Suspend the Demagoguery on Iraq

President George W. Bush was absolutely right to veto the Iraq funding bill. As he observed, "This is a prescription for chaos and confusion and we must not impose it on our troops." I also agree with the president's statement that "our troops are worthy of this funding and we have a responsibility to get it to them without further delay."

The other side of the coin, however, is whether Mr. Bush is worthy of the nation's confidence as a leader who can conduct the war in a responsible and effective manner. Public opinion polls provide a clear answer that a significant majority of Americans does not trust the president to bring the war to a successful conclusion. And that is not because the public is brainwashed by the left-wing media or is suffering, four years after the "Mission Accomplished" speech, from war fatigue.

The Bush Administration brought the United States into Iraq under false pretenses and it is disingenuous for the president and his advisors to proclaim that they, along with everybody else, were victims of faulty intelligence. First, different people drew different conclusions from the intelligence available at the time. With the notable exception of Tony Blair, not a single foreign government had the same sense of urgency to invade Iraq as the Bush Administration. Both Mohamed El Baradei's International Atomic Energy Agency and UN inspectors in Iraq warned that there was, at a minimum, considerable uncertainty about whether Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and particularly whether he was close to obtaining nuclear weapons. It was the Bush Administration's choice to dismiss those warnings contemptuously.

To read the rest of this blog post, click here or visit Subjective Evaluation, Dimitri Simes' blog.