Originally published in June 6, 2003 edition of The Moscow Times.
Holocaust revisionism took decades to rear its ugly head, but the whitewashers of war crimes in the Bush Regime are trying to pervert the facts of history mere weeks after their Leader triumphantly declared "mission accomplished" in the war on Iraq. "Weapons of mass destruction?" Never heard of 'em. Never mentioned 'em. Maybe we'll find some. Not that important. Time to move on. Hey, how about a tax cut?
But even as revisionist-in-chief George W. Bush was staging his somber photo-op in Auschwitz last week, the web of lies he and his little buddy Tony Blair concocted to "justify" launching an act of military aggression – on the very Hitlerian grounds of "preventive war" – was being shredded by their own intelligence services. In an unprecedented move, U.S and British spies went public to denounce the cartoonish manipulation of professional intelligence data by the war-hungry leaders. Reports of Saddam's "imminent threat" were "sexed up" on Blair's order, said UK spooks, while American agents said Bush was spoonfed a stew of uncorroborated confabulation by a "special team" of ideological hatchet-men overseen by Pentagon honcho Don Rumsfeld. Congressional and Parliamentary probes are now afoot.
In the end, the "weapons of mass destruction" that the Christian Coalition had sworn were "armed and ready" to unleash unspeakable carnage on the world turned out to be – by Bush's own admission – a couple of trucks, which contained not a speck of hazardous material. Not exactly the fearsome arsenal the Dear Leader had invoked, in ever-increasing detail, throughout the long buildup to aggression. The actual CIA report which Bush cited was even more – or rather, less – revealing, noting that the trucks' designs were in fact consistent with their stated purpose: the production of hydrogen for weather balloons, Slate.com reports.
Thus revisionism – panicky, cynical, maladroit – was the order of the day. Rumsfeld – whose smirking rictus of iron certainty was a mainstay of the drive to war – began backing off big-time. Maybe there weren't any WMD, he shrugged; maybe Saddam destroyed them before the war. Unfortunately, the UK press dug up a quote from St. Tony himself on the subject: "We are asked to accept Saddam decided to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd." But to be fair, Blair's broadside was fired long ago, practically in cave-man times: March 18, 2003, to be exact. It's certainly irrelevant in our go-go modern world, where history is written with water and each day is a new blank page.
So it was most apt that the only question Bush was heard to ask during his Auschwitz tour actually dealt with Holocaust revisionism: "Do people challenge the accuracy of what you present?" he asked his guide, the New York Times reports. This might seem a rather bizarre question at first glance – but then, Bush has a personal stake in the cultivation of historical amnesia. His own family fortune was built in part by a long and profitable collusion with the Nazis – an ugly story oft told here, and raked up again by Newsweek Poland during the presidential visit.
Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, and Prescott's father-in-law, George Herbert Walker, helped finance the rise of the Nazi Party through their intimate entanglements with Nazi industrial, shipping and banking interests. This long (and well-documented) collaboration continued even after America was at war with Nazi Germany. It seems the blood money was just too good to pass up – even if it had to be dug out of the corpses of young American soldiers and innocent civilians throughout Europe and North Africa.
The Walker-Bush cabal's Nazi partners also helped finance – then profited from – the Auschwitz camp. Finally, in 1942, the U.S. government seized the Walker-Bush Nazi assets under the Trading With the Enemy Act. But the well-connected clan managed to bury the news in the back pages: brief mentions of the companies involved, but no names of the Establishment grandees behind them. They also pulled strings to keep their American assets from being seized as well, even though the profits from these enterprises were inextricably mixed with their Nazi loot. Prescott later cashed in these tainted assets for millions, a nest egg that helped launch him into the Senate and his son and grandson into the White House.
So perhaps George Walker Bush felt uneasy treading on the bone-ash that lies beneath the soft, green grass of Auschwitz. Or perhaps not. For quietly buried in the back pages last week was news that the Walker-Bush tradition of war profiteering carries on. A small brief in the Financial Times revealed that Bush-connected "reconstruction" firms Halliburton and Bechtel, now in control of Iraq's oil fields, want to raise massive bank loans using future oil profits as collateral. In other words, these Establishment grandees will pocket billions in free money that will have to be paid back later by the Iraqi people, if and when their oil fields are returned.
Both companies made millions with Saddam during the dictator's murderous heyday: Bechtel helped build Saddam's mustard-gas plants, while Halliburton, under Cheney, pocketed $23 million working with Saddam's UN-sanctioned regime after the first Gulf War. Meanwhile, Halliburton – which still pays Cheney a tidy annual sum – was handed yet another no-bid Iraq contract last week: $400 million in government grease this time.
That's the way of the war profiteers, these men of "honor and integrity" who build their family fortunes, their corporate treasuries and their political dynasties on bone-ash. The grass they tread is always soft.