By The Editors –
Ten years ago this week, the United States launched the Iraq War. A decade later, thanks to the mismanagement of the Bush administration, the indifference of the Obama administration, and the inherent difficulties of Iraqi society, it is clear that we expended great blood and treasure for an unsatisfactory outcome.
Saddam Hussein and his regime of torture and mass murder are gone. He started a war by invading a neighbor and sought dominion over the global oil supply. He was an ongoing threat to the region and in flagrant violation of his international commitments. If he no longer had weapons of mass destruction, it wasn’t for lack of trying. He was undermining the strictures that kept him from restarting his weapons programs. Even the harshest critics of the war are loath to admit that their alternative would have left Saddam atop Iraq.
The war was popular at the beginning, supported by the public, by Democrats in Congress, and by many of the liberal and conservative commentators who eventually turned against it.
The notion that Bush “lied” about Saddam’s weapons is itself a dastardly lie. That Saddam had WMD was a matter of bipartisan and international consensus. His presumed possession of these weapons was widely considered intolerable in the context of the September 11 attacks, which taught a bitter lesson in allowing threats to fester. Bush launched the war for good reason, and in its initial phase, it was a rapid and undeniable triumph.