Demands Support for Troops from Commander-in-Chief and a 'Real Investigation Into Prewar Intelligence'
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2005, 10:55am PT  

In a response just issued by OpTruth.org, "the nation's first and largest organization for Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," their Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff expressed disappointment in George W. Bush's just-completed Veterans' Day speech to troops in Pennsylvania.

"Those of us who fought in Iraq deserve to know why we became Veterans in the first place," Reickhoff said in a statement that went on to call for a "real investigation into prewar intelligence."

In a speech staged in front of military gear to an audience of enlisted men and women at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania, Bush took the opportunity to take a few swipes at his political opposition. "Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and mislead the American people about why we went to war," Bush said before taking the opportunity to manipulate those listening with the Administration's latest misleading talking point to deflect criticism of their use of prewar intelligence.

As reported by AP...

He said those critics have made those allegations although they know that a Senate investigation 'found no evidence' of political pressure to change the intelligence community's assessments related to Saddam's weapons program.

"More than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," Bush went on to say. Leaving out the nuance that the intelligence those Democrats were allowed to see was gathered and selected by the Administration's own intelligence agencies. He further failed to mention that the vote by Congress to give Bush the power to wage war, was based on promises to exhaust all diplomatic options before doing so.

Recent investigations into prewar intelligence, indeed, has not shown that the Administration applied pressure to intelligence agencies. However, the investigations that led to those reports specifically avoided examining the Administration's use (and/or misuse) of the intelligence available to them. The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KA) had promised to look into those matters two years ago but, to date, have failed to do so. That failure resulted last week in Senate Minority Leader Harry Ried's (D-NV) invoking of Senate Rule 21 to force the Senate into a closed session in order to pressure the committee to deliver their promised investigation.

Rieckhoff, who gave up his job on Wall Street after 9/11 to join the active army in the "War on Terror," expressed disappointment at Bush's failure in his speech to support veterans by calling for a thorough investigation into the way intelligence was used to sell Congress and the American people on the war that they are now stuck fighting. "It's unfortunate," he said, "that the President doesn't think he owes that to the people who have been unwavering in their bravery while carrying out his plans.”

The Iraq War veteran, who led troops into Baghdad at the start of the war, is dismayed at Bush's lack of support for those who still fight the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. "On Veterans' Day, the President spoke a lot about the reasons for the war in Iraq, but very little about how he plans to take care of the people fighting that war, and what the future holds for them."