They Lied: A Letter to the Troops in Iraq

This is a letter to United States military personnel stationed in occupied Iraq:


Dear Soldiers in Iraq:

They LIE. They LIED to You. And they LIED  to us. And they are still LYING to all of us. 

Today some of you heard and/or saw a special videotaped message from the recently deposed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, an open war criminal who worked to secure U.S. support for Saddam Hussein during the middle 1980s and who sent you without adequate support and equipment into an illegal occupation in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.  In his goodbye message, Rumsfield thanked you for responding to a terrorist attack on the American homeland by “taking the fight to the enemy.”  You certainly deserve Rumsfeld’s gratitude, but his thank you shows that he insists on LYING to you to the bitter end.  

As more and more of you certainly know every day, Rumsfeld, Bush and others further down the command structure deceived you with the claim that Rumsfeld's old freind Saddam Hussein was linked in any relevant way to the 9/11 terror attacks.  As a growing number of you certainly suspect and is evident to an ever-larger share of the American populace, the occupation in which so many of you are both experiencing and inflicting irreparable harm has been predicated on a series of deep DECEPTIONS developed and disseminated by rich and powerful policymakers who expect you to kill and die for their crimes, their LIES, and their “mistakes.” They have put you in harm’s way on the criminal basis of one unforgivable FALSEHOOD after another. 

First there were the Big WMD, al Qaeda and 9/11 LIES. At the outset, dominant U.S. media dutifully relayed White House myths about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” and his alleged connections to al Qaeda and 9/11. It did this despite the abundant availability at the time of evidence showing that Saddam’s regime possessed so significant WMD stocks and had no connection either to al Qaeda (or other Islamist-terrorist forces) or the terrible events of 9/11/2001. “Mainstream” journalists like to say that they know better now, but the FALSE nature of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld’s claims was readily apparent to numerous observers well in advance of the invasion.

Then came the Big “Mission Accomplished” LIE. With cameras positioned to deceptively sell the toppling of Saddam’s statute (torn down with the help of an American tank) as a great moment of popular Iraqi rebellion, American media played along with the nonsense that a quick and sweeping “victory” had been attained.

I don’t need to tell you that this claim was pure, unadulterated bullshit. What you might not know is that there existed at the time numerous, readily available reasons to know that the occupation was going to lead to mass U.S. casualties while killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and triggering a terrible chain of events guaranteed to produce widespread devastation across Iraq, including civil war.

 Then came the Big “Bad Intelligence” LIE. When it became belatedly clear to “mainstream” war media that there were no Iraqi WMD, that Saddam was not connected to al Qaeda et al. or 9/11 and that the occupation was becoming a prolonged and bloody nightmare for the Iraqis (and for U.S. soldiers), leading news and communications institutions transmitted the irresponsible notion that the occupation had been undertaken on the basis of “honest mistakes” rooted in “faulty intelligence.” this was complete bullshit: we know very well that the “bad intelligence” about Iraq was being “fixed around the [pre-existing] policy” (to quote the July 2002 “Downing Street Memo”) of invading Iraq. The “intelligence” that supported the invasion of Iraq was not “bad;”it was “cooked”: made to order for enactment of   Bush’s  “preemptive” war doctrine. It was good (for Bush and Rumsfeld et al,) DECEPTIVE intilligence.  

There have been numerous other Iraq War LIES told to you and the American people by the administration and its many enablers during the war on Iraq. We’ve been told TALL TALES about the invasion of Iraq being part of the “war on terror” when it was widely understood in numerous intelligence circles that invading the sovereign Iraq would increase the threat posed to America and the world by stateless terror networks.We’ve been told little public relations LIES about U.S. soldiers like Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman. We’ve been instructed to think that the killing of a leading terror operative (Zarqawi) was a major step forward in the reduction of violence in Iraq. We’ve been asked to childishly believe that the U.S. torture of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib and other locations was the result of the misconduct of a few deranged rank-and-file GIs and not explicit, top-down U.S. policy ordered by people like Rumsfeld, Bush, and current U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.We’ve been told foolish TALES about ethnic violence the U.S. supposedly did nothing to create, had no reason to expect (not true…it was widely predicted) and which supposedly necessitates a continuing U.S. military presence to guarantee “public safety” (wrong: it is widely understood that the U.S. presence is provoking and sustaining violence in Iraq).  


