The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time: the ever-shifting arguments for an unchanging goal were a dead giveaway. So were the word games — the talk about W.M.D that conflated chemical weapons (which many people did think Saddam had) with nukes, the constant insinuations that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11.
.. That’s because the war party didn’t want to hear anything that might raise doubts about the rush to invade. Indeed, the Army’s chief of staff was effectively fired for questioning claims that the occupation phase would be cheap and easy.
.. Never mind Jeb Bush’s verbal stumbles. Think, instead, about his foreign-policy team, led by people who were directly involved in concocting a false case for war.
.. And, who can forget the “Axis of Evil” declaration, labeling Iraq, Iran & North Korea as the Axis of Evil, then proceeding to destroy the first member on the list. To no one’s surprise the two remaining members immediately set about developing nuclear weapons. They had to know that an Iraq with nuclear capabilities could not have been invaded.
.. At the time, I did not believe Bush and I did not believe our Australian PM. But I did believe Tony Blair. It is time for Blair to admit how badly he failed so many millions of people like me. We thought he was better than that. Shame on you, Tony Blair, for still pretending otherwise.
.. I always thought that the strangest thing at that time was the almost total disdain for the UN weapons inspectors and Hans Blix. Disdain from the politicians as well as the media. The inspectors went where the CIA told them they would find WMD’s, and they always found nothing – time and again.
Surely some analyst in the bowels of the CIA must have concluded their WMD intel was dead wrong. But I imagine he or she found few higher-ups that would listen. To the contrary, the worse the intel looked, the quicker Bush and his team wanted the UN out. A few more months of inspections and even the most pure-blooded hawk would have to admit that there are no WMD, therefore no rationale to invade.
.. My (now deceased) father was a recently retired foreign service officer at the time of the debate about going in to Iraq over “WMD,” and he told me at the time there was no question that the inspectors had shown Saddam Hussein was unable to acquire said weapons and simply did not have them. He found it breathtaking that Colin Powell was willing to stand in front of the UN (and, later, news cameras) claiming the contrary as a justification for war, and smash his reputation in this way
According to officials, Mr. Jones told the Anbar delegation that the United States would continue its air campaign, provided that the militias were under the command of Mr. Abadi, and not Iranian advisers
.. Another soldier who had been stationed at the Anbar Operations Command headquarters said the forces left behind a huge cache of heavy weapons that had recently been sent by Baghdad, including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns. The weapons had been supplied by both the United States and Russia.
“ISIS is gaining more weapons, and the battle will be harder in the future,” said the soldier, who declined to give his name because he feared for his life.
In his opening months as an all-but-declared candidate, Mr. Bush has seemed unsurprised, if irritated, by questions about how he is different from the previous presidents named Bush. He has explained that he loves his father and brother, but recognizes that he will have to make his own case to win the nomination. (Unmentioned is that much of his strength as a candidate owes to the fundraising network he largely inherited from his family.)
.. Mr. Paul may overstate the extent of Mr. Bush’s legacy problems with Republicans — a New York Times-CBS poll this month showed 7 in 10 Republicans viewed George W. Bush favorably.
.. A group of Republican senators meeting this week on Capitol Hill were nearly incredulous that Mr. Bush did not have a better answer and joked about how many press aides he needed to respond to such a basic matter, according to a party strategist who heard the conversation.
.. Mr. Bush’s overarching problem “is this eternal relitigation of every decision of George W. Bush,” she added.
“As much as he’s saying ‘I’m my own man,’ every time he says that, we’re reminded he’s not.”
“Did the president make the right decision? Obviously, I thought so and still do,” Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary, said for the Bush administration history. “I mean, I think he was faced with a whole set of reasons which seemed to me to be persuasive then and now.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, asked during an NBC interview a few years ago, said the decision was still the right one. “Oh sure,” he said. “It was sound policy that dealt with a very serious problem and that eliminated Saddam Hussein.”
.. “Instead,” he added, “as a result of our actions in Iraq, one of America’s most committed and dangerous enemies stopped threatening us forever.” And with the troop increase that he ordered that helped turn around the war before he left office, Mr. Bush argued that “25 million Iraqis went from living under a dictatorship of fear to seeing the prospect of a peaceful, functioning democracy.”