The Worst Decade, Part 4: The Year 2003

It’s unbelievable, but you forget about these things.

The space shuttle blowing up.

SARS.

The power blackout.

And, of course…

My most vivid memory from that terrible year: I’m sitting in a restaurant with my soon-to-be-former business partner. It’s March, and the air strikes in Iraq are about to begin, or maybe they began the night before.

“What do you think about the war?” he asked.

“I think it’s a terrible mistake,” I said, and went on to talk about how we had barely begun the war in Afghanistan, how poorly planned the aftermath there was (how poorly, I hardly knew), how I didn’t believe you could invade a country to make it a democracy, how I didn’t believe Iraq had anything to do with the “war on terror,” etc. etc.

He, to my great surprise, thought Bush was doing exactly what he should be doing. The WMDs, the courageous War on Terror, spreading democracy in the Middle East, etc., etc.

Later that year, maybe in late summer after the Mission Accomplished speech, after the looting and the rioting and the roadside bombs and the dismissal of Gerner and Shinseki and the Baathists and the Iraqi army, we’re sitting in another restaurant. I said, somewhat provocatively, “So, what do you think about your president now?”

And maybe it was actually later in the fall, because later on in the quite contentious conversation he brought up something about the War on Christmas, and I realized that, even though he was a very smart guy, all his information came from Fox News.

We ended up yelling at each other in that restaurant, and I haven’t seen him since.

And that was that year, 2003.

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