Most people believe, or at least suspect that Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld lied us into the war with Iraq. They all share in the responsibility for thousands of deaths of U.S. military personnel and hundreds of thousands of (some believable estimates as high as 1.2 million) Iraqi people. If it can be shown that they acted in good faith, it becomes only a horrific accident, a misjudgement of epic proportions. To this end, they all claim that they are not culpable because they were fooled by faulty intelligence reports (Cheney has said that even so, he would do it again in a minute). On the other hand, if it can be proved that they purposefully misled the American people and the Congress of the United States, it becomes an entirely different matter. It would and should be considered a crime of epic proportions.
On this 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq I believe that the invasion was too historically significant, the outcome too heinous and monstrous to not have an investigation into who knew what, and when they knew it.
In his book, The Prosecution Of George W. Bush For Murder, Vincent Bugliosi (the prosecutor in the Charles Manson trial) makes an excellent case for bringing Bush to trial. In it he outlines and documents many facts that point to criminal behavior. Bugliosi sites vague opinions in the classified report of the CIA and 15 other intelligence agencies, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). He goes on to site the Administration’s unclassified version of the NIE, the White Paper for the Congress and American People. In numerous places, statements like, “We assess that,” and “although we have little specific information on Iraq’s CW (chemical weapons)…” were strategically deleted in the White Paper to make it appear much more certain than was intended. At one point in the original NIE the report states, “We judge that Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW (biological weapons) and is capable of producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers and covert operatives.” In the White Paper “We judge that” was removed from the statement with the more definitive “Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW…” Most damning is the invention at the end of that statement in the White Paper of “including potentially against the U.S. homeland.” A sentiment not even alluded to in the original NIE.
Furthermore, The White Paper stated that “all intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons.” Bugliosi states unequivocally that this is a lie. All dissenting views were deleted. Even the statements about Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium from Niger were seemingly uncontested. The classified version of the NIE included U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research opposition to this claim calling it “highly dubious.”
Worst of all, the Bush administration’s White Paper left out the most important fact of all, the CIA and 15 other intelligence agencies concluded that Saddam Hussein would only use whatever weapons of mass destruction he was believed to have if he were attacked first. Meaning in self-defense.
George Tenet, the director of the CIA, Condoleeza Rice, national security advisor, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others knew the contents of the NIE. They chose to present to Congress and the American people a fatally flawed and criminally misleading document that led directly to massive unnecessary deaths and the virtual destruction of the Iraqi civilization. The affects of which will last for generations.
It has been 10 years since the invasion of Iraq. So much death and destruction lay in its wake. There are a handful of people who are responsible. If we as a nation are ever to secure justice for the dead service members, the family and friends that mourn their loss, the disabled veterans, the millions of Iraqis whose lives were cut short or ruined, holding these criminals to account for their crimes is the right place to start. Then equitable reparations (through a third party).