Iraq Redux in the Making?

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and it’s 2003 all over again. That was the year when the United States embarked on its catastrophic course of intervention in Asia. It was at least somewhat justified in invading Afghanistan to eliminate al-Qaeda but then made the mistake of sticking around to fix the country, a repair job that has lasted sixteen years and counting with no end in sight. And it was also the time when the neoconservatives who were then controlling the Pentagon and White House decided that it was necessary to go after Iraq.

As Baghdad in no way threatened the United States, and everyone who had examined the actual evidence knew that to be the case, a false narrative about Saddam Hussein had to be contrived. The White House claimed that Iraq was supporting al-Qaeda, that it was seeking uranium to construct a nuclear weapon and that it was building gliders that could cross the Atlantic Ocean with cargoes of chemical and biological weapons.

None of that turned out to be true, but the piece de resistance of the go-to-war crowd was the presentation made by Secretary of State Colin Powell before the United Nations on February 5, 2003. With Central Intelligence Director George Tenet sitting behind him presumably to establish bona fides for the information that was about to be revealed, Powell detailed how Iraq was preparing and concealing from inspectors weapons of mass destruction, was avoiding disarming and was colluding with al-Qaeda. It was all a lie, intended only to make a minimal case to the U.N. that increasing the military pressure on Iraq was a supportable, indeed a necessary, policy. One month later President George W. Bush called on President Saddam Hussein to resign based on his failure to comply with U.N. demands…

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