Let us on this day mourn for those who tragically lost their lives on 9/11. And let us commit that their lives not be lost in vain, but become the basis for a new America of peace and justice. America must regain the moral high ground in our efforts to recover from 9/11.
Let us not forget the world was with America in our sorrow on September 11, 2001. The world was prepared to unite with America in a cooperative effort to challenge terrorists who attempt to disrupt civil society. Instead, the Administration used 9/11 as an excuse to attack a nation that did not attack us. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, or with Al Qaeda's role in 9/11. Iraq did not have the intention or the capability of attacking the United States. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. Yet the Administration deliberately and falsely conflated 9/11 with Iraq, with the cooperation of an unquestioning media.
As a result, nearly 4,000 of our brave soldiers have lost their lives, and tens of thousands have been permanently injured in combat in Iraq. The subsequent occupation has fueled the insurgency and will continue to result in more troop losses until the United States leaves. Also, nearly one million innocent Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of this war. This violence against an innocent people is a tragedy of immense proportions. It is also a violation of international law, and those who authored this war must be held accountable for their actions.
Americans will spend close to $2 trillion in Iraq by the time the costs of this war are totaled, but the longer term costs have included the undermining America's moral authority in the world, the separation of America from the nations and the peoples of the world, and the destruction of a domestic agenda which is being deferred while we borrow money from China to fight the war in Baghdad.
We need to call those who used 9/11 to take us into war against Iraq to an accounting under the U.S. Constitution, U.S. law, and international law. We must soon begin a period of truth and reconciliation in our own nation. We must have forums of open dialogue throughout the country where we can come together to remember who we were before 9/11, to share our personal narratives of the times when we felt most secure, most in love with our nation, most trustful of our democratic institutions. We must recover our capacity for civic action. We must reclaim our nation. The only way we can do that is to tell the truth.