It was with little fanfare, and barely a mention by President Bush, only to say ‘isn’t the world better without Saddam Hussein?’ that the United States officially called an end to the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction (MWD). Last week the Iraq Survey Group announced that it was officially ending its search. This wasn’t even front page news with San Diego’s largest metropolitan newspaper; you had to turn to page three to get this news. This was in sharp contrast to two years ago when the case was being made for a war on Iraq.
Now it seems like such a long time ago, but it was just two years ago MWD and chemical warfare was frontpage news. From the President, who was sounding the alarm about the threat posed by the weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein, to Secretary of State, and General, Colin Powell backing up the President with satellite pictures and the voice of military experience and authority, and with the full support of the Bush Administration they made the case and instilled the fear needed to wage a war. Who can forget the fear raised by the threat of a chemical weapon attack on the United States and the government’s advise to seal our windows and doors with duct tape in case of an attack!
Every day, on every news outlet there was a frontpage/lead story about the threat. With a majority of the country buying into the stories and who can blame them after months of propaganda, President Bush took the country on an unprecedented course, based soley on the issue of MWD! The President defied the international community, vowing to go it alone, He ignored the reports that did not support his contention, and told the American people that the country needed to set aside its historical precedent of defending its people to becoming the aggressor and attack Iraq before they attack us.
The schock-and-awe offense was launched and with nary a military response from Iraq, the United States continually battered the country. Part of the military strategy was to focus the bombing on reports of Saddam’s where abouts hoping to blow him to hell, a flawed strategy. After the bombing, US troops rolled into Iraq city and toppled a statue of Sadam Hussien. Bush declared victory and with much enthusiasm began the search for MWD.
As it became painfully clear that there would be no MWD found, President Bush began changing the message as to our purpose and justification for being in Iraq and scarficing the lives of over 1300 men, not counting the wounded nor the number of Iraqies who lost their life.
This whole episode reminds us of the Roseanne Rosannadanna character on Saturday Night Live fame who as a news person goes on a tirade about something or another after which she finds out her tirade was based on false information which ends here segment with “never mind”.
Unfortunately this is not a comedy skit and we can’t just forget it. We can’t forget the lives lost in this war. We can’t forget that so far it has cost this country in the neighborhood of $150 billion, with the President set to go before Congress seeking anywhere from $80 to $100 billion more next month. Nor can we forget the fact that we have no exit plan or date from this war.
So once we ask, was it worth it? Now is now up to Congress to decide the answer to this question.
When Bush goes before Congress seeking the billions to continue this war, they need to ask the hard questions, starting with ‘what date do we get out?’