Irrefutable. Fifteen years ago, not every respected US war correspondent made this assessment of the threat posed by Iraq. Nor did every respected US scholar of international relations. Fifteen years ago, though, respectability could be lost in an instant. To oppose a war that began March 20, 2003 was to oppose freedom, humanity and the low theatre performed by Secretary Colin Powell at the United Nations.

It was to embrace a despot, to collaborate with terrorists and/or to be a conspiracy theorist. Perhaps a person was unconvinced by a drawing of weapons facilities. Perhaps a person knew firsthand that a nation already invaded by the first Bush, one subject to Clinton administration sanctions so extreme they ended half a million Iraqi lives in childhood, simply did not have the means to build such evil. In just weeks, those Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) diagrams offered to the UN Security Council were no longer evidence, but “irrefutable” bullshit drawn from the imagination of some Pentagon doodler. Didn’t matter. Journalists and nations who had joined the Coalition of the Willing found themselves unable to leave.