World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (CC BY 2.0)

A couple of weeks ago Jeb Bush told Fox News he would have invaded Iraq if he had been president in 2003. His remark and the responses of many of his critics show that the political class is just as calculating and self-interested now as it was then, writes Gary Younge at The Guardian.

Younge continues:

Jeb’s mistake is that he picked the wrong lie. It’s simply not true that “almost everybody” who saw the intelligence backed the war – 133 representatives and 23 senators opposed it. Nonetheless, his rationale – worthy of any hapless teenager – that he would have done it because everybody else was doing it has more integrity than most.

Many of those who supported it did so in an act of cowardly political calculation. Raising their index finger to the political wind and the middle finger to international law they thought: “This is going to happen, so I might as well get on board.”

Opposing the war in 2003 struck those with more ambition than principle as a career-ending act of folly. The administration was selling lies; but they were willing buyers. …

The falsehood peddled by most of Jeb’s critics amounts to this: “I wouldn’t support it now because now we know the intelligence was faulty. But there’s no way we could have known that then.” Or as New York Times columnist David Brooks, one of the most eminent stenographers for American state power, put it: “To erase mistakes from the past is to obliterate your world now. You can’t go back and know then what you know now.”

The trouble with this is that we did know then. The world knew, which is why majorities in almost every other country opposed it. The United Nations was trying to acquire proof one way or another but was not allowed to finish the job. Politicians were not, in fact, led to war by faulty intelligence; they deliberately commissioned the intelligence that would enable them to go to war.

Continue reading here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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