The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Why-for and Where-for

This about says it all.

There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda on 9/11. There was scant Pentagon planning for securing the peace should bad stuff happen after America invaded. Why, exactly, did we go to war in Iraq?

"It still isn't possible to be sure - and this remains the most remarkable thing about the Iraq war," writes the New Yorker journalist George Packer, a disenchanted liberal supporter of the invasion, in his essential new book, "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq." Even a former Bush administration State Department official who was present at the war's creation, Richard Haass, tells Mr. Packer that he expects to go to his grave "not knowing the answer."

Maybe. But the leak investigation now reaching its climax in Washington continues to offer big clues. We don't yet know whether Lewis (Scooter) Libby or Karl Rove has committed a crime, but the more we learn about their desperate efforts to take down a bit player like Joseph Wilson, the more we learn about the real secret they wanted to protect: the "why" of the war.

For me, this remains the great mystery -- why exactly did we go to war. I don't mean the public reason because that has been obtuse and varied enough. I mean what was teh real rationale among the neo-cons and the political hacks in the White House. Was it merely to win the mid term elections? Was it merely to wag the dog ad Rich implies? I would like to believe not. But it certainly wasn't about oil -- the flow from Iraq is still pitiful. It wasn't about Democracy, unless the Neo-cons really are so incompentent that they can't see what a botch of a job they are doing in Iraq. And it wasn't about Al - Qaeda since we have pretty much abandoned our attentions to the region where Al Qaeda really is. Nor, obviously, has it been about WMD. So what was going through their mind? Did they really just think that if we get rid of Saddam that is enough and it will be enough? Did they really misunderstand this region so badly? I guess so. Unless you are hip to something everyone else seems not to be....


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