us lied about gulf war missile “hits”

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    On Wednesday evening, the same day that US Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council, a Canadian television program provided a timely reminder of the lengths to which the US government, assisted by a servile media, went to deceive American and world public opinion during the 1991 Gulf War.

    In a report entitled “The Best Defence,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s documentary program, The Fifth Estate traced one set of lies told by the previous Bush administration and the Pentagon during the 1991 conflict. It replayed footage of both President George Bush the elder and Desert Storm commander General H. Norman Schwarzkopf declaring that the US military’s Patriot missiles had achieved a 100 percent success rate in destroying Iraqi Scud missiles headed for Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    The claims were a crucial part of Washington’s propaganda effort to create the impression of high-technology precision weaponry that would ensure a rapid victory with few US casualties, while causing limited Iraqi civilian deaths. Billions of dollars were at stake for Raytheon, the company that manufactured the Patriots, and, by extension, the entire military industry upon which the US economy depends heavily.

    In briefings that were featured by every American TV network and most media outlets around the globe, Schwarzkopf and other Gulf War commanders displayed video footage and aerial photographs boasting not only that every Scud had been intercepted, but that mobile Scud launchers had been blown to pieces with unerring accuracy by guided missiles.

    Accompanied by the media corps, the first President Bush traveled to where the Patriot missiles were manufactured, the Raytheon plant in Lexington, Massachusetts, to publicly congratulate the assembled employees. “It is thanks to the patriots here that the Patriot has achieved such success,” he stated.

    It is now clear from The Fifth Estate program that when he made that boast, Bush knew it to be a lie. Just before his appearance at the Raytheon factory, he received an urgent visit from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens, who warned him that Israel was about to enter the war against Iraq because the Patriot missiles had proven completely ineffective.
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