Uh, no, they really did lie
Atrios points out a post by Matt Yglesias about how the Bush Administration deluded themselves and the American public into going to war in Iraq.
I'm sorry, but that's a bunch of horseshit. They lied. They lied like teenagers caught with a bottle of Jack and a half dressed girl between their thighs. They lied about Saddam's intentions, his capabilities and his agressive posture and we knew it at the time. Saddam didn't want war and didn't do anything, or much of anything to provoke it. He'd buried his air force and didn't trust his commanders to have chemical weapons.
What drives me nuts about Matt's bland statement about how because us liberals hated Bush, we ignored their arguments about how removing Saddam was a good thing. Which is even more horseshit. There was no good argument for war. None. Iraq was a distraction when we had real enemies in Afghanistan. Saddam couldn't trust more than 12,000 of his 600,000 man police force and Army. Even the Republican Guard had turned on him in the mid-90's.
Now, certainly, Chalabi spun a tale which would have Scherazade green with envy, but Bush and his cronies not only lied by comission, but omission as well. They suggested tales of frightening drones coming to bomb London like it was 1944 and handoffs of nukes to Al Qaeda. Fantasies so lurid, Larry Flynt wouldn't have touched them. And none, in the end, true.
What we said in the run up to the war was simple: once you invade, you open Pandora's Box. It wasn't about hating Bush. I didn't like Reagan, but going into Lebanon was based on good, if naive, motives. Iraq was the absolute opposite. Chalabi was the Iraqi version of Jorge Mas Canosa, the exile who thought he'd replace Castro because the CIA liked him. Anything from his mouth was a lie.
But what Matt, and Josh Marshall and the rest of the pro-war crew didn't get, and it was as evident as googling Iraqi history, was that any occupation would run smack into Iraqi nationalism. That unless there was a parallel, internal resistance movement, our invasion would be seen as an occupation. Also, many of Saddam's decisions were not based on mental illness, but the reality of Iraq's strategic situation. The Kurds had acted against Iraq's territorial integrity, as had the Shia. This wasn't some random threat, but a real, strategic concern. A concern which had been a problem since the 1960's, before Saddam came on the scene.
Not liking Bush is one thing. Questioning his policies is quite another. Iraq just didn't make sense. The French, who were going to participate as late as January, even sent the Clemenceau towards the Gulf, realized what a mistake this policy was going to be. They didn't trust the follow-on planning. And said so. Resulting in drawing all the heat when in fact, the Germans had the far more dogmatic position.
Now, we have too few troops, declining morale, and a growing resistance movement and the best we get from Bush is his standard "we gonna get them terraist sum uh bitches" speech, one belied by his sneaking into Iraq in the dark, turning out the lights in Baghdad and running away two hours later. Which says everything you need to know about security in Iraq.
The war was always wrong, always destined to fail. Those who thought we could impose democracy or even a non-Saddam Iraq were wrong and it's nice to see them say so. Even if they had to wait months to see the folly of their ways.
posted by Steve @ 1:00:00 PM