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Ear to the Ground

New Defense Secretary Spreads Bush’s Lies About Iraq

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Posted on Jul 11, 2011
U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, and U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, fly in a Black Hawk helicopter over Baghdad.

Leon Panetta seems to be confused about what administration he works for. On a world tour of America’s endless wars, the new defense secretary said to a gathering of troops in Iraq, “The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked.” And one of the reasons Panetta’s boss is in the White House is because he took a more realistic view.

Panetta later said, “I wasn’t saying, you know, the invasion—or going into the issues or the justification of that. It was more the fact that we really had to deal with al-Qaida here; they developed a presence here and that tied in.”

That smells more like damage control than an explanation for a claim that has been roundly refuted since before the United States invaded in 2003.

Short of a few stubborn neoconservatives, the world has moved on from this and other lies used by the Bush administration to justify a war that was either about oil, money, projecting American power or some combination of the three. So why is Barack Obama’s new defense secretary repeating such rubbish?  —PZS

The Washington Post:

The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked,” Panetta told the troops. “And 3,000 Americans — 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings — got killed because of al-Qaeda. And we’ve been fighting as a result of that.”

His statement echoed previous comments made by President George W. Bush and members of his administration, who tried to tie Saddam Hussein’s government to al-Qaeda. But it put Panetta at odds with President Obama, the 9/11 Commission and other independent experts, who have said there is no evidence al-Qaeda had a presence in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

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By John in Sacramento, July 12, 2011 at 9:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“And 3,000 Americans — 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings..”

It’s at least refreshing for a modern day Defense Secretary to make this distinction. It’s certainly a break from the past warmongers who have held this position for god know’s how long.

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By Salome, July 12, 2011 at 7:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now, Panetta is demanding that the Iraqis make a decision about having American troops remain into 2012, “Damn it, make a decision”, he said.

May I respectfully suggest that their silence is their decision.  TAKE THE HINT!

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, July 12, 2011 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

-Agents of Iraqi Intelligence reportedly murdered the American Ambassador to Jordan.

-Thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region reportedly trained at camps in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak—directed by elite Iraqi military units four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion.

-Saddam Hussein himself, very publicly, offered Hamas and Hezbollah $35,000 to the families of every successful homicide bomber.

-Mass murderer Sabri Khalil al-Banna (Abu Nidal) lived in Baghdad under the protection of Saddam Hussein.

-Abdul Rahman Yasin flew out of New York directly to Baghdad after the 1993 WTC bombing. Reportedly Yasin was given a home, along with a monthly salary, in Hussein’s hometown of Takrit.

-Bin Laden met at least eight times with officers of Iraq’s Special Security Organization, a secret police agency run by Saddam’s son Qusay, and met with officials from Saddam’s mukhabarat, its external intelligence service.

-Sudanese intelligence officials report that their agents had observed meetings between Iraqi intelligence agents and bin Laden starting in 1994, when bin Laden lived in Khartoum.

-In October 2000, an Iraqi intelligence operative, Salah Suleiman, was arrested near the Afghan border by Pakistani authorities, according to Jane’s Foreign Report, a respected international newsletter. Jane’s reported that Suleiman was shuttling between Iraqi intelligence and Ayman al Zawahiri, now al Qaeda’s No. 2 man.

-Documents found among the debris of the Iraqi Intelligence Center show that Baghdad funded the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan terror group led by an Islamist cleric linked to bin Laden. According to a London’s Daily Telegraph, the organization offered to recruit “youth to train for the jihad” at a “headquarters for international holy warrior network” to be established in Baghdad.

-Mullah Melan Krekar, ran a terror group (the Ansar al-Islam) linked to both bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Mr. Krekar admitted to a Kurdish newspaper that he met bin Laden in Afghanistan and other senior al Qaeda officials. His acknowledged meetings with bin Laden go back to 1988. When he organized Ansar al Islam in 2001 to conduct suicide attacks on Americans, “three bin Laden operatives showed up with a gift of $300,000 ‘to undertake jihad,’” Newsday reported. Mr. Krekar is now in custody in the Netherlands. His group operated in portion of northern Iraq loyal to Saddam Hussein—and attacked independent Kurdish groups hostile to Saddam. A spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan told a United Press International correspondent that Mr. Krekar’s group was funded by “Saddam Hussein’s regime in Baghdad.”

