US-Iraq/war/justifications

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The US-Iraq War

Official Justifications

In justifying the US invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush claimed:

  • (a) that there was strong evidence of WMDs, when it seems clear that there was none and that this was well known to Bush and his closest advisors at the time the claims were made 11
  • (a1) Circumstantial evidence: Bush was apparently determined to invade Iraq whether or not evidence was found, but although this indicates dishonesty it does not prove that he actually knew there was no evidence; it just proves that he didn't care whether the invasion was truly justified.
    • "One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief... My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it... If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it." – George W. Bush2
    • 2007-09-06 Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction "Salon exclusive: Two former CIA officers say the president squelched top-secret intelligence, and a briefing by George Tenet, months before invading Iraq." by Sidney Blumenthal
  • (b) that Iraq had refused to allow UN inspectors (see 3, final paragraph) to confirm their claimed lack of WMDs, when in fact Iraq did allow the inspectors in and the inspectors had found nothing. ("In 2002, the commission began searching Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, ultimately finding none." [W] and "The Iraqi government did what it was required in the 1441 resolution and presented a report of its weapons. The US government claimed that the report was false for not recognizing having the WMDs. It announced the invasion in the Spring of 2003." [W])
  • (c) that Iraq was connected to the 9/11 attacks (for which there is no evidence):
    • 2003-03-21 Letter to Congress: "The use of armed forces against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
    • 2006-03-20 President Discusses War on Terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom: "First, just if I might correct a misperception, I don't think we ever said – at least I know I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein."
    • 2001-09-12: Richard Clarke says that on September 12, 2001, President Bush "testily" asked him to try to find evidence that Saddam Hussein was connected to the terrorist attacks. After an initial denial, the White House has since conceded that the meeting took place. In response he wrote a report stating there was absolutely no evidence of Iraqi involvement and got it signed by all relevant agencies, including the FBI, and the CIA. The paper was quickly returned by a deputy with a note saying "Please update and resubmit," apparently unshown to the President. [W]
    • 2007-03-04 The Seven War Memo: General Wesley Clark says he was told "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq." on or about 2001-09-20. This was soon followed by plans to invade Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finally, Iran.

Sources below have additional points.

Many people 2 4 believe this list constitutes an impeachable offense.

Comments

WMDs as justification?! WTF??

The claimed presence of WMDs in Iraq always seemed to me like an extremely good reason not to invade.

Picture the situation in 2002: you have a crazy dictator who has demonstrated that his only interest is power and that he is willing to sacrifice anything, including his own people, to keep it. Add to this an invasion by an incomparably strong foreign power, pushing that dictator back up against the wall: all of his genuine strategic options are used up, he knows he will either be killed or captured by an extremely unsympathetic enemy. If he had actually been in possession of WMDs, what are the odds that he would have taken the humane route and declined to use them?

So I have to ask the question: why did anyone buy the WMDs lie as a reason in favor of invasion in the first place? Oh, certainly, if Saddam had really had WMDs, or been in the process of making them, we couldn't have just stood around doing nothing about it – but bashing the hornets' nest has to be the worst possible way to go about dealing with that situation (unless you know that he hasn't actually got any of them ready yet; Bush did his best to convince us of the opposite, that Saddam was ready to use his WMDs at any time). When a mad bomber terrorist takes hostages, you tread delicately; going in with guns blazing is a recipe for disaster.

Well, we've managed to get our disaster even in spite of the lack of WMDs; we were just damn lucky that the WMDs were a figment of neoconservative ambition, because apparently we happily bash the hornet's nest when The Decider tells us to. The results could have been much, much worse if the WMDs had been anything more real than scrap tubing and twisted words. --Woozle 14:34, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

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Commentary

Video

Quotes

  • "I thought they were out of their minds, once I realised that they weren't kidding. The most inappropriate, the most counterproductive thing we could've done would've been to invade Iraq and I rather thought that was self-evident." – Richard A. Clarke, former US Counter-Terrorism Advisor [1]

Related Information

  • "In 2003, Republicans refused to allow a vote on a bill introduced by Waxman that would have established an independent commission to review the false claims Bush made in asking Congress to declare war on Iraq. That same year, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Porter Goss, refused to hold hearings on whether the administration had forged evidence of the nuclear threat allegedly posed by Iraq. A year later the chair of the Government Reform Committee, Tom Davis, refused to hold hearings on new evidence casting doubt on the "nuclear tubes" cited by the Bush administration before the war. Sen. Pat Roberts, who pledged to issue a Senate Intelligence Committee report after the 2004 election on whether the Bush administration had misled the public before the invasion, changed his mind after the president won re-election. 'I think it would be a monumental waste of time to re-plow this ground any further,' Roberts said." [2]

Footnotes

1. 2004-10-03 $Disputed Intelligence on Iraq ($ for full article) abstract reads: "The Bush administration was made aware as early as 2001 that the aluminum tubes used as critical evidence against Iraq were most likely not for nuclear weapons, but White House officials continued to embrace the theory as they led the nation to war."

Another source 2 cites the article as stating that "The CIA inform[ed] the Bush administration that the "aluminum tubes," later to be used as evidence of a nuclear WMD program, were probably not intended for that purpose. In the article, CIA officials and a senior administration official say that Rice's staff had been told in 2001 that Energy Department experts believed the tubes were most likely intended for small artillery rockets, and not a nuclear program."

2. Bush's Impeachable Offenses, Part 1

3. 2003-07-14 President Reaffirms Strong Position on Liberia

  • final paragraph: "The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region."

4. Charges and Evidence: Impeachment of George W. Bush