So, say you're the Bush administration. If you've invaded a country and launched an occupation that's cost thousands of American lives, untold Iraqi lives, and shattered others, and left some damaged beyond repair, what do you do if — after pouring over 600,000 documents — you get a report saying there were no ties between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda? One (more) of your reasons for going to war didn't exist? If you're the Bush administration, you just "lose" the report.
The Pentagon on Wednesday canceled plans for broad public release of a study that found no pre-Iraq war link between late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the al Qaida terrorist network.
Rather than posting the report online and making officials available to discuss it, as had been planned, the U.S. Joint Forces Command said it would mail copies of the document to reporters — if they asked for it. The report won't be posted on the Internet.
In making their case for invading Iraq in 2002 and 2003, President Bush and his top national security aides claimed that Saddam's regime had ties to Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.
But the study, based on more than 600,000 captured documents, including audio and video files, found that while Saddam sponsored terrorism, particularly against opponents of his regime and against Israel, there was no evidence of an al Qaida link.
It's a "no brainer". Right?
That connection was also dismissed by the 9/11 Commission report back in 2004, and was doubtful even before that. And this is the commission that covered for and carried water for your administration.
Of course you'd sit on that report, the same way you sat on the report that shredded your planning for the Iraq war (or lack thereof). I mean, you wouldn't want people to know that we're spending $12 billion per month on an war and occupation that was sold with on one lie after another (935 lies, according to one database).
Actually, we're spending $12 billion per month while Iraq is swimming in budget surpluses from oil revenue. (Remember when we had a surplus?) Not to put too fine a point on it, but we're spending $12 billion per month while Iraq has budget surplus, even as we're sliding into a recession and cutting domestic programs. Meanwhile our budget deficit has grown to $263 billion on your watch.
(Never mind that the neither the war nor the budget surplus seems to have improved life in Iraq. Iraqis are leaving in droves, Our own soldiers can't even drink the water without getting sick. And there's surprisingly little compensation for Iraqi families who've lost relatives due to U.S. actions.)
People already think that leaving Iraq would help the economy. A report like this one might cause people to start asking the same kind of questions the Senate is asking about Iraq's budget surplus.
People might start thinking about all that, if you give them something to think about.
After five years, it's much easier to repeat to your base that "It will forever be the right decision," than risk confirming how wrong it was, how wrong it continues to be, and how long we'll have to live with it anyway.