John Yoo, the former deputy assistant attorney general who defended the various increases in executive power exercised or called for by the Bush Administration (and whose positions Kevin Gutzman and I refuted in Who Killed the Constitution?), defends the Iraq War on the grounds that even though the information at the government’s disposal may have been bad, war was the best decision in light of that bad information:
I continue to think that invading Iraq was the best option in light of the information we had then — I am finishing a book on war in the 21st century, where I make the case for preemptive and preventive war, and I argue that the proper way to think about these questions is based on the information available before the decision, not after.
Leaving aside the fact that a middle-schooler with Internet access had all the “information” to know an invasion of Iraq was based on preposterous nonsense, this still seems like rather a strange way to think about things.
And of course, our selfless decision-makers had the information they had because that’s the way they wanted it. They listened credulously to every scam artist under the sun who told them what they wanted to hear. If there’s anyone who still denies this even now (and recently even more evidence has come to light regarding Britain’s willful refusal to examine the facts of the matter), he ought to apply for a job with the New York Times.
Yoo then insinuates that opponents of the war must favor the return of Saddam, were that possible. Conor Friedersdorf responds, in the comments:
To say that the Iraq War was a mistake does not imply that Saddam Hussein and his family were the wronged party. Perhaps there is some opponent of the war somewhere who reasons from that premise. I have never encountered one. The vast majority of war opponents think that the wronged parties are American soldiers who died in combat, innocent Iraqis killed as a result of the war, and American taxpayers, who paid much more than they anticipated for a strategically dubious intervention.
Was that unclear to you?
(Thanks to Carl.)