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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | April 25, 2003


The anti-war movement made two key points in the leadup to GW II: 1) the Bush Administration was overstating the case against Saddam, and 2) by doing so, it was putting our troops and civilians in harms way.

Iraq fought back harder than many expected, but luckily for everyone its regulars laid down arms before a truly bloody confrontation in Baghdad. Still, we suffered 600 dead and wounded, and thousands of Iraqi soldiers and innocent civilians lost their lives in the war. Thus, #2 came to pass. Thousands died.

So it's important to see whether their lives were given in vain, or whether their ultimate sacrifice was indeed in pursuit of our national security.

So it's with genuine horror that it's clear that we naysayers were right. Administration officials are now admitting they overstated the thread of Iraqi WMDs, and invaded Iraq simply to "make a point".

To build its case for war with Iraq, the Bush administration argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but some officials now privately acknowledge the White House had another reason for war a global show of American power and democracy.

Officials inside government and advisers outside told ABCNEWS the administration emphasized the danger of Saddam's weapons to gain the legal justification for war from the United Nations and to stress the danger at home to Americans.

"We were not lying," said one official. "But it was just a matter of emphasis."

Officials now say they may not find hundreds of tons of mustard and nerve agents and maybe not thousands of liters of anthrax and other toxins. But U.S. forces will find some, they say. On Thursday, President Bush raised the possibility for the first time that any such Iraqi weapons were destroyed before or during the war.

Was Colin Powell a willing participant in this charade? The unamed official says it was a "matter of emphasis", but Colin stood up at the Security Council and said:
...Saddam Hussein has never accounted for vast amounts of chemical weaponry: 550 artillery shells with mustard, 30,000 empty munitions and enough precursors to increase his stockpile to as much as 500 tons of chemical agents.

If we consider just one category of missing weaponry, 6500 bombs from the Iran-Iraq War, UNMOVIC says the amount of chemical agent in them would be on the order of a thousand tons.

So Powell told the world that Iraq had thousands of tons of chemical weapons. The administration now admits that they won't find that much, and may not find any at all. And it's not a lie???? It's a "matter of emphasis"?

And why the lying?

The Bush administration wanted to make a statement about its determination to fight terrorism. And officials acknowledge that Saddam had all the requirements to make him, from their standpoint, the perfect target.

Other countries have such weapons, yet the United States did not go to war with them. And though Saddam oppressed and tortured his own people, other tyrants have done the same without incurring U.S. military action. Finally, Saddam had ties to terrorists but so have several countries that the United States did not fight.

But Saddam was guilty of all these things and he met another requirement as well a prime location, in the heart of the Middle East, between Syria and Iran, two countries the United States wanted to send a message to.

That message: If you collaborate with terrorists, you do so at your own peril.

"Sending a message" may be a legitimate reason to go for war, so why not argue it? If the administration was so sure of itself that it was right, and that such a "message" was necessary, then why not make that argument to the American people and the international community?

Instead, as this administration is wont to do, it obfuscated, misdirected, LIED, and did everything in its power to avoid stating the REAL reasons for the war.

Problem is, the rest of the world saw right through it. We demonize France and Germany for refusing to play along with a pathologically dishonest administration, yet it turns out they were right. The lies were naked, and easily exposed. And now the administration itself (including Bush himself) are now admiting that perhaps there are no WMDs in Iraq.

But they're happy because the message was sent. And we have trashed international institutions and set a dangerous precedent. Encouraged rouge regimes to build nuclear arsenals (see North Korea and Iran) as deterrents to US attack, and gave added philosophical impetus to unprovoked attacks by other nations (Pakistan and India are already using Bush-esque rhetoric in their sabre-rattling).

And to what end?

One official said that in the end, history and the American people will judge the United States not by whether U.S. officials find canisters of poison gas or vials of some biological agent.

History will judge the United States, the official said, by whether this war marked the beginning of the end for the terrorists who hate America.

Iraqi shiites are demanding the US leave and the imposition of an Islamic republic.
"The Americans came here to liberate us from Saddam, it's fine, but now what? There is no security, no electricity and chaos has taken over," said Ibrahim, another worshipper.

"Our silence won't last. The day our scholars tell us to fight, the Iraqi people, Sunnis and Shiites united will rise in arms," he vowed.

"We have weapons, we will blow ourselves up like the Palestinians," shouted another man.

Bluster? Perhaps. But this isn't:
A firefight near the Pakistan border in Afghanistan's Paktika province killed two U.S. soldiers Friday and wounded several others, including at least one Afghan soldier, U.S. Central Command said.
Seems that thus far, Bush's message isn't being heard loud and clear.

Posted April 25, 2003 10:21 AM | Comments (285)


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