the invasion of iraq
photo of saddam's statue coming downtapes & transcripts


One thing is for sure with this program, it really got people's blood boiling. I am really surprised to read the vitriolic hatred that people will post on the internet. I thought the piece was relatively balanced and ultimately diplayed facts.

The interviews and the chronology of events are facts, and it is apparent that many people are disturbed with the realities of war. Yes, civilians do die. Yes, our military can make mistakes. Yes, policy can be flawed. But with that said, the important thing now is too focus on the future of Iraq, and making the best of it.

Jim Mitchell
Watertown, MA


Your piece was fair.The truth evident.The forces of the british and US were outstanding save for the 0 for 50 in critical targets.

The Mission Accomplished and Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz arrogance episodes truly foolish.
The remarkable insight from the Iraqi perspective balanced as well.

Has American goodwill worldwide risen as a result ? No. It may if those insightful British/US military leaders are given the power to lead the now imperative humanatarian efforts for an Iraq that clearly has some incredible people.
Your documentaries allow each of us to form opinions.This was an exceptional program.Your finest ever.

Patrick Nicol
Vernon, BC


As a former member of the 82nd Airborne Division, who was sent to Panama at Christmas time to wage war for another Bush, I found your report riveting.

To show the effects of modern war on civilians made your report by far the most balanced Ive have seen so far on this conflict. I commend you all for having the courage to show what truly happens when young, highly trained , soldiers are thrown into the chaos of combat with civilians in their midst.

Mistakes happen, yes, but showing the effects of the air strike on that iraqi mans family hopefully will prove to all the hawks who were supporting this action that it is not a clean , technological marvel when our vaunted smart weapons and high technology is used to prosecute war.

Our media needs to show more of what the foriegn media shows , the blood, the screaming , the horrible heart wrenching moments of what war truly is. It is not a video game, let some of these hawks who have never experienced combat get a good whiff of burning steel, flesh and plastic for days and I garauntee it will tone down their ignorant rhetoric.

it made me sick to see Bush in a flight suit declaring the war over,when any one who has actually experienced war knows the toughest fight is the peace.Thank you again for your courage.

Patrick Kennedy
Ponchatoula, LA


As a military officer, I'm convinced that those who think that this program had a anti-war bias are wrong. Simply put, there were errors in the political-military equation that resulted in the situation we face now. This is not new in our history, and we will muddle through. However, there is still value in examining what happened in hopes we do better next time. The producers of Frontline understand that. Trying to cast this examination in partisan terms misses the point.

Patrick Mackin
Washington, DC


I think your show was very fair and unpolitical. It did a great job in presenting all points of view from those directly involved. It was extremely interesting, I was glued to my TV for 2 hours.

Brian Geraghty
St Paul, MN


I watched in its entirety your documentary. It only confirms the thoughts and views I saw right along during the development of this "war". We have truly lost our way in this country in foreign policy and military commitment. Someone must be called on to pay the piper.

I was a U. S. Army Officer decorated for my contribution, and can say that if I were on active duty I would not feel comfortable with decisions and policy of our leaders today. If I had a son in this situation, with the U. S. mostly alone to fulfill this mission, I would have grave doubts of our leaders' feelings or understanding of the American fighting man and woman in the field. Maybe it is because the very top leaders in our country never served in the fight in the field. That however in itself does not generate indifference to their wellbeing. There are many friends and associates who never served and I respect their decision and reasons. It is one of reason and judgement.

Thanks for giving us a broader perspective than we have seen so far. And, you inclusions of the interviews with military leaders added much to the presentation. I hope these brave military leaders are not singled out for their sharing their views when they differed with the current policy and administration. It take genuine courage, perhaps more that battlefield courage to speak out when one is on active duty in the military. All honor to each of them.

William Smith
Conyers , GA


Your program reminded me of the space shuttle Challenger disaster and the o-rings. NASA ignored reasonable arguments for postponement, because they were trying to establish the shuttle as a reliable space taxi. In the end, the rush to launch set the program back. Its a classic study of being so focused on the goal that we neglect our due diligence.

Putting questions of whether the war was right or wrong aside, your program outlined a poor decision making process. When questions are looked at as obstacles rather than possibilities, then you leave out a key ingredient in wise decision-making. Questions raised about the troop strength needed for post war Iraq were dismissed out of hand. At the time, our government was trying to sell the war and the cost of additional troops and a prolonged occupation were merely buyers objections to be overcome.

John Smith
Encinitas, CA


From a purely military point of view, the 21 day campaign to topple Saddam was a great success. Unfortunately the post-Saddam period has proven more problematic.

If the insurrection grows and Iraq descends into further chaos, then the effort would have been in vain. On the contrary, if it dies down and a free & democratic Iraq emerges from the ashes of Saddam's rule, then it will rightly be judged a great success.

This is a much bigger question than whether or not we had enough troops to quell the post-war looting, Unfortunately it will be decades before we know the answer, so I'm sure you will be doing many more programs on this subject in the future.

Jerry Lubbe
New Milford, New Jersey


Monday morning quarterbacking is sickening and pseudo-objectivity makes me nauseated. If the bleeding hear liberals would allow the armed services to fight a real war instead of hamstringing them and tying both hand behind their backs apache attack helicopters would not be used as a primary strike force. They would have been use to mop up the last of the resistance if there had been any.

No commander in his right mind would send slow lumbering targets into a potential death trap without first blowing the living crap out of everything but no the press doesnt want any collateral damage. They would rather see young American soldiers dead or an apache helicopter limping back to base so that they can produce a report like yours.

