There were plenty of us at the time who questioned the value of the invasion.
It was clear that the costs were undersold and the benefits oversold (cakewalk,
oil revenues will cover costs, etc.). However, the US was caught up in
post-9/11 nationalism and any questioning of the Bush administration was
dismissed as unpatriotic and pro-terrorist. Witness the response to the rather
mild comments of Natalie Maines before the invasion. The Dixie Chicks lost
their fan base, their livelihoods, and their personal security-- merely for
saying they were embarassed by the president. In that atmosphere of hysteria,
any nuance of interpretation was lost. Yeah, many of us were suspicious of the
neocons' motives for war, but we were politically powerless to do anything
about it.Even if you accept the premises for the war (Saddam was
evil- agreed, WMD- skeptical, link to 9/11- no way), you still have to ask if an
invasion and protracted occupation was the only or best way to achieve the
desired outcome. And here the answer is a resounding "no." Saddam was
essentially neutered and contained. There was no immediate threat to the US.
There were plenty of other options.
Re:JoeBlowSome sources were bringing to light the doubts and
questions, but too many didn't. From 1997-2000, General Zinni
was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command, in charge of all American
troops in the Middle East. Zinni says Iraq was the wrong war at the
wrong time - with the wrong strategy. And he was saying it before the U.S.
invasion. In the months leading up to the war, while still Middle East envoy,
Zinni carried the message to Congress. Former General and NSA
Brent Scowcroft, former Commander Schwarzkopf, former NATO Commander Wesley
Clark, and former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki all voiced their
reservations.In his book, Zinni wrote "In the lead up to the
Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence
and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption.""I think there was dereliction in insufficient forces being put on
the ground and fully understanding the military dimensions of the plan. I think
there was dereliction in lack of planning."
Yes, many democrats also supported the war at the time. So did I.Why? I was told that "there is NO DOUBT that Saddam Hussein has WMD",
by none other than Dick Cheney.And we were also told that we better
go in because "we dont want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"These statements were known at the time to be questionable, but we were
not told that. And I doubt that congress was either.These guys told
us what they wanted us to know in order to garner support for a war that could
have waited until we were sure.It will go down as one of the biggest
blunders in US history
'What in Tucket' if you really believe the war in Iraq had anything to
do with some kind of Muslim/Non-Muslim struggle then you may as well buy into
all the hate messages that paint Christianity as a religion of murder and
dominion as well. There are numerous passages in the Bible to paint Jews and
Christians as just as "hateful" as the Koran allegedly causes Muslims to
be. Not all Muslims are warmongering extremists just as not all Christians are
violent members of the Klu-Klux-Klan. Painting with a broad brush as
you've done in that comment inevitably leads to wars, violence, prejudice,
and tragedy. Please reconsider this view ... maybe take a minute to meet some
No Mountman some wars are worth it, though there is a heavy price. But some I
don't think were worth it regardless of the price. I would say topping
this list is Vietnam with the Iraqi war second. Both took a lot of blood and
treasure from our country and did not better our position in the world and have
hindered our economy. The rationale for fighting these conflicts was completely
lacking. I was a child during the Vietnam conflict but those who know me know
that I opposed the Iraq war from the onset (no 20/20 hindsight there). Of
course, as a student of history, I looked at Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers,
where our government basically lied to the people, to make a summation that
Bush's WMD argument probably didn't hold water. I also analyzed,
because of the Persian Gulf War, that Hussein didn't have WMD and was
basically an impotent and marginalized force in the region. Again, my own
Machiavellian positions viewed this conflict as one that had little or no value
to the US and would probably do more harm than good. I stand by that position.
Are we better off because of the Civil War? Many people in the south still
don't think so! How about the war of 1812, or the Vietnam war? Are we
better off because the US invaded Japan and most of Europe? Not everyone
benefited, did they? How about "Desert Strom" war to push Saddam out of
Kuwait? In every war there are winners and losers. As far as Iraq is concerned,
Al Qaida didn't fare so well there did they? You know, those guys who flew
those airplanes into our building in obedience to bin Laden. Was killing him
worth it? Umm, hind site always has 20/20 vision!
Articles like this will get Orrin Hatch to call you a "nutcase" for
protesting a war that should have been protested. In addition, by not reversing
the tax cuts right away when war was declared the unfunded war created economic
damage we encounter daily.
Non Muslims are in a global conflict with an implacable enemy of a thousand
years. It is not going away. Perhaps the Iraq war helped in this battle maybe
not. This was is not over. As long as Muslims find passages in the Koran that
encourage terrorism we will not be safe.
Completely overlooked in the discussion of collateral damage of the Iraq war (as
far as I can tell) is any mention of the unborn. Ironic, since the pro-Life
movement is largely congruent with the far right conservatives who
enthusiastically supported the invasion.Based on casualty estimates
and demographic data, I estimate that maybe 30 innocent preborn babies were
killed in the three weeks of Shock and Awe and maybe another 600 or so in the
ten years of war since. How do members of the pro-Life movement reconcile their
likely support for the war with these figures? If you say it's not
"convenient" to segregate pregnant women from an invasion, aren't
you descending that slippery slope of moral relativism and expedience? How is
that different, other than degree, from a single woman seeking an abortion
saying it is not convenient or it's too expensive to raise a child? Can
you reasonably argue that a baby in the womb is an enemy that can be killed
justifiably and freely?
