Looking for the truth about Iraq
Should we believe what the Bush administration is now telling us? Let’s examine the accuracy of past statements made by the Bush “war team” of Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Assistant Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.First, the reasons for our invading Iraq. President Bush claimed time after time that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and was importing equipment and raw materials to produce “nucular” weapons. Vice President Cheney repeatedly stated he had no doubts that Saddam Hussein was in league with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida in the 9/11 attacks. When both of these claims were proven to be false, the reason became that we were bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people by overthrowing a ruthless tyrant. (So why haven’t we overthrown brutal tyrant Kim Jong Il in North Korea, or the regime in Sudan which has participated in the genocide of as many as 300,000 men, women, and children in the Darfur region of that country?)Bush’s remaining justification for his invasion of Iraq – that we’re pinning the terrorists down in Iraq so they won’t attack us here – is false. Iraq has become an al-Qaida recruiting Mecca and training ground for terrorists, evolving into a global insurgency.The recent release of the Downing Street Memo of conversations in July 2002 (eight months before the invasion of Iraq) has revealed U.S. military action was then deemed inevitable, “intelligence” had to justify that action, and there was virtually no planning for the aftermath following military action. This is supported by a statement from George Bush in April 2002, that he had “made up his mind that Saddam needs to go,” and by his bellicose behavior in the months leading up to the invasion.Secretary Rumsfeld assured us he would need only 135,000 of our well-equipped troops to subdue Iraq, despite advice to the contrary from his generals. Paul Wolfowitz told us that we would be welcomed as liberators, and our share of the cost of reconstruction would be only $10 billion because the rest would be paid for from Iraqi oil revenues. Then on May 1, 2003, six weeks after the invasion, Bush proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” – the end of major combat operations. Tragically, all of these claims have turned out to be totally erroneous.After it became apparent that Iraq was descending into chaos, we were told with each of the following developments – the capture of Saddam, the transfer of authority to a governing council, the Iraqi national election, and the seating of the elected parliament – that we had turned the corner in progressing toward a free democratic Iraq and the end of the insurgency. Instead, it appears after turning these four corners, we are right back where we started.Cheney is now telling us the insurgency is in its “last throes,” despite the fact that it appears to be gaining strength and becoming increasingly violent. Rumsfeld and Bush are trumpeting that the Iraqis are making great strides toward the goal of a free self-governing democracy able to provide for its own security. However, the accounts coming out of Iraq are quite different. Death from suicide bombers is widespread, as is unemployment. Electricity is not available most of the time, and a safe water supply is rare.So what are we to believe? The track record of those in charge doesn’t give us much reason for confidence in anything they are trying to tell us. The administration seems to be in denial of current conditions in Iraq. Even Republican Sen.Chuck Hagel, of Iowa, has said, “The White House is completely disconnected from reality.”Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.
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