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Friday, May 30, 2008

The Greatest Sacrifice

From BBC News reports

Former White House spokesman Scott McClellan has attacked US President George W Bush in a 341-page memoir, In What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.

McClellan says Mr Bush relied on a "political propaganda campaign" to sell sending troops to the American people, and was not "open and forthright" on Iraq in his rush to an unnecessary war. His handling of Hurricane Katrina is also attacked.

From July 2003 to his resignation in April 2006, McClellan was a loyal defender of the Bush administration. He was a long-standing member of Bush's inner circle, having worked for him when he was Texas governor before following him to the White House.

Mr McClellan stops short of saying Mr Bush lied about the reasons for going to war in Iraq.

However, the way the Bush administration managed the Iraq issue "almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option", he says.

Quoted by the Washington Post, he writes that "No-one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact.

"What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary."

Making Iraq a foothold - and symbol - for Islamic fundamentalists while widening the East-West gulf, pushing back any hopes of peace and securing the destabilisation of an already volatile region for two generations, and the hundreds and thousands of Iraqi dead are not the only victims of America's unnecessary war.

The town of Killeen, Texas, is home to America's largest military base, Fort Hood, and most of those who live here have ties with the US military.

Just outside the town itself is a recently opened military cemetery where they are still preparing fresh graves.

Huge black granite stones bear the faces of soldiers who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Killeen has already lost more than 400 of its soldiers, leaving behind about 200 widows. The sense of grief hangs heavy in this small part of Texas.

Those that caused the war have given little hope to those who have made the greatest personal sacrifice that their actions will mean something to future generations.

One war widow questions whether the sacrifice was worth it.

"See a lot of people don't know that five of our soldiers died last week; and before that was three; and before that was six," she says.

"I know this because I go to my husband's grave.

"When he was buried the row ended, but now there's a whole new row in front of him, and there's 16 graves without markers. They can't make headstones fast enough."

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