Shameful Iraq War – Based on Bush’s Lies – Is Finally “Over”

by on December 16, 2011 · 22 comments

in American Empire, Civil Rights, Military, Peace Movement, Popular, War and Peace

The American military’s involvement in Iraq is over, with the formal ending of the engagement being announced yesterday by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at a very low-key ceremony at the Iraqi airport. Attended, by the way, by very few Iraqi politicians and civilian leaders.

This war – which cost 4500 American lives and 32,000 wounded, and over (a conservative estimate) 100,000 dead Iraqis – which forced us to spend $1 trillion, was one of the most shameful periods in modern American history.

This has to be said – as the corporate media, the pundits and politicians declare how proud they are of American combat troops while saying nothing about all the lies that the Bush administration pushed in order to invade that country in March of 2003.

In this celebratory atmosphere – we need to remind ourselves of the lies that got us there.

Lie No. 1: Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government had weapons of mass destruction. None were ever found.

Lie No. 2: Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attacks on 9/11. Totally not true.

Lie No. 3:  the Iraqis had connections with al Queda.  Totally not true.

For nearly 9 years, we ravaged that country. Remember the “shock and awe” that we were supposed to see?  Remember how the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms, that the taking of Baghdad would be a “cakewalk”. Do you remember these as well?

As the last American combat troops leave, there will still be a few hundred to provide security, training, contract coordination – after all we have to do something with that huge, billion-dollar US embassy we built.

And don’t forget: there will still be thousands – yes, thousands- of American contractors there – most with guns in their hands, providing security.

Don’t forget this also: Barack Obama gained the White House in 2008 because he was “the anti-war candidate”. Do you remember that? The American people were so fed up with the war that they made him President because of his promise to end the “dumb war” – as he called it.

Finally, three years into Obama’s presidency and one year to the next election, the troops are out.

Most of the American people never wanted this war.  Thousands, hundreds of thousands demonstrated against it back in the Fall of 2002 and in early 2003. Yet our voices were drowned out by the drums of war beating mightily.  Huge protests were held all over the globe – to no avail.  No one listened – no one in power listened. Which created years of cynicism by our educated citizens.  The anti-war movement, barely alive to the end, was marginalized for many moons by the establishment and the corporate media. And the corporate mass media betrayed us, too – they carried the lies to us in an unblemished silver platter so we could gobble them up.

In fact, this marginalization of the movement, this betrayal by the media on the horrendous issue of the war is a good reason for the development of the entire world of blogs and alternative websites. The failure of the corporate press to critique Bush’s lies and their hand in the  absolute destruction of the truth in the early months and years of the invasion and war were what led to the establishment of an alternate media world of the blogosphere. Media projects like the OB Rag got their start during this period of mainstream deception.

It was a shameful war. We never should have gone there with bombs blasting and tanks blazing. And now it’s over. Should we be celebrating? Jumping for joy? Our demands were finally “met”.

But it’s a different time; we still have the war in Afghanistan going on – and won’t officially end until 2014; because the country has coddled the super-rich for too long, our government is now broke. The same administration that rode to power on its anti-war stance now keeps the other war going and is cavalierly destroying our basic civil rights, it seems. So no, no celebration from this quarter.


{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

john December 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm

As I know strongly defending the opposing position on this is not going to make me any friends here I pledged to avoid it if possible. However some clarifications might be helpful, I will let the sole document which detailed our justifications be all the input I will provide.

On #1:

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;

On #2

(see #3- this was actually never claimed officially but Cheney did imply this with his meet the press spot on Atta- intel the czechs stood by at the time)

On #3

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens;

(see )

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;

Whereas Iraq’s demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;
So the language does not quite make the claims you remember.

