Today, we celebrate (acknowledge) the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War. The tenth is also known as the tin anniversary, which is ironic considering the tin ear many in congress and the media displayed in the run up to our invasion. My gift is this simple question, "Why did we invade Iraq?" Before anyone starts to chronicle the reasons given, let me add the date to the question. Why did we invade Iraq on March 19, 2003?
I submit that the addition of the date is not inconsequential. Let me summarize the lead-in. President Bush told the Congress that he needed a resolution to use force so that when he went before the UN he could show them we were serious about enforcing their resolutions regarding weapons programs. He got this resolution in October 2002, one month before the midterm elections. He then said he would only invade Iraq as a last resort. Internationally sanctioned weapons inspectors gained access to previously denied sites.
As weapons inspectors continued to find nothing, President Bush warned Saddam Hussein to disclose his weapons programs or risk combat. Hussein did not deny the existence of these weapons programs. On March 17, President Bush gave Hussein 48 hours to disclose the programs, prove they didn't exist or flee the country. Why? What was the rush? Where was the fire? Somebody please tell me what happened between October 2002 when the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) was granted, and March 19, 2003 when it was executed.
The very definition of "last resort" means you have no alternative. Many Republicans tell us that Saddam kicked out the weapons inspectors. This is simply false. President Bush kicked out the inspectors, telling them we're going to attack and you're in harms way. The infamous lie- oops sorry, line from the State of the Union that Great Britain had a report of Saddam trying to acquire yellowcake uranium from Niger, while technically true, Great Britain did have such a report, was an outright lie! The report that they had was the same one the CIA had which was so thoroughly debunked that they had removed it from several speeches the President had given and expressly told him not to say it anymore.
The Administration, including the President, said that Saddam had the capacity and the desire to make these weapons. Fine. I'll stipulate. However, If he had both the capacity and desire to make weapons that he did not make, there is a flaw in the logic. If you have the desire and the ability to do something, you do it. If you don't you either don't want to or you can't- take your pick.
Let us say for one second that I accept any or all of the Administrations reasons for war with Iraq, they got that permission slip in October 2002. What specifically happened to make war a necessity in March 2003? Earlier in the year, President Bush told a reporter that he gets to make the decision to go to war. Did he consider that power a perk?
To those who would say, "Well Democrats voted for it, too," I say wrong is still wrong. I said at the time that Democrats voting in favor only did so because they were going to run for President (Hillary) and did not want to be portrayed as soft on terrorism (See Max Cleland). If I knew that the aluminum tubes were not the right equipment for uranium enrichment (and I did) why didn't Congress?
However, this all becomes irrelevant when you consider the initial premise. To wit: What happened on March 19 to compel war? What did Saddam do on March 17 to force the 48 hour ultimatum? Was he bragging about weapons in a St Patrick's Day drunken stupor that he did not have?