by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
June 12, 2008
TOO LITTLE TRUTH, WAY TOO LATE ON IRAQ WAR
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- It passed by with a great ho-hum last week. The Senate Intelligence Committee released a major new report further confirming what many of us already knew - the Bush Administration's claims that Iraq had ties to al-Qaida and were developing weapons of mass destruction were not supported by the evidence the U.S. intelligence committee had at the time.
"In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even non-existent," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the committee. "As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed."
This report received much less attention than the charges of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan, who in a new book accused the Bush Administration of lies and deception in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
But McClellan is rather late to the party. Richard Clarke, Joseph Wilson, Paul O'Neill and Valerie Plame said the same thing years before and all were attacked by the Bush team as lacking in loyalty and credibility. Except they were right, and the Administration loyalists were wrong.
It's hard to believe that some people still believe that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do. They seem not to be troubled that more than 4,000 Americans have died and tens of thousands more Americans have been wounded for a lie. They don't particularly care that as many as 1 million Iraqis have died and nearly 5 million more are refugees. They don't seem to care that we are squandering $12 billion a month to keep this war going.
While it's good that McClellan and the Senate Intelligence Committee have added their voices to the chorus denouncing President Bush for using lies and doctored intelligence to lead this nation into war, we didn't need to hear it from them. Anyone possessing logic and basic factual information knew in 2002 that the Bush Administration's rationales for war were false.
To review, Saddam Hussein posed no threat to our nation or his neighbors. His stores of chemical and biological weapons had already been located and destroyed years earlier by UN inspectors. No Iraqis were involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and there were no proven connections between Saddam and Osama bin Laden.
Yet, few had the courage of their convictions at the time to challenge the Administration on the veracity of its claims. Nearly every member of Congress, save for the Vermont delegation, rolled over. Likewise for most of this nation's news media. The silence was deafening from the people and institutions that could've spoken up when it mattered, rather than years after the fact when it was safe.
There are now absolutely no more reasons to believe any official rationales for the war in Iraq, which stands as the worst foreign policy disaster in our nation's history. And now we're watching the White House try to do the same thing to push this nation into even worse disaster by attacking Iran.
The war may have disappeared from the front pages, but not from the hearts of every family in America that has been touched by it. It should pain every American to contemplate how many of our best men and women have been sacrificed in this war, and how their sacrifice has been dishonored by the action's of the Bush Administration.
Change is coming, and not a moment too soon. With new leadership in the White House and in Congress, perhaps we can draw this misadventure to a close and begin the long, hard work of rebuilding this nation's reputation and its standing in the world.
Randolph T. Holhut has been a journalist in New England for more than 25 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at email@example.com.