleased, the Congress members passed a law about the liberation of Iraq [4] . In order to finance the «free» services of the INC, the Congress earmarked two million dollars for the propaganda programs of the US Information Agency (USAID) and 97 million dollars for the military equipment and training of the rebels.

Considering that a civil war would be a solution worse than the problem and that it would destabilize the entire region, Bill Clinton never used those credits except for giving courses on international law to 90 members of the INC. However, - using another budgetary line - he earmarked 12 millions dollars of humanitarian aid for the Iraqi population that were given to the INC [5] .

Although it momentarily gained the support of the majority of Congress, the law about the liberation of Iraq was strongly criticized by the political elite. In an article that had a great impact, the analysts of Foreign Affairs, the magazine of the consensual Council for Foreign Relations, described the PNAC recommendations as «partial» and the project for the domestic overthrow of Saddam Hussein as a «dream» [6] . The authors pointed out that the adventure that the PNAC imagined, strangely reminded of the project to create a Cuban opposition to overthrow Fidel Castro, a plan that ended with the failure of Bay of Pigs.

The comparison is full of references. In effect, the public lobbying included a secret aspect. Former CIA James Woosley turned into the hand that manipulated the Iraqi National Congress.

Woosley used his influence upon the members of the INC, advised its leaders and gave them «sponsors» who financed them. In the meantime, retired General Wayne Downing - former head of the Special Forces - organized «courses» for the future combatants.

Many British agents of the stay-behind network and NATO’s secret service intervened in these activities - something that the CIA found disagreeable as it considered the Iraqi opposition as mere hall adventurers and regarded Ahmed Chalabi as a vulgar fraudster who had been manipulated by Woosley for more than ten years.

Early 2001: A Priority of George W. Bush’s Administration

On January 10, 2001, that is, ten days before its swearing-in ceremony, incoming president George W. Bush and his team went to the Pentagon where they would be briefed about important topics by the outgoing team [7] . The meeting took place behind closed doors, in a room specially protected, and lasted one hour and fifteen minutes. Disregarding other topics, George W. Bush focused his questions on Iraq, thus showing that the overthrow of the Baghdad regime would be a priority of his administration.

In the following days, George W. Bush officially authorized the INC to use the «no-fly» zones as rearguard bases for carrying out commando operations against the regime in the rest of the country [8] .

This decision was presented as a «complete change in the American policy». In fact, if the Anglo-Saxons demilitarized one third of the country to the North and another third to the South in order to prevent Saddam Hussein from repressing his own population, the objective was not, originally, to have an army there ready to attack Baghdad. Above all, this decision showed Washington’s intentions to wage a war sending someone else’s troops to combat. UPI news agency revealed that the «boys» of General Wayne Downing [9] would finally train - with the money of US taxpayers - in College Station (Texas) [10].

From that moment on, a mechanism was quickly set up. Firstly, to debilitate Baghdad as much as possible, economically and in the propaganda field. W. Bush ordered Richard Hass, Head of Planning at the State Department, to analyze how to reinforce the embargo [11]

In the meantime, the most incredible information is put at the disposal of a particularly credulous press. In London, the Sunday Telegraph affirmed, quoting an opposition member, that Saddam Hussein already has two atomic bombs [12] . Even the White House launched, without evidence, accusations according to which China and Yugoslavia would be helping the Iraqi arms plans.

Secondly, they also tried to accentuate Baghdad’s vulnerability in the military field. George W. Bush ordered the resumption of bombings after two years of peace [13] . The Anglo-American forces destroyed radars near Baghdad to facilitate the operations of the Special Forces.

France and Egypt immediately condemned the initiative while Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, countries that the media accused of giving logistic assistance, denied any participation in the air raids.

On February 1, the National Security Council examined the military-political plan about the Iraq that would be built after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein [14] .

As the attack against Iraq was not linked to local issues but to a global strategy, its planning took place without any particular pretext. Since he assumed power, George W. Bush gave instructions to implement US military bases surrounding Iraq and Iran while the Joint Chiefs of Staff organized mock attacks against both countries.