Many of you have, like us, been told the Big Democracy Promotion and Exporting “Freedom” LIE.  This big FAIRY TALE was quickly disseminated once it became clear to all Americans that there were no relevant WMDs in Iraq. According to this great DECEPTION, the real reason you are in Iraq was the White House’s desire to export democracy and create a truly free and sovereign Iraq. Never mind that:

 ? the preponderant majority of Iraqis want U.S. troops to leave their nation. According to a recent poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland, 78 percent of Iraqis now believe that the U.S. military presence is “provoking more conflict than it is preventing” and that 61 percent of Iraqis now approve of attacks on American soldiers. .

? a poll commissioned by the British Ministry of Defence last year found that fully 82 percent of Iraqis were “‘strongly opposed’ to the presence of foreign troops and that less than 1 percent believed the troops were responsible for improvement in security.”

? a poll conducted by our own State Department reports that almost three-fourths of Baghdad’s residents would “feel safer” if U.S. forces left their country.

? 72 percent of Americans surveyed by the mainstream Chicago Council on Foreign Relations in 2004 (the percentage is certainly higher today) said that the U.S. should remove its military from Iraq if that’s what a clear majority of Iraqis want.

? more than half the U.S. population now says the war on Iraq is NOT morally justified.

? a majority of the population now rejects administration’s efforts to link the war on Iraq with the so-called “war on terror.”


? 60 percent of the U.S population opposes the war.


? Sixty-one percent believe that some troops should be removed before the end of the year and 57 percent want a timetable for full withdrawal. 


? These policy choices supported by the American popular majority have been denounced by the LIAR-in chief George W. Bush as naïve elitist  “appeasement” – so-called “cut and run” – even while he insists that the war is being fought on behalf of the idea that government should reflect the “will of the people.”


? one of the first actions of the U.S. occupation authorities was to open up much of Iraq’s economy to multinational corporate ownership – an action that would never have been supported by the Iraqi majority and which violated core principles of national independence. 


? the U.S. is building a large number of permanent military bases in richly oil-strategic Iraq (Iraqis who believe the U.S. seeks permanent bases are especially prone to support attacks on U.S. troops)


? the U.S. is a close ally and sponsor of the feudal, arch-repressive Saudi Arabian regime along with numerous other authoritarian state and political forces in the Middle East and around the world.  U.S. policymakers have long been willing to collaborate with Saudi Arabia and other harshly anti-democratic states in the region for one very simple and obvious reason: American access to, and control of, that region's unparalleled petroleum reserves.


And never mind that that the notion of the Iraqi people doing whatever they wish with their own state’s critical petroleum resources – second or third only to those of Saudi Arabia – is completely unacceptable to U.S. foreign policy makers from either of the nation’s dominant two parties.  As is widely understood around the world and is apparent to some inside the U.S., the White House sent you off to kill; and die in Iraq because that occupied nation possess stupendous oil resources, mostly untapped, and is located in the center of the world’s super-strategic energy system. Even Bush has recently acknowledged (in his own backhanded sort of way) that his war on Iraq is largely an oil invasion that is all about dominating the leading petroleum centers of the planet. That’s why some of you and your comrades have been ordered from the start to set up permanent U.S. bases in Iraq.

 We have long possessed abundant evidence that Rumsfeld, Cheney, and other highly placed “neoconservative” policymakers saw 9/11 not  as a national tragedy as a great opportunity for them to rally popular support for their preexisting goal of invading Iraq – a nation whose people and dictator had nothing to do with al Qaeda or 9/11.  We know very well that Rumsfeld was plotting to use the jetliner attacks as a pretext for attacking Iraq even before the smoke had cleared from the Pentagon. We can be sure that he was planning for the U.S. chain of command to pass down to you the big LIE that Saddam and Iraq were linked to the attacks. 


