Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Revisionist history: Jeb Bush on ‘mistakes’ in Iraq

Jeb Bush: "I'm my own man, and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences."

Returning to Jeb Bush’s coming out party on foreign policy, one of the big media memes heading into the event was how he would deal with the family legacy. Arguably, his older brother’s decision to bomb, invade, occupy and then “democratize” Iraq in 2003 was the key event that triggered the destabilization of the region, with (mostly unpleasant) consequences leading up to the present moment.

This might be all the more tragic since the Iraq War was sold to the public on the suspicion that Saddam Hussein was hiding or developing chemical, biological and nuclear “weapons of mass destruction,” which turned out to be false.

Jeb Bush had his sound bite ready and he delivered it likably, thus:  

“As you might know, I’ve also been fortunate to have a father and a brother who helped shape America’s foreign-policy from the Oval Office. I recognize that as a result my views will often be held up in comparison to theirs. In fact, this is a great, fascinating thing in the political world for some reason. Sometimes in contrast to their views. Look, just for the record, one more time, I love my brother, I love my dad, I actually love my mother as well, hope that’s OK. And I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions that they had to make, but I’m my own man, and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences.”

It worked. The aside about loving his mother got a laugh. He got the headline he wanted from at least USA Today (“Jeb Bush vows to be ‘my own man’ on foreign affairs”), and having said absolutely nothing about how he agreed with or differed from his Bushian predecessors, he moved on.

Later, during the question and answer period, he returned to the Iraq question and acknowledged that “mistakes were made in Iraq,” although it turned out that his brother’s only mistake was listening to the CIA in 2002-03, whereas the more serious mistake was made by President Obama’s with his decision to remove the U.S. troops in 2011. Here’s what Jeb Bush said:

“Well, let’s — let’s go to Iraq. There were mistakes made in Iraq, for sure.

“Using the intelligence capability that everybody embraced about weapons of mass destruction was not — turns out not to be accurate. Not creating an environment of security after the successful taking out of [Saddam] Hussein was a mistake, because Iraqis wanted security most — you know, more than anything else.

“But my brother’s administration, through the surge, which was one of the most heroic acts of courage politically that — that any president’s done, because there was no support for this. And it was hugely successful. And it created the stability that when the new president came in, he could’ve built on to create a fragile but more stable situation that would’ve not allowed for the void to be filled. The void has been filled, because we created the void.

“And so the lesson, I think, is engagement. Whether it’s always the United States, that’s another subject. I don’t think it has to be. But when you — when you have a failed state or a weak state and you leave, the first thing that — that happened was Maliki turned to — because it was — it was fragile — who did he turn to? He turned to Iran. And Iran’s influence now has replaced the United States in a significant way.”

This is the current received neoconservative version. The “surge” worked and everything would’ve been fine if Obama hadn’t withdrawn U.S. troops a mere eight years after they got there.

Disastrous choice of Maliki

This version under-emphasizes a few things. The rise of the Islamic State and especially its breathtakingly easy conquest of a big chunk of Iraq owes much to alienation of Iraq’s Sunni minority from post-Saddam Iraq, which owes much to the disastrous choice, by the George W. Bush administration, of the thug Nouri al-Maliki to run the country in 2006. That’s the Iraqi partner Obama inherited from W.

Jeb Bush blames Obama for allowing Maliki to “turn to Iran” but doesn’t mention that Maliki, the man his brother put in charge of Iraq, had recently lived in Iran for seven years.

But before there was Maliki or Obama, there was the fateful 2002-2003 decision of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to start this war of choice. It was justified on the argument (among others) that it would lead to a flowering of democracy in the Mideast, but even moreso on the argument that Saddam Hussein was hiding chemical and biological weapons and building a nuclear bomb.

And, Jeb Bush says, his brother’s mistake was relying on “the intelligence capability that everybody embraced about weapons of mass destruction” that “turned out not to be accurate.” I don’t know what country Jeb Bush was in during the run-up to the Iraq war, but in the United States, the CIA evidence that Saddam was hiding WMD and making nukes was hardly “embraced” by “everybody.”

There is a strong case to be made, and it was made at the time, that the intelligence community cooked up exactly the “evidence” that Bush and Cheney wanted to justify the invasion. But that’s not my hang-up nor my reason for this post.

To me, the best evidence that Saddam Hussein was hiding something was the fact that he wouldn’t allow U.N. weapons inspectors the kind of unfettered access they needed to certify that he wasn’t hiding anything. Saddam claimed to be in compliance with the U.N. resolutions that required him to destroy his chemical and biological weapons. (In fact, it turns out, he was in compliance.) But as long as he refused to allow inspectors in to confirm that fact, it seemed reasonable to be skeptical.

Which brings us to the biggest problem with Jeb’s statement about the intelligence that merely “turn[ed] out not to be accurate.”

Saddam had relented

Before the days of “shock and awe” that began the war, Saddam finally relented and allowed the U.N. inspectors to come back into Iraq, to look wherever they wanted with no advance notice. The United States had been saying (as in Secretary of State Colin Powell’s famous U.N. speech) that America knew what illegal weapons Saddam possessed and where they were hidden. Shortly before George W. Bush started the war, the U.N. inspectors had prompt access to all those sites. They found no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

The head of the U.N. inspections team, Hans Blix of Sweden, told the United States and the United Nations that he was getting excellent cooperation from the Iraqis at that point. His only complaint was that the Iraqis couldn’t produce documentation that they had destroyed all the weapons they had previously been known to possess. He asked for a little while longer to finish their work.

