With the latest statistics on the number of American casualties in Iraq approaching two milestones you’d think there’d be a bit more of a fuss in the media about it, yet it’s been surprisingly quiet so far. 3,972 American soldiers have died and 29,133 have been wounded as of February 24, 2008. And as a Reuters article, from January 31, 2008, explains, more than one million Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict in their country since the U.S. led invasion in 2003. And yet the reason why these soldiers are in Iraq in the first place remains unclear due to the lies President Bush and his administration have told the public since the day of 9/11 itself.
As the Center for Public Integrity reported on January 26, 2008, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, among others, made at least 935 false statements between the launch of the attack on Iraq and September 11, 2001. These false statements ranged from Saddam having links to 9/11 and Al-Qaida as well as the idea that they had weapons of mass destruction and that he was preparing them to use against both our friends and allies. I’ll give you a few direct quotations from Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush then compare them to the responses by various government officials to further understand just how terribly we were being lied to about the War in Iraq.
On August 26, 2002, in an address to the national convention of the Veteran of Foreign Wars, Cheney declared: “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.” In fact, former CIA Director George Tenet later recalled, Cheney’s assertions went well beyond his agency’s assessments at the time. Another CIA official, referring to the same speech, told journalist Ron Suskind, “Our reaction was, ‘Where is he getting this stuff from?’”
On May 29, 2003, in an interview with Polish T.V., President Bush declared: “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories.” But as journalist Bob Woodward reported in State of Denial, days earlier a team of civilian experts dispatched to examine the two “mobile labs” found in Iraq had concluded in a field report that the labs were not for biological weapons. The team’s final report, completed the following month, concluded that the labs had probably been used to manufacture hydrogen for weather balloons.
These revelations about the statements made by top administration officials lead a reader to wonder if it was possible that the intelligence that the administration had was simply “bad” or “inaccurate,” as President Bush claimed during a Sunday night address from the Oval Office on December 18, 2005.
On the other hand, a growing number of critics, including a parade of former government officials, have publicly—and in some cases vociferously—accused the president and his inner circle of ignoring or distorting the available intelligence. In the end, these critics say, it was the calculated drumbeat of false information and public pronouncements that ultimately misled the American people and this nation’s allies on their way to war.
Despite all of these revelations and conclusions, we are still left with the question of what exactly all this deception and trickery was for. Why exactly did President Bush’s Administration feel the need to instigate this war? We had gained a great deal of support around the world for the tragedy of 9/11 to prosecute these terrorists, but it was all lost once we declared war. It distracted our forces in Afghanistan from the goal of eliminating Al-Qaida, and helped swell their ranks due to an increase in anti-American sentiments in the Middle East.
Numerous individuals believe that the Bush administration’s reasons for the invasion in Iraq were not about bringing democracy to Iraq, but oil. Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, certainly seems to think that the War in Iraq is over oil, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Yet, President Bush’s Administration has repeatedly denied that the War in Iraq was ever about oil.
As can be found in a CBS article from November 22, 2002, Donald Rumsfeld said, “The conflict with Iraq is about weapons of mass destruction, it has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.” Ironically, Bush stated in an August 31, 2005, edition of Boston Globe that the War in Iraq is about oil—it’s about the U.S. protecting Iraq’s vast oil fields from terrorists. Granted, those terrorists were in Iraq only after we invaded their country, but that is one fact about which I’m sure the Bush administration would never mislead us…
What I’d really like to see is President Bush telling every family member who has lost a son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister what exactly this godforsaken war was for with a straight face. Sadly though, I can only wait for history to pass judgment on his presidency to truly determine the extent of his idiocy and lies. Until then, all I can do is work hard to elect a president that understands the principles of a “just war” and who will seek to pull our troops out of a war that seems to have a revolving door of reasons for why we are still there today.