The President of the United States, George W. Bush, lied to the nation, lied to congress, and claimed to have evidence that was complete bullshit.
Even in 2006 and 2007, I was having arguments with Republicans who thought that not only was Bush telling the truth about Iraqi WMD, but who believed with all their hearts that we had found said WMD.
Let's remember what it was like in 2000-2004.
Do you remember how that felt?
Do you remember arguing point by point that the president was lying to all of us? Do you remember feeling like some kind of quack because the "Very Serious People" in Washington had attempted to redefine reality?
Do you remember feeling frustrated and marginalized because the entire fucking country trusted the President of the United States, trusted that he and his cronies were not lying to us all?
For many people, the preference of Obama over Clinton was about 2002. In October of that Year, Barack Obama made a bold speech against the Iraq War, and Hillary Clinton voted to go to war. Clinton trusted the President of the United States when he argued that Saddam Hussein was attempting to build weapons of mass destruction, and that he was willing to or intended to provide those weapons to terrorists for attacks against the US. Barack Obama, who had no power at the time to do anything about the war, did not trust Dubya.
This gets complicated. People supported the war because they believed the president was telling the truth. Some people, like me, supported going into Afghanistan but opposed the war in Iraq. In retrospect, I wish that I had opposed Afghanistan. I was an angry teenager who believed that we were there to get OBL, the guy who attacked us. Afghanistan made sense to me at the time. Though I quickly became disillusioned with the Bush Administration's handling of the situation internationally. If we'd had a diplomat instead of a cowboy, we might have been able to prevent 9/11, what with the system blinking red and everything.
Makes you wonder what would have happened if we'd had the man the country voted for instead of some ignorant cowboy.
That we didn't use 9/11 and the goodwill towards the United States almost universally to end all of the conflicts that we're still fighting is absurd. We could have used 9/11 as a magic wand. "Americans are dying. This issue ends today." The maneuvering between Saudi Arabia and Iran, India/Pakistan, Israel/Palestine, waving the bloody shirt at diplomats and leaders with the world standing behind us would have allowed us to end so many conflicts. To do so much good. And instead, we squandered that goodwill on two asinine, imperialistic wars, that left hundreds of thousands dead and did absolutely no fucking good.
That we didn't help Uganda, Ethiopia, and the African Union put out the brush fires in Africa after the Embassy bombing, and now we have Boko Haram trying to destabilize the most populous nation in Africa.
We live in a world where instead of using diplomacy to get OBL handed to us by the Afghans with a bow, the same moderate Afghans who gave us Bergdahl for what amounts in hostage terms to a thank-you note, we fought a stupid war. We acted like wounded animals on a rampage, not the "leaders of the free world" that we always say we are.
I wish that we'd built some schools in Afghanistan and supported their government after the Soviet invasion, instead of leaving them high and dry after fighting a proxy war for us against the soviets, and allowing theocrats to take over a country which at one point had been a relatively stable, modernizing nation. I could do nothing about that first Afghanistan war at the time, since the soviets invaded in 1979, and I was not born until 1985.
Still. Events which occurred when I was not yet born led to people my age getting gunned down in Afghanistan. In a war that didn't need to happen in the first place.
Then, our president lies us into a second war.
And a stupid war at that, one with no purpose, no metric for measuring victory or defeat because there were no discernible goals. A war I'm still unsure of the causes or justification for, if any happen to exist. Was it to get WMD? No, because there was no WMD and the shrub knew that. Was it to get Saddam? No, because we stuck around long after they killed him. Was it to fight the "Global war on Terror?" No, because there weren't any terrorists in Iraq, because Saddam and Osama were mutual enemies. Was it for the oil? No. Because that oil is being pulled out of the ground by French and Chinese companies, not American ones. You'd think that if this was an Anglo-Iranian (BP) situation where we were called on to topple a middle-eastern government, we'd at least make sure that the people we were toppling said government for actually got the oil in the end.
I still, years on, don't know why the fuck we were in Iraq in the first place. The Afghanistan war at least had clear goals: 1, get Osama. 2, stabilize the country and put it back on track after a theocratic and soviet interregnum.
