The reasons for our going to war in Iraq are being rehashed in a number of blogs and forums- most notably ChaliceBlog and CFUU forums. It seems to me that all the arguments can be boiled down to three camps:
The reasons publicly given were in fact the real reasons. Maybe you didn’t think they were good enough reasons, and one or two of the list have been proven wrong since the invasion, but what he said was what he meant.
Oil. Funny, but the adherents to this theory have never actually made their case; they believe that merely uttering the syllable both makes and proves the case for them- so I’ll have to refute unspoken words. Presumably, they believe that going to war would somehow lower oil prices- which is nonsense. In the short term, war always increases prices. Long term? At the time the decision for war was being made, gasoline prices- corrected for inflation- were already the lowest since we started keeping records in 1917. Merely increasing the supply would not lower it further; all refineries were already running at capacity and the strategic reserve was full- the only way we could have used more was to pour crude oil over our cornflakes in the morning. This means that to lower pricing, we’d have to lower the price for what we were already buying, which could only have been done by becoming closer friends to the Arabs (which another war would not- did not- do) or by actually taking physical possession of the Iraqi oil fields and pumping at our own prices. The world would not have permitted that to happen- which leaves no way in which the war could have been for oil.
Conspiracy theories. Bush wanted revenge for the assassination attempt on his father. Bush owed a favor to the Saudis. Yadda yadda- I’ll lump them all as one because they all must prove the same point: as Bush is President, not King, he had to convince all the insiders to go along with him, including a lot of Democrats at least as intelligent as he. How did he manage to do that? How did he manage to fake evidence so well the CIA and Military Intelligence were fooled? How did he drag all those other countries- some of whom have very good intelligence bureaus- with him? How did he convince Tony Blair to stake his legacy- as one of the greats before the war- on this adventure? Is Bush so beloved worldwide that no one anywhere would blow the whistle on him? After you’ve proven all that, you could also prove the Moon landing was faked in the parking lot behind the grassy knoll.
The only explanation that covers all the facts is #1- that Bush and Blair meant exactly what they said, and were simply wrong about the WMDs. The sooner people accept that, the sooner we can start correcting the problems that led us there, like the poor intelligence. It’s an old military maxim that the most expensive weapons system of all is the one that’s not good enough; obviously, this applies triple to intelligence. If we made Middle East intelligence a priority in the 80’s and 90’s, this war would not have happened… so what are we missing today, and how will it affect tomorrow? I hope it doesn’t take another war to find out.