The Colossal Blunder That is the Iraq War
Charles Pierce, Exquire
Pierce: 'The Avignon Presidency's excellent adventure in Iraq was a fake from start to finish.' (photo: Getty
ne of the more subtle benefits of the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary Of Defense is that it has required in our political discourse that we re-litigate -- or, arguably, litigate honestly for the first time -- the sweeping criminal fraud that was the selling of the war in Iraq by the administration of George W. Bush. Remarkably, at least in the prominent arenas of public discussion, the "left" side of this debate is primarily represented by people who supported the criminal fraud at first -- like Peter Beinart and, admittedly, Hagel himself -- and who then soured on the whole business either because they saw what a massive blunder it was, or because they needed to obfuscate their own hysterical support of it in order to maintain their public credibility in a country that was realizing that they'd helped play it for a sucker. And hello to you, too, Andrew Sullivan.
Let us be clear. The Avignon Presidency's excellent adventure in Iraq was a fake from start to finish, planned long in advance of the 9/11 attacks and sold to the country on the basis of "evidence" that bordered on the risible. (Remember the Iraqi drones spraying anthrax up the Hudson?) More to the point, there were people who knew it at the time, who talked about it at the time, who yelled about it at the time, and who, at best, were ignored and, at worst, slandered and marginalized. Those voices are still on the outskirts of the conversation, as though the more right you were, the less credibility you had.
This phenomenon continues today. There were the people who were right all along. These included Al Gore, Hans Blix, the Washington bureau of the McClatchy news service, and any member of Congress who voted against the resolution. A subset of this group are the people who were right all along but didn't do enough. These included all those CIA types who knew what was going on, but who couldn't quite bring themselves to raise a sufficient amount of hell. These groups have been shoved aside again in favor of the people who feel really bad about their mistake, or who, like the ubiquitous Michael O'Hanlon, have chosen not to speak much of it again. They were serious people about supporting the war and serious people now that they take their regrets out for a walk on TV. Serious is as serious does, I reckon. We never are going to get right with this colossal blunder until this kind of thinking changes. With too many people spoiling for a fight with Iran, against which Hagel already has lined up, this is not a healthy bit of business.