I'm a day late marking the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, but I can't let it pass without making a small effort to prevent the memory hole from becoming a black hole in which the very imperative of accountability disintegrates. I've said many times on this blog that the hawkish narrative about the Iraq War that things didn't go as expected in Iraq or the critics' narrative that the war is steeped in incompetence are both wildly incomplete. The former is a subtle attempt at forgetting inconvenient truths and precipitous reasoning, and the latter is flatly insufficient.
The fact remains that there was a clear choice about the invasion. One was supported by strong evidence, rational argument, reasonable conjecture, and - especially in hindsight, although they were well-informed at the time - accurate predictions. Combined with a reasonable prudence, demanded morally by any deliberations over war, all signs pointed away from an invasion as morally and politically sound policy. All of this went unheeded. The other version, supporting the invasion, was a fog of anger, propaganda, willful ignorance, wishful thinking, misinformation, bald deceit, petro-greed, and that curious Cold War legacy in Washington of perceiving the world as a gameboard in which the Middle East is prime property on which to place your tokens.
There are plenty of places to go to refresh the memory on the pre-war days, but I want to draw your attention to one in particular, Tony Karon's piece "Iraq, an American 'Nakbah'".
Also worth a look is Spencer Ackerman's piece here.