With former Bush administration officials and other such neoconservatives coming out of the woodwork to offer their super ideas on the situation in Iraq while slamming President Obama, it’s never been a better time for a Throwback Thursday post to remind everyone why Iraq is the mess it is right now. It’s important to know history, but when there’s a group of people intent on distorting it, things can get murky. So to prevent that, here’s a list of some of the Bushies’ greatest Iraq hits. It’s not comprehensive, as I have a finite lifespan and simply cannot dedicate the time necessary for documenting every falsehood about the Iraq war. So please settle for 9.
1. Donald Rumsfeld gives a cryptic answer when confronted with the reality of no link between Iraq and al Qaeda.
“There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
2. Dick Cheney links Iraq and al Qaeda and then lies about it.
“It’s been pretty well confirmed that [9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service.” – Cheney, December 9, 2001
“No, I never said that.” – Cheney, June 19, 2004
3. George W. Bush falsely claims Saddam Hussein tried to kill his father.
“After all, this is the guy that tried to kill my dad at one time.” (But it wasn’t true.)
4. Bill Kristol predicts the war will last 60 days.
“This is going to be a two month war, not an eight year war.”
5. Bush falsely claims Saddam tried to buy WMDs from “Africa.”
“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein has recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” (But Bush’s own envoy found nothing of the kind.”
6. John McCain says Iraq will pay for the war after Saddam is gone.
“Post-Saddam Hussein Iraq is going to be paid for by the Iraqis. They have billions of dollars of income. They have vast oil reserves, and I think they will pay for it.”
7. Bush says we’ve made progress in Iraq…repeatedly over the years.
“We’re making progress in Iraq…”
8. Bush jokes about not finding WMDs — the reason for the war and death in the first place.
“Those weapons of mass destruction gotta somewhere… Nope. No weapons over there. Maybe under here.”
9. Bush wants everyone to help stop the terrorists… and watch his golf shot.
“We must stop the terror. I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.”
10. Cheney actually gets Iraq right… in 1994 when explaining why the U.S. didn’t overthrow Saddam in the Persian Gulf War.
“[I]f we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over and took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world.
And if you take down the central government in Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have, the west. Part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim. Fought over for eight years. In the north, you’ve got the Kurds. And if the Kurds spin loose and join with Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.
It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq. The other thing is casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact that we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had, but for the 146 Americans killed in action and for the families it wasn’t a cheap war. And the question for the president in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein was, how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? And our judgment was not very many, and I think we got it right.”
(If only he had taken his own advice.)