Iraq war architects should consider sitting one out

Seldom have truer words been written: “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

Trouble is, the words were written by former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz, about current President Barack Obama and his foreign policy. That the man who helped lead this nation into a disastrous and unnecessary war in Iraq has the gall to speak out about the current crisis in Iraq is infuriating.

The words apply — but to President George W. Bush and his rush to two wars after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, egged on by Cheney and neoconservative hawks.

With no shame, Cheney continues his war-mongering ways, criticizing Obama at every turn. Criticism of the president is fair game, as are opinions about what needs to be done to alleviate Iraq’s crisis. But opinions from the same people wrong on foreign policy since 9/11 should be dismissed. They were wrong then and wrong now.

Even worse, Cheney actively lied that dictator Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” that would be directed at the United States. This wasn’t just a mistake in intelligence. It was a lie, designed to take the country to war.
The 2003 Iraq War cost the United States time and treasure, diverting our attention from Afghanistan — where the 9/11 attacks originated. The Iraq War cost us allies and support around the world. The Iraq War cost even shaky stability in the Middle East, not because of Obama’s decisions but because the elimination of Saddam Hussein left a power vacuum and a breeding ground for sectarian violence to explode.

The age-old conflicts between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam are being played out on the ground in bloody fashion. Now, the same idiots who took the U.S. to war want troops to return.

Joining Cheney in a chorus of criticism are former Bush Pentagon official Paul Wolfowitz, writer Bill Kristol and Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham. They demand military action. As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put it so well: “To the architects of the Iraq War who are now so eager to offer their expert analysis, I say . ’Thanks, but no thanks.’ Unfortunately, we have already tried it your way, and it was the biggest foreign policy blunder in the history of the country.”

We won’t know whether the decision — announced Thursday — to return troops as advisers will make that blunder worse. Obama, given the chaos in Iraq, likely feels the United States must act. After all, our nation did break the country. Still, as we maneuver yet another foreign crisis, Dick Cheney’s advice should not be our guide.

— The Santa Fe New Mexican