Opinion: Punished for Telling Truth About Iraq War
Editor’s note: Nicolaus Mills is professor of American Studies at Sarah Lawrence College and author of “Winning the Peace: The Marshall Plan and America’s Coming of Age as a Superpower.” He is currently at work on a book about the West Point football team of 1964 and its experience in Vietnam.
(CNN) — This week, we mark the tenth anniversary of the day the U.S. launched the Iraq War. But when we think of how differently that war might have been fought, the most important date to remember is February 25, 2003.
That’s when Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “several hundred thousand soldiers” would be needed in Iraq when post-hostilities control was taken into consideration.
Shinseki’s estimate was more than double that of the George W. Bush administration, which in March 2003 sent a ground invasion force of 145,000 troops into Iraq.
Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Department wasted no time in answering Shinseki. Two days after Shinseki’s Senate testimony, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz used his appearance before the House Budget Committee to present an entirely different view of America’s prospects in Iraq.