MEMORANDUM FOR: Americans Malnourished on the Truth About Iraq
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: A New “Miller’s Tale” (with apologies to Geoffrey Chaucer)
On April 3, former New York Times journalist Judith Miller published an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Iraq War and Stubborn Myths: Officials Didn’t Lie, and I Wasn’t Fed a Line.” If this sounds a bit defensive, Miller has tons to be defensive about.
In the article, Miller claims, “false narratives [about what she did as a New York Times reporter] deserve, at last, to be retired.” The article appears to be the initial salvo in a major attempt at self-rehabilitation and, coincidentally, comes just as her new book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey, is to be published today.
In reviewing Miller’s book, her “mainstream media” friends are not likely to mention the stunning conclusion reached recently by the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other respected groups that the Iraq War, for which she was lead drum majorette, killed one million people. One might think that, in such circumstances – and with bedlam reigning in Iraq and the wider neighborhood – a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, so to speak, might prompt Miller to keep her head down for a while more.
In all candor, after more than a dozen years, we are tired of exposing the lies spread by Judith Miller and had thought we were finished. We have not seen her new book, but we cannot in good conscience leave her WSJ article without comment from those of us who have closely followed U.S. policy and actions in Iraq.
Miller’s Revisionist History
Miller’s Tale in the WSJ begins with a vintage Miller-style reductio ad absurdum: “I took America to war in Iraq. It was all me.” Since one of us, former UN inspector Scott Ritter, has historical experience and technical expertise that just won’t quit, we asked him to draft a few paragraphs keyed to Miller’s latest tale. He shared the following critique:
“Judith Miller did not take America to war in Iraq. Even a journalist with an ego the size of Ms. Miller’s cannot presume to usurp the war power authorities of the President of the United States, or even the now-dormant Constitutional prerogatives of Congress. What she is guilty of, however, is being a bad journalist.
“She can try to hide this fact by wrapping herself in a collective Pulitzer Prize, or citing past achievements like authoring best-selling books. But this is like former Secretary of State Colin Powell trying to remind people about his past as the National Security Advisor for President Reagan or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
“At the end of the day Mr. Powell will be judged not on his previous achievements, but rather on his biggest failure – his appearance before the United Nations Security Council touting an illusory Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction threat as being worthy of war. In this same vein, Judith Miller will be judged by her authoring stories for the ‘newspaper of record’ that were questionably sourced and very often misleading. One needs only to examine Ms. Miller’s role while embedded in U.S. Army Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, hunting for weapons of mass destruction during the 2003 invasion, for this point to be illustrated.
“Miller may not have singlehandedly taken America and the world to war, but she certainly played a pivotal role in building the public case for the attack on Iraq based upon shoddy reporting that even her editor at the New York Times has since discredited – including over reliance on a single-source of easy virtue and questionable credibility – Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. The fact that she chose to keep this ‘source’ anonymous underscores the journalistic malfeasance at play in her reporting.
“Chalabi had been discredited by the State Department and CIA as a reliable source of information on Iraq long before Judith Miller started using him to underpin her front-page ‘scoops’ for the New York Times. She knew this, and yet chose to use him nonetheless, knowing that then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was fully as eager to don the swindlers’ magic suit of clothes, as was the king in Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale. In Ms. Miller’s tale, the fairy-tale clothes came with a WMD label and no washing instructions.
“Ms. Miller’s self-described ‘newsworthy claims’ of pre-war weapons of mass destruction stories often were – as we now know (and many of us knew at the time) – handouts from the hawks in the Bush administration and fundamentally wrong.
“Like her early reporting on Iraq, Ms. Miller’s re-working of history to disguise her malfeasance/misfeasance as a reporter does not bear close scrutiny. Her errors of integrity are hers and hers alone, and will forever mar her reputation as a journalist, no matter how hard she tries to spin the facts and revise a history that is highly inconvenient to her. Of course, worst of all, her flaws were consequential – almost 4,500 U.S. troops and 1,000,000 Iraqis dead.”
Relying on the Mistakes of Others
In her WSJ article, Miller protests that “relying on the mistakes of others and errors of judgment are not the same as lying.” It is almost as though she is saying that if Ahmed Chalabi told her that, in Iraq, the sun rises in the west, and she duly reported it, that would not be “the same as lying.”
Miller appears to have worked out some kind of an accommodation with George W. Bush and others who planned and conducted what the post-World War II Nuremburg Tribunal called the “supreme international crime,” a war of aggression. She takes strong issue with what she calls “the enduring, pernicious accusation that the Bush administration fabricated WMD intelligence to take the country to war.”
Does she not know, even now, that there is abundant proof that this is exactly what took place? Has she not read the Downing Street Memorandum based on what CIA Director George Tenet told the head of British Intelligence at CIA headquarters on July 20, 2002; i. e., that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” of making war for “regime change” in Iraq?
Does she not know, even at this late date, that the “intelligence” served up to “justify” attacking Iraq was NOT “mistaken,” but outright fraud, in which Bush had the full cooperation of Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin? Is she unaware that the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence at the time, Carl Ford, has said, on the record, that Tenet and McLaughlin were “not just wrong, they lied … they should have been shot” for their lies about WMD?
Miller’s tale about Hans Blix in her WSJ article shows she has lost none of her edge for disingenuousness: “One could argue … that Hans Blix, the former chief of the international inspectors, bears some responsibility,” writes Miller. She cherry-picks what Blix said in January 2003 about “many proscribed weapons and items,” including 1,000 tons of chemical agent, were still “not accounted for.”
Yes, Blix said that on Jan. 27, 2003. But Blix also included this that same day in his written report to his UN superiors, something the New York Times, for some reason, did not include in its report:
“Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt. We have further had great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul. Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good. The environment has been workable.
“Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas day and New Years day. These inspections have been conducted in the same manner as all other inspections.” [See “Steve M.” writing (appropriately) for Crooks and Liars as he corrected the record.]
