Here's a segment Marshall quotes from Bush's recent press conference, though it's a "point" Bush has attempted to make repeatedly over the last three years (you can read the full conference transcript here):
also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences . . . and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.
The part that I put in bold is a straight-up, bald-faced lie. Whatever else bad you could say about Hussein (and there's plenty), you can't say he "chose to deny inspectors." The entire world knows there were weapons inspectors in Iraq in the days and weeks leading up to the war. And on Monday, March 17, 2003, two days before the invasion began, the U.S. government told the UN inspectors to leave Iraq because they were about to start bombing.
Think about that. On the one hand, Bush, Cheney, and all the others talk until they're blue in the face about how they didn't really want war, how they did everything in their power to avoid it, this was all Saddam's fault -- yet their trigger fingers were so itchy they couldn't even wait for the weapons inspectors to finish doing their jobs before they started blowing things up.
Bush has said many times that he didn't want to go to war. I'm sorry if this makes me look like another crazy Bush-hatin' liberal, but I don't believe that for a second. I think that the Bush administration made up their minds early on that they wanted to go to war, and nothing ever stood a serious chance of dissuading them. The question that I still can't quite wrap my head around is why. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, Bush hadn't even given the weapons inspectors long enough to determine whether it was actually worth being worried of Iraq's alleged WMDs, it wasn't like Iraq was going to invade the U.S. or anything -- why Iraq? Why then?
Neither Bush nor his supporters have come anywhere close to offering a satisfactory answer to this. If any of them can, they're certainly invited to do so here, but until then, I'm going to remain very worried that the only reason Iraq got invaded was because we just needed to hit somebody. The war in Afghanistan was losing its luster, we'd pretty clearly lost the scent with respect to bin Laden, and we just needed to make a show of force wherever and however we could, just so that nobody in the Muslim world would get any wise ideas. It gives me no pleasure to imagine that our country could start a full-scale war because of something so stupid, but quite frankly, given the five-year record this administration has in terms of logic, diplomacy, and just plain reality, that's getting easier and easier to believe.
ADDED: More revelations concerning the Bush administration's desperation in trying to figure out how to get a war started here.