Friday 22 March 2013

The War, a Decade Later

There are many reasons for the haze that surrounds Iraq. One of the most important has to do with the ambiguities of the policies behind it. The aims of the war were constantly shifting almost from the beginning. The Bush Administration had already succeeded in its objective of removing Saddam Hussein and his regime before the real war started. Within a few weeks of the fall of Baghdad, it became clear that Saddam’s much-touted arsenal of weapons of mass destruction—one of the principal motives for the war— did not exist.  
The New York Review of Books: The War We Couldn't See, March 20, 2013
You immediately saw the events of 9/11 as a second and more promising opening to assert U.S. supremacy. When riding high a decade earlier, many Americans had thought it either unseemly or unnecessary to lord it over others. Now, with the populace angry and frightened, the idea was likely to prove an easier sell. Although none of the hijackers were Iraqi, within days of 9/11 you were promoting military action against Iraq. Critics have chalked this up to your supposed obsession with Saddam. The criticism is misplaced. The scale of your ambitions was vastly greater.

In an instant, you grasped that the attacks provided a fresh opportunity to implement Wohlstetter’s Precepts, and Iraq offered a made-to-order venue. “We cannot wait to act until the threat is imminent,” you said in 2002. Toppling Saddam Hussein would validate the alternative to waiting. In Iraq the United States would demonstrate the efficacy of preventive war. 
Harper's Magazine: A Letter to Paul Wolfowitz, March 2013 

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