We know that the Iraq War is completely and monumentally illegal under international law and that it commits the ultimate crime under that law: an aggressive and unprovoked war with no remotely just basis in the requirements of self defense. From the moment that American and other “coalition” forces initiated hostilities without authorization from the United Nations Security Council, the invasion was illegal. The Charter of the United Nations, universally accepted as legally binding, is quite clear on this: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state" (Article 2(4)).  It is for the Security Council to "determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" which would allow for any possible limited resort to armed force (Article 39).


The recent defeat of George W. Bush’s Republican War Party in the mid-term congressional elections this week was driven largely by popular U.S. dissatisfaction both with Bush and Rumsfeld’s war and with the endless series of deceptions that have accompanied that war. Since the new party in congressional power lacks a clear policy on the war and largely shares Bush’s imperial determination to maintain a permanent military presence in oil-rich Iraq, however, the elections do not mean that all or many of you will be coming home and escaping apparently deepening danger (the U.S. body count has escalated significantly during the last two months) anytime soon.   Numerous leading Democrats will be content to see hundreds, perhaps thousands, more of you die for the criminal LIES of Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney over months and maybe years to come. 


It is important for you to know that Bush and Cheney were of military age when the U.S. was fighting a war on Vietnam – a war that both of them supported.  Both of them made sure that they themselves would NOT have to put their own precious bodies on the line in a war they supported and in which 58,000 Americans died (along with 2 million Vietnamese). Bush got himself placed in a safe National Guard position; he skipped out even on that.  Cheney recalls having “other priorities” during the war. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are all millionaires at the same time that they are LYING war masters.  They remind many observers of the following lines from a song that Bob Dylan wrote more than forty years ago:


Like Judas of Old

You LIE and Deceive…


You fasten the triggers

For the others to fire

You sit back and watch

While the death count gets higher

You hide in your mansions

While young people’s blood

Flows out of their bodies

And gets buried in the mud


(Masters of War, 1962)


Today’s wealthy war masters, like those of the Vietnam era and in other wars, believe that the rich and privileged shouldn’t have to fight in bloody imperial campaigns that make them yet richer. They believe that they are too good to have to suffer the terrible physical, mental, and spiritual dangers you regularly face by having to participate in an illegal and unjust war that has so far killed at least 650,000 Iraqis.  Like your predecessors in Vietnam after early 1968, you are expected to sacrifice your lives and/or your physical and/or mental and spiritual health to provide cover for American rulers’ LIES, crimes, and “mistakes” even after those LIES. crimes, and "mistakes" have become shockingly clear to a dissatisfied majority at home.  

Many of us at home don't think you should have to do this.  Please consider taking immediate action to end this illegal war.  There is currently no legitimate reason for any more of you to have to die or receive terrible injuries or kill or maim others in Iraq. There never has been, but the illegitemacy of the war in now more evident than ever inside the U.S.  The Bushes and Rumsfelds and the rest of their war-master ilk (a group that includes plenty of Democrats, unfortunately) can’t commit these terrible crimes if you refuse to accept their LIES and if you refuse to participate in their monumentally illegal and mass-murderous occupation of Iraq. 

It’s good news that Bush’s party has been defeated, swept out of congressional power by a wave of popular revulsion against his war and the LIES that created and sustained that war.  But the Democrats are divided, confused, frightened, and significantly confused about what to do.  They will spend a good period of time dithering and collaborating with Bush while you are asked to kill, maim, die, and suffer for LIES and policies you never made. The good  news is that there is a new opening now at home for a more intelligent and democratic discussion of U.S. policy options in Iraq. 

Soldiers on the ground know more about the suffering imposed by this war than any other Americans. You can encourage, expedite, and  inform the discussion at home and help end the murderous tragedy over there by refusing to participate any further in crimes that have been advanced and sustained by monumental LIES from the beginning and through the present. 


A U.S. Citizen in the American Midwest 



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