"We can't tolerate a new terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East, with large oil reserves that could be used to fund its radical ambitions, or used to inflict economic damage on the West," Bush said in a news conference last week in the Rose Garden.
When no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, Bush shifted his war justification to one of liberating Iraqis from a brutal ruler.
After Saddam's capture in December 2003, the rationale became helping to spread democracy through the Middle East. Then it was confronting terrorists in Iraq "so we do not have to face them here at home," and "making America safer," themes Bush pounds today.
"We're in the ideological struggle of the 21st century," he told a California audience this month. "It's a struggle between good and evil."
Vice President Dick Cheney takes it even further: "The hopes of the civilized world ride with us," Cheney tells audiences.
Except for the weapons of mass destruction argument, there is some validity in each of Bush's shifting rationales, said Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy scholar at the Brookings Institution who initially supported the war effort.
"And I don't have any big problems with any of them, analytically. The problem is they can't change the realities on the ground in Iraq, which is that we're in the process of beginning to lose," O'Hanlon said. "It is taking us a long time to realize that, but the war is not headed the way it should be."
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Sunday, October 15
Bush keeps revising war justification
Well yeah, we know that. The shocking this is that the above is a headline from the AP.