is not an option.
can blame the CIA and demand an investigation
or you can blame President George W. Bush and
demand his accountability. But you cannot shrug.
You cannot walk away. You cannot say, "Oops."
Not unless you're the kind of person who sees
a dead man in the street and steps over him.
not the kind of person I am. And that's not the
country I live in.
most stunning sound in America last week was silence
-- an echoing silence after chief weapons inspector
David Kay, a man put in charge by the president,
announced that he could not find any of the biggest
reasons we went to war in Iraq -- weapons of mass
used four simple words.
were all wrong."
sentence should have brought down the walls. Wrong?
You can be wrong when you project interest rates.
But when your intelligence says bombs, vials,
gasses and poisons, and the truth is a lot of
empty holes, and you kill thousands of people
and lose hundreds of your own and cost this generation
maybe the next hundreds of billions of dollars,
well, that's not a small mistake.
don't just shrug it off.
does the buck stop?
the first day of war, the president's press secretary
announced that "the disarmament of the Iraqi regime
and during that war, Bush warned of "mushroom
clouds" and "vials and canisters" and biological
terrorists "armed by Saddam Hussein."
Powell, his secretary of State, said Iraq, by
a conservative estimate, "has between 100 and
500 tons of chemical weapons agents."
"we were all wrong." And a lot of people died
for it. And it is not unpatriotic to demand an
accounting. On the contrary: It's the most American
thing you can do.
may feel the intelligence let the president down.
The CIA misled him. Fine. Then how could he not
demand an independent inquiry? What about the
next international crisis? Don't we want to be
if you feel that the buck stops at the White House,
then doesn't Bush owe America an explanation?
Doesn't he owe something to the families who lost
loved ones in combat -- and who lose more every
this simple, folks: one or the other.
can't choose "Oh, well."
do we go to war?
is there such silence? Several reasons. First,
it's an election year. What matters most to politicians
now is damage control.
the hangover from Sept. 11. The browbeating that
anyone who questions Bush is a traitor still goes
on, particularly by zealot broadcasters whose
multimillion incomes depend on the right hating
the left. They don't want a united country.
you should. And if there's one thing we agree
on as Americans, it's this: We don't kill for
no reason. We don't make war unless it's unavoidable.
And our leaders don't take us down a primrose
it's good that Saddam Hussein is captured. But
we lost more than 500 of our kids to get him.
And we killed an unknown number of Iraqis -- and
not all of them were Republican Guards. Many were
simple peasants shoved into combat under threat
yes, Hussein harbored dreams of hurting us, something
the Bush administration is now spinning to justify
a preemptive attack. But if we went to war with
every demented dictator who dreams of attacking
us -- and having the weapons to do so -- we'd
be at war all over the globe.
our mistaken illusion: People sleep better knowing
Saddam is captured. But you should not sleep well
with an intelligence agency that can call the
sun the moon.
you should not sleep well with politicians who
feel you are too numb to care.
independent investigation, or an apology. There
is no middle ground. If we can simply shrug over
a war, then America is not the country we thought
Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The Mitch Albom Show" is 3-6 weekdays on WJR-AM
Posted: February 3, 2004