It isn’t just about the war really or the lop-sided economy, the huge trade imbalance, the environment, our borders or even the massive deficit we are accumulating. These are enormous problems – – no question. Rather it is the deceit, the cover-ups, the level of disinformation and the just plain incompetence to which the American people have been subjected.
Yes many intelligence sources believed there were WMD in Iraq; others weren’t so sure which is why inspectors were sent in with whom Saddam Hussein was cooperating. Had statements that we “knew” where weapons were stashed been true, it would have been a “slam dunk” to find them once we invaded. It’s about all the excuses and the changing rationale offered up after the fact. It’s about the Downing Street Memo which suggested that intelligence had been tweaked to justify military action which had in fact already begun before we knew about it.
It’s about the constant references to 9/11 as if there were a substantive link between Iraq and that attack. Thursday on C-Span’s Washington Journal Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair columnist, reaffirmed this notion by saying that a major terrorist had basked in the warm embrace of Saddam Hussein and that this was validation for the invasion. To follow that line of thinking to its logical conclusion we should by now have invaded Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria and countless other countries where terrorist cells exist and whose leaders acquiesce.
Mr. Hitchens also said that Cindy Sheehan had been handed a microphone without proper vetting of her previously-held anti-war sentiments. Presumably it makes perfect sense to provide Hitchens with air time to voice his views. The truth is, no matter which side of the war issue one originally came down on, Mrs. Sheehan has struck a nerve, as witness the response her vigil has elicited. And it isn’t just her loss or that she may have become aligned with anti-war groups. It’s about the fact there are so few answers about why we did what we did and where we’re headed.
Secretary Rice refers to the current constitutional impasse in Iraq as “a process”. Well sure, it’s a process but one that’s orchestrated by a virulent insurgency – – a process not being helped to resolution by our failure to seal Iraq’s borders or protect the civilian population. It should be obvious by now that our troops are stretched too thin and that we either need a massive deployment of military personnel, pulled perhaps from other assignments or that we should just declare victory and leave. To pretend that some meaningful process is taking place amidst crumbling infrastructure and mounting loss of life is to engage in a willing suspension of disbelief.
And assertions that the war has lessened the threat of terrorism strain credulity in the aftermath of the bombings in London and the attack just today on the USS Ashland as it sat in port in Jordan. Obviously the president can’t admit that there has been a surge in terrorist recruitment and activity. Still to use the London attacks to reaffirm a failed policy is just a further step into the theater of the absurd.
There are so many areas of concern it is difficult to focus on just one. We have become a country where important positions are increasingly filled with captains of industry and where religious dogma rises in dispute of scientific methodology. In the end, though, the reasons given for, and the conduct of our military action in Iraq stand as seminal indicators of a government that has operated on the basis of deception, ignorance and incompetence.

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