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Relentless Propaganda
- Marketing the Iraq War -

The Ayn Rand Institute sold the invasion of Iraq by insisting that Iraq possessed stockpiles of biological and chemical agents, even a soon to be operational nuclear bomb, and that Saddam would use these against us in the United States. Inspections were useless they said, the danger to America was imminent. They stressed the danger by insinuating that Saddam was behind the 9-11 attacks.

Thus they echoed the Bush administration, even as reputable commentators found each of these claims without foundation or blatantly false.

In advance President Bush said why he was going to invade and how he was going to conduct the occupation.

Here are a few of the dozens of statements ARI put out – in syndicated articles, press releases, suggested letters to newspaper editors, radio interviews – calling for the war against Iraq. They make sad reading today.

The Lessons of War  by Robert Tracinski,  Sept. 24, 2001.
Mr. Tracinski suggests Saddam may possess terrible weapons and that he may have played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks, and continues:

“President Bush has presented the Taliban – and, by implication, other terrorist governments – with a list of demands, which include kicking out terrorists and destroying their training camps. The great danger is that they might comply with those demands – allowing them to stay in power, waiting until our attention wanders again. ...
“We must not present these governments with demands. We must present them with destruction.”

Innocents in War?  by Onkar Ghate,  Jan. 9, 2002.
“If our war on terrorism is to have any chance of success in such places as Iraq, which is more heavily populated and industrialized than Afghanistan, we must recognize that our government’s concern – shared by many Americans – about killing civilians is morally mistaken.”

The War on Terrorism and the War on Reality  by Robert Tracinski,  Feb. 18, 2002.
“If we don’t attack Iraq, we could risk a nuclear attack on New York or Washington by Iraqi-backed terrorists.”

Honoring Virtue  by Andrew Bernstein,  May 22, 2002.
In the context of all ARI’s other calls for invading Iraq, the reader of the following can draw his own conclusion about what Mr. Bernstein wants done in Iraq:
“Douglas MacArthur – another great leader – as military commander of occupied Japan, made it his highest priority to establish the post-war Japanese government and economy on the principle of political/economic freedom.”

Talk vs. Ideas  by Robert Tracinski,  Aug. 14, 2002.
“Here is what the president needs to do to provide the real foundations for a stronger economy:” [Mr. Tracinski gives a list, among which is:]
“Fight the war. Attack Saddam, not CEOs. [Bush’s indecision] makes investors uncertain about the future. Declaring war would reduce this uncertainty and give investors something to look forward to: the prospect of a more stable, Saddam-free Persian Gulf.”

Why We Are Losing the War on Terrorism  – Yaron Brook, interviewed on the Peter Mac radio show,  Sept. 6, 2002.
The interviewer points out that “the United States now seems to be gearing up for an attack against Iraq.”  Mr. Brook replies:
“I think it is important that we go after Iraq.”
Then after saying, “as a side note,” Iran should be “our primary source” – that is, target:
“I think Saddam Hussein backs terrorism, as a tool to get at the United States.”
In fact Saddam Hussein never backed an attack against the United States. Then after saying that “the only way to [“attack the ideology ... of militant Islam”] is to attack the center of that ideology, which is Iran”  Mr. Brook continues:
“But I don’t think the Bush administration is ready to do that [attack Iran], so given that they’re not going to do that, then I think Iraq is a good target. I think that there’s substantial evidence that Saddam is developing weapons of mass destruction.  [Comment: There was no objective evidence.]  I don’t think there’s any question about his willingness to use those kind of weapons against the United States  [Comment: It was extraordinarily questionable.]  and against its allies, particularly Israel.  Uh, so I think we need to take care of that risk before it manifests itself in a direct attack against the United States. ...”
The interviewer suggests different ways of removing Saddam Hussein.  Mr. Brook replies:
“... we need to take him out and how we do it is kind of secondary ... what President Bush should be telling his people is:  Get rid of him, tell me what the best ... way of doing it is, and let’s go ahead and do it.  And if that means a massive invasion then so be it. ...”

The Case for ‘Destabilization’  by Robert Tracinski,  Sept. 10, 2002.
“... President Bush has been telling everyone who asks that he has made no decision on Iraq. Making that kind of decision is the president’s job, and we can only hope that he gets back to it soon – and makes the case to Congress for the invasion of Iraq.”

What Have We Lost?  by Robert Tracinski,  Sept. 11, 2002.
Mr. Tracinski begins by saying that we must not dwell overlong on the suffering of those who died last year, because that would discourage us from looking outward to destroy our enemies. He continues, and note his implication that Iraq was behind 9-11:
“It [looking inward, dwelling on our loss] makes us think that the appropriate way to memorialize September 11 is to devote a day to ‘volunteerism’ and ‘national service’ – rather than, say, the carpet-bombing of Iraq.”

The Betrayal of the Bush Doctrine  by Alex Epstein,  Sept. 11, 2002.
Mr. Epstein laments the fact that Bush has not yet invaded Iraq,
“even though he [Bush] acknowledges the grave threat posed by Saddam Hussein, who has chemical and biological weapons and is eagerly developing nuclear weapons. ... [W]hen American lives hang in the balance, patience in disposing of our would-be murderers is an unmitigated vice.”