Vice-President Dick Cheney himself negotiated, in early 2001, the installation of US military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in the framework of the development of the Central Asia Battalion (CENTRASBAT) agreements of the Central Asia Community [15] - accords that originally aimed at training local special troops in the United States to repress the Islamic opposition.

The existence of these bases was revealed after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and they were presented as a back-up for the attack against Afghanistan. That is clearly not true as the construction of the bases began before the September 11 events although they were not ready for the Afghanistan campaign.

Late 2001: There Is Terrorism. The Time Has Come

The order to prepare the attack against Iraq was signed by President George W. Bush on September 17, 2001, that is, six days after the attacks in New York and Washington. It was a simple foot note in a presidential order relating to the attack against Afghanistan and the war against terrorism [16] .

At that time, George W. Bush had never mentioned, as President of the United States, the possibility of a war against Iraq neither had he spoken to the US people about any justification for such conflict.

General Kenneth L. Privratsky, heading the Military Traffic Management Command - MTMC - was ordered to update the logistic aspect of the operation plan 1003 (OPLAN-1003-98) and to include the equipping of US military bases that were being constructed in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as well as the transportation of troops.

It was calculated that, in the peak of the war, the provisioning of the US forces in the region would reach 60,000 tons of materials per day. Faced with the impossibility of satisfying such needs (around 5,000 Hercules C-130 cargo planes would be necessary and the United States only around 30 transportation squadrons), General Privratsky was ordered to begin installing the logistics [17] .
Without asking for the authorization of its allies, the Pentagon acquired materials and set up sea transports from German, Dutch and Russian ports (in the Artic, the Black Sea and Vladivostok). Air bridges were also set up using the US bases in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The British were the only ones consulted as to the use of the US military base in the isle of Diego García. Faced with the difficulties of ground transportation in Russia, the MTMC was authorized to finance the modernization of railroads in the southern part of that country.

2002: General Rehearsal

The preparations for the attack against Iraq included the biggest military maneuvers in history: «Millennium Challenge 2002» [18]. This war game combined real maneuvers and simulations in the hall of the General Staff thanks to the technology used in Hollywood in the film Gladiator.

From July 24th to August 15th, 2002, 13,500 men - including the 18th Airborne Division of General Ann Dunwoody - were mobilized. The islands of San Nicola and San Clemente, off the coast of California, and the desert of Nevada had been evacuated to use them as theater of operations. This tremendous display of means and resources needed a budget of 235 million dollars.

More satisfactorily, the effectiveness of the mobile headquarters of the Central Command (NENTCOM) was put to test during the exercise «Internal Look» that took place from December 9th to the 17th in several states of the Persian Gulf.

This Tactical Operation Center (TOC) is comprised of containers conceived to be transported by plane.

It was built by Raytheon in the industrial facility of Saint-Petersbourg, in Florida, United States. Actually, the completion of this center was seriously delayed due to problems of electronic conception and the maneuvers had to be postponed for two months and, consequently, the war too. The modules, which also include rooms packed with computer material, were finally assembled in three weeks in the base of Al Sayliyah, in Qatar.

The system is connected via satellite to the Central Command which is at the MacDill base, in Tampa, Florida. This not only allows to monitor the forces present in the theater of operations but also to carry out videoconferences among the different headquarters using secure channels.

2003: Neutralization of the UN and the World Public Opinion

While the operation inexorably developed, a diplomatic and media campaign carefully manufactured the pretext for war: the US propaganda discredited the work of the UN inspectors in charge of supervising the disarmament of Iraq and later invented an alleged threat.

Officials in the Pentagon explained, behind closed doors, to most of the senators that Saddam Hussein had drones (unmanned planes guided by remote control) with which he could attack the East coast with biological or chemical weapons. The Homeland Security Department warned the population and urged every family to prepare for war accumulating provisions and acquiring the materials necessary [19] .

The government of Sharon distributed gas masks and survival equipment to the Israeli population while Tony Blair affirmed that the Iraqis would need only 45 minutes to launch an attack.

In order to neutralize the United Nations, the United States, Great Britain and Australia did not hesitate to resort to any kind of illegal actions. These countries set up a system of electronic espionage of the communications of the UN Secretary General, his disarmament inspectors and the different diplomatic delegations of the member countries of the Security Council [20].

