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Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Uncategorized | 15 comments

Iraq and the Failure of Accountabilty

Anyone who has ever spent time in the criminal justice system knows that it is defined by its breathtaking arrogance and jaw dropping abuse of power. The moral bankruptcy, rank hypocrisy, unequal treatment, expense and inefficiency of the system are nothing less than inconceivable. A thesis writ large would do little justice to the virtual justice it routinely dispenses. We could wax poetically about the system’s demand for humility, its requirement of contrition and the psychological, if not pathological need for the accused and all others to concede the purity; the nobility of the system and all who work therein.

Woe unto those who refuse the infallibility of the system; the moral superiority of those who prosecute him, them or her. Pity the fool who fails to show the requisite respect. Anything less is the unacceptable failure to take personal responsibility for one’s conduct. This in and of itself is a punishable offense. And while demanding personal accountability from all others it forgives itself far too easily. Such is the bias of privilege. Such is the privilege of power.

Never has this fundamental truth been more fully realized than the hot mess that is Iraq. We remember it well, the people who lead us into this quagmire and the lies they told.

Weapons of mass destruction they snorted. Ties to Al Qaeda, responsible for the September 11 attack, mushrooms clouds and yellow cake uranium they groaned. We will be treated as liberators, the war will last no more than a few weeks, we can win on the cheap and Iraqi oil will pay for it all, they quipped. The falsehoods never ended.

So we invaded a sovereign country which posed no threat to us and did us no wrong. We overthrew their government, disbanding their armies, fired their police and mismanaged the war. We stayed the course and then we surged. For years we occupied their country, misplaced millions of American dollars in the process and declared victory without defining the term. Eventually we left. However we did not leave Iraq a better place. We instead broke it into a million pieces, creating a jigsaw puzzle that no one can piece together.

Some would argue that the war advocates were simply wrong, that they operated in good faith in reasonable reliance upon faulty intelligence. Rubbish! Not for one moment do we don’t buy this excuse.

We are instead persuaded that those responsible for the Iraq fiasco were neither innocent nor duped by faulty intelligence. We are instead convinced that the war hawks deliberately twisted the intelligence to justify the invasion. We are further persuaded that these same forces intentionally used the trauma of 911 to manipulate the country into the disaster know as Iraq.

Even if viewed in the light most favorable to the war advocates, whatever intelligence they relied upon was their intelligence. Faulty or not, it was produced by people and agencies under their direct control and exclusive jurisdiction.

Yes, at one time Saddam Husein possessed horrible death-dealing weapons because we gave them to him. And yes, he was a brutal dictator who murdered his own people. But he was our brutal dictator. We created and armed Saddam Husein during the Reagan Administration as a bulwark against Iran. After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And we collectively looked away when in the 1980’s, he murdered his fellow Iraqis.

Most importantly, these were not simple mistakes about mundane matters. They were instead horrendous mistakes, disastrous mistakes, unnecessary yet deadly mistakes concerning matters of grave national and international importance.

And, the Iraq war mongers were not just wrong. They were fundamentally wrong, consistently wrong, completely and indelibly wrong. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no yellow cake uranium or ties to Al Qaeda. The Iraqis did not treat us like liberators, their oil did not pay for the war, the conflict was not short-lived and those who opposed us were not in the last thrones of their insurgency.

During our years of occupation, we made no attempt to understand the people of Iraq or their culture. We failed to preserve law and order or restore basic services. We did not control the Iraqi borders and we created an army of resentful, well armed resistance fighters by disbanded the country’s military and paramilitary forces without first securing their weapons or offering alternative means of employment. We compounded these grievous mistakes with the Au Ghraib prison scandal, a recruiting tool for terrorist worldwide if ever there was one.

Approximately 4,500 American soldiers perished in a needless war and tens of thousands more were severely injured. Anywhere from 150,000 to 500,000 Iraqis died in the invasion and occupation alone. Since then tens of thousand more have died in car bombings and sectarian violence. The Iraq army, which we spent millions of dollars to train has discarded their weapons and abandoned their posts. Americans soldiers are now once again called upon to quell the violence.

Suppose the Chinese and their “Coalition of the Willing” had used the economic meltdown of 2007, to invade our nation, disband our government, destroy our cities and cause the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Imagine further that the Chinese multiplied these sins by imprisoning and abusing our citizens in their own Abu Ghraib, all under the guise of protecting the world’s economy from imminent collapse.

