January 1, 2009  

Fairy tale ending

To President George W. Bush for stretching the truth on the circumstances in which the U.S. went to war in Iraq. In farewell speeches in Washington and at West Point, Bush talked about the Baghdad invasion in the context of a U.N. resolution, a coalition of nations and his administration taking “a hard look at the danger posed by Iraq — a country that combined support for terror, the development and the use of weapons of mass destruction.” In reality, Resolution 1441 against Saddam Hussein was not a green light for invasion, but only a warning that the Iraqi leader would face “serious consequences” if he did not comply with calls to disarm. There was little international support and no formal U.N. backing for war. The most compelling basis for the invasion — WMDs — is now discredited. While it’s traditional for presidents to polish their legacies in their final weeks, this is a chapter in Bush’s storytelling that should have been skipped if he couldn’t stick to straight facts.