Bush's War

join the discussion

What reactions do you have to this retrospective on the war in Iraq? Are there lessons in it for us and for the next U.S. president?

Dear FRONTLINE,

Just got done digesting the show and found it educational and important. Anything that challenges my previous beliefs is good.

What I don't appreciate is how PBS continues ignoring the evidence that has emerged that indicates leaving Saddam in power would have had its own costs. In fact, noone in the press ever discusses that. The debate over the invasion isn't the current cost vs. no cost. It is the cost of this invasion (which is of course huge in blood and gold) vs. the unknown cost of leaving Saddam in power. This is the kind of debate that serious people have to make when it comes down to real action being taken. Unfortunately, PBS has been allowed to stay on the sidelines and watch this as if it were a movie and a character simply made one wrong decision that ruined the lives of millions without ever thinking about the opposite decision. ...

Mark Eichenlaub
Chicago, IL

Dear FRONTLINE,

Many people have decided to offer you congratulations on your series, but you are just doing your job as journalists which sadly seems unusual. I appreciate your commitment to real journalism. It is very sad that this war was seemingly entirely politically motivated as was its combat planning. Why we chose to ignore the voices of the many voices in the military and intelligence community expressing doubt about Iraq is a serious stain on our democracy. How and why we let a few men push us towards a war, particularly in the face of contravening evidence , is a question that should haunt our nations for generations to come.

Ryan Turner
New Orleans, LA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I firmly believe that majority of the intelligent viewers of this series gained valuable knowledge from watching this. With all the time that has passed since the beginning, it was a great refresher as to where we started and where we are today and how we got there. I especially enjoyed the interviews with Richard Armitage and the former CIA operatives. This gave a very clear understanding of exactly who the driving forces were behind this war and how there has always been a gigantic gap between the State Department and Pentagon (DoD). Hopefully this will be a good lesson on how we learn from our mistakes and why we study history. Seeing it from an Iraqi point of view is a whole different series. This series is what should concern us.

Matt Hrubes
St. Louis, MO

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am writing this letter as a responce to your video.

I am a O.I.F III vet. I am a republican. I voted for Bush when I was 18 in 2000 and again in 2004. If the man was running again in 2008 I'd vote for him again.

You spend all this time talking about what went wrong. Yet at the time of this film the surge was already almost 8 months in. Numbers showing it's success have been evident. Iraq is no longer on the front page of all the nations news papers. Yet you barely give this 15 seconds of your time.

There is a reason Bush won 2 elections. There is a reason why we are still in this war. There is a reason why Congress can not pass any legislation to end the war. Because the War is supported by enough of the American population. People forget that war is just another form of politics.

The world is a mean and evil place. The majority of the U.S and Western European populations don't understand this. Because it is not on thier front door. However, ignorance of a problem doesn't mean it isn't there. The U.S and a select few of it's allies have chosen to bring this evil to the populations front doors. Peace is only the absence of war. Peace is only obtained when a fight is detrimental to one sides survivial. A open hand gets a closed fist.

Kellan McDonald
Minneapolis , MN

Dear FRONTLINE,

In my view, more than anything else Frontline's Bush's War episodes are a case study in hubris, ego, failed leadership and dysfunctional Government. This piece should be required viewing for every President about to take office.

Congratulations to Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld for snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. Way to go.

Mike Hartmann
Boonton, NJ

Dear FRONTLINE,

I have watched all 4 hours of this Special Bush's War and read most of the interviews on the website. I believe this probably one of the most intriguing and in-depth behind the scenes look at a Presidency ever produced.

I came out of this with a few thoughts. First, could Vice President Dick Channey have been elected the President in 2000 on his own. Did he have the clout to pull this off. I believe the anwser to this would be a big resounding no. I also get the feeling that everything was built to support Dick Chaney not George Bush. I don't mean to take anything a way from President Bush

Kind of like Dorothy dicovering the man behind the curtain.

Michael J. Regan
Sumter, S.C.

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for creating and airing this documentary. I only saw the 2nd part, but I gained so much insight and am so much better informed than I was 16 hours ago. Please air this documentary again! I will tell everyone I know to watch it.Perhaps gaining a better understanding of how this horrible war was handled will help us make a better, more informed decision in our upcoming elections. President Bush's avoidance of personal conflict has let to the deaths of many of our troops. We need someone in charge who can ask questions, make hard decisions BY HIMSELF after getting all the information, and not hide behind people who have their own agendas. Thank goodness for Rice and Powell.

Cynthia Brown
Memphis, TN

Dear FRONTLINE,

I would ask all the viewers to view any documentary with a critical eye. Just because it's a "documentary" does not mean it is balanced or objective. Ask yourselves the following: Has enough time passed to really know all the facts? Does the documentary allow the "accused" to defend themselves or journalists with a different viewpoint to have any say? Are the least photogenic/implicating images of the accused used to make a point? Is music or sound used to manipulate the viewer?Even though many of the points of this film may be factual, it has still been produced to ENTERTAIN you, and if the makers of this film deny this, they are lying.