Who amongst us would be satisfied with the “oops, we made a mistake” defense? What reasonable American would accept the “faulty intelligence” argument? Or would we instead demand that the invaders be treated as war criminals and tried at the International Criminal Court for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression?

The Iraq blunder may well be the biggest foreign policy/diplomatic/military mistake in our nation’s history. Ironically, the true and correct intelligence, “Bin Laden determined to Strike in the U. S.” was completely ignored, while the bad intelligence, “weapons of mass destruction, mushroom clouds, ties to Al Qaeda”, etc., was accepted and acted upon. Amazing!

But rather than fade quietly into the background, instead of practicing the art of dignified silence, the architects of the Iraq War are hardly quiet and anything but remorseful. Led by Vice President Dick Cheney, in a June 17, 2014, Wall Street Journal Op Ed entitled The Collapsing Obama Doctrine”, the usual suspects are as truculent as ever.

Rather than show humility, theirs is the nasty habit of placing hubris before humility; pride before wisdom. They argue that the surge worked, we won the war in Iraq, we left Iraq a stable country and the consequences of decisions they made, of actions they took, is the President’s fault. Unbelievable!

It is important to note that the President was one of the few who voted against the resolution granting the Bush administration the authority to use force against Iraq. And those who pushed the hardest for the Iraq invasion did not place themselves in harm’s way regarding this or any other armed conflict. During the Vietnam War, Mr. Chaney benefited from five deferments having as he put it, “better things to do”. Talk about the arrogance of power.

Where is the personal accountability here? Why have those who advocated for the war and who failed so miserably in its prosecution, not been taken to the woodshed?

If anyone else made a single decision that cost the life of a coworker, or resulted in a billion if not trillion-dollar loss to their employer, whether based upon “faulty intelligence” or not, they would be out on the street both unemployed and unemployable. Their opinions would have no value and they would not be invited to appear on TV anymore than O. J. Simpson should be booked as an expert on domestic violence.

In conclusion, Blackcre makes no attempt to shame the shameless. Nor do we endeavor to reason with those who know no reason. We simply make the following request of the media.

Stop kissing the asses of those who were so wrong for so long. Stop booking the Iraq apologists on the Sunday talk shows. Let them practice their right of free speech elsewhere. And above all, cease and desist from seeking their input about Iraq any other foreign policy matter. Given their track record, we would be better advised to consult a fourth grader.

Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum


  1. Before Iraq invaded Kuwait back in 1991, Our U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, met with Saddam Hussein to get a feel for his intentions. April told Saddam that the U.S. would not get involved in an Arab-to-Arab conflict after Saddam told April that God wanted him to invade Kuwait. Well, the U.S. did get involved.
    Saddam had legitimate reason to invade Kuwait (he believed). (1.) Kuwait was driving down oil prices. (2.)Kuwait would not forgive Iraq monetary debts incurred during the Iran/Iraq war. Saddam needed money to pay his veterans and their families. Saddam believed Iran would have taken Kuwait during the Iran/Iraq War if it weren’t for Iraq protecting Kuwait. SOURCE: IRAQ WAR READER.

    • Thanks for the comment and the additional information about the 1991 Iraq invasion of Kuwait. I don’t know if its true or not or if it justifies the invasion, but at least it adds content and context to the situation.

  2. Once again, you have hit the bull’s eye!

    I would love to see a follo-up that attempts to propose solution(s) to the litany of “deciders” running amok.

    I am not sure I have any such solutions in my pantry. Maybe nobody does. Nonetheless, I think it is a pertinent question to ask: What can we (the people of the United States) do to stop the incessant stupidity?

    • Thank you sir. I always appreciate your feedback.

  3. Nice job Leo! Well said.
    Reminds me of the native American, Creek Indian Nation fiasco of the 1840’s in Spanish Florida. The United States government wanted Florida. President Andrew Jackson especially. The U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines took on the Creek Indian Nation to either move them WEST to Oklahoma from their homeland, or destroy/eradicate them from the face of the Earth. The name “Seminoles” given to them by the U.S. Government is a derogatory name meaning, “Wild One”, “Wild Men”, or “Runaways”. The U.S. Military spent 40 million dollars in the 1840s (7 billion in today’s currency) to rid the Creeks(Seminoles) from the Earth. The Creek Indians and their Black Slave Allies successfully fought off the combined might of the U.S. Military for years and years. The U.S. government/military finally had to lie (lie lie lie lie lie lie) and pretend to call for a truce inorder to capture the leader of the Creek/Black Slave resistance. Finally, all the Creeks were either killed or taken to Oklahoma. However, 300 Creeks remained in Florida and the U.S. allowed them to stay since they resisted so well. The Creeks thus were never actually defeated and have become known as the “Unconquered People”. Reminds me very much of the Iraqi resistance to the U.S. Military for over 10 years. Moral: When the U.S. Government wants something bad, they will justify whatever it takes to get it even if it means exterminating an entire race of people from the Earth. Sadly, history repeats itself and the U.S. never learns from it’s past atrocities. You can bank on it that it will happen again in the future with another race or nation of people.

