I’m concerned about the enormous price military families are paying for the war in Iraq. So far, more than 500 American service people have lost their lives, and more than 3,000 have been wounded.
President Bush was not honest with military families or the rest of the country about why he felt it was urgent to launch a pre-emptive war in Iraq last March. The clear implication of all the statements made by President Bush and his administration before the war was that Iraq was an imminent danger to the U.S. and that we had to act, alone if necessary, to defend ourselves.
But CIA Director George Tenet recently told us the intelligence analysts “never said that there was an ‘imminent’ threat,” and there was disagreement over the status of Iraq’s WMD programs. Now we know, of course, that Iraq didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction.
Military families know the risks and sacrifices they sign up for. But our president has an obligation to use war as a last resort, and to be honest with Americans about the real reasons for going to war.
So far, the war in Iraq has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $150 billion. It cost $14 billion between last September and last November alone.
Not only do we not know how much more American taxpayers will have to pay, but the Bush administration won’t even give us an estimate until after the election — the costs of military operations in Iraq are not included in the 2005 budget.
This isn’t surprising, as President Bush has misled us from the beginning as to why it was so important that we launch a pre-emptive war, hiding the ambiguity of the intelligence from Congress and the American people. Now we know Iraq was not an imminent threat to us, and that we could have used more time to work toward a peaceful solution, or at least to build more international support, which would have lowered the price we’re now paying, in both dollars and American lives.
President Bush must be held accountable for his actions. I hope New Mexico Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman will join other members of Congress in issuing the president a formal reprimand for misleading us.
Michele J. Morris is a Clovis accountant. Her father is retired military and her boyfriend is stationed in Afghanistan with the Air Force. She can be contacted at: