The willingness of many of Bush's - and the war's - biggest detractors to allow for the possibility that Bush and his "neocon" advisers were correct about the ability of democracy to take root in the Middle East is admirable and should be congratulated.Since apparently everyone in this country has completely forgotten why we really went to war in Iraq, I offer you these official White House statements from March 2003:
The promising developments toward peace and liberalization throughout the Middle East were considered unimaginable to the status-quo community not very long ago. But Bush found them quite imaginable and he acted to make what his opponents considered to be a fantasy into a reality. Well - fingers crossed! - it looks like Bush is finding considerable success in his efforts to, in the words of that aide, "create a new reality." For good or for ill, who can doubt that Bush is one of "history's actors" at this point?
March 8 (no mentions of freedom or democracy)
These are not the actions of a regime that is disarming. These are the actions of a regime engaged in a willful charade. If the Iraqi regime were disarming, we would know it -- because we would see it; Iraq's weapons would be presented to inspectors and destroyed. Inspection teams do not need more time, or more personnel -- all they need is what they have never received, the full cooperation of the Iraqi regime. The only acceptable outcome is the outcome already demanded by a unanimous vote of the Security Council: total disarmament.March 15 (no mentions of freedom or democracy)
Across the world, and in every part of America, people of goodwill are hoping and praying for peace. Our goal is peace -- for our own nation, for our friends, for our allies and for all the peoples of the Middle East. People of goodwill must also recognize that allowing a dangerous dictator to defy the world and build an arsenal for conquest and mass murder is not peace at all; it is pretense. The cause of peace will be advanced only when the terrorists lose a wealthy patron and protector, and when the dictator is fully and finally disarmed.
There is little reason to hope that Saddam Hussein will disarm. If force is required to disarm him, the American people can know that our armed forces have been given every tool and every resource to achieve victory. The people of Iraq can know that every effort will be made to spare innocent life, and to help Iraq recover from three decades of totalitarian rule. And plans are in place to provide Iraqis with massive amounts of food, as well as medicine and other essential supplies, in the event of hostilities.March 16 (one mention of freedom, one mention of democracy)
Crucial days lie ahead for the free nations of the world. Governments are now showing whether their stated commitments to liberty and security are words alone -- or convictions they're prepared to act upon. And for the government of the United States and the coalition we lead, there is no doubt: we will confront a growing danger, to protect ourselves, to remove a patron and protector of terror, and to keep the peace of the world.
The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations. He is a danger to his neighbors. He's a sponsor of terrorism. He's an obstacle to progress in the Middle East. For decades he has been the cruel, cruel oppressor of the Iraq people.March 17 (two mentions of freedom, no mentions of democracy)
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.March 22 (two mentions of freedom, no mentions of democracy)
The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.
The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.
Our nation entered this conflict reluctantly, yet with a clear and firm purpose. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. This will not be a campaign of half-measures. It is a fight for the security of our nation and the peace of the world, and we will accept no outcome but victory.As I recall, we went to war in Iraq in order to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction that posed a grave threat to the US, not to spread freedom and democracy throughout the Middle East.
But what do I know? I'm constantly blinded by reality.