I don’t remember being moved by the overthrow of a brutal regime and the hanging of a tyrannical president who resorted to torture and murder.
On the other hand, I retain a sad memory of the reasons given for starting the war in 2003, just as I will not forget the failure of this application of the concept of preventive war.
Fighting terrorism and building democracy
Still shaken by the attacks of September 11, 2001, it was a determined George W. Bush who led his country into what was called a preventive war.
Iraq was then identified as a threat because of its presumed links with terrorists and Saddam Hussein was considered to be too unpredictable. Moreover, several members of the administration were convinced that the Iraqi president had weapons of mass destruction.
Among the hawks in this file, there were heavyweights: George Tenet director of the CIA, vice-president Dick Cheney as well as the British prime minister Tony Blair. To this list must be added numerous polls which pointed in favor of the support of the American population for a military intervention. This is what this table from the Pew Research Center reminds us.
While President Bush was identifying his “Axis of Evil”, it was Colin Powell who was being sent to the slaughterhouse to present to the UN the multiple dangers present in Iraq. This presentation of the famous general not only contributed to his resignation later, but it put a complete damper on his presidential ambitions.
Photo d’archives, AFP
Colin Powell in 2003
We now know that this war was a failure, as much to fight against terrorism as to establish a democracy. Moreover, this second objective was only added when people began to doubt the real danger that Iraq represented for the security of the United States.
Here again, the Pew Research Center indicates that public opinion has evolved since 2002-2003. Whether civilians or veterans are questioned, a high proportion of respondents consider that this war was not worth the trouble.
A disturbing record
To this day, pundits still debate the sincerity of the Bush administration. Were we deceived by the poor quality of the information from our agencies or did we have other plans from the outset?
That George W. Bush and his advisers may have had other justifications changes little to a reality with which we were dealing in 2023: we have fueled the crisis of confidence in the political class.
Bush Jr. does not bear the burden of this crisis of confidence alone, but he has contributed to the hostility of many voters who have since turned to less conventional candidates.
This crisis of confidence is also felt on the international scene. Not only do the adversaries of the Americans bring up the Iraqi case to rebuff the United States, but the allies sometimes doubt the sincerity of the intentions of this giant with feet of clay.
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