truth, war & consequences
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join the discussion: Was the U.S. justified in going to war to topple Saddam Hussein?  And what price should Americans be willing to pay for a successful  transition to democracy in Iraq?

Dear FRONTLINE,

While your program provided valuable insight into certain aspects of the war, I was appalled by the omissions throughout the documentary. How can you claim to present a program that intends to explain why the U.S. is in Iraq without focusing on oil and the Bush administration's deep connections to the oil industry?

Why was there no mention of Dick Cheney's long term connections to Halliburton (he's still on their payroll) and the enormous contracts Halliburton has received to rebuild the oil industry in Iraq without competitive bids?

How could you present statements of concern by the Bush administration about Saddam and WDM without providing the information that previous U.S. governments (including the first Bush administration)helped Saddam come to power and supported him for years while supplying him with conventional weapons and materials for producing WMD?

Why was there no mention of the Project for a New American Century? Several prominent members of the current Bush administration belong to this conservative think tank including Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz...all primary architects of the war on Iraq. In September 2000 (before the current war) the Project for a New American Century issued a Statement of Principals calling for the military conquest of Iraq regardless of whether Saddam was in power. This Statement of Principals also called for the military conquest of Afghanistan and the Middle East to secure oil and gas reserves for U.S. corporations, and for the establishment of an American empire throughout the world...by military force if necessary.

Watching Truth, War, and Consequences one was left with the impression the Bush administration may have been mislead into the war on Iraq, when in fact they intentionally created this war with a unjustified attack on a sovereign nation to overthrow a tyrant they had previously supported for the sole purpose of securing Iraq's oil reserves for American corporations.

That none of these significant factors were presented in Truth, War, and Consequences leaves me deeply troubled that all sources of information in America are controlled by corporate interests to the point that the American people have no hope of learning the truth about what their government is doing in this age of corporate military fascism.

For those interested in an excellent essay on these issues published outside the U.S. please read This War on Terrorism is Bogus by Michael Meacher (a previous British minister) published in the Guardian last month.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1036571,00.html

Kevin Rochat
Seattle, Wa

Dear FRONTLINE,

There were a couple of disturbing things I found with this show.
The young soldier who shot up and then rolled over and up a car because the driver was "stealing" wood, did nothing to endear the Iraqi people to our way of life. How do we convince people in the Middle East that American Democracy is the way to go when
our soldiers treat ordinary citizens in such an atrocious manner? Granted, our soldiers are in harms way right now, but that action only further endangers them.

Secondly, I wish your show would have referred back to and tied in the two hour Frontline you did on the History of Iraq and Saddam Hussain, and how the Bush Advisors came up with a plan to restructure the Middle East after the first Gulf War. That would have explained why the Bush Administration was so intent on selling this war. It's not a separate issue, but an ongoing costly saga we are involved in. Iraq is just the first in the series of takeovers. Sad to say, its far from over and its only going to get uglier as time goes on.

Antonia Betrus
Seneca Falls, New York

Dear FRONTLINE,


I enjoyed the show,though I thought it should have been named War,Consequences,and Truth.I was disappointed that no mention was made of the number of Iraqi civilians were killed.

Once again,Americans have been bamboozled into "agreeing" with a war.Many Americans are apparently in denial.If I told the world that I had something,and it was revealed that I didn't have it,would that be "misleading"? "erroneous"? No,I would be called a liar.

Bush & Co.can spin it any way they want,but put very simply,America lied to the world about going to War,and we're now facing the Consequences(soldiers dying,Iraqis dying,almost no help from other countries).And that's the Truth.

Mark Walker

Dear FRONTLINE,

I always enjoy the discussions after the show more than the show itself. In these discussions I get to learn about the scary number of people out there still living in denial, and their empty justifications.

I believe these people calling themselves "patriotic" need to go read carefully what Mr. Weldon of Athens, AL, a retired US Navy officer, wrote here. A large number of those like Mr. Weldon, and Wesley Clark, who have seen the ugliness of war first hand, know well that the ugliness is 1000 times greater when there is doubt to the motive.

