But, granting the conceit (just for fun) that humanitarian concerns were their actual reasons for the invasion, this is still just utterly ridiculous. We had an opportunity and a need, post-9/11, to invade a country under tyrannical rule which was, in an odd way, a threat to us. That country was called Afghanistan. And, despite all the promises of saving the residents from the Taliban and engaging in a massive reconstruction of that country, that sort of didn't, you know, happen so much. It would've been nice to build some streets of gold in that country, show the world what the great benevolent United States could do, but we didn't. When the Bush administration kicked the soccer ball away from Afghanistan and towards Iraq the media and the "liberal hawks" and the country dutifully followed, aborting what could have been the greatest humanitarian triumph in history. One which, given the speed at which books about the place were selling after 9/11, would've had the full support of the country. I was somewhat surprised but deeply proud of the fact that post-9/11 much of the country seemed to buy into the idea that bad people had taken over a country of good people. There was a heartwarming generosity after 9/11, a sense that we must help those people - not the bad people, but the ones under their thumb.Boy I wish I'd written that first.
This is yet another one of the great historical crimes of the Bush Administration. Imagine how much easier America's role in the middle east would be if the US could point to a stable Muslim democracy in the heart of a strategically important region and say "See? That country where the people are free, growing wealthier, and more open to the world around them? That's what America can do." Of course, this was exactly the pitch the Bush administration used for Iraq. The difference being of course that what would have been difficult but noble and worthwhile in Afghanistan was impossible in Iraq, and made ignoble and worthless by the lies that were used to justify it. (Oh, and the intervention in Afghanistan would have had the unflinching support of the international community, unlike the illegal war in Iraq.)
The opportunities lost because of these criminals is really beginning to boggle my mind.