The Bushites’ fundamental dishonesty about Iraq

Because it has never once been stated by the president, his administration, and his supporters, it cannot be stated often enough by us: We invaded Iraq for WMDs, but now must stay in Iraq to fight al Qaeda terrorists who were not in Iraq prior to our invasion. It was our invasion and “democratic liberation” of Iraq, by destroying the only existing order in Iraq and replacing it by nothing, while at the same time putting our own soldiers in static positions where they were easy targets, that provided both the opportunity and the motive for foreign al Qaeda fighters to enter Iraq by the thousands.

So now we must stay in Iraq to beat back Al Qaeda, in a battle which according to President Bush is the central battle in the “war on terror.” But Bush has never admitted that it was our own invasion of and delivery of “freedom”—i.e., chaos, looting, and open borders—to Iraq that brought al Qaeda into Iraq and turned it into the central battle ground in that “war.” Just as in Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which the war with Eastasia turns into a war with Eurasia without any transition or explanation, our war against Saddam over WMDs turned into a war against Al Qaeda without transition or explanation. There was no explanation, because that would involve admitting what a mindless, unprecedented catastrophe our invasion-and-liberation of Iraq was.

But why did an invasion of Iraq for the practical, national-defense purpose of finding and destroying Hussein’s WMD program (a purpose I supported) lead to these results? It was because we weren’t invading Iraq only to destroy WMDs, but also to turn Iraq into a democracy and a democratic model for the Mideast. Further, according to the Bush team’s hyper-Rousseauian notion of democracy, all people are naturally good, therefore order and coercion are not necessary. So we removed Saddam from Iraq and got al Qaeda in his place.

The upshot is that it wasn’t some simple mistake or some generic mindlessness that led to this unexpected outcome. It was a mindlessless born of a specific ideology. And the Bushites still adhere to that same ideology today. Which is why they never admit how we got into our Iraq mess.

Bush critics have often noted that Bush-encouraged democracy has brought Hezbollah into the Lebanese parliament, the Muslim Brotherhood into the Egyptian parliament, and Hamas into power in Gaza. Less often noted is the fact that, prior to all these incidents in which democracy empowered jihadists, came the mother of all such incidents, namely that it was our democratic liberation of Iraq that opened that country up to Al Qaeda.

- end of initial entry -

Edward D. writes:

You state:

“… our war against Saddam over WMDs turned into a war against Al Qaeda without transition or explanation.”

What is actually noteworthy is that the mission became about liberating the Iraqis as Shock and Awe commenced. I felt very unsettled as Bush charged endlessly about Iraq’s WMD program in the months before the war, only to call the mission Operation Iraqi Freedom. To me this signaled two important points, which have been definitely been confirmed since then.

1, The case for WMDs was vastly overblown by the administration, and 2, Bush is a liberal whose dreams of “Iraqi Freedom” meant more than protecting America from harm.

Everything he and the administration have done has further convinced me I was right.

LA replies:

Yes, but remember, he did say very clearly in the months before the war that he viewed Iraq as a laboratory for Mideast democracy as a way of defeating terrorism. He made these clear statements, but they did not figure in the debate very much, because (as I have pointed out over and over) the debate was utterly distracted by the bad arguments of the anti-war party, attacking Bush’s good faith (“it’s about oil!”, “it’s about Israel!”, “it’s about enriching Haliburton!”, “it’s about proving his manhood!”, “neocons are evil!”), so that the good arguments against the war, relating to the rational pros and cons of the war, were not made and discussed. If we had had a loyal opposition prior to the war, instead of a disloyal opposition (on both the Buchananite right and the left), the war debate would have been entirely different and many of the problems we only discovered after the invasion would have been aired before the invasion.

The reason for the invasion was both WMDs and democracy, but, as I acknowledged a year or two ago at VFR, the democracy part may have made Bush less concerned about proving the WMDs than he should have been.

In any case, we all knew that after occupying Iraq we would be responsible for helping set up a new government there. And everyone knew that that government would be some kind of democracy. There was no surprise about that. (I continually expressed my doubts about and opposition to democratization, so I was unhappy with the whole thing, but for me the paramount concern was eliminating WMDs.) The surprise was in the utter failure to exert control over Iraq, to dismiss the mass looting as a positive outcome of “freedom,” and so on. And it was this careless disregard for the chaos we had unleashed in Iraq which made it dawn on us that Bush and his people were not rational, that they were in the grip of a utopian, expansive ideology. And (to return to the subject of the initial blog entry) it was the fact that they were in the grip of that ideology that led them to conduct the war and occupation in such a way that Iraq turned into bloody chaos and Al Qaeda was enabled to enter Iraq and make it their central battle ground.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 24, 2007 10:39 AM | Send

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