One Veteran's Voice

13 November 2005

Revisionism

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.
George W. Bush


Let's get one thing straight. When the executive branch of a wartime government (acting through the CIA and various heads of state) tells the legislature that a rogue government possesses weapons of mass destruction and intends to use them against the citizens of the United States, the legislature is supposed to believe it. Especially after 9/11. That's how it's supposed to work.

When the raw (and very minimal) intelligence from the CIA and dubious foreign sources is distorted and fed to the legislature and people in order to prosecute a war of aggression, the legislature no longer assumes responsibility for the outcome. The executive assumes responsibility.

At the time that the war in Iraq began, I was still stateside at Fort Hood, Texas. I remember being pretty ambivalent as to whether the war was justified. Saddam was not exactly sane or honest, and I felt it likely that he still had a few mustard gas shells left over from the war with Iran (which we happened to fund). If the president and CIA seemed convinced that he was bent on giving aid to terrorists, who was I to question?

But that's not even the real truth about the justification for Iraq. The truth is that I distinctly remember being in the Military Entrance Processing Station shortly after enlisting in late 2001 and predicting that I would eventually go to Iraq. I figured the next big war would be in Iraq. Everybody did; Bush and co. certainly had their sites set on it. It was the next logical progression, and I wanted in on it. Most of the kids who join up to be combat arms are a little screwy, and I was no different.

The point is that America wanted Iraq on a much more primitive level than anyone wants to acknowledge. After Pearl Harbor, there was an enemy country to war with. Iraq was payback for September 11th. Shock and awe. Embedded reporters. It was all great reality TV, and America really came together and had a great war. The problem was and is the aftermath. Any far thinking military man such as Gen. Shinseki, who questioned the ability of only a hundred thousand American troops to succesfully occupy and stabilize Iraq, was quickly chased out of the Pentagon by Rumsfeld. And now we are left mired in the current quagmire.

You are certainly correct, Mr. Bush. We should not engage in revisionist history when it comes to examining the start of the Iraq War.

3 Other Voices:

Joseph said...

Jo Fish sent me over - nice site. I'm the blogger formerly known as Bolo Boffin.

11/14/2005 11:36:49 AM  
gene said...

Brian

Thanks for your service.

You said, "When the executive branch of a wartime government (acting through the CIA and various heads of state) tells the legislature that a rogue government possesses weapons of mass destruction and intends to use them against the citizens of the United States, the legislature is supposed to believe it."

The Senate saw the exact same intelligence that the executive branch did and came to the same conclusions--as did just about every foreign intelligence service out there, including the French (!), Germans and Russians.

Saddam at one time had WMD and used them, had twice invaded his neighbors, and was paying Palestinian families $25,000 to blow up Israeli women and children in pizza parlors. The Dulfer commission documented tons of yellowcake uranium in Iraq and the very beginnings of a new nuclear program, including refurbishing of old facilities, hiring staff, etc.

It became US policy in 1998, under the Clinton administration, to effect regime change in Iraq. Clinton just didn't have the balls for it. (Too busy having them tickled under the desk, methinks.)

OIC was a justified war, even under the UN's own rules.

... now how the aftermath has been conducted is another question.

11/14/2005 04:06:24 PM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

I am not arguing that spotty intelligence existed indicating that Saddam had WMDs, but there was an opposing view, even within the intelligence community, that Saddam was basically contained and did not pose a signifigant threat to his neighbors or the United States. This view was crushed and discredited by Bush and co. Saddam was an egomaniacal and violent dictator, one of many in the world. Unfortunately for George Bush, he did not possess WMDs when we invaded, nor did he ever collaborate with terrorists to use them against the US. On 24 Feb 2001, Colin Powell said
"We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions -- the fact that the sanctions exist -- not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq..."

The difference between Feb 2001 and March of 2003 was September 11, and I still maintain that revenge for September 11 was the real reason for the war.

11/14/2005 04:54:17 PM  

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