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell pronounced a long speech before the Security Council saying bared-faced lies, one after the other [21].

In the meantime, as if Saddam Hussein’s crimes were not enough, propaganda turn the tyrant of Baghdad into a new Hitler [22]. He was presented as the only one responsible for the war against Iran - a way, by the way, that he waged encouraged by the United States against the revolution of Khomeini - and the war against Kuwait, a country that Washington itself encouraged him to annex. All kinds of crimes were attributed to him, even genocide. The events of Halabja, caused by the transportation of combat gases in the middle of a battle, were presented as a deliberate massacre against Kurdish civilians [23] .

All in all, President George W. Bush announced, on March 19, 2003, that the war had begun: «The American and coalition forces are in the first stage of military operations aiming at disarming Iraq, liberating its people and defending the world from a great danger» [24].

Actually, there were no weapons of mass destruction to confiscate in Iraq; overthrowing a tyrant to colonize a country is not a liberating mission and the world was not in danger. The operation had been decided five years ago and the preparations had started since then.

[1Cf. Open Letter to President Clinton, PNAC, January 26, 1998

[2Cf. Open Letter to Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott, PNAC, May 29, 1998

[3Hearings of Ahmed Chalabi, Richard Hass, Zalmay Khalilzad and James Woolsey: Can Saddam Be Overthown? Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, 105th Congress, 2d Session, March 2, 1998

[4Iraq Liberation Act, S. 2525, 105th Congress, 2nd Session, September 29, 1998

[5«U.S. Gives Go-Ahead To Iraqi Opposition» by John Lancaster, Washington Post, January 14, 2001

[6«The Rollback Fantasy» by Daniel Byman, Kenneth Pollack and Gideon Rose, Foreign Affairs, January-February 1999

[7«Pentagon Briefs Bush on Iraq» by Eric Schmitt and James Dao, New York Times, January 10, 2001

[8«Iraqi Foes to Get Aid from U.S.» by Alan Sipress, Washington Post, February 2, 2001

[9Wayne Downing would later become head of the counter-terrorist struggle alter September 11, 2001

[10Iraqi Rebels to Get Special Weapons by Eli J. Lake, UPI, February 12, 2001

[11«Powell’s Staff to Look at Iraq», Washington Post, January 26, 2001.

[12«Saddam Has Made Two Atomic Bombs» by Jessica Berry, Sunday Telegraph, January 29, 2001

[13«Nouvelles opérations américano-britanniques en Irak» by Patrice de Beer, Le Monde, February 19, 2001

[14Cf. Memorandum addressed to Secretary Paul O’Neill, January 31, 2001

[15On December 28, 2001, the Economic Community of Central Asia became the Central Asian Cooperation Organization - CACO - of which Tajikistan is currently a member. Uzbek Islam Karimov is the president of the organization

[16«U.S. Decision On Iraq Has Puzzling Past» by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, January 12, 2003

[17General Privratsky retired on October 17, 2002. He was replaced by Brigadier General Ann Dunwoody, who currently heads the 18th Airborne Division of Fort Bragg

[18Cf. La grande simulation de la guerre en Irak, Apocalypse Tomorrow by Tom Saint-Pierre, www.reseauvoltaire.net, September 26, 2002

[19See Opérations psychologiques: conditionnement des familles états-uniennes by Jack Naffair, reseauvoltaire.net, February 19, 2003

[20Cf. Washington et Londres placent l’ONU sur écoutes by Thom Saint-Pierre, reseauvoltaire.net, March 4, 2003

[21Cf. Discours intégral de Colin L. Powell sur la menace irakienne au Conseil de sécurité, February 5, 2003

[22Cf. Huit légendes médiatiques sur l’Irak por Jack Naffair, reseauvoltaire.net, March 13, 2003

[23See Crime de guerre ou acte de guerre?, summary of an article by Stephen C. Pelletiere, International Open Forums, reseauvoltaire.net, January 31, 2003, and Blanchiment d’information: l’info qui ne gêne pas Libé by Jack Naffair, reseauvoltaire.net, February 17, 2003

[24Cf. Allocution du président George W. Bush, March 19, 2003