I really want to stop talking about why we went to war in Iraq and why we were told we were going to war in Iraq, but I just can’t tear myself away. My problem is that some people in the pro-war camp accuse liberals like myself of harping on the issue of whether Iraq had the weapons Bush said they did to try to regain some shred of credibility because now, in retrospect, it’s obvious that war was just what we needed. For me, that’s not it.
I can remember talking to my father (a Republican) before the war started. He was reticent about the war, given that the economic outlook is grim, the threat posed by Iraq was unclear, and because most people generally just don’t like the idea of going to war. He told me that he assumed that if we did go to war, it would be justified because the President must know things about Iraq that the rest of us don’t. Such is the power that we must invest in our leaders. We can’t all know the truth about everything, that’s just not realistic, so we have to assume that the people with more information than we do will make the correct decisions based on that information.
So when Bush told us that it was important that we go to war with Iraq right now, and that the reason was the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons and the fear that Saddam Hussein would share them with his terrorist friends, people believed him. I have proof of that. Now that Saddam Hussein has been deposed and the United States occupies a foreign country where not everybody is cheered by our presence, it’s time to ask whether we were goaded into war under false pretenses. There are plenty of people who knew why we were going to war with Iraq before the war started. But those aren’t the people Bush had to convince one way or another. The bottom line here is that Bush thought that invading Iraq was too important to be honest with the American people about why he wanted to do it. That’s unforgivable, regardless of the end result, which is still up in the air.