Monday, March 12, 2007

The Iraq War & Criminal Culpability

In the end, the Scooter Libby perjury trial will be little more than a pimple on the ass of a woebegotten era in American history, but it begs two very big questions that will not and should not go away as the Iraq war slouches into its fifth year:
Did President Bush take the U.S. to war under false pretenses and are he and his key advisors criminally culpable if they did so?
Yes, Libby was found guilty of obstructing justice and lying, but even a blind man could draw a line from those misdeeds to the weighty issue of whether the president and his advisors intentionally misled the American public in beating the war drum, which underlies the entire Wilson-Plame leak investigation and subsequent trial.

A sizeable majority of Americans now believe that is exactly what happened. As it is, the record is clear on whether Saddam had a nuclear weapons program (he did not) and less clear on whether he had WMD at some point.

As WaPo op-ed columnist Eugene Robinson notes:
"The usual retort is that, at the time, 'everyone' believed Iraq had WMD -- even Clinton, even the perfidious French. It's true that most observers overestimated Iraq's weapons programs. But accepting some of the WMD intelligence, or even all of it, was not the same as believing that Iraq posed a threat urgent enough to justify an invasion. Iraq was already under the thumb of punishing sanctions and restrictive no-fly zones. No link with al-Qaeda and Sept. 11 existed, except perhaps in Dick Cheney's mind. In terms of any threat to the United States, Saddam Hussein was quite adequately contained."
With the clarity that six-plus years of Bush administration perfidy provides, I believe that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Company knew that Iraq was not a threat in any real sense of the word. Yet these neocon true believers could not help but scratch their Saddam itch and went to Bush to argue that the intelligence they had so meticulously cherry picked made the case that he was a threat -- and that going to war was necessary. The famously uncurious president of course agreed.

Some observers -- including people who believe that the decision to go to war was made first and then intelligence was found to justify that decision -- say this was an error in judgment made in the heat of the fallout from the 9/11 attacks.
That interpretation is woefully shortsighted because it does not take into account that Bush's advisors had been dying to scratch that Saddam itch for years and thought that taking out the dictator would be the best route to remaking the Middle East in their own neocon image.

That was using false pretenses, which was a criminally culpable action.
I do not expect to see any of these men in the dock anytime soon -- or ever. No matter. In its own way, history will be the harshest judge. And, try as they might, they will never be able to wash the blood of so many wasted lives from their hands.


Charles Amico said...

Shaun, AMEN! I couldn't agree more with you but I believe we need to do something about this by some actions. In a piece almost 1 year ago (3/18/06) titled, "Dare I speak the unspeakable..." I wrote the following excerpt (apologize for the length):

"As a country, when all of this is over and they have left power, dare we consider turning them and Rumsfeld over to the International Court at the Hague to stand trial for War Crimes. One could make a legitimate case that it is warranted for the seriousness of their crimes. Of course we would never do this nor should we. But it is worth considering what they have done in the world from the perspective of a person not living in the USA. Someone from a country that is not Iraq nor Afghanistan. How must Europeans look at us? How about Japanese, Chinese, Australians? As a people, WeThePeople need to be willing to look at issues from a different perspective. It is very difficult to do when it is the water we drink every day and the air we breathe from our media and this Administrations manipulation of the truth. We are no better than any other human on this planet but we have been blessed to have been lucky enough to have been born here. We have had our chance to help save lives in the Darfur region of Sudan. Seems like we would prefer to kill people than save people as a country sometimes. When are we going to realize that and rejoin humanity? I'll tell you when, when you wake up and speak out, especially when you are afraid to! We were all one after 911. We squandered the good will of the world. It will take decades to regain it, if we are lucky to live that long."

Americans Care said...

Now posted at:
(Originally posted March 10, 2007)
Americans. We must take responsibility for the actions of our government and our corporations. We must act now to make sure our soldiers have not died or been injured in vain. We must admit when we have failed. Learn from our mistakes. And move on to create something positive from our failures. What does the Iraq War mean to you? Where do we go from here? Please submit your own epitaph for the death of the War itself. Post your entry as a comment or send it in an email to Sponsoships and links to web sites that encourage dialogue about the War are also welcome. Weekly Winners and Prizes to be announced.
From the tears and ashes of our countryman must come an enlightenment and new dedication to truth and love.

Epitaph for the Iraq War
Iraq War
March 20,2003 to ASAP

Election tied

Leaders lied
America tried
And with Pride
Americans died
Those on each side
Were sad & horrified
Our nation is petrified
But must reverse the tide
They're no longer glorified
The murderers can never hide

Anonymous said...

And Erato is one harsh taskmatrix.

cognitorex said...

What I Learned from "Law & Order"
It is well documented that the State Department prepared a post Iraq invasion plan that pointed out the likelihood of Sunni on Shia civil strife/slaughter.
This document was shelved and ignored.
The Military general staff was forbidden on pain of being fired from preparing a full G-4 or post-invasion plan which would with 100% certainty have warned of this civil slaughter danger.
Having watched multiple Law and Orders I now know that the crime inherent here, which was to send human targets into battle but hide known consequences that were politically inexpedient, is called 'Depraved Indifference.'
All mankind now knows that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld organized a propaganda network which cherry picked intelligence to deliberately deceive the American public. (That somebody from this large organized propaganda cabal, in this case Cheney's Chief of Staff, was eventually convicted of felonious behavior should not be surprising. But those who support a Scooter pardon should be made to publically declare that they are in essence declaring that they support, then and now, the propaganda program that lied American and Iraqi citizens into this spiralling deathtrap called Iraq. But I digress.)
Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld et al not only cherry picked false fear based intelligence that led to this conflagration they also deliberately buried the the dangers our troops would face.
They put the troops in harms way. Plenty of documentation exists that the neocon cabal did not 'Support our Troops' by providing the normal and required pre war planning.
Had the political agenda of the neocon cabal been made subservient to proper war planning, thousands of our troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis would not now be dead or maimed.
This depraved indifference should have its day in court.
Craig Johnson

doomsy said...

In "State Of Denial" by Bob Woodward, Rumsfeld at one point casually admits that he and the rest of this criminal administration never seriously thought that Saddam had nukes, despite anything they said in public.

They all need to face a war crimes tribunal one day.