Book Review: A Pretext for War
30 August 2004
James Bamford is currently a hot author with establishment credentials, having previously written and published Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets; his latest, just out, is A Pretext for War, Doubleday, 420 pages -- it's quite excellent, though just as surely problematic -- an exposé (yes, another, but this especially good and effective) upon Pres. G.W. Bush and Co.'s frauds regarding the Iraq War. Bamford's special expertise is, of course, the intelligence agencies, especially NSA (National Security) as featured in present work.
As noted, Bamford is extremely effective, an accomplished writer, even crushing, as he successfully persuades the reader that Bush is quite subject to impeachment -- perhaps even worse. For Bamford's concluding chapters and section is sufficient of itself to lead to indicting Bush for all his lying and conspiratorial deception. But such impeachment might well not happen precisely as Bamford attempts so intensively to insist upon the "al qaeda" hoax, the thematic excuse for such frauds -- is this the real purpose of the book? For the book is quite effective, even compelling, as it's not too long, divided into three main sections, the first covering the day and events of 9-11, the second somewhat tediously going over immediate past history, especially regarding the intelligence agencies upon which Bamford is acknowledged expert, the last section covering the particular administration strategy and tactics for the initiation of the Iraq war. Bamford's strategy is interesting as he's quite willing to skewer Bush and the "neo-conservatives," but seems, again, strangely determined to help the establishment frauds to reify and insist upon the "al qaeda" hoax.
The beginning section (4 chapters), 90-some pages, regarding Bush's actions on the day of 9-11, is smashing and devastating on its own. The point was also effectively made in Mike Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" movie (for which movie art Bamford's scholarship is fitting counterpart and complement) regarding Bush's continuing to sit in the kids' classroom even after being supposedly informed about the second crash into the second tower (he actually already knew). Bamford demonstrates Bush had to have known about the second hijacking (even if not the actual crash) well before he went into the classroom shortly after 9 A.M. Further, there was clear indication of a coordinated attack-plot, as opposed to mere random hijacking, as when the voice from the hijacked cockpit stated "we have some planes..."; it was not the only such statement, and these were made beginning over HALF AN HOUR hour before Bush entered the classroom. Furthermore, there was even strong suspicion and indication about a THIRD hijacking before Bush entered the classroom. So it's a serious and still-unresolved quandary as to what Bush was actually doing (and thinking), and the unavoidable fact is his actions are extremely questionable on basis of DERELICTION of duty (and worse), especially in view of the obvious fact U.S. defence forces were deliberately diverted in various "drills" and hence "standing down" for the real attacks in New York and Wash. D.C. So what's the explanation? The unavoidable answer is Bush wanted an excuse to expropriate Iraq's oil, and perhaps most of all, to justify the overthrow of Constitutional rights and liberties to make way for United Nations (UN) takeover. If there is some other explanation, Bush has utterly failed to make a sufficient case -- he needs to resign or be impeached -- and there's no other acceptable or reasonable conclusion as Bamford well illustrates (but stops short of actually advocating).
Bamford additionally describes the deputy Chairman (Air Force General Richard Myers) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was in charge, blithely ignoring the immediate 9/11 activity as he was doing some political lobbying in a Senator's office. Bush later stated that when he was informed while sitting in the classroom he decided right there he was going to "declare war" -- which is really so interesting. For why then did Bush continue sitting there and not rush off, knowing there was surely serious confusion, two enemy crashes into targets, without American defenses successfully intercepting? And how did Bush know who was responsible for the attacks against whom he was now determined to "declare war"? Bamford also well describes the confusion and near-panic of the citizens and general government functionaries in Washington, D.C., scampering hysterically about, as the third plane approached to attack the Pentagon, quite a pathetic scene, actually.
Thus Bamford's first, introductory, section of his work is brilliant, poignant, and gripping as it is so masterfully and well written, including as it does selected, pertinent details. There are serious problems though with some of the details: one in which he alleges a plane's black box was "vaporized," another in which he fails to mention the fourth plane might well have been shot down instead of merely crashing as he indicates. Bamford also writes, on p. 82, the following about WTC building 7 (which later collapsed after the two larger towers): "Later, blown debris would set the sixteen-year-old steel building on fire,...," giving no reference and failing to say how a steel building is actually set on fire.
The next, second section, the largest, a little over 150 pages, covering immediate past history of the intelligence agencies, is rather tedious comedown from the truly exciting and dramatic first section, but the work will be well-rescued by the more pertinent third and concluding section regarding the Iraq frauds -- but it is here Bamford reveals his real agenda, the reification of the myth of "al qaeda." The main problems of the very enigmatic second section are the grossly insufficiently critical attitude towards the "al qaeda" mythology and the larger Israel issue, though Bamford probably goes the acceptable limit for such establishment Israel criticism. For example Bamford points out in some detail the murderous instances of the Israeli "Operation Grapes of Wrath" of 1996 -- such vicious savagery is reason then for understandable Islamic hatred which Bamford is careful to cultivate -- the distinct agenda to be pushed: the supposed reality of the "al qaeda terrorist threat." Bamford wouldn't dare even begin to think Israel was the actual perpetrator-conspirator for the 9/11 attack.