Yes, there was some resistance by Iraq up to that point. Blix said so. However, on Jan. 30, 2003, Blix made it abundantly clear, in an interview published in The New York Times, that nothing he’d seen at the time justified war. (The byline was Judith Miller and Julia Preston.)
The Miller-Preston report said:
“Mr. Blix said he continued to endorse disarmament through peaceful means. ‘I think it would be terrible if this comes to an end by armed force, and I wish for this process of disarmament through the peaceful avenue of inspections,’ he said. …
“Mr. Blix took issue with what he said were Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s claims that the inspectors had found that Iraqi officials were hiding and moving illicit materials within and outside of Iraq to prevent their discovery. He said that the inspectors had reported no such incidents. …
“He further disputed the Bush administration’s allegations that his inspection agency might have been penetrated by Iraqi agents, and that sensitive information might have been leaked to Baghdad, compromising the inspections. Finally, he said, he had seen no persuasive indications of Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda, which Mr. Bush also mentioned in his speech. ‘There are other states where there appear to be stronger links,’ such as Afghanistan, Mr. Blix said, noting that he had no intelligence reports on this issue.”
Although she co-authored that New York Times report of Jan. 30, 2003, Judith Miller remembers what seems convenient to remember. Her acumen at cherry picking may be an occupational hazard occasioned by spending too much time with Chalabi, Rumsfeld and other professional Pentagon pickers.
Moreover, Blix’s February 2003 report showed that, for the most part, Iraq was cooperating and the process was working well:
“Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming. …
“The inspections have taken place throughout Iraq at industrial sites, ammunition depots, research centres, universities, presidential sites, mobile laboratories, private houses, missile production facilities, military camps and agricultural sites. …
“In my 27 January update to the Council, I said that it seemed from our experience that Iraq had decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, most importantly prompt access to all sites and assistance to UNMOVIC in the establishment of the necessary infrastructure. This impression remains, and we note that access to sites has so far been without problems, including those that had never been declared or inspected, as well as to Presidential sites and private residences. …
“The presentation of intelligence information by the US Secretary of State suggested that Iraq had prepared for inspections by cleaning up sites and removing evidence of proscribed weapons programmes.
“I would like to comment only on one case, which we are familiar with, namely, the trucks identified by analysts as being for chemical decontamination at a munitions depot. This was a declared site, and it was certainly one of the sites Iraq would have expected us to inspect.
“We have noted that the two satellite images of the site were taken several weeks apart. The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of imminent inspection.”
Blix made it clear that he needed more time, but the Bush administration had other plans. In other words, the war wasn’t Blix’s fault, as Judy Miller suggests. The fault lay elsewhere.
When Blix retired at the end of June 2004, he politely suggested to the “prestigious” Council on Foreign Relations in New York the possibility that Baghdad had actually destroyed its weapons of mass destruction after the first Gulf War in 1991 (as Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, who had been in charge of the WMD and rocket programs assured his debriefers when he defected in 1995). Blix then allowed himself an undiplomatic jibe:
“It is sort of fascinating that you can have 100 per cent certainty about weapons of mass destruction and zero certainty of about where they are.”
For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
William Binney, former Technical Director, National Security Agency (ret.)
Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA
Daniel Ellsberg, former State and Defense Department official, associate VIPS
Frank Grevil, former Maj., Army Intelligence, Denmark, associate VIPS
Katharine Gun, former analyst, GCHQ (the NSA equivalent in the UK), associate VIPS
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan, associate VIPS
Brady Kiesling, former Political Counseler, U.S. Embassy, Athens, resigned in protest before the attack on Iraq, associate VIPS.
Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003.
Annie Machon, former officer, MI5 (the CIA equivalent in the UK), associate VIPS
David MacMichael, former Capt., USMC & senior analyst, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, former Capt., Army Infantry/Intelligence & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Todd E. Pierce, Maj., former U.S. Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
Scott Ritter, former Maj., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq
Coleen Rowley, Division Council & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
Greg Thielmann, former Office Director for Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Peter Van Buren, former diplomat, Department of State, associate VIPS
Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.) & US diplomat (resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq)
US Secretary of State John Kerry has reminded American officials that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is against a nuclear deal with Iran, was also in the US in 2002 to push for the invasion of Iraq.
Netanyahu is set to use his next week’s address to a joint session of Congress to condemn a potential nuclear agreement with Iran.
During a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Wednesday, Kerry warned Congress about the controversial speech.
“The prime minister, as you will recall, was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush, and we all know what happened with that decision,” Kerry said.
The top US diplomat was referring to testimony on the Middle East that Netanyahu delivered to Congress on Sept. 12, 2002.
During his speech, Netanyahu expressed strong support for Washington to oust former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Six months later, the US military bombarded the country.
“I think the choice of Iraq is a good choice, it’s the right choice,” Netanyahu said in 2002. “If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”
Kerry also said on Wednesday that Netanyahu was wrong about Iran too because he had been “extremely outspoken about how bad the interim agreement was, calling it the ‘deal of the century for Iran.’”
The March 3 speech by Netanyahu has made the Obama administration furious as it comes ahead of crucial nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany that are working hard to reach a comprehensive nuclear accord.
Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the speech has “injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.”
Netanyahu, who is trying to put pressure on US officials to stop a final deal, once again defended his trip to Washington on Tuesday, saying he would do everything to prevent the agreement.
“It is my obligation as prime minister to do everything that I can to prevent this agreement. Therefore, I will go to Washington… because the American Congress is likely to be the final brake before the agreement,” he said.
President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and John Kerry would not meet with the Israeli leader during his trip.
A number of Democrats announced that they would skip the speech.
Reprieve | February 12, 2015
Lawyers for the British Government will today argue in the Court of Appeal that a case concerning the 2004 kidnap, torture and ‘rendition’ of a man by UK and US forces should not be heard.
