a dramatic departure from the Bush administration,
Republican Rep. Doug Bereuter says he now believes
the U.S. military assault on Iraq was unjustified.
reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that
the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions
are being revealed, that all things being considered,
it was a mistake to launch that military action,"
Bereuter wrote in a letter to constituents in
the final days of his congressional career.
especially true in view of the fact that the attack
was initiated "without a broad and engaged international
coalition," the 1st District congressman said.
now what I know about the reliance on the tenuous
or insufficiently corroborated intelligence used
to conclude that Saddam maintained a substantial
WMD (weapons of mass destruction) arsenal, I believe
that launching the pre-emptive military action
was not justified."
a result of the war, he said, "our country's reputation
around the world has never been lower and our
alliances are weakened."
Bereuter is a senior member of the House International
Relations Committee and vice chairman of the House
four-page letter represented a departure from
his support for a 2002 House resolution authorizing
the president to go to war.
vote to authorize the use of military force -
even pre-emptive force - was based on faulty,
or misrepresented, intelligence that led to the
fear Saddam Hussein would share weapons of mass
destruction with terrorists, Bereuter said.
unresolved for now is whether intelligence was
intentionally misconstrued to justify military
action," he said.
a floor statement accompanying his 2002 vote,
Bereuter urged that the international coalition
be broadened and the administration adequately
plan for the consequences of war and not divert
resources from the battle against al-Qaida and
the stabilization of Afghanistan.
acknowledged intelligence failures and failure
to locate weapons of mass destruction, President
Bush continues to forcefully argue the war was
justified because Saddam represented a threat
to the United States, his neighbors and the people
criticizing the manner in which the administration
went to war, Democratic presidential nominee John
Kerry has said he still would have voted for the
authorizing resolution knowing what he knows today.
pointed to a list of negative consequences arising
from the war.
cost in casualties is already large and growing,"
he said, "and the immediate and long-term financial
costs are incredible.
the beginning of the conflict, it was doubtful
that we for long would be seen as liberators,
but instead increasingly as an occupying force.
we are immersed in a dangerous, costly mess, and
there is no easy and quick way to end our responsibilities
in Iraq without creating bigger future problems
in the region and, in general, in the Muslim world."
sent the letter to constituents who have contacted
him about the war.
felt I should send you a forthright update of
my views and conclusions on that subject before
I leave office," he said.
will depart the House after 26 years to become
president of the Asia Foundation on Sept. 1.
and the administration "must learn from the errors
and failures" related to the attack and its aftermath,
toll in American military casualties and those
of civilians, physical damages caused, financial
resources spent, and the damage to the support
and image of America abroad all demand such an
assessment and accounting."
addition to "a massive failure or misinterpretation
of intelligence" concerning weapons of mass destruction,
Bereuter said, the Bush administration made a
number of errors in prosecuting the war despite
warnings about the consequences.
and coalition forces were inadequate in number
to take effective control of Iraq when the initial
military action was completed," he said. Other
mistakes included disbanding the Iraqi army and
placing responsibility for reconstruction with
the Department of Defense instead of the Department
of State, he said.
Posted: August 20, 2004