Rich Lowry scrubs at his bloody hands
The reason that Saddam supposedly posed a threat to us always came back to WMD, and the fact is that the dire scenarios sketched by the Bush administration in the run-up to the war did not turn out to be accurate.Started by mistake?! As in, "Oops! I started a war?!"
For many of us, the war was supposed to be about U.S. national security and only about U.S. national security. It would be nice if we could make Iraq a better place, just as it would be nice if we could make Afghanistan a better place, but that was never a sufficient reason to go to war. The reason to go to war was to find and kill every last son of a bitch who had anything to do with 9/11. And that job was not the main focus in Iraq, and in any event is unfortunately not finished.
One of the main reasons John McCain is facing such an tough job today is that we are now in the sixth year of a war that the president of his own party started by mistake.
This is a completely bullshit attempt by Lowry to soft-peddle not only Bush's charge into Iraq despite massive amounts of evidence suggesting there were no WMDs, but also to excuse writers (like Lowry himself) who screamed loudly for the war. In fact, Lowry argued in May of 2002 Bush wasn't pushing hard enough when members of the military leadership balked at attacking Iraq.
Bush should (within reason) refuse to take "no" for an answer from the Joint Chiefs. If they can't come up with a plausible plan for invading Iraq, they should think harder. If they can't contemplate the risks involved in invading without Saudi bases, they should get over it.So, yes, the war was a mistake, but the mistake was on the part of those who took the Bush administration at its word (see Greenstock, Jeremy and "automaticity"). The war, however, was started deliberately, by a president who refused to see the evidence before him, aided by a coterie of armchair generals and chickenhawks who hollered every time it looked like their war might not happen. Doug Feith, Scott McClellan, Rich Lowry and the assorted warbloggers and assholes can try all they want to make this war look like it's Bush's fault alone, but without his loyal hacks and, in fact, the entire Republican party behind him, it wouldn't have been started and it wouldn't have continued as long as it has.
It is Bush, the president of the United States, who should be riding herd over the Chiefs rather than the other way around.
This episode should serve to prove to conservatives what defense analyst and NR contributing editor John Hillen has been saying for a long time: America's military leadership is an unimaginative backwards-looking bureaucracy that has been allowed to run free of vigorous civilian leadership for too long.
Update: Boehlert reminds us that, back when Rich Lowry was cheering for war, someone else said this:
- "[T]he Administration has not made a convincing case that we face such an imminent threat to our national security that a unilateral, pre-emptive American strike and an immediate war are necessary."
- "[T]he Administration has not explicitly acknowledged, let alone explained to the American people, the immense post-war commitment that will be required to create a stable Iraq."
- "A largely unilateral American war that is widely perceived in the Muslim world as untimely or unjust could worsen not lessen the threat of terrorism."
- "War with Iraq before a genuine attempt at inspection and disarmament, or without genuine international support -- could swell the ranks of Al Qaeda sympathizers and trigger an escalation in terrorist acts."
- "[I]nformation from the intelligence community over the past six months does not point to Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States or a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction."
- "[T]here is no clear and convincing pattern of Iraqi relations with either Al Qaeda or the Taliban."