War’s failures will haunt Bush
Who would have guessed a year ago today, Day 1 of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq, that weapons of mass destruction could not be found by now?
Sure, antiwar advocates and Democratic presidential candidates seeing opportunity have engaged in their own volleys of mass distraction as it becomes increasingly clear that Iraq no longer had significant stores of bio, chemical or nuclear weapons.
Iraq’s people are free of the terrible Saddam, the country has a chance to move from regional wild card to stabalizing influence in the volatile Middle East.
The world is safer for the United States taking action where the hamstrung United Nations could not handle a dozen full years of flouted sanctions on Saddam, since the first Gulf War.
At the same time, the Bush administration bungled the run-up to this war. Big time. Unlike Bush the elder’s masterful work building a committed coalition to deal with Saddam in the first Gulf War, the son rushed the job and built nothing of the sort. Republicans like to sniff that this administration got more countries to sign on than last time, but more names doesn’t equate with real force.
The coalition building was bungled, the intelligence was appallingly lacking as it turned out and the administration leaned way too much on now-discredited information about weapons of mass destruction while selling America on the need to take out Saddam now.
Some observers tend to dismiss the effect of these errors on the next presidential election, suggesting the economy come Nov. 2 will be the deciding factor in whether this Bush earns a second term.
But overselling the weapons that apparently do not exist and botching this attempt at coalition building are powerful symbols of ineptitude at the highest levels of American government. Casualties are remarkably low in relation to other wars, but that’s hardly the point.
The national economy had better be awfully strong next fall.