In the run-up to the war in 2003 President Bush used his bully pulpit to assert that Iraq possessed WMD and posed a grave threat to the United States. No WMD were found in Iraq. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney repeatedly alleged a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida, citing a report about a Hussein operative meeting with 9-11 hijacker Mohamed Atta in Prague. That report was already discredited by U.S. intelligence.
Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby’s recent indictment reveals this administration’s underhanded intimidation of whistle blowers like former Ambassador Wilson.
The mood of the public has changed. Last September antiwar demonstrators numbering over 100,000 attended simultaneous rallies in Washington, San Francisco, and other cities around the globe. Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq, made headlines by setting up a roadside camp en route to the president’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, and demanding a meeting with the president.
One of the last institutions to respond to the changing public sentiment is Congress. There, a major turning point was Rep. John Murtha’s emphatic call on Nov. 17 for troop withdrawal: “Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home!”
Russ Feingold, the one courageous senator who voted against the USA Patriot Act in 2001, called for complete troop withdrawal by the end of 2006.
In the White House it is business as usual as the president continues to defend his policy to “stay the course.” But as his credibility crumbles and popularity plummets, it will be difficult for his advisors to spin this one.
According to a Harris Poll conducted Nov. 8-13, 63 percent of Americans now favor bringing most of our troops home in the next year.
The invasion of Iraq was devious, hasty, and misguided, and the occupation has resulted in over 2,000 U.S. casualties and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead. The continued presence of U.S. soldiers in Iraq is provoking more deadly Iraqi resistance. It’s time to return to the negotiating table and involve the United Nations, Arab countries, and the international community in Iraq’s transition to self-rule. It’s time to withdraw our troops.