Reflections on 9/11

Posted on September 11, 2006

As we reflect on the tragedy of 9/11 five years ago, it becomes blindingly obvious that the path President Bush took in the aftermath has made our country much less safe than we were on 9/10/01. A new Senate report concludes once again that Saddam Hussein had no operational ties to Al Qaeda, nor did he have weapons of mass destruction when the U.S invaded Iraq in March, 2003. It also reveals that Saddam absolutely hated Al Qaeda.
The report, released Friday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, provides details to support the committee's earlier, July 2004 conclusion that much of the intelligence that led up to the Iraq war was flawed, and the report did not turn up any new evidence to support the administration's claim that Iraq was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, the committee's chairman, sought to minimize the political fallout of his committee's findings by noting that doubts about intelligence on Iraq are nothing new. "The long-known fact is that the prewar intelligence was wrong," Roberts said. "That flawed intelligence was used by policymakers, both in the administration and in Congress, as one of numerous justifications to go to war in Iraq."

But committee Democrats, presaging a certain campaign theme this fall, said the new report substantiates suspicions that the White House trumped up the case against Iraq. "The Bush administration's case for war in Iraq was fundamentally misleading," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the committee's ranking Democrat. "The administration pursued a deceptive strategy of using intelligence reporting that the intelligence community had already warned was uncorroborated, unreliable and, in critical instances, fabricated."

Since the invasion of Iraq, the conflict has devolved into an extended battle among anti-American Iraqi insurgents and U.S. and British forces, and, increasingly, fighting between Sunni and Shiite Muslim militias and death squads, according to a recent Pentagon assessment. As of midmorning Friday, 2,662 Americans have died in Iraq operations, and more than 19,945 have been wounded, according to the Pentagon. No weapons of mass destruction have been found by U.S. forces in Iraq, with the exception of some older chemical weapons shells. After the U.S. invasion, the CIA and Pentagon dispatched a substantial team of experts to search for such weapons.
By destabilizing the most secular middle eastern country, Bush ignited a Sunni-Shiite civil war and created a breeding ground for terrorists the likes of which the world has never seen. Five years later we are in a quagmire, our troops are dying, and the oil fields of Iraq are essentially useless because of insurgent attacks. Afghanistan is once again being taken over by the Taliban. Our borders are wide open to illegal immigrants, terrorists and anyone else who wants to come here. Yet we can't take a bottle of Evian on a plane, even if we purchased it at an airport store.

Lives were lost on 9/11. Their families still grieve. And we are not safer. These are the inescapable facts of 9/11/06.