Your program presented the facts that seemingly most people don't want to hear so they attack you as a liberal channel. It is unfortunately becoming a common defense mechanisms fueled by the mass media channels and the likes of Boortz and Limbaugh. Well, I would much rather be labeled a "liberal" if that means subscribing to the truth.

B Rustom
Alpharetta, GA

Dear FRONTLINE,


Thank you so much for exposing the truth about our war on Iraq. Years from now, we will look back at this period in our history and wonder how the American people could so easily have been "duped." I lived through the Vietnam era, and I thought we'd learned a lesson about foreign adventures disguised as crusades in the name of freedom. We hadn't.

Every American who dies in the Iraq conflict is giving his/her life in order that we may once again learn that lesson.


Would that more Americans would watch shows like Frontline. We might not then need to acquire wisdom at the cost of our children's lives.

Leonard Xavier
Winthrop Harbor, Illinois

Dear FRONTLINE,


For me, the iminent threat from Saddam Hussein, the so called WMDs and Al Quida connection was never a deciding factor in my continued support for the liberation of Iraq. As with most Iraqis, my reasons have to do with the toppling of a brutal dictaor who may or may not have been a real threat to us.


President Bush and the administration may have been entirely right in their assumption of threat. It is simply too early to really tell. It does seem though that a certain amount of hype and hysteria entered the arguement at the expense that of relieving those most immenenly effected of their oppressor and the establishment of a free society.

It is arguable however whether the same could have been accomplished that was so magnificently done by other means. But to state or imply that its alright for 'those people' to live under a dictatorship, simply because there are so many, so long as we don't have to be bothered, is deplorable.

John McDonnell
Albuquerque, NM

Dear FRONTLINE,

Normally frontline does a decent job of being non-biased. But you seriously crossed the line on this one. its unfortunate as it tends to make you irrelevant in the future.

since 9/11 the US has been at war, we lost 3000 people, we must have a physical presence in the middle east in order to counter the Islamist. If you haven't noticed they are surely at war with us, we must return the favor. All you did was critize US policy, you addressed nothing regarding what we must do to prevent futher attacks on the US. BTW if you think sending the Peace Corps to these places will stop the attacks, you have already reached the point of irrelevance.

david jones
houston, tx

Dear FRONTLINE,

I supported the war. I supported our policy. I supported the troops.

That was until I saw the film clip of the soldiers destroying the poor Iraqi's car. All for stealing some wood.

No More !

Yes, while your program might have been biased, the reprehensible act cannot be ignored by any morally conscious human being. Made me feel ashamed to be an american.

Max Menon
Columbia, SC

Dear FRONTLINE,

Frontline reporting has given us a snapshot of the war that occured in Iraq, and its consequences today. The United States waged war on Iraq for hundreds of reasons, many of which Americans turn a blind eye. There are consequences in everything we do in our lives, and one of them is waging war.

We were attacked on Septmeber 11th, 2001, and became a frightened and revengeful nation, and remain so to this day. When people are frightened, they tend to take extra precautions to secure there future. The United States took those precautions by eliminating a leader of a large nation in the Middle East, namely Iraq. The reasons why we eliminated the Iraqi Government are plenty, but out of those hundreds of reasons, one definite reson was that Iraq was a threat to a frightened United States. Saddam Hussein violently instructed all his citizens to rise up against Western Civilization and kill Americans anywhere in the world.

I feel as an American a lot more comfortable living my daily life, knowing that Saddam Hussein is not ruling Iraq. I will equally feel more comfortable once the United States furthers its quest of a more peaceful Middle East, by knocking on the doors of Syria and Iran, reforming their friendships with Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and assisting Palestinians and Israelis to live as peaceful neighbors. Thank you.

Alec Yannoulis
Chicago, Illinois

Dear FRONTLINE,

Why not have the program be more from an independent view? Why focus 100% on the intelligence that raised questions? Why not mention the many pieces of intelligence that did not raise questions but was solid evidence? Why not state the fact that the public does not know everything the president and his administration do (for good reason at that)? Why show civilians being killed and act like it is all America's fault? What did that have anything to do with your point? How about blame the extremists for civilians still being killed who won't allow the peace to happen and who have hate living in them? We have dedicated people over there fixing bridges, buildings, oil wells, hospitals, etc... and people with hate in them are making it very difficult for them.