But at that point, the American side had lost interest in whether or not there were WMD hidden in Iraq. Blix and his inspectors had to be evacuated so they would not be killed by U.S. bombs.

If Jeb Bush wants to say that one of the key “mistakes” that led to the Iraq war was that “the intelligence capability that everybody embraced about weapons of mass destruction was not — turns out not to be accurate” he should explain why the war started even though the intelligence had just been shown to be inaccurate.

Comments (136)

  1. Submitted by jody rooney on 02/20/2015 - 09:43 am.

    It is really time to move on from Bushs

    and might I add Clintons in the White House. Draft Arne Carlson.

  2. Submitted by Sean Olsen on 02/20/2015 - 09:50 am.

    Not to mention the fact that the 2011 withdrawal date was originally negotiated by the Bush Administration and that Obama only withdrew American troops after Maliki refused to give our troops immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/20/2015 - 09:53 am.

    Mistakes were made

    But not by anyone named ‘Bush’.

    I suspect that Jeb knows better, but he’s saying what it takes to get nominated. It will change if and when he’s running for the presidency.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/20/2015 - 10:00 am.

    It’s always kind of funny

    You know, the backbone of conservative ideology is supposed to be history, the idea that the lessons of history can prevent foolish mistakes in the present. So it’s always weird when so-called conservatives twist history into ideologically convenient narratives. The idea of history’s lessons is actually a good idea, but when you divorce integrity from historical study, you not only pervert history, you violate yet another tenet of conservatism which is supposed to uphold integrity. Unfortunately such practices have become a predictable norm within republican circles.

  5. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/20/2015 - 11:44 am.

    OK, you get rid of the Sunni/Baathist leader of a Iraq and turn it over to the Shiites.

    Guess what, Iran is Shia. So where would the leadership turn?

    Was it ever a mystery that Maliki had Iranian ties?

    As for the surge, bribery works, for as long as the money holds out.

    But as for the main problem, why was it ever thought that there was an overwhelming urge within Iraqi to have a single country–totally ignoring the historic and continuing divisions between Sunni, Shiite and Kurd?

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/20/2015 - 11:48 am.

    “This might be all the more tragic since the Iraq War was sold to the public on the suspicion that Saddam Hussein was hiding or developing chemical, biological and nuclear “weapons of mass destruction,” which turned out to be false..”

    Evidently you have not been updated.

    “C.I.A. Is Said to Have Bought and Destroyed Iraqi Chemical Weapons”

    You can be forgiven, however, given that most of the MSM have avoided this story like the plague.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/20/2015 - 02:44 pm.


      If the MSM “have avoided this story like the plague,” how did you hear about it? Is the NY Times no longer part of the MSM?

      I actually read the article all the way through (I’m not afraid of big words, long sentences, or stories with no pictures). Nowhere does it say that these chemical weapons were still potent enough to be used by the military (terrorists ,yes, but not the military). They were dangerous, but unusable. In fact, it’s not clear who was in the possession of these weapons when the CIA bought them. The seller may have been a smuggler, or he may have been a front for the government–no one knows.

      Incidentally, if this vindicates the Bush administration to start a war in Iraq, why are we only hearing about it now? The purchases took place in 2005 and 2006–surely, they might have told us that they were right all along?

      • Submitted by Jake Holman on 02/20/2015 - 03:11 pm.

        “if this vindicates the Bush administration …”

        why are we only hearing about it now?” I think you answered your own question.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/20/2015 - 03:40 pm.

        You must have missed this short sentence:

        “Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin.”

        I didn’t say it is justification to start the war, mostly because it don’t think it was. But it does provide a viable reason for leftists to hush about Bush’s “lies”. He was right.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/20/2015 - 04:01 pm.

          He Was Not Right

          The WMDs that were supposedly being amassed in Iraq were nuclear weapons, not chemical weapons. Bush never said we were going to war because of chemical weapons. His lies were nuclear.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/21/2015 - 08:54 am.

            You need to do some remedial reading. No one claimed Saddam had nukes. The fear was he was developing them. His WMD capability was known to be limited to chemical weapons….like the ones the CIA got.

            WMD can be nuclear, biological and chemical.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/22/2015 - 01:21 pm.

              Big ol’ difference

              We were never told that Iraq would be invaded to seize obsolete chemical weapons (bought from the US during the Reagan administration, but that’s another series of revisionist denials). We were presented with the specter of imminent Iraqi nuclear weapons. It is sophistry to claim that nuclear weaponry was not the pretext for the invasion of Iraq.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/21/2015 - 09:39 am.

          What part of -mass-

          don’t you understand?
          There was no question that Iraq had chemical weapons (remember ‘Chemical Ali’?); they were used against Iraq.
          The question was whether they existed in sufficient volume and with a delivery device that would make them a threat to US.
          THAT was the claimed justification for the war, not the simple existence of chemical weapons.

    • Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 02/20/2015 - 03:08 pm.

      I checked out that article you linked to.

      Here’s a key paragraph:

      ‘These munitions were remnants of an Iraqi special weapons program that was abandoned long before the 2003 invasion, and they turned up sporadically during the American occupation in buried caches, as part of improvised bombs or on black markets.”

      The article refers back to an earlier article, published in 2014. This article provides more detail, so here’s a link:

      And here are some more key paragraphs:

      “The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.

      After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush insisted that Mr. Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims.

      Then, during the long occupation, American troops began encountering old chemical munitions in hidden caches and roadside bombs. Typically 155-millimeter artillery shells or 122-millimeter rockets, they were remnants of an arms program Iraq had rushed into production in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.

      All had been manufactured before 1991, participants said. Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all. Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin. Most could not have been used as designed, and when they ruptured dispersed the chemical agents over a limited area, according to those who collected the majority of them.

      In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war’s outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find.

      During the Iraq war, at least 17 American service members and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to aging chemical weapons abandoned years earlier.

      These weapons were not part of an active arsenal. They were remnants from Iraq’s arms program in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.”

      These were not “weapons of mass destruction.” They were, in fact, heaps of dangerous junk filled with highly poisonous hazardous waste. The fact that Saddam never used these weapons against our troops should have been a tip-off.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/20/2015 - 03:37 pm.

        Assuming they had been buried prior to 2003, they’ve been underground for more than 10 years. It’s common sense to believe they were in much better shape 12 years ago. In any case, their existence makes a liar of Hussein.

        One thing that bothers me is, there is no mention of mortar shells with gas warheads. We know Saddam had them, and it’s unlikely he got rid of them, but kept the rockets. Hopefully they will not show up in use.

        Also please explain to the Kurds all about how they were not part of an active arsenal after the was with Iran.

        • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/20/2015 - 09:44 pm.

          Sadaaam had relented

          Let’s go back to Eric’s post which i think accurately describes the history here:

          “Saddam had relented

          “Before the days of “shock and awe” that began the war, Saddam finally relented and allowed the U.N. inspectors to come back into Iraq, to look wherever they wanted with no advance notice.”

          The U.N. inspectors were attempting to get a final accounting of the unaccounted for chemical weapons before Bush and company declared War. These chemical weapons were not the “weapons of mass destruction” which Bush and Cheney used to sell the War on Iraq in 2003.

        • Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 02/21/2015 - 07:20 am.

          I’m sure the Kurds remember…

          I’m sure the Kurds remember that the gas attack you mention took place in 1988, not in 2002.

          Here’s another article that carefully examines what the recovery of degraded weapons in Iraq means.

          The title of the article is: “Iraq WMD: Does the New York Times probe reflect what administration officials claimed?”

          The final paragraph of the article concludes: “Anyone who claims that the New York Times story vindicates George W. Bush-era claims of Iraq WMD automatically earns Four Pinocchios.”

  7. Submitted by dana ely on 02/20/2015 - 12:23 pm.


    Wikipedia has an entry, List of Countries by Military Expenditures here:

    and if you do the math you will see the US spends 36% of what the entire world spends on what used to be called “War’ and is now deceptively labeled ‘Defense’. Yet our economy is only 22% of world GDP.
    We spend 1.8 trillion and big bad China is at about 200 billion and even badder Russia is about 100 billion.
    Why is our former middle class taxed to keep the sea lanes safe so they can lose their manufacturing jobs?
    Part of the answer is …..THE BUSHES.
    If America is gullible enough to elect yet another Bush, and this one with absolutely no military experience, then we will know that the NFL and Budweiser has taken over the collective cerebral cortex of what used to be called America.
    Better to elect James Webb, a loose cannon sure, but that is the point, he is not tied down by campaign contributions and at least he has the Vietnam war wounds to remind him what ‘defense’ is all about.

    • Submitted by Doug Gray on 02/20/2015 - 03:05 pm.

      here’s why

      We need to spend twice as much on our military as a percentage of our GDP than any other nation so that we may continue to win most, if not all, of the battles in the wars we will continue to lose, at least until such time as we institute meaningful consequences for the individuals responsible for losing them.

  8. Submitted by rolf westgard on 02/20/2015 - 12:32 pm.

    Pretty hard

    to move on from the colossal Bush blunder to invade Iraq, as the consequences are everywhere. Jeb is either lying or ignorant. Either disqualifies him for me.

  9. Submitted by Doug Gray on 02/20/2015 - 03:11 pm.

    “The void has been filled, because we created the void.”

    Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a lawyer, a surgeon,an engineer and a politician are arguing about which is the oldest profession. The lawyer claims, “When God said do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that was law. Law is the oldest profession. The surgeon replies, “before that, He took a rib from Adam to make Eve, that was surgery, surgery is older.” The engineer asserts, “before that, he brought Order out of Chaos, that was engineering, the oldest profession.” The politician just smiled knowingly: “Ah, but my friends…who do you imagine created the Chaos?”

  10. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/20/2015 - 09:16 pm.

    Three points

    First, Bush started the war based on commonly accepted intelligence:

    Second, will we ever be able to distinguish between two events – Iraq war and Iraq reconstruction? Let’s think for a minute of a guy who works at McDonald’s but wants to get ahead and for that he wants to go to college. He is accepted and starts his classes. But the life of a freshman is not easy so he starts drinking with his friends and ends up hitting someone while driving drunk; consequently, he ends up in jail. Now, does it mean that his idea of going to college was wrong?

    And third, Hans Blix was of the opinion that nothing would justify the war in Iraq so he had his own political reasons to say what he was saying. It was not as straightforward and Mr. Black tries to present here.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/21/2015 - 10:00 am.


      When I first read this article, I was wondering what the Liberal folks here would like to do.

      Do they want the USA to support and enable Dictators and Oligarchs like Jung Un, Assad, Hussein, Kaddafi, Putin, Taliban, etc? I mean there is no instability when these iron fisted leaders are in charge. The challenge of course is how to keep them and their aspirations contained. Not to mention that little issue of America’s belief in enabling the freedom of others.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 02/21/2015 - 05:36 pm.

        You can spare us the iron fisted dictator thing.

