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101 Reasons Why Our Leaders Should Admit that Invading Iraq Was a Mistake

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Admitting failure is a healthy sign. Talking about “growing doubts about the Iraq war” for three years running, and issuing reports that “We have just a few months to correct the problems,” again and again and again, is to be mired in self-delusion and stupidity.

Admitting that it’s a failure means we can actually come up with a better policy.

Admitting it was a mistake will shed the scales of denial and align us with world opinion—in the same way that admitting you’re an alcoholic during an intervention aligns you with the opinion of all your friends;

Admitting it was a mistake will win hearts and minds around the world, suggesting that the U.S. is after all a beacon of freedom.

Admitting it was a mistake will at last permit the tumbrils to travel down the cobbled streets of Georgetown to the guillotines by the river. As it is, a lot of people are holding on to fancy jobs notwithstanding the greatest error of judgment since Vietnam. The White House’s admitting it was a mistake will force them to admit it was a mistake too, or lose their heads. There will be confessions and embraces. Tears will run through the streets of 20036, statues will be erected commemorating the 11 freelance writers who opposed the war. It will be a great show, and maybe restore authority to editorial writers and the Brookings Institution;

Admitting it was a mistake will at last shut up the pious Democrats who voted for the war and now insist that Rumsfeld simply mishandled it—as though putting 500,000 soldiers in a foreign country, rather than 263,000, to install a new form of government, was genius;

Admitting it was a mistake will make the American Enterprise Institute the new Alcatraz;

As Laura and Papa Bush surely know, George Bush might actually get a legacy if he admitted that Iraq was a mistake; as it is, he has stubbornly set himself up for twisting around in this psychopolitical glue trap forever, insisting into his old age that he did the right thing, or, at best, writing a book like Robert McNamara’s Vietnam mea culpa—too late for anyone to be helped by it. (James Baker should lead the intervention.)

Admitting it was a mistake will save lives…

I think that’s about a million reasons. I’ll think of some more later…

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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