Where I will share your views however is that Bush effectively did promote the war dishonestly and did not put the main reasons front and center, especially in public address. I doubt they thought his WMD were a real threat at all at that time, though they probably assumed he would make more and use them.
The more important reasons weren’t kept secret though.
Whereas in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq’s continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests

the United States forged a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the national security of the United States

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region

that Iraq’s repression of its civilian population violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 and `constitutes a continuing threat to the peace, security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region,’

it is in the national security interests of the United States

Whereas it is in the national security interests of the United States to restore international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region:

Frank I actually see a lot of common ground between us on this but you view it from the angle of “war is almost never an answer” and I view it from “realpolitik”. What I am pointing out though is it was about the oil, it’s always about the oil over there, and they couldn’t have said it more times in that document if they tried. It’s a shame the American public seems to demand that they be lied to. I do recall laughing when I saw protestors in February or so with their no war for oil signs and media asking Bush “it’s not really about oil is it?” and the poor dope having to look straight in the camera and lie “no it’s not about oil, oil has nothing to do with it!”
In that light I have long said if anyone believes they were lied to they needed to be lied to.
(I do however respect your position that oil is not something to go to war over.)


john December 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

correction: the second link I gave (husseinandterror)has either been hacked or had its domain expire. The page previously hosted this article in its entirety:

It is factual and well referenced. Saddam was up to his neck financing international terrorism, which inflamed Israeli-US/Arab Muslim relations.


idontcare December 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Effin Bush invaded Iraq, which now became a hotbed of terrorism. The Christians of Iraq who have been there for thousands of years are now almost all gone. Is there democracy in Iraq? No.
It’s more like an Iranian satellite.
Fuck that shit!


The Bearded OBcean December 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm

If I say “According to accuweather, it’s going to rain tomorrow” and it doesn’t, does that make me a liar?


yohu December 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm

you’re the most f** stupid idiot that I have ever seen. You cannot use that weather forcasting as a pretext to attack another country.
The difference is … if its not going to rain tomorrow.. is fine but it certainly won’t cost a thousands of lives.


The Bearded OBcean December 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm

You’re a fairly reasonable individual. Try chewing on your words a bit before writing them next time. It might do you, and those of us unforunate enough to read them, some good.


john December 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I’m pretty sure it’s “stupid f*** idiot”, if you’re going to express your doubt of the solidity of your argument with a prequalifying ad hominem, at least be correct with it.
I believe the point was that if someone believes a situation is the case at the time, based upon all the information available to him, and it’s shown later to be other than that but we never find he had other information available, it’s not fair to call him a liar.
According to the CIA, Saddam had WMD. Lying is saying something you know to be false. No document existed asserting Saddam had disarmed.
It was believed when sanctions ended Saddam would have soon resumed attacking his neighbors, costing thousands or hundreds of thousands of lives.
Whether this would have actually happened is no more provable than proving the situation would be better had we not invaded.


dave rice December 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Actually, the CIA wanted to redact some of the lines in Bush’s speech. They knew that a large portion of his stockpiled weapons had atrophied to the point of being marginally effective, if effective at all. The administration pursued their predetermined course of action in spite of the facts on the table.

If the CIA said “Wait a minute, we’re not sure we’re cool with you saying that,” and Bush said it, I’m okay with calling him a liar.


john December 16, 2011 at 6:14 pm

1. “Bush’s speech” assuming you are referring to the SOTU of 1/03 and the “sixteen words” was long after Congress voted on the Joint Resolution and the voters do not go to the polls to approve policy.
Summary: No one’s input was waiting on the war at that time, so why would he lie to influence anyone?

1b. As the JR details it was his programs and capabilities they cited, let’s not pretend he wasn’t intent on making more.

2. It hardly changes the fact that Congress’ vote and Bush’s course of action was based on the NIE furnished by the CIA in October 02, its caveats were so few to be inconsequential. Of course they had a predetermined course of action, do you expect them to embark on an operation of that magnitude on a “gee, I dunno, we might go to war- or not! who cares!!!!” attitude? By the time the SOTU address was read, most of the invasion force had amassed.

3. Please produce an example of these “facts on the table” which would assert Saddam had disarmed. I believe you do have it backwards. These were the facts on the table:
I know of no document produced by any intelligence agency on the planet that asserted Saddam Hussein had disarmed at that time, and I have researched this extensively. If such a document exists I would like to file it in my favorites to avoid using an erroneous talking point in the future.


Goatskull December 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I’ve actually had the rather interesting experience of hearing vets from that war (now long after the fact for them after the returned home and got out of the military) that we never had any business being over there and even admitting to taking part in ending the lives of innocent people. Some had kind of a seemingly arrogant middle finger attitude towards anyone who had a problem with that and others struggling to come to grips with what they were involved with. The human toll and psychological damage war can do to a person is very real and unrelenting.


john December 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Most will never get over PTSD for that very reason. WW2 vets did because it was accepted by everyone that they “saved the world”. This allows them to have a clear conscience over taking another human’s life- it’s okay, it was necessary, it was all for a greater cause. They can put it behind them and forget about it because justification validated, is closure.
Vietnam vets conversely would have to question their actions just to stay alive and be convinced it was a regrettable, immoral mistake. The lives they took, the horrors they saw, the comrades they lost, their conscience can never be wiped clean.
They have to live with it forever.
I wish there was some way people who strongly oppose wars could have their deserved opinions weighed in the public eye without so adversely affecting these men, but it’s probably the way things must be. I wonder if their rhetoric would even be necessary without the ignorance of jingoist propaganda they must counter to see a balanced perspective bared to the light.
It’s a dilemma that will endure, because war doesn’t appear to be going out of fashion anytime soon.


Goatskull December 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I think the best thing we can do for vets is to always make it clear that opposing the war itself is not opposing the individual who is fighting/fought it. I believe the anti war movement needs to do a better job of that. And if some vet does huff and puff about protestors, just take it with a grain of salt and have some compassion for that individual. Too many out there are having trouble finding work and becoming homeless. Not acceptable.


Frank Gormlie December 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I was in the Army; grunts and lower levels of officers just follow orders. We all know this. We cannot blame or hold accountable the military personnel at the bottom of the ladder – unless they happen to be caught in something horrendous like participating in the abuses at Abu Grave (sp?).


dave rice December 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm

You were in the Army, Frank?!?!?

Regardless, your premise here is entirely correct. Having graduated high school around the turn of the century, I have friends that joined the military either out of financial distress or in the naivety of being young, trusting, and believing in their government.

Where I come from, several miles east of where most SD transplants have ever ventured during their tenure in this county, patriotism and other good ole Midwestern values trump a lot of the thinking that happens in the country’s urban cores – we might as well have been in Nebraska, minus all the tall buildings (well, actually, the El Cajon courthouse was the only one) and the 20 minute drive to the beach or Tijuana.

Back on topic, these kids joined the armed forces out of a sense of duty and a genuine desire to do what was right. I’ve seen them come home shell-shocked, disillusioned, angry at the world. I’ve seen them struggle to cope with the disdain many of us have for what we feel was a bogus war launched on bullshit premises.

And I support them. Because they didn’t sign up for the mess they ended up in. Because they wanted to be heroes, not pariahs. And because, on the journey to maturity, they learned the truth, and got the hell out.

I know it’s a controversial and contrary position, but I support our troops 100%, even while I lack the slightest iota of respect for their commanders.


Frank Gormlie December 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Yup, was in for about a year and half. Long story. I was the company “hippie” because my hair was 1/2 inch long, instead of the required 1/4 inch. Plus I listened to the Doors and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.


mr.rick December 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm

The point should be this. Are we going to accept the premise of “Pre-emptive War”. Just to invade a country because we think it might have designs on getting us first. That is something any small, ill-equiped country should sweat. Is the U.S. going to invade us because they don’t like our rhetoric? That’s about the size of it, as far as Iraq is concerned. So, as much lying(or whatever you want to call it) is done in preparation for an invasion is concerned doesn’t matter. We still invaded a nation that did little to us other than the leader was flapping his jaw in a manner that offended our selected administration. And we need to make sure it never happens again. No matter what the political affiliations of the party in the White House. No war without a “Declaration of War” from congress. And congress has to have more than a “hunch” that said country doesn’t like us. At least make sure they have a weapon, a means of delivery and the stupidity to pull the trigger.


john December 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm

“That is something any small, ill-equiped country should sweat. Is the U.S. going to invade us because they don’t like our rhetoric?”

well if they invade 2 allies we’ve sworn to protect and fail to meet the obligations they agreed to in a cease fire repelling them from occupation of said allies (meaning that war for legal and practical purposes never ended) and are still making overtures of agression at them they should sweat!

said ill equipped country had in 2002 the largest (and arguably the most experienced) standing army in the middle east, 400,000 strong, lacking only resupply of equipment. their two largest vendors were about to consummate 25 year drilling contracts, as sanctions were about to end when we realized they caused 9/11*. you think they’d like to pay the bill with Migs and Mirages?