Why We Must Take Out Iraq  by Christian Beenfeldt,  Sept. 19, 2002.
“The Iraqi regime is one of our most prominent enemies, and must be dealt with before it’s too late.”
After conjuring up images of mushroom clouds and a nationwide epidemic when “Islamic terrorists unleash a virus in the U.S.,” he lists reasons why invading Iraq is urgent. Among them:
“[Saddam Hussein] has become a Godfather of terrorism, enlisting Palestinians as his army of hit men against Israel.”
“If allowed enough time to obtain missiles capable of delivering his chemical munitions at medium range, Hussein will be able to extend his sphere of terror to Israel ... .”
Later he would be able to reach Europe “and would, like Stalin, be able to cause terror on a world scale.” Mr. Beenfeldt concludes:
“Iraq unequivocally must be taken out. The sooner this happens, the better.”

The Failure of Bush’s Diplomacy  ARI Press Release,  Sept. 23, 2002.
“... using inspections as a substitute for war makes diplomatic games inevitable. It changes the issue from the black and white of war vs. peace, to a series of gray areas and debatable details.”

Don’t Blame Our Intelligence Agencies  by Onkar Ghate,  Sept. 26, 2002.
Mr. Ghate refers to “enemy states like ... Iraq” which we should “seek to eliminate.”

Thinking It Alone  by Alex Epstein,  Oct. 8, 2002.
“America is the strongest military power on earth, and has the unquestionable capacity to overwhelm Iraq, or any other nation that threatens us with terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.”
“If our leaders are to fulfill their obligation to defend our country, they must – starting with Iraq – reject the poison of ‘multilateralism’ and replace it with the virtue of independent, rational judgment.”

The Grand Illusion  by Robert Tracinski,  Oct. 23, 2002.
“... we are twiddling our thumbs for weeks while we wait for France and [other allies] to endorse our threats against Iraq.”
“The foreign policy in which an American administration is a self-confident actor, uninhibited by duplicitous allies and willing to take decisive action to eliminate any threat, is an illusion. But it is, at least, a grand illusion – and a vision that our leaders ought to transform into reality.”

The Epistemology of Preemption  by Alex Epstein,  Nov. 2002.
“The future of America’s national security depends on whether President Bush decides to invade Iraq and overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein.” [This would prevent] “a future chemical, biological, or nuclear attack launched by the Iraqi tyrant.”

Wins and Losses  by Robert Tracinski,  Nov. 13, 2002.
“Last Tuesday’s [congressional] election was a spontaneous expression of public support for the War on Terrorism and specifically for war against Iraq.”
One wonders how Mr. Tracinski knew.

War and Morality  by Peter Schwartz,  Dec. 2, 2002.
Regarding Saddam Hussein:
“... there is a danger which necessitates the extreme response of military action. The use of force would be an unambiguous statement that there are no ‘legitimate concerns of Iraq’ to be respected, and that a dictatorial warmonger will not be allowed to remain in power.”
“He has chemical and biological weapons which can readily be delivered to the U.S. He is pursuing a program to acquire nuclear weapons.”

Peace On Earth—And Its Price  by Robert Tracinski,  Dec. 25, 2002.
“To protect the peace we enjoy over the Christmas season will require war in the new year – not the cautious diplomatic sitzkrieg [sitting war] of 2002, but a war with ambitious aims, bold diplomatic risk-taking, and far-reaching military action.”

The Iraq Charade  by Robert Tracinski,  Jan. 22, 2003.
“... the United States has moved enormous quantities of men, ships, tanks, planes and materiel to Iraq’s border.”
Mr. Tracinski then suggests, in a hopeful tone, that Bush’s seeming reluctance to use this force is just a charade to “mark time while the United States prepares its invasion.” But Mr. Tracinski worries over an
“ominous possibility: that the administration is actually sincere about seeking U.N. support and continuing with weapons inspections, that the military buildup is the real charade,” that “the massive buildup is just for show, to provide diplomatic pressure to encourage Iraqi compliance. [Comment: As if Iraq had not already complied.] I hope not. Bush promised us, in his last State of the Union address, that he would not ‘wait on events while dangers gather.’ ”
Mr. Tracinski chastises Bush for the delay in invading Iraq:
“truth is on his side ... Yet our president does not have the courage to pursue America’s interests honestly.”
and concludes:
“America has nothing to hide and nothing to apologize for. We have no need for charades.”

America Needs a Leader Like George Washington  by John Ridpath,  Feb. 11, 2003.
Speaking of George Washington and his “vision and moral certainty, backed up by action”:
“The spectacle of his integrity can give us courage as we confront the tyrants who once again threaten our freedom and our lives.”

They Hate Us, Too  by Peter Schwartz,  Mar. 17, 2003.
“The hostility of the ‘anti-war’ protestors is not toward war, nor even toward war with Iraq—but toward America and its philosophy of individualism.”
Translation:  Anyone who opposes the Iraq war is hostile toward America and individualism.
“The ‘anti-war’ rallies [against invading Iraq] are generated not by any love for Iraq, [that anyone might oppose the invasion out of love for America never occurs to Mr. Schwartz] but by a hatred for America ... .”

Let’s Roll  by Scott A. McConnell,  Mar. 20, 2003 (the day the invasion began).
As you read keep in mind that this is about a war led by President Bush. The ellipsis near the end is in the original:
“America has the moral right to invade Iraq for any of the following reasons: Iraq broke its cease-fire agreement by threatening to attack America [Comment: This simply is not true.]; it didn’t get rid of its weapons of mass destruction; [Comment: The best evidence at the time indicated it had none to get rid of.] it repeatedly shot at our planes in the no-fly zones [Mr. McConnell neglects to say that the planes were bombing the Iraqis.]. Because America is a free country [Comment: more and getting less] and has been threatened and attacked [In fact Iraq never attacked America or threatened to do so.], it has the right to use full force in self-defense. Right is on our side, so ... ‘let’s roll !’ ”

ARI broadcast this humbug relentlessly for eighteen months running.  They got what they wanted.