The Color of Terror

Designer Administration, Color-Coded World
19 July 2004, Tom Engelhardt,


... what about the people who fervently did everything in their power to lead us into war in Iraq and then proceeded to set themselves up in business and make a killing (so to speak) on its perilous aftermath. This would have to be coded on at least a five-color scale that ranged from green (only expenses paid) through yellow (build a McMansion in Southern California and retire) to red (settle your clan for generations to come). By the way, now that a whole administration from the vice president on down seems to be on the Iraqi take, it's worth noting that an old World War II "good war" word seems to have disappeared from our vocabulary - "war profiteer." It might be worth reviving.

Let's take, for now, just one of these figures, former CIA director and neocon R. James Woolsey, a signatory of fervent neocon letters as far back as 1998 pushing the Clinton administration and the Republican leadership in Congress for instant regime change in Iraq.

Walter F. Roche Jr. and Ken Silverstein of the Los Angeles Times describe Woolsey, a member of the Defense Policy Board, a key group of advisors to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, as, "a founding member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an organization set up in 2002 at the request of the White House to help build public backing for war in Iraq… Soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, he wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal saying a foreign state had aided Al Qaeda in preparing the strikes. He named Iraq as the leading suspect. In October 2001, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz sent Woolsey to London, where he hunted for evidence linking Hussein to the attacks…"

Just as the invasion of Iraq began, he publicly ratcheted up the administration's global rhetoric by declaring that we were actually involved in "World War IV"; and, as of this week, thanks to Knight Ridder's Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Stroebel, we know a good deal more about just how crucial Woolsey's role in the war-to-come actually was. They tell us that he:

"helped arrange the debriefing of an Iraqi defector who falsely claimed that Iraq had biological-warfare laboratories disguised as yogurt and milk trucks. R. James Woolsey's role as a go-between was detailed in a classified Defense Department report chronicling how the defector's assertion came to be included in the Bush administration's case for war even after the defector was determined to be a fabricator. A senior U.S. official summarized portions of the report for Knight Ridder on condition of anonymity because it's top secret… Woolsey's previously undisclosed role in the case of Maj. Mohammad Harith casts new light on how prominent invasion advocates outside the government used their ties to senior officials in the Bush administration [bypassing the CIA] to help make the case for war."

Roche and Silverstein of the LA Times comment:

"Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey is a prominent example of the phenomenon, mixing his business interests with what he contends are the country's strategic interests. He…works for two private companies that do business in Iraq and is a partner in a company that invests in firms that provide security and anti-terrorism services…In an interview, Woolsey said he saw no conflict between advocating for the war and subsequently advising companies on business in Iraq."

Woolsey is but one of a jostling crowd of former war supporters who are doing bad by doing well re: Iraq.

COMPLETE ARTICLE: Designer Administration, Color-Coded World