Why did George W. Bush and his government invade Iraq in 2011? There are two answers usually on offer. The Republican one is that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or at least was trying to get them. And thus Saddam had to be eliminated as soon as possible. The Democratic one is that Bush, or maybe it was Dick Cheney that was pulling the strings, was trying to secure Iraq’s oil for the US, or, rather, for American based oil companies.
Now there’s a third answer being floated. Ahsan I Butt, an Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, thinks that theater was real reason for the invasion. Writing in Al Jazeera, Butt argues that the invasion was meant to show the world that United States could, and would punish anyone who got out of line. He notes, “A quick and decisive victory in the heart of the Arab world would send a message to all countries, especially to recalcitrant regimes such as Syria, Libya, Iran, or North Korea, that American hegemony was here to stay. Put simply, the Iraq war was motivated by a desire to (re)establish American standing as the world’s leading power.”
If this is, indeed, the case, then the “show” was a disastrous box-office flop — quite literally, a Bomb. The Iraq War did much to weaken us at home and abroad.
One wonders what other brilliant ideas for foreign policy the GOP might yet have to offer.
And whether we will survive them.