News & Politics

The Real "Accountability Moment"

For real accountability, George might want to have a heart-to-heart with Dante Zappala, a man who lost his brother in Iraq during a search for non-existent WMDs.
George W. likes to brag that he's a "decisive" leader. Well, yes he is, and he is quite decisively leading our country right over a cliff with his Iraq policy.

But Bush is now claiming that the November election has vindicated his war decisions, calling his win "an accountability moment." Well, not exactly. In fact, large majorities of Americans are telling pollsters – and Bush – that they do NOT support his Iraq adventure. For real accountability, George might want to have a heart-to-heart with Dante Zappala, a Los Angeles teacher.

Zappala has written an eloquent op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times about his brother, Sherwood, who died last year as a result of Bush's boneheaded decisiveness. Zappala recalls that the president told us that we must invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that threatened America's national security. Zappala's brother, a National Guardsman with a wife and a nine-year-old son, was assigned to the team in Iraq looking for those non-exsistent weapons. Even though the international inspectors had declared in January 2004 that there were no WMDs, W. decisively insisted they were there, so the search team was ordered to keep looking. Three months later, Sherwood was killed while standing guard in the futile search for the weapons.

Zappala's grieving family wept anew this January when the White House, with no fanfare, conceded that there were no WMDs ... and officially ended the search. They are anguished not by Sherwood's death alone, but for all who have died and will die because of the false assumptions of so-called "leaders" who still will not come clean. Zappala writes "The war with Iraq was not a mistake, but rather a flagrant abuse of power by our leaders – and a case of shameful negligence by the rest of us for letting it happen."

There is no "accountability moment" until Bush – and our whole society – can honestly answer Zappala's question: "Why did my brother die?"

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush, from Viking Press. For more information, visit