Slowly but surely the hardhead who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is realizing what his military experts and others told him all along – he cannot and will not win the war in Iraq.
The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Bush senior advisors say the President is accepting the harsh reality that the U.S. will probably leave Iraq in worse shape than it was before we invaded the country in 2003.
Sadly, the experts in the Pentagon told Bush from the beginning that he could not achieve his goals in Iraq and, had he listened, nearly 2,000 American men and women might still be alive (not to mention the many thousands more wounded and maimed), along with more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians.
“Senior Pentagon officials are quietly urging President George W. Bush to slow down his headlong rush to war with Iraq, complaining the administration’s course of action represents too much of a shift of America’s longstanding “no first strike” policy and that the move could well result in conflicts with other Arab nations,” this web site reported on January 22, 2003.
“We have a dangerous role reversal here,” one Pentagon source told Capitol Hill Blue. “The civilians are urging war and the uniformed officers are urging caution.”
“This is not Desert Storm,” one of the Joint Chiefs told Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. “We don’t have the backing of other Middle Eastern nations. We don’t have the backing of any of our allies except Britain and we’re advocating a policy that says we will invade another nation that is not currently attacking us or invading any of our allies.”
But Rumsfeld joined with the administration’s other notorious hawk – Vice President Dick Cheney – and told Bush what he wanted to hear – we could win a war in Iraq and give that country a Democratic government.
Now, two years after Bush’s grandstand photo op on the USS Abraham Lincoln – landing on the carrier deck beneath a banner that declared “Mission Accomplished” – the President is looking for a way out – any way out.
Before the invasion, Bush didn’t want to hear warnings that his Iraq policy would fail.
An angry Rumsfeld, told the Joint Chiefs to get in line or find other jobs. Bush was also “extremely angry” at what he perceived as growing Pentagon opposition to his role as Commander in Chief.
“The President considers this nation to be at war,” a White House source said at the time,” and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason.”
But an FBI agent assigned to dig up Intel on Iraq told me in January 2003 that his agency was being forced to twist intelligence to justify an invasion.
He said the White House ordered the FBI and CIA to “find and document” links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
“The implication is clear,” the longtime FBI agent grumbled. “Find a link, any link, no matter how vague or unproven, and then use that link to justify action against Iraq.”
CIA documents questioned claims about the existence and capabilities of the “weapons of mass destruction” that comprised Bush’s arguments for the invasion but those questions were ignored if they did not fit the President’s pre-determined perceptions.
We know now that no such weapons existed and while the administration still claims a link existed between Hussein and bin Laden, proof of such a link remains as elusive as bin Laden himself.