Letters: Iraq decisions deserve hearing

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The Republican-controlled House is proposing hearings on Benghazi. Why?
When the wars in the Middle East started, I started reading “mistakes made, lessons learned” papers written by officers who served in Iraq. These officers were studying at the U.S. Army War College to advance in rank.

While Benghazi was tragic, there were mistakes 1,000 times worse. Benghazi wouldn’t make my top 100 list of “mistakes made, lessons learned.”

Before the war, Gen. Eric Shinseki testified to Congress about the need to secure Iraq with a massive occupation force. Our weapons inspectors had cataloged between 600,000 and a million tons of known munitions. We needed a large occupation force to secure the munitions and protect minority populations like the Iraqi Christians. Shinseki was forced out.

Gen. Anthony Zinni, who headed central command for the Middle East between 1997 and 2000, spending much of his career developing occupation plans for Iraq, was never consulted by the occupation planners. We spent millions of dollars developing these plans and the Bush administration refused to provide them to the occupation planners.

When we invaded Iraq, the Bush administration dissolved the Iraqi army that was guarding the weapons depots, then watched via satellite as these weapons were looted the next 400 days. These munitions were made into IEDs. There are 670,000 Iraq veterans receiving disability payments, with 300,000 suffering effects of traumatic brain injuries from IEDs.

Our failure to protect the Christian population from ethnic cleansing and to protect our soldiers from IEDs by not securing munitions, truly deserves a Benghazi-style hearing.

Tom Hallquist,


Letters: Iraq decisions deserve hearing