You remember the banner displayed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. "Mission Accomplished," it said. That was five years ago, and we're still not there.
Mr. Bush's war has had bad consequences for our country's military--stretched too thin, probably incapable of responding to a new crisis somewhere, should one come along.
And the war has had very bad consequences for America. We have become a country that claims the right to torture prisoners, the right to hold them without letting them have lawyers, or trials, or even to know the specifics of what they're charged with. The administration claims the right to eavesdrop on all of us, to surveil us with cameras, without getting approval from any court.
This administration has trashed the Constitution in those ways and others.
"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended," President Bush said that day. But at least 49 American troops died in Iraq last month, making it the deadliest since last September. The White House put out a statement saying the banner should have been more specific; the carrier had finished its tour and was headed home. "We have certainly paid a price," White House press secretary Dana Perino said, "for not being more specific on that banner." Well, the president probably has paid a price for underestimating our enemy in a war he started for, as far as I can recall, no particular reason. But the parents of the more than 4,000 Americans who have died in Mr.Bush's war would probably argue that the price they've paid is much, much higher.
The administration talked a lot back then about how Iraq was a threat to the United States. But that never made much sense. A U.S.-led coalition had thrown Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait after he invaded it. He can't have been in much doubt that a rematch would have the same result. And he wasn't a terrorist, of course, he was a dictator who wanted to stay in power. Attack the US again? What in the world for?
. Let's hope in November we elect someone who cares about that piece of paper the way the men who wrote it did.