Letter: Lingering Questions About Iraq War

To the Editor:

Jeffrey Goldberg’s April 10 op-ed, “Few Have Asked Iraqis If War Was Worth It,” asks some probing and interesting questions surrounding the (supposed) end of American participation in the Iraq war, from 2003 to the present. However, there are some even more basic questions that need to be answered, and this letter is a plea to ask them.

The place these questions can be raised that would seem most likely to attract the attention they deserve might be in the U.S. Congress.

What questions? Whose idea was the invasion? How was the momentum generated by George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, et al., that persuaded the country to get behind it? How much truth was there in the arguments given at the time as to what the war’s objectives were? How likely did it seem to those making the arguments that the desired outcome would be achieved? Who said what to whom, and when, and how did the propositions come to seem convincing to so many? How much truth was being told about what was actually happening? Where was the loyal opposition to what seemed to some of us at the time to be the sheer folly of the undertaking?

The proper format for bringing out the answers would seem to be a congressional inquiry. It is certainly within the power of Congress to hold hearings on these questions; no one else’s permission is required. In particular, it would appear that the congressional delegation from Vermont might be ideally positioned to undertake and manage the hearings. Nobody local is going to be able to object with any convincing sincerity.

The media these days are full of replays of the histories and dramas of the Civil War and World War II. Why not tackle the thorny question of a war-like situation a little closer to our present moment, in hopes of learning how to achieve a less destructive outcome next time?

David C. Montgomery



Column: Few Have Asked Iraqis If the War Was Worth It

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In a recent interview with The New York Times, the writer Toni Morrison said, “I dare you to tell me a sane reason we went to Iraq.” Her request is not unreasonable. We’ve heard similar arguments a lot over the past few weeks, as we marked the 10th anniversary of the war. There is widespread agreement that the American invasion …