Editorials

Iraq: the reasons have changed

WAR CONTINUES

And the reasons have changed

President Bush has declared an end to combat in Iraq. To criticize or question the war effort now is akin to beating the proverbial dead horse.

But wait a minute. The horse started twitching last week when administration officials offered some new information about why the war was fought. For the first time since the conflict began, advisors admitted that a clear and present danger to the United States wasn’t the reason after all.

That should come as interesting news to the families of the nearly 150 U.S. soldiers who have died, so far, in Iraq and Kuwait.

In the President’s speech on the eve of battle, he spoke of the nuclear threat posed by Iraq. It turns out that was based on a forged document from Nigeria that offered no factual information.

He spoke of the terrorist link to al-Qaida that turned out to be based on a British graduate student’s work, and taken off the Internet. There was no substance there, either.

The threat of weapons of mass destruction has so far turned out to be, as some people call it, mass distraction.

Even the military’s own special team of weapons inspectors has now given up.

Over and over the President said Iraq posed a grave threat to the citizens of this country, but military strategists surely knew that wasn’t true before they launched the attack.

What does that leave as the reason for war? The overthrow of a ruthless dictator? Assurance of oil supplies? As the administration officials put it, the war demonstrated a global show of power in the Middle East. That’s why thousands of Iraqis died and thousands more were injured.

That’s why dozens of American soldiers have returned home in caskets, an additional six in just the past week since combat was officially declared finished.

The war in Iraq hasn’t ended just because the President says it’s over. The fight to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis—whose post-Saddam lives have entered a new brand of turmoil—is far from complete.


    - DGG, May 14, 2003