Happy Anniversary

Iraq War Seventh Anniversary: 'We'll Know Better Next Time'

Hey, kids! I know that right now, if you're watching the "news" at all, you're probably neck deep in health care and whip counts and wondering how Bart Stupak is going to vote. But you know what happened seven years ago today? The United States launched a pointless war in Iraq! Not a deficit-neutral one, either! But for some reason, nobody cares about it anymore.

You remember why we went to war in the first place, even? A reminder: it was because the American people were sold on the idea that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. And in a post-9/11 world, that wouldn't stand! The only thing that would stand was crazy over-reaction to everything! Actual weapons inspectors kept telling us that they couldn't find any WMDs -- but that was coming from Hans Blix, some kind of Swedish socialist, and Mohammed ElBaradei, whose name sounds pretty Muslimy! And then Donald Rumsfeld said that absence of evidence wasn't evidence of absence and that there were unknown unknowns and what not, and so we trotted off to invade Iraq on the thinnest of pretexts, and what ho! It turns out that Saddam's awesome military capacity amounted to "occasionally being able to boil some soup."

See, we were going to "fight the terrorists in Iraq so that we wouldn't have to fight them here," in America. Nobody could explain why we simply couldn't keep fighting those terrorists in Afghanistan, where they were. You know, it was March when we launched the war, so maybe we were all just really caught up in the NCAA tournament, and we wanted to play the terrorists on a neutral court. Eventually, a microscopic terrorist organization called "al Qaeda in Iraq" sprung up where none existed before. Meanwhile, our actual enemies made their way to safe havens, reconstituted themselves and touched off a golden age of global jihad.

Eventually, goals got grander and vaguer and more impossible to deliver on. At some point, our mission became "spreading democracy" at the tip of a bayonet. We were going to settle Iraq out, create an American ally, and slowly all the bad actors in the region would turn around. It was a pretty, pretty theory -- surely, among the prettiest! In practice however, getting bogged down in Iraq strengthened the hand of the Iranian regime, emboldened Hezbollah and did nothing to prevent the elevation of Hamas in Palestine.

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