National Commentary

The Casualties of War

Former President George W. Bush has few regrets for the fatal decisions he made during his eight years in the highest office of the land.

Former President George W. Bush has few regrets for the fatal decisions he made during his eight years in the highest office of the land.

Among the things that Bush says he regrets is not finding “weapons of mass destruction that we thought were in Iraq.” That statement, in an interview with Nancy Perry Graham, in the AARP magazine, would be comic, if it was not so tragic.

As a reporter at the White House, over and over I heard Ari Fleischer using the White House podium to debase the truth about the existence of lethal weapons in Iraq. He was only following orders. Sound familiar?

American officials, Congress and the press bought it, despite the truth. The British chief of intelligence came to Washington in July 2002 and exposed the administration’s determination to invade Iraq at any cost.

After interviews with key national security officers of the U.S. government, Britain’s top spy wrote to his government that the Bush administration was determined to go to war and “fix the facts” to justify it. That was known as the “Downing Street memo.”

Nevertheless, Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney charged ahead with their military planning.

Bush was aided and abetted by General Colin Powell, the good soldier, who put his credibility on the line and lost his impeccable image. On Feb. 5, 2003, Powell made a 90-minute speech at the United Nations insisting Iraq had a WMD arsenal, and the nation followed in lock step.

Powell later, too late, admitted he had a “black mark” on his reputation. He cleared the path for the nation to support an invasion of Iraq in March 2003. I remember well the White House reporters who were gung ho to go to war – anxious to put their trench coats on and build their reputations as “foreign correspondents.”

After all, they were told the war would last, at best, three weeks, and the Iraqis would greet them with candies and flowers. In the beginning, to some extent that was true. That is, until the Iraqis woke up to the intent of Bush and his neo-con advisers, to destroy Iraq.

To this day, Bush has yet to explain why he invaded Iraq and the speculation still centers on oil, to upstage daddy (who had the good sense not to go on to Baghdad after victory in the Kuwait war), or to help Israel.

Hans Blix, the U.N. arms control adviser, knew Saddam Hussein did not have the alleged WMDs and begged Bush for another chance to search for the weapons in Iraq. Bush refused. He wanted to go to war. The U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003 and has occupied that country since then.

Many thousands of Americans have died and many thousands more of Iraqis have lost their lives from American bombs.

Saddam Hussein was hung to Bush’s personal satisfaction, and also to the joy of others who suffered under Saddam’s brutal rule. In the aftermath, Iraq was destroyed and sectarian violence ensued.

The killing still goes on. To this day, Bush has not explained the real reason for the invasion of Iraq. He can’t, because it is so unacceptable – and unforgiveable.

“I regret not finding Osama Bin Laden,” Bush said in the interview, “I regret the fact, that Saddam did not have the weapons of mass destruction that we thought – I don’t regret removing him from power.”

The war-hungry neo-cons (many who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War) crawled back to their think tanks, and to universities who were willing to take them back into the classrooms. Their silence is deafening.

Bush has retired happily to his ranch in Texas, he says, “looking forward to having grandkids.”

The war has been forgotten in the public mind. The coffins and fate of the many casualties ignored. Not even during the recent midterm elections was it even mentioned by the candidates – out of sight, out of mind.

Tell me, where is the American outrage? Does anyone care that America has paid such a huge human price, as a result of the Bush war, which President Barack Obama has blindly carried on?