Last March, in a bid to generate media smoke from overheated right-wing bloggers flailing their way ignorantly through raw intelligence data, the Bush Faction dumped thousands upon thousands of captured Saddam-era Iraqi documents into a public web archive. There was absolutely zero intelligence value to be gained from the exercise, as the Administration’s own intelligence experts repeatedly warned. Then again, history has shown us just how scantly the Bush Gang regards careful intelligence analysis; as in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, what they wanted was cherry-picked garbage that could be used for partisan propaganda.
And so the sewage pipe of the unsifted Iraqi intel was opened, in hopes of generating a few stories that might dominate a news cycle here and there with “revelations” that could provide even the most tenuous “justification” for the Administration’s pre-war mendacities about Iraq’s non-existent WMD threat and its equally spurious ties to 9/11 and al Qaeda. As we’ve seen in many other cases – such as the long-running spy fiction thriller, “Atta in Prague” – the barest micron of a hint of a whisper from some unnamed, uncorroborated source is enough for the warmongers and their sycophants to feast upon for years.
But this trove of dross has produced no propaganda gold, and with good reason: the archives cannot yield what is not there. There are no records documenting active WMD programs, or even dormant WMD programs, because there had been no such programs in Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War – a fact that the western intelligence agencies, and the Clinton and Bush White Houses, knew very well, because they had been told of this in 1995 by the man in charge of the programs and their destruction: Saddam’s own son-in-law, Hussein Kamel.
However, as the New York Times reports, there was a good deal of material in the archives on Iraq’s pre-1991 WMD programs. These included, says the NYT, “detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.” They contain “charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums.”
One of the most important aspects of the information is that it spells out many of the mistakes and wrong turns that Iraqi scientists encountered on their road to the bomb. The handy roadmap provided by Bush will allow new aspirants for atomic weaponry to avoid these pitfalls and accelerate their programs accordingly. Secret nuclear weapons programs once took decades to complete, as in Pakistan, India and North Korea, or else simply sputtered out from technical ignorance, as in Libya. Now much of this knowledge gap has been bridged by the Bush Administration, cutting years of trial and error out of the process.
This potentially deadly data has been cast forth upon a world where long-effective non-proliferation structures are either collapsing or already dead. From the very beginning, the Bush Administration deliberately set out to overthrow the old “containment” treaties that had held the demon of nuclear war at bay for decades. The Administration was adamant that no shackles should hold back its expansion of the entirely ineffective but crony-enriching boondoggle known as “missile defense.” Plans for “enhancing” the nation’s nuclear arsenal with new, more “useable” tactical nukes and weaponizing the global commons of outer space were also stated goals of the militarists who dominate the Administration: the “Project for a New Century” crowd, led by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who spelled out their disdain for arms treaties and their plans for an aggressive nuclear weapons revamp in speeches and publications well before the unelected Bush was shoehorned into the White House by the Supreme Court.
Once in office, Bush “unsigned” the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty and ashcanned the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty – the cornerstone of nuclear containment for a generation. In their place, Bush and his “unitary executive” counterpart in Russia, Vladimir Putin, signed the ludicrous “Moscow Treaty” in 2002. This worthless rag – which covers less than a single, typewritten page – is perhaps the most cynical sham in international diplomacy since the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
The treaty sets a nominal limit on the number of nuclear warheads actually mounted on working missiles and bombers, as the National Resources Defense Council reports. But this limit is operative for one day only – December 31, 2012, the day the treaty expires. “Before and after that date, the number of deliverable nuclear warheads could exceed the treaty’s maximum ‘limit’ of 2,200 ‘operational’ warheads,” the NRDC notes. “Both countries would be free to keep thousands of ‘reserve’ warheads in storage, which could be remounted on delivery systems within weeks or months.”
There were no other limits placed on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, nor does the treaty require “the destruction of a single nuclear warhead, missile, silo, bomber or submarine,” the NRDC reports. It places no restrictions at all on tactical nuclear weapons: the ones most likely to be used in battle — and the ones most likely to be pilfered by “non-state actors.” Nor does the treaty include any interim benchmarks for eliminating weapons or provisions for monitoring compliance. Why should it? It only requires that on the expiration date, both sides temporarily mothball enough weapons to reach the arbitrary limit — then start loading them up again the next day.
Meanwhile, the Administration has made a mockery of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. As noted, Bush has embraced the nuclear weapons programs of three renegade nations that remained outside the NPT – India, Pakistan and Israel – while attacking nations that have remained within the Treaty’s allowances for carefully monitored peaceful nuclear energy programs. And Bush has of course continued the practice of all of his predecessors in arrogantly ignoring the obligations which the treaty placed on existing nuclear powers to liquidate their own stockpiles and work toward an international disarmament agreement.
As with the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter and the Magna Carta, the Bush Faction regards the NPT as a “quaint relic” to be evoked – or discarded – according to the political needs of the moment. The concept of a binding law – even to protect the American people and the world from the nightmare of unbridled nuclear proliferation – means nothing to the Bushists. For them, the unfettered exercise of executive power – and the attendant wealth and privilege it brings – overrides all other values and considerations.
And now, in heedless pursuit of this ultimate value, George W. Bush and his political allies have given every terrorist, “rogue” state and aspiring nuclear state in the world unprecedented access to advanced plans for building a nuclear weapon. Bush has done more to actualize his much-trumpeted scenario of a “mushroom cloud” rising over American cities than any other group in the world: more than al Qaeda, more than the mullahs of Iran, more than the “unitary executive” of North Korea, Kim Il-Jong.
Only a sociopathic idiot of the highest order would dump raw intelligence about weapons systems onto the Internet without even examining it first. What’s more, the Bush Party knew for a certainty that there was very dangerous material lurking in the archive. As the NYT reports: “Last spring, after the site began posting old Iraqi documents about chemical weapons, United Nations arms-control officials in New York won the withdrawal of a report that gave information on how to make tabun and sarin, nerve agents that kill by causing respiratory failure.”
Those particular documents were finally pulled – after finding their way into how many hard drives of Islamic extremists, homegrown white-power nuts, or freakish death cults like Aum Shinrikyo? – but the archive stayed wide open. Why? Because the Bush Party fanatics still hoped to squeeze some propaganda value out of it. And even after the IAEA complained about the nuclear data on the site late last month, the Administration took no action. Not until the New York Times story was about to appear did the Bushists finally take down the site, to lessen the political embarrassment.
So who is responsible for this criminal idiocy? Let’s name names:
- Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who led the campaign for the website – and now, predictably, with breathtaking, Perle-like hypocrisy, is criticizing the White House for “not doing it right.”
- Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who joined Hoekstra in the formal request for the document dump.
- John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence, who clearly realized the danger and stupidity of such a website, but cravenly approved it anyway.
- George Walker Bush, Idiot-in-Chief, whose political handlers pressured Negroponte into giving his reluctant approval and launching the “cookbook” for nuclear weaponry into the public domain.
What then can we make of such shallow fools, and their years of chest-thumping about “national security” and “keeping America safe”? The plain, unavoidable, indisputable fact of the matter is that they do not care about the security of the American people. This fact has been confirmed over and over by the public record of their policies and actions, as shown above. And it is underscored by this latest outrage. Had some intelligence agent or other government official posted such incendiary material on a website on the sly, they would rightly be condemned as criminals, even traitors. Hoekstra, Roberts, Negroponte and Bush stand in that same rank.
The Bush Faction’s remaining claim to political power – that they are the “party of national security” – is a gargantuan lie. Those who believe them, those who support them, those who vote for them are tying a noose around their own necks, and the necks of all their fellow Americans.