Again, Bamford's second section is subtle, tedious, and problematic, though not without its share of interesting details and info; in it Bamford recounts the history of the intelligence agencies from "fall" (so actually enigmatical) of communism and Soviet Union and the supposed emergence of that fearsome terrorist "al qaeda," etc. Bamford begins with stories on Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the World Trade Center (WTC) 1993 bombing, and others like Khalid Shaikh, reputed 9-11 mastermind. Bamford wants to ignore the agenda, for example, of the conspiratorial Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Trilateralists for the onset of United Nations (UN) rulership; thus he asserts Pres. Bush, the first, didn't sufficiently anticipate the "al qaeda" terrorists. On page 187 Bamford says "danger" of Bin Laden, founder of "al qaeda," was "clear for everyone to see." Then on p. 208 is iterated, "The realization that bin Laden had declared war on the [US] became obvious to everyone...." But in his desperation, Bamford overreaches on p. 161 most revealingly when he falsely alleges "American Taliban," John Walker Lindh, was member of "al Qaeda" -- verified by Richard D. Mahoney in Getting Away With Murder, pp 161-2, and 215 -- Lindh never heard of "al qaeda" till after 9-11. Bamford criticizes the intelligence agencies, likewise as Bush I, as not sufficiently informed and alerted, and he admits there was no "usable intelligence," yet continues to insist upon the reality and existence of such "al qaeda" myth -- this is the real agenda repeatedly and not subtly pushed by the author.
In describing the amazing non-detection of the "al qaeda" plot, Bamford relates how easily the various supposed operatives entered and re-entered the US, yet telling, not a word is spoken about this ease by which enemies in their hordes are allowed to immigrate and invade the borders of the U.S.
The third and concluding section covers the Iraq war frauds: Bamford begins with the alleged plot to assassinate Bush I in 1993 by Iraq. Next and most significantly Bamford exposits in extensive detail the "neo-conservative" ("neo-con")-Israeli conspiracy to push false information regarding the threat represented by Iraq; he covers the rise of Richard Perle who began as an aide to Senator Henry Jackson. Thus due to Jackson's (and Perle's) political influence, military credits to Israel rose from a mere $30 million in 1970 to $2.2 billion in 1974. We learn about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, neo-con Jew Paul Wolfowitz, and their Iraqi agent, Ahmed Chalabi, proposed figurehead for Iraqi leadership who supplied propaganda and disinformation to be pushed through the neo-con media like the New York Times. Rumsfeld and the Pentagon actually control about 85% of the government intelligence establishment through such agencies as National Reconnaissance Office (spy satellite management). Chalabi received disturbingly much funding from American taxpayers. Bamford describes in some detail the frauds regarding specific documents purporting to prove Iraqi attempts to acquire nuclear weapons, this in the midst of his usual tidbits and gossipy anecdotes displaying his mastery of intelligence agency lore. Agency workers, Bamford reports, for example, resented Bush administration efforts to coerce false and concocted information from the agency. Pentagon neo-cons like Douglas Feith, another Jew, concocted disinfo on top of everything else to add to the already deliberately created confusion.
The last chapter covers the episode of Secretary of State Powell going to the UN and deliberately telling what he knew were lies to justify the upcoming Iraq war done-deal. Powell's speech was carefully scripted by agents of the Vice President Cheney. Even after Powell threw out lies he knew were too blatant, Cheney's henchmen would stick them back in, leading to a comical scene well described by Bamford, "[i]t was all a cartoon." Bamford ends noting the complicit media and supposedly complacent citizenry, quoting "polls" (which are likely more lies of the mass-media, truth be told) which indicated the citizens actually going along with what they had to know were gross lies: 66% believing Hussein/Iraq was involved in 9-11, 79% believing Hussein/Iraq had nuclear weapons, etc.
Finally Bamford concludes denouncing the deliberate lies of the Bush administration aided by the press -- he doesn't, unfortunately for the truth, call it conspiracy. And Bamford notes the conflict-of-interest of those now working in the Bush administration, like the Jews and neo-cons, who originally devised and planned the war for another country, Israel, so well detailed in his work. "Never before," Bamford writes, "has the [US] launched a preemptive war. And only once . . . have so few manipulated so many at such great price [Vietnam]. . . . We were all wrong."
In sum, the book is outstanding, especially the first section, the third quite good also. Even the second section isn't too bad, though tedious, rambling, and disjointed. Overall, we see the agenda: push "al qaeda," even at expense of Bush and Israel, the implicit "good cop" being the UN. A Pretext... is thus another work in same spirit of Richard A. Clarke's, Against All Enemies, meant to justify the bogus and contrived "terror threat," upholding and covering for the UN conspiracy.
One would think the attempt to glorify and cover for the UN oligarchs will surely fail -- it's just too dangerous to forsake the Judaic masters and co-conspirators. The only remaining likely conclusion would seem to be such as Bamford is setting the stage for further terror to be blamed on and attributed to such as "al qaeda," given its pretended existence and legitimacy in the minds of so many fools, suckers, and willing dupes as Bamford cites at the end of his work.
Thus Bamford informs us directly and indirectly as to what happened and may well happen in the future. One constructive thing we can surely do is to impeach Bush as soon and emphatically as possible.