Monday, August 21, 2006

Now he tells us

Dubya, in a rare moment of candor, has finally admitted that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Of course, Bush apologists will claim that he never said that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. Strictly speaking, that's true. George Bush never uttered the words, "We should attack Saddam Hussein because he aided and abetted the 9/11 hijackers." The argument was that he might aid and abet some terrorists some day. But one can lie by omission as well. Supporting a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq was a major change in policy that happened almost immediately after 9/11. It is natural to draw the conclusion that 9/11 had something to do with that change in policy. If you're asking the country to go to war, then failing to make clear that the country you propose to attack had "nothing" to do with the reason that policy is suddently being changed is, at best, a sin of omission.

It is amazing to me that the apologists can still breathe with their heads buried so deeply up their [ahem!]... in the sand. It should certainly be clear by now that Iraq could not have done us any harm, and so attacking them on those grounds was, at best, a collossal mistake. But it's actually even worse than that. There is no coherent policy that can justify the invastion of Iraq. 9/11? Bush just admitted Iraq had "nothing" to do with it. WMDs that could fall into the hands of terrorists? He didn't have any, and the only reason we didn't know it is that we didn't do our homework. A pre-emptive strike against fundamentalist Islamic fasism? Saddam Hussein was a secular dictator. And the only reason he was in power is that we put him there to help check the rise of Islamicists in Iran. Indeed, our invasion of Iraq has emboldened and strengthened Islamic fundamentalists in Iran, Lebanon, and even in Iraq.

The goal of stopping the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism is a noble one. But to believe that Bush Administration policies are advancing that goal requires an almost complete disconnect from reality. It is exactly the same sort of disconnect that is required in order to believe that martyrdom is noble. The most supreme irony of this entire situation is the inability of the two sides to see that in the respect that maters most they are in fact exactly alike.

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