James Bovard’s money sentence: “The Iraq War codified American presidents’ prerogative to inflict no-fault carnage on the world.” From Bovard at theamericanconservative.com:
Last year, former President George W. Bush vehemently condemned the “decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.” Bush had blundered in a speech condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He realized his mistake, mentioned Putin, but then added, “But Iraq, too.” The audience at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas laughed. The humor was probably lost on the families of 4,000 American servicemen and the 200,000 Iraqi civilians who perished in the conflict.
On the twentieth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, it is time to hail the courage and wisdom of the founders and editors of The American Conservative. TAC took the moral high ground that the War Party scorned as if it were a Superfund hazardous waste site. TAC was vilified but never flinched.
After the 9/11 attacks, many Americans became enraged at anyone who did not swear allegiance to George W. Bush’s antiterrorism crusade. People who denied the assertion that “they hate us for our freedoms” automatically became enemies of freedom. I was chagrined to see both conservatives and libertarians cast principles overboard to join the War Party against Iraq. I was heckled by libertarian audiences for condemning the war and the attendant torture programs.
The mainstream media retrospectives on the Iraq War will ignore or downplay the brazen systemic deceit that paved the path to that catastrophe. From January 2003 onward, Bush constantly portrayed the United States as an innocent victim of Saddam Hussein’s imminent aggression. Bush repeatedly claimed that war was being “forced upon us”—a scam on par with Lyndon Johnson’s Gulf of Tonkin charade. After the invasion commenced, the pretexts for the war collapsed like houses of cards. Bush’s falsehoods on Iraq proved far more toxic than anything in Saddam’s arsenal. But the exposure of the official lies did not deter Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from equating criticizing the Iraq War with appeasing Adolf Hitler. As I wrote for USA Today on August 14, 2003, “Whether Bush and his appointees will be held personally liable for their falsehoods is a grave test for American democracy.”