Thanks to you and your colleges in the media this so called war was extended because the enemy was given the impression that they could resist. Too many people died and too many soldiers are being killed because we have to play patty cake instead of going in and ending it.

The innocent victims in 9-11 and the tens-of-thousands of dead Iraqi people seem to be insufficient evidence, for you, that your positions, arguments, and behaviors are harmful even destructive to the freedoms you pretend to defend.

Scott Campbell
Pocatello, ID


I was cautious about Frontline's perspective before watching the show, but found it to be fairly balanced with a shade of cynicism about the administration's agenda. The interviews with field commanders and witnesses gave it some credibility and an element of truth unlike most of the mass media coverage today.

The one particularly troubling set of "facts" from the Iraq experience which portends trouble as we continue to prosecute a war on terror is how consistently flawed our tactical intelligence was. We overflew Iraq for a decade, and had built up many contacts within, but trying to hit a hi value person with a bomb obviously didn't work. This should indicate to us that we don't need to undermine resources for the CIA as we did in the 70's and 80's. Another interesting story in your program was how the British treatment of their targets worked out. It would be interesting to correlate how they prosecuted their operation and what effect that had on the post war environment in places like Basra. Good show.

Eric Lord
Woodbridge, VA


I watched this hoping to see some objectivity but what I witnessed was disgraceful. Were mistakes made in the war? Hell yes! When aren't mistakes made? Referring to the war as an "invasion", calling the men and women honoring their commitment to serve in the military as "occupying forces"? Come on. We are more informed than you may like to believe.

Your footage of civilian casualties was dramatic, and the loss of innocent human lives is heartwrenching. As "journalists" you have a grave responsibility to use this footage carefully. Spin and propoganda are not appropriate in any venue, and certainly not on PBS. How many deaths, rapes, torture are Sadam Hussein and his loyalists responsible for? Hmmmm. This point seemed conspicuously absent from your......documentary.

I keep watching. You keep delivering a one-sided programming. Thanks for being consistent.

Cory Barber
Sandy, UT


Frontline: As a veteran watcher of Gulf War I on CNN and II on Fox News, 24/7, it was with real interest that I anticipated watching Frontline's version of GWII.

Your 2 hr. report avoided entirely the WMD issue, the finding of Iraqi chem/bio suits, indicating they were expecting to use WMD, none of the tons and tons of weapons caches our forces found stored in private homes, schools, hospitals, palaces, the underground network of bunkers built by the Germans, the involvement of the French with arming Saddam ala stamped "made in France, or Russia, or Germany or China" having been common.

You focused on the civilian casualties, the failures of our military strikes to bag any of the bad guys...altho we all know that most of the infamous 55 in the deck of cards have by now been killed or captured. You totally avoided showing the unearthing of the mass graves in southern Iraq, with just a snippet to indicate that Saddam tortured his people. Your report was slanted so much that it could have been written by Helen Thomas...was it???? Or maybe Chirac and Schroeder, or the UN.

...if anyone is to blame for whatever happened or did not happen in GWII, it is entirely because Bush 41 and his group of advisors, for whatever excuses they make today, were totally disengaged and irresponsible in not finishing the job they started. I have heard all the excuses...none of them are valid... They ducked out and left the area, and I knew it then just as it came to pass...the American military would have to pay the price eventually in blood.

Merlene Robb
Los Angeles, CA 90045


What is it about the liberation of 25 million of your fellow human beings that incenses you so? What is it that would impel you to so readily sacrifice your own credibility in order to advance a point of view? And what end could possibly justify the means when it includes the wanton attempt to dishonor the honorable?

There was a time when your rendition of history would have been blindly accepted as truth. Not any more. We know what led up to the war in Iraq and what was at stake. We know what went wrong, and what could have gone wrong. We know all about the extent and cause of civilian casualties. And make no mistake, Frontline: we know more than ever before the courage, the honor and the humanity of those who put their lives on the line in defense of this country.

The next time you get the urge to re-write history, you might want to give it a little more time for memories to fail.

Thomas J. Ewing

Thomas Ewing
Grafton, Wisconsin


Watching tonights program was quite difficult in the eyes of the average American and more so in those who now ache from pain due to suffering loss in this very scary 'fight for freeing iraq'.

It puzzles me how we can just watch the 'big news' and think for a minute this is in any way shape or form, 'truth'.

I have been watching Frontline since the first Gulf War, and I can say your ethic and virtue of journalism is above supreme. I am nor Liberal nor Conservative, Democrat nor Republican, I am and have been very cautious of this "American Diety" since the age of 12(Reagan years) and have done so ever since..
I can say that my all time favorite Frontline program was 'The Man Who Knew'. Keep it up. You still reach those who don't follow the news only and after a sporting event.
thank you.

Alberto Ibarra
Ventura, CA


I'm not sure if what I watched was a documentary of the same Iraqi liberation that I witnessed over these last 12 months or so. What is it, you are unable to admit that maybe, just maybe, operation Iraqi freedom didn't become the quagmire that you liberals secretly hoped for? So you need to paint as bleak a picture as possible.

Let's see, a major conflict that was virtually over in three weeks, and that isn't good enough for you ivory tower pessimist. I guess we were supposed to liberate a nation of 25 million people in 3 days.

By the way, if you had just one more snide, self-assured, EX-defense department employee on your show, you could have formed your own intelligence agency.

Next time try to balance your report with some people who might be able to point out at least one success, and then maybe I would accept your half-baked report as somewhat more objective.

Nice try though.

Vincent Ramoni
Springfield, PA



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posted february 26, 2004

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