The Jaded Prole

A Progressive Worker's Perspective on the political and cultural events of our time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

El Baradei: Bush Administration are War Criminals

Though our present administration refuses to investigate or press charges against Cheney, Bush, Addington, Rumsfeld or others for crimes against humanity, war crimes or crimes against the state (lying to Congress . . . ) it seems Mohamed El Baradei is using his respected, knowledgeable and influential voice to do so. It is a step toward international condemnation and charges being brought. Hopefully the World Court in the Hague will charge and subpoena Bush and others for their crimes. The precedent must be set that premeditated mass murder is not an option for our elected leaders and that U.S. exceptionalism is not recognized or legitimate. That the U.S. is also bound by international law.

(AP)NEW YORK — Former chief U.N. nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei suggests in a new memoir that Bush administration officials should face international criminal investigation for the "shame of a needless war" in Iraq.

Freer to speak now than he was as an international civil servant, the Nobel-winning Egyptian accuses U.S. leaders of "grotesque distortion" in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion. Then-President George W. Bush and his lieutenants said Iraq possessed doomsday weapons despite contrary evidence collected by ElBaradei's and other arms inspectors inside the country.

The Iraq war taught him that "deliberate deception was not limited to small countries ruled by ruthless dictators," ElBaradei writes in "The Age of Deception," being published Tuesday by Henry Holt and Co.

The 68-year-old legal scholar, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1997 to 2009, and recently a rallying figure in Egypt's revolution, concludes his 321-page account of two decades of "tedious, wrenching" nuclear diplomacy with a plea for more of it, particularly in the efforts to rein in North Korean and Iranian nuclear ambitions.

"All parties must come to the negotiating table," writes ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the IAEA in 2005. He chides Washington for reluctant or hardline approaches to negotiations with Tehran and Pyong yang.

He is harshest in addressing the Bush administration's 2002-03 drive for war with Iraq, when ElBaradei and Hans Blix led teams of U.N. inspectors looking for signs that Saddam Hussein's government had revived nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programs.

He tells of an October 2002 meeting he and Blix had with Secretary of State Colin Powell, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and others, at which the Americans sought to convert the U.N. mission into a "cover for what would be, in essence, a United States-directed inspection process."

The U.N. officials resisted, and their teams went on to conduct about 700 inspections of scores of potential weapons sites in Iraq, finding no evidence to support the U.S. claims of weapons of mass destruction.

In his own memoir, published in November, Bush still insisted it was right to invade to remove a "homicidal dictator pursuing WMD."

The former president also wrote of a "sickening feeling" when no arms turned up after the invasion, and blamed an "intelligence failure" for the baseless claim, a reference to a 2002 U.S. intelligence assessment contending WMD were being built.

ElBaradei cites examples, including the conclusion by his inspectors inside Iraq that certain aluminum tubes were designed for artillery rockets, not for uranium enrichment equipment to build nuclear bombs, as Washington asserted.

"I was aghast at what I was witnessing," ElBaradei writes of the official U.S. attitude before the March 2003 invasion, which he calls "aggression where there was no imminent threat," a war in which he accepts estimates that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed.

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