By Eric Munoz
A lot of people have been throwing around the "Blame America,
first" mantra. As if it was the anti-war crowd that forced
George Bush to stand in front of Congress and the world with
gross distortions to justify going to war. Let me say this
first, loud and clear, I am not blaming America. I am blaming
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell.
I believe that they lied, exaggerated and obfuscated because
Americans, for the most part, believe that our might and muscle
should be used as a last resort; because most Americans, for
the most part, believe the blood of our soldiers - who are
also our brothers and sisters, or sons and daughters - should
not be spilled for convenience or political expediency; and
because Americans, for the most part, believe that our military
should not be exploited for partisan purposes.
No, I do not blame America. I blame the President and his
I blame Mr. Bush for leading, or more appropriately, misleading
this country into war. Repeatedly the administration has justified
the invasion of Iraq on the basis of the "proven" existence
of WMD's. They claimed to know where they were, "in Baghdad
and Tikrit," as Sec. Rumsfeld said. They claimed that Iraq
was months away from a nuclear bomb and had "reconstituted"
their nuclear program as Mr. Cheney said. They linked Iraq
to 9/11 as Mr. Bush repeatedly mentioned Al Qaeda when speaking
of Iraq. These were intentional misrepresentations to shore
up support for striking Iraq.
I blame Mr. Bush for disregarding and dismissing so cavalierly
the warnings and cautions of those not convinced Iraq was
a threat. Over and over again, the patriotism and motives
of those that would question the President were impugned.
War skeptics warned of the power vacuum that would be created
once Saddam was disposed of and the potential dangers that
might arise. Theocracies could emerge more in tune with Al
Qaeda than the US; civil war could tear Iraq apart as the
Kurds would seek to expand their control or the Shia's sought
revenge; widespread hunger and dissatisfaction could lead
to guerrilla warfare that would endanger our troops; the lack
of sufficient force to impose law and secure the streets could
lead to resentment; or terrorist organizations could reconstitute
themselves as attention was diverted to attacking Iraq. Unfortunately
all those things have either come to pass or are closer to
realization than any of us feel comfortable with.
I blame Mr. Bush for squandering the goodwill and reputation
this country enjoyed. This country was looked to by the world
as a beacon of freedom and hope. The United States was respected
as a powerful nation slow to anger but decisive in action;
a member and leader of the world community. By undermining
the United Nations and dismissing the concerns of other nations,
Mr. Bush has undermined our ability to lead the global community
and make the world a truly safer better place.
I blame Mr. Bush for damaging the credibility of the United
States. By shifting justifications for the war from WMD to
liberation to humanitarian reasons or to reshaping the Middle
East to bring peace and stability to the region, he has given
the world reason to doubt our sincerity and given our enemies
ammunition with which to use against us. The WMD cannot be
found - even if they are found now it is clear that
we did not have the overwhelming evidence we claimed to have.
By ignoring even more dangerous despots like Kim Jong Il and
Charles Taylor we say to the world that liberation was not
really a concern, just an excuse.
Justifying the invasion on links to terrorism is tenuous
as well, given that Mr. Bush has hosted Saudi Arabia's Crown
Prince Abdullah at his ranch in Texas. 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers
were Saudi and it has been acknowledged that Saudi money has
been diverted to Al Qaeda. The dividends that war supporters
were emphatically pointing to last week as Mr. Sharon and
Mr. Abbas posed with Mr. Bush at a photo-op have gone up in
the plumes of smoke of suicide bombings and assassination
In short, I blame Mr. Bush for making a bigger mess of the
world and leaving it for someone else to fix. No, I do not
blame America for what has happened. She was duped. But, I
will blame America if she is duped again. Or, as the President
might say, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice - can't
get fooled again."