I was thinking about this exchange a few days ago between the Vice President and Tim Russert in September 2006:
"Asked by “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert whether the United States would have gone ahead with the invasion anyway if the CIA had reported that Saddam did not, in fact, have such weapons, Cheney said yes.
“He’d done it before,” Cheney said. “He had produced chemical weapons before and used them. He had produced biological weapons. He had a robust nuclear program in ’91.”
The U.S. invasion “was the right thing to do, and if we had to do it again, we would do exactly the same thing,” he said."
I remember this comment and exchange, and I remember thinking at the time, this is very significant.
My feeling has always been that Saddam's fate was sealed on 9/12/01. I have believed (no way to ever prove it) that with or without a 9/11, they'd have found a way to make war on Iraq. Most people don't agree with me on this. They think how could they just invade a country for no reason? Isn't that kind of similar to what they did anyway?
We are told all the time that there was "no way we could have known all that was going to happen in Iraq". Really? General Shinseki, General Zinni and others gave a pretty good accounting of what might happen. I think that a lot of Americans discounted those opinions (especially when countered by "logical" opinion from Neoconservative Scholars in Neoconservative Think Tanks) - sort of like the boy who cried wolf - when these things had happened in the past, doom and gloom was predicted (remember there would be thousands killed in the first gulf war), and doom and gloom never occurred. I think most Americans thought it would be that way this time too.
Only this time, it really is as bad as they said it was going to be.
All that talk about "being welcomed as liberators" - just exactly what, in our past dealings with middle eastern Islamic society made Americans think that the outcome would be any different?
It was almost that they wanted to believe it would be different, because George W. Bush SAID it would be different. And hey, why should I think any different? After all, they have all the PhD's, and I'm just a mechanic, or a housewife, or a waitress. What could I possibly know about global events or the context of history. Well, there were some Americans who chose to ignore the voices of fantasy of Secretary Wolfowitz and others, but a lot of others chose not to. I am proud that I have always been one of those. I opposed Iraq not because I'm any smarter than anyone, but because I chose to listen to voices who'd studied war in ALL of it's contexts. Historical, Socioeconomic, Cultural, Religious, etc. When all of it was factored in, most of them knew that it would mean disaster.
We went to Iraq, and now we are seemingly stuck in an intractable war. We have borrowed money from China, and we are going to spend literally trillions of dollars on this war. 3300+ fine young Americans are dead, and upwards of possibly 50,000 are going to be permanently disabled. Our economy is on the ropes. Our military is all but done for.
What angers me the most is that NOBODY really asked the questions (nobody is still asking the questions). How do we get out? What does "victory" look like? How much will it REALLY cost? Is there a post war plan to govern Iraq?
It almost makes you wonder what they really knew, or theorized. If they really believed all they said about being welcomed as liberators, then you have to question their competency. If they knew the result would be otherwise, but went ahead anyway, then you have to contemplate what that means for yourself.
50 to 100 years from now, historians will scratch their heads (and most of them now already are), and say how could they not SEE that this was the event that was going to destroy their economy and their country as they knew it?