IS IT FUELING THE SECOND GULF WAR, TOO?
By: Jim Moore
So thinks Maggie O'Kane, editorial director of GuardianFilms in England, and European
Journalist of the Year." And she should know, having had a ringside seat at the
Baghdad Hustle once before.
No pacifist by any stretch of the imagination, O'Kane nonetheless contends that
provoking Saddam Hussein further at this time would be "criminally
irresponsible" by President Bush, irrespective of any motives for doing so.
What leads 0'Kane to say this? The déjà vu situation. The only
difference being that this time around Saddam Hussein is now cornered, and he knows it. It
is also rumored that he is dying of cancer. In a war in which his own survival is
unlikely, he has nothing to lose. Which, like a cornered rat, makes him extremely
dangerous. Therefore, provoking him more, speculates O'Kane, would be unforgivable on
Even with a familiar scenario unfolding, O'Kane sees no more reason for jumping the gun
on Hussein than she saw the first time.
It would be difficult to gainsay her assessment of the situation, given her knowledge
and experience acquired in Baghdad, where she was assigned to cover Saddam Hussein and his
maneuverings in the first Gulf War, "the biggest story of a lifetime" -as she
In pleading the case for a less knee-jerk response to Saddam Hussein this time around,
O'Kane sites two glaring examples of how the U.S. propaganda machine worked to draw
America into the first Gulf War. And how a similar formula may be in the planning stages
for getting America into another Gulf war, this time perhaps with a less healthy Hussein.
Example one. Just prior to the first Gulf war, the Pentagon insisted they had satellite
photos showing Saddam Hussein not only NOT withdrawing from Kuwait, but he had 250,000
troops poised to pounce on Saudi Arabia. Yet, subsequent commercial satellite photos and
declassified information indicated that there were no Iraqi troops massed at the border.
Only aircraft sitting wingtip-to-wingtip in Riyadh airport. Still, in spite of the absence
of Iraqi troops poised to enter Saudi Arabia, the war machine was turned on.
"So what will the fake (Pentagon) satellite pictures show this time," asks
Maggie O'Kane, "a massive chemical installation with Iraqi goblins cooking up
Example two The second propaganda tactic used to get America into Gulf War 1 was a
classic called "dead babies". It seems that Nijirah-al Sabah, the daughter of
the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, described how she had watched Iraqi soldiers looting
incubators to take back to Baghdad, pitching the Kuwaiti babies out onto the cold floor to
Except it never happened. Two Filipina nurses who worked in the maternity ward in
question said they had never seen Ms. Al Sabah in their lives. Amnesty admitted being
duped, and Middle East Watch confirmed the fabrication. But it came too late: The U.S..
Congress had already voted for war, due in no small part to Bush senior's mention of the
"incubator babies" seven times in his pre-war rallying speeches.
By the time the truth came out, months later, the war was over.
What U.S. propaganda techniques will be used to garner a consensus for the second
attack on Iraq? Ms O'Kane thinks she sees the beginning of it in action already. In her
own country of Britain, she says that Jack Straw's new human rights dossier on Iraq seems
conveniently timed with the military build-up.
Also, an odd cog in the propaganda machine is Hans Blix, the U.N.'s chief weapons
inspector, whose work is, in the words of former CIA director James Wolsey, "of
limited value." He's a pussycat compared to Saddam Hussein. But then, what did they
expect? Blix was Kofi Annan's second choice for the job.
In a final comment on American politics as it relates to U.S. propaganda, Ms. O'Kane
lays it right on the line: "The greatest irony, and most important issue, is that
although the war on Iraq may indeed get George Bush re-elected, it will not win the war on
terrorism. It will instead fuel it."
I guess it takes a gal like Maggie O'Kane, working at the Guardian in England, to
explain to us what we can't seem to figure out for ourselves.
"Published originally at
EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Jim Moore is a free-lance
political writer and is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
Jim Moore can be reached at Jmoore1819@aol.com
A list of works by Jim Moore can be seen at the American Reformation Project website
Published in the December 16, 2002 issue of Ether Zone.
Copyright © 1997 - 2002 Ether
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