Over the past 10 years, there have been few days when the war in Iraq was absent from my thoughts. People often ask me whether I have regrets. It seems absurdly presumptuous to answer the question. I could have set myself on fire in protest on the White House lawn and the war would have proceeded without me. And yet … all of us who advocated for the war have had to do some reckoning. If the war achieved some positive gains, its unnecessary costs—in human life, in money, to the prestige and credibility of the U.S. government—are daunting and dismaying. If we’d found the WMD, it would have been different. If we’d kept better order in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam, it would have been different. If more Iraqis had welcomed the invasion as we expected, it would have been different. If the case for the war had been argued in a less contrived and predetermined way, it would have been different.
But it wasn’t different. Those of us who were involved—in whatever way—bear the responsibility.