Accountability is the word most often used when speaking of large industrial companies whose actions negatively affect the health and safety of people or when government at any level makes opportunistic decisions that injure or even kill Americans.

We want to know who was in charge, how those decisions were made and why the public was not fully informed. We want to know why callous behaviors are not exposed and condemned. After 11 years, everything that has happened in Iraq, militarily and economically, begs for accountability.

Since the end of World War II, America has entered into a series of wars: Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq. All have ended in stalemates at best and in military retreats at worst. We Americans have come to accept our involvement in war, regardless of the reasons, as part of the political landscape.

However, as a result of the unrestrainable chaos in Iraq, it is time for us to stop accepting another disastrous experience and look for the reasons that brought us into Iraq after 9/11. The perpetrators of 9/11 were trained in Afghanistan and, justifiably, the United States military did attack them to destroy their facilities. But we did not totally finish the job when, claiming the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld decided we should attack Iraq and depose their leader, Saddam Hussein. This, despite the fact that the U.N. investigation revealed no WMD.

As it became apparent the move into Iraq was to control the country with the world’s second-largest oil reserves, protests arose in many parts of our country with one theme: no blood for oil. But the major function after the defeat of the Saddam’s army was to guard the oil pipelines. The ruse was we were seeking out the (alleged) WMD as claimed by the Bush administration and the idea was that the oil we would extract from Iraq would pay for the war.

There are those who would argue that it is all water under the bridge. We must move on. Forget about the past. But here we are again. Belligerent voices in Congress will not face the reality that our Iraqi partner Nouri al-Maliki is a dishonest, corrupt despot and Iraq is strangling with the eruption of a civil war. It is time to ask why we have lost over 4,400 American military personnel and more than 32,000 have been wounded, why over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed, thousands more displaced, and billions of American dollars wasted in an attempt to bring stability to the country. Ruling power has shifted from the minority oppressive Sunni to the majority oppressive Shia.

After World War II, German Nazi leaders either killed themselves or were brought to justice in the Nuremberg trials as war criminals who had perpetrated a bloodbath in Europe.

The leaders of Japan were brought to trial for their murderous role in the Pacific. The leaders of 20th-century fascism were held accountable to the world that had lost about 55 million people during that war.

It’s long past time that Americans hold the George W. Bush administration accountable and to ask some obvious questions about our entry into Iraq clearly based on the exchange of blood for oil. It would be well for the Obama administration to brave the objections of some in Congress and to resist any plan to increase our thankless, unsupportable further involvement in Iraq.

George Miller, who served as Tucson mayor from 1991 to 1999, is a Marine combat veteran from World War II. Email him at