Don’t let the bright colors and screaming banner ads put you off, this is going to turn out to be important in the tale of how the WHIG party orchestrated the war in Iraq.
First, you form a sekrit club and have meetings about stuff you want to get done, like knock off countries you don’t like because they’re not American enough and have a lot of oil that you might like to have. Then you give a journalist a really, really juicy scoop that paints that country as teh evil. Then you use that published story to justify why you have to invade teh evil country. Then you discredit everyone that objects to the war with teh evil country and even “out” their family members who work for sekrit gummint groups and whose identities are supposed to remain sekrit by law. You do this sekritly, of course, because hello? Against the law to “out” them, even in a good dirty tricks kind of cause. Then word leaks out about your little dirty tricks campaign, via a couple of journalists, including your pet one. Then you let the original journalist, that you previously used for your own purposes, go to jail for a while because her journalistic principles won’t allow her to out a source for the dirty tricks.
Although really, she probably was hoping that if she showed her loyalty by going to jail, she’d get some more juicy scoops.
Too bad the first “juicy scoop” turned out to be a total fabrication, but it sold a lot of papers in its day, and it got Colin Powell to say things he and his staff otherwise wouldn’t have had him say in his big scary speech to the UN. You know, the one that really got the ball rolling on the war against teh evil country and its “alleged” weapons of mass destruction.
And by the way – “WHIG?” I know it stands for “White House Iraq Group” but at first I thought it was a resurgence of a precursor to the Republican Party.
The group relied heavily on New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who, after meeting with several of the organizationâ€™s members in August 2002, wrote an explosive story that many critics of the war believe laid the groundwork for military action against Iraq.
On Sunday, Sept. 8, 2002, Miller wrote a story for the Times quoting anonymous officials who said aluminum tubes found in Iraq were to be used as centrifuges. Her report said the “diameter, thickness and other technical specifications” of the tubes — precisely the grounds for skepticism among nuclear enrichment experts — showed that they were “intended as components of centrifuges.”
She closed her piece by quoting then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice who said the United States would not sit by and wait to find a smoking gun to prove its case, possibly in the form of a â€œa mushroom cloud.” After Millerâ€™s piece was published, administration officials pursued their case on Sunday talk shows using Millerâ€™s piece as evidence that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear bomb, even though those officials were the ones who supplied Miller with the story and were quoted anonymously.
Rice’s comments on CNNâ€™s â€œLate Editionâ€ reaffirmed Millerâ€™s story. Rice said that Saddam Hussein was “actively pursuing a nuclear weapon” and that the tubes — described repeatedly in U.S. intelligence reports as “dual-use” items — were “only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.”
Cheney, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” also mentioned the aluminum tubes story in the Times and said “increasingly, we believe the United States will become the target” of an Iraqi atomic bomb. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” asked viewers to “imagine a September 11th with weapons of mass destruction.â€
President Bush reiterated the image of Riceâ€™s mushroom cloud comment in his Oct. 7, 2002 speech.
The International Atomic Energy Agency later revealed that Iraqâ€™s aluminum tubes were never designed to enrich uranium.
In February of 2003, WHIG allegedly scripted the speech Powell made to the United Nations presenting the United Statesâ€™ case for war.
Powellâ€™s speech to the UN, United Press International reported, â€œwas handled by the White House Iraq Group, whichâ€¦ provided Powell with a script for his speech, using information developed by Feith’s group. Much of it was unsourced material fed to newspapers by the OSP. Realizing this, Powell’s team turned to the now-discredited National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. But some of Feith’s handiwork ended up in Powell’s mouth anyway.