The case is being brought by legal charity Reprieve and solicitors Leigh Day on behalf of Yunus Rahmatullah (32), who was captured in Iraq by the UK, tortured and held in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, before being ‘rendered’ to Afghanistan by the US. He then faced a decade of detention without charge or trial in Bagram prison, before being released in 2014.
Today, Mr Rahmatullah’s lawyers are appealing a previous decision by the High Court that the Government could rely on the ‘Crown Act of State’ doctrine, which the Government argues prevents the court from intervening in executive acts abroad, even if they were unlawful. If the High Court’s judgment is allowed to stand, the ability to hold the state accountable for serious abuses abroad will be limited.
Commenting, Kat Craig, legal director at Reprieve and Mr Rahmatullah’s lawyer, said: “If Yunus’ ordeal had taken place on British soil, there is no question that the Government would have faced serious consequences. Instead of accepting responsibility for Yunus’ appalling mistreatment, the Government is now seeking to put itself above the law. It has to be hoped that the Court of Appeal rejects this shameful attempt to frustrate justice.”
Extreme right-wing Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (C) holding the Torah stolen from Iraq on January 22, 2015
Recently, Israel stole one of the symbols of Iraqi Jewish heritage, a rare ancient copy of the Torah. The incident went smoothly and quietly, with blatant collusion between Israel, the United States, the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, and the Jordanian authorities, amid suspicious silence from the Iraqi federal authorities and the Iraqi cultural scene, save for a few objections.
The Torah manuscript in question, known as the Iraqi Old Testament Scroll, was written using concentrated pomegranate juice on deer-skin parchments. The manuscript was seized by US forces, among other Iraqi antiquities, which survived the systematic destruction by the illegal Anglo-American invasion and occupation.At the time, it was said that many Iraqi archaeological treasures and large amounts of documents from the Iraqi state’s secret archives were transferred to Israel, ostensibly for restoration and preservation. In truth, however, this was the deliberate looting of Iraqi heritage.
At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israeli authorities publicly displayed that major Iraqi artifact, thus admitting that they had pirated part of Iraq’s heritage. The Israeli Foreign Minister explicitly admitted that the manuscript had been obtained from Kurdistan via Baghdad and Amman, and that it is now being used in daily prayer in the Foreign Ministry synagogue.
According to The Times of Israel, “After it was repaired and prepared for ritual use by a Jerusalem-based scribe, the scroll was placed in a case from Aleppo, Syria and brought over to the ministry.” Avigdor Lieberman, the extremist foreign minister of Israel, did not let the occasion go without repeating old Zionist cliches, saying that “the scroll’s journey from Kurdistan to Baghdad to Amman to Jerusalem was reminiscent of the destiny of the Jewish nation.”
Some like Iraqi writer Akil al-Azraki, one of the rare voices who commented on the affair, believe that the Israeli announcement exposed the lies of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government had claimed the manuscript was sent along with other Iraqi artifacts to the United States for restoration.
Azraqi, citing information revealed by The Times of Israel, said, “The claim about the Torah scroll having been sent to the United States for restoration is a lie. The scroll was revealed not to have travelled to the United States, but to the Israeli embassy in Amman from that time until 2011. After the attack by Egyptian protesters on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, the manuscript was sent to Israel.”
After the Israelis celebrated their successful piracy, official Iraqi authorities were oddly silent. There was no immediate response to the reports, even in the Iraqi media and cultural scene, save for a few voices.
Recall here that the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities in Iraq Adel Shershab had said on January 19, 2015, “The Jewish archive should have been returned to Iraq since 2005, after it was removed on the grounds of restoring it,” stressing that this was part of Iraqi heritage and that his government would continue efforts to retrieve it.
However, the minister did not say anything in response to the Israeli theft. In turn, the Iraqi Ministry of Culture fell completely silent following the incident, although it had announced on May 13, 2010, that an agreement was conducted between Iraq and the United States, whereby the Iraqi Jewish archive and millions of documents that the US army removed from Baghdad following the US-led invasion in 2003 would be returned to Iraq. These include the archive of the dissolved Baath Party and many Iraqi historical artifacts.
A few days after the report on the Israeli theft, the media published remarks by a member of the Culture Committee in the Iraqi parliament calling on the Iraqi Foreign Ministry to issue a complaint to Washington over the matter.
The news agency that first published the remarks, which is owned by Fakhri Karim, a businessman and senior adviser to former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, tried to promote another account of what happened.
The news agency said the way the manuscript reached Israel was a “mystery,” describing what happened as “the loss of parts of the manuscript,” even though the Israeli foreign ministry had said in its ceremony that the scroll had come from Baghdad via Kurdistan, Jordan, and then Tel Aviv. Fakhri Karim, however, is known for his pro-Israel attitudes. Karim visited the headquarters of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC in Washington, as reported by renowned Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef, in a story Al-Akhbar reported in August 2013 (in Arabic).
On the day Al-Mada reported the story, one of its most famous staff writers, Sarmad al-Tai, wrote a strongly-worded criticism of those who protested the theft of the Iraqi Torah scroll, accusing them of folly. He suggested that the Jews who were expelled by the Iraqis from their country in various ways had only retrieved their Torah.
Tai’s article is often quoted by the Israeli media, though some Iraqi Jews who live in Israel and beyond dispute such analysis. Refer, for example, to what Sasson Somekh wrote in his books, and novels by Jewish Iraqi writer Samir Naqqash, who wrote all his novels in Arabic and refused to write anything in Hebrew, considering himself an Iraqi until the last day of his cruel life in Israel. The article received strong responses, though they were few in number, on social media.
The article’s absurd and sinister logic is meant to exonerate the occupation and its allies in the Iraqi federal government, the KRG, and Israel, for the crime of stealing important Iraqi artifacts, produced in Iraq hundreds of years before the creation of the Zionist entity.
Extrapolated further, the same skewed skewed logic can be used to justify an artificial entity, built on injustice, aggression, and warmongering, which has killed, maimed, and displaced people by the millions amid global silence.
