The defector who provided the rationale for President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003 has admitted he made it all up.
In an interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi — the formerly secret government informant known as “Curveball” — said he knew Saddam Hussein didn't have hidden stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. Janabi fabricated the tale in order to persuade western nations to oust Hussein because the dictator was oppressing his people.
"I had to do something for my country,” Janabi told the Guardian. “So, I did this and I am satisfied, because there is no dictator in Iraq any more."
So far, the important revelation has gone little-noticed or reported by U.S. media outlets.
Janabi, who defected from Iraq in 1995, told intelligence agents from the German and American governments that Hussein had mobile bioweapons trucks and secret factories were weapons of mass destruction were being made. Although agents were skeptical, they passed along the information to their superiors.
Eventually, Bush had then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell repeat the allegations before the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003 — just more than eight years ago — in an attempt to bolster international support for an invasion.
But Janabi told the Guardian that he first was proven a liar in mid-2000. That's when German and British agents traveled to the Persian Gulf region to meet with Janabi's former boss in Iraq. The man, Dr. Bassil Latif, strongly repudiated Janabi's claims about mobile bioweapons trucks, he said.
Since the invasion, a total of 4,436 members of the U.S. military have been killed as part of the action, according to icasualties.org.
Another 318 military members from other nations also have been killed, as well as 1,487 private contractors, 348 journalists and 448 academics.
Additionally, an estimated 1.42 million Iraqi civilians have been killed since the invasion, according to justforeignpolicy.org.
Of course, Janabi was just a means to an end for the Bush administration. Multiple media accounts now suggest Bush and some of his advisors were determined to go to war with Iraq almost from the outset of his presidency.
Still, Bush needed a justification that was palatable to the American public, instead of admitting the action primarily was motivated by assuring U.S. access to oil supplies in the region and gaining a military foothold in the Middle East.