On the comments to this thread someone asked those of us who had opposed the Iraq War from the beginning exactly why we had done so. Below is part of my answer. (The other part was just that I had expected the war to turn out about the way it actally did turn out):
As for the pretexts, I did not believe that Saddam was a threat to the US, I did not believe that he had anything to do with 9/11, I did not believe that he had or would soon get nuclear weapons, and I did not believe that chemical and biological weapons should count as WMD. As time went on, I also did not believe that Bush intended to bring democracy to the Middle East, or would be able to do so if he tried.
The specifics aren’t the most important point. There was a terrible breakdown of the political process and also of the media, and this breakdown was the result of deliberate sabotage. The decision to go to war was a dishonest stampede with many collaborators, among them Beinart. The public was basically excluded from whatever the actual process of decision-making was, and was never informed of the actual reasons for the war.
I suspect that some of the more militarist and imperialist warbloggers did, in fact, correctly understand Bush’s motives.
It’s an enormous problem when political decisions of major significance are made on the basis of secret motives. Even the supporters who think they understand what’s going on (nudge-nudge wink-wink) canfind themselves being cheated in the end. It amounts to unconstrained, unchecked personal rule of exactly the type that the English tradition and the American constitutional tradition have long tried to prevent. And one consequence is that ordinary Americans who oppose the big plan on the basis of the weakness of its official justifications cannot be argued with, but only can be vilified and accused of treason.