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Misguided Iraq Invasion Has Claimed Over 85,000 Lives

By James Donahue

The decision by former President George W. Bush to send American troops into Iraq based on false intelligence that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was harboring “weapons of mass destruction” has been a disaster of incredible proportions.

Even though those so-called weapons of mass destruction were never found, a contingent of mostly U.S. and British forces bombed and ravaged Iraq, laced the landscape with plutonium enriched fragments from the bombs and bullets used, set up a puppet government that murdered Hussein, launched a civil war, and destroyed that nation’s infrastructure.

Now we are receiving reports by the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry that 85,694 civilians died in the bombing and fighting, and another 147,195 were wounded between 2004 when the war started and 2008. The conflict continues although President Barack Obama has promised to start bringing troops home and draw our involvement to an end.

To date, 4,350 American troops have died in the Iraq conflict. A total of 4,668 troops from the United States, United Kingdom and other forces have been killed.

Because Bush diverted the nation’s military attention from an original fight against Al Qaeda Islamic militants hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, that conflict has since escalated to a war between U.S. and UN forces against the Taliban, which no longer makes much sense. The Taliban did not attack America on 9-11.

Now as President Obama contemplates a military request to send in more troops and escalate the Afghanistan war, we have an estimated body count since our engagement of over 20,000. That includes about 800 American troops, over 11,000 Afghan troops, and over 7,000 Afghan civilians killed since fighting started.

That is a large number of lost human lives in two wars that were totally unnecessary. The way we should have responded to the 9-11 attack was to send especially trained military forces into the territories where the Al Qaeda militants were known to have been hiding out and put them out of business. The whole operation would have been a quick and inexpensive response that would have issued a powerful message to a then sympathetic world. The operation could have been accomplished in weeks if not days.

Whether President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and our military leaders in the Pentagon failed to know just what the Al Qaeda was when they decided to attack Afghanistan is unclear. We understand that we were a nation in shock after the attack, and they were under great pressure to act like a hive of angry hornets. They had to attack somebody and obviously stung the wrong targets.

Looking back over the massive waste of American tax dollars, spending billions on private contractors to restore the bombed infrastructures, provide services to our troops and even fight the war outside of the control of our military, we suspect that these wars were planned.

Was it all a secret plot to fleece the American treasury while pumping up a military industrial complex that has become too big for its own britches?