Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Why do so many Americans care more about Benghazi than about the Iraq War?

I don’t understand the disproportionate focus on a half day in Benghazi vs. more than a decade in Iraq. When people say they just the facts, I think: We still don’t know when the decision was made to invade Iraq, or who was involved. We still don’t know why the intelligence was so warped. We ...

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I don’t understand the disproportionate focus on a half day in Benghazi vs. more than a decade in Iraq.
When people say they just the facts, I think: We still don't know when the decision was made to invade Iraq, or who was involved. We still don't know why the intelligence was so warped. We don't even know how many Americans died in Iraq, because there has been very shoddy record-keeping on contractors' deaths.

Yet some people, many of them in Congress, keep on calling for more info about Benghazi. What am I missing?

I asked some smart friends recently. One, retired Army Col. Charles Krohn, wrote back that:
Tom, it's easier to understand the simple (Benghazi) than the complicated (Iraq). On the scale of misleading the Republic into acting against its best interests, however, Iraq is a million times more shocking, exactly as you suggest.

I don’t understand the disproportionate focus on a half day in Benghazi vs. more than a decade in Iraq.
When people say they just the facts, I think: We still don’t know when the decision was made to invade Iraq, or who was involved. We still don’t know why the intelligence was so warped. We don’t even know how many Americans died in Iraq, because there has been very shoddy record-keeping on contractors’ deaths.

Yet some people, many of them in Congress, keep on calling for more info about Benghazi. What am I missing?

I asked some smart friends recently. One, retired Army Col. Charles Krohn, wrote back that:

Tom, it’s easier to understand the simple (Benghazi) than the complicated (Iraq). On the scale of misleading the Republic into acting against its best interests, however, Iraq is a million times more shocking, exactly as you suggest.

There’s another issue, somewhat sensitive. A lot of us (me included) supported the war in Iraq because we believed the WMD argument, especially after Colin Powell embraced it. So it’s a trifle embarrassing for the masses to acknowledge we were manipulated. For those who lost life or limb, embarrassing is hardly an appropriate expression.

That’s disturbing.

In other Iraq news, the 101st Airborne is preparing to re-enact its 2003 capture of the city of Mosul. A good way to observe the 25-year mark on our war in Iraq.

Paramount Pictures

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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