        During Hussein’s worst year, he would have had to stay in power about 200 more years to equal the civilian casualties inflicted by that war. The only thing we enabled was building a recruitment center for extremists and some sweet contracts for Halliburton and Blackwater. It was a dumb war started by a dumb president.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/21/2015 - 10:51 pm.


          So does this mean that you believe the USA should support Dictators and Oligarchs as an effective and efficient way to stabilize the region?

          How many Iraqis do you think died directly at the hands of coalition troops and private contractors? I am thinking Saddam would have killed far more than that number during the past 12 years.

          You are correct though that the Iraqis would not have killed nearly as many of their own if Saddam had stayed in power.

          • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/26/2015 - 10:55 pm.

            There’s a difference between “supporting” dictators

            and ignoring them, between “supporting” them and saying that their overthrow will cause more problems than it will solve.

            Let’s see, under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was a dictatorship, but otherwise he was a secularist who had no use for the Islamic militants, had one of the best records on women’s rights, education, and health in the Middle East, and allowed Christians to practice their religion. People could go shopping without fear of being blown up.

            So 12 years after the invasion, we have Islamic militants of various types, women veiled and confined to the home, health and education disrupted, and Christians and other religious minorities fleeing for their lives.

            Anyway, the only people in the U.S. who ever “supported” Saddam Hussein were in the Reagan administration. They supported him because he was at war with Iran.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/23/2015 - 02:11 pm.

        Support and Enable Dictators

        The policy of the US towards Hussein was originally to keep our distance, due to his persistent human rights violations. Then, in 1981, someone in Washington decided he wasn’t so bad after all and the next 10 years were spent cosseting a valued ally.

        If we’re talking about supporting and enabling dictators, let’s look also at the Pahlavi regime in Iraq, the House of Saud, Pinochet, Somoza, Duvalier . . .

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/21/2015 - 10:08 am.

      There is a difference between, common accepted intelligence and intellectual honesty. These claims about intelligence have been proven intellectually dishonest (created to serve a purpose) for over 10 years, Sorry the world is not flat and no matter how often you repeat the intellectual dishonesty, it does not change the facts, the facts were created to meet the neocon objectives, those facts no matter how you twist and turn them are still intellectually dishonest.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/21/2015 - 11:23 am.

      pay wall

      Unfortunately the article in the WSJ that you link to is behind a pay wall.
      I assume that you are a subscriber.
      You don’t provide any support for your statement about Blix’s motivations. Silberman has a long history of ties to Republican administrations, starting with Reagan. He’s not an unbiased source.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/21/2015 - 12:42 pm.

      Wikipedia on Blix

      to quote:
      “Senior U.S. officials ordered the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to investigate Blix to gather ‘sufficient ammunition to undermine’ him so that the U.S. could start the invasion of Iraq.[citation needed] The U.S. officials were upset that the CIA did not uncover such information.[9][10]”

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/22/2015 - 04:08 pm.

      Commonly Accepted Nothing

      You are citing that article to support a proposition that does not relate to Judge Silberman’s horribly authoritarian bent, and possible unfitness for the federal bench?

      Reconstruction follows war. It is foolish to try to distinguish between the two.

      Hans Blix had no antiwar agenda. Where do you get this stuff?

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/21/2015 - 09:35 am.

    I don’t know why…

    I don’t know why we still dance around the fact that a bunch of oil and oil related industry executives took us to war in Iraq for oil? It’s well documented history from several inside sources that the Bush White House was determined to parlay the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks into an invasion of Iraq the day after the attacks. They thought they could in and grab Iraq’s oil reserves cheap and easy (remember they fired an analyst that predicted it would cost more than they predicting). They thought the oil sales would pay for the war and the war itself would end in cheering crowds and showers of candy. OK, they were wrong, as mediocre executives frequently are, but that doesn’t mean there must have been some “other” big explanation. Everything else, WMDs, the evil nature of Saddam, etc. etc. were after thoughts, excuses, not primary reasons for the invasion.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/21/2015 - 10:02 am.

    Three points?

    The myth of “commonly accepted intelligence” imploded years ago. Powell’s UN performance fell apart within weeks. That’s why international support for the invasion was so dismal and why the coalition of “willing” fell apart so quickly. The so-called “intelligence” was a charade from the begging. The Bush White House was having so much trouble getting the “intelligence” it wanted out of the CIA Cheney actually went over and set up his own intelligence group at the CIA; THAT was unprecedented. This group tucked all of the rational evidenced based analysis into the index of the final intelligence report. This was a propaganda operation, pure and simple.

    In the same way WWII didn’t end when France surrendered, the Iraq War didn’t end when Bush declared that the mission was “accomplished”, McDonald’s workers and college freshmen not withstanding. The invasion and destruction of the Iraqi Army was the prelude to the war, not the end of the war.

    And by the way, as far as international law is concerned, everything that flows out of an illegal act of aggression or war, is attributed to THAT war and it’s aggressors. This is why even though something like starvation may not technically be “combat” casualties, it’s still a war crime if the starvation was a result of the war. So no, you can’t separate the war from the “reconstruction” and the civil war that followed the invasion.

    Blix was right, Bush was wrong. You can disparage motives if you want but facts don’t conform to ideology in a free society.

    Bush was wrong, and this wasn’t a little “oops”, it got a million people killed, blew up the region, and planted the seeds of ISIS. It’s impossible to overestimate the magnitude of this blunder. I’m pretty sure history will eventually record the Iraq War as the biggest blunder in American History (with the possible exception of the Confederate decision to fire on Fort Sumter).

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/21/2015 - 06:36 pm.


