Progressive Writers Bloc

Foresight and Hindsight

By Jeanie Warner

Prior to the Attack on Iraq, there were millions of American citizens who opposed the attack. One group of citizens, which included myself, protested in Visalia every Sunday for months, then held prayer vigils for the soldiers after the attack had begun. The reasons for our protests were:

1. Based on international law, a pre-emptive strike against a weak, mostly disarmed country would not only be morally wrong, but illegal.

2. A military strike against Iraq would divert American resources and military strength from the search for the terrorists of 9/11. It would undermine cooperative international efforts to reduce acts of world terrorism.

3. An American military conquest of Iraq would lead to the disintegration of that country and lead to a lengthy and costly occupation of Iraq.

4. An attack on Iraq would so disturb the dynamics in Iraq and the Middle East that it would cause more, not less, terrorism.

Many of those reasons have been borne out to be true when no large amounts of weapons or chemicals were found. Judging by what we have found there, it would be fair to say that Iraq was in no position to properly defend itself much less be a threat to us. Our own weapons inspectors assurred the government that the weapons had been destroyed, but that is not what they wanted to hear.

Now Iraq’s government and infrastructure are in chaos. Terrorist strikes, kidnappings and insurgency attacks are a daily concern, killing Iranian citizens and our troops.

Our relationships with our historical allies and the Middle Eastern countries that we need to be able to effectively fight terrorism are strained more than they have ever been. Contrary to what the Bush administration says, we are not safer today. Terrorism in the world has increased this year.

So far, Congress appropriated approximately $150 billion for the war in Iraq, but will be higher as the Bush Administration requests further spending later this year. Over 1000 of our soldiers have died. The wounded are estimated to be 7,000 to 10,000 treated for illness, non-combat injury and combat injury since March of 2002.

In hindsight, covering it’s own backside, the Bush administration has changed it’s stated reasons for the war, from “Iraq is an imminent threat to the USA” to “The Iraqis are better off without Saddam Hussein?” We have had a couple of investigating committees who unanimously decided that the intelligence was in error or skewed. The Bush administration "cherry-picked" intelligence data and relied on notoriously unreliable informants like Chalabi it to get the result they wanted: an excuse for war.

The question I have of the Bush administration and those legislators who voted to give him the authority to wage that misbegotten war, is “If the protestors could so accurately foresee the outcome of the attack, why couldn’t they?”

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