By Bill Maher
Pretty much everyone in the public sphere who talks about Iraq these days adopts this regretful "if we knew then what we know now" tone to explain the whole thing away. It's nobody's fault; we were a bunch of cockeyed optimists who didn't realize how hard everything was going to be. If we're guilty of anything, it's of caring too much.
It's all predicated on the notion that -- even though it turned out Saddam didn't have WMDs -- we all really thought he did, so the invasion made sense at the time. It's almost like we're blaming Saddam for not having the weapons we wanted him to have.
But completely erased over in the last decade is the fact that most people didn't think Saddam had WMDs. And I'm not just talking about the hippies who were marching. Although, as we've learned, the hippies are always right about everything. I'm talking about George Bush, and Tony Blair, and Donald Rumsfeld -- they also knew Saddam didn't have WMDs.
Iraq's foreign minister, who was spying for us, reportedly told the CIA in the fall of 2002 that Saddam didn’t have WMDs. And the CIA told Bush, Condi, and the whole Apple Dumpling Gang.
The UK's inquiry on the Iraq war found that Tony Blair had been told ten days before the invasion that Saddam had no usable chemical weapons, nor warheads to deliver them. That same inquiry found that Hans Blix, the UN weapons inspector, had told British officials that he didn't think Iraq had WMDs.
Bush's Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, was on the National Security Council at the time, and said in interviews back in 2004, just a year after the invasion, that he never saw any intel indicating "real evidence" of Saddam having WMDs, and that the plans to invade had been hatched shortly after Bush was elected.
So they knew, and -- just like the hippies say -- Bush lied and people died.
So why isn't "Bush lied" the takeaway from all the 10th anniversary reports?
Maybe it's because when Colin Powell gave his now-infamous speech before the UN, the American media fell for it utterly and completely.
Just a week after Powell's speech, the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting put out a press release titled "A Failure of Skepticism in Powell Coverage," listing all the reporters (Dan Rather, Andrea Mitchell, et al.) who treated Powell's vague allegations as facts, especially in light of earlier Bush/Rumsfeld claims that had already been debunked.
And ten days after Powell's speech, the hippies came out in force for some of the largest anti-war marches in history. Between six and ten million people worldwide, according to the BBC, all of them unconvinced by Colin Powell's dire warnings.