      So what again would you have done differently?
      Please remember that a relatively small number of people died during the invasion and removal of Hussein. It was the internal strife that killed the Iraqis. That was the choice of the citizens of that country, and some outside players. Or do you think that Bush is still killing people today?

      How do you think the USA should address IS / Al Qeada?

      Should we provide Assad with weapons so he can take over Syria?

      Should we build up another ruthless dictator like Hussein?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/21/2015 - 07:06 pm.

        One suggestion

        has been that the ‘deBaathification’ of Iraq was a mistake.
        If we had deposed Sadaam and his upper level government, the hacks who actually ran the country, while nominal Baath members, would have been glad to work for whatever government replaced Sadaam. This would have avoided the governmental vacuum that resulted in the breakdown of Iraqi society.

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/21/2015 - 07:23 pm.

        Done differently?

        The obvious answer is: not start a war and not invade Iraq. That was the clear choice then and it turned out to have been, as those if us who protested the propagandistic run-up to the war predicted it would be, a catastrophe.

        I dispute your claim that “relatively few people died during the invasion.” The War was prosecuted vigorously by Bush/Cheney for several years even after it became obvious there were no “weapons of mass destruction” and their pretext for starting the war was false. Hundreds of thousands died by US actions in the War. It was not some “civil war” that US-we- can wash our hands of. Unless we pretend to be “good Germans.”

        Having now opened this Pandora’s Box, the other questions you raise need to be answered by pragmatism, not ideology. The President is doing what he can with what Bush/Cheney passed onto him.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/21/2015 - 10:32 pm.


          “The President is doing what he can with what Bush/Cheney passed onto him.”

          Please read the history of Iraq. The problems in the region started long before Bush and Cheney were born. let alone in office.

          • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/22/2015 - 12:01 pm.

            Yes, don’t you think it would be prudent to understand the region before trying to impose a “cure’?

            Those who are ignorant of history, etc., etc.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/22/2015 - 09:44 pm.


              I am pretty sure we are not imposing anything. We freed the country from a ruthless murderous dictator, gave the Iraqis guidance regarding a possible solution, invested American money/lives in trying help them stabilize, etc.

              It worked well in Germany, Italy, Japan, etc. Too bad the folks in the Middle East seem be happier killing each other than live in Peace and Prosperity.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/24/2015 - 08:46 am.

                “Happier Killing Each Other?”

                I don’t know where to start with that remark. Honestly, I do not.

                You seem to forget that the Good Cultures who value peace and prosperity so highly have a long history of meddling in the Middle East. You cannot assume that had no lasting impact (“We’re gone now–you little people behave, hear?”).

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/24/2015 - 09:35 am.

                Sounds like Kiplling

                and the ‘White Man’s Burden’.
                British meddling is what bequeathed us this mess.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/25/2015 - 09:09 am.


                  I won’t argue that the Brits / oil weren’t factor, however a quick perusal of the regions history shows that warring / tribes was the norm in the area long long long before the 1900’s.

      • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 02/22/2015 - 12:02 pm.


        It boggles my mind that people can try to separate the war from the aftermath. An invasion that upsets the longstanding balance of power is going to have repercussions far beyond the initial fighting. If you don’t plan for that at the outset, you lose the war you thought you won In this case, the sectarian violence was inevitable – just look at Dick Cheney’s rationalization (which he later forgot) for not invading in 1991. 12 years later we’re dealing with ISIS, which was born of the Bush Administration’s decision to invade.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/23/2015 - 07:22 am.

          No Fly Zones

          Would you be happier today if we were still struggling to enforce no fly zones while Saddam was still saber rattling and killing Iraqis?

          Or would you be criticizing Bush for allowing a Dictator to oppress his people? My guess is that you would be criticizing him for any decision he had made.

          • Submitted by Doug Gray on 02/23/2015 - 02:43 pm.


            > Would you be happier today if we were still struggling to enforce no fly zones while Saddam was still saber rattling and killing Iraqis?

            Yes, as would hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who would still be alive, tens of thousands of US troops who would not be dead or grievously wounded, millions whose net worth on paper would not have been as seriously affected by the attempt to run two wars on credit and anyone defending what little is left of the sacred honor of the USA. It’s called “containment,” and it works. See under The Former Soviet Union.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/23/2015 - 09:15 pm.

              I wonder how Americans would have handled that stale mate after 20 years? It was one of the options, though I think our allies were getting tired of containing Saddam.

              So the options were:
              – walk away and let the tiger attack
              – maintain the cage and hope for change
              – remove the tiger and have faith in the Iraqi people

              How many do you think would have died if the Iraqi people had seized their opportunity for peace?

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/23/2015 - 07:37 am.


          For me it is easy to seperate the war and aftermath. The first had a goal of removing from power a ruthless murdering dictator who had attacked a US ally. The second was to help the citizens rebuild their country. No different from Italy, Germany, Japan, S Korea, etc.

          Except for the small detail that enough of these folks did not want Peace and Prosperity.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 02/23/2015 - 03:17 pm.

            Once again…

            the flaw in your theory is that the US can walk into a country, whip a little democracy at them and “peace and prosperity” grows. It’s another example of the simplistic “we know what’s best for you” approach that conservatives have regarding foreign policy. True revolution comes from within.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/23/2015 - 06:50 pm.

              Revolutions can be bloody. As Iraq is experiencing. It will be interesting to see if they can find common purpose at some point.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/23/2015 - 04:02 pm.

            This is either stunningly ignorant, or astonishingly dishonest. At this point, I can’t tell if you are are referring to Gulf War 1 or Gulf War 2, but my first sentence stands for both/either.

