WASHINGTON -- The argument for going to war in Iraq was clearly made. Over and over again, Saddam Hussein was said to be a turn-of-the-millennium Hitler, a madman bent on destroying America with his stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.
Of course, that turned out to be false, but at the time, the justification was no mystery. The word "weapons" shows up 1,107 times in the Congressional Record during the period when the House and Senate were voting to grant President George W. Bush the authority to use force against Iraq. The more specific "weapons of mass [destruction or murder]" comes up 368 times.
Now, with Iraq on the verge of unraveling after the departure of U.S. forces, conservative pundits and some politicians who were wrong about Iraq then are declaiming a new reason for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, saying it was to liberate the Iraqis. The United States sacrificed 4,500 Americans in the name of freedom for the Iraqis, and President Barack Obama is blowing it, they say.
For instance, here's Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas):
Sad but true @benshapiro: It took nearly 4,500 American lives to win freedom for Iraq. It took one president to lose it.
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) June 13, 2014
The word "freedom" shows up 118 times in the Congressional Record during the authorization votes, but it's generally in reference to securing freedom for America, and only occasionally for Iraqis. The word "liberate" shows up 12 times. And that's mostly in reference to Kuwait.
Watch the above video to see exactly how absurd the new argument is.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.