Monday, June 20, 2005

'A chance to invade'

Everyone is taking a stab at answering the question, "Why did we invade Iraq?" See, especially, Matt Yglesias' take, which points out that one of the real outrages in the memo is the utter lack of postwar planning it depicts.

Today, Russ Baker points out in Tom that he reported back in October, in interviews with a former Bush speechwriter, that Bush actually had envsioned invading Iraq well before 9/11:
"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade . . . .if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."

The mainstream press dismissed the stories and essentially ignored them. However, the Downing Street Memo only confirmed what Herskowitz was describing.

At times, I think even the talk about PNAC and the Bush Doctrine is something of a smokescreen when it comes to explaining why we invaded Iraq. It is clear, after years of observing him in action, that George W. Bush's style of leadership consists of finding data and evidence to confirm his preconceived notions. He adopted the PNAC and Iraqi National Congress folks because they were saying what he wanted to hear.

And invading Iraq was what he wanted to hear because that was his vision for his presidency from the get-go. Of course, it is a vision drenched in Oedipal rivalry and crude power-mongering, using war as a pretense for a broader political agenda.

Which is, of course, exactly what we got.

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