            If its the 1991 Gulf War you refer to… Kuwait could not that easily be considered a U.S. ally, as they had been rather cozy with the Soviet Union for some 30 years prior. And, we left instead of deposing Saddam. No help in rebuilding their country, just sanctions.

            If it’s the 2003 Iraq War, then no, they did not attack a US ally, nor was that the justification for the war in the first place. And all those no-bid construction contracts in Iraq were great to pad the bottom lines of some major US corporations, but not so good for the citizens of Iraq.

            You don’t ‘impose peace and prosperity’ by bombing a country back to the bronze age, crippling them with sanctions for a decade, leaving a brutal dictator (whom we used to support) in place, and then invading them under false pretenses a decade later. Dick Cheney may have wanted prosperity for him, but he sure didn’t want peace for the Iraqis.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/23/2015 - 06:47 pm.

              2003 and Beyond

              I was talking about 2003 and beyond.

              What would you have done? For 10 years we had held that tiger by the tail. (ie maintained sanctions, encouraged internal coups and maintained no fly zones) Would you have walked away and let Saddam seek vengeance on the Kurds and Shiites? Or would you have maintained the no fly zones indefinitely?

              Bush decided to remove the Tiger from power in hopes that the Iraqis were willing and able to self govern. The Kurds were, the Shiites and Sunnis weren’t.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 02/24/2015 - 07:18 am.

                Removing the Tiger

                wasn’t Bush’s call. You keep referring to the war as a gift to the Iraqis, when in reality it was just another example of a myopic administration, operating under the false belief that every other country in the world wants to live like we do.

  13. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 02/21/2015 - 11:40 am.

    And with Wolfowitz knocking on Jeb’s door…

    and our own Vin Weber ambling behind…what a debacle waiting to happen?

    Jeb Bush must have polished his shoes with lots of mind polish to offer this slick version of of the Bush war years. Jeb’s speech was strictly chamber-of-commerce with a wider audience but its hard to shine away the wasted lives for a bloody war that comes back to haunt us again

    Number of Iraqis killed in US War and occupation of Iraq: 1,455,590 +
    Number of U.S. miltary sacrificed in same “intervention”: 4,801 +

    …and all the nation was not behind this war, no.

    Time may come back to bite us in the rear if another Bush comes my father would say “The guy’s full of prune juice.”

    Note to recall 2003 back a few years:
    Washington Post Live-On-Line commentaries by citizens on the Blix Report Jan 28, 2003 10.A.M ET moderated by Column Lynch in the archives and attendant transcript…mindset of the people; the wiser ones – at the time…not all of this good nation were lockstep for this ungodly war. Well worth recalling Gullsgate Minn/ B J-K

  14. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/21/2015 - 06:27 pm.


    Mr. Wagner, are you saying that Bush ordered intelligence services in dozens of countries (including France and Russia which also supported the notion that Saddam had WMD) to manufacture facts? Just wondering… And if you want to say the both France and Russia were against the war, it was for purely political reasons – they had too many ties to Saddam if you remember. Of course, the US Congress (including Clinton, Kerry, and Biden) overwhelmingly voted to support the war as well – and most voting against did so for reasons other than lack of proof for WMD. So what is intellectually dishonest?

    Mr. Brandon, I am not a WSJ subscriber but if you type a title in any search engine, you will be able to read it on other websites… Silberman writes as a leader of investigation with inside knowledge. And Blix never hid his opposition to any use of force in Iraq under any conditions.

    Mr. Udstrand, will you please provide sources for “well documented history” you are citing? As for Iraqi oil, was Bush going to expropriate it, force Iraq to give it to America for free, or do what to pay for the war with oil?
    The WWII did not end when France surrendered but it did end when Japan did. So if America pulled the troops out immediately after the Saddam’s capture (because Iraq is not Japan), the war would have been over. Of course you can dismiss my analogy for ideological reason of pinning all blame on war but it is intellectually dishonest. The wars are fought to defeat the enemy, not to help it after victory. And if America withdrew its troops, it would not have been a part of the civil war later on. By the way, is America responsible for all trouble and casualties in former Yugoslavia – that bombing was never authorized by the UN but Clinton went ahead anyway?
    Ms. John-Knutson, how did come up with the number of dead Iraqis?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/21/2015 - 07:14 pm.


      Mr. Gutman–
      You provided the link.
      You can search for the article title and find -discussions- of the article; you cannot find the actual text of the article. If you know of an exception, please provide a working link to it.
      It appears that you read someone else’s opinion of the article, not the article itself.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/22/2015 - 08:23 am.


      What has been said is, the arguments/discussion/evidence that lead us into Iraq was intellectually dishonest, and the discussion that continues to try and “back fill” that intellectually dishonest set of facts continues today. “Intellectually dishonest” means the facts are hand picked, created, manipulated, to support the desired result. The bare facts are “No WMD were found in Iraq”, Hans Blix had it nailed before, during and after. Feel free to point to all the politicians that jumped on the band wagon you want. It does not however make it “Intellectually Honest”. That’s like saying it was OK to burn & drown the witches in Salem, because the town leaders said it was. Corrupted facts do not draw honest conclusions!

  15. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 02/21/2015 - 07:14 pm.

    Death count Iraqis…

    My source was Axis of Logic – a trusted source for me – but I doubt if you would go there…so peruse the Net and if numbers vary on the number of Iraqis dead, try a few other sites; lots of them out there, yes sir.

    The only accurate count would be to go door to door and check with relatives of same still surviving in their villages which we failed to reconstruct or rather our military private hired contractors failed to fulfill their bloody contracts…so it goes

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/21/2015 - 11:04 pm.

