Whether the intelligence used to justify the Iraq invasion was faulty or fabricated continues to be debated. Although no evidence of an active Weapons of Mass Destruction program was ever found in Iraq after the invasion; just old, rusting, unusable chemical munitions left over from the Iran-Iraq War decades earlier, some people continue to believe Saddam had a WMD program and managed to hide it somehow. Others believe the Bush administration simply reached the wrong conclusion on the best available information. Others are convinced that the Bush administration fabricated intelligence and lied to justify the invasion.
These contrary beliefs are buttressed by so-called facts. Some of the cited facts are only partially correct and at times contrary to the public record.
The issue should be resolved as conclusively as possible. One way to do so would be a Truth Commission. The Truth Commission should be authorized to probe the circumstances leading up to the invasion by reviewing the entire record including classified information and with unrestricted authority to compel witnesses to testify under oath.
Here are some suggested areas where a Truth Commission could start:
- Who formed the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon and for what purpose?
- Why did Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who was assigned to the Office of Special Plans, report that the Office of Special Plans promulgated falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the President?
- Why did the Bush administration rely on the reports by Curveball, an Iraqi defector and thief, who claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when UN weapons inspectors confirmed that Curveball’s claims were false?
- Why did the Bush administration base its claims that Saddam Hussein had WMDs on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress which received major funding from the United States and was headed by a convicted fraudster, Ahmed Chalabi?
- Why did the Downing Street memo indicate that the facts and intelligence were being fixed around the policy to invade Iraq?
- Who created the forged Niger Documents showing Saddam had attempted to purchase yellow cake and why were the forgeries used to justify the invasion when both the State Department and CIA questioned their authenticity and the International Atomic Energy Agency found the documents to be fakes?
- Why were the weapons inspectors pulled from Iraq before they completed their investigation?
- Why the rush to invade in view of the fact the UN did not authorize the invasion?
Let us hope that a Truth Commission will conclude that no one in the Bush Administration fabricated intelligence, or misled the Congress and American people. If so, the issues are put to rest and need no further debate.
If the Truth Commission finds the justifications for the Iraq invasion were false, then those responsible should be held fully accountable. To do otherwise dishonors our troops who have paid a horrible price. Many died and hundreds of thousands more suffer from disability which, according to the best estimates, will cost more than one trillion dollars over time.
As veterans, we insist on the answers a commission can provide because the high cost in lives and money still continues and we must not let our nation fail our veterans. They deserve to know the truth.
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