Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Buck Stops with Bush

by DAVID KRIEGER

The Bush administration told the American people over and over again that war against Iraq was necessary because Saddam Hussein was lying about not having weapons of mass destruction. We were told that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were an imminent threat to the United States. We were told that our government knew where those weapons of mass destruction were located. And yet, after another brutal war in which thousands of innocent civilians were killed, the Bush Administration can produce no evidence that Saddam Hussein had the weapons of mass destruction.

Prior to the war, the Bush administration offered detailed descriptions of Iraq’s weapons programs, including the claims famously made by Colin Powell before the UN Security Council. Bush administration claims included assertions that Iraq had a program for enriching uranium, that it had weaponized thousands of liters of biological weapons, including anthrax and botulism, and that Iraq could launch these weapons on very short notice.

Prior to the war, when Saddam Hussein opened his palaces to UN inspectors, destroyed missiles with ranges barely longer than UN restrictions and allowed the US to send U-2 spy planes over Iraq, the Bush Administration said it was too little, too late.

Prior to the war, when the Chief UN Weapons Inspector, Hans Blix, said that the inspectors were receiving increased cooperation from the Iraqis and pleaded for more time to continue their work, George Bush said he was growing impatient.

Prior to the war, when members of the Security Counsel of the United Nations said they were not ready to support the use of force against Iraq, George Bush demonstrated his disdain for international law and the Security Counsel of the United Nations by launching a preventive war against Iraq.

The failure to find weapons of mass destruction after the war is causing widespread skepticism throughout the world about the justification for going to war. It has become a major political scandal in the UK, where prior to the war Tony Blair echoed the Bush administration’s claims of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction.

In the UK, Robin Cook, who resigned in protest from Tony Blair’s cabinet over the war in Iraq, has written: “Britain was conned into a war to disarm a phantom threat in which not even our major ally really believed. The truth is that the US chose to attack Iraq not because it posed a threat, but because they knew it was weak and expected its military to collapse. It is a truth that leaves the British government in an uncomfortable position.”

It is a truth that also leaves the American people in an uncomfortable position. It would seem that we were also “conned into a war” by Mr. Bush and his administration.

In a war that was sold to the American people and the Congress on the basis of misrepresentations by the Bush administration, more than 170 American soldiers were killed, more than 5,000 innocent civilians lost their lives, and thousands of Iraqi soldiers were slaughtered.

In the aftermath of the war, US soldiers continue to be targets of Iraqi dissatisfaction. Eleven US soldiers were killed in the past week. Iraq remains a dangerous place, but not because of weapons of mass destruction.

When the US and British forces invaded Iraq, one might have expected Saddam Hussein to use weapons of mass destruction if he had them. Rather, the Bush administration would have us believe that Saddam Hussein, while preparing for the US invasion or during the US attack, was busy destroying his weapons of mass destruction or moving them into another country.

Rather than show any contrition for leading the American people into war under false pretenses, President Bush has claimed that weapons of mass destruction have been found. He makes this claim on the basis of the discovery of two mobile laboratories, presumably meant for making biological weapons, but which contain no evidence, according to the CIA, that weapons were actually made.

Far more honest is Lt. General James Conway, the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, who stated to reporters, “It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal areas. Believe me, it’s not for lack of trying. We’ve been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they’re simply not there.”

Congress, which plans to hold hearings next week on lessons learned in Iraq, should delve into the “credibility gap” between the Bush administration’s claims regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for war and the failure to locate these weapons in the aftermath of the war. These claims cannot be dismissed, as some members of Congress would do, as simple exaggerations. They appear to be serious misrepresentations to the American people and the people of the world.

The Bush administration has much to account for regarding its highly publicized claims prior to the war that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. While it is appropriate to acknowledge the tyrannical nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime, concern for the human rights of the Iraqi people was not the justification of the Bush administration for initiating a preventive war. Their justification, stated repeatedly, was the imminent threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and it was on this basis that the Bush administration defied international law and the Security Council of the United Nations.

The buck stops with Mr. Bush. Lying about the reasons for war and misleading the American people into supporting a war has the look and feel of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” for which the Constitution provides impeachment as the remedy.

DAVID KRIEGER is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He is the editor of Hope in a Dark Time (Capra Press, 2003), and author of Choose Hope, Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age (Middleway Press, 2002). He can be contacted at dkrieger@napf.org.

 

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail