Where Were You When?
I'll never forget where I was when the war started. I was on a JetBlue plane going to Las Vegas. I was meeting up with all my old college buddies for the opening weekend of March Madness. JetBlue was DirecTV onboard, so I got to watch CNN showing live coverage of "Shock and Awe." It was a moment that really showed what generation I belong to: flying on a plane, watching satellite television of the beginning of a war in the Middle East.
Obligatory "I told you so" Rant
Later on that evening in Vegas, I was sitting in the coffee shop of the Monte Carlo, where we were all staying. I was talking to two of my friends about what was going on in Iraq. My stance then was simple: Give the public the real reasons for the war and maybe it is justified, but don't give false reasons. We live in a democracy, and we can't undertake the ultimate act of a nation-state, war, without honest reasons for it. My father was the veteran of three wars, and he taught me that war is the most horrible thing in the world, but sometimes it is necessary. Was Iraq necessary? There's no way to answer that question without the real reasons.
Which brings me to Alan Greenspan. You gotta figure this guy is feeling some heat with the housing bubble (that he certainly helped create) busting all around. Talk about terrible timing, too: he just released his memoirs. Can't imagine too many of those foreclosure "victims" will be buying that. It did contain one nugget that has turned into controversy. Greenspan claimed that the "Iraq war is largely about oil."
Wait a minute, didn't I see people in the streets of San Francisco four years ago claiming this? Of course Greenspan has changed his story, I mean clarified his statement. But it brings up an interesting what-if.
Any Reason Will Do
What if the President was honest and had said in 2003 "we need to invade Iraq to secure strategic resources vital to our economy." I'm not saying that would have been honest, though maybe Greenspan thinks it would. Would people have gone along with it? There might have been a typical red-blue divide on it, much more of a divide than we saw back in 2003, but so what?
There was a lot of blood lust in the air because of 9/11, and that was the biggest reason why people were willing for us to go to war. Not lies from the President. Not fear of WMDs. Not thirst for oil. Nope, it was a thirst for payback that Afghanistan did not quench. Any Arabic target with any reason might have done just fine. There was probably no need for Colin Powell to lie to the UN.
The Blood on Our Hands
That's what nobody wants to admit. You can't just blame Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. We're all to blame. Look at all those Democrats who voted for the war, and who even now are reluctant to take real steps to bring it to an end. The American people would love to wash their hands of it now, but unfortunately it's not so easy. We're going to pay for this sin for a long time.