Today’s question: How many different reasons do people give for why we are in Iraq? Everyone has a theory, but no one can really tell you why we went to war. And if different people cite different reasons, isn’t that proof that no one knows THE reason? (The Bush Administration will give you a number of reasons, depending on the day of the week.)
Barney Frank just made the point that it’s pretty impossible to end something when you didn’t have a good reason to start it in the first place. It’s hard to have an exit strategy when you don’t know why you’re there and what you hope to accomplish. [. . .] We’ve had multiple and shifting justifications from the players, but justifcations were just excuses and marketing pitches, not reasons.
I understand that many of us as individuals believe that we know why the administration took us to war. I have my pet theories. But the fact that these answers differ proves my point. The official rationale is clearly false and there is no consensus on the real rationale. This is absurd. We live in tyhe United States of America, not the Soviet Union circa 1956 or Nazi Germany circa 1938. It is, are I say it, unamerican for the “greatest country in the worlod” to invade and occupy another country for reasons that are not crystal clear.
Matthew Yglesias asks,
But what was the White House after? Why did they do it? We have plenty of evidence that not only were the specific claims the administration made about WMD false (often knowingly so), but also that all of this was basically irrelevant to their actual thinking about why we should go to war.
But what were they thinking? Lowballing the likely costs of war to build public support makes sense in a cynical-scumbag kind of way, but how is it that these lowballs seem to have become the actual basis for real-world policy? Nobody knows.
So … why are we in Iraq? Why are Americans dying in Iraq? Does another soldier die tomorrow so the Shiites have an extra seat in the Iraqi Parliament? is that what they signed up for? Is that “defending America?”
I mean, sure, we are there now because we can’t get out. Bush won’t allow the UN to take over because that would upset the funders of the think tanks, and won’t put enough forces in to bring security because that would cause The Party to lose votes… But why did we start this?
Before the war I wrote,
Here is what I want to say today: Everyone understands that we are going to war for other reasons than those stated by the Bush administration. Everyone!
[. . .] Those supporting this war also understand that there is another, hidden agenda. But like so much of the right-wing agenda, they understand that the public face must be separated from the real agenda. They understand and agree that the public must be deceived. They wink and nod, and it is understood by all.
A year later, in War is the Worst Thing, I wrote,
One thing I want to comment on. I talked to a lot of people. Everyone has a theory about why we are in Iraq. Some talk about Bush being swayed by neo-cons who control what he hears. Some talk about oil. Others about religious agendas like trying to start the apocalypse because the Evangelicals want to ascend to Heaven as the rest of us perish in a total war. Etc.
My comment is that WE DO NOT KNOW why we are in Iraq, and the reasons put forth by the Republicans are obviously bogus. They laid down a smokescreen, told a bunch of lies, whipped us up into a frenzy of fear and loathing, and got their war on. But no one accepts their reasons for war, and no one understands why we REALLY went to war. So we are left with rumors, conspiracy theories, people trying to piece together logic out of whispers of supposed information from possibly trusted sources… My point being that in a Democracy WE were supposed to decide after digesting all available information, with our government serving us by making that information available so we can be informed in our decision process, and the Congress was supposed to “declare war” only in response to the gravest of emergencies. But this time we were led to war, tricked into it, lied to, and manipulated by people who are masters of marketing but apparently void of basic humanity. But why? All we have to go on is rumor and speculation.
WAR. WAR. My God, we started a WAR! WAR IS THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD and we are at war, and we started it. Yes WE. You and me, our country, we started a war, and now we are starting to see it grow. We are seeing images of soldiers urinating on prisoners with hoods over their heads. We are seeing images of children burned to death, arms missing, mosques exploding, bombs ending lives, coffins returning home…
And worse, we did this while we were already occupied with Afghanistan, with finding the people who attacked us on 9/11, and eliminating their ability to attack us again. We took away from that effort to make this other war.
And NO ONE can really tell us why. THIS is what we have become.
Why are we there?