Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the second United States invasion of Iraq. Since that day in March of 2003, over 4,000 American service men and women, and countless Iraqi soldiers and civilians have given their lives for...what? Trying to justify this crusade now involves revisiting the tired, and in many cases wholly discredited reasons that the Bush administration has paraded before the public time and again, without much care or regard for the public's reaction. To review:
- "Saddam Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction."
Proven false. Not only were these claims unfounded at the time of their assertion, they remained so at the time of invasion and throughout the subsequent occupation. The United States did finally admit in 2004 that there were, it seems, never any WMDs in Iraq after all.
- "Al Qaeda is operating in Iraq."
Nope. There is categorically zero evidence that prior to 2003 Al Qaida was any more operational in Iraq than in was in Dearborn, Michigan. Of course, there's one proven way to ensure that Al Qaida will operate in Iraq: remove any form of a central government, and place 150,000 United States soldiers into the mix. Conveniently for the President, one can no longer argue that Al Qaida is not present in Iraq.
- "The world is a safer place without Saddam Hussein and his sons in power."
This is true. However, the world would most likely be safer without Kim Jong Il, Pervez Musharraf, and Vladimir Putin, too. Is it logical to go to war with every leader with whom there is a conflict of ideology? Hardly. Of course, if the removal of a despot could turn the tide towards world peace, who could possibly oppose that? After all...
- "A democratic Iraq will have a stabilizing effect on the rest of the Middle East."
How's that working out for you, George?
All kidding aside, the examination of the case for this war, now five years on (granted that many of these reasons "evolved" out of circumstance) sheds light on a great American tragedy. George W. Bush took office in 2001 claiming to possess the power to unite America, and the knowledge needed to keep from further dividing us. This is, quite literally, the exact opposite of the result we have endured and experienced. We are a nation divided, a nation at war, a nation in peril.
The menace of this administration has successfully curbed the tongues of those who have spoken out against it, and dissuaded its detractors from full engagement. As the Democrats in-fight their way towards another national election, maybe they should stop to consider their quest for an identity, in the wake of a humiliating eight years.
This is a party all too familiar with scrutiny, with lying under oath and impeachment. When is it that Democrats will realize that their "moral high ground" cannot automatically exclude the act of confrontation, and that if one precludes themself from retaliation, their adversary will perpetually attack?
This may not be the most cohesive, compelling, or thought provoking piece you hear on behalf of these ideals, but hey, as our President loves to point out, "fool me once..."