On March 19, 2003 — 20 years ago this Sunday — President Bush addressed the country from the Oval Office to announce the invasion of Iraq: "Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”
We now know the administration wasn’t quite so reluctant. They started batting around an invasion as the Pentagon and World Trade Center still smoldered, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Nor did Iraq have weapons of mass destruction, despite Secretary of State Colin Powell famously telling the United Nations that they did: “Every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”
The Iraq War unleashed an age of grift we’re still living in, argues Spencer Ackerman, a longtime national security correspondent who writes the “Forever Wars” newsletter. “A giant con that heralded a thousand more,” he writes in this month’s Rolling Stone.