-

All roads to international terrorism lead through Baghdad.” - President Bill Clinton, Feb. 1998

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By ardee, July 12, 2011 at 4:44 am Link to this comment

Another Obama appointee. Meet the new Bush ,same as the old Bush.

You gotta admit that Paneta has balls ,daring to mouth that tired and much exposed mantra. Either that or incredible stupidity and rather narrow focus.

The American electorate must be the force that saves themselves ( ourselves) from the cupidity and stupidity of our elected leaders.

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thecrow's avatar

By thecrow, July 12, 2011 at 4:27 am Link to this comment

You’ve been a bad boy, Leon.

“Even though no Iraqis were involved, and there is no proof Saddam was behind it, the attack on the World Trade Center provides Cpl Richardson and many others with the justification for invading Iraq.”

“There’s a picture of the World Trade Center hanging up by my bed and I keep one in my Kevlar [flak jacket]. Every time I feel sorry for these people I look at that. I think, ‘They hit us at home and, now, it’s our turn.’ I don’t want to say payback but, you know, it’s pretty much payback.”

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/payback/

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By Rodney, July 12, 2011 at 1:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

He must have been smoking that weed that Bush and Cheney left in the desk of the Oval Office. I think even Barack took a hit of it.

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By Aarky, July 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You forgot the new pressure to attempt to use Iran as the reason to stay in Iraq. The same lies from the Cheney/Generals from five years ago are now being recycled. All the IED’s and EFP’s that were supposedly made in Iran were/are easily made in Iraq, even as the US Generals, including Petareous, were lying for Cheney. While the Generals were lying, the Iraqis were finding bomb making factories all over Iraq.There are still many dozens of tons of left over munitions that are easily converted into explosive devices. The Iraqis would just love to see a dust cloud as the US military and the bloated US Embassy staff speed out of their country.

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By Cliff Carson, July 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

To answer your question Aaron Ortiz

The answer is yes and yes with more to come.

The Criminal elements that run our Country ( Not those we elect - they are merely hirelings of the real rulers)will continue to subjugate the World instigating wars for their profit until defeated.

On that day the common people of American Empire will curse wars, but not the Criminal Element, you will find them on the winning side, turncoats to the last Billionaire.

When one is excessively rich and powerful, they have no Nationality.  Their Home is wherever they want it to be.

Panetta said 3,000 innocents.  You think he is a fool or was giving us half a Peace sign?

Since over 6,000 U S service men and women have died and over 40,000 have been severely butchered, you think he doesn’t believe those soldiers in excess of 3,000 were innocent?  And what of the millions of Iraqi’s who have been killed, wounded, and dispossessed so our largest Corporations could make a bunch of money, were they not innocent?

There are more than criminals in Washington. Panetta has just proven that Washington is teeming with creeps.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., July 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

By mrfreeze, July 11 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment
THX 1133 - I don’t know what hit me….a rare moment of
lucidity. Thanks for the complement.
============================
You are welcome.
Even though I left right after the Iraq massacre, I
still have friends and family state-side and I worry
for them. They say they see the situation; but I don’t
believe them. Denial should be added to the seven
deadly sins.
Cheers.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, July 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

THX 1133 - I don’t know what hit me….a rare moment of lucidity. Thanks for the complement.

What troubles me so deeply is that Americans simply cannot see the terrible road of doom we’ve been travelling in recent years. This road, paved with the blood of innocents and justified by the incredible lies of our government and it’s wealthy masters, has shown us to be an a-moral, selfish and uncouth culture. We have become an unworthy lot, we Americans.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., July 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Damn; got to proof read;
That Sir, is one nice piece OF writing; clearly and
succinctly said. Thanks…

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., July 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

mrfreeze, July 11 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment
When the aliens come and look over early 21st Century
history, they will wonder how it was that an uber-
rich society of narcissists, bullies and nano-greedy-
fucks could have been:

