The past two weeks as ISIS has marched toward Baghdad, Iraq has become top of mind in a way we haven’t seen since the end of the surge. While America is debating the real existential threat of terrorism metastasizing its way to our shores, some Democrats are too busy to notice. Instead they are running with blinding speed away from their original support for the Iraq War and the truth that components for WMDs were found in Iraq.
As a man who once told his American captors “see you in New York,” is leading his terrorist organization which was thrown out of al Qaeda for being too extreme, toward their goal of a worldwide Islamic Caliphate, liberal partisans are blaming the Bush administration for going into Iraq in the first place. Some are even calling it “original sin.” But the real sin whether or not one believes in retrospect the Iraq War was right or wrong is lying about the support this country had for the War, or that Saddam Hussein was working on WMDs.
Yes it’s true Bush/Cheney made serious mistakes in executing the Iraq War, they didn’t have a plan to win the damned thing, nor did they have a plan to “win the peace,” firing the entire Iraq army was just stupid. They forgot that in a secular state the interests of the military is maintaining order not pursuing the ideological religious civil war which erupted soon as the American heroes ousted Saddam. Additionally, Rumsfeld tried to win the War “on the cheap,” seriously underestimating the manpower and resources needed to win the peace.
All that said ,any suggestion that the Iraq War that was approved by Congress in October of 2002 and launched in March 2003 is Bush’s or Cheney’s War is totally nonsense. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress voted in favor of the Iraq War in 2002 , and as our heroes launched the War in March the War had overwhelming popular support.
Those Americans blaming the War on Bush or Cheney are ignoring history. On October 10, 2002 the house voted overwhelmingly to give President Bush the power to wage War against Iraq. Within that 296-133 vote, 82 (40%) of 209 Democratic Reps voted in favor for the resolution. The next day the Senate voted 77-23 in favor of the Iraq War powers act, 29 out of the 50 Democrats in the Senate (58%) voted in favor of the bill. Congressional support for the Iraq War was bi-partisan.
On March 20, 2003 the United States began the invasion of Iraq. In a poll taken right after the invasion began (March 22-23) Americans displayed overwhelming support for the invasion. Gallup reported 72% of Americans supported the nascent War (59% strongly supported the War).
The Iraq War was not Cheney’s or Bush’s, it was America’s. I am not trying to defend going into Iraq (or it’s execution) but claims that the Administration lied to get us into Iraq simply belies the truth. Did he have WMDs? Heck yeah. He used nerve gas against his own people. Was he trying to get Nuclear weapons? Was the intelligence wrong? Partially. We did not find Nuclear weapons however according to the NY Times in November 2006 an archive of documents found in Iraq found the Iraqis were on the verge of building a bomb when we invaded Iraq.
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
In July of 2008 all the major news outlets reported:
The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.
The removal of 550 metric tons of “yellowcake” — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam’s nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions.
It is very fair to criticize the Bush/Cheney preparation or execution of the War. Saying despite the fact that Saddam had WMDs we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq is also a valid argument, so is looking at the results 11 years later and saying it was a mistake. However to deny the War and the incredibly strong support of the country and congress, or to say we were lied to about WMDs is not only unfair, but it belies what really happened.