You might be interested to compare the remarks in the attached reports
with the essays (on my website) I wrote in 2002 and 2003 /before/ we
lost 2,800 young men and women dead, over 20,000 maimed, another 50,000
suffering life-long results of concussions, about 40,000 or more with
serious psychiatric problems and who knows how many more likely to get
cancer from the use of depleted uranium (which on impact produces a
particularly lethal isotope that locks on to DNA in the bodies of
everyone within range) and were complicit in the deaths of -- I wrote in
my last book 100,000 -- Iraqis for which I was charged with
exaggeration. The best estimate now is /six times that many/, about
600,000. The war will cost us in Congressional outlays alone about $500
billion and, in the whole impact on our country, between $1 and $2
/trillion./ And ran up huge overseas debts: $540 billion in 2004 alone.
Now, it is a little late to begin the "blame game." Who was most
responsible? Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Bush? Our
most senior and experienced generals have blamed them. Of course, they
are right. But that they are only the top of the pile. It is we who are
ultimately responsible. Truman was wrong. The "buck" does not stop with
the president in democracy. It stops with the citizens. We did not
demand answers to even simple questions, accepted half-truths and lies
at face value. The press let us down, as at least a part of it now
admits, but we did not demand it do better. Congress totally ducked its
responsibility, never calling to question those who were making the
decisions, never trying to educate itself and certainly not the public
with public hearings. Nothing comparable to what Senator Fulbright did
during the Viet Nam war was even thought of in the Senate or House.
We just sat, fat and happy, in "the best of all possible worlds" until
the roof fell in on us. It hasn't finished falling yet. And much that is
ugly and illegal has yet to come out. Billions of dollars were stolen in
Iraq. $9 billion right off the top during the "watch" of Paul Bremer.
That was money turned over to him by the UN on the condition of
accountability. It belonged to Iraq. It was never accounted for and has
disappeared. Hundreds of millions of other dollars "were disappeared" as
they say in another context. One I have just learned about is that when
the two sons of Saddam were killed by our forces, they found nearly $100
million in their hideaway. That money vanished. Who could have taken it?
The only people there were our men. Allegedly, throughout Iraq, where we
were handing out American taxpayers money for a variety of purposes much
-- certainly in the millions of dollars -- was stolen, more was paid in
kickbacks and still more in questionable activities. And, as you have
read in the last few days, a senator slipped a rider in a bill to
abolish the post of inspector general. Better not to know. What a change
for America. If you go back and listen to reports during the Viet Nam
war, we all then believed that at least Americans were incorruptible.
Our people may not have been the smartest but we were sure they were
honest. Now we cannot be so sure. Does anyone care? Apparently not, but
if we allow our own system to be corrupted, we are truly in mortal danger.
William R. Polk