The politics leading to war.
Stage 1: we start with conversation. George and his Oligarchs bring this conversation to the American public. “We eliminated the Taliban in Afghanistan. This rooted out the government that harbored terrorism. Step 1. But there are still three countries that are the axis of evil, protecting and fostering terrorism within their borders: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. The world is not safe.”
The stage is set. The enemy is identified, three countries are a threat to our security. The political dance has quickened.
Stage 2: George and the Oligarchs take the conversation to the next level: international collaboration. The United States brings the discussion to the world body at the United Nations. We have participated in the UN’s search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq for some time, sometimes with great reluctance, and always with skepticism about Hussein’s motives. We accuse Iraq of hiding evidence out of reach of the UN teams, of moving materials around the countryside or in Saddam’s own mansion. We support UN resolutions and sanctions against Iraq. George even speaks to the General Assembly, primarily to refute those who say our participation is desultory and facile.
Stage 3: the dramatic stage, in front of the international body. George and the O’s send their most respected spokesman, the Secretary of State, with a well-scripted set of documents that prove Saddam has lied, has made a fool of the international community. The CIA provides the razzle-dazzle satellite photos, the Secretary brings plenty of data. J’accuse, Saddam. The big boy in the room has spoken: the US is waving the big stick, and you all must follow.
Stage 4: rally friends behind us. The politics has gone beyond conversation, beyond written resolutions, beyond collaborative discussion. George and the Oligarchs (who really do not care what the rest of the neighborhood thinks – after all, that’s the nature of oligarchical government: the selected few already know better than everybody else) round up as many friends who want to wave their sticks, and get ready for war.
Stage 5: Conversation and collaboration are over. No patience, no economic blackmail or isolation. George is a man of action, and the lack of WMAs no longer matters. He redefines the rationale for action, and sends our nation to war.
Two years later, we occupy the country at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. We have de-stabilized a country, and threatened to do so for the region. There were no WMAs and the land has become an even more fertile ground for terrorists.
War is politics by other means. George and the Oligarchs failed at both.