I supported President Bush in the days following September 11th, all the way up to and including the beginning of the Iraq War. I accepted that we had no sure way of knowing that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but that the consequences of leaving them undetected made erring on the side of caution the lesser of two evils.
That’s why my switch from supporting the president to looking for an alternative came as a shock. I even remember the moment. I was reading The Daily Yomiuri in an Udon shop. It reported that no WMDs had been found in Iraq and that the search was all but over.
This was the time for President Bush to say something along these lines:
We knew this was a possibility, but we decided that it was better to err in favor of caution. Now that we know all is well in Iraq, we’ll put it back together as quickly as possible and move on to check other parts of the world and/or pursue terrorists wherever we find them.
Instead, he said something like this:
Well, we’re still looking and we’ll have to look possibly forever. But, hey, check out this bad guy we removed and isn’t it great that we’ve gone to all this trouble just to bring democracy to an oppressed people?
I dropped the paper and looked out the window. I thought of all the terrible dictators in the world, all the oppressed people, all the dead bodies floated down African rivers, and how the United States had somehow not seen fit to intervene in any of those situations. I thought to myself that bringing democracy to Iraq was certainly not the reason I had supported the war. To be frank, I was not thinking about the welfare of the Iraqi people. I was thinking about the welfare of American people and how I’d like to avoid their deaths from terrorism in the future.
I felt insulted that my president chose not to level with me. The leveling would have been not only honest, but would have made sense. The whole way the war was framed stunk to high heaven. It should have been presented as something that might not be necessary, but needs to be done because the consequences of NOT getting rid of WMDs that could be used against us are too high to take chances. With any insurance policy, the policyholder hopes not to make a claim. Similarly, we should have been hoping not to find WMD and it should have been a check mark on our anti terror list when we didn’t find them.
As an aside, had nobody on the White House speech-writing team ever considered the possibility that there would be no WMDs in Iraq? Why wasn’t an appropriate response ready for such a situation?
I’m sure al Qaida is thrilled at the state of the Iraq War. It has apparently thrown American forces so far off the track of real terrorists that they have been able to pull together an attack intended to change our election results. Evidently there’s enough credible evidence in place to justify an emergency plan to postpone the election.
I think Kerry is not the best man for the job. Even from the pool of candidates from which he emerged at the beginning of the year, I think he is one of the worst. However, I’m not terribly interested in John Kerry, per se. I just want to interrupt whatever process is in place these days. As the reports worsen and the doubts increase, I want a fresh perspective on this mess that we’re in. A break from the posterboys of the military industrial complex is needed. Why the democrats couldn’t find a more electable candidate is very fishy to me, but he still has my vote simply for the fact that he’s not part of the current misfiring squad.
Why misfiring? Because we have 130,000 troops in Iraq when Osama bin Laden is running Terrorism Headquarters from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
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