As the Iraq war -- a war we could win in 48 hours -- enters its sixteenth month, more than 800 American soldiers have died, the government of Iraq remains unstable, the price tag for war has easily exceeded $200 billion, and lots of people are asking, "What went wrong?"
Thats the question tackled by Common Cause in a new report, "What Went Wrong: How the United States got into the mess in Iraq." The second in Common Cause's "Holding Power Accountable" series, the report looks at the process of going to war in Iraq and how it led to what Common Cause calls the Bush administrations "miscalculations, misleading statements and undermining of basic democratic principals of openness and accountability." Congress, including Democratic leaders, played a role too in their failure to ask tough questions and scrutinize the presidents proposals, according to the report.
"Its always important to hold power accountable," said Chellie Pingree, president of Common Cause in a press release. "But it is especially critical when youre dealing with matters of war, the lives of soldiers and civilians and the rebuilding of nations."
Here are some what Common Cause considers "miscalculations and misleading claims" made by the Bush Administration in the days leading up to the war, as examined in the report:
Further quoting from the Common Cause press release on its new report:
"When a democracy goes to war, warns Common Cause, it is critical that the public be part of the decision not deciding tactics or strategy but engaging in open debate about the reasons for the war. Congress should engage in robust debate, and to the extent possible, the administration should share important information with the public. And it should state facts, not assumptions.
"This did not happen with Iraq.
"Our road to war was strewn with failed and undermined democratic principals secrecy, lack of congressional oversight and a refusal by the administration to listen to expert advice. Now, a year later, it is appropriate to ask how this happened. It is critical that our government and its leaders be held accountable."
[Source: Common Cause]