    • One last thought worthy of mentioning:
      The Black Slave Allies of the Creek Nation, who had escaped to Florida from their masters, warned the Creeks to never (never never never never never) trust the U.S. Government. Sadly, the Creeks finally did trust the U.S. Government who were calling for a truce. Since the U.S. Government lied (lied lied lied lied lied) and not did call a truce, but used the opportunity to capture the Creek Nation resistance leader instead, we see that the Black Slave escapees were right. NEVER TRUST THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. NEVER. That is not just a rule for the 1840s. That is a rule to be followed by all citizens and nations of people across the Earth for all time. I’ll leave you with that final plea. NEVER EVER TRUST THE U.S. GOVERNMENT.

    • I don’t know if I never trust the government, but I get the point. Thanks for the comments. At the very least they add to the history of the country’s history with African and Native Americans.

    • Hey Leo. My comment was replaced with only my followup comment. Please look into that for us. If you want, you can combine into one statement for me. Thanks.

    • Ok and thanks.

    • The point is that the U.S. Government lies. Always has, always will. They can’t be trusted. It is not in “God We Trust” that should be on our currency, but rather, “In Arms We Trust”. “In Oil We Trust”. “In Land/Expansion We Trust”. With the U.S. Government it has always been about land grabbing or oil or gold or whatever they can get their hands on of value at the expense of those who it really belonged too. With the U.S. it has always been about imperialism. Continent domination, then global domination. But the Bible indicates that the U.S. is headed for a fall. Their allies will chase them to the borders. As the U.S. has done to others, it most certainly will come back to them. Though the U.S. Soars like the Eagle, from there the LORD will bring her down. OBADIAH 1:4 ESV –
      “Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
      though your nest is set among the stars (INSERT COMMENT i.e. the moon),
      from there I will bring you down,
      declares the Lord.”

    • Mr. Hansen, I truly hope that you are wrong.

    • Thanks for your comments.

  4. Wow. I can only assume this article was timed because Iraq is now collapsing, after the current administration pulled out without obtaining a status of forces agreement, but loudly declared victory, especially over al Qaeda.

    Reasonable people can certainly disagree over the wisdom of the Iraq war. Your history, though, is amazingly distorted.

    A brief history of Iraq. Yes we supported Hussein – when he went to war against our greater enemy, Iran. You’ll recall Iran, who captured our people, and held them for over a year. So, it would have been natural for us to side with Hussein. Iran, against whom we sided with Hussein, remains an terrible threat.

    And how was our support repaid? Hussein attacked and savaged our ally, Kuwait. We went to war to drive him out of Kuwait, which we did, though he left as much gratuitous destruction in his retreat as possible. You seem to look at his betrayal as something to be ignored – even defended. I do not.

    Bush 41 did not go into Iraq to finish the job. He left Hussein in place. He further even encouraged revolution by the Kurds, and then stood idly by while Hussein gassed those people.

    And how did Hussein repay Bush 41 for leaving him in power? For one, by plotting to assassinate him – a former American president, and two, by constantly violating the terms of his surrender – including firing on American aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone over the region where “our dictator” poisoned his own people.

    These unhappy conditions continued throughout the time leading up to 9/11.

    Of course, on 9/11, al Qaeda took down the signature buildings on the NY skyline, killing nearly 3,000 Americans in the process.

    You will note there is no “state” of al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is like a virus, or a cancer, that infects wherever it goes.

    It found a welcome home in Afghanistan. We invaded Afghanistan, and routed the Taliban. But the Taliban did not attack us in NY – al Qaeda did. And we did not route al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

    Afghanistan has a very ugly history for foreign invaders. A brutally mountainous terrain, it has proved to be the endless quagmire for foreigners.

