From the Publisher

Torches and Pitchforks

The Price of Being Wrong

George Bush is not a monster.
Don Rumsfeld is not a monster.
Dick Cheney may be the living dead but he is still no monster.
These men genuinely believe that they are doing the right thing for their country.
They are not evil. Just wrong. Very, very wrong.

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein (1931)

Dick, Don, and the rest of the boys down at the American Enterprise Institute had this theory. Their theory was about how to make the Middle East, in particular the Persian Gulf, a more stable region. This area contains the majority of the world’s oil on which our entire global economy is based, so they had good reason to want to make it more stable. Saddam Hussein was still in power in Iraq and a threat to regional stability. The rest of the governments in the region were ruled by authoritarian regimes, most by monarchical minorities vulnerable to popular uprisings. They had witnessed such an uprising in Iran in 1979. They wanted to prevent this from happening again.

The centerpiece to their theory was the creation of a stable, democratic Iraq. They knew that Hussein was barely holding on to power. NATO forces had control of two-thirds of Iraqi airspace. In northern Iraq a de facto Kurdish state had formed under this NATO umbrella. Southern Iraq was populated by a large Shia majority that had been the target of Saddam’s bloody wrath after the Gulf War in 1991. Saddam had always needed to keep the large Shia majority under his boot to hold on to power. A decade of economic sanctions had softened up the Iraqi infrastructure and once formidable military. They could use the fear created by the events of 9/11 to sell the war to the American public. They thought we could go in, with a minimal amount of force, and change the world. They believed that we would be welcomed as liberators. After Iraq’s liberation, democratic institutions would be created and elections would be held. They would create an example for the rest of the region to follow.

But like many theories, theirs crumbled when it was exposed to the cold harsh air of reality. Like many theories, theirs was wrong.

Victor Frankenstein had a theory.

Mary Shelley’s character believed that he could change the world and create life from dead tissue. On paper his experiment made perfect sense. How could it go wrong?

Experiments go wrong when you give your own beliefs more weight than reality.

They go wrong when you don’t take into account ALL of the available information.

They go wrong when you push forward against any contradictory evidence.

Sometimes failed experiments turn into monsters.

The Bush administration believed that they could create a safer world by attacking Iraq and they were wrong. Nearly 1,000 American lives and thousands of Iraqi lives have been lost. They didn’t anticipate the chaos that followed after the invasion. They didn’t think it would take so long and cost so much to rebuild Iraq. They thought that the Shia majority would welcome our extended presence. They thought that they would find weapons that would convince the American public and the world that they were right.

They were wrong.

The Persian Gulf is now a less stable region as a result of their actions. The price of oil has risen from this instability. We are seen as occupiers by the Arab world. Islamic extremism is growing and finding new recruits every day. We’re running up record deficits to fund the war. Iraq seems no closer today to democracy then it did under Saddam. The Kurds want their own state. The Shia want a theocracy and the Sunni want to just go back to ruling them all. They don’t seem to want our brand of freedom. The sad truth is that all of the information predicting this was widely available before the war. They just chose to ignore it. They were blinded by their own will to see it work.

They wanted this to work so badly, but they were wrong.

They were wrong and they should pay the price for it.

We the people of this great nation do not need to go to the castle with torches and pitchforks to kill this monster they created, to right this wrong. All we have to do is vote on November 2nd to make the world a safer place. At least that’s my theory.

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