Sen. Ernest F. Hollings
Retiring Senator Charges:
Pro-Israel Policy Led to War
By Sen. Ernest F. Hollings
With 760 dead in Iraq and over 3,000 maimed for life, home folks continue to argue why we are in Iraq—and how to get out.
Now everyone knows what was not the cause. Even President Bush acknowledges that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9-11. Listing the 45 countries where Al Qaeda was operating on Sept. 11 (70 cells in the U.S.), the State Department did not list Iraq. Richard Clarke, in Against All Enemies, tells how the United States had not received any threat of terrorism for 10 years from Saddam at the time of our invasion.
On page 231, John McLaughlin of the CIA verifies this to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. In 1993, President Clinton responded to Saddam’s attempt on the life of President George H.W. Bush by putting a missile down on Saddam’s intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. Not a big kill, but Saddam got the message—monkey around with the United States and a missile lands on his head. Of course there were no weapons of mass destruction. Israel’s intelligence, Mossad, knows what’s going on in Iraq. They are the best. They have to know.
Israel’s survival depends on knowing. Israel long since would have taken us to the weapons of mass destruction if there were any or if they had been removed. With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country? The answer: President Bush’s policy to secure Israel.
Led by Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Charles Krauthammer, for years there has been a domino school of thought that the way to guarantee Israel’s security is to spread democracy in the area. Wolfowitz wrote: “The United States may not be able to lead countries through the door of democracy, but where that door is locked shut by a totalitarian deadbolt, American power may be the only way to open it up.” And on another occasion: Iraq as “the first Arab democracy . . . would cast a very large shadow, starting with Syria and Iran but across the whole Arab world.” Three weeks before the invasion, President Bush stated: “A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example for freedom for other nations in the region.”
Every president since 1947 has made a futile attempt to help Israel negotiate peace. But no leadership has surfaced amongst the Palestinians that can make a binding agreement. President Bush realized his chances at negotiation were no better. He came to office imbued with one thought—re-election. Bush felt tax cuts would hold his crowd together and spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats. You don’t come to town and announce your Israel policy is to invade Iraq. But George W. Bush, as stated by former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and others, started laying the groundwork to invade Iraq days after inauguration. And, without any Iraq connection to 9-11, within weeks he had the Pentagon outlining a plan to invade Iraq. He was determined.
President Bush thought taking Iraq would be easy. Wolfowitz said it would take only seven days. Dick Cheney believed we would be greeted as liberators. But Cheney’s man, Chalabi, made a mess of the de-Baathification of Iraq by dismissing Republican Guard leadership and Sunni leaders who soon joined with the insurgents. Worst of all, we tried to secure Iraq with too few troops.
In 1966 in South Vietnam, with a population of 17 million, Gen. William C. Westmoreland, with 535,000 U.S. troops was still asking for more. In Iraq with a population of 25 million, Gen. John Abizaid with only 135,000 troops can barely secure the troops much less the country. If the troops are there to fight, they are too few. If there to die, they are too many. To secure Iraq we need more troops—at least 100,000 more. The only way to get the United Nations back in Iraq is to make the country secure. Once back, the French, Germans and others will join with the UN to take over.
With President Bush’s domino policy in the Mideast gone awry, he keeps shouting, “Terrorism War.” Terrorism is a method, not a war. We don’t call the Crimean War with the Charge of the Light Brigade the Cavalry War. Or World War II the Blitzkrieg War. There is terrorism in Northern Ireland against the Brits. There is terrorism in India and in Pakistan.
In the Mideast, terrorism is a separate problem to be defeated by diplomacy and negotiation, not militarily. Here, might does not make right—right makes might. Acting militarily, we have created more terrorism than we have eliminated.