First, a correction: What you read on the cover of this week's Stranger--"...the wars we supported..."--is inaccurate. There was only one person at The Stranger who supported going to war in Iraq. The cover should read, "...the war Dan Savage supported." We regret the error.

Judging from the fury that my support for going to war in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power engendered, one would think that the decision was entirely in the hands of an elite group of American advice columnists, and that I cast the deciding vote. This was not the case, of course. The decision to go to war was entirely in the hands of the CEO of Halliburton, as everyone now knows. America's elite advice columnists, pro- and antiwar, were not consulted in any meaningful way.

Still, I supported the war, and the war hasn't been a roaring success. Saddam was removed from power, but the promised cakewalk turned out to be a long, hard slog; the WMDs are AWOL; the war and its aftermath will ultimately cost unborn U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars; and American soldiers keep getting picked off. (If only I had known that soldiers die during wars!) Bush lied, Cheney lied.

So do I regret supporting the war?

We'll get to that in a minute. As the editor of this paper, let's tick off some things I don't regret: I don't regret running pieces by Christopher Hitchens, prominent pro-war lefty; Neal Pollack, antiwar humorist; and Ted Rall, who draws humorous antiwar cartoons and writes blistering antiwar essays. I also don't regret our critical coverage of the local antiwar movement, nor do I regret The Stranger jumping on Howard Dean's antiwar bandwagon, sending Sandeep Kaushik to Iowa and New Hampshire to profile Dean, long before Dean emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

Okay, now here's what I do regret: I regret that the president of the United States is a lying sack of shit. And I regret the first piece I wrote about Iraq. I was taken in by the Bushies' attempts to link Saddam and Osama, and conflate Baathism with Islamo-fascism, and the first piece I wrote is so credulous that I can't read it without cringing. I put too much stock in Condoleezza and her mushroom clouds, Colin and his mobile weapons labs, and Cheney and his alternate reality. And I regret feeling stung when I read this in Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times: "The war's more idealistic supporters do, I think, feel queasy about all [the lies that lead to war]. That's why they lay so much stress on their hopes for democracy in Iraq. They're not just looking for a happy ending; they're looking for moral redemption for a war fought on false pretenses."

Still, I don't regret my support for the war, nor do I regret the war itself. I still believe what I wrote: "The West [supported and armed] many of the tyrants [in the Middle East]. As Christopher Hitchens wrote in the Nation, the fact that we helped tyrants achieve and hold power in the Middle East should not prevent us from removing them from power; instead our history in the region doubles or triples our responsibility to remove them from power. 'The sponsorship of the Taliban,' Hitchens wrote [after the 9/11 attacks], 'could be redeemed by the demolition of its regime and the liberation of its victims.' The same argument that Hitchens applied to the Taliban in Afghanistan applies to Saddam Hussein in Iraq--and Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and Saudi royals in Saudi Arabia."

I wrote that. I regret the shit-storm that ensued, but I don't regret writing what I did, nor do I regret the war. I think that we had a responsibility to remove Saddam Hussein from power and not, as Nick Cohen wrote in the Guardian last week, to tell [Hussein's] victims, "We're sorry to leave you under a tyranny and realize that many more of you will die, but that's your problem."

Saddam Hussein was our man in Baghdad for years, our creation, our problem. And that it's costing American lives and money to remove Saddam Hussein from power is, in a sense, only right.