The Corner

Selling the Iraq War

I’m not with VDH on this one. The reason that the administration leaned so heavily on WMD, in my view, was that it was the most powerful selling point for the war–end of story. Americans weren’t going to go to war for humanitarian reasons. I’m more sympathetic to the Feith argument that Bush emphasized the democracy-building rationale for the war too much after the invasion. But that too was understandable–we hadn’t found WMD and we were engaged in democracy building, after all.  In the end, the most important thing was execution. If we had managed to establish order in Iraq from the beginning, or, failing that, to squash the insurgency early and prevent the civil war of ‘06, we wouldn’t have to have academic arguments about what exact selling points might have worked better

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