1) Surprised that “terrorists” would strike at some
point
2) So stupid as to believe it was insulated against
danger
3) That it was blind to the fact that the rest of the
world wanted a “piece of the pie”
4) And that this big lumbering, stupid giant could
have been sent spiralling down, obsessed, distracted
and essentially neutered by the deaths of a few
thousand people.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or an alien to see
the truth: 9/11 itself was a tragedy…...but the
incompetent, cynical, nihilist and barbaric responses
to it will go down in history as some of the most
ridiculous bungling of guns, butter…you name it….
====================================
That Sir, is one nice piece writing; clearly and
succinctly said. Thanks…

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By California Ray, July 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

Ever notice what an idiot Gen. Chen Bingde is?  He is the chief of the general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.  Gen. Chen stated publicly that the U.S. is spending too much on its military.  Way to go, Einstein!

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By the worm, July 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

It’s about change you can believe in, isnt it?

1. On the Debt and Fair Taxes: 72 percent of us support raising taxes on the
rich including 68 percent of Independents and 54 percent of Republicans -
Washington Post-ABC poll Washington Post-ABC poll, Spring 201. Obama twice
‘bargained’ to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy – first with McConnell
and the second time with Boehner.

2. On the Financial Bailout: Over 70% of us opposed the bailout. Obama
accelerated it with two Bush carryovers - Geithner & Bernanke.

3. On Health Care: 72% of us supported “a government administered insurance
plan - something like Medicare for those under 65—that would compete for
customers with private insurers.” Obama supported a private-sector, for-profit
health insurance ‘reform’ providing insurance companies fabulous guaranteed
profits & burdening ‘customers’ with costly coverage - in the form of hundreds
of millions of new ‘mandated customers’.

4. On Wars in the Middle East: 64% of us opposed expanding the war in
Afghanistan and wanted to disentangle from Bush-era ‘War on Terror’ and
‘preventive war’ policies. When Obama leaves office there will more troops
involved in this than when he began the recent ‘draw down’.

It’s important to acknowledge that Obama will not be “defeated because of the
economy”.

Obama will be defeated because he ignored the voters at every turn.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, July 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

When the aliens come and look over early 21st Century history, they will wonder how it was that an uber-rich society of narcissists, bullies and nano-greedy-fucks could have been:

1) Surprised that “terrorists” would strike at some point
2) So stupid as to believe it was insulated against danger
3) That it was blind to the fact that the rest of the world wanted a “piece of the pie”
4) And that this big lumbering, stupid giant could have been sent spiralling down, obsessed, distracted and essentially neutered by the deaths of a few thousand people.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or an alien to see the truth: 9/11 itself was a tragedy…...but the incompetent, cynical, nihilist and barbaric responses to it will go down in history as some of the most ridiculous bungling of guns, butter…you name it….

Report this

By California Ray, July 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Oh, that’s okay. Americans have never been sticklers for the truth about Iraq, Panama, Bosnia, Vietnam, etc., etc.  In fact, Mitch Romney made up his own history of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and he’ll probably get elected President.

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By Roger Lafontaine, July 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Looks like we’ve gone full circle (or fool’s circle?) back to the lies that started it all way back when. Well, as they say in politics and Hollywood ‘truth is irrelevant. What counts is sincerity.’

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By rbrooks, July 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Panetta isn’t confused; not in the least. We’re the ones who continue to be confused - about who Obama’s working for.

Barack Obama works for the same people the Bush criminal enterprise work for; pretending this profoundly dishonest corporate lapdog works for us would be comical if it weren’t so late in the game. You can’t win a battle unless you identify the enemy. This administration is not just echoing the Bush administration - it IS the Bush administration.

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Billy Pilgrim's avatar

By Billy Pilgrim, July 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

Uh, No.  We were making nice with the Taliban because
of some gas pipeline from one of the other “Stans” that
was supposedly going to run under Afghanistan. And we
would not have invaded Iraq, either. We would have just
continued the economic sanctions enacted under Clinton
that resulted in thousands and thousands of innocent
civilians, many of them children, who died before 9-11.
Remember-we are an empire now and can do whatever we
want, whenever we want.

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By Aaron Ortiz, July 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

I don’t understand the fuss. If 9/11 had never
happened, would the second Iraq War and the war in
Afghanistan have happened anyway?

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