Administration finds new reasons for invading Iraq with each misstep

By Briana McGeough 2008

“The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone, but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history,” said Vice President Dick Cheney, calling Democrats “opportunists” who were supporting “cynical and pernicious falsehoods” to make a political advance.

So what are these pernicious falsehoods” that these left-wing “opportunists” are taking advantage of? Well, these “anti-war critics” are saying that perhaps the aim in Iraq has been changed during the course of the war and that the administration may have exaggerated Iraq’s threat to national security.

Let’s take a trip in my “Journalistic Time Machine” to see exactly what happened in the progression to go to war in Iraq. It all began on Sept. 11, 2001. Now, we all probably know what happened on that day, so I’ll spare you the background. Where things really get interesting, however, was the United State’s retaliatory action to these terrorist attacks. George Bush said, “The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11.” According to the president, “We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade.” The truth of the matter is, however, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Ladin are far from the buddies that Bush made them out to be. Saddam actually believed that al Qaeda posed a threat to his regime. According to many analysts, Saddam considered infiltrating al Qaeda to learn more about its inner workings.

Richard Clarke, the former United States security adviser, claims that right after Sept. 11, Bush insisted that intelligence services find a connection between al Qaeda and Iraq, even though previous reports showed that there was no connection.

A Pew poll released in 2002 showed that two out of three Americans were convinced that Saddam and Osama were in cahoots.

However, after final intelligence proved that there was no Iraq-al Qaeda connection, the Bush administration moved on to “Plan B: Weapons of Mass Destruction.” As Bush said, “Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction.” While there was probably some evidence that Iraq was pursuing a weapons programs, but Mr. Bush should have taken a hint when weapons inspectors came up dry, and the inspectors requested more time to look for them. Instead of listening to the weapons inspectors, the administration decided to rush right into war because there was “no time to waste!” It was the threat of a nuclear attack that persuaded Congress to vote to go to war and for many Americans to support the war.

Eventually, however, it became an almost indisputable fact that Iraq was certainly not as far in a weapons program as we were led to believe.

At least when intelligence finally came out that the weapons of mass destruction didn’t really exist, George Bush had one last excuse (Plan C) to blow up Iraq and that was to “free the Iraqi people.” Now, American was just being selfless and respectable big brother.

It was great that Bush was able to shove his two major intelligence errors (the Osama-Saddam connection and the Weapons of Mass Destruction failure) under the rug and just change the goal in Iraq into a kind humanitarian act. In an address by the president in 2002, Bush said that Saddam had ordered chemical attacks on Iran and villages in Iraq, and that these actions had killed 20,000 people during Saddam’s time in power. While find this absolutely disgusting, I feel obligated to point out that while Saddam may have killed 20,000 Iranians and Iraqis in his 25 years of power, our troops have managed to kill at least 38,000 Iraqis in only two years.

At least the United States went to war with the world’s support and many allies, right? What, we didn’t? According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, we went to war with the “mother of all coalitions.” the coalition really looks something like this: of the 180,000 troops in Iraq, 150,000 (83 percent) of them are American, 12,000 (7 percent) are British and the remaining 10 percent come from various other countries. While I am not belittling the contribution of these countries, I just don’t believe this could be considered a coalition, let alone the “mother of all coalitions.”

According to the Pew Global Attitudes project in March 2004, bin Ladin is viewed as favorable by 65 percent of Pakistanis, 55 percent of Jordanians and 45 percent of Morrocans, all of which are nations that are our allies in the global war on terrorism. Additionally, almost half of our allies when we went to war have withdrawn all of their troops.

So what have been the total cost of this war? In the last two years, we have lost over 2,000 U.S. soldiers and 38.000 Iraquis. With the $222,255,130,553 we have spent over there, we could have funded gobal anit-hunger efforts fro nine years, hired 3,851,718 teachers, provided 10,774,476 four-year scholarships or insured that every child in the world was given basic immunizations for 74 years. According to a Zogby International poll, we have lost the respect of 3/4 of our Middle-eastern supporters in several key nations.

Then what have we accomplished in the War on Terror? Let’s see. Prior to our 2003 invasion, Iraq rarely appeared on “international terrorism charts.” Now, however, Iraq has the thrid largest number of terrorism fatalities. We have removed Osama bin Ladin’s enemy, Saddam Hussein, from power, ignited even more anger between Sunni and Shi’ites, and we have reinstated several key players in Saddam’s regime. It’s almost like we have caused more turmoil than bin Ladin could have imagined, and with all of this tragedy, really how free are the Iraqi people?

So when the Democrats, as well as several Republicans, call out Bush for his errors and demand answers to some of the unanswered questions of the war, George W. Bush and his administration accuse them of rewriting history? Looking back on the war, it seems to me that these “anti-war critics” are just telling the story like it really happened. Maybe, Mr. President, it is you who are rewriting history.

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