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Propaganda, failed intelligence and WMD

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1 Propaganda, failed intelligence and WMD
The Iraq War Propaganda, failed intelligence and WMD

2 The Iraq War Key themes Key administration officials launch media blitz to showcase reasons for war. Media “buy in”. Large scale public support. Erroneous intelligence. “Rush” to war. WMD. Insurgency and “Al Qaida in Iraq”.

3 Late 2002 Bush Administration officials came out as a group and began to say that Iraq had links to Al Qaida and that they were planning “imminent” attacks on U.S. cities, planning to use WMD.

4 WHY IRAQ? CIA, NSA, and other agencies had very limited and tenuous leads about terrorist links with Iraq. Key officials with their own agendas wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to go after Saddam Hussein. The media did no “fact checking” of any administration claims. In an atmosphere of fear and tension, American public went along with it…

5 Cast of Characters Condoleezza Rice
National Security Advisor. Influential media spokesperson in justifying war with Iraq. First African American woman to become Sec. of State (later). Her calm demeanor and expertise carried great weight with the media.

6 Cast of Characters Dick Cheney Powerful V.P. Used his connections and power to influence intelligence gathering and analysis. Main force behind the “link” between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein. Later totally discredited. Suspected by many to be the real power behind the Presidency during Iraq War.

7 Cast of Characters Don Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense “Hawkish” in his portrayal of Iraq as threat to U.S. Philosophy was to use minimum force necessary to achieve aims: “Rumsfeld Doctrine”

8 Cast of Characters First African American Secretary of Defense. Reluctant salesman for the War in Iraq. Used as the mouthpiece for the administration. Later resigned from public office out of embarrassment.

9 Cast of Characters Brutal dictator of Iraq.
Saddam Hussein Brutal dictator of Iraq. Long record of human rights violations and genocide. Claimed not to have WMD at the time of Iraq War.

10 Administration’s Main Argument
Bush and colleagues argued that they had irrefutable evidence that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden had made a military alliance bent on hitting the U.S. with a mass attack. They claimed that an attack was imminent, and that the only option was the military invasion of Iraq to seek out and destroy these weapons…

11 What are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
Nuclear Weapons

12 What are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
Chemical Weapons Burn the skin, cause irritation of the lungs and mucous membranes.

13 What are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
Biological Agents Bacteria and viruses released into the environment to kill people. Anthrax, plague, smallpox, influenza, botulinus (that’s botox folks…)

14 FACTS In the early 1990’s Saddam Hussein DID have a stockpile of dangerous gas weapons and some biological agents. He used them on his own people following the Gulf War of 1991.


16 Facts By 2003, Saddam Hussein’s WMD program had been shut down by United Nations weapons inspectors. However, Hussein complicated the issue by refusing to cooperate with the U.N., which made it look like he was hiding something. What were the consequences of Saddam’s “games”? Why would he taunt the U.S. like this?

17 Mobilization Over the winter of 2002, the United States began to establish a large scale military invasion force in Kuwait. Still Hussein refused to cooperate…

18 Early 2003 March 17th. President Bush goes on television to give Saddam Hussein a 48 hour deadline: hand over the WMD or face destruction… No response came from Iraq… other than “We have no WMD…”

19 Shock and Awe

20 Shock and Awe

21 Shock and Awe

22 Invasion!!!


24 Fierce Fighting The Iraqi Army put up more resistance than in 1991.
There was heavy fighting in several major centers: Fallujah, Nasiriyah, Mosul, Kirkuk U.S. Forces entered Baghdad and went block by block, building by building to destroy Iraqi forces…

25 Attrition… Eventually the Iraqi army was ground down into nothing.
Many surrendered, the rest of the army just melted away… Once the Baghdad airport was secured, the main invasion was complete.

26 Now What? Saddam Hussein vanished and went into hiding.
The Iraqi army all but ceased to exist. The civilian population went on a rampage of looting and violence. What was the U.S. to do amid all the chaos?


28 State of Nature The Iraqi police, and other security agencies dissolved leaving a power vacuum. U.S. soldiers were ordered to stay out of the way, allowing the Iraqis to pillage and loot across the country.

29 Factions emerge Factions that had all been subdued by Saddam Hussein, were now free to renew old hostilities. Atrocities against Saddam loyalists became the norm, with violence, kidnappings and murder becoming an hourly occurrence. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army waited and wondered what was going to happen…

30 Insurgency After a few weeks anti-U.S. sentiment began to grow.
Foreign fighters, including Al Qaida, began to sneak across the open borders in the desert from Syria. Soon, they began to launch devastating attacks on U.S. forces garrisoned across Iraq. Within a few months, the U.S. Army was fighting for its life against a full blown insurgency.

31 Civilian casualties Civilian casualties grew horrifically…

32 U.S. Casualties By 2005/6 the U.S. was losing about 200 people per month to suicide attacks and bombings, as well as firefights with insurgents and others. The number of people injured was even higher. The Bush administration banned these pictures from being released.

33 Meanwhile Where were the WMD?
Army searched all over the country in every factory and bombed out warehouse… Nothing was ever found except old, discarded weapons from years ago.

34 Politics of War The President became increasingly unpopular as a result of the carnage. There were many changes in strategy. Don Rumsfeld was fired. The Republican Party lost the 2006 Mid-Term Elections…

35 Meanwhile We captured Saddam.
He was hiding in a tiny bunker. He had been on the run for eight months.

36 He was later executed by the Iraqi people for his crimes against the people…
The trial had been a farce, and the execution was a mob scene.

37 Surge The President’s newest strategy was a surge of forces designed to smash resistance once and for all. After initial intense fighting, the surge worked… And the fighting subsided to almost nothing by 2008

38 Bush’s waning power By 2008, President Bush approval ratings were as low as Nixon’s had been on his resignation. Bush, now broken and powerless, watched as a new political reality emerged: anti-war candidate, Barack Obama stepped into the limelight… Barack Obama’s positive campaign and Anti-War message sharply contrasted Bush’s tired and broken adminsitration.

39 Iraq Today Pres. Obama ordered the withdrawal of most combat forces in the summer of 2010. However, most of these were redeployed into Afghanistan. A democratically elected government is in power in Iraq, but still needs limited support from the U.S. It is reasonable to assume that we will have troops on the ground there for years to come.

40 Iraq War Statistics: Body Count
U.S. Killed – 4,404 U.S. wounded – 31,827 Iraqi Security Forces – 9,010 Civilian deaths- 100, ,000 (no hard figures) Media -181 Enemy Combatants – 25,278

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