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13 February, 2018

The United States of Amnesia: Americans are ready to buy another series of bogus evidence as pretext for war with Iran, as it happened with Iraq

Washington's hawks are doing it again!


Powell’s former chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, recently wrote a piece titled “I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again.”

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke at the Anacostia-Bolling military base in Washington, D.C., in front of pieces of metal she claimed were parts of an Iranian-made missile supplied to the Houthis in Yemen, which the Houthis allegedly fired into Saudi Arabia, on December 14th last year.

Weapons experts widely criticized Ambassador Haley’s speech , saying the evidence was inconclusive and fell far short of proving her allegations that Iran had violated a U.N. Security Council resolution.

According to Wilkerson, Haley’s claims were not only inconclusive, they were also oddly reminiscent of the false claims about weapons of mass destruction the George W. Bush administration used to sell the public on the war with Iraq.

As he explained to Amy Goodman and DemocracyNow!:

When I saw Nikki Haley give her presentation, certainly there was not the gravitas of a Powell, not the statesmanship of a Powell, not the popularity of a Powell. What I saw was a John Bolton. And remember, John Bolton was her predecessor, in terms of being a neoconservative at the United Nations representing the United States. I saw a very amateurish attempt.

I can’t imagine how anyone could haul some metal in front of the TV cameras and assert, the way she did, with the details she did—some of which was false, just flat false—and expect anyone within any expertise, at least, to believe it.

Look at her statement about “this could have been shot at Dulles, or it could have been shot at Berlin.” Had it been shot at Dulles or Berlin, it would have stopped well short, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean or even shorter. These missiles are not long-range missiles. These missiles are very inaccurate missiles. They have a CEP of miles. That means that, unlike a US nuclear weapon, which would hit within a 10-meter circle or less, it would hit within a mile or two circle. They don’t know where it’s going to hit when they shoot it. It’s not very accurate, in other words.

So the things that she was presenting there, she was presenting with a drama, that even if what she was saying fundamentally was true, that the Houthis got it from Iran and shot it at Saudi Arabia, it simply was so exaggerated that one just looks at it and says, “I can’t believe that the United States is represented by that woman.”

But nonetheless, these kinds of things, when they’re made visual and the statements are made so dramatically, have an impact on the American people. I saw her doing essentially the same thing with regard to Iran that Powell had done, and I had done, and others, with regard to Iraq. So it alarms me. I don’t think the American people have a memory for these sorts of things. Gore Vidal called this the “United States of Amnesia,” with some reason.

So, we need to be reminded of how the intelligence was politicized, how it was cherry-picked, how we moved towards a war that has been an absolute catastrophe for the region, and even, long-term, for Israel’s security and the United States’ perhaps, with a deftness and with a fluidity that alarmed me then. It really alarms me now that we might be ready to repeat that process.

This president has so many targets out there that he could avail himself of at almost any moment, that we have to shudder at the prospects for war and destruction over the next three years of Donald Trump’s term.

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