- - Thursday, October 2, 2014

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his bumbling co-authors of the Iraqi War have been busy airbrushing the history of the conflict. They have been falsely chorusing to the mainstream media that the war was won by President George W. Bush, but lost by President Barack Obama.

In communicating that big lie, Mr. Cheney and his war disciples were following the instruction of Third Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels: “[I]n the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily.”

In truth, the Iraq War was objectless — war for the sake of war.

It could never have been won because there was nor has been any metric for victory.

There were no weapons of mass destruction.

There was no connection to 9/11 or al Qaeda.

No-fly zones and economic sanctions were keeping President Saddam Hussein in a straightjacket.

He was a strategic cornerstone in blocking Iran from becoming a regional hegemon.

Former CIA Director George Tenet recounts in “At the Center of the Storm” that the White House and Mr. Cheney were committed to attacking Iraq from the first days of the Bush administration. Available intelligence was repeatedly misrepresented to build support for the gratuitous war. The memoir chronicles numerous efforts by Cheney assistants and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to insert “crap” into public justifications for the war. The former director adds that, “There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraq threat.”

Mr. Bush’s ex post facto justification for the war was nation-building — an ambition he had prominently scorned during his 2000 presidential campaign.

After Saddam Hussein had been overthrown and replaced by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the idea emerged that Iraq and Afghanistan had been invaded to secure freedom for 50 million foreigners with no allegiance to the United States. At a 2003 Veterans Day address, Mr. Bush belatedly sermonized: “Our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan is clear to our service members — and clear to our enemies. Our men and women are fighting to secure the freedom of more than 50 million people who recently lived under two of the cruelest dictatorships on earth. Our men and women are fighting to help democracy and peace and justice rise in a troubled and violent region.”

But if an Iraqi democracy was the after-the-fact objective of the Iraq War, it was not accomplished either during the Bush administration or thereafter. Mr. Bush’s State Department 2008 Human Rights Report on Iraq elaborates a tale of human rights horrors.

The report said: “During the year, the following significant human rights problems were reported: a climate of violence; misappropriation of official authority by sectarian, criminal, and extremist groups; arbitrary deprivation of life; disappearances; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; impunity; poor conditions in pretrial detention and prison facilities; denial of fair public trials; delays in resolving property restitution claims; immature judicial institutions lacking capacity; arbitrary arrest and detention; arbitrary interference with privacy and home; other abuses in internal conflicts; limitations on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association due to sectarianism and extremist threats and violence; restrictions on religious freedom; restrictions on freedom of movement; large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees; lack of protection of refugees and stateless persons; lack of transparency and widespread, severe corruption at all levels of government; constraints on international organizations and nongovernmental organizations’ (NGOs) investigations of alleged violations of human rights; discrimination against and societal abuses of women, and ethnic and religious minorities; human trafficking; societal discrimination and violence against individuals based on sexual orientation; and limited exercise of labor rights.”

In sum, Mr. Bush’s Iraqi War was a staggering criminal misstep from beginning to the end of his administration. For the adolescent thrill of playing bully on a world playground, the war cost the American people trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and excited the enmity of much of the Muslim world.

It was no more a military success story than was Napoleon’s crushing defeat at Waterloo.

For more information about Bruce Fein, please visit brucefeinlaw.

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