Why we are in Iraq
I'll start by saying I think we made many mistakes in going into Iraq, that I opposed it and still do -- though I supported the first Gulf War. I believe we should have worked with the United Nations to solve the problem. I think the American people and the world were misled about the reasons for going into Iraq. I believe that, while toppling Saddam was a good thing, and whatever push we have given Iraq towards a working Democracy is good, many of our actions -- in Fallujah and Abu Gharaib in particular -- and our lack of a coherent way of leaving may threaten to undo that good. And I feel our blunders have so disgusted the American people that a possibly far more justifiable attack on a nuclear Iran has become politically impossible.
I think we have to begin a disengagement, but one which whill preserve as much as possible of the good results of our incursion. (And I do not think we can disengage entirely until Saddam has been convicted and imprisoned or executed -- war crimes committed by a head of state or his closest associates might be the only exception I would make to my opposition to the death penalty. If a Saddam were not put to death, it would leave open the possibility of a 'return from Elba,' the worst possible result of our incursion.)
But what this is about is why we are there. By now certain things are obvious to all but the most hypnotized. There were no WMD, and Bush had been told this. There was no link between Al Qaeda and Saddam -- in fact Saddam represented the sort of secularist leader of a Muslim country that Bin Laden most hated. And there were plans for the invasion of Iraq that predated 9/11.
Most people see the invasion as a 'fiendishly clever' scheme by Bush -- even supporters see it as this in some cases, of course agreeing with the ends. (For those who see the absurdity of combining George Bush and 'fiendishly clever,' the villains are the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Cheney group, manipulating Howdy Georgy.)
I'm going to suggest another explanation. It's pure speculation, but based on a lot of observation of Dubya, and the memory of two facts that get overlooked.
I do not believe George Bush LIED about the WMD or AlQaeda link. Lying is making statements that are known to be false. I believe that George Bush believed they were true. I believe he has the sort of religious mentality that, when it believes it knows "THE TRUTH" and is shown facts that contradict it, equally 'knows' the facts HAVE to be wrong and can be disregarded. (It's the mentality of Creationists, among many other types -- and his occasional support for Creationism seems heartfelt rather than political.)
I believe he convinced himself because, from the time he entered office, he wanted to invade Iraq, and he needed an excuse -- not to the world, but for his own conscience. (It's not a new phenomena. It's like the person who deliberately antagonizes someone so he will swing, and the first person can argue, "I didn't want to fight, I was just acting in self-defense.")
I don't think he was manipulated at all. I doubt if he understood the Wolfowitz/neo-con arguments. He was just glad to have them as a further 'cover.'
But why? Here is where I am speculating, but my explanation seems at least plausible. Remember two things. First, that Saddam was behind an attempt on the Senior Bush's life. Second, that Bush I got criticized, by many people, put particularly by Republicans, for failing to 'press on to Baghdad' and topple Saddam -- at a time when most of the world expected precisely that, and much of it -- including the Muslim world -- hoped he would.
Then remember 1994. It seems obvious, and has been stated repeatedly, that the Bush family had a plan to avenge Daddy's defeat by Bill Clinton. Jeb would run for Governor of Florida, and George for the Texas Statehouse. Jeb -- the handsome, charismatic, appealing one -- would win, and use it as a springboard to the White House. If George won, great. He could use the office as a way of helping Jeb. And he couldn't do much damage, since the Texas Governor is one of the weakest of State Executives. (I've seen it stated by students of Texas politics that he not only ranks below the heads of the legislature, but below the Secretary of Agriculture.) If not, which was likely since he was trying to defeat Ann Richards, okay, he at least had a shot.
The only thing that nobody expected was what happened. Jeb lost, and George -- Dumb, funny-looking, overly religious, uncharismatic ex-drunk George -- WON. Okay, change the strategy, and hope the Democrats run somebody beatable even by George. (And Jeb DID manage to win the Governorship in 1998, so he'd be able to help, but nobody guessed how his help would be needed or given.)
Now George isn't the brightest, but he's not a total idiot. And, as people tend to forget about politicians, he's a human being first, a member of a family, with the stresses any family puts on a child, only magnified because of the prominence of THIS family.
Think about it. Think about a child, probably loved, but looked down on. Little Georgie, getting a chance to do two things at once. First to avenge Daddy. (Look, Daddy, see what I did for you!) And then to succeed at one thing that Daddy 'failed' at. (Look, Daddy, you couldn't get rid of Saddam. But look at who did. Me. Dumb George. I did what you couldn't. Who's the dumb one now?)
I can't prove it, it's pure speculation, but it makes a lot more sense to me than any of the other theories I've heard.
What do you think?