WHY WE WROTE THIS BOOK
Events have proven that our government’s decision to invade and occupy Iraq was a calamitous mistake. So far, more than 2500 young Americans have been killed; more than 16,000 have been wounded, half of them with disabilities that can never be repaired; and more than 40,000 have received severe psychological damage for which they, and we, will be paying for decades to come. As bad as these results of the war have been, they are just the beginning. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center has learned that perhaps one in every 10 – about 50,000 -- returning soldiers has suffered a concussion whose effects -- memory loss, severe headaches and confused thinking -- will linger throughout his or her life. Exposure to depleted uranium is expected to add thousands of more patients, many of whom will develop cancer, to hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
No one knows how many Iraqi civilians we have killed. Estimates run from 30,000 to 100,000. Since Iraq has a total population of less than 10 percent of America’s, even the lowest estimate means that virtually every Iraqi has a relative, neighbor, or friend whose death he or she blames on us. A whole society has been crippled and may not recover for a generation or more. President George W. Bush and his team originally told us that we invaded Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction that were an “imminent threat” to the United States. When no such weapons were found, we were told that our army had invaded Iraq to bring democracy. Military force may change a regime, but it cannot create democracy.
President Bush and his team have also told us – are still telling us – that they sent and want to keep our army in Iraq to destroy terrorism. But, as we now know – and as they knew then – Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. Our war against Iraq is not reducing terrorism and making us safe. Rather, it is breeding terrorists in large and increasing numbers and giving them a base of operations among people who now hate our country. The longer we occupy Iraq, the greater will be the danger to America.
The material costs or the war will likely almost bankrupt our economy. They will ultimately reach about $2 trillion. That is about $8,000 for each man, woman and child in America. Had we devoted it to the struggle against poverty, hunger, and ill-health both at home and abroad, we could have wiped out AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, various childhood diseases as well as illiteracy and made our world truly safer.
Even many of those who wanted us to attack Iraq, including some of our most senior military officers, now recognize that the war cannot be won. So, the high costs have all been for naught. The war has been a terrible and useless waste. Instead of recognizing this fact, however, some, particularly among the so-called neoconservatives, are now in favor of what has been called “the long war” against “the universal enemy.” This is a recipe for disaster. It could bring upon us, our children and our grandchildren the nightmare described by George Orwell in his novel 1984. Then we would not even know for what and against whom we are fighting, but in the course of fighting we would be in danger of losing the very things we are told we are fighting to preserve. Today, we are truly looking over the abyss toward a hell on earth.
Changing a misguided course is not, as some have charged, a sign of weakness which would encourage our enemies and dishearten our friends; rather it is a sign of strength and good sense. It is neither wise nor patriotic to continue an ill-conceived blunder that is wasting the lives of young American soldiers and Iraqi civilians while threatening the moral and fiscal integrity of the nation we all love. It is now a matter of great urgency, in the interests of both the United States and Iraq for us to begin systematically bringing our troops home and starting the healing process.
President Bush has said, “You’re either for us or against us.” The authors of this book are emphatically “for us.” Both of us have spent years in the service of our nation. But we also emphatically believe that true patriotism is not, as Bush has suggested, blind acquiescence to a misguided policy. Rather, it imposes on citizens the requirement to seek with intelligence, knowledge, and sound reasoning a clear view of reality. Public opinion polls tell us that Americans are trying to do so.
This book aims to help.
So much false information has been given out that the intelligent citizen is hard pressed to get a true picture of reality. So we begin our book with a summary of how Americans were misled into this needless war. Then we turn to “damage reports” on the effects of the war -- on Americans, on the Iraqis and on the U.S. position it world affairs. Citizens have what government officials term a “need to know” this information in order to judge the plan we propose to get the United States out of Iraq But those who believe they know enough about what has happened may wish to fast forward to chapter 5 where we lay out our plan on how to stop the hemorrhaging and get out of Iraq with the least possible cost and damage. In Chapter 6, we consider what will happen if the United States foolishly decides to “stay the course” and, finally, we point up the lesson we should learn from this costly misadventure.
George S. McGovern
William R. Polk
How Can Citizens Find Out
What They Need to Know?
What is Iraq, and Who Are the Iraqis?
Effects on Iraq of the American
Invasion and Occupation
Damage Report: The Impact
On America of the Iraq War
How to Get Out of Iraq
What Happens If We Do Not
Get Out of Iraq?