We have watched with fascination as the Bush regime's arguments in favour of the invasion of Iraq slowly collapse in on themselves. We have seen lie follow lie, diversion follow diversion, this week's story follow last week's story.
We have been amazed as the lies from the White House mixed and circled through the news cycles with the lies from Downing Street, sometimes contradicting and then slowly shifting to create a web of obfuscation.
As the truth emerges, piece by piece, Bush and Cheney and Rumseld and Blair stand hollow and naked beneath the robes of their office. And on the ground, where American and British and Iraqi kids are dying and bleeding, the situation becomes ever more precarious and deadly.
And through it all, standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow pygmy Tony Blair, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia has resisted all efforts to have him withdraw from the ranks of US-followers. Now, it appears that Howard was not just a supporter, but was an active participant in the fraud committed on the people of world in advance of the inmperialist invasion. As described by one of Australia's top spies during the lead-up period:
"Blair and Howard knowingly recycled the US's case for invading Iraq so as to stay in step with Bush. They understood the broader US agenda and were sympathetic to much of it. Although Howard had clearly decided by late 2002 to support Bush's war, this decision was not a formal decision of Government. Rather it was an understanding of the US's intentions and a determination to support them, at any cost."As Wilkie goes on to explain, this "at any cost" included a misuse of intelligence.
"By early 2003, as part of my work at the Office of National Assessments (ONA), I was spending considerable time trawling through the vast intelligence database on Iraq so as to be ready to help cover the war once it started. What jumped out at me was that the war had little to do with weapons of mass destruction and almost nothing to do with al-Qaeda. We were on the cusp of waging an unjustified war on the basis of a preposterous lie ...As more and more senior public figures retire and decide to tell their truths, the deliberately fuzzy outlines of the Iraqi Project projected by Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld are brought more clearly into focus. And that truth is ugly.
Howard ... knew before the war began that the US was intent on invading Iraq for many reasons, not only those involving WMD and terrorism. I recall numerous ONA assessments that explored the machinations in Washington and the thinking of George Bush and his circle. If this knowledge is juxtaposed with the public case for war that was made in London and Canberra, something very interesting is revealed: Blair and Howard's oft-repeated justifications for going to war were quite hollow. Their statements about WMD and terrorism were made in the full knowledge that such justifications were not the central reasons for the US's actions ...
Most often the deceit lay in the way Washington, London and Canberra deliberately skewed the truth by taking the ambiguity out of the issue. Key intelligence assessment qualifications were frequently dropped and much more definite words put in their place, even though such embellishments had not been offered to the governments by their intelligence agencies. Before we knew it, our political leaders had created a mythical Iraq, one where every factory was up to no good ...
On balance the strong, unambiguous language contained in the case for war seemed more the work of salespeople than professional intelligence officers. The claims that the repeated assertions reflected accurately the views of national intelligence agencies are plainly wrong. They were simply too much at odds with the piles of intelligence material I was privy to. In all the material I saw on Iraq, never did I see such a string of unqualified and strong judgements as was contained in the official case for war presented by Bush, Blair and Howard."