The War

Much discussion, everywhere it seems, in the past weeks and months about whether we were “misled” into war. It’s really the wrong question, the wrong issue for us to debate. And, as a purely political matter, it’s not a winner for the Democrats. Democrats who voted to authorize action by the President in Iraq are beginning to have their words handed back to them, and in some cases they sounded more alarmist at that time (Fall of 2002) than the President or Vice President. We may have been misled into war, but we were misled by many — Republicans, Democrats, intelligence analysts, some in the press, and so on. The blame is spread far and wide.
So we should stop wasting time on it. The right issue is: Given what we thought we knew then, was war the best possible option? We are, of course, benefitted by hindsight now, and so the answer to that question is much easier to give: No.
Even without the benefit of hindsight, but with the benefit of cold-minded, heartless, strategic thinking and critical analysis, it’s pretty clear going to war was the wrong thing to do. We should have known that at the time, even with our belief (now shown to be mistaken) that Saddam was building chemical and potentially nuclear weapons. We had other, better options. We failed to take them.
We need to spend more time trying to find the answer to that question, and stop bickering about who misled whom. Only then can we begin to figure out what we ought to do next.