New York, New York

Dear FRONTLINE,

I thought that your show was very important and I realize that there are few public venues that are going to expose the American public to this kind of journalism. I have to ask though, why there was no mention of the Blackwater mercenaries that are employed in Iraq by the U.S.? These are approx. half the soldiers fighting this war in our name and I would think that their presence and the issues surrounding them would be more important to your documentary.

jim quillen
mesquite, texas

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

Explore Private Warriors, our 2005 report on contractors in Iraq.

Dear FRONTLINE,

Although the "Bush's War" covered the war from the American point of view, it left out the suffering of the Iraqi people - the hideous ethnic cleansing, the deaths of hundreds of thousands from unclean water, starvation, or access to medicines or medical care. The film had no mention of the millions displace internally, much less those who fled to Jordan or Syria.

How many Iraqi "collaborators" still are denied visas to seek refuge in the US?

I think that Frontline should show the other side of the war, from the perspective of the Iraqi civilians.

Nevertheless, this is is the finest summary of the invasion and occupation that I have seen.

Kudos to Frontline.

Will Barber
Missouri City, TX

Dear FRONTLINE,

What bothers me is that those who object to Frontline's reporting seem to really believe that this war has helped the world. What do they see? What have they seen? (What have they done?) Why are there so few of them?

Destruction of life is unacceptable. This is a basic that seems to be dismissed by yaysayers. These people claim they are seeing good come out of the climbing over the backs of the dead and maimed troops and citizens. When will we come to a time of facing our enemies face to face to investigate? Battle to battle has not made life better for those left behind or for those who participate. Generations go by and the hate continues and is spread after these horrible experiences. We are given so much...all of us. It is tormenting to know that the answer must be within us. How can we find it.

Chestertown, Maryland

Dear FRONTLINE,

What a great documentary, after seeing it you feel much better informed. But I do get the feeling it is all about the tactics of the NeoCons, and not the overall strategy they had in mind. They may have been working towards a conclusion and towards action they already had in mind. 9/11 was a 'fortunate' coincidence that enabled them to ride the wave and implement their plans.

I do think they believe in domino theories of Westernizing the Middle East. Show a successful and rich Arab people and the other will follow. Have you found any evidence for this? I mean the preconceived conclusions and the domino theories on their mind? It could explain why their minds overlooked the details like actually controlling the country.

Thanks,

Ad Bos

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a registered Republican and I always supported our President and his administration and thought they had all the elements to make the right decisions. But I also did some research and double checked some of the information and statements presented in this documentary.

It is hard to accept mistakes, but I was appalled and dismayed to find out how far from the fact I was and how little did I know of the real truth behind the war in Iraq.Without getting into details, history (and I hope the Judicial system too) will be extremely harsh to this group of criminals that conform the current administration.It is also imperative that Congress creates some mechanisms to avoid this from happening again and to stop the senseless killing of future generations of Americans.May God bless America by punishing these people who have brought the country down to its knees.

Jorge Gonzales
Tustin, California

Dear FRONTLINE,

I vividly remember A. Stevenson's UN presentation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was so detailed and strong that it turned the tide against the Russians and helped to avoid nuclear war.

I awaited Colin Powell's UN address with that in mind. It became extremely clear that Powell had no credible evidence that Iraq had WMDs which threatened the USA or anybody else. I still can't understand how anybody, especially those at the apex of our government, believed in the WMD straw man.

The rioting in Baghdad clearly signaled a need for more troops right away! It took four years for the Bush administration to realize that Baghdad was important! What enormous folly! The bright idea of controlling the ground you conquer is as old as the history of warfare. What did they expect to happen when they brought down the government, police and military authorities in Iraq without providing US control? What was left? Religious, tribal and criminal organizations were left plus the terrorists who joined the party.

Ultimately, it is George W. Bush who failed complexly as our president. No president can allow the kind of infighting, discord and utter stupidity that characterized this catastrophe! He needed to take charge and make Rumsfeld et al. do their jobs or get out. Instead he let this inane and insane ballet of buffoons trample all over Iraq, dance on the bodies of our troops and tip toe through the blood of dead Iraqis for five years with no end in sight.

David Webb
Mililani, HI

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your program was informative and thorough. The one thing I kept thinking over and over is finding a way to get this story to a larger audience. To few people still understand the depth of the ineptness and flat out lying by this administration.

The other thing is it has given me a different picture of Secretary Rice. while not completely innocent she along with former Secretary Powell seem to have been the only people in the administration with any common sense and intellegence.

One final thing, your program also is a pretty negative indictment of the rest of the American press for not being willing or able to ask for answers to fairly simple and straight forward questions that maybe would have provided some momentum to turn off the drumbeat for this was.

John Ridgle
Little Rock, Arkansas

more


home . introduction . watch online . annotated video timeline . 400+ extended interviews . join the discussion . battlefield stories . 
slideshows/video . timelines/maps . reporters' dispatches . live chat with producer michael kirk
readings & links . site map . dvd & transcript . press reaction
credits . privacy policy . journalistic guidelines . FRONTLINE series home . wgbh . pbs

posted march 24, 2008

FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of wgbh educational foundation.
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation