Thanks to Jeb Bush’s flubbed response, the question on everyone’s lips, and the one all the candidates must answer is “Knowing what you know now, would you still go to war in Iraq?” One would think this to be one of the easiest possible questions after losing thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi ones in the endeavor.
But after initially distancing themselves from Jeb Bush’s tortured reply, the Republicans have pulled back from trying to show him up … “of course, they wouldn’t” … to a more nuanced reply. After paying lip service to the poor intelligence at the time, the “no” response has morphed into an observation about how horrible Saddam Hussein was, and that we would have had to deal with him eventually.
Paul Krugman of The New York Times has offered the other extreme. No, the intelligence was not faulty, and many at the time realized we were being manipulated, “lied” into war.” The problem with Krugman’s response, however, even for Democrats, is that it is too honest.
Because if we were lied into the war, that suggests a criminal act, and it demands a criminal prosecution. But we don’t want to be dragged back into an analysis of that dark and dreary time. But the Republicans’ responses are important for the future as well because some candidates are already suggesting we need to go back in to battle ISIS.
But that type of effort would sap the remaining life blood from this country and plunge us irrevocably into the Sunni-Shiite split, a feud that has continued for centuries.