The official Iraqi position was not stated publicly until days after the incident. The Iraqi minister of tourism released a statement calling on Washington to return the manuscript to Iraq, and said what happened was unlawful confiscation of a part of Iraqi heritage.
However, the minister repeated previous claims purporting the manuscript had been in Washington. These claims were invalidated by remarks made by Israeli Labor MP Mordechai Ben-Porat, who has Iraqi Jewish ancestry. Ben-Porat said that it was Iraqi government officials who gifted Israel a number of precious historical manuscripts.
Ben-Porat’s account cannot be completely dismissed. It is indeed possible that insiders colluded with this theft and piracy. Recall that Lieberman said that the manuscript was moved from Baghdad to Kurdistan, Jordan, then Tel Aviv.
The theft of Iraqi antiquities is not unprecedented. Many Western powers, led by France, Britain, Germany, and the United States, have its looted artifacts in the last century and before.
Dr Mahmoud al-Saied al-Doghim, Research Associate, Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of London, wrote a paper titled, “One Hundred and Ten Years of US Theft of Iraqi Heritage.” The paper says that entire wings of the Louvre Museum, the Berlin Museum, and the British Museum would have to close down entirely, if they returned all the artifacts stolen from Iraq (and elsewhere).
Doghim estimates the number of stolen artifacts at more than one million. A single US university, the University of Pennsylvania, as he wrote, “Acquired more than 50,000 palettes and other artifacts shedding light on the history of Mesopotamia, and discrediting many of the biblical claims promoted by the Zionists.”
The American occupation forces hit the mother-lode following the invasion of 2003. The US forces seized a large part of the contents of Iraq’s 33 museums.
In effect, the astounding rich history of Iraq and its wealth of ancient historical artifacts is not the subject of dispute. However, it might be very surprising when one examines the numbers.
According to a statement made in March 2003 by former head of Iraqi antiquities Jaber Khalil Ibrahim, archaeologists believe that there are 500,000 archaeological sites in Iraq that remain undiscovered and unstudied, along with ten thousand registered and discovered sites. The sites include at least 25,000 highly important ones.
Only 15 percent of the sites in Iraq have been excavated, most of them located between the Euphrates and the Tigris. This area is considered the cradle of humanity, and from six thousand years ago, it was home to civilizations like the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, all the way to the Abbasids.
The US occupation of Iraq was a disaster for the country’s material heritage.
Despite what some people think, hero is not a synonym for competent government-hired killer.
If Clint Eastwood’s record-breaking movie, American Sniper, launches a frank public conversation about war and heroism, the great director will have performed a badly needed service for the country and the world.
This is neither a movie review nor a review of the late Chris Kyle’s autobiographical book on which the movie is based. My interest is in the popular evaluation of Kyle, America’s most prolific sniper, a title he earned through four tours in Iraq.
Let’s recall some facts, which perhaps Eastwood thought were too obvious to need mention: Kyle was part of an invasion force: Americans went to Iraq. Iraq did not invade America or attack Americans. Dictator Saddam Hussein never even threatened to attack Americans. Contrary to what the George W. Bush administration suggested, Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Before Americans invaded Iraq, al-Qaeda was not there. Nor was it in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.
The only reason Kyle went to Iraq was that Bush/Cheney & Co. launched a war of aggression against the Iraqi people. Wars of aggression, let’s remember, are illegal under international law. Nazis were executed at Nuremberg for waging wars of aggression.
With this perspective, we can ask if Kyle was a hero.
Defenders of Kyle and the Bush foreign policy will say, “Of course, he was a hero. He saved American lives.”
What American lives? The lives of American military personnel who invaded other people’s country, one that was no threat to them or their fellow Americans back home. If an invader kills someone who is trying to resist the invasion, that does not count as heroic self-defense. The invader is the aggressor. The “invadee” is the defender. If anyone’s a hero, it’s the latter.
In his book Kyle wrote he was fighting “savage, despicable evil” — and having “fun” doing it. Why did he think that about the Iraqis? Because Iraqi men — and women; his first kill was a woman — resisted the invasion and occupation he took part in.
That makes no sense. As I’ve established, resisting an invasion and occupation — yes, even when Arabs are resisting Americans — is simply not evil. If America had been invaded by Iraq (one with a powerful military, that is) would Iraqi snipers picking off American resisters be considered heroes by all those people who idolize Kyle? I don’t think so, and I don’t believe Americans would think so either. Rather, American resisters would be the heroes.
Eastwood’s movie also features an Iraqi sniper. Why isn’t he regarded as a hero for resisting an invasion of his homeland, like the Americans in my hypothetical example? (Eastwood should make a movie about the invasion from the Iraqis’ point of view, just as he made a movie about Iwo Jima from the Japanese point of view to go with his earlier movie from the American side.)
No matter how often Kyle and his admirers referred to Iraqis as “the enemy,” the basic facts did not change. They were “the enemy” — that is, they meant to do harm to Americans — only because American forces waged an unprovoked war against them. Kyle, like other Americans, never had to fear that an Iraqi sniper would kill him at home in the United States. He made the Iraqis his enemy by entering their country uninvited, armed with a sniper’s rifle. No Iraqi asked to be killed by Kyle, but it sure looks as though Kyle was asking to be killed by an Iraqi. (Instead, another American vet did the job.)
Of course, Kyle’s admirers would disagree with this analysis. Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News commentator, said, “Chris Kyle was clear as to who the enemy was. They were the ones his government sent him to kill.”
Appalling! Kyle was a hero because he eagerly and expertly killed whomever the government told him to kill? Conservatives, supposed advocates of limited government, sure have an odd notion of heroism.
Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It certainly was not heroism.