      Your Belief

      I looked at the site you mentioned. I had no luck finding their numbers.

      So please help me understand what you believe they are:

      Number of Iraqi/Al Qaeda people killed directly by coalition fighters during the first 12 months?
      Number of Iraqi/Al Qaeda people killed directly by coalition fighters after the first 12 months?

      Number of Iraqi/Al Qaeda people killed by other Iraqi/Al Qaeda personnel?

      Number of Iraqi/Al Qaeda people who died naturally because of the chaos?

      • Submitted by jason myron on 02/23/2015 - 06:25 am.

        Who cares?

        Seriously…your arguing semantics. As I pointed out, Saddam would have had to be in power for two centuries to equal the number of people killed in a war that WE started. Like him or not, Hussein stabilized that region, in as much as a powder keg like the middle east COULD be stabilized.
        Conservatives have a children’s approach to war…it’s nothing but heroes and villains and the US is Superman. Life doesn’t work that way. And anyone that thought the US was going to be seen as anything by occupiers was naive in the extreme. All the US did was walk into a cage of hungry dogs and throw a bone into the middle of them.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/23/2015 - 07:29 am.


          Saddam started the war when he invaded Kuwait. We then tried ~10 years of political pressure and no fly zones. Then we ended the war against Saddam very quickly with minimal loss of lives.

          As for the dogs that ensued fighting and killing, what do you want to do with them? Do people in that region required a stern abusive master to control them? Thoughts?

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/23/2015 - 02:02 pm.

            Further Correction

            You’re talking about two entirely different wars, albeit wars fought against the same enemy.

            In 1991, the US led coalition invaded Iraq to protect the territorial integrity of Kuwait (an authoritarian monarchy, but that’s another matter). Iraqi forces withdrew quickly.

            Twelve years later, the US invaded Iraq again, but not to protect Kuwait.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/23/2015 - 03:49 pm.


              Ironically war 2 was fought to protect the Kurds and Shiites. The Kurds seem to have done well with this gift. The Shiites… Not so much so.

              • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/24/2015 - 08:56 am.

                The Iraq war was most certainly NOT fought to protect Kurds and Shiites. That was not how it was promoted, sold, or executed.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/24/2015 - 02:27 pm.


                Are we talking about the same wars? I thought the reference was to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, done, we were told, to rid the world of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. No one EVER said anything about protecting Kurds or Shiites.

                Which war did you mean?

  16. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/21/2015 - 08:19 pm.

    Here it is

    Mr. Brandon, between these two sites you can read the whole thing:,
    I just wanted to provide a link to the original and more wildly accepted source.

    Ms. John-Knutson, I found it on Wikipedia – the easiest source and in this case relatively objective and reliable. It lists the number about 500,000. I also hope that you know that absolute majority of those casualties were killed by other Iraqis… Let’s not use inflated and irrelevant numbers.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/22/2015 - 12:52 pm.


      These are partial quotations; the first one is fairly extensive.
      They are still both secondary sources, not primary ones, and both ultimately provide links to the WSJ.
      If they quoted the entire article it would be plagiarism, and I suspect that the WSJ legal department would be on their necks.

      I also agree that the original is a “more wildly accepted source”. (your misspelling).
      You might proofread your postings for such ‘Freudian’ slips.

  17. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 02/22/2015 - 08:10 am.

    Numbers are the important consideration?

    Try Information Clearing House…Numbers ride high at the top of the page as the logo goes “Not found on Fox or CNN”

    Funny thing about numbers…they don’t have faces and no count is reliable I suppose but isn’t really that significant don’t you know, if you can’t pronounce their name?

    Too many lost their young lives, ours and theirs for what Jeb calls bro George W’s mistake?

    But can’t blame the mess we started not too nobly on one fellow like George when the Cheney gang plus Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and a number of attendant power brokers were the real handlers.?

    Find a number; then think about the faces…the father carrying his dead daughter or the young American soldier totally devastated; sitting beside a tanks cradling another’s child whose name he may never know but the child’s mother does.These are the bloody acts of war that here shows one devastated man we sent there and he has to live with the knowledge he shot as he perceived – as you or I might do in a similar situation when fighting a war in a strange place and someone coming around a corner in a dusty village could be the enemy I suppose?

    Live with the pictures, AP, Reuters and you may conclude numbers are not as relevant as names and faces; ours and theirs. We bear the burden of our own stupidity.

    Pick a candidate ; not a legacy next time around; be you progressive or conservative…enough already…


    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/22/2015 - 09:57 pm.


      Are you saying that it is bad when the USA injures and/or kills a couple of thousand civilians.

      However it was okay when Saddam killed 10’s of thousands of civilians?

      I do agree that it is very sad that the Iraqis did not make better use of the gift / opportunity that America money and lives gave them.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/24/2015 - 12:48 pm.

        Moral incompetence

        “Are you saying that it is bad when the USA injures and/or kills a couple of thousand civilians.

        However it was okay when Saddam killed 10’s of thousands of civilians?”

        I think it’s pretty clear that most of us are saying that it’s bad to kill thousands of civilians, whether you’re our government or someone else’s. It takes certain level of moral incompetence to conclude or even suggest that murdering criticizing by one government for committing atrocities somehow exonerates some other government.

        The fact is that our attempt to “gift” Iraq with a democracy just pumped up the body count.

        As for bloody revolutions, again, a US president has no legal or moral authority to inflict a bloody revolution on some other country. We were NOT invited to come over and help with a revolution in Iraq. And by the way, we NEVER established a functioning democracy of any kind in Iraq, so the whole idea that we gave them a gift of some kind that they somehow dropped is historically incoherent.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/24/2015 - 09:59 pm.


