What all our loss and pain and expense in the Iraqi invasion has actually proved is that the weapons inspections worked, that international sanctions - deeply, deeply messy as they turned out to be - worked, and that in the case of Saddam Hussein, the United Nations worked. Whatever the Hussein regime once had is gone because the international community insisted. It was all destroyed a decade ago, under world pressure.
This is not a lesson that many people in power in Washington are prepared to carry away, but it is what the national adventure in the reckless doctrine of preventive warfare has to teach us.
How could they have been so misinformed? Ex-CIA agent Lindsay Moran's memoir of her brief career tells what she saw towards the end of it:
Ironically, in early 2003, not long after my return from Macedonia, I was "surged" to the Near East (NE) division in order to help gear up for the invasion of Iraq. During my short tenure in Iraqi Operations, I met one woman who had covered Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program for more than a decade. She admitted to me, unequivocally, that the CIA had no definitive evidence whatsoever that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed WMD, or that Iraq presented anything close to an imminent threat to the United States.
Another CIA analyst, whose opinion I'd solicited about the connection between Al-Qa'ida and Iraq, looked at me almost shamefacedly, shrugged, and said, "They both have the letter q?" And a colleague who worked in the office covering Iraqi counterproliferation reported to me that her mealy-mouthed pen pusher of a boss had gathered together his minions and announced, "Let's face it. The president wants us to go to war. Our job is to give him a reason to do it."
This, mind you, was a CIA administrator from among the crew that Porter Goss is cleaning out because they weren't pliant enough. Perhaps he's in line for promotion.