Exactly ten years ago to the day, I was in the Kuwaiti desert waiting for George W. Bush to ‘make his decision’.
You may remember the circumstances. Ever since labeling Iraq, Iran, and North Korea the ‘Axis of Evil’ in January 2002, the President had been gradually advocating war with Iraq based on the threat of nuclear weapons.
We knew it was going to happen. At the time, I was a rising intelligence officer, my head still filled with ideals of national duty from my time at West Point.
One of the generals that I served under gathered together his officers in early 2002 and said, “We’re going to war. It’s not a question of IF, but WHEN.”
By late summer of that year, my unit was ordered to Kuwait to pre-position assets and begin gathering boots on the ground intelligence. So every time Mr. Bush would say “I haven’t made a decision yet,” I winced from the heavy stench of his BS.
But still, I held out hope.
It all came crashing down ten years ago today. On February 5, 2003 Colin Powell, four-star general turned US Secretary of State, made a case to the United Nations that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Now, I won’t bother delving into the inaccuracies of the intelligence he presented. In Powell’s own words, making that presentation to the UN was “the lowest point in [his] life” and a “lasting blot on his record.”