Anyone who pays attention to certain conservatives on social media knows they’re trying to weasel into the narrative that says, “Iraq happened because that was the intelligence we had at the time,” etc. Thankfully, regardless of Obama’s foreign policy failures, there are intellectually honest people in this world who care about moral culpability when it comes to war, and they will never allow the lie that says, “Bush succeeded in Iraq,” or, “The Iraq war was an honest mistake because of faulty intelligence,” to get passed on to our children, regardless of how hard history revisionists are trying.
Jeb Bush and now Marco Rubio’s recent fumbling on the Iraq question is a good thing. It’s a good thing because hopefully it means we will finally get this discussion out in the open again, with more and more people willing to lead the way.
One of those people is economist Paul Krugman. Putting aside economic ideology, Krugman’s recent column in the New York Times nails the latest Iraq war apologist narrative to the wall.
Considering that regular schmucks like myself who do a fair amount of reading on foreign affairs knew the Bush Administration was consciously and fraudulently tying Saddam Hussein to 9/11, it’s refreshing to see Krugman point out that the “ever-shifting arguments for an unchanging goal were a dead giveaway,” which makes the fact that some are still trying to whitewash this tragedy even more infuriating.
“And at this point we have plenty of evidence to confirm everything the war’s opponents were saying” Krugman writes. “We now know, for example, that on 9/11 itself — literally before the dust had settled — Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, was already plotting war against a regime that had nothing to do with the terrorist attack.”
This was, in short, a war the White House wanted, and all of the supposed mistakes that, as Jeb puts it, “were made” by someone unnamed actually flowed from this underlying desire. Did the intelligence agencies wrongly conclude that Iraq had chemical weapons and a nuclear program? That’s because they were under intense pressure to justify the war. Did prewar assessments vastly understate the difficulty and cost of occupation? That’s because the war party didn’t want to hear anything that might raise doubts about the rush to invade. Indeed, the Army’s chief of staff was effectively fired for questioning claims that the occupation phase would be cheap and easy.
Now, you can understand why many political and media figures would prefer not to talk about any of this. Some of them, I suppose, may have been duped: may have fallen for the obvious lies, which doesn’t say much about their judgment. More, I suspect, were complicit: they realized that the official case for war was a pretext, but had their own reasons for wanting a war, or, alternatively, allowed themselves to be intimidated into going along. For there was a definite climate of fear among politicians and pundits in 2002 and 2003, one in which criticizing the push for war looked very much like a career killer.
Krugman ends his piece with a call for the American public to finally “get the Iraq story right.” No matter how hard some are trying to mislead the impressionable, it’s looking like the truth won’t be suppressed so easily.
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