[Vision2020] Where is Our Iraq War Report? British Investigation Yields Damning Indictment
ngier006 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 23 15:22:46 PDT 2016
For those who do not get the Daily News, below you will find my Thursday
column. Attached is the long version.
Instead of yet again harassing Clinton, why doesn’t Congress put Bush,
Cheney, and Rumsfeld in the hot seat?
*Where is Our Iraq War Report? British Investigation Yields A Damning
By Nick Gier
After seven long years of investigation, a British commission led by Sir
John Chilcot has issued its findings on the British participation in the
Iraq War. The report, 2.6 million words in 12 volumes, concludes that
plans were “seriously flawed” and that the war “went badly wrong, with
consequences to this day.”
As an example, Chilcot mentioned the recent ISIS car bombing in
Baghdad that claimed 250 lives. There would be no ISIS today if President
George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair had not taken their nations
The inquiry has led to the release of secret memos between Bush
and Blair in which both, as early as October 2001, agreed that Hussein
should be removed from power. In a declassified “Note on Iraq” (7/28/02)
Blair promises Bush that “I will be with you, whatever,” and he offered
this prediction: “If we win quickly, everyone will be our friend. If we
don't, recriminations will start fast.”
The initial ground war did indeed go quickly, and Bush
celebrated “Mission Accomplished” with a stunt landing on the USS Abraham
Lincoln. But the Chilcot Report found that plans for a post-invasion Iraq
were “wholly inadequate.” On the American side, Bush political appointees
with little or no training in nation building and ignorant of Arab culture
made fatal mistakes.
Major among these errors was the decision to disband the Iraqi
army, many of whom joined Al Qaeda and then ISIS. Early on Abu Masab
al-Zarqawi, future head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, joined Ansar al-Islam, but he
and these Kurdish Islamists had, contrary to claims by the Bush
administration, no relationship with Hussein.
The Pentagon wanted to take out the Ansar al-Islam base in
Northeast Iraq prior to the invasion of Iraq, but this idea was vetoed by
the National Security Agency. Tragically, Zarqawi was then free to lead a
brutal campaign against Shia Muslims and Coalition forces until he was
killed in 2006.
It is clear that the invasion itself caused the rise of Sunni
jihadists and the Sunni/Shia civil war that followed. Hussein was a
moderate Sunni, so sectarian tensions were held in check and attacks on
Shia Muslims were rare. His human rights record was of course horrible.
Paul Bremer, Bush’s top man in Iraq, has responded to the
Chilcot Report by saying that it is unfair to blame his boss for failed
intelligence. A more accurate phrase is “cooked” intelligence, many
examples of which are found in former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s
infamous speech to the UN. His own State Department knew that the aluminum
tubes, which he said were manufactured for nuclear weapons, were in fact
rocket launchers. On other allegations State Department officials warned
Powell that they were “weak,” “not credible” or “highly questionable.”
Parents of British soldiers killed in Iraq are now considering
law suits against Blair and protestors in the streets are calling him a war
criminal. The Chilcot Report maintains that the legal basis for the war
was “questionable,” but Chilcot said that jurists would have to settle that
issue. He seems to be unaware of the fact that the British Foreign Office
advised Blair that that it was indeed an illegal action. The Justice
Department decided not to pursue charges against the Bush administration,
so the legality issue has not been resolved in the U. S. either.
That there were violations of international law is certain. In
2011 George W. Bush cancelled a trip to Switzerland because a complaint had
been filed in a Geneva court against him. Bush has admitted that he ordered
waterboarding, considered a war crime under the Geneva Convention on
Not only did Bush’s prosecution of the war undermine our moral
standing in the world, it also led to the deaths of 4,502 U. S. service men
and women. Although U. S. officials were forbidden from tallying Iraqi
fatalities, estimates run from 180,000 to 1 million.
The 32,223 wounded Americans (many of them severely injured)
has put a huge burden on the Veterans Administration even with increased
funding. On average 20 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans take their lives
Finally, there is the issue of billions and billions of dollars
spent on this tragic and unnecessary war. A report by Reuters estimated
that the cost, including veterans’ benefits, is $2.2 trillion, which would
grow to over $4 trillion over the next four decades.
The GOP Congress has done nine investigations of Benghazi, but
there has been no comprehensive investigation of the Iraq War. Instead of
yet again harassing Clinton, why doesn’t Congress put Bush, Cheney, and
Rumsfeld in the hot seat?
Nick Gier of Moscow taught philosophy at the University of
Idaho for 31 years. Read all of his columns about the Iraq War on the
appropriate links at www.NickGier.com.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
shall never sit in.
“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.
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