Friday, February 10, 2006

Bush and the United State’s Involvement in Iraq: Did the Bush Administration Lie to Promote the War?

Many times on this site I have expressed concerns with the War in Iraq. I firmly supported the first war in Iraq, as I felt it was important to respond to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. But I have long believed that, in the absence of any overt immediate threat from Iraq, the United States had no justification for entering the country. Further, I felt that it spread our military very thin at a dangerous time, a time when our military could be called on at any time protect the nation from dire threat.

The time seems to have become much direr in the past few weeks, and still our resources are deployed in the tumultuous nation of Iraq. Are our forces deployed correctly? Is this deployment justified? A few news pieces have been released over the past few days that reinforce my questioning of this deployment, and bear viewing by any person who wants analytically questions the policies of the United States.

First, Paul Pillar, national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, said that the Bush government opted to collect data that would support his going to war with Iraq as opposed to collecting accurate data that would evaluate the risks and pitfalls of engaging in a war in Iraq. Further, he indicates that the Senate Intelligence committee and a presidential commission overlooked evidence that the Bush administration altered data to support the administration’s intended policy.

"If the entire body of official intelligence analysis on Iraq had a policy implication, it was to avoid war — or, if war was going to be launched, to prepare for a messy aftermath," he said. Referring to the two commissions who exonerated the Bush administration, Pillar said “the method of investigation used by the panels — essentially, asking analysts whether their arms had been twisted — would have caught only the crudest attempts at politicization.”

Pillar accused the administration of “cherry-picking”, selecting pieces of raw intelligence that seemed most favorable to its claims that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, as well as intelligence linking Iraq to al Qaeda. However, the body of work did not present these conclusions. The White house ignored reports that Iraq was not ready for democracy, and that any war would require a long, turbulent post-invasion period marked by resentment and guerilla warfare from the citizens of Iraq. Pillar spent 28 years in the CIA.

Add this to last night’s report that Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, was authorized to leak information to the media to support the potential war in Iraq, and we are talking of a much bigger set of issues. Did the Bush administration intentionally leak false information to gain public support for the upcoming war in Iraq, or did the administration leak information it thought to be true despite the warnings of key people in the intelligence community?

Finally, today Al-Jazeera published its special report, “Iraq Under Occupation”. This very informative group of articles on the situation in Iraq not only illustrates the disparity between the Muslim perspective and the Western perspective on the war in Iraq, But also gives a valuable glimpse into the frustration felt by the Islamic world at the role the United States and England has taken in the Middle East. Take a look at the opening passage for the special report:

US and British occupation of Iraq is regarded as the re-emergence of the old colonialist practices of the western empires in some quarters. The real ambitions underlying the brutal onslaught are still highly questionable - and then there are the blatant lies over weapons of mass destruction originally used to justify the war. There were no great victory marches by the occupiers, nor were they thrown garlands of flowers and greeted in triumph. More US soldiers have died in Iraq since George Bush declared an end to the war on 1 May 2003 prompting the question: Will Iraq turn into a new Vietnam eventually bringing the US to its senses ... or perhaps to its knees?

Iraq's history, and along with it that of the Arab Muslim world, speaks of several similar encounters. In the past, enemies attacked from East and West before they were swallowed by the moving sands of the region, or forced to retreat, leaving behind a phoenix-like people who adore life and still accept to die for their freedom.

The escalating Iraqi resistance seems to be setting the stage for another act which might usher in a new Arab World or set the clock ticking for the end of yet another empire.

In the section entitled “War on Iraq”, there is a section named “Deceptions & Lies” broken down into two sub-categories: Justifications and Motives, and WMDs: Circle of Lies. The first article deals with the the desire to depose Saddam Hussein, stemming back to George Bush Sr., the links between Al Qaeda and Iraq, and the tyranny of the Hussein administration. The second article tackles the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

I don’t agree with all the points in either of the articles, but I do have difficulty finding the flaw in the author’s logic. Yes, it is well known now that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden had a longstanding feud, and had taken blood oaths against each other, meaning no alliance between the two leaders would ever have been possible. Of course, no weapons of mass destruction were never found, and the state of military preparedness found in Iraq indicated it was little more than a nuisance to the United States unless we occupied their soil, where terrorism could take hold. Still, I don’t agree with the author’s theories of a long standing conspiracy to topple the Hussein government.

But put together, there one can’t help but question our continued involvement in Iraq. Would Iran and Syria be making the overtures they are now if the American military wasn’t spread thin by our involvement in Iraq? Would Iraq have really been an ally in an axis of power with Iran and Syria, or would they have remained the foe which Iraq has fought for over 100 years? If things continue to get worse with Iran, I for one will want to know whether our involvement in Iraq was truly justified, or if Bush pushed the American government and people into a war with Iraq with false information illegally disseminated to sway our opinion.

Posted by Scottage at 11:38 PM / | |