Aeschylus is not exactly a household name, but the words that the Greek playwright penned some 2,500 years ago still ring true today.
“In war, truth is the first casualty,” he wrote. On this 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, we can certainly reflect on, and hopefully learn from, the wisdom of these words.
We all know how the story played out. As America reeled from the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, our leaders set about ... destroying the Islamic terrorist movement. The initial strategy of attacking Afghanistan — the known base of al-Qaida — was the correct strategy ...
Then, in late March 2003 came the invasion of Iraq, based on “evidence” of weapons of mass destruction in that country. The invasion was ... based entirely on the false pretense that these weapons existed ... Those who questioned the White House’s direction and the flimsy evidence produced found themselves accused of being unpatriotic.
We now know the truth. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qaida was not using Iraq as a base - in fact, its presence there escalated only after the invasion took place.
The lies and faulty evidence cost us dearly. Nearly 4,500 American servicemen and women died, and another 32,000 were wounded. There are many veterans of the Iraq war who will live out the rest of their lives with severe disabilities, such as lost limbs and other long-term injuries.
And for years after the invasion, Iraq became a dangerously destabilized state in a region of the world that didn’t need another powder keg. It evaporated the goodwill and cooperation that many nations had shown toward the United States in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
This week another shoe dropped on the folly of the Iraq war. A study by the Special U.S. Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction concluded that much of the $60 billion in U.S. taxpayer money spent on reconstruction of Iraq “underperformed.”
In plainer terms, it was siphoned away due to corruption, political patronage, waste and destruction.
The Bush administration led this folly of a war, but it was joined by a long list of supporters — Congress, the media and to a greater extent, the American people.
The lack of compelling evidence for attacking Iraq is clear to us now and should have been clearer to us in 2003.