Over a Million Killed, $ 5 Trillion Spent, and for What?

When someone intentionally commits a horrendous crime such as was committed by invading Iraq they should be prosecuted. The Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal established that legal precedent and the United States should bring those responsible to justice — Editor’s Note

DENNIS KUCINICH

Ten years ago today the debate over the Iraq War came to
Congress in the form of a resolution promoted by the Bush
administration. The war in Iraq will cost the United States as
much as $5 trillion. It played a role in spurring the global
financial crisis. Four thousand, four hundred, eighty eight
Americans were killed. More than 33,000 were injured.

As many as 1,000,000 innocent Iraqi civilians were killed. The
monetary cost of the war to Iraq is incalculable. A sectarian
civil war has ravaged Iraq for nearly a decade. Iraq has
become home to al Qaeda.

The war in Iraq was sold to Congress and the American people
with easily disproved lies. We must learn from this dark
period in American history to ensure that we do not repeat the
same mistakes. And we must hold accountable those who misled
the American public.

On October 2, 2002, the day the legislation to authorize war
in Iraq was introduced, I sent and personally distributed a
memo to my colleagues in Congress refuting point-by-point
every reason given by the Bush administration to go to war.

On October 3, 2002, I held a press conference with 25 Members
of Congress and then presented an hour long explanation to
Congress on the House Floor, refuting the lies upon which the
cause of war was predicated.

It was clear from information publicly available at the time
that Iraq did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs),
that Iraq had no connection to 9/11, and that Iraq was not a
threat to the United States. Anyone who wanted to look could
have seen the same information that I did.

Yet some of America’s top political leaders bought into the
Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld drumbeat of war. Two leading Democrats
were among those taken in by the White House hype and the WMD
argument:

“I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful
vote are not in doubt. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has
tortured and killed his own people … [I]ntelligence
reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his
chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile
delivery capability and his nuclear program. He has also
given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists including
Al Qaeda members.” — Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY),
October 10, 2002.

“September 11 was the ultimate wake-up call. We must now
do everything in our power to prevent further terrorist
attacks and ensure that an attack with a weapon of mass
destruction cannot happen. … the first candidate we must
worry about is Iraq… [Saddam Hussein] continues to
develop weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear
devices.” — Leader of the Democratic Caucus in the House,
Richard Gephardt (D-MO), October 10, 2002.

Even the most trusted newspapers around the country blindly
repeated as fact grossly incorrect assertions by leaders of
both parties.

“No further debate is needed to establish that Saddam Hussein
is an evil dictator whose continued effort to build
unconventional weapons in defiance of clear United Nations
prohibitions threatens the Middle East and beyond.” The New
York Times, Editorial Board, October 3, 2002.

Notwithstanding the blizzard of disinformation, 133 Members of
Congress voted against the resolution that authorized the use
of military force in Iraq, including nearly two-thirds of the
Democratic Caucus in the House. Seven Republicans, including
Ron Paul (R-TX), also voted against the resolution. In the
Senate, the vote was 77 to 23 in favor of a war of choice.

Ten years ago Congress voted to wage war on a nation that did
not attack us. That decision undermined our fiscal and
national security. To this day we are suffering from the
blowback. While most of the troops are home, the United States
maintains a significant presence in Iraq through the State
Department and its thousands of private security contractors.

The war against Iraq was based on lies. Thousands of Americans
and perhaps a million Iraqis were sacrificed for those lies.
The war in Afghanistan continues. New wars have been
propagated in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia pursuant to the
never-ending “War on Terror.” This mindset puts us at the edge
of war against Iran. Ten years and trillions of dollars later,
the American people by and large still do not know the truth.
It is time to usher in a new period of truth and
reconciliation.

— Representative Kucinich’s comments originally appeared in the HUFFINGTON POST (October 4, 2012)

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