“…government of the People, by the People, for the People….” -Abraham Lincoln
Given the George W. Bush Administration had resorted to using aluminum tubes as “evidence” that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program despite the thorough lack of evidence in the Administration’s rationale for war, concealing the fact that US troops found nearly 5,000 chemical munitions inside Iraq cannot be justified.
One proposed explanation for the cover-up highlights the reality that the weapons were already known and made before 1991, but the discovery of the chemical weapons would still have been useful in demonstrating the threat of Saddam’s regime. Consequently, a secondary explanation rooted in the fact that the weapons were designed in the US and manufactured in Europe by Western companies points to a much more serious fault of the Bush Administration and the entrenched dysfunction of the US government.
It is no secret that the United States, just like most other countries, has engaged in unscrupulous and indefensible acts throughout history. It is also well known that the US once supported Saddam Hussein. This fact is certainly not lost on the Iraqi Kurds who were victims of chemical attacks by the Saddam regime.
While some may argue there may have been a security risk in releasing information related to the discovery, the simple acknowledgement that chemical weapons known to former Saddam loyalists and experts had been found under a known effort to find chemical weapons would have bolstered confidence in the Bush Administration and helped repair America’s relations with European allies.
Whether protecting US companies from public backlash, tamping down unrest among the Kurds and Shiites, or the reputation of George W. Bush’s father and President Ronald Reagan, this type of dishonesty and manipulation undermines democracy and enables the abuse of power. In fact, using one’s position in government to cover-up the wrongs of others in order to protect those individuals is an abuse of power.
Where the United States had a chance to admit to a known-wrong and reconcile with the victims of this wrong, the George W. Bush Administration chose to compound the problem. This was even done at the expense of US troops who were exposed to Saddam’s chemical weapons and given inadequate care in order to suppress what would have been a reminder of a past misdeed by government officials during a time when it was inconvenient.
Whomever the Bush Administration was protecting, the reality that America’s Executive Branch chose to deceive the world in order to serve the interests of a few elites at the expense of America’s right to know as well as the health of US troops demonstrates the allegiances of officials within the George W. Bush resided elsewhere. Moving forward, the Obama Administration and future leadership must take the lessons of this example to heart. America is supposed to be a government built for the American People, not special interests.
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