The second part may not be possible, but hey, the least that you can say for it is that it's an actual reason for being there.
As opposed to our reasons for being in Iraq, which as I pointed out, aren't.
If we try to have some kind of purity test to determine when people figured out that Bush was a lying sack of shit, we're going to be playing this fight out again and again and again for decades, until the people born in 2004 start running for office.
I figured it out in fall of 2002. Of course I thought that Bush & Co actually wanted the oil. Or maybe they did, but were just too incompetent to get their hands on it.
Still. Clinton, Biden, and a bunch of other people who've fought hard for things like the Affordable Care Act, aren't responsible for the Iraq war. Their mistake was trusting the President of the United States to tell the truth to Congress and the American People when lives hung in the balance.
And I need to say, I see a real naivete on the part of a lot of Hillary Clinton's critics.
My entire life, I have seen nothing from politicians which leads me to believe that a single one of them is trustworthy. Let's go through the presidents of my lifetime. Ronald Reagan was a sonofabitch who manufactured the welfare queen lie. Then we had George "Read my lips no new taxes" Bush. While I didn't mind or notice the new taxes, being that I was in gradeschool, I did notice everyone getting mad at him for breaking a promise that I remembered hearing played over and over again on TV. And I remember desert storm. I remember my parents not letting me watch TV Coverage of it. And then there was Bill Clinton. Finally, a Democrat.
I sat on my dad's shoulders and listened to him speak in Tampa.
And then came middle school, and Starr, and Newt Gingrich. Then came "I did not have Sexual Relations with that woman."
And I believed the President of the United States. And so did my dad. We talked in the car about how we finally got a Democrat and the Republicans are just doing everything they can to tear the man down.
And then it turned out to be true.
It taught me that when it comes to people in power, no matter who they are, no matter how much you like them, they're probably bastards who you can't trust. Leaders always have been, and there's a good chance they always will be, and there's no purpose in getting excited about someone in politics, because they'll always disappoint you.
This is a lesson I've learned from every president I've ever had. Our current president has confirmed that line of thinking as wise, considering Drones, the NSA, Chained CPI proposals, net neutrality, and all the other places where people on this website have lost their damned minds, because Barack Obama is wrong about some things.
I've never once been disappointed by Barack Obama because I never bought into the cult of personality surrounding him. I think he's a pretty okay president, I'm glad I voted for him because I and millions of others have healthcare now, though I do wish he was able to do more of the things that I voted for him to do, and chose to do less of the things which I think are destabilizing the world.
Like droning the fuck out of villages, and making people pray for poor weather, because on rainy, windy days, our kites with missiles can't murder their loved ones.
Let's recognize that the kind of person who wants to be president is probably not gonna be Ghandi.
Find me someone better than Hillary Clinton, someone who will fight the Republicans harder than she will, someone better enabled to kick the crap out of the tea party, someone whose coattails are so wide that we'll be able to take back the house if they're running in the general, and I'll be supporting them in the primary.
Show me another candidate who can help us take state houses just before the next census, so that the next round of Gerrymandering is solidly in our party's favor.
Show me someone who on a strategic level, helps our party win more seats in the long term than Hillary Clinton, and I'll vote for them instead.
But let's not pretend that any politician is actually the second coming. It's tired, and it's naive, and it only leads to depression and disappointment. Let's keep our feet on the ground and recognize what kind of business politics is, especially in a world where politicians are for sale.
And let's absolutely work with groups like the Wolf-PAC to try and change our system. Let's absolutely try to fix these problems.
But let's recognize that we go to the ballot box with the political system that we have, not the political system we want. I'd love to see proportional representation, an end to first past the post. Single transferable vote would be awesome. Failing that, I'd be satisfied just to get the money out of politics.
It's important to dream of a better world and to fight for it.
But it's equally important to be shrewd and strategic about our choices and the direction we want the country to move in.
And for fucks sake, let's lay the blame for the Iraq war where it belongs, shall we?
On George W. Bush and his cronies who lied us into a war. And while we're at it, let's prosecute the bastards for war crimes.