One misconception about our miserably-managed Iraq War is the notion that this war is identified with, and somehow "owned" by, the Republicans more than it is by Democrats. Yes it certainly appears that way, and is treated as such, by common observers and commentators. But the truth is that it's neither party's war, nor in any real sense is it America's war. The Afghanistan war, yes it was; the Iraq war, no.
I contend that no other even remotely electable Republican on the national stage, both then and now, if put in President Bush's position back in 2002/2003 would have made the decision he made to attack Iraq. Think about it - all things considered, who else would have said "Go"?
- Not Geo. Bush senior - we know that pretty much for a fact, due to how he pulled out of Iraq in his time. And I think we can all agree, nor would his sidekick, Dan Quayle (woefully unfit as he was for the "heartbeat" post of VP), have invaded Iraq, for lack of the requisite fortitude, if nothing else.
- Not Senator McCain, no matter how fiercely hawkish he sounds now. Indeed, his natural hawkishness, and first-hand knowledge of real war, would have stood him in good stead re: Afghanistan. From that worthy effort, he never would have "cut and run" as Bush did the first chance he got, to take up our now purposeless, and seemingly endless, venture in Iraq.
- Not former Senator Graham of Texas, being such an advocate of limited governmental powers, not Chuck Hagel, Orin Hatch, Arlen Specter nor Richard Lugar, not Colin Powell and not Condi Rice, nor would any other Republican national leader you can name (not even Jeb Bush) have gone forward into Iraq militarily. (OK, Cheney I'm not sure about, but I said "electable" national figure. On his own, Cheney would have lost severely and been seen as a national joke in the process.) Of course, it goes without saying, that no Democrat would have.
Nope, I contend that, due to two intensely personal reasons, George Bush junior was uniquely vulnerable to the neocon's campaign to attack Iraq:
1) Junior's well-documented and long-standing troubled relationship with his father
2) Saddam Hussein's unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the elder Bush
These factors were not solely responsible for George's jr's fateful decision, but they were the difference makers, they pushed him over the fence. Absent these factors, as would be the case for anyone else on earth, whether a Republican, Democrat, Independent or none of the above, we would never have engaged in the Iraq war.
Without resorting to complicated psycho-babble, suffice it to say that, on balance and in the end, our President took us to war for his own personal reasons. How does that grab you?
This is even worse than many other politicians' wars we've been sucked into in the name of patriotism (that "last refuge" of scoundrels). This conflagration, I contend, is, on balance, one-man's war, almost a personal vendetta, foisted upon as a by-product of the adversarial political machinery of government we live under.
If my hypothesis is correct (now that's a book project someone should take on), then Iraq is truly NOT the Republicans' war any more than anyone else's war, but the Grand Old Party continues to harpoon itself as long as it makes lame excuses for the war. History will take Bush down for this, but the GOP is taking such a selfish and short term focus that it's apparently more than willing to go down the historical tubes with him.