There must be something wrong with a nation when it has to constantly invent its heroes. As if to neutralize in the American mind any unfavorable ramifications of the US government’s summary of the CIA torture report and the growing number of suicides among its veterans, we have another war story for national consumption. This time it’s the film “American Sniper” by Clint Eastwood, one of our most acclaimed directors. His “Sniper” is yet another reminder of how noble and fierce American soldiers are, also how “we won”.
Some critics of the film have weighed in on the racist, hate-filled language used by the hero, Chris Kyle: a killer who “saves lives”. Others reveal falsifications in the film treatment of Kyle’s autobiography and raise questions about his private life.
Unfortunately, for most Americans those criticisms really don’t matter. What attracts our public, and there are tens of millions of them, women as well as men, adults as well as children, is that this is a heroic story. And sniper Chris Kyle somehow represents worthy American ideals—patriotism, saving American lives, technical skill.
What most upsets me is that this highly popular film “American Sniper” is not at all unusual in its subject and theme. By chance I found myself on the History Channel last week, viewing another ‘sniper film’— “Sniper: Inside the Crosshairs”. This film, viewed almost 800, 000 times on YouTube, is a documentary. No apologies whatsoever here; soldiers interviewed speak with great pride in the skill with which they kill. The segment I viewed focuses on the high tech nature of sniper training and weaponry. (This “Sniper” is one of dozens available for people seeking such ‘history lessons’.)
These are the latest in a flood of war films and books, among them the award- winning “Hurt Locker”, that entertain, enhance the glamour of war, present a justified and ugly enemy target and leave viewers with the clear idea that ‘America won’. (At best, Iraqis– women and children only please–are presented as people who need US protection.)
Americans are fed a steady diet of war in a multitude of forms. Amazon.com’s algorithmic calculations based on my innocent web searches, sent me an unsolicited list of books. Most are autobiographies by American veterans-turned-literary-celebrities; two were biographies of US soldiers by journalists. If I wanted to learn about Iraq, Amazon advises, I could read these heroic accounts of the patriotism and the conscience of American veterans.
Thirty years ago, a decade after the end of the Viet Nam war, I found myself in an American university seminar where war was under discussion. When a student declared that (some foreign power) “was upset because we won the war”, no one corrected him, neither fellow students nor the presiding professor. I suspect that today, a survey of college-age Americans would likely reveal how they too believe the US won that war; the same may prove true in regards to America’s memory of Iraq.
Apart from historical accuracy, these films are simply damned entertaining. Clint Eastwood is a brilliant director. And you can bet his “American Sniper” is top priority for Carl, our promising military recruit.
Barbara Nimri Aziz is a New York based anthropologist and journalist. Find her work at www.RadioTahrir.org. She was a longtime producer at Pacifica-WBAI Radio in NY.
The film American Sniper has sent the US public into raptures over the “heroic life” of its autobiographical subject Chris Kyle – who has been described as America’s “greatest warrior” soldier.
Last week, the movie premiered in cinemas to rave reviews, earning its director Clint Eastwood a box office smash-hit. Multiple Oscar awards are nominated.
Critics have quibbled about this or that aspect of the cinematography and storyline. But the prevailing impression is that Kyle – a US Marine marksman – was a tragic hero, a guy who honorably served his country during the American war in Iraq.
The film has even been described by some as an “anti-war” movie because it delves into the mental trauma of veterans and the suffering they endure after conflict.
Lost in the discussion is the central issue, which is the criminal nature of American militarism and its destructive impact on millions of innocent people. American Sniper may express certain misgivings about US foreign wars, owing to the psychological consequences on its military personnel. But in indulging “heroes” like Chris Kyle, the insidious effect is to glorify American war-making. This reinforces American narcissism about its “exceptionalism” as a nation that is intrinsically good, superior and which has the prerogative to wage wars wherever it deems necessary for its “national interests” regardless of international law or morality.
Over one million Iraqis were killed during American military occupation of that country from 2003-2011. The fraudulent pretext for that war – Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction – has been amply documented and is irrefutable. That makes US involvement in Iraq an epic crime, a war of aggression, or, to put it plainly, a state-sponsored terrorist cataclysm.
American government leaders and Pentagon commanders, including incumbent President Barack Obama, should be prosecuted for war crimes based on legal standards established at the Nuremberg Trials for the Nazi Reich.
Astoundingly, the power of American propaganda and brainwashing, facilitated by its corporate media, erases any awareness or discussion of this central issue.
Instead, American angst is consumed in sympathy for “our noble veterans” and their trauma suffered “in the line of duty.”
America’s war machine killing own society
Where are the calls for justice over America’s state-sponsored criminality and genocide of the Iraqi people? Where is there even a semblance of remorse or reparation? American politicians continue to swan around the world, sanctimoniously lecturing others as if they were the epitome of virtue.
Legal justice may be absent, but nevertheless there is a very real form of justice for America’s systematic iniquity. The American war machine may appear to trundle on untrammeled by international law, illegally occupying countries, assassinating with aerial drones on a weekly basis, and subverting foreign nations by covert proxy terrorism, as in Syria and Ukraine. But, unequivocally, this war machine is killing its own society, financially, psychologically and morally.
Chris Kyle is eulogized as “America’s deadliest sniper” having killed singlehandedly over 200 people during his four tours of duty in Iraq. It doesn’t matter if most of his victims were “terrorists” or if he was serving in good faith to protect the lives of other American soldiers. The fact is that Kyle was a cog in a criminal war machine that was engaged in destroying a whole nation. For Americans to celebrate him as a “warrior hero” is indicative of the moral corruption that US society has descended into. It shows how much that violence has become endemic in the American psyche.
Kyle was shot dead at a Texas shooting-range in 2013. His alleged killer, Eddie Ray Routh, was also a veteran, said to be suffering from post-traumatic syndrome. Kyle, who declared his own post-conflict trauma after he was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 2009, was working as a counselor for other mentally disturbed US vets. It says something about American social pathology that victims of conflict trauma are treated with “therapy” by letting them fire off assault rifles at shooting-ranges.
