Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iraq: Ten Years, a Million Lives and Trillions of Dollars Later

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iraq: Ten Years, a Million Lives and Trillions of Dollars Later

Article excerpt

Ten years ago today the debate over the Iraq war came to Congress in the form of a resolution promoted by the Bush administration. The war in Iraq will cost the United States as much as $5 trillion. It played a role in spurring the global financial crisis. Four thousand, four hundred and eighty eight Americans were killed. More than 33,000 were injured.

As many as 1,000,000 innocent Iraqi civilians were killed. The monetary cost of the war to Iraq is incalculable. A sectarian civil war has ravaged Iraq for nearly a decade. Iraq has become home to al-Qaeda.

The war in Iraq was sold to Congress and the American people with easily disproved lies. We must learn from this dark period in American history to ensure that we do not repeat the same mistakes. And we must hold accountable those who misled the American public.

On Oct. 2, 2002, the day the legislation to authorize war in Iraq was introduced, I sent and personally distributed a memo to my colleagues in Congress refuting point-by-point every reason given by the Bush administration to go to war.

On Oct. 3, 2002, I held a press conference with 25 members of Congress and then presented an hour-long explanation to Congress on the House floor, refuting the lies upon which the cause of war was predicated.

It was clear from information publicly available at the time that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), that Iraq had no connection to 9/11, and that Iraq was not a threat to the United States. Anyone who wanted to look could have seen the same information that I did.

Yet some of America's top political leaders bought into the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld drumbeat of war. Two leading Democrats were among those taken in by the White House hype and the WMD argument:

"I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. Saddam Hussain is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people...[I]ntelligence reports show that Saddam Hussain has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists including al-Qaeda members." Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Oct. 10, 2002.

"September 11 was the ultimate wake-up call. …

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