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Jonathan Chait on the Iraq War

Looking back on the arguments and the outcome

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(AP)

Over at New York, Jonathan Chait (among many things) looks back at the Iraq War–which started ten years ago this week–and reviews what led him to write in support of it. This is a good piece for a number of reasons: it’s frank, virtuous in its self-examination, and intellectually confessional. Here’s a small sample:

Looking back, I have several regrets. We now know that Iraq no longer had any unconventional weapons program. Over the years, this has come to be seen as retrospectively obvious. It was not. While the Bush administration deliberately twisted and overhyped evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the legitimate evidence did show, albeit less dramatically than the administration said, that Iraq had active unconventional weapons programs. This was the judgment of fellow Western intelligence agencies. It was also a logical inference from Saddam Hussein’s refusal to fully comply with U.N. demands even after threatened with invasion. (That Iraq refused full compliance was documented at the time by Hans Blix, Butler’s successor, but this has largely been brushed aside in the retrospective critique.)

The absence of weapons of mass destruction is the most crucial element of my argument that I got wrong, though the part I have the least regret for getting wrong, as it was very hard to know at the time.

It’s difficult to assign a particular value to a piece of writing like this. But if you read it and the slew of acrimonious and supportive comments that follow, I think this is useful for a lot of reasons.

Iraq: What I Got Wrong, and What I Still Believe [NYM]

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another fact set aside for the convenience of the critics is that when captured, Saddam Hussein confirmed that: he made every effort to make the world believe that he did have Weapons of Mass Destruction; and, he truly never believed that the invasion would ever happen. no regrets please

Nola Baar says:

“it was very hard to know at the time” about the weapons…what nonesense. Many people knew that the war had nothing to do with WMD or 9/11 or the rights of women or a brutal dictator who we supported (I love the photo of Rumsfeld shaking the hand of Hussein). It was clear to see that it was only about oil and empire. If you are a reporter then ask the hard questions and do not mouth the lies of a bunch of murderers in the White House.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/dec/31/iraq.politics

HannaH43 says:

Nola Baar You can probably see pictures of FDR, shaking Stalin’s and probably Harry Truman also shaking Stalin’s hand. this means nothing. Today’s Friend tomorrow’s enemy That is the way Of the world The war nothing to do with Iraqi oil. Hussein started wars with Iran, Then with Kuwait. paying $25,000 to homicide bombers . He had to go and the Mideast is better for .

2000

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Jonathan Chait on the Iraq War

Looking back on the arguments and the outcome

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