Bush administration rationales for war in Iraq

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The Bush administration rationales for war in Iraq just continue to continue.

Most recently, on August 30, 2005, "standing against a backdrop of the USS Ronald Reagan, the newest aircraft carrier in the Navy's fleet," President George W. Bush "answered growing antiwar protests ... with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

A little more than a week earlier, while speaking to the national convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Salt Lake City, Utah, "Bush again linked the Iraq war with efforts to protect the United States from another September 11-style attack -- a link critics say is an attempt to shift the justification for war."

Earlier in the day, while meeting "briefly with reporters aboard Air Force One, Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman subbing for Scott McClellan, said that President Bush believes that those who want the U.S. to begin to change course in Iraq do not want America to win the overall 'war on terror'." [1]

"For political reasons, the president has a history of silence on America's war dead," Maureen Dowd wrote August 24, 2005. "But he finally mentioned them on Monday [August 22nd] because it became politically useful to use them as a rationale for war - now that all the other rationales have gone up in smoke.

"'We owe them something,' he told veterans in Salt Lake City (even though his administration tried to shortchange the veterans agency by $1.5 billion). 'We will finish the task that they gave their lives for.'

"What twisted logic: with no W.M.D., no link to 9/11 and no democracy, now we have to keep killing people and have our kids killed because so many of our kids have been killed already? Talk about a vicious circle: the killing keeps justifying itself," Dowd said.

Other Rationales

The Bush administration "used 27 rationales for war in Iraq ... all floated between Sept. 12, 2001, and Oct. 11, 2002," according to Devon M. Lario in her 212-page senior honors thesis at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: [2]

"Uncovering the Rationales for the War on Iraq: The Words of the Bush Administration, Congress and the Media from September 12, 2001, to October 11, 2002."

Additionally, "all but four of the rationales originated with the administration of President George W. Bush," Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor of the news bureau at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reports. [3]

"The [2004] study," Lynn adds, "also finds that the Bush administration switched its focus from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein early on - only five months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States."

Largio used "all available public statements the Bush administration and selected members of Congress made pertaining to war with Iraq. ... Largio not only identified the rationales offered for going to war, but also established when they emerged and who promoted them. She also charted the appearance of critical keywords such as Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Iraq to trace the administration's shift in interest from the al Qaeda leader to the Iraqi despot, and the news media's response to that shift ... for her analysis."

"Largio mapped the road to war over three phases: Sept. 12, 2001, to December 2001; January 2002, from Bush's State of the Union address, to April 2002; and Sept. 12, 2002, to Oct. 11, 2002, the period from Bush's address to the United Nations to Congress's approval of the resolution to use force in Iraq.
"She drew from statements by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Policy Board member and long-time adviser Richard Perle; by U.S. senators Tom Daschle, Joe Lieberman, Trent Lott and John McCain; and from stories in the Congressional Record, the New York Times and The Associated Press. She logged 1,500 statements and stories."

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