The war in Iraq was promoted by the Bush administration to be a direct response to the 9/11 terrorist attack and a preventative measure against the Iraqi regime utilizing weapons of mass destruction against their enemies (the USA and Israel). As we know now, these justifications were wholly falsified by the Bush administration and the war in Iraq was a neo-conservative endeavor that had nothing to do with the events of 9/11—these justifications were not an error or honest misinterpretation, but rather intentional fabrications aimed at pushing the USA into an unnecessary war. Reputable sources have reported that the Bush administration’s foreign policy team had been planning a pre-emptive war on Iraq from the start of the Bush presidency, months before the 9/11 terrorist attack.
The use of the 9/11 terrorist attack to justify an unrelated war is not only negligent and immoral, but it is also arguably a criminal offense. If the administration lied to congress in order to get them to sign a declaration of war, then they are guilty of perjury, if not worse crimes; depending upon the interpretations of federal law, it is arguable that, since the perjury of these officials led to deaths, the perjurer is guilty for the deaths. Individuals have been prosecuted for 1st degree murder under federal law when their perjured statements intentionally led to the deaths of others. As starting a war will inevitably lead to deaths (whether of Americans or the other country’s citizens), it is inarguable that the lies which led to the Iraqi war represent potential criminal charges. If murder-by-perjury charges have been applied in cases of a single death, then why has it not been applied for a larger lie, which led to a correspondingly larger amount of deaths? The simple answer is politics, and the setting of a precedent that would threaten future politicians if they choose to kill people with lies.
Dick Cheney in particular bears significant blame for the war in Iraq, and the misery which this war has caused. Cheney was not only a major proponent of the war but the evidence seems to indicate that he had alternative motives for starting the war. Halliburton, the company that Cheney once was CEO of (and which he still has a financial interest in), received billions of dollars in government contracts as a direct result of the war. While collusion has yet to be proven (or even investigated), it appears that Cheney had a strong financial incentive to start a war in Iraq.
In addition to the Halliburton conflict held by Cheney, it also bears mentioning that Cheney was engaged in private talks with oil company personnel regarding Iraqi oil months before 9/11. As explained in this article from DailyKos, leaks of documents related to these closed-door meetings seem to indicate a plot by Cheney and oil executives from several corporations to negotiate contracts for the Iraqi oil fields; these meetings seem to indicate the assumption that the US government would have control over the Iraqi oil fields within several years, something that would be impossible without an invasion. Given the content of these meetings before the attack of 9/11, it is virtually inarguable that Cheney was aiming to intentionally start a war for profit and simply exploited the terrorist attacks to facilitate his plans.
If the Iraq war was started under false pretenses (as the evidence point to), then it represents a truly historic example of negligent homicide—those in power knew that thousands of civilians and American troops would die due to their reckless and dishonest conduct, yet they continued to act anyway. To make this situation worse, the negligent conduct appears to have been motivated not by ideology but by a cold calculation, trading American lives for oil company profits. Unfortunately, as the executive branch has widespread immunity and can obscure their intentionally dishonest conduct as simple incompetence, it is unlikely that these crimes will be prosecuted. Unless proof of the motives and intent to start the war for profit is found during an investigation (one that hasn’t happened yet), it is very unlikely that the Bush administration officials will be convicted.
In order to pursue justice for those killed during the Iraq War, the United States Department of Justice should begin a full investigation into all aspect of the lead-up to war. Every document should be reviewed and the private sector individuals involved in these meetings should be squeezed for information. Hopefully, the threat of prosecution will cause a break in the chain somewhere and will provide evidence that the war in Iraq was an intentional fraud geared only to profit a select few individuals. When an individual kills somebody for money, they are prosecuted and can spend the rest of their lives in jail—we, as a country, cannot let those who we trust with power kill thousands of people for money, yet walk away without consequence.