It began as farse. And it is ending as tragedy.
George Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld defrauded the American people by conjuring up a “grave and growing” danger from Saddam Hussein that did not exist.
They went through an elaborate charade of going to the United Nations.
And then they broke international law by waging the attack on Iraq three years ago.
They ate their own propaganda, believing that the Iraqi people would be eternally grateful to Washington.
They proved criminally negligent in administering the occupation with too few troops and too much hubris.
And, not least of all, their disregard for international law led to torture at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, which has so disgraced this country.
So here we are.
Three years and 2,313 American lives later.
Three years and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian lives later.
Three years and $200 billion later.
And Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld still defend the Iraq War.
Mr. Mission Accomplished offered only two paragraphs Sunday, reaffirming against all evidence that “we are implementing a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq.”
In his speech on Monday, he said, “We will settle for nothing less than victory.”
But it sure doesn’t look like victory today.
As Bush was saying he was “so optimistic” about the future of Iraq, a little thing like reality intruded.
According to AP, “roadside bombings . . . killed at least seven policemen, and authorities reported finding 10 more bullet-riddled bodies dumped in the capital, one of them a 13-year-old girl. The violence took up where it left off Sunday, when at least 35 people died.”
Former Prime Minister Awad Allawi, who was a U.S. stooge, now says the country is already in a civil war and is fast approaching a “point of no return.”
But Cheney is still spinning. He’s even defending his notorious comment that the insurgency is in its last throes, telling Bob Schieffer of CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that this statement was “basically accurate.”
Cheney blamed the media for focusing on what he called “the car bomb in Baghdad.”
I guess you can be that blasé when you’re sitting in a posh TV studio in Washington or if you’re in the Situation Room in the White House or in some undisclosed location guarded by Secret Service.
But if you’re a citizen of Baghdad, or a U.S. soldier patrolling that city, “the car bomb in Baghdad” is hard to wave away.
And it’s not just one car bomb here or there every day or two.
Multiple attacks occur every day, and brutal sectarian slayings litter Baghdad with hundreds of corpses a month.
This is what Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld have wrought.
Not victory, but bloody chaos.