War is a problem, unjust war even worse. The justification for the war was made
on the basis of stated "facts" which now seem suspect.Better, if at the time, the facts had been lawfully determined. The highest
standard for a lawfully established fact is sworn testimony in a court. People
may swear falsely but can be prosecuted and jailed for their false testimony.The lowest standard for facts is leaked information presented in the
media. It now appears that the justification for the war was made on the basis
of the lowest standards.Senator Bennett was in a position to have
insisted on lawfully established facts proceeding from sworn testimony on the
floor of the US Senate regarding both 9/11 and the supposed Iraq WMDs. He and
his fellow senators did not so insist.As a result, people have died,
money wasted. History will look on this in the worst possible light.
It's certainly true that a number of Democrats supported the invasion of
Iraq. People in power only listen to other people in power. But anyone paying
attention at the time knew, absolutely knew, that Saddam had no WMD. We knew
because Hans Blix and the UN inspection team were in Iraq and had not found
them. And Blix couldn't get a meeting, not with Bush, or Cheney or even
Colin Powell. That was the great tragedy of Iraq.
@atl134I am not sure of your source of information regarding the state of
electricity in Iraq pre-Saddam, but having worked in Iraq a few years ago I can
attest that there is much more electricity being produced now than in pre-Saddam
years. The problem that remains is that the demand for electricity is much
greater than pre-Saddam years because Iraqi's have more money to purchase
electric appliances. (air conditioners mainly) So in spite of increased
production, electriciy shortages remain. Also, although a Saddam
led Iraq was a threat to Iran, he was also a threat to many of our allies,
inlcuding Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc.
Two other issues should be addressed. Iraq is better off with Sadaam gone, but a
strong, militant Iraq acted as a factor neutralizing Iran. Iran is now the
dominant power in the region and has been emboldened to focus on a nuclear
program and help other allies in the region, such as Syria. Also, it was claimed
in the beginning that oil production from a democratic Iraq would help repay
some of our rebuilding costs there. That has not happened.
Thank you, Judge Jenkins. Great op-ed letter.I'm even more
surprised that the Deseret News actually printed it!I think it
should be re-printed every year, just as a reminder.
Notwithstanding my comments above, we should ALWAYS support our troops. They
are doing their duty. The fault of this war lies with President Bush. Congress
supported a resolution but there was no official declaration of war. He might
have been influenced by wrong intelligence and hawks like Cheney, but ultimately
as Truman said well, "the buck stops here." He ultimately pulled the
trigger (sorry about the pun) on this one.
We’ll never know what would have been the consequences in the region if
Saddam Hussein were still in power today. Bush made the mistake of putting all
of his eggs in one basket by resting his case for war solely on Iraq’s
hypothetical WMDs. Saddam’s record of genocide and human rights atrocities
alone were more than sufficient justification for going in.Corrupt
governments in the Middle East were a root cause for militant Islam. Wolfowitz
had long known that and it factored in on the decision. But that might be too
complex to be explained to the public in a way that everyone could understand.
The safe bet was to dumb down the message for Joe Six-pack and based on
intelligence that seemed reliable, WMDs seemed like a can’t miss
proposition. And so the Bush Administration didn’t even try to tell the
public its real reason for going into Iraq.
Thanks, judge, for asking the right question and giving the right answer. I
think a very strong case can also be made that Iraq and the world are worse off
because of the war, but that's an article for another day. By
the way, when the war began, numerous cars in Utah sported bumper stickers
saying "Support Our Troops" They were everywhere. As the war dragged on,
however, and as the war grew less popular, the stickers seemed to disappear.
Today, although we still have troops in Afghanistan, you almost never see
"Support Our Troops" on cars. Could it be that these Utahns never really
supported our troops, they merely supported the Iraq War, and when the war grew
unpopular, off came the bumper stickers. (I understand that the edge of a
metallic flag lapel pin can be used to scrape off a bumper sticker.)
Only R's would defend this war at this point. The cost of lives and
treasure to take out Hussein who was militarily and economically isolated and
impotent was too much. It was a Bush/Cheney ego trip, nothing more. Many
D's jumped on this bandwagon for political self preservation as well as as
an emotional response to the events of September 11. Clear thinking didn't
exist on this subject until the US was sucked in. Many scoffed at John
McLaughlin on his show that the US would be there for 50 years, he will be sadly
right I surmise. Finally, I really don't care if Iraq is
better, that's not the job of our leaders. I care whether America is
better. Call me a Machiavellian or whatever, but any foreign policy should be
judged on this period. Of course, I doubt W. and Co. really cared too much
about the Iraqis but this has been used to "justify" the war, bringing
democracy to Iraq. Again, I could care less. The war hasn't helped our
position in that region and contributed mightily to our debt problem of today,
two things that have weakened the US greatly.