Every day, some 20 US military veterans commit suicide, most of them wracked by mental breakdown. That’s over 7,000 deaths every year. Tens of thousands of other veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas American killing fields are reckoned to be silent victims of post-conflict trauma, committing acts of violence and crimes against other citizens, or degenerating into self-destructive lives of alcohol and other drug abuse. Similar numbers of American families are ruined by dysfunctional veterans who can’t readjust into normal society.
The economic cost of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone is put at $6 trillion – or a third of America’s crippling national debt pile.
But a proper accounting reveals a much greater toll when the full social damage of these wars is assimilated. Medical bills, unemployment, crime, personal breakdown, unproductive members of society are just the tip of the iceberg.
In real, but intangible magnitude, American society is sitting on a massive “dirty” time-bomb from its criminal war-mongering. This is the “justice” for US wars of apparent impunity. The violence and destruction that American leaders have unleashed – are unleashing – on countries around the world are coming back to haunt and corrode American society to its core. Killing millions of people remotely in far off villages and deserts is exacting a righteous revenge on American society.
The story of Chris Kyle is not just a story about an ill-fated American sniper. It is a metaphor for America as a whole. Part of this destruction, and what makes it so profoundly terminal, is that the American public is largely oblivious to its own collapse. When mass murder of humans is hailed by popcorn-munching morons as heroic, it is a sure sign that America is doomed. Fatally.
Legitimizing Torture, Lies and Killer Drones
The Screen Actors Guild has nominated Claire Danes of “Homeland” for its Best Actress Award. It has also nominated Danes, Mandy Patinkin and the rest of the “Homeland” cast for the Outstanding Ensemble Award.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated Danes for its Golden Globe Award. Danes did not win, but the nomination was a valuable honor for her, and for “Homeland.”
In addition, “Homeland” will be a strong candidate for Emmy nominations, in several categories (Best Drama, writer, director, etc.) in June.
“Homeland” dramatizes the actions of a fictional Central Intelligence Agency.
The CIA is pleased with the way it is portrayed on “Homeland.” The Agency invited the show’s cast and producers to come on a friendly visit to its headquarters in Virginia. CIA Director John Brennan gave actor Mandy Patinkin (Brennan’s fictional counterpart) a tour of his office. USA Today reported, “Patinkin … was struck by the CIA director’s sincerity. ‘I thought he had a wonderful heart,’ [Patinkin] said.”
Later, CIA officials attended a screening of “Homeland”‘s third season premiere at D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery of Art.
The C.I.A. likes “Homeland.”
“Homeland” likes the C.I.A.
The problem is that the C.I.A. has a long history of incompetence and, what is more disturbing, a long history of criminal activity.
I believe that most creative endeavors in film and television have a moral dimension.
Specifically, I believe there can be a powerful connection between real-world government criminality and the mass entertainment which we, the people, consume.
Well-crafted dramas can promote our tolerance of immoral behavior.
Actors physically embody the moral implications of the story they help to tell. For two years, beginning in 2001, I acted in a CBS series, “The Agency.” It showed glimpses of the darker side of the CIA, but each episode implied that the Agency’s morally questionable actions were necessary to safeguard the American people, and therefore, not immoral. Not evil. Taking money for spreading that lie plagued my conscience.
The greatest shame of my career was a fall 2002 episode which dramatized, convincingly, the proposition that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was actively engaged in the development of nuclear weapons. The Bush Administration was warning Americans that the WMD “smoking-gun” could appear in the form of “a mushroom cloud.” And on “The Agency,” we were confirming Bush’s lies in the minds of viewers in at least 13 million households. Members of Congress were nervously contemplating a resolution giving Bush the power to invade Iraq, and more than 13 million of their constituents were seeing persuasive dramatic “proof” that an invasion was indeed necessary. That hour of television drama was one effective salvo in the larger propaganda war. We all know what followed. I’ll always regret that I didn’t have the courage to quit “The Agency.”
The dismissive cliché, “It’s just a TV show,” just isn’t true.
“Homeland” is more popular and highly esteemed than “The Agency” was. “Homeland” is produced by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. The show is a continuation of the flattering posture which they adopted toward the CIA, as producers of Fox’s “24.” Gordon and Gansa are masterful at playing on the audience’s post-9/11 paranoia. They employ outstanding skills to keep us in suspense, and our fears incline us to tolerate crimes we’d ordinarily find inexcusable.
As the recent Senate Intelligence Committee Report makes clear, one of the C.I.A.’s most atrocious crimes has been the routine torture of detainees. Kiefer Sutherland and the producers of “24” succeeded where Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld struggled: they made torture morally acceptable in Bush’s America. And, thanks to the Senate Report, we now have some idea of how wantonly the C.I.A. exploited that popular tolerance.
In Gordon and Gansa’s new show, Claire Danes follows in Sutherland’s footsteps, as C.I.A. officer Carrie Mathison, and “Homeland” is even more openly friendly to the C.I.A. than “24” was.
“Homeland” makes a hero of Mathison who orders Predator drone attacks from her new post in Pakistan. It shows that she is guilty of the murder of innocents, but, in the end, “Homeland” justifies and condones the real-life CIA practice of murder-by-drone, and its horrific “collateral damage.” Despite her crimes, Danes’s Mathison remains sympathetic and admirable.
Under Barack Obama, the CIA has dramatically expanded its drone-homicide program, the perfect expression of malice and cowardice. Obama has revealed that “Homeland” is one of his favorite television shows.
It’s troubling to me that The Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated Danes for a Golden Globe, and that the Screen Actors Guild, has nominated her and the cast of “Homeland,” including Patinkin, for SAG Actor Awards.
I can only express the hope that SAG and Emmy voters will consider the voice of their consciences, as well as their personal artistic standards, when they cast their ballots. Whatever their final conclusions may be, I hope they will allow the moral dimension to have a place in their own, private evaluations.
