Peter Wehner has a good piece on OpinionJournal that dissects and debunks several intellectually dishonest claims about the war in Iraq. The argument that we were “misled” into war, that democratization was an ex post facto rationalization, and that Saddam was no threat to anyone are all blatantly false, but those lies seem to have a life of their own among the anti-war crowd. It doesn’t matter that every independent report on the issue of Iraq has revealed an utterly consistent story: lawmakers did not pressure the intelligence community, there was a wide and mutual consensus that Iraq was developing WMDs in contravention of the Gulf War cease-fire, and that even Saddam Hussein himself had no idea of what his capabilities really were.
The fact is that the vast majority of anti-war arguments bear no resemblance to the truth, and only find currency with those who willfully embrace the paranoid delusions of the far left. George W. Bush did not “lie” his way into war, there was no organized conspiracy to falsify evidence, and the arguments presented in the lengthy run-up to war were based on the best intelligence we had at the time – intelligence that was deeply flawed and the product of a dysfunctional analytic system, but still the best we had at the time.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report, the Duelfer Repot, the results of the Butler Inquiry, and the Robb-Silberman Report all quite clearly come to the same results – not that the facts tend to get in the way of a juicy conspiracy theory.
There are, of course, legitimate and rational arguments against the decision to go into war in Iraq. One can debate whether it was wise in the long term, whether Iraq has a strong prospect for democratization, or whether our strategy committed enough troops in an appropriate manner. However, the vast majority of arguments coming from the anti-war side are based on distortions and outright lies, drowning out the rational critiques in a sea of political poseurs. Actually learning about the way intelligence is gathered and used, the geography and culture of Iraq, and the geopolitics of the Middle East is simply too much for those who can’t understand a political position that doesn’t fit on a T-Shirt or bumper sticker.
A vibrant democracy requires intelligent debate – not the intellectually dishonest “dissent” of fools. Sadly, the amount of intelligent discourse on Iraq is exceedingly low, and many have chose to believe facile lies rather than educate themselves on the reality of our world.