The United States is pulling its troops out of Iraq by the end of the year. Well, not quite.There will still be a large group of soldiers left behind to train Iraqis and to repair the war-damaged sites. Now, will someone from the White House hierarchy, past or present, please tell the American people why we invaded Iraq in March 2003? The truth and nothing but the truth — that will be the day. Why are we still speculating on the reasons we went to war in the first place, other than to hunt down and kill Saddam Hussein, the brutal Iraqi dictator, who was at one time a friend of the United States? Former President George W. Bush and his neo-conservative cohorts justified to the American people that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (read that as nuclear), and Iraq had to be targeted. Since the start of the war against Iraq, thousands of Americans and Iraqis have been killed and wounded, and the killing continues to this day. The pain and suffering to those fighting in the war, and their loved ones at home, is unfathomable. Yet the neo-cons, who evaded the Vietnam War by getting higher degrees at the universities or by getting married, were advising and pushing Bush to go to war with Iraq. Bush once said he wanted to be a “War President” because only “War Presidents” are remembered in history. He will be remembered, all right. I will never forget when the head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, Hans Blix, urged Bush to let U.N. inspectors go into Iraq to see if Hussein had harbored lethal weapons. Bush refused to allow the inspections in Iraq. Instead he promptly invaded Iraq, despite the fact that none of the terrorists that attacked on 9/11 were Iraqis. Bush later mentioned in his memoir the only regret he had was not finding any weapons of mass destruction. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. Clearly Bush did not want his reason for invading Iraq to prove to be a hoax. His decision has left the country continuing to speculate, “Why Iraq?” Why did Bush sacrifice human lives and hard-earned tax dollars to fund a war which we don’t know why we entered in the first place? The White House sold Americans a bill of goods that the war in Iraq would last two to three weeks at the most, and the troops would be showered with candy and flowers. At first this appeared to be the truth until the reality of war set in — the hanging of Hussein became an item on the American agenda. Too many people have died for the lies that were told. There were no weapons of mass destruction, and Bush would have known this if he had simply allowed Blix to check in the first place. Where is their conscience? Other reasons speculated for the invasion of Iraq included Bush’s desire to upstage his dad, former President George H. W. Bush, who won the Kuwait war but did not finish the job of knocking off Israel’s nemesis, Saddam Hussein. Now the war is winding down, the question remains: Who is responsible for this debacle? Who will pay the price of this costly decision? Apparently there is no accountability among the U.S. presidents for past wrong decisions. Furthermore, have we learned anything from this colossal fiasco? When will Americans wake up? What did we gain from these wars — in Iraq and Afghanistan, except a bankrupt economy and the tragic loss of so many human lives? Why shouldn’t President Barack Obama welcome soldiers home for Christmas from Iraq — and Afghanistan? Helen Thomas’ posts appear here courtesy of the Falls Church News-Press .
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