Iraq - Greatest
Strategic Disaster In US History
April 19th 2006
Its time to withdraw our troops from a war that should never have been
waged. There never was any real justification for sending our young men
and women to die in Iraq, and there is even less justification to keep
them there now.
On October 5, 2005, the former head of the National Security Agency,
Retired Lt General William Odom, was quoted by the Associated Press as
saying: "The invasion of Iraq, I believe, will turn out to be the
greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history."
I totally agree with the General.
The lies, deception, and dirty tricks by officials at the highest level
of our government, coupled with the torture scandals, and blatant war
profiteering by the Bush family and administration officials, have
damaged the nation's reputation to a point from which it will never
The portrayal of our intelligence agencies as corrupt and incompetent,
has left our nation in a state of world-wide disgrace. Bush has stirred
up more anger and contempt towards Americans than any President in
The administration took our country to war against a nation that did not
pose even a minimal threat to our security. Close to 2500 US soldiers,
along with an estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians are now dead.
There are those who still insist that we are duty-bound to fix Iraq now
that we have broken it. I used to be among them. No more.
We are stuck in a quagmire with no good options. However, the worst
option by far, would be to continue on with more of the same, and watch
the body count grow. It is clear that Rumsfeld's ill-fated military
planning is not working yet Bush refuses to change the course.
Iraq has become a haven for terrorists that it was not before Bush made
the choice to invade the country. Nearly a year ago, on CNN, Cheney was
asked about the progress in Iraq, and he responded without blinking an
eye: "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the
He was dead wrong.
Forty-some years ago, in reference to the war in Viet Nam, then
Congressman Rumsfeld stated: "The people of the United States must know
not only how their country became involved, but where we are heading."
The people in the US today deserve to know the truth about how we became
involved in Iraq and where we are heading. But even more important, our
troops deserve a plan from their Commander-in-Chief.
The Vice President has labeled criticism of the administrationís war in
Iraq as "dishonest and reprehensible." A statement that came on the
heel of similar comment from Bush.
"What bothers me is when people are irresponsibly using their positions
and playing politics," he said. "Thatís exactly what is taking place in
America," he added.
Questioning policies that are costing the nation thousands of lives and
hundreds of billions of dollars is not playing politics. The fact is,
after 3 years, we are engaged in a mission with no definition and no
benchmarks for measuring success.
The President keeps saying we will not leave Iraq until win. Win what?
On October 6, 2005, during a speech to the National Endowment for
Democracy, Bush said: "We never back down, never give in and never
accept anything less than complete victory."
How are we supposed to know when victory is "complete" if we cannot even
While the mission remains undefined, the troops are overstretched, and
even friendly Iraqis are begging us to leave.
Bush has said that he plan's to keep the troops in Iraq for ďas long as
it takes.Ē That's not good enough. Who knows how long it will take to
institute order in Iraq.
In addition to the steady stream of lost lives and injured soldiers, the
war is costing a fortune in national wealth with a price tag of well
over $1 billion a week.
According to the Congressional Research Service, by October 2005,
Congress had already appropriated $310 billion to pay for the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan, as a new bill was set to add another $50 billion
to the tab.
Analysts predict that the cost will rise to more than $400 billion this
year. But $400 billion is only the visible expense. There are unseen
costs buried in the government's books.
For instance, in June 2005, the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed
a major shortfall in its budget. How could the VA run out of money at a
time like this? Easy. Because the administration failed to budget
enough money to care for the injured troops returning home from the war.
In addition to their medical needs, wounded troops require compensation
for their injuries. According to the Department of Defense, by October
2005, more than 15,000 soldiers had returned to the US after being
seriously wounded in combat.
There is also the revenue that the Treasury will never see because
troops are deployed overseas, and while serving in combat, they are
exempt from income tax.
The American people are not being told about these hidden expenses. The
administration has never provided a detailed estimate of what the war is
really costing. Americans deserve to know how much of their hard earned
money is being flushed down the toilet by this administration in Iraq.
The Congressional Budget Office, estimates that $85 billion more will be
spent this year.
That's $85 billion that will have to be added to the national debt for
payment by our grandchildren's children.
After 3 years of watching our soldiers being slaughtered day in and day
out, Americans want answers. But every time questions are posed, the
White House falls back into the same old worn-out routine of attack,
spin, obscure - attack, spin, obscure.
The staged capture of Saddam in 2003, the handover of sovereignty in
2004, as well as the elections and new constitution in 2005, have all
been overblown as signs of progress. The American people are sick and
tired of this game.
Itís time for the deceptions and distortions to end. Bush needs to
explain once and for all, what he plans to do about Iraq.
By Evelyn Pringle
Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an
investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government.
Keywords and misspellings: politics poletics
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