Iraq: Another Bush lie finished off

Issue 

"Five years after US troops invaded Iraq, there are many tears — though not everyone is crying", Associated Press reported on March 5 "It's the war that more than a million US soldiers have fought, leaving nearly 4000 dead and more than 29,000 wounded in action. The one in which thousands of contractors rushed in to serve and to make a buck …"

The AP report did not make any mention of the consequences of the war for Iraqis — that it has cost as many as a million Iraqi lives (according to a household survey by the British ORD polling agency), forced up to 2 million to seek refuge in neighbouring countries, turned 2.5 million into "internally displaced persons" (IDPs), and left four million not knowing if they are "going to have food on their table tomorrow" (according to David Shearer, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq).

Gregory Gottlieb, a deputy assistant administrator for the US Agency for International Development, told a March 11 US House of Representatives subcommittee hearing that in 2007, 60% of Iraqi IDPs "reported not receiving any food assistance since becoming displaced", while 20% "reported seeking shelter in abandoned public buildings or other informal settlements with no clean water or electricity".

On January 28, the US House of Representatives defence appropriations committee reported that the Pentagon was spending more than US$343 million per day on combat operations and support for the 158,000 US troops occupying Iraq. It also reported that $535 billion — all of it borrowed money — had been appropriated for the Iraq war since 2002.

In a February 8 report, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service estimated that even if all US troops were withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2009, the cumulative cost of the war would be $673 billion. The CRS estimates that the direct cost to the US in 2007 dollars of Washington's 12-year war on Vietnam — in which 47,000 US troops were killed and 304,704 wounded — was $670 billion.

US President George Bush and his allies in London and Canberra — Tony Blair and John Howard — justified the invasion of Iraq with claims that they had "solid" evidence that the Iraqi Baath party government of President Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD) and was could turn them over to "terrorists".

They also claimed that there was "bulletproof" evidence Hussein's regime had links with Saudi Arabian millionaire Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network.

However, Charles Duelfer, the CIA special adviser who has led an exhaustive WMDs hunt in Iraq, delivered a 1000-page report to Congress in 2004 in which he concluded that Hussein's regime hadn't made any WMD since 1991.

Even after the WMD claims were demonstrated to be a complete fabrication, Bush administration officials tried to keep the al-Qadea "'link" alive. In September 2006, for example, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Fox News Sunday TV program that "there were ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda".

Vice-President Dick Cheney told the same day's NBC Meet the Press program that Hussein and al Qaeda had had "a relationship that went back at least a decade".

However, McClatchy Newspapers reported on March 10 that it had been told by a US official that an "exhaustive" Pentagon-sponsored study, completed a year ago, "of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 US invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network". The study was presented to Congress on March 12.

Ignoring the complete exposure of the two key lies upon which he justified going to war, Bush told a March 10 Christian broadcasters meeting in Nashville: "The decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision early in my presidency. It is the right decision in this point in my presidency, and it will forever be the right decision."

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