Why paint the picture that Bush and Rumsfield are these cold-hearted guys that tried to justify the war at any cost? As if they just want to kill people for no reason.

President Bush wants freedom for all people - he is a caring man. Of course he and his administration are going to make mistakes - THEY ARE HUMAN. However, THEY ARE GOOD PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT JOBS AND WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL FOR THE HONEST LEADERS WE HAVE AND NOT CONTINUALLY BASH THEM. They are trying to protect us all. They are good people. They are not the enemies!

Thumbs down for your show - you say you are independent. Are you kidding me?

Al Lee
Aberdeen, SD

Dear FRONTLINE,

I found the program rather weak in its presumed effort to expose the lies of the Bush junta leading up to invasion and beyond.

Where were any critics of the war, especially anyone from the liberal left who never get a hearing on PBS or anywhere else? Now that Bush's popularity rating is falling a bit, due to the glacial slowness of Americans to finally know liars when they see and hear them, some of those censored voices of months ago should have been a given a chance to be heard.

V. Foreman
Arkansaw, WI

Dear FRONTLINE,

Kanan Makiya made one egregious misstatement in his first comments, during the drive north from Kuwait City.
He claimed Saddam Hussein made the entire region into a desert. A cursory glance at a map of the Middle East will show anyone that, as the crow would fly from Kuwait City to Baghdad, the first 200 miles is desert until one reaches the Euphrates -- and has been desert for centuries.
I agree that Hussein was one of the worst dictators of the 20th century. But why oversell the obvious, when it involves doing so in such a blatant misstatement?

Other than that, I thought the program was wonderfully informative. As a newspaper editor myself, I knew all the basic story lines; however, for the portion of Americans that use television as their primary news source, I hope this program was eye-opening.

Steve Snyder
Lancaster, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a now retired officer of the US Navy, a Vietnam volunteer (yes, I was not too smart when I was young!), and one who was heavily involved in Grenada and in Lebanon, I am amazed at the outright lies, distortions, half-truths, and arrogance used by the Bush administration to sell this war to the US population.


People in this country MUST learn who lead us into this, the worst foreign policy mistake in 30 years. Citizens should learn about people like Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams, Feith, and the American Enterprise Institute. It is clear to me that the US government has been hijacked by a bunch of right wing thugs who care not for the truth. Glad PBS took the effort.....you should run it again on TV, not just online. I am a conservative; not a Republican.

W. Weldon
Athens, Al

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was spellbound by your report. Access to those close to the actual events made the story real. What gripped me was the clarity of the report. The straight questions and (mostly) straight answers. The editing that connected the facts to the deceptive statements made by the Bush Administration officials added a lot to the show.

I was disappointed that there was almost no discussion or acceptance of the results and where we go from here. Clearly, the administration should be evaluating the performance of some of the key players in this tragedy. But also, now that we are in this mess nobody seemed willing to discuss how do we get out of it except by spending $100 billion on reconstruction and $4 billion a month for military security. surely there are intelligent people with good ideas on how to cut the cost and reduce the pain on the American and world economies.

There needs to be open discussion about America forging a new compromise and equal relationship with the international community. We may have the strongest ecomony and military in the world but that still does not give us the ability or the right to act independently and insist everyone 'be with us or against us'.

Thomas Blake
Greenwood, Indiana

Dear FRONTLINE,

I'm amazed by the people who complain that the media is not presenting a balanced view of Iraq by only focusing on the terrible problems there. If they were passengers in an airplane whose captain announced that all the engines were on fire, these people would be complaining that he hadn't mentioned that the air conditioning was OK!

As for the rest of us who are not in denial: we recognize the disaster which is our foreign policy in Iraq and understand that it has made us more unpopular in the world in general, and Muslim nations in particular. We realize that it foreshadows even worse trouble for the US, and we are responsible enough to decry it, focus on it, and try to change it.

Kudos to Frontline for its role in exposing the outrageous behavior of the officials who have contributed to this horrifying foreign policy disaster.

Dan Marks

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posted october 9, 2003

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