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Sep-24-2010 10:56printcomments

Iraq War Hoax

Clearly, a public apology is due the American people, especially the families of those servicemen and women who lost their lives in this pointless war.

Bush Iraq
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(SAN FRANCISCO) - Recently, President Obama announced the reduction of our military presence in Iraq to 50,000. What we now need is a U.S. acknowledgement that the Iraq war was a hoax on the American people and the world so the country can move on.

Let me recount some of the key events leading up to, and during the Iraq war debacle. It's time to get angry all over again.

Democracy and Nation Building

What did we accomplish in Iraq besides the toppling of Saddam Hussein? Not much. America’s “mission accomplished” has created an unstable, economically devastated nation that will be yet another constant source of instability for the whole Middle East. Did the $53 billion we spent on reconstruction projects or "nation building," work in Iraq? No. As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. According to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency, more than $5 billion in American taxpayer funds has been wasted -- more than 10 percent of the amount the U.S. has spent on reconstruction in Iraq.

Did we sow the seeds of democracy? True, Iraq has had elections, but its lauded democracy is tenuous at best. Elections do not necessarily mean democracy. Iraq has three large ethnic groups: the Kurds in the north; the Sunnis in the middle; and the Shiites, the most populous group, in the south. Given the ethnic and religious rivalry among these three groups and the ever presence of al Qaeda, there is little evidence that an Iraq democracy would last very long without a permanent U.S. military presence. And there is no evidence that democracy has taken root throughout the Middle East.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

George W. Bush and his minions intentionally built a case for war with Iraq without regard to factual evidence. They took advantage of the public's hysteria over the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to authorize an invasion and occupation of Iraq with no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Remember Scott Ritter, a chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, who publicly argued that Iraq possessed no significant WMDs. Similarly, Hans Martin Blix, the head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission from March 2000 to June 2003, searched Iraq for WMD, ultimately finding none.

And remember the "Plame Affair," where Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative allegedly in retribution for her husband James C. Wilson's op-ed piece in the New York Times arguing that, in his State of the Union Address, President Bush misrepresented intelligence leading up to the invasion by suggesting without evidence that the Iraqi regime sought uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons.

In 2002, 156 members of Congress -- 23 Senators and 133 Representatives -- had the courage and common sense to vote against the Bush administration's rush to an unprovoked attack and occupation of Iraq.

No WMD were ever found in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda

The Bush administration alleged that there was a secret relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Untrue. On April 29, 2007, this canard was finally laid to rest by former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet when he said on 60 Minutes, "We could never verify that there was any Iraqi authority, direction and control, complicity with al Qaeda for 9/11 or any operational act against America, period."

United Nations

Who can forget Secretary of State Colin Powell's 2003, infamous presentation before the United Nations to "prove" the urgency to invade Iraq. Powell claimed that Iraq harbored an al Qaeda network, despite evidence to the contrary. He showed photos of an alleged poison and explosives training camp in northeast Iraq operated by al Qaeda even though this area was outside Iraqi control and even though U.S. intelligence agencies found no substantive collaboration between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Later, Powell acknowledged that much of his 2003 UN presentation was inaccurate. Hopefully Colin Powell will set the record straight in a tell-all memoir.

In 2003, a draft of a so-called eighteenth UN resolution, which would have set a deadline to Iraq to comply with previous resolutions to account for all of Iraq's chemical and biological agents, even though the UN inspection teams found no evidence of such agents. The proposed resolution was withdrawn when the U.S. realized that it would be vetoed by the Security Council. Had that occurred, it would have become more difficult for the U.S. to invade Iraq and then argue that the Security Council had authorized the invasion.

On March 20, 2003, U.S. and British forces invaded Iraq.

On September 16, 2004 Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, speaking on the invasion, said, "I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN Charter. From our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal."

The Patriot Act

In the immediate aftermath of September 11, the Bush administration pushed through the restrictive Patriot Act. The Act provided sweeping power to government agencies to monitor the personal habits of not only those who had been identified as suspected terrorists, but anyone residing in the U.S. as well as U.S. citizens residing abroad.

Prior to the Patriot Act, all wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA) required a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Patriot Act granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. Bush used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on American citizens on American soil without a warrant. The NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor phone calls, emails, Internet activity, text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication was within the U.S.

Torture--The Thugs Are Us

On April 16, 2009, President Obama released four top secret memos that allowed the CIA under the Bush administration to torture al Qaeda and other suspects held at Guantánamo and secret detention centers around the world. Remember the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse? According to the memos, ten techniques were approved: attention grasp (grasping the individual with both hands, one hand on each side of the collar opening, in a controlled and quick motion); walling (in which the suspect could be pushed into a wall); a facial hold; a facial slap; cramped confinement; wall standing; sleep deprivation; insects placed in a confinement box (the suspect had a fear of insects); and waterboarding. In waterboarding the individual is bound securely to an inclined bench, which is approximately four feet by seven feet. The individual's feet are generally elevated. A cloth is placed over the forehead and eyes. Water is then applied to the cloth in a controlled manner which produces the perception of suffocation and incipient panic.

In the now-discredited August 2002 memorandum from then Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee to then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez, narrowly defined physical torture as requiring pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, the permanent impairment of a significant bodily function, or even death."

And we all remember former Vice President Dick Cheney's comment that: "enhanced interrogation techniques" (a euphemism for torture) sanctioned by the Bush administration are not torture and dismissed criticism as "contrived indignation and phony moralizing."

The CIA conducted renditions or extrajudicial, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere, where torture was used.

Human torture is not only morally unacceptable – it is also a crime. Waterboarding, for example, is explicitly prohibited by the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. By using torture, the U.S. became the thugs our enemies said we were.

Costs of the War

As of September 23, 2010, 4,421 Americans have been killed and another 39,902 wounded in Iraq. In addition, about 50,000 to 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died and another 2.76 million Iraqis are internally displaced and many thousands have sought refuge in other countries. Did these Americans and Iraqis die in vain?

Since 2001, we have spent $748.5 billion on the war. Imagine how much health care, social services, education, housing, fire and police, etc., this money could have purchased.

The fiscal year 2011 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security is $56.3 billion to give Americans the illusion of security.

Mea Culpas

I fantasize that mea culpas will be forthcoming from Bush, Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Condoleezza Rice, and Paul Wolfowitz. Clearly, a public apology is due the American people, especially the families of those servicemen and women who lost their lives in this pointless war. Will this ever happen? Highly unlikely. Instead, we will probably get self-serving memoirs like Tony Blair's "A Journey: My Political Life", in which he praises George W. Bush as a man of "genuine integrity and as much political courage as any leader I have ever met." Blair leaves out of the 700-page tome any mention of the January 31, 2003, meeting he had with Bush in which Bush proposed a plan to trigger the Iraq war through outright deceit...


The Iraq war was and is a hoax. The nearly decade-long U.S. occupation of Iraq has been totally in vain. Our misadventure did not serve our national interest. We are nearly bankrupt and less safe as al Qaeda continues to grow and Muslims around the world have lost their trust in us. Because of Iraq, the U.S. has lost the high moral ground and our standing in the world has plummeted. Until wrongdoing is admitted, we will be unable to move forward and regain our rightful place of leadership in the world. writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer's talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address

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Natalie September 28, 2010 11:37 pm (Pacific time)

Hmm... strange.. I thought Hollywood already created a series of didactic movies and shows re that verse. BTW, strong rumours are that one of the well-known queens died from umm.."loving" horses(couple centuries ago), or vice versa. Anyway, nothing new under the Sun, and donkeys are a bit downsizing, and even old-fashioned, which is good in a way, I guess.

Vic September 27, 2010 9:24 am (Pacific time)

Daniel..."anon" is a bit of a Judeo-Christian religious type..Id bet he is lashing out at your correct appraisal of the first gulf war because he is miffed at your dismissal of the use of ancient prose (the Bible) as easily manipulated...which like Nostradamus's prose, is easily interpreted in a number of ways. You dont question the holy word of God!!! Like this verse..Ezekiel 23:20 (New International Version) 20 "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses." I'll have to wait for the video....

Daniel September 26, 2010 2:26 pm (Pacific time)

Ano you have positioned yourself as the international policy authority , whats is your understanding of the causes of the gulf wars . Let us see what your understanding is , not just your criticism of mine . Also what is your opinion of the above article .

Anonymous September 26, 2010 10:04 am (Pacific time)

Daniel you're not very grounded in international relations, foreign policy issues, nor aware of the dynamic pragmatic events that impact our national interests. Have you any background in foreign affairs, or do you just take an uninformed and untrained viewpoint on issues way beyond your analytical capabilities and spout?

Daniel September 26, 2010 12:13 am (Pacific time)

Luke The Bible has been changed and reinterpreted again and again and again according to time, place , leadership and culture . Often as a way to control and divide or as a perverted reflection of the readers mind .

Daniel September 25, 2010 11:53 am (Pacific time)

It was not just gulf 2 but also gulf 1 . At the end of the cold war when we were talking about the peace dividend and the congress was talking about the lack of need for a huge war machine we turned a longtime ally into the devil . Iraq was the most westernize country in the arab world , with a 95% literacy rate . Sadam was evil but he was our evil guy and proxy against radical islam . We gave billions to his government and vast military support to fight against the Iranians . His history with the US starts in 1959 as a cia operative and continued until we valued him more as an adversary . And we wonder why the American policy is confusing and hated in the arab world .

Luke Easter September 25, 2010 8:51 am (Pacific time)

"Now as He [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be?’ And, ‘What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the Age?’" (Matt 24:3) "Jesus answered and said to them,'And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. [Still before the Rapture and the 'Apocalypse'] For nation [ethnic group] will rise against nation [ethnic group], and kingdom [country] against kingdom [country] All these are the beginning of sorrows [actual translation is "birth pangs"] and [As with "birth pangs" they will grow closer] (Matt 24:6-7) So, although the world has always had false messiahs, cults, wars, ethnic violence and strife, starvation, disease, epidemics, and earthquakes, Jesus tells us that as a sign that we are entering into the last days we will see each of these increase in frequency and size. Described as "birth pangs," these "pains" will continue to grow worse and worse, coming closer and closer together, as signs we are preparing to enter the Apocalypse. You cah chan your name, phone number even your address but chan't change the bible.

Vic September 24, 2010 5:19 pm (Pacific time)

An apology is not nearly enough. There need to be arrests, trials and hangings. Anything less will be window dressing and we will forever be known as the 21st century version of Nazi Germany. If an apology is good enough for mass murdering liars, then we should empty the prisons where many people are locked up for crimes that are miniscule in comparison. There has never been a serial killer whose murders begin to even come close to where these ghouls are. Arrest, try and execute those who have no right to breathe the same air as the rest of us. They are enemies of humanity. How many killers have been executed for killing ONE person...we are talking about hundreds of thousands of murders and wrongful deaths..from US servicemen and women to entire families...they can apologize before the hanging.

Nate September 24, 2010 12:15 pm (Pacific time)

Agreed, we need to admit to ourselves and the world that this war was wrong.

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