President Bush last night continued to deny responsibility for systematically manipulating intelligence to help sell the war in Iraq. Talking about "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities," the president disregarded mounting evidence that there was no imminent threat from Iraq that could justify a unilateral, preemptive war, while failing to mention that the taxpayers will get another $50 billion bill for Iraq – after the election.
- The president continues to provide shifting rationales for the war and disingenuous charges against those with honest questions about Iraq. Last year, the President cited the weapons of mass destruction as the primary reason for going to war against Iraq. After the failure to find WMD in Iraq, he could only offer "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities," in this year’s address. Last year, the President hinted that Hussein’s regime had ties to al-Qaeda. After the failure to establish this link, "foreign terrorists" were treated like a footnote to the insurgency in Iraq. In this void, he offered a new rationale for the war, accusing those who failed to support his misguided war as opposing "the liberation of Iraq."
- The President failed to mention that due to the lack of international financial and military commitments, the U.S. will continue to bear most of the burden alone in Iraq. Sustaining more than 100,000 troops in Iraq for years to come could easily push the cost beyond $200 billion. The irony: the Administration official who estimated that the war would cost between $100 and $200 billion was fired.
The United States needs to come up with a real strategy for post-conflict Iraq, including internationalizing reconstruction efforts. No matter where people stand on the war – we have a responsibility to help Iraq through the period of political and economic reconstruction. Although there is some sign that the administration wants to get the United Nations involved in Iraq again, it is time to match words with action.
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