Jeb Bush said knowing what we know now, he still would have gone into Iraq. This isn't surprising, since many of his foreign policy advisors were the architects of the Iraq War. Nonetheless, Jeb Bush’s statement has rightfully led to an explosion of criticism from across the ideological spectrum, and endangered his burgeoning campaign for president. Holding the position that given what we know now, we still should have gone into Iraq is a disqualification to becoming the next Commander in Chief in the minds of most Americans.
The Iraq War was a monumental disaster, the effects of which are still wreaking havoc a dozen years after its commencement. This foolish war of choice was sold to the American public shortly after 9/11 when we were fearful of another attack, and eager to bring some good old fashioned justice to the terrorists who destroyed lower manhattan.
The architects of this war, the very people advising Jeb Bush now, have been proven wrong on just about everything they said to us in the lead up to the war.
We were told that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. There were no weapons of mass destruction.
We were told that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Al Qaeda (who we were told he may sell a nuclear weapon to). Saddam had no connections to Al Qaeda, and considered them an enemy.
We were told the war would take a few days, weeks, or months. It took 8 years.
We were told that there wouldn’t be many casualties, like the first Gulf War. We lost over 4,000 soldiers whose families are devastated. Over 30,000 of our troops sustained serious injuries. Far too many soldiers that did return are unemployed, homeless or have committed suicide. At least 100,000 Iraqis died as a result of the war.
We were told that we would be greeted as liberators. We were recognized as occupiers.
We were told that we Iraq’s transition to democracy would usher in a new era of peace and democracy across in the Middle East. Instead Iraq is a far cry from democracy, and has been continuously engulfed in war and chaos since our invasion. Instead of seeing democracy spread across the Middle East, we've seen endless violence and turbulence.
We were told that invading Iraq would be make us safer. Instead we have created far more enemies, and strengthened Iran.
We were told that the oil revenue would pay for a great deal of the war. We will have spent almost $3 trillion dollars when all is said and done.
We were told that going after Saddam Hussein wouldn’t distract us from going after Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Instead we diverted a great deal of our resources, manpower, and attention away hunting down Osama Bin Laden, giving the mastermind of 9/11 an extra 10 years of life that he did not deserve.
The Iraq War will without a doubt go down as one of the biggest strategic blunders in American history. It is inconceivable for any rational person to want to do this all over again.
Clearly, knowing what we know now, we should have never gone into Iraq
It is extremely important that we all acknowledge what a colossally misguided effort the Iraq War was. America tends to forget the horrors of war, and every so often we are lulled into intractable wars that accomplish nothing. Especially in the face of the dangerous revisionist history that is currently being undertaken by some neoconservatives, it is of utmost importance to elect leaders that are wise enough to realize the limitations of using military force to achieve political objectives.
There has got to be a way for us to prevent another Iraq War. We can’t afford to make colossal mistakes like that again and expect for this country to remain wealthy and powerful. While only the President can decide matters of war and peace, we the people get to decide who that President is. Back in 2000, we put a man into the oval office who choose to bring us into Iraq and unleash a decade of disaster. Let’s not make that same mistake again by electing his brother who has now vowed to do the same thing.