Charles Krauthammer

Tenet is not the only one to assume a generalized amnesia about the recent past. One of the major myths (or, more accurately, conspiracy theories) about the Iraq War -- that it was foisted upon an unsuspecting country by a small band of neoconservatives -- also lives blissfully detached from history.

The decision to go to war was made by a war Cabinet consisting of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld. No one in that room could even remotely be considered a neoconservative. Nor could the most important non-American supporter of the war to this day -- Tony Blair, father of new Labour.

The most powerful case for the war was made at the 2004 Republican convention by John McCain in a speech that was resolutely ``realist.'' On the Democratic side, every presidential candidate running today who was in the Senate when the motion to authorize the use of force came up -- Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd -- voted yes.

Outside of government, the case for war was made not just by the neoconservative Weekly Standard, but -- to select almost randomly -- the traditionally conservative National Review, the liberal New Republic and the center-right Economist. Of course, most neoconservatives supported the war, the case for which was also being made by journalists and scholars from every point on the political spectrum -- from the leftist Christopher Hitchens to the liberal Tom Friedman to the centrist Fareed Zakaria to the center-right Michael Kelly to the Tory Andrew Sullivan. And the most influential tome on behalf of war was written not by any conservative, let alone neoconservative, but by Kenneth Pollack, Clinton's top Near East official on the National Security Council. The title: ``The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq.''

Everyone has the right to renounce past views. But not to make up that past. It is beyond brazen to think that one can get away with inventing not ancient history but what everyone saw and read with their own eyes just a few years ago. And yet sometimes brazenness works.


Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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