Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just a Little Disagreement Among Some Republican Leaders

Joseph M Hoeffel. The Iraq Lie: How the White House Sold the War. San Diego, Ca.: Progressive Press, 2014.

Joe Hoeffel, as a member of Congress, voted for the Iraq War. He “soon realized it was one of the worst votes of my career, as we were led into war under false pretenses by the Bush Administration”. Bush stated Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that there was an “imminent threat” to the U.S. It turned out Bush was wrong, and he should have known he was wrong.

The truth was Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. U.S. intelligence doubted he had them. Hoeffel writes “Make no mistake, the Bush Administration did not tell the truth to Congress or the public about the classified intelligence regarding Iraq”.

The cost of the Iraq War were 4,500 American dead and 30,000 more wounded. The direct monetary costs were $758 billion with total costs of over $2 trillion, 100,000 Iraqis died.

Intelligence analysts “clearly expressed their doubts” that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. These doubts were not provided to Congress or the public..

There were language changes made in intelligence analysis before they were shown to Congress. Doubts and uncertainties were rewritten as certainties. Congress approved the Iraq War “under false pretenses”, as stated by Senator Jay Rockefeller.

When Rep. Hoeffel told President Bush that Hoeffel favored an international peacekeeping force for Iraq, Bush responded “we are fighters, not peacekeepers”.

The Congressional Resolution approving the Iraq War called for diplomacy and accountability. Hoeffel argues the Bush Administration ignored both conditions.

Bush claimed Hussein tried to buy uranium as an element for producing weapons of mass destruction in Niger. The Central Intelligence Agency had warned Bush that this was incorrect. Forged documents with inaccuracies were leaked in an effort to gain support for the Iraq War effort.

A Senate study found the intelligence community developed “group think” where many accepted each other’s leanings that Iraq had a strong weapons development program There were too much reliance on reports from other countries and third parties which were inaccurate. This much flawed information was reported as fact.

Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA Director George Tenet later expressed regrets over the bad information. They both accepted some blame. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and National Intelligence Advisor Condoleezza Rice refuse to acknowledge their mistakes. Cheney continues to cliam Hussein was creating weapons of mass destruction.

Rumsfeld claims the intelligence community did a good job. Powell, on the other had, admits he was fooled by bad intelligence and he acted according to that bad intelligence.

Congress has since passed reforms to achieve greater access to classified documents.

Hoeffel concludes “We have lost something in America. The legacies of Watergate, Vietnam, and Iraq remain front and center today. People basically don’t trust their national government...We must all get to work revitalizing our democracy. We must make government work for all of us, openly and honestly, restoring our confidence in our system of self-government and improving the quality of life for all Americans.”


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