Paul R. Pillar, who worked 28 years for the CIA, says former President George W. Bush invaded Iraq not because of those never-found weapons of mass destruction, but to reshape the economics and politics of the Middle East. Addressing a National Center for Policy Analysis luncheon at the Belo Mansion, Pillar said that there was no “policy process” or discussion leading up to W’s decision and that, in fact, the intelligence report on WMD (proven later to be flawed) hadn’t even been requested when the decision was made.
Given all that, NCPA president John Goodman asked, why did Bush do it? To implement the “neoconservative’s long-held dream” that regime change in Iraq would lead to regime change elsewhere in the “backward” region, which after all had spawned Sept. 11, Pillar replied. He also pointed to the newly militant attitude in the U.S. post-9/11, and to the “assertive” nationalism of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. (Random question Pillar wasn’t asked: If W acted to foment Mideast regime change, does that mean he gets credit for the Arab Spring?)