Monday, November 05, 2007

Time to Recalibrate Our Compass: We Are Drifting in Dangerous Waters

Why did we attack Iraq in March of 2003? Here is what we were told: Iraq has or will have nuclear weapons very shortly and use them against its neighbors and possibly the U.S. Iraq has or will make chemical weapons and use them against its neighbors. Iraq has or will make biological weapons and use them against its neighbors. Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and his neighbors. Saddam has killed thousands of people who opposed him. He is a ruthless dictator who is a threat to the region. Iraq is the central war on terror. If we don’t fight the terrorists over there then we will have to fight him over here in the streets of the United States. The build up to the Iraq attack was always and still is presented in the context of September 11, 2001. Iraq was presented as an imminent threat. For an entire year before the war every time 9/11 was mentioned by the president Iraq followed in the next sentence and the American people heard 9/11 and Iraq and assumed that Iraq was either responsible for or was involved in the 9/11 catastrophe. It simply was not true. Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or 9/11. Iraq an imminent threat? – Iraq, that had no navy –Iraq, that had no air force- Iraq, whose army was decimated by the 1993 Gulf war – Iraq, whose military equipment was still in shambles from the 1993 Gulf war an imminent threat? Ridiculous and the congress the news media and the people bought it …

That was the compass course from Jan 2002 to March 2003; Iraq is a threat to its neighbors and is or may be a threat to the United States the most powerful nation on the planet. Several months before the invasion of Iraq Hans Blix and his UN team of inspectors were in Iraq looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction. Saddam Hussein granted them full unconditional access to every location in Iraq. The inspectors went to the locations that Donald Rumsfeld said WMD were known to be. Not only were physical weapons not discovered, there was no radioactive trace of nuclear material found after using the most sensitive detection equipment available. In short there were no Nuclear WMD. Fast-forward four and half years and the full force of US expertise and free access to every inch of Iraq and still no trace of hidden WMD. I am sure that if the United States had found any evidence of nuclear weapons no matter how insignificant, it would have been a page one story. If Hans Blix could not find WMD then why did we order him out, stop the search and attack Iraq? Good question, you will have to ask George Bush or Dick Cheney but don’t expect to get an answer.

It turns out that the Iranians were never sure if Iraq had WMD. Because of the threat that it might be true Saddam’s Iraq was able to keep the much larger and more powerful Iranians in check. That was a plus for the U.S. and Israel. Just before the war started former Ambassador Joseph Wilson published his open letter to America exposing a lie told in the previous State of the Union Address that Iraq had sought to buy Yellow Cake from Niger. Yellow cake is processed, powered, uranium and it was alleged that it could be refined into weapons grade material for a bomb. Fearing an investigation and the possible exposure that the yellow cake statement in the State of The Union Address was false Dick Cheney’s office exposed Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame, a covert CIA agent. She had been working with a special CIA unit to stem the flow of WMD. The Wilsons became the story (that’s what you do when you want to divert attention from the facts of a case); Joe Wilson was accused of lying about his findings and of misrepresenting the facts that had been presented in his op-ed piece. The Republican-run Senate Intelligence Committee made derogatory claims about Wilson’s honesty in a report issued about the WMD controversy on July 7, 2004. (Parry Neck Deep 263). However, the official CIA report said that the (CIA) research analysts believed that the Wilson report supported their (official) assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq. . (Parry Neck Deep 263).

No WMD but we had attacked Iraq with a vengeance. First there was Shock and Awe a brutal display of force that blasted buildings in the middle of Baghdad, inadvertently, but non-the-less, killing thousands of civilians. In-fact, to date over one million innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed and 10 million wounded. These casualty numbers are made up mostly of women children and old men. But why are we there? There were no WMD and given the ferocious reaction by the administration to Wilson, Plame I will speculate that they did not believe Saddam to be the military threat he was presented to be much less a nuclear power. It is all about oil. It is the belief of this administration that to conquer the Mid East by military force is justified by our need for oil. If it was wrong for Iraq to invade Kuwait for oil, then why is ok for us to invade Iraq for oil? (So much for Christian values and morality).

So what is all this about supporting the troops? We all support the troops. I want every one of them home right now and home in one piece. There have been 3,848 US Military deaths and 10 times that many American wounded in an occupation that will never end. This administration has gotten every dime it ever asked for, it got every troop it wanted, I have not heard one disparaging remark about one troop ever (except from Rush Limbaugh). So when the reason for the war gets more than a little cloudy because it went from imminent threat to WMD, to regime change, to creating a democracy to fighting the war on terror, to the central war on terror, to Iran and if any of you dare to question the motives for the war then you are unpatriotic and not supporting the troops. The amazing thing is we are so divided by partisan ideology we buy all of this stuff. Who are we fighting, each other?
Its time to look at the direction this country is headed; it is time to check our moral compass Do you really feel its necessary to have over 3,848 military dead and 40,000 wounded for Exxon Mobile or any other multinational corporation? If you have gotten this far though the article then you know that a war in Iraq was unnecessary it did not have to happen; we had more power before we used our power, now we have less power and fewer options. I say that the Iraq war is a loser, and we are lost at sea with this commander-in-chief because he does not have a compass, and he may yet start another war in Iran and why will that be necessary?