Richard Clarke writes: On Tuesday, at this 10th anniversary of the American Invasion of Iraq, we would do well to remind ourselves about some painful facts.
Keeping those facts in our collective memory may make it easier for us as a nation to prevent future mistakes. So, let us recall five unfortunate facts about the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
First, the leaders of the Bush administration were intent on invading from the beginning of their time in the White House. When the 9-11 attacks occurred, Bush Cabinet members immediately discussed how that tragedy could be used to justify an invasion.
Bush himself asked me to try to pin the blame for 9-11 on Iraq. Vice President Dick Cheney propagated a myth that a hijacker had met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Prague, even though we knew at the time Cheney said it that the report was false and that the hijacker was in Virginia at the time of the alleged meeting.
Second, the Bush-Cheney team settled on the excuse for invading that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction. They trotted out to Congress, the American people and the United Nations a series of fabricated intelligence reports.
Iraq was allegedly buying “yellow cake” uranium from Niger. The documentary proof used turns out to have been a forgery. Iraq had mobile biological-weapons labs. The eyewitness has been shown to be a liar. Iraq was allegedly training al-Qaida. The only evidence of that were the ravings of a terrorist under extreme torture.
The proof that these and other fabricated intelligence reports were erroneous was available well before we invaded.
Third, the mismanagement of the war cost thousands of American lives and more than 100,000 Iraqi lives and disfigured, dismembered or traumatized tens of thousands of Americans. The financial and human cost of those casualties will be felt for decades. [Continue reading…]