Truth begins to emerge

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 10, 2003

I told you so – way back last fall that we shouldn’t rush into a unilateral war with Iraq – oh, yeah, the &uot;Coalition of the Willing&uot; really represented a multi-national force to save the people of Iraq (I know of a bridge for sale…), but nobody listened.

I predicted President Bush would go to war regardless of UN cooperation and that it would turn into a mess. Sorry, you coalition of the willing supporters, but I was dead on right.

Although I first started expressing reservations in August 2002, on October 10, 2002 I wrote, following a speech by the president on Oct. 7 that Bush &uot;was disappointingly short on compelling evidence for risking the lives of our troops. Bush gave no new information indicating that Iraq poses an immediate threat to the United States or its allies.&uot;

Nobody listened.

I wrote on Oct. 10, 2002, &uot;Even though we all know that the United States military fought Desert Storm and defeated Iraq for invading Kuwait, it was an internationally approved military action that was supported by troops and funding from other nations. Most importantly, of course, is that it was internationally sanctioned.

&uot;As much as I dislike Saddam [Hussein] and hope he is ousted from power – he is afflicted with the same megalomania that Hitler had – I just don’t like the idea of my country being the aggressor. We’re the good guys and good guys don’t go around beating up on other people (or nations) just because we don’t like them.

&uot;Are we going to war because Saddam violates human rights? Because it has weapons of mass destruction? Because it supports terrorists? If so, how many other nations will we feel obligated to go to war with? There are many nations that engage in the same kind of repression and violence that Saddam does, that have terrible weapons, and that support terrorists. Must we go to war against all of them?

&uot;The CIA reported this week that it believes Saddam will take no aggressive action towards the United States unless he is pushed into a corner. That makes sense. He knows he can’t defeat our military forces and he wants to retain power, so he will not unleash his armament of death against us.

&uot;If his neighbors are okay with Saddam having chemical and biological weapons, why should we send our young men to their deaths while they sit back and condemn us for doing so?

&uot;Based on the bellicose statements coming from the Bush Administration, we are headed for war with Iraq. I’m concerned about that. Our victory would be certain, but at what cost to both our men in uniform and to our standing in the international community?

&uot;My question, since Saddam does not pose a threat to our national security, is why and for whom will these young men die?

&uot;We have a bad enough reputation in the world without becoming an aggressor nation that wages war against whomever it wants whenever it wants without regard to international opinion. What cost Rome its empire? It extended itself too far, made too many enemies by constantly waging war against them and was eventually destroyed by enemies who united against the common foe – Rome.

&uot;We need to be conscious of that and, in keeping with the Christian roots of this great nation, temper our power with compassion and discretion.&uot;

I’m usually not one to crow about being right, but this time it is important. Polls indicate that with an American soldier getting killed on a daily basis in US-occupied Iraq, the nation is finally starting to doubt the wisdom of that war.

One thing I admit to being wrong about back then – I was right that Saddam did not pose an immediate threat to the US and that there was no connection between Iraq and the 9-11 terrorist attacks against the US (two of Bush’s main reasons for going to war – but I was wrong about weapons of mass destruction.

I really thought Saddam was loaded to the gills with chemical and biological weapons (I didn’t think he had nuclear capability and I was right about that). But it turns out that while Saddam might have had some and almost certainly had a plan in place to produce more, the volumes of death-dealing WMDs the president claimed were in Iraq just weren’t.

The reason we went to war is because some very powerful people in Washington decided for their own purposes that it would be a good idea. Bush wanted to get Saddam because &uot;he tried to kill my daddy&uot; and the rest of Bush’s people wanted to do it because they or their friends will profit from this war. Some wanted to do it because the US is the most powerful nation on Earth and they just wanted to exercise that power.

I hope that as the truth finally begins to unfold, more Americans will see the cynicism and brute power that fueled this war, killed our troops and innocent civilians, and caused most of the rest of the world to lose respect for this nation that I love so dearly.