Monday, July 25, 2005

Terrorism, Gasoline, and a Lit Match

Bob Herbert in today's New York Times likens George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq to "spraying gasoline on the global fire of terrorism."

In one of the great deceptions in the history of American government, President Bush insisted to a nation traumatized by the Sept. 11 attacks that the invasion of Iraq was crucial to the success of the so-called war on terror.

"Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror," said Mr. Bush in a speech in the fall of 2002 that was designed to drum up support for the invasion. "To the contrary, confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror."

In the speech, delivered in Cincinnati, Mr. Bush said of Iraq: "It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons."

I've always urged politicians to be careful what they wish for. The president got the war he wanted so badly. But he never understood an essential fact that Georges Clemenceau learned nearly a century ago - that "it is easier to make war than to make peace."

Before the war, many people tried to stop it, telling the president through letters, articles, and public protest that he was on the verge of making a mistake of historic proportions.

Two and a half years later, there is no doubt those people were right. And, as Herbert says, the entire world will continue to pay for one man's "ideological madness."

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