    Iraq, on the other hand, is flat. Iraq gave us over and over both the legal and moral right to invade. They had repeatedly violated their terms of surrender. They had plotted the assassination of a former US president. We KNOW they had weapons of mass destruction – they used them against their own people. (And the factory that made them? That is now in the hands of the ISIS.) Your reference to the yellowcake “story” is remarkably incomplete. As for the rest of the WMD angle, maybe we were lied to, maybe we weren’t. There were certainly members of both parties who had all the same look at all the same evidence. Most of those on the left have since described themselves as hapless dupes – not exactly a ringing endorsement of their own competence.

    Much of the success of D-Day was built on a grand deception. Anyone want to argue that the public’s “right to know” was more important than our success in that conflict? But I’ll leave that point for another time.

    So we invaded Iraq, where we had every moral and legal right to do so. In effect, we created a honey pot for al Qaeda, who poured into Iraq to fight America, and were slaughtered for their effort. We were able to fight them on easy ground, instead of in those awful mountains. The left always defended the war in Afghanistan, though Afghanistan never attacked us either.

    By the end of Bush 43’s term, we had a realistic claim to having routed al Qaeda. According to whom? Our subsequent President, Barack Obama.

    Obama then bailed on Iraq, as he had long promised to do. Maybe there was no hope for a status of forces agreement, but regardless, it is an accomplished fact the he failed to secure one. After the pullout, Obama constantly crowed that al Qaeda had been “decimated”, and were “on the ropes”, and “on the run”, while endlessly doing a victory lap for having “gotten bin Laden”. Those are hardly the actions of a man disappointed by a failure to achieve the agreement he campaigned on not having wanted anyway.

    Now the al Qaeda cancer is back, fiercer and more complex than ever.

    We maintained forces in Japan, Germany, and South Korea. We did not in Iraq. Please, compare and contrast the results.

    So should we have gone into Iraq? I think in general it was a brilliant strategic move – but not if the next president would just give away our hard fought victory.

    I understand again that reasonable, thinking people can disagree on Iraq. But when we do, we ought to at least agree on the plainly available facts of history. You, sir, ignored many of them, apparently to deflect blame from our current president’s feckless disregard for the victory he had been handed, with only his need to maintain it. It shall go down in history as a colossal blunder.

    • First let me thank you for the comments you offered regarding the latest blog. While I fundamentally disagree with the points you made, I appreciate how heartfelt they are and the time and effort you put into detailing your position.

      One of the things we endeavor to do is to embrace all points of view. It is easy to respond to those who agree. More difficult is to respond with honor and respect to those who disagree. Allow me to do so now.

      President Obama did not bail out of Iraq. He did exactly what a war weary population desired of him, i.e., to cut our losses and bring our boys and girls home. Nor did we leave him a hard fought victory. We instead declared victory in a war we had no hope of wining and should have never fought in the first place. In so doing, we left a mess for the President to clean up, much like the shattered economy he inherited. Lastly, no reasonable argument can be made that the Iraq war succeeded in routing Al Qaeda. Unfortunately, they are alive and well all over the world.

      Second, the question is not whether at some point in his reign, Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. He did because we gave them to him. The question is whether he possessed said weapons in 2001. And the answer is no, he did not, despite the lies and misinformation to the contrary.

      As to feckless leadership, I understand that you are not a fan of the President. But give credit where credit is due. The President has amassed an impressive record of bringing wanted terrorist to justice far beyond Osama bin Laden. I would refer you to an article written by Jake Topper, “The Terrorist Notches on Obama’s Belt found at
      for a partial list of these accomplishments. Recently, the Obama administration captured one of the masterminds of the Benghazi attack, a capture pulled off without a single shot being fired.

      Compare and contrast this record of achievement with that of the previous administration. Where one foreign embassy was attached in the present administration at the loss of 4 Americans, 12 were attached in the previous one where 100 Americans died. Where the previous administration failed to capture the September 11th mastermind, this one succeeded. When asked the failure to capture bin Laden, Bush once responded that he did not even think about the worlds most notorious terrorist.

      Most importantly, not only did the previous administration ignore the warning, “bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.”, not only did it fail to pull the trigger when bin Laden was essentially trapped in Tora Bora, when 911 occurred the previous President was not at his post. Instead he was at an elementary school reading “My Pet Goat.” Talk about fecklessness.

      The purpose here is not to bash Bush or defend Obama. Rather it is to say that no one, America included has the right to invade a foreign nation and cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, based on a plethora of lies, outrageous mistakes and gross negligence. No one.

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