Douglas MacKinnon

Did we invade Iraq at the right moment? Former colleagues of mine from the Pentagon felt we should have waited two, four, eight or even 18 months before sending our troops into harm's way. During those months, our intelligence agencies and special-ops teams could have worked behind the scenes to destabilize or topple Mr. Hussein.

Did President Bush truly get the best information from the Pentagon and others before deciding to invade? Did senior Pentagon officials with no military service rush us into war and make cavalier and costly predictions of easy victory and little resistance because they had no combat experience and risked nothing behind the safety of their desks?

Such questions must be asked and answered based only on the existing information prior to the invasion. The passage of time makes us all military geniuses.

The war in Iraq can and should be honestly debated by those trying to draw lasting and valuable lessons from the planning, conflict and aftermath. But first we need to make that country right.

According to the latest ABC News poll, 55 percent of Iraqis now say their lives are "going well." Last year, that number was 39 percent. Despite the constant drumbeat of criticism, a majority of Americans now see things improving in that war-ravaged nation.

Whatever your beliefs about whether the invasion was a good idea, it is a fact of history. Now, we have a moral obligation to finish the job.

Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of The Secessionist States of America. (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014)

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