Bush et al both lied and blundered when they started the Iraq War in 2003; the same with Afghanistan. Lies and mistakes are not mutually exclusive during complex events with a number of players involved.
The propaganda campaign to sell the war to the American public was filled with intentional lies and exaggerations by many people, including America’s top leaders. They lied to get the war that they wanted to get. They knew that Iraq had no nuclear bombs and posed no threat to America. They exaggerated about other weapons like chemical and biological weapons. They demonized Saddam Hussein. They fixed intelligence reports around the desired policies.
Some of these same liars and others also were blunderers who made the mistake of thinking that they could easily win the war and easily fix up a new social and political system. Before the war began there were serious errors of judgment at the highest levels of government. (Others made serious mistakes of judgment after the war was seemingly won.) The top figures who supported the aggression upon Iraq still do not admit that they blundered: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld. Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz haven’t admitted the blunder. Hillary Clinton has defended her vote for war. Condi Rice reaffirmed her support for the war in 2013.
There were lots of lies about the threats posed by Hussein, but also American leaders failed to foresee the negative ramifications and consequences to the U.S. of attacking Iraq. In Bush’s case, his personal animus and desire for revenge and kicking ass came to the fore. Whatever objections to the war there may have been among wiser and cooler heads around him did not prevail. However, I know of none of his inner circle that did not support him and his decision.
Can America end its participation in wars? It has been engaged in wars almost continuously from its inception. It was born out of war. War is a racket, but it’s also an ingrained American habit. War is embedded in the American economy and politics. It’s embedded in the American psyche and way of life. War is accepted, nay, welcomed in some dark corner of the hearts that deny it and affirm love of peace. If it isn’t one war, it’s another. War is virtually the poisonous breath of American life. If it isn’t a military war, then it’s some other war or crusade. War is regarded as something that will conquer fear.
Something very sick is at work when a country cannot endure a prolonged period of peace. Something is dreadfully wrong when a people cannot abide leaders who promise to promote peace, instead conferring power on the most vicious and psychopathic who promise to be “strong”. Something is very wrong with a people that fears peace movements and applauds governments that vitiate them. Something is wrong with a people that cannot look at its history and its mistakes. Something is wrong when a people defends its government no matter what evils it perpetrates.
That something is fear. There is too much fear in the land, deeply buried in American hearts. There is fear of enemies of all sorts and descriptions: foreign enemies, minorities, various religions, anarchists and anarchy, terrorists, communists, nonconformists, health insecurity, job losses, drugs, gang violence, severe weather, climate change, losses of all kinds, illness, dying and death. No fear is too small not to be the foundation for some crusade or war.
Politicians encourage these fears. They articulate them, and they propose to assuage them. They know better and they lie. Some do not know better; they blunder.
Wars are promised solutions to fears. In this way, lies, blunders, fears and war coalesce.