William Polk: The Blame Game (Iraq)Roundup: Historians' Take
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.
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Mary Jane VanEsselsttyn - 11/11/2006
I would like to compliment you on the first honest article I have read since the Vietnam war. It is about time someone has the courage to tell the truth to the American people. Honesty is no longer considered a virtue in a nation that claims its greatness in a world of evildoers where everyone who opposes our policies of globalization is a potential Adolf Hitler.It is we the people who are responsible for our present disaster because of our inability to discern right from wrong, and our habit of electing leaders we know have lied to us throughout our history. We appear to be headed for the New Dark age where we are ruled by ignorance and fear.It might help if we went back to reading again and learning history that has become lost to modern technology and its entertaining gadgets. "Those who fail to learn from the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." Instead of retaining our present status as wimps we might do well to look for a few twenty first century Henry David Thoreaus and then, it might be possible to hold our leaders accountable.
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