at an end; newspapers, magazines and the punditocracy raised the question "...was it
worth it?" The answer depends on what the definition of "it" is. Originally, "it" was an act
of self-defense. We had to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of
mass destruction. We had to stop him from giving a nuclear or biological weapon to
bin Laden who would use it against this nation. In his 2003 State of the Union Address,
President Bush said we had to attack pre-emptively to prevent another attack on this country.
We couldn't wait for proof. The smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud over Manhattan.
The American people were told Saddam was in league with the perpetrators of the September
11th attack. Congress was told a vote against war was unpatriotic, soft on terrorism, and a
career killer. The corporate media told their employees not to question the President, his
motives, or his facts. We were marching to war to prevent an imminent threat to our national
security. This was a war of necessity, not choice. If "it" had been true, "it" might have been
worth the awful butcher's bill this war has rung up. However, "it" was a lie told to the
American people to get their support for a war of choice, a war of imperialism, a war for oil,
a war for Israel, a war to show a son can outperform his father, a war not to end all wars; but
rather one which sparked wars all over the world in its wake.
Was "it" worth it? In 1998, most of the Bush national security team signed a document
supporting the invasion of Iraq. Produced by the "Project for a New American Century", the
paper declared a war with Iraq would depose Saddam; thus removing a serious threat to Israel.
(The genesis of this project began in 1992 as a proposal written for and put forward by Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.) Conquering Iraq would open the oil fields to American
corporations as a lever against OPEC. Iraq would be used as a "strategic pivot" to extend
American influence throughout the Middle East. This idea was rejected by George Herbert
Walker Bush, who said Saddam wasn't worth the life of a single American soldier and who
observed the U.S. had no one to replace him and we would end up running the country. The
"Project for the New American Century" was also rejected by President Clinton.
Former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill wrote in his memoirs that one of the agenda
items at the very first Bush cabinet meeting in January 2001 was a discussion of plans for an
attack on Iraq. Counter-terrorism expert, Richard Clarke, wrote that he couldn't get anyone in
the Bush administration interested in bin Laden or the threat of al Qaeda. Attorney General
Ashcroft told Clarke not to bring up his name anymore. In January of 2002, Karl Rove met
with the Republican Governor's Association and told them the coming war against Saddam
was going to produce huge political benefits. The Downing Street Memos show the Bush
administration had already decided to go to war by spring of 2002, even while calling for
Saddam to open his country up to more inspections. The White House's Iraq Study Group
was formed to sell this war to the American people. We now know that "weapons of mass
destruction" was the vehicle they decided to use to scare America into supporting the war.
"It" was a lie from the very beginning. "It" was an act of American aggression plotted by
Wolfowitz, Cheney, Libby, Pearl, Feith, and Rumsfeld et.al., disguised as an act of self defense.
The American people swallowed the lie hook, line, and sinker. Today, 60% of the American
people say the war in Iraq wasn't worth it. Then, over 60% believed Saddam had nuclear and
biological weapons and was intimately involved in the planning and execution of the attacks
on September 11th.
If you want to know if "it" was worth it, ask some of "its" supporters. Senator Joe
Lieberman says "...if we had withdrawn, it would have had a devastating impact on the entire
Middle East and our credibility in the world. I think "it" was worth it." Military scholar
Max Boot, of the Council on Foreign Relations, says "...years of effort toppled one of the world's
most dangerous and unpredictable dictators and prevented a terrible defeat...if al Qaeda and
the Shiites had succeeded in chasing us out." Former U.N. Ambassador and PNAC signatory,
John Bolton, says toppling Saddam was worth it, "...because it kept him from acquiring
nuclear weapons." Have you noticed a theme yet? "It" was worth it to save face and topple
an unpredictable dictator; and "it" stopped him from acquiring nuclear weapons in the "future".
"It" was worth it, not because of an imminent threat, not because our national security was
in danger, not because terrorists might acquire a nuclear weapon; "it" was worth it for every
reason except the ones used to sell the American people on going to war in the first place.
Imagine if "it" had not occurred. Almost 5,000 young Americans would be alive.
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers would not be wounded physically and mentally. One
trillion dollars would have been saved. Iran would continue to be intimidated by Iraq and
far less powerful in the area today where it extends its influence into Lebanon, Gaza, and Iraq
itself. As many as one million Iraqis would be alive, uninjured, and still living in their nation.
The American military would not be so broken as to be beyond repair in some people's minds.
Most importantly, if Bush and company were not so focused on Iraq, perhaps they would have
used American soldiers at Tora Bora and killed bin Laden, Dr. Zawahiri, and Mullah Omar;
cutting the heads of al Qaeda and the Taliban and Afghanistan would be a different place today.
I don't know how the American people, after being lied to about Vietnam, allowed the
Iraq lie to fool them again. We are easily scared and perhaps fear was what Bush exploited
expertly. The corporate media made a fortune off the drums of war and was too scared to take
on a popular president. Going to war should not be an easy and facile decision. It should be
an act of last resort. Our nation has been shaken to its roots by unpopular wars based on lies.
Was "it" worth it? "It" was a badly conceived, badly planned, and badly prosecuted affair
which strengthened al Qaeda, Iran, the Taliban, and weakened us. "It" was a war of choice
which was unnecessary. "It" was a crime against humanity for which no one will ever be held
accountable. I hope "it" is the last time the American people fall for another patriotic lie.
Was "it" worth it to you? What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals.
Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org