Don Williams
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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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Foes of the war were right
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   08/22/2003)

The French were right.

The liberals were right.

The peaceniks were right.

True conservatives were right.

Veterans opposed to the war--I hear from more of them than you might imagine--were also right. They said this war was based on lies, and it was. They said this war, like most wars, would lead to more chaos and killing, and it has.

Now some in the Bush Administration are telling the world that the car bombing of United Nations headquarters in Iraq is evidence our policy is right.

How illogical can you be? Insurgents blow up oil-pipelines and water mains; American soldiers get killed or maimed almost daily. Demonstrations are on-going. And the biggest blow from the Iraqi resistance so far--destruction of UN headquarters--is presented by the Bush team as evidence that our policy is correct because... because....

Because this proves terrorists are really really bad. Duh. We all know terrorists are really really bad. That's why it's best not to give them more chaos in which to thrive. That's why it's best not to stir up new nests unnecessarily as we did by invading Iraq.

The Soviets couldn't win in Afghanistan and I'll be surprised if, in five years or seven, American style democracy has taken hold in Iraq. Like Afghanistan under the Russians, Iraq has become the rallying point for a growing jihad. Radical Muslims are entering Iraq in twos and threes across porous borders on all sides to fight us.

It all makes for mesmerizing news, and I've spent lots of time tuned to the daily media looking for evidence to support my gut feeling that this war, like most wars, was based on lies and misconceptions from the start. You don't have to look very hard these days. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Every public argument for making war on Iraq has broken down. Let's start with the biggest:

  • Weapons of Mass Destruction: None have been found. I'm sure that at some point evidence will mysteriously appear to show "Iraq had a weapons program," but we already knew that, and to prove they had a program is a far cry from finding the tons of anthrax and chemical bombs, the armed missiles and mobile labs, the remote drones and nuclear components the Bush team scared us with almost daily in its drive to war. Speaking of nukes, Bush's allegations were based almost solely on documents he apparently knew were forged. What could be more damning? Bottom line, if WMDs existed, they're now in the hands of terrorists or unfriendly governments, or they're up for grabs in the Iraqi desert some place. Either way, it's a bad result.
  • The link to al-Qaida: The myth that Iraq had significant ties to al-Qaida was based on a hospital visit to Iraq by one man, and another meeting in a third country that likely never took place. No evidence has surfaced for an Iraqi/al-Qaida link. Ironically, Bush's misguided war now has forged just such a link. Osama recently called on all Muslims to oppose our occupation of Iraq, and they appear to be responding.
  • Iraq would welcome us as liberators: It happened only in a few places and some of those appeared stage-managed. Now Iraqis are criticizing and demonstrating and shooting Americans. We've become occupiers. In the process we've killed, maimed, destroyed the Iraqi infrastructure and caused the loss of priceless cultural artifacts from the dawn of civilization. Some of our actions can be justified, but being justified and being wise are different things.
  • We'd be out in 60 days, leaving behind a democracy that would take root, then blossom across the Middle East. Well, if majority rule flowers in Iraq, Shiites will run the place, as they do in Iran. That's who the majority is.
  • Saddam Hussein is an evil man who must be destroyed. As this is written, he's still at large. All thinking people hope he's brought in, preferably alive, so he can shed more light on those who helped him in his rise to power, including some now serving Bush.
  • Now, as I say, the car-bombing of UN Headquarters in Iraq is being used as proof we're in the right. Two points:
    One, like several thousand others, those UN workers would be alive today except for the will to empire by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Perle and a few others who are pulling the strings.
    Two. If, in Country X, the power is out, the water's out, the oil pipeline is burning, unemployment tops 60 percent, murder and rape are daily occurrences, the treasury is looted, the museums are looted, official history is a tool for propaganda, and UN headquarters are bombed, then the ruler of Country X should be held accountable, right?

Well, Iraq is Country X. Bush is its ruler.