Friday, April 11, 2008

Dangerous conspiracy theories

I am behind the 8-ball on this one, and the fault lies with too many books to read and too little time to do it in. I just got to the Richard A. Clarke book, Against All Enemies, published in 2004. Clarke was the chief anti-terrorism expert in the White House under Clinton and George Bush, Jr. He had also worked at more junior levels but in similar work for the Reagan adminstration and George Bush, Sr. He quit his post over the obsession by the Bush administration blaming Iraq for the work of Bin Laden and al Qaeda.

He reveals that Paul Wolfowitz was convinced that Iraq was responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre. Wolfowitz, as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, was instrumental in persuading George Bush and his cabinet that Iraq was the true culprit in 9/11, not just al Qaeda. He was not alone. Richard Perle, another neo-con and the Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee under George Bush, also bought into the Iraq version of events.

But where did this conviction come from? It turns out they were infatuated with a discredited conspiracy theory put out by author Laurie Mylroie. You can read the full tale of her involvement in shaping U.S. foreign policy here.

It is sad to consider how many people have died, Americans and Iraqis, and what a mess the Middle East has become since the invasion of Iraq, and worse, that it may have all been started by a false conspiracy theory.

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