A Cause Worth Lying For

A. Scott Piraino

This is not the first time the United States has lied to start a war.

President Roosevelt knew the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor. Of course he did not think the attack would be so devastating and nearly destroy our Pacific Fleet. But he did not tell the public, or the Navy about the impending attack, because he knew the Japanese attack would draw our country into the war.

Roosevelt believed the allies would lose WW II if the United States did not join in the fight. He was prepared to lie, and sacrifice American lives in order to bring US fighting men, and US industry, into the war. Whether or not this was moral is a matter for historians, but the fact is the Axis powers were a threat to the United states, and the world. The Japanese did launch an attack on Pearl Harbor after all, and the German army under Hitler was grinding across Europe.

In the summer of 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox was off the coast of North Vietnam, allegedly on an intelligence gathering mission. Cynics claim that the Maddox’s purpose near North Vietnamese waters was to goad the Communists into attacking the ship, and thus give the US reason to counterattack. What happened next is still subject to debate, but according to the U. S. Navy, the ship was attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats.

President Johnson stated on national television that “violence against the Armed Forces of the United States must be met not only with alert defense, but with positive reply”. The President ordered retaliatory air strikes against “certain supporting facilities” in North Vietnam, and called on congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This Act was in effect a declaration of war, giving President Johnson sweeping powers to engage our country in Vietnam.

There are doubts as to whether or not the U.S.S. Maddox was fired upon by North Vietnamese gunboats. But there is no doubt that President Johnson used the incident to embroil the United States in the Vietnam War. Was he right? The fact is, the ferocious North Vietnamese Army was about to engulf the South, and President Johnson was determined to stop them. The rest is history.

Now George Bush the Second has lied to justify his war with Iraq. The President’s pretense for launching this invasion was his assurance that Iraq had, or would soon develop, weapons of mass destruction. Those allegations have been proven false, and it is impossible to believe that the President ever thought those weapons existed.

First, a forged document was “discovered” stating that Saddam Hussein was attempting to purchase uranium in Niger. President Bush used this as a centerpiece of his State of the Union address to argue for war with Iraq. When the document was discovered to be a forgery, CIA Director George Tenet took full responsibility, and publicly apologized for giving the President faulty intelligence.

The Bush Administration has repaid the CIA’s loyalty by releasing the name of a covert agent in retaliation for criticism of the White House.

Joseph Wilson has been a career Civil Service officer for the US State Department since the 1970‘s. He has served in various posts, including US Ambassador to Iraq during the first Gulf War, where he was commended by the first President Bush. He was also the man this administration sent to Niger seeking evidence that Saddam Hussein had attempted to purchase uranium.

Two weeks ago Mr. Wilson wrote an Op-Ed piece for the New York times, criticizing the Bush administration’s use of bogus information to justify war with Iraq. In retaliation, an unknown White House official (Karl Rove), leaked the name of his wife to reporters and told them she was a CIA agent. Not only is this illegal, National Security laws protect the identity of covert agents, but more than that it’s just petulant.

So far over 300 US military personnel have been killed in the fighting. Last week the president went before the nation to explain why Iraq deserves another 87 billion dollars, while our economy tanks and our deficits soar. The Bush administration does have overwhelming evidence that rogue states are developing nuclear weapons, but the evidence is in North Korea, not Iraq.

As for the War on Terror, US troops are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan, seeking Osama bin Laden and the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks. We havent even captured Saddam Hussein yet, not that it matters now. The Iraqis have already forgotten him, and remembered their hatred of the American Imperialists. The invasion of Iraq has fuelled the grievances of these radical Muslims, while giving them convenient targets by placing US troops in their midst.

There is just no good reason for the Bush administration’s lies. The moral high ground in the War on Terror has been squandered. The national unity and patriotism that emerged after September 11th is gone. Whatever the final outcome of this invasion of Iraq, this has not been a cause worth lying for.

Published in: on October 8, 2003 at 5:00 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

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