It sure is comforting to know we have a Federal judge who is completely
comfortable with revisionist history and could write an opinion like this with
no mention whatsoever of 9/11 and the mood and psyche of the electorate after
that attack. A couple of points: the invasion of Iraq was supported by a
majority of Democrats and Republicans. There was not only a consensus among
Democrats that Saddam had WMD's but also among the international
intelligence community. So can we please drop the "Bush lied, people
died" outright revisionist falsehood at this point? Is America better
off without Saddam in power? I say yes. And unless you have a crystal ball and
can tell us exactly how events would have unfolded had Saddam remained in power
then you're basically trying to prove a negative. Trillions of
dollars that could have been spent on Social Security and bridges? Has the judge
forgotten about the Democrat's stimulus bill? How many bridges did we get
from that trillion dollars? Zero point zero.
"U.S better off because of Iraq war?" No! I supported Pres. Bush
originally on this subject and support him on many others, but unfortunately,
this was a mistake. But lets be clear, Senator Hillary Clinton, Current
Secretary of State John Kerry, and many other Democrats also stated that Saddam
Hussein had WMDs and supported him at the time, so this was not just Bush's
fault. The US at one time supported Saddam Hussein and thought of him as an
ally, in controlling Iran. We helped Iraq in the Iraq/Iran war of the 80's.
Thank you, Judge Jenkins, for your voice of sanity and reason. Excellent op-ed
@Kim" If it eventually plays out that the war provided some stability
in the region and allowed us to avoid a larger conflict"Considering Saddam was the check on Iran (he was Sunni despite Iraq being
majority Shi'ite, Iran is majority Shi'ite) and that roughly half of
Iraqis don't have access to electricity and water for more than a couple
hours a day (3x as many as before the war) they're a long way from
stability internally and regionally.
I applaud Judge Jenkins for his pragmatic truths about many of the uncounted
costs of our conquest of Iraq here at home, but in his attempt to be perhaps too
charitable to former Senator Bennett's vapid opinion piece on the issue he
kindly concludes that Iraq, at least, might be better off when nearly every
indicator actually suggests otherwise. The travesties of our optional and
misguided war adventurism in Iraq are many and pretending like either country is
better off now will benefit nobody and could warp our view when similar choices
present themselves in the future.
No. No way.
Although I agree with the author that the costs of the war in Iraq far outweigh
the benefits at this time, I don't believe that enough time has passed to
reach an absolute conclusion. If it eventually plays out that the war provided
some stability in the region and allowed us to avoid a larger conflict, then it
may have been worth it.
My theory for the real reason we went into Iraq is that the Bush Administration
saw an opportunity to exploit post-911 public sentiment as a mandate for a more
ambitious and sweeping policy to reshape the political landscape of the Middle
East. Start cleaning house by deposing a villain whom the whole world saw as a
problem. Only time will tell if it was worth the cost.
The loss of our ideals was the real cost of the Iraq War. We attacked a small
nation that never attacked us so we could get control of their oil. It's
that simple. It was naked venality. Never again can I talk with a straight face
about the ideals of America.
Amen Judge Jenkins.It should also be noted that over 2 million
Iraqis refugees fled Iraq during the war and have not returned. Some who fled
to Syria have returned as a result of the war there. The refugees included many
who were educated.
Our country is much worse off each time we try to rationalize that war. There
were and continue to be as bad or worse dictators alive and well in African
countries yet our turns a blind eye there.When Colin Powell was
approached to back Mitt during last years election his response was, war is
terrible and Mr Romney has the same group of advisors that gave Pres Bush some
tragic advice and I fear our country would yet again go to war and for that
reason I cannot vote for Mitt.In our local high school the teachers
are maintaining that there were nuclear weapons found in Iraq. I can only
imagine they teach that because they think by doing so they maintain the
integrity in their political party of choice.In the middle east USA
is badly thought of, maybe because we went after Saddam and finally got him but
decimated the infrastructure, killed 60,000 soldiers and we were also there and
witnessed the killing of 30,000+ citizens who might be alive had we not shown
up...got to love us for that.
Thank you, Deseret News, for printing Judge Jenkins' thoughtful,
reality-based and compelling essay.Please, let's see more like
Thank you, Judge Jenkins, for clearly stating the facts about the cost to our
country of the Iraq War. But I'm afraid you only scratched the surface of
the true cost. You clearly stated the real costs and you provided an excellent
comparitive example of what we could have paid for with the money spent on the
war.But in addition to those costs, I am thinking about the damage
done to the soul of our nation - our national psyche. Their is more division
among our people than at any other time in my life and those divisions get
deeper with each passing year. Patriotism is now measured in how many flag
lapel pins I own or how many yellow ribbons I paste on my bumper rather than on
my commitment to living a respectable and responsible life as a citizen of this
nation. We see that dvision more clearly in daily news from Washington but it
exists on Main Street of every town in America. The unity we felt in the days
following the 9/11 attacks, and all the possibilities for good, was squandered
by this senseless, selfish decision that has turned into a decade long
Are we better off? Absolutely, it cost us only a couple of trillion dollars, a
few lives and bodies and emotions that have been damaged for the rest of the
persons life, ... but look at all the benefits we have gotten in return.