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Majority of Americans Now Question Justification for Iraq War
by David T. Pyne, Center for the National Security Interest
11 July 2003Iraqi Flag

In retrospect it is painfully clear that Saddam and Iraq never posed any threat either in terms of intention or capabilities against either American civilians here at home or even to US troops which were invading their own country.

According to a poll conducted last week by the University of Maryland, 52 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration either "stretched the truth" about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction or told outright lies. Only 32 percent said they thought the government was being "fully truthful" about the Iraqi arsenal. Similarly, 56 percent of those polled believed the US government stretched the truth or made outright false statements about Hussein's ties to al-Qaeda.

As witnessed by this latest poll, the American people are finally beginning to realize the truth about the war in Iraq and how the Bush Administration deliberately deceived the American people on Iraqi WMD and other issues to attempt to justify a war, which could not be justified on that or any other grounds.  This war represented a marked departure from America's previous 227-year Judeo-Christian just war tradition. For one of the first times in US history, America was the aggressor against a country that our Secretary of State admitted posed no threat to the United States and which has since been proven to lack even a rudimentary capability to even defend itself against invasion let alone threaten another.

This policy, far from being conservative in nature, represents a continuance of the Clinton foreign policy of transforming the United States into an aggressor power that attacks countries that pose no threat to it as was the case when the Clintonites targeted Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Sudan, Kosovo and Iraq for military action without even the most rudimentary justification back in the 1990s. Only in Afghanistan in 1998 was the application of US military power by the Clinton Administration justified, although even then it represented an attempt to 'wag the dog' and divert attention from the House vote to impeach him. Ultimately, it resulted in a couple dozen million dollar cruise missiles hitting a bunch of empty tents in the desert at an Al Queda training camp.

Likewise, the Bush Administration's invasion of Afghanistan was amply justified and properly executed in response to the Al Queda suicide bomber attack against America on 9-11 under the time-honored rules of just war. However, as in the case of Iraq, the Administration has signaled no plans to ever withdraw the US military presence from that beleaguered country or its neighbors in Central Asia, and American troops are increasingly paying the price with their lives as they continue to be subjected to attacks from local insurgents. Today US troops, whose primary constitutional role is defense of the US homeland, find themselves deployed in nearly 200 nations the world over. The US military and particularly the US Army is suffering badly from imperial overstretch even as calls to further slash its force structure continue to ring out from Rumsfeld and his chief lieutenants at the Bush Department of Defense.

Testimony by the Director of the CIA, George Tenet, and a CIA intelligence report issued last fall confirmed that Iraq did not pose an actual or imminent threat to the US but merely a "potential threat" which might emerge several years from now. At the time, Mr. Tenet testified to Congress that "it appears that Iraq had drawn a line in the sand against targeting the US with terrorist action or WMD attack," but that it might change its policy were the US to invade it. Why then did Bush choose to invade it and presumably provoke the very kind of action which he was supposedly fighting to prevent? We can all be very thankful that Saddam chose to destroy his weapons of mass destruction prior to the invasion rather than use them against our brave US fighting soldiers. In retrospect it is painfully clear that Saddam and Iraq never posed any threat either in terms of intention or capabilities against either American civilians here at home or even to US troops which were invading their own country.

As casualties continue to mount against our heroic troops in Iraq, rather than do the right thing and set a near-term time table for the withdraw of our armies of occupation, the Administration has declared that they will remain there indefinitely. If they do, they will almost certainly be subjected to an increased tempo of guerilla and terrorist attacks from the understandably resentful citizens of Iraq, who prefer self-determination and democracy to occupation by a foreign power. America was not meant by its founders to be an aggressor state or an empire, but rather a constitutional republic under God.
Nearly three months after our victory over Iraq, and after untold thousands of searches, the Administration has been unable to locate a single weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. Over one-hundred and fifty of our brave fighting men and women have been killed in action and an equal number of families have suffered immeasurable loss, not to mention the loss of several thousand lives of Iraqi soldiers who died defending their country and Iraqi civilians. Has the price of empire been worth it? The price has already been far too high for too many American families who have had loved ones die without a just cause to console them and justify their heroic sacrifice.

The American people believed the President and were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt with regards to his unconfirmed allegations of possession of threatening weapons of mass destruction by Iraq. However, their patience is wearing increasingly thin as the evidence comes out that the Administration may have knowingly deceived them and manufactured intelligence to support their unsupportable claims. Ultimately, this unjust war may well be the undoing of the Bush presidency. Given that the alternative outcome of a Democrat presidency would almost certainly result in even greater harm to the American republican system of government, hopefully that will not be the case.

David T. Pyne, Esq. is a national security expert who serves as President of the Center for the National Security Interest, a national security think-tank based in Arlington, VA. This article published originally at EtherZone.com; republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.

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