“At least make sure they have a weapon, a means of delivery and the stupidity to pull the trigger.”

check, check… and check.
google “Saddam use oil as a weapon”. his sponsoring of suicide bombers in Israel was the trigger, he’d been pulling it for several years. he nearly pulled off an arab oil embargo on the US and Israel in spring 2002. Iran was actually allied with him on it. his aim was to see OPEC dump the dollar for the euro, which would cause the overthrow of the royal saudi family when their dollar vested fortunes collapsed their economy. US influence is pushed out of the gulf, china, russia and france are in, the dollar crashes.

I wsnt to reiterate I know I can’t change your mind nor would I want to, it doesn’t matter, wouldn’t accomplish a thing. There is a pretty big gap in some of the facts used to support opinions on this and the facts as they can be verified. If your position had its facts in order I would be more inclined to share it.

*one thing that people don’t realize is the policies we used to contain Saddam caused 9/11. They had to be abandoned. The status quo of containment was over.


Terrance Swartz December 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I would be guessing if I said you are not X military or you don’t ponder military matters beyond a liberal view. When America was attacked on 911 it wasn’t a minor terrorist act by any means. You see, the Middle East is a region of the world that we needed to control the spread of the terrorism and must be held at bay; not to mention “OIL”.

As for Bush’s lie about Iraq? Does the name Tenet mean anything to you? All intelligence provided was that Saddam had NBC’s and ask the Kurd if the Iraq weapons existed. Come on, you’d be the first to complain it you couldn’t buy gas for your vehicle or had to pay $6.00 a gallon. The straights of Hormuz was threatened when I was in the Navy almost 35 years during the Carter administration and Carter said if Iran blocked the straights it would be considered an act of war, so that region has been a problem for quite awhile.

If you think the book on Iraq is closed you’d be mistaken. So how do you know what Obama did is right and what Bush did was wrong? You see, the USA pulling out of Iraq is only one paragraph in one chapter in a 4000 year civilization. The jury is still out on this one.


john December 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

If you read Alan Greenspan’s memoirs he states that in 2002 he exercized his duties as the senior economic advisor to the President and asserted it was vital to the national security of the US and the economic security of the world to remove Saddam- as he said he believed he would eventually have nuclear capability and use it to gain control of the Straits of Hormuz.


Frank Gormlie December 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Terrance, please don’t let history get in your way.


Terrance Swartz December 18, 2011 at 8:28 am

Frank, since I’m 62 years old I doubt if history is getting in my way. The problem is there are some people who interpret history and try to push their one sided beliefs on others, only after manipulating the facts to support their position.

I have a total of twelve years in the military; four active, two inactive, three active naval reserves, and three active Army reserve. The three years in the Army was working directly for a Brigadier General. For those who never served the military or those who never completed their sworn oath to fulfill their duties it is difficult for them to know how the military truly operates. In short, those who are liberal take one position and those who are conservative take the other. So, where’s the truth? Those in the military follow the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and march to the order of Commander in Chief who is a civilian. Make no mistake about it, when governments fail and many have since Obama took office, the military takes charge. You know, like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and many others around the world. Yes, those damn military leaders are in charge of a society when governments fail. What does that have to do with Iraq?

Well, whether people want to admit it, the Middle East is where we get our oil to run the economic engine of the west. Solar, Wind and alternative sources are a joke at this time. Do the research, to make your home energy independent (depending on sq ft. and region) cost about $75,000. The return is a joke and those who push this type of energy are fools.

Back to history, some people read it and some people make it. Where do you stand?


Goatskull December 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

“In short, those who are liberal take one position and those who are conservative take the other. So, where’s the truth?” Here’s one truth. There are liberals who serve in the armed forces and also there are members who do not believe we should have ever been in Iraq. Lots of them. They still follow orders and go but that doesn’t they agree with it. If you spend 12 years in the military then you already know this.


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