"There is growing awareness that the American people were lied to by their government and needlessly drawn into war. How does this deception impact what the United States should do regarding Iraq today?
"Three years ago politicians in both parties successfully scared the American people into believing that the national security of the United States would somehow be threatened if we did not invade Iraq. These same politicians now expect us to believe that U.S. national security will be jeopardized unless we continue to prosecute the war.
"Some thoughtful activists and intellectuals who opposed the invasion of Iraq have since concluded that because the elected Iraqi government is reasonably representative of the majority of the Iraqi people, because much of the insurgent movement is dominated by fascistic Islamists and Baathists, and because the Iraqi government is too weak to defend itself, U.S. armed forces should remain. These activists argue that even though the premise of the invasion was a lie and the occupation was tragically mishandled, the consequences of a precipitous U.S. military withdrawal would result in a far worse situation than exists now.
"Such a case might be worth consideration if the Bush administration and congressional leaders had demonstrated that they had the integrity, knowledge, foresight, and competence to successfully lead a counterinsurgency war in a complex, fractured society on the far side of the planet. To support the continued prosecution of the Iraq War, however, would require trusting the same politicians who hoodwinked the country into that war in the first place. A growing number of Americans, therefore, have come to recognize that any administration dishonest enough to make the ludicrous pre-war claims of an Iraqi military threat and any Congress that—through whatever combination of dishonesty or stupidity—chose to reinforce these false assertions simply cannot be trusted to successfully control the insurgency, extricate the United States from further military involvement, and successfully facilitate Iraq's development as a peaceful, secure, democratic country." ....
- Stephen Zunes essay .... Foreign Policy in Focus.
Zunes is Middle East editor for Foreign Policy In Focus, a professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco, and the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003).