So: if George Bush had said that he wanted to go to war against Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator, would the nation have gone along?
That's the only rationale left for Bush's war.
There were no weapons of mass destruction.
Saddam Hussein was not planning, and did not have the capability, to launch an attack against the US.
There was no link between Saddam and 9/11.
A bipartisan Senate committee has confirmed it all.
We have sent hundreds of American soldiers and civilians --- and thousands of Iraqis --- to their deaths. And now everybody knows that the president was either lying or didn't know what he was talking about when he told us why we were doing it.
We took an international community that had joined us in mourning the losses of 9/11 and turned it against us. We squandered the trust and good will of world leaders. And now we are fighting a second war, against Iraqi insurgents. And we're spending billions of dollars trying to patch that poor country together.
The Bush administration is trying to blame the CIA for the faulty intelligence. But it does not take a foreign-policy genius to connect the dots. The Bush administration was taking us to war, and it used 9/11 and any intelligence reports it could find --- no matter how flimsy --- to sell a cowardly Congress on the war.
The Bush administration lied to the American public. It lied to us as we headed into war. And it is lying to us still.
Vice President Dick Cheney continues to say there was probably a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. President Bush insisted on Monday that Saddam Hussein "had the capability of producing weapons of mass murder."
And Bush's reaction to the Senate committee's report? America is safer today with Saddam gone.
Safer? With Homeland Security SecretaryTomRidge announcing that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11, is busy in Afghanistan, plotting a major strike against the US this year?
Safer? With baby-faced, 20-year-old American recruits and 50-year-old American Guardsmen dying in Bush's war?
Safer? With our armed forces stretched so thin that we now have a virtual draft of retired military men and women?
Maybe the Bush administration sincerely believed --- even before September 11 --- that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the US. We may never know. The issue is, whether administration officials had any evidence for that belief --- credible, well-documented, thoroughly challenged evidence. The answer is, No.
And it isn't as though there were no dissenting voices. There was dissent aplenty, and not just from anti-war activists and the alternative news media. Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, UN inspector Hans Blix, American intelligence experts outside of the CIA, officials of other nations were urging caution.
But the Bush administration was hell-bent ("beyond hell-bent," as journalist Bob Woodward puts it) on going to war against Iraq.
In his 2002 book Bush at War, a flattering portrayal of the president, Woodward reports in detail the discussions among top officials. At 4 p.m. on September 12, 2001 --- 31 hours after the first plane hit the WorldTradeCenter --- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was insisting that the US should target Iraq, not just Al Qaeda. Report after report cites the determination of Bush, Cheney, and others to go to war against Iraq.
And so we did. And now, while the Bush administration backpedals on its commitment to education and to international AIDS efforts, while it cuts funding for low-income housing, we spend billions of dollars, and lose lives, in a war we never should have embarked on.
Now what was it that led to Bill Clinton's impeachment?