Former chief U.N. nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei suggests in a new memoir that Bush administration officials should face an international criminal investigation for the "shame of a needless war" in Iraq.And:
ElBaradei cites examples, including the conclusion by his inspectors inside Iraq that certain aluminum tubes were designed for artillery rockets, not for uranium enrichment equipment to build nuclear bombs, as Washington asserted.No immanent threat. Hundreds of thousands dead. An illegal war based on lies (and at least one forgery). War Crimes.
The IAEA chief reported this conclusion to the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 27, 2003, and yet on the next day Bush — in a "remarkable" response — delivered a State of the Union address in which he repeated the unfounded claim about aluminum tubes, ElBaradei notes.
Similar contradictions of expert findings occurred with the claim, based on a forgery, that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger, and an Iraqi exile's fabrication that "mobile labs" were producing biological weapons.
"I was aghast at what I was witnessing," ElBaradei writes of the official U.S. attitude before the March 2003 invasion, which he calls "aggression where there was no imminent threat," a war in which he accepts estimates that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed.
In such a case, he suggests, the World Court should be asked to rule on whether the war was illegal. And, if so, "should not the International Criminal Court investigate whether this constitutes a `war crime' and determine who is accountable?"
The book, The Age of Deception, is to be published this week by MacMillan. Here's an excerpt:
In the years since, multiple sources have confirmed that the premise for the March 2003 invasion—the charge by the United States and the United Kingdom that Saddam Hussein's WMD programs represented an imminent threat—was groundless. The U.S.-appointed Iraq Survey Group would later spend billions of dollars to verify that the international inspectors were correct: Iraq had not revived its WMD programs. Nor, apparently, was the alleged WMD threat the real motivation for the U.S. and U.K. aggression. The famously leaked "Downing Street" memo from July 2002 was one of several sources indicating that the decision to go to war had been taken well before the inspections ever began.And while in 2008, candidate Obama said this:
To this day, I cannot read such accounts without reflecting on the thousands of soldiers who have died, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed, the millions maimed or displaced, the families disrupted, the lives ruined—and I am astonished that there has not been more self-examination, more introspection on the part of the principal players. The shame of this needless war obliges us all to consider what went wrong in the case of Iraq and to reflect on how the lessons of this tragedy might be applied to future crises.
What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.We've seen nothing from President Obama even remotely similar.
So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing betyween really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.
Happy Easter, my friends. Happy Easter.