The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
March 23, 2008

In the runup to the war five years ago, President Bush used scare tactics to frighten this nation into supporting an invasion of Iraq. At every opportunity, he warned the American people that an emboldened Saddam Hussein would use his oil wealth to arm the terrorists of al-Qaida with weapons of mass destruction.

Without invasion, the president warned us, “the danger is that al-Qaida becomes an extension of Saddam’s madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world.” Or so he said.

It is now five years later. Has the threat outlined by Bush been eliminated? In a roundabout way, the president has already answered that question.

In a speech last week marking the anniversary of our invasion, the president again defended his decision to go to war. He also warned that it was impossible to significantly reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq because doing so might open the door to al-Qaida.

“An emboldened al-Qaida, with access to Iraq’s oil resources, could pursue its ambitions to acquire weapons of mass destruction to attack America and other free nations,” Bush warned, cautioning that any effort to draw down our troops “would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th.”

So … same as it ever was. Fictional weapons of mass destruction got us into this war; fictional weapons of mass destruction require us to stay. In fact, it is all so depressingly familiar that it seems fair to conclude that after five years of war, the sacrifice of almost 4,000 American lives and the expenditure of an estimated $1 trillion and counting, we have accomplished absolutely nothing in Iraq.

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