Lindsey Graham may well have taken first place in the annals of Chutzpah with this truly awesome bending of reality. Speaking to WMUR.com, the South Carolina Senator said: “I blame Obama for Iraq, not Bush.” Just let that sink in for a second.
Bush made mistakes. He corrected his mistakes. Obama leaving Iraq, ignoring the advice of all of his military commanders – he was told what would happen if you leave Iraq with no troops left behind.
Bush went into Iraq with faulty intelligence…but with intelligence the entire world believed. So when you look at the mistakes of Iraq, the one I blame the most is Barack Obama, not George W. Bush.
Where to begin unpacking this monstrous mountain of horseshit…Firstly, Bush went into Iraq because he wanted to go into Iraq. Regardless of whether the intelligence he received was faulty or not, there was no reason to target Iraq after 9/11 whatsoever. Saddam Hussein was a mortal enemy of Al Qaeda and ran a pan Arab secularist, socialist government in Iraq. Iraq had as much do with the planning, execution and aftermath of 9/11 as Sweden did. Bush targeted Iraq because it was part of a well known neo con plan to control the country’s oil reserves and supposedly spread democracy throughout the Middle East. No one outside of the Bush Administration believed there was any link between Iraq and 9/11 and only decided to go along with the US when it spent almost a year cajoling the international community to come along.
Secondly, the notion that Bush unknowingly went into Iraq based on faulty intelligence is so blatantly false that it should not need spelling out. Nevertheless, it appears Republican doublespeak is alive and strong and it needs debunking once more. As David Corn painstakingly illustrates in Mother Jones, the Bush Administration created the faulty intelligence that led to the war in Iraq, cherry picking intelligence and flat out lying to the public about potential links between Hussein and Al Qaeda. Here’s one (of many) incidents that proves his point:
In September 2002, Cheney insisted there was “very clear evidence” Saddam was developing nuclear weapons: Iraq’s acquisition of aluminum tubes that were to be used to enrich uranium for bombs. But Cheney and the Bush White House did not tell the public that there was a heated dispute within the intelligence community about this supposed evidence. The top scientific experts in the government had concluded these tubes were not suitable for a nuclear weapons program. But one CIA analyst—who was not a scientific expert—contended the tubes were smoking-gun proof that Saddam was working to produce nuclear weapons. The Bush-Cheney White House embraced this faulty piece of evidence and ignored the more-informed analysis. Bush and Cheney were cherry-picking—choosing bad intelligence over good—and not paying attention to better information that cut the other way.
Thirdly, the notion that Bush ‘corrected his mistakes’ conveniently ignores the fact that the entire war was a mistake, and any correction would by definition involve removing US troops. Of course military advisors told the government that they needed to stay to pacify the bloodbath created by the Bush Administration’s catastrophic handling of the post war occupation, but they were not the ones paying for it. Obama took a longer view of the conflict and made the assessment that after 10 years of slaughter and trillions of tax dollars lost, it would be prudent to get out. This was particularly pressing given the US lost one third of its wealth during the financial crisis in ’08 due to the Bush Administration’s mismanagement of the economy, and had little revenue coming in, largely due to Bush’s estimated $2.8 trillion tax cut.
So yes, Iraq is still a basket case and probably on the verge of collapse again as ISIS rampages through the country. This was entirely predictable to anyone who understood the history of Iraq and what would happen to it should the one power holding it together collapse. But the Bush Administration failed to listen to those voices as it beat the drums for war, and failed to listen to them during the occupation afterwards. President Obama’s strategy in Iraq is not perfect, but there are no good options left on the table. He either takes advice from the brilliant people who led the country into war with Iraq in the first place, or attempts to extricate the US from an un winnable war that it should never have gotten involved in.
According to Graham, Obama is the only person to blame for the continued destruction of Iraq because, well, Obama. Makes perfect sense.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.