It’s easy to see clearly in hindsight. But sometimes it’s worth looking back at what people foresaw. The current crisis in Iraq displays more starkly than ever the wilful blindness of the architects of America’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
“When Saddam Hussein and his regime are nothing more than a horrible memory, the United States will remain committed to helping the Iraqi people establish a free, prosperous and peaceful Iraq that can serve as a beacon for the entire region.”
That’s what Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defence in the Bush Administration, told the Iraqi-American community in Detroit in February 2003.
Wolfowitz was one of the most influential of that group of intellectuals and political activists who had, for 30 years before 2003, urged that America must use its military might to oppose totalitarian dictatorships. They had attracted the label “neo-conservative”. But the title of the Four Corners program I made about them, which was aired just a week before the Iraq war began, was “American Dreamers”.