So, who is superior? How was somebody to know the unknowable? Who is evil?
Let's engage our rational, objective brain for a moment and give up thinking we are right and that we should have moral outrage.
Let's look at the type of thinking that Brian Williams had when he (and others) asked "will you apologize?"
WAS BUSH LYING OR INTENTIONALLY MISLEADING?
Bush said then, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .” See FactCheck to see how it was justified.
The U.S. Intelligence agency and the British and German intelligence agencies all said that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Even during the Clinton years, the agency was saying that. With such overwhelming consensus among the professionals, who was to know what the truth was, before it was determined otherwise? Did they have to be psychic?
It doesn't appear that he (or Cheney) was lying or at least there is no proof for it. But, in the unfortunate irrationality of many humans, people assume he must have been, with no real evidence. Even Powell, who was skeptical, spent 3 days checking things with the intelligence people and couldn't diprove it.
Bill Clinton videos:
And legislators looked at the intelligence information and came to the same conclusion, even Hilary Clinton.
Yet people still accuse Bush and Cheney of deception. But how do they know that?
They don't. It is only a supposition and conjecture - two chief components of what doesn't work in the world. Yet those people are so adaman and enraged and righteous and hateful...
DO WE KNOW ALL THE FACTORS? ARE WE THE ONES WHO ARE RIGHT?
And it seems relatively impossible to outguess the decision to go to war, although many think it is so reprehensible to have a war like that - and they evilize him for his decision. I can't find any facts to justify their evilizing him. I would not have made that decision at the time because I would have believed that containment was possible (at $19 billion a year, see source below). I think the urgency was not such that it could not have waited another year or so. I do recognize the threat of disseminating some of Iraq's chemical weapons store, which, if you recall, were greatly feared by the military where they had special suits to protect against what they thought would happen.
If you take away the costs of the war, the troops lost over 4,000 lives to save lives of foreigners in the range of 100,000 plus lives, plus prevented several possibilities of terrorism.
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (WMD)
"However a recently declassified Defense Department report indicates that the United States has uncovered more than 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003. The report indicates that not only have weapons been discovered in Iraq, but that more weapons exist. It also stated that some weapons could have been sold on the black market. Furthermore, the possibility that these weapons could be used outside of Iraq could not be ruled out.
The Defense Department report is not the first proof of Saddam's illicit weapons program. Unfortunately, such evidence has been overlooked, minimized, and even buried by the news media."
"Prior to the war Iraq openly admitted it had produced at least 3.9 tons of VX poison gas, the deadliest nerve agent ever created, but never disclosed its location. According to government officials the VX gas could be stored in a facility the size of a garage, and when hidden in an area the size of the state of California, it is no wonder it has yet to be found. It is also important to remember, that when dealing with chemical weapons, a small amount of toxin can cause tremendous damage."
"The acquisition of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons by both terrorists and rogue nations is perhaps one of the greatest threats to our national security. Some may argue that our invasion of Iraq was not justified because pre-war intelligence was flawed. However the evidence clearly shows that such a conclusion is an over-simplified distortion of the truth."
"U.S. forces operating in the so-called Sunni Triangle -- the region of Iraq most loyal to captured former dictator Saddam Hussein -- found a significant weapons cache that included al Qaeda literature and videotapes, the U.S. military said Tuesday." cnn.com
AND ISN'T IT POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE DECISIONS THAT DON'T TURN OUT - AND TO STILL NOT BE EVIL OR STUPID?
Yes, I wouldn't have done it, I think. Of course, in the heat of battle and the big threat and with more information and more advice from others, who knows what I would do.
Certainly, I am not in a position to judge Bush/Cheney as evil or even stupid, for surely they are not stupid. Nor are they mentally depraved. Yet so many people attack them, showing their own ignorance and prejudice, the very things that are the least likable and workable about humans - and then they feel they are superior and righteous and right.
If we are rational, use our reasoning, and our fact-based and constructive, how could we possibly come to the position of moral condemnation? How could we operate at the level of Michael Moore's way of thinking? How could we be so morally indignant and so lacking of compassion for another human being?
I looked at this rationally and sought the facts in my investigation and I come to the conclusion that they are not evil, stupid, immoral, etc., but are caring, intelligent human beings who wanted to do the best job for the people, to protect us from a huge threat of a mad man who had declared he would kill us all and let us keep thinking he had WMDs (or at least not complying with inspections, so we couldn't know)? Why did he keep the capability of producing more WMD, with all the scientists in place and ready to go?
I am sad that my fellow man has judged and condemned without evidence or true moral justification.
COSTS OF WAR
Should we have stayed? Could we abandon the people once we were there? What kind of killings would there be in that case?
How could we leave, even though "superior" minds say the famous words 'we should have known better'? But could we have known better? Really?
Generally about 100 billion a year, at a cumulative $802B through Fiscal Year 2011.
(Afghanistan currently over 100 billion a year, with a cumulative cost of $455.4 billion through Fiscal Year 2011. )
Containment costs for Iraq if there were no war are estimated to be about $19 billion a year. usgovinfo.about.com
Probably realistic: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0933935.html