Monday, September 14, 2009

Ted Kennedy on the Bush/Cheney lies that led us to invade Iraq

Teddy Kennedy's memoir has come out today, and talking Points Memo has just published what Kennedy wrote about the way the Bush/Cheney administration lied America into invading Iraq for American domestic political purposes. America has lost all the lives and treasure, and Iraq has been devastated to advance the political fortunes of the American conservatives.

Here is Kennedy on the lack of justification for the war:
My views on war drew upon the teachings of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. A distillation of their philosophies has yielded six principles that guide the determination of a "just" war, and these principles were my guiding arguments:

• A war must have a just cause, confronting a danger that is beyond question;
• It must be declared by a legitimate authority acting on behalf of the people;
• It must be driven by the right intention, not ulterior, self-interested motives;
• It must be a last resort;
• It must be proportional, so that the harm inflicted does not outweigh the good achieved; and
• It must have a reasonable chance of success.

There was no just cause for the invasion of Iraq, I declared time and again. Iraq posed no threat that justified immediate, preemptive war, and there was no convincing pattern of relationships between Saddam and Al Qaeda. The "legitimate authority," the Congress, indeed approved authorization for the use of force in Iraq in October 2002, but it acted in haste and under pressure from the White House, which intentionally politicized the vote by scheduling it before midterm elections. By contrast, in 1991, the administration of the first President Bush timed the vote on the use of military force against Iraq to occur after midterm elections, in order to de-politicize the decision.

As for "motives," those stated by the Bush administration itself were unacceptable on their face. "The Bush administration says we must take preemptive action against Iraq," I pointed out from the Senate floor in October 2002. "But what the administration is really calling for is preventive war, which flies in the face of international rules of acceptable behavior." I was far blunter less than two years later, when the loss of life among our young troops and the devastation to Iraqi society had grown grotesque. The war, I charged on the Senate floor in July 2004, was "a fraud, cooked up in Texas" to advance the president's political standing.
Besides being a fraud, the War in Iraq caused the Bush/Cheney administration to take the resources away from Afghanistan where they were actually needed. The result is that America did nothing to improve Afghanistan at a time when the population was a lot more prepared to accept what we had to offer. Because of the Bush/Cheney blindness and self-centered conservative, the Taliban has been reconstructed and now threatens the nuclear-capable Pakistan and al Qaeda is becoming a new and more dangerous entity world wide.

In every way the Bush/Cheney administration failed to provide for American security and failed to adequately protect the American people.

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