Iraq: Bush’s War Was A Total Waste


After nearly nine years, the War in Iraq ended, with the names of 92 Wisconsinites who died there, printed in the Wis. State Journal. While 89 returned in body bags under President Bush: 9 (2003); 23 (2004); 18 (2005); 16 (2006); 15 (2007); and 8 (2008); three died while Obama was President: 2 (2009) and 1 (2010).

The War in Iraq (2003-11) actually started with the Gulf War (1991) surrender document, which required the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, a former Marine Corps Major, and his team, searched for, and destroyed weapons, over a seven year period (1991-98). When Ritter resigned in 1998, he announced Iraq had been disarmed.

Despite the disarmament, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, and 15 others wrote a letter to President Clinton in 1998 saying the removal of Saddam Hussein through a pre-emptive strike “needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.” In response, Clinton announced the U.S. cannot allow Iraq to acquire nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, as he declared a regime change policy, and started bombing suspected Iraqi sites.

Under President Bush, a Defense Dept. strategy for pre-emptive War in Iraq was approved in Aug. 2002. Despite a National Intelligence Estimate, dated Oct. 2002, which reported: “Iraq does not yet have a nuclear weapon, or sufficient material to make one,” Bush declared at a State of the Union in Jan. 2003: Iraq tried to acquire uranium for nuclear weapons from Niger. He said: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Although Bush conceded on March 12, 2003, there was no evidence to link 911 to Iraq, officials constantly implied there was a connection, leading the NY Times to report 42% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for 911.

Bush’s team scared many uninformed Americans in March 2003 by conjuring up images of a “mushroom cloud,” and by spreading the ridiculous notion Saddam Hussein had rockets capable of delivering chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons to the U.S.

The disciples of Bush whipped up crazy ideas, like Iraq could be defeated in one week. Richard Pearle, chair of the Pentagon Defense Policy Board, said in 2002: “Support for Saddam will collapse with the first whiff of gunpowder.” Less optimistic Defense officials predicted the war may last for “months.”

The Bush Administration argued Americans would be welcomed. Vice President Chaney said on Meet the Press on March 16, 2003: “We will in fact be greeted as liberators.” Military planners said the occupation will result in “flag-waving crowds hugging British and American soldiers.” Rush Limbaugh repeated the propaganda.

Bush’s people believed a large ground force would not be needed, as Rumsfeld said we could invade with relatively few troops, supported by air support. Rumsfeld rejected advice from senior military officials, who said a larger army would be required.

Congressman James Moran of Virginia, one of the few to speak the truth as to why the U.S. was about to go to war, said on March 13, 2003: “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for war with Iraq, we would not be doing this.”

Bush tried to obtain UN Sec. Council Resolution to make his war look legitimate, but the level-headed Jacques Chirac of France wisely threatened a veto, as others also voiced opposition. Bush finally abandoned his attempt to gain UN approval on March 17, 2003.

Cowboy Bush nevertheless went it alone, and issued an ultimatum on March 19, giving Saddam and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq, or face war. He amassed 210,000 U.S. troops: including 150,000 in Kuwait, 10,000 in Saudi Arabia, and 50,000 at sea. American teams studied plans to find hidden weapons of mass destruction (WMD), as Halliburton, a company run by Cheney from 1995 to 2000, looked forward to making billions on post-war contracts.

Once the war started, the search for WMD became a top priority. Gen Tommy Franks said there were 2,000 to 3,000 possible weapons sites. When no hidden stockpiles were found, the military initially said some areas were not yet accessible. Gen. Myers reassured us on March 31: “there is no doubt they have chemical weapon loaded in artillery shells.” Chief Warrant Officer Gonzales, a member of a weapons team, said on April 16: “we’re not going to find just a smoking gun, but a smoking canon; it’s just a matter of time.” “It’s going to take time,” Rumsfeld repeated, on April 19, fabricating a story “they buried things,” and “used underground tunnels.” Later, Rumsfeld admitted Iraqis will have to find them, because “the inspectors didn’t find anything, and I doubt we will.” Bush nevertheless reassured Americans on June 10 he was convinced Iraq had WMD, and proof would be found. Press Sec. Fleisher advanced the ridiculous argument those who say Iraq does not have WMD have the burden of proof.

Meanwhile, Scott Ritter re-appeared in April 2003 to say I told you so: “I don’t see how these weapons could exist,” because the unconventional arms Iraq possessed were destroyed or degraded. Joe Wilson, a former Ambassador, came forward in July 2003, to say for 8 days in 2002, he was in Niger investigating reports of an attempted weapons sale, and found nothing but forged documents and fraudulent intelligence. British Prime Minister Tony Blair finally admitted on July 11, he no longer believed WMD would be uncovered, causing Bush on July 12 to shift blame to others, suggesting CIA Director Tenet approved the Jan. 2003 reference to obtaining nuclear weapons materials from Niger.

David Kay, the man who headed the U.S. weapons search, told Congress on Sep. 29, no WMD were found and we were all wrong. Ritter wrote a piece on Feb. 6, 2004 entitled, “Not Everyone Got it Wrong on Iraq’s Weapons,” challenging Kay’s assertion “we were all wrong.” Rolf Ekeus, another weapons inspector, declared Iraq was fundamentally disarmed as early as 1996. Hans Blix, the UN weapons inspector just before March 2003, said his team found no evidence of WMD. By 2004, it was clear Bush had relied rumor, speculation, exaggeration, and falsification to lead the U.S. into war. Florida Sen. Bob Graham said Bush knowingly did it.

If U.S. troops had vacated Iraq after the Statue of Saddam Hussein was knocked down in Baghdad on April 10, 2003, or when Bush declared an end to hostilities on May 1, or when he landed on the Aircraft Carrier Lincoln near San Diego on May 2, or as soon as Hussein was captured on Dec. 15, 2003, perhaps the war would have been easy, but Bush made the additional mistake of occupying Iraq.

When 10,000 Shiites and Sunni Muslims joined hands through the streets of Baghdad on May 20, 2003, to oppose the U.S. occupation, fair warning was given. U.S. officers soon reported unexpected resistance, while Americans were bing lied to and told Iraq would not become another long 8-year struggle, like the one in Vietnam.

It did not take long before the brass changed their story as to how long the war would take. Gen. Myers said:  “Nobody ever promised a short war.” Deputy Defense Sec. Wolfowitz said it would take at least 6 months to create a new government. Ari Fleisher said they were a year away from turning over control.

Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, then triggered a guerilla war by issuing a decree on May 20 banning all Baath Party members from public sector jobs. Rumsfeld had to admit in July 2003 “we are still at war,” as he predicted attacks against U.S. forces would grow more vicious. Not enough troops were available to maintain order, or to guard supply lines, and once again Rumsfeld had to admit he might need more than 147,000 troops.

Instead, tours for enlisted men were extended indefinitely. Our troops became tired of patrolling hostile Iraqi streets in the extreme heat in search of an invisible enemy. It became unsafe for them to venture off post. Many accused the Pentagon of dishonesty with regard to their length of stay and mission. Finally, Rumsfeld adjusted the duration of the war saying: “We will be there as long as it takes.”

Well, we stayed nearly 9 years. We lost a lot of lives, and took a lot more. We destroyed a lot of property. We spent billions. After 9 years, it is really not a stretch at all to say, Bush’s war was a total waste.

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