My feeling about it - OK this is subjective - is that after 9/11, Afghanistan just wasn't a big enough target. The US wanted revenge: it had to show the world, and 'the terrorists' in particular, that the kind of attack that had been made had real consequences. It saw this attack as an act of war; although the problem is, in the 21st Century, the very definition of 'war' is much less clear cut. But anyway, there had to be a military response. The only question was, against whom? Afghanistan is just a bunch of hill tribes in a mountanous desert; you could go in an blow the Taliban to smithereens, but so what? Afghanistan is always at war. It doesn't make much difference.
Blair has just said, come right out and said, OK the 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' were just a pretext. If we had known they weren't there, we would have found another reason.
Don't get me wrong. Sadam Hussein was a merciless evil tyrant and if anyone deserved to be shot, it was him and his odious sons. But it is perfectly clear now, if it wasn't before, that the rationale that was given for the invasion was a falsehood. There were no nuclear stockpiles or chemical weapons factories. But the US was itching for a fight, so who was it going to be?
I think everything else was just a footnote to the main rationale.
It was a revenge attack, pure and simple.
---------- Post added 12-16-2009 at 05:32 PM ----------
The reasoning was, if we don't find the weapons, people will forget that it was the reason that was given. And then, the oil fields will be liberated, and the economic benefits will be so great, we will be able to justify it in hindsight by saying 'We didn't go to war for the oil, but look at the benefits...'
Which is exactly what Hitchens is saying. I think he is sticking to the script.
One of my favourite words, which I learned from Tenessee Williams plays - and I like it for its connotations of both deceipt and menace - is 'mendacity'. And I think the then US administration engaged in a considerable amount of it in order to embark on that adventure. I never demonstrated on the streets, or argued against it. But I think as history is witness now, there was considerable mendacity, and duplicity, involved in it.