I myself would expect to be judged, not only on my performance in a project, but also on the moral values of the film or TV program in which I choose to exercise my skills. I received favorable reviews for my performances on “The Agency,” but the last thing I would have expected was any kind of award for the use of my craft in a deceitful project that condoned grievous crimes, including a catastrophic war of aggression.
The goodness or evil of a fictional character is not the issue. The moral stance of the movie or TV program is what matters. “Homeland”‘s Mandy Patinkin skillfully portrays a sympathetic and upright C.I.A. chief, Saul Berenson, who tries to discourage the misdeeds of his subordinates. Unfortunately, Patinkin’s Good Guy contributes to “Homeland”‘s false portrayal of the CIA as a benevolent, self-correcting institution.
I believe that writers, directors and actors all share responsibility for the world-view and the moral values a film or TV show promotes.
In my opinion, giving members of the “Homeland” cast a Screen Actors Guild Award would be tantamount to rewarding them, and their show, for promoting the C.I.A. and its criminal practices.
I do not advocate censorship. I just don’t think the legitimization of torture, disinformation, drone-killings, and other crimes should be rewarded.
Dave Clennon is a long-time actor and political agitator, probably best known for portraying the advertising mogul Miles Drentell on ABC’s thirtysomething. His more recent projects include: Syriana, Grey’s Anatomy, Prison Break, Weeds, and The Mentalist.
The moral depravity into which the US is sinking is shown by American Sniper glorifying the exploits of a racist killer receiving six Oscar nominations, whereas ‘Selma’ depicting Martin Luther King’s struggle against racism has been largely ignored.
American Sniper is directed by Clint Eastwood, and tells the story of Chris Kyle, a US Navy Seal who served four tours of duty in Iraq as a sniper credited with 160 confirmed “kills”, and earning him the dubious honor of being lauded the most lethal sniper in US military history.
Played by Bradley Cooper, in the movie Kyle is an all-American hero, a Texas cowboy who joins the military out of a sense of patriotism and a yearning for purpose and direction in his life. Throughout the ‘uber-tough’ selection process, Kyle is a bastion of stoicism and determination, willing to bear any amount of pain and hardship for the honor of being able to serve his country as a Navy Seal – America’s equivalent of the Samurai.
The personal struggle he endures as a result of what he experiences and does in Iraq is not motivated by any regrets over the people he kills, including women and children, but on his failure to kill more and thereby save the lives of American soldiers as they go about the business of tearing the country apart, city by city, block by block, and house by house.
If American Sniper wins one Oscar, never mind the six it’s been nominated for, when this annual extravaganza of movie pomp and ceremony unfolds in Hollywood on February 22, it will not only represent an endorsement of US exceptionalism, but worse it will be an insult to the Iraqi people. In the movie they are depicted as a dehumanized mass of savages – occupying the same role as the Indians in John Wayne Western movies of old – responsible for their own suffering and the devastation of their country, which the white man is in the process of civilizing.
Anything resembling balance and perspective is sacrificed in American Sniper to the more pressing needs of US propaganda, which holds that the guys who served in Iraq were the very best of America, men who went through hell in order to protect the freedoms and way of life of their fellow countrymen at home. It is the cult of the soldier writ large, men who in the words of Kyle (Bradley Cooper) in the movie “just want to get the bad guys.”
The ”bad guys” are, as mentioned, the Iraqis. In fact if you had just arrived in the movie theatre from another planet, you would be left in no doubt from the movie’s opening scene that Iraq had invaded and occupied America rather than the other way round.
Unsurprisingly, the real Chris Kyle was not as depicted by Clint Eastwood and played by Bradley Cooper. In his autobiography, upon which the movie is supposedly based, Kyle writes, “I hate the damn savages. I couldn’t give a flying f**k about the Iraqis.”
It is clear that the movie’s director, Clint Eastwood, when faced with the choice between depicting the truth and the myth, decided to go with the myth.
But it should come as no surprise, given that the peddling of such myths is the very currency of Hollywood. Over many decades the US movie industry has proved itself one of the most potent weapons in the armory of US imperialism, helping to project a myth of an America, defined by lofty attributes of courage, freedom, and democracy.
As the myth has it, these values, and with them America itself, are continually under threat from the forces of evil and darkness that lurk outwith and often times within. The mountain of lies told in service to this myth has only been exceeded by the mountain of dead bodies on the basis of it – victims of the carnage and mayhem unleashed around the world by Washington.
Chris Kyle was not the warrior or hero portrayed in American Sniper. He was in fact a racist killer for whom the only good Iraqi was a dead Iraqi. He killed men, women, and children, just as his comrades did during the course of a brutal and barbaric war of aggression waged by the richest country in the world against one of the poorest.
They say that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. In the hands of a movie director with millions of dollars and the backing of a movie studio at its disposal, it is far more dangerous than that. It is a potent weapon deployed against its victims, denying them their right to even be considered victims, exalting in the process, when it comes to Hollywood, those who murder and massacre in the name of America.
With this in mind, it is perhaps fitting that Chris Kyle was shot and killed by a former Marine at a shooting range in Texas in 2013. “Man was born into barbarism,” Martin Luther King said, “when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence.”
24-hours after a report claiming the UK government is the most transparent in the world, the 6-year wait for The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War to be published was extended until after the general election in May this year.
I was present for one of the eyewitness-sessions of the enquiry when former Prime Minister Tony appeared, back in 2010. Whilst he blathered on about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran (which still hasn’t happened, even after decades of neo-con doom-mongering) I wondered how difficult it was to completely wrap yourself in an ideology to protect your being from the glaring mis-truths you have to speak and actions you carry out. It obviously takes a high degree of a certain kind-of-intelligence to do this, no-one doubts that Blair was and is an intelligent man, in this way. However, that intelligence was completely consumed by the Iraq invasion and subsequent set of disasters that have beset that country and region since. He looked like a haunted man that day, let alone today.
