We were told Iraq was aiding and abetting al Qaeda.
We were told Iraq was developing and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.
We were told that by toppling Saddam Hussein, we would unleash forces of freedom and democracy that would transform the region.
We were told we would be greeted as liberators.
We were told the insurgency was in its last throes.
What we have found is very different. We have failed to find any WMDs, failed to identify any connection between Iraq and al Qaeda, and failed to transform the Middle East into a garden of democracy and freedom.
Instead, we're caught in a bloody sectarian civil war that has nothing to do with our reasons for going in. Iraq had not attacked us, was not planning to attack us, and did not have the means to attack us.
But our president insisted we had to go to war. It was a war of choice, and he chose. Unfortunately, the Iraq debacle has affected out ability to act in our interest elsewhere. Instead of strengthening our hand in the Middle East, our presence in Iraq serves to advertise our weakness in the region and around the world.
More than 3,000 of our young men and women have paid for this folly with their lives, and more bear the cost of broken bodies, brain damage and official neglect. Four years later, the best our president can do is to plead for patience. The answer, sadly, is no; as a nation, we are not better off than we were four years ago.
Photo: AP/Pablo Martinz Monsivais