Evelyn Pringle March 31, 2006
The war in Iraq is a mistake. No it's worse than a mistake. Lets quit pussy-footing around and call it like it is. The war in Iraq is a grand profiteering scheme gone awry and Americans need to take off their blinders and face the truth.
As the cost of the war leaves a deeper black hole of debt for our great-grandchildren, people need to ask themselves whether the hundreds of billions spent thus far have helped anyone other than reconstruction companies and defense contractors. It takes no thought, the answer is no.
And after that, to paraphrase a powerful John Kerry comment from the Viet Nam era, Americans need think about which soldier will be the last to die for this mistake.
Day in and day out, Bush is on TV saying we will not withdraw from Iraq. How much longer will Americans put up with this bumbling idiot?
The rumblings for impeachment are getting louder and for good reason. The British memo released this week on Bush's conversation with Tony Blair in January 2003, not only proves that Bush planned to take the country to war using whatever lies he deemed necessary, it also proves that there was no plan for post-war Iraq.
Bush is throwing good money after bad like a compulsive gambler, as our troops get sucked deeper and deeper into a bloody quagmire. The situation in Iraq has elevated beyond a disaster and all Bush wants to do is sink more tax dollars into the same failed policies that brought us to this point.
Over the past 6 months, we have heard a lot of accusations about "revisionist history" from Bush and his minions in answer to those who dare to question whether there ever was a real threat from Iraq.
However, there is an abundance of evidence that administration officials sought to portray Iraq as a deadly threat to the American people in the run-up to war. But as we now know, there is a great difference between the hand-picked intelligence that was presented to Congress and the American people when compared to what was actually in Iraq.
Americans were fed a fairy tale about fighting a war of liberation that would be short, cheap, and bloodless. The Bush administration was like a pied piper as it lead the nation into the Iraq disaster.
In hindsight, what is particularly troublesome is how naively the nation followed.
Looking back, there were countless examples of provocative rhetoric as they lead the country to war in Iraq. In his 2002 State of the Union Address, Bush coined the phrase "Axis of Evil," while pointing at Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.
In October 2002, the White House Press Secretary said regime change in Iraq could be accomplished with "the cost of one bullet."
On March 17, in his final speech to the American people before the invasion, Bush took one last opportunity to bolster his case for war. The centerpiece of his argument was the same message he brought to the UN months before, and the same message he hammered home at every opportunity in the intervening months, namely that Saddam had failed to destroy the WMDs and presented an imminent danger to the American people.
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments," he said, "leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
In a public address on March 19, 2003, Bush told the world: "Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder."
Three years have passed, and the US has yet to find a single shred of evidence to confirm the official reason that our country was sent to war; namely, that Iraq's WMDs constituted a grave threat to the US.
On January 28, 2003, Bush said in his State of the Union Address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
We now know that the CIA said that claim was false as early as March 2002 and that the International Atomic Energy Agency had also discredited the allegation. But they just went ahead and used it anyways.
On February 5, Colin Powell told the United Nations Security Council: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets."
In a radio address on February 8, 2003, Bush told the nation: "We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons – the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."
The fact is, after 3 years, we have not found any of these items, nor have we found those thousands of rockets loaded with chemical weapons.
On March 30, 2003, Rumsfeld said in an interview on This Week, of the search for WMDs: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat."
However, Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003, and Tikrit on April 14, 2003, and the intelligence Rumsfeld spoke of has not led to any WMDs.
Whether or not intelligence reports were bent, stretched, or fabricated to make Iraq look like an imminent threat, it is clear that the administration's rhetoric played upon the fear of the American people about future terrorism attacks.
But, under close scrutiny, most of the statements had nothing to do with intelligence; the were merely designed to prey on public fear. Through smoke and mirrors, the face of bin Laden was morphed into that of Saddam. Bush himself blurred the image in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union Address when he said:
"Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans – this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."
Not only did the administration warn about more hijackers carrying deadly chemicals, it even went so far as to say that in the time it would take for UN inspectors to find 'smoking gun' evidence of Saddam's illegal weapons, the US was at risk of a nuclear attack.
Condoleeza Rice by the Los Angeles Times, was quoted as saying on September 9, 2002: "We don't want the 'smoking gun' to be a mushroom cloud."
Talk about fabrication, where did the term mushroom cloud come from? What was this statement based on?
On September 26, 2002, just two weeks before Congress voted on a resolution, Bush himself pushed the case that Iraq was plotting to attack the US. After meeting with members of Congress that day, Bush said:
"The danger to our country is grave. The danger to our country is growing. The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons.... The regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material, could build one within a year."
These are his words. Bush said Saddam is "seeking a nuclear bomb." Has he ever produced any evidence to back up this allegation? No. And, his rhetoric continued that day in the Rose Garden, where he said:
"The dangers we face will only worsen from month to month and from year to year. To ignore these threats is to encourage them. And when they have fully materialized it may be too late to protect ourselves and our friends and our allies. By then the Iraqi dictator would have the means to terrorize and dominate the region. Each passing day could be the one on which the Iraqi regime gives anthrax or VX – nerve gas – or some day a nuclear weapon to a terrorist ally."
And yet, 3 years later, we have not seen a shred of evidence to support this claim of grave dangers, chemical weapons, links to al Qaeda, or nuclear weapons.
Four days before a vote on the resolution, on October 7, 2002, Bush ramped up the scare tactics and stated: "We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy – the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade."
Bush then went even further by saying: "We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gasses.... Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints."
During his speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center, he also elaborated on Iraq's nuclear program and said:
"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his 'nuclear mujahideen' - his nuclear holy warriors.... If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year."
This is the kind of outrageous rhetoric that was given to the American people to justify war with Iraq. This is the same kind of hyped fabricated evidence that was given to Congress to sway its vote on October 11, 2002.
And most importantly these are examples of the same kind charges that the Bush administration now tries to say were never made, like we're deluded idiots.
Saddam is no longer in power. But in reality, so what? The Iraqis are worse off. They still don't even have the basic necessities of life like clean water, sanitation provisions, and electricity. They've had to watch family members imprisoned, tortured, and killed for 3 years without Saddam in charge.
And our soldiers are still dying in record numbers. Not a day goes by that there is not another attack on the troops who are saddled with trying to restore order to a country on the brink of anarchy.
Bush told the American people that we were compelled to go to war to secure our country from a grave threat. Are we safer today than we were on March 18, 2003?
For the first time in history, the US went to war because of intelligence reports claiming that a country posed a grave threat to our nation. We should accept nothing less than a full-scale, wide-open Congressional investigation into the issue of pre-war intelligence on the threat from Iraq.
It is in the compelling national interest to examine what we were told about the threat from Iraq to determine once and for all whether the intelligence was faulty or distorted.
The purpose of such an investigation is not to engage in "revisionist history." It is to get at the truth. The American people have valid questions that deserve to be answered.