It wasn’t JUST Blair though. He was the prime minister at the time and he certainly set the tone and action for the UK joining the US politically and militarily on this mis-adventure. I do doubt that the ever-cautious Gordon Brown (at that time Chancellor of the Exchequer) would have been so hasty to join the lunatics in the Pentagon and Oval Office if he had been prime minister at the time. However, it was Parliament which made the final decision to join the invasion, overwhelmingly, 412-149. (This final vote took place one-day before the invasion began).
Were the Members of Parliament, who voted for the invasion, blinded by the intelligence (or lack of) coming from the UK and US security forces? Were they too busy being whipped in to frenzy by the media (Murdoch) and party whips? Was there a sense of left-over imperial pride in re-entering the scene of previous British conquests in the early 20th century in the then named Mesopotamia? I don’t know. It must have been a tricky time for many, and many still carry the scars of their terrible decision-making today, most notably Tony Blair. It is easy to conclude that it was the faulty (made-up) intelligence that fooled these members of parliament, but even if the intelligence had been 100% correct, that Saddam Hussein had a large WMD programme and was potentially looking to build nuclear weapons, were those reasons, based on old assumptions and half-truths that had been known for decades, reason-enough to commit your armed forces to a hasty assault on a sovereign nation? If so, we in the UK should prepare for invasion as our government pushes ahead in replacing our nuclear “deterrent”.
You will have heard and read a lot about how what is happening in Iraq and the wider-region has nothing to do with the US-UK led invasion. Or will you? Most reports I have seen on the likes of BBC television news offer very little context on how Islamic State (IS) came to exist and how, most importantly, they are accepted or at least tolerated as an alternative by Sunni populations in Syria and Iraq in comparison to their sectarian governments who are seen as waging war on them. In the aftermath of the invasion, the American and British systematically destroyed the Iraqi state as existed under Saddam Hussein’s Baathist and Sunni-led dictatorship and turned the country completely over the previously persecuted Shia majority of the country, without any real thought or concern for the consequences this would have on the citizens of Iraq. If the invasion was illegal under international law (which to this laymen, it clearly was) these actions were tantamount to the prolonged torture of an entire country and its people (not to mention Abu Ghraib).
When The Chilcot Inquiry is eventually published, clearly at a time which best suites those under the microscope and wider establishment and not the British public, who were, it should be remembered, overwhelmingly against the invasion, what will we discover that we do not already know? The invasion was an utter disaster for the people of Iraq, yet not one of the decision-makers has ever felt any justice for this. History books, enquiries and public anger are not enough. Where is the International Criminal Court (ICC) when you need it?
Jonathan Woodrow Martin can be reached at email@example.com
The publication of a long-awaited inquiry into the UK’s participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and its aftermath has once again been postponed until after the country’s general elections later this year.
On Wednesday, British media cited government sources as saying that the inquiry chairman, John Chilcot, will in an exchange of letters with Prime Minister David Cameron later in the day explain the reasons for the new postponement.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg reacted angrily to the news, saying the further delay is “incomprehensible.”
Clegg’s Liberal Democrats also suggested that the inquiry report is being “watered down” after those criticized in the report, such as then Prime Minister Tony Blair, were given the opportunity to respond to the findings.
The judge-led inquiry into how Blair led Britain into war in Iraq was ordered by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 and was expected to publish its findings within 18 months.
The Chilcot report had previously been delayed by rows over its criticism of leading figures in the Blair government. The report had also been delayed due to diplomatic negotiations between the US and the UK about what can be revealed from correspondence between Blair and former US President George W. Bush.
The report is believed to be highly critical of Blair, who is accused of misleading the British public about the reasons for joining the 2003 US-led Iraq war.
The US and Britain invaded Iraq in blatant violation of international law in 2003 over the allegation that the regime of then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). No WMDs, however, were ever found in Iraq.
Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon has called for a united political movement to demand the immediate publication of the Chilcot Inquiry report into the legality of the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Sturgeon has written to other Scottish party leaders, urging them to unite in favor of immediate publication.
The Chilcot Inquiry, which was set up in 2009 and is expected to cost the taxpayer over £10 million, has come under fire in recent months due to delays in its publication.
The disclosure of secret documents, and disagreements over whether private communications between former leaders Tony Blair and George W. Bush should be made public, has disrupted the progress of the inquiry.
There are now fears that unless the report is published immediately, its release could affect the results of the general election in May.
The leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Jim Murphy, and the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, Willie Rennie, have also said they support the earliest possible release of the document.
The House of Commons will debate the release of the findings on January 29.
Last month there was speculation that Tony Blair may face prosecution for war crimes as a result of the report’s findings. Blair said he “resented” claims he was responsible for the delays.
The debate surrounding the release of classified material had presented a large obstacle to the publication of the report, but it was decided in June last year that the “gist” of conversations between Blair and Bush could be published.
Sturgeon said it would be impossible to have a national election without the report’s findings being presented.
“Surely we can’t go through a general election without people having the answers to the questions on the Iraq war that they still don’t have,” she told the BBC.
“That has to happen before some of these MPs that voted for the Iraq war are back up for election.”
Murphy responded to Sturgeon’s call for action, saying it was essential for future governments to learn from the results.
“The Chilcot Inquiry is a crucially important piece of work that must be conducted thoroughly and forensically,” he said. “The inquiry was initiated by Labour in July 2009, because it is vital to identify the lessons that can be learned from the conflict.”
“There is rightly real public interest in the findings of such an important inquiry and I think it is right that there is the earliest possible publication of the report.”
Rennie also expressed his eagerness for the report to be published, saying he agreed with the SNP’s Sturgeon.
“We agree with Nicola Sturgeon. It is important that the lessons learnt from the Chilcot report are learnt whilst there are people involved in Parliament who are in a position to answer for their actions.”
A spokeswoman for the Iraq Inquiry said: “We will not be commenting further on the process or the progress of the report.”