The defense for the decision to go to war in Iraq is that "everyone" believed that Saddam had WMD. US intelligence believed it, British, French and German intelligence, the UN, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and probably Aunt Mildred.
So George W. Bush thundered and stormed and he got an authorization to go to war - if it was necessary to disarm Saddam - and he got a UN resolution demanding that Saddam disarm. Since it is impossible to prove a negative (I have no illegal armaments), the only action Saddam could take was to allow independent inspectors into Iraq with unlimited access to anything they wanted.
Now we come to the crux of the matter.
Saddam folded. He complied. He let them in. He gave them unlimited access. Hans Blix and company wandered all over the country and found nothing. Because there were none. The inspectors continued to have access. They could have kept inspecting a long as they wanted. Forever, if necessary.
It was over. Before the war started.
Imagine a police drama.
The bad guy is holed up inside a windowless warehouse. The police think he's armed and dangerous. He refuses to come out or to let them in. They have a warrant. They break in with their guns blazing. They shoot him dead. He turns out to have been unarmed. They argue they had no way of knowing. They acted in the interests of safety.
But that's not what happened.
Saddam, in effect, opened the door, held his hands in the air, invited the police in and let them look all around. They found nothing. He didn't ask them to leave. He was apparently content to let them stay and keep an eye on him.
Instead, they suddenly rushed out. They closed the door behind them. They reformed themselves, then launched a missile at the door to blow it in. They charged in behind the explosion, all guns blazing and shot whatever they could see.
That's what happened.
There is no defense for the invasion of Iraq.
Except inattention and stupidity. But those aren't defenses.
So the next time anyone gets a chance to argue with a neo-con or a Bush defender, or one of Hillary's minions, or John Kerry's, ask them about that moment.
There is, furthermore, no defense for the media coverage of the approach to war.
Ask them why they didn't speak up. Why they didn't even seem to notice. Or to care.
The Senate resolution allowed Bush to go to war if there were no peaceful way to disarm Iraq. But he was disarmed. Demonstrably so. And the means were in place to keep him disarmed. Why didn't anyone rise up in the House or the Senate - just to go on the record - that the resolution was contingent and the contingency had not been met. Indeed, quite the opposite. Mission had been accomplished, war was no longer an option.
This is, of course, old stuff. So why rehash it? Yet again.
Because it is the foundation for a House or Senate investigation into why we went to war.
Because it is the foundation for at least one count of an impeachment proceeding.
Because it should be one of the starting points for a great book about the mainstream American media.
And because I just saw an interview with Richard Perle. He is still using the "all intelligence available to us," routine. Even if it's true, or if it's close to true, or marginally true, it doesn't matter. That problem had been solved before we went to war. The story is what it was then, a phony's fog, a liar's smoke screen, a hypocrite's con job, a despicable deceit and no one should be allowed to hide behind it.