Imagine it's early 2003, and President George W. Bush presents the following case for invading Iraq:
It is extremely doubtful that Congress would have authorized such a war or that the American people would have shouted, "Bring it on!
We're about to go to war against Saddam Hussein. Victory on the battlefield will be swift and fairly clean. But then 100,000 U.S. troops will have to occupy Iraq for about 10 years. On average, nearly 1,000 of them will be killed and another 10,000 injured in each of the first 5 years. We'll spend at least $1 trillion on the war and occupation, and possibly trillions more. Toppling Saddam will finish off a ghastly tyranny, but it will also uncork age-old sectarian tensions. More than 100,000 Iraqis will die, a few million will be displaced, and the best we can hope for will be a loosely federated Islamic republic that isn't completely in Iran's pocket. Finally, it will turn out that Saddam had neither weapons of mass destruction nor ties to the planners of 9/11. Our intervention and occupation will serve as the rallying cry for a new crop of terrorists.