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Why Did the US Invade Iraq in 2003?

2015-05-18

Recently Jeb Bush, the younger brother of ex-president George W. Bush and son of ex-president George H.W. Bush, made a stir in the news by saying that he would have still invaded Iraq “knowing what we know now.”  Jeb was forced to dial back on this mis-statement at least twice, but still he failed to tell the truth.

The fact is that we did not invade Iraq based on a mistake.   We invaded based on a blatant lie.  George W. Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney were dissatisfied with the information that UN weapons inspector Hans Blix was providing, namely that Iraq no longer had any weapons of mass destruction.   He was even more dissatisfied when his own CIA told him the same thing.  So he set up his own “intelligence” unit within the CIA, operated by Douglas Feith, to cook up stories about “hidden” weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda, stories that turned out to be lies.

Even the story that Saddam Hussein tried to have George W. Bush’s father George H.W. Bush assassinated was a lie.  The entire incident was made up, yet believed by the media and still believed by many who should know better.

Even if the invasion of Iraq was justified based on the cruelty and brutality of Saddam Hussein, our mismanagement of the country after our successful invasion was not justifiable.  We disbanded the Iraqi army and sent its soldiers home with nothing to do and nothing to support them.  We destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq during the invasion unnecessarily and we failed to properly rebuild it.  We disbursed billions of dollars for rebuilding projects that were misused and diverted into the pockets of crooks in Iraq as well as in the United States.  We spent billions of dollars on private security forces who were so trigger happy that some of them were tried for murder in the US because of the public outcry in Iraq.  We turned Hussein over to his enemies for a rigged show trial instead of sending him to the United Nations for an International War Crimes Tribunal, partly because that Tribunal could have indicted our own generals and administrators in Iraq.  We created secret prisons that tortured and murdered innocent Iraqis.  We set up a system of blood money payments to people for turning in their neighbors to be secretly tortured and murdered by an Iraqi secret police that we created and trained.

As a result of our mismanagement of the government of Iraq, a revolutionary terror group that calls itself the Islamic caliphate of Syria and Mesopotamia has arisen to overrun the Sunni parts of Iraq and threaten the Shia and Kurdish parts.  The shortsighted lies of people like Paul Wolfowitz who claimed that the invasion would cost less than a hundred billion dollars and take less than a hundred thousand soldiers have been shown up, and the the realities that General Shinseki warned about and was fired for have been proven true.  The results:  over a trillion dollars spent and 2.5 million soldiers deployed, including those who spent two or three or more tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The results: unknown hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and the devastation of a struggling but viable country.

In the face of these facts, the admission by Jeb Bush that “mistakes were made” has to be one of the grossest understatements of the twenty-first century so far.  The possibility that Jeb  might become president has to be the most depressing thought of the election of 2016.

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