Disgraced former Lieutenant Colonel and current Fox News analyst Oliver North appeared on Fox yesterday to profess the merits of the Iraq War and repeat a claim that has been repeatedly debunked.
North: I get asked all the time by the families of those who were killed. The gold star families and the widows of those soldiers, sailors, and marines I’ve covered over there… I look back at them and they ask me — was it worth it? I go in the hospitals and I see guys that are still recovering from wounds in Iraq. I take them out on hunting trips, our hero hunts with Freedom Alliance. And I get asked that question a lot, particularly by the families. Not by those who fought there, but by those who have families members that they loved and lost or who are recovering. My answer is yes, it was worth it.
We got rid of a brutal despot who used chemical and biological weapons against his own people. Weapons of mass destruction that he probably exported to Sudan before we got there.
There were no WMDs. They were not exported to Sudan or anywhere else. The war was not worth it. We gained nothing from fighting it.
And speaking of gaining nothing – John “Torture Memo” Yoo also offered his own take on the Iraq war’s 10th anniversary yesterday, and he believes the Iraqis actually benefited from our presence.
I continue to think that invading Iraq was the best option in light of the information we had then — I am finishing a book on war in the 21st century, where I make the case for preemptive and preventive war, and I argue that the proper way to think about these questions is based on the information available before the decision, not after. [...]
Even though the benefits outweighed the costs, that does not mean we simply leave Iraq once we depose the Husseins. The legal system in such situations might still require a benefiting party to compensate a harmed party. In other words, we allow one harm to occur in society because there is a greater good achieved — but then the legal system can intervene afterward to require sharing of the benefits between the plaintiff and defendant.
And isn’t that what we did in Iraq? We spent billions of dollars in Iraq as damages. We did so not because the war was wrong, but because it was right — and we shared the benefits of the war with the Iraqi people by transferring some of it in the form of reconstruction funds.
If you can wrap your head around this sadistic strain of logic (I’m still struggling with it), it appears that Yoo is arguing that the hundreds of thousands of people killed in Iraq were allowed to be harmed for the “greater good,” and by spending billions of dollars — much of it wasted or lost to fraud — to rebuild the country after we destroyed it, we displayed that our original intentions were noble. As if nation-building is just another enterprise or form of disaster capitalism that is based on preemptive war rather than a natural disaster. ‘We destroyed their country so we could make it better.’
In a just world, men like John Yoo would be relegated to making these rants on vacant forums and chat rooms on the fascist equivalent of 4chan, but unfortunately they write books and people* buy them.
*a think tank invested in preemptive war will buy 10,000 copies