          “We were NOT invited to come over and help with a revolution in Iraq.”

          I agree that Saddam did not invite us, however I think the Kurds and many of the Shiites did. I think they saw that as a better alternative than having us release the tiger and walking away.

  18. Submitted by E Gamauf on 02/22/2015 - 08:54 am.

    1 Bush shy?

    “I love my brother, I love my dad, I actually love my mother as well, hope that’s OK.”

    Wasn’t there a Neil in clan somewhere?

  19. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/22/2015 - 12:35 pm.

    Blix–50 shades of gray

    BERKELEY – Speaking on the anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq, originally declared as a pre-emptive strike against a madman ready to deploy weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the man first charged with finding those weapons said that the U.S. government has “the same mind frame as the witch hunters of the past” — looking for evidence to support a foregone conclusion.

    “There were about 700 inspections, and in no case did we find weapons of mass destruction,” said Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat called out of retirement to serve as the United Nations’ chief weapons inspector from 2000 to 2003; from 1981 to 1997 he headed the International Atomic Energy Agency. “We went to sites [in Iraq] given to us by intelligence, and only in three cases did we find something” – a stash of nuclear documents, some Vulcan boosters, and several empty warheads for chemical weapons. More inspections were required to determine whether these findings were the “tip of the iceberg” or simply fragments remaining from that deadly iceberg’s past destruction, Blix said he told the United Nations Security Council. However, his work in Iraq was cut short when the United States and the United Kingdom took disarmament into their own hands in March of last year.

    Blix accused U.S. President George W. Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair of acting not in bad faith, but with a severe lack of “critical thinking.” The United States and Britain failed to examine the sources of their primary intelligence – Iraqi defectors with their own agendas for encouraging regime change – with a skeptical eye, he alleged. In the buildup to the war, Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis were cooperating with U.N. inspections, and in February 2003 had provided Blix’s team with the names of hundreds of scientists to interview, individuals Saddam claimed had been involved in the destruction of banned weapons. Had the inspections been allowed to continue, Blix said, there would likely be a very different situation in Iraq today. As it was, America’s pre-emptive, unilateral actions “have bred more terrorism there and elsewhere.”…..

    …. “I’m not here to have gut feelings,” he said. “But yes, in December 2002 I thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.” Still, “the objective was to inspect effectively and to report objectively.”….

    …The primary difficulty with looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, said Blix, was the “problem of proving the negative. For example, how can you prove that there is not a tennis ball in this room? Or that there is no anthrax in all of Iraq?” The United States and the United Kingdom wanted black-and-white answers, and instead they got “lots of shades of gray in the reports.”

    What Blix’s inspectors had needed was more time, he emphasized. The Bush administration should have halted its military buildup in the area at 50,000 troops, the point at which the Iraqis had become much more cooperative, providing the lists of scientists and bureaucrats to Blix’s team. “Given time, we would have been able to interview the many people who destroyed weapons of mass destruction after 1991,” …..

    ….”[The Iraqis] didn’t mind the suspicion from the neighbors – it was like hanging a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the dog’ when you don’t have a dog,” he speculated.

    But instead the Bush administration continued to pour troops into the area, an ominous presence portending war. “Once there got to 250,000 troops sitting in the hot desert sun, there was a momentum built up that couldn’t be halted,” said Blix….

    ….Partly it was because, despite the lack of evidence for remaining WMDs, the Bush administration continued to believe in them, Blix said. Although he places some of the blame on a failure of U.S. intelligence processes – the Pentagon relied too much on its own “silo” of sources rather than more heavily vetted intelligence from the CIA and the State Department, as has been documented extensively by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker – the real problem was the lack of “critical thinking,” he argued.

    “In academia, when you write your thesis, you have an opponent on the faculty and you must defend it. And in a court, there is cross-examination from the prosecutor,” said Blix. But in the intelligence arena, because of the confidentiality of the subject matter, it is difficult to find those who will play devil’s advocate. The Bush Administration, he said, did not try. “They took away the question marks [in the reports] and put in exclamation points instead!”

    Blix did not rule out that even if inspections had been allowed to continue, military intervention in Iraq might still have been necessary. “I am not a pacifist,” he said. But he is a lawyer and a diplomat, and he believes that it was the responsibility of the Security Council to uphold its own resolutions regarding Iraq, not the responsibility of one or two council members acting alone. Had Iraq resisted further inspections, or had they turned up evidence of another nuclear weapons program – the area Blix said that sanctions and inspections had been most effective in squelching – Security Council members Russia and China would most likely have voted for military action, giving it international legitimacy.

    Blix speculated that the Bush administration’s real motivation for invading Iraq was in reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “The U.S. was attacked on its own soil. I was here; it was like an earthquake in this country,” he said. “It was as if Afghanistan was not enough.”

    Amanpour asked Blix to respond to a statement by Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi defector who along with affiliated sources provided much of the faulty WMD intelligence. “We were heroes in error. Saddam is gone, the Americans are in Baghdad, and that’s all that matters,” she quoted Chalabi as having said. Blix called it a “cynical” statement, yet admitted that he was troubled by the idea that had he been allowed to continue his inspections, Saddam would probably have remained in power….

  20. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/22/2015 - 01:10 pm.

    Moral reasoning…

    “How many Iraqis do you think died directly at the hands of coalition troops and private contractors? I am thinking Saddam would have killed far more than that number during the past 12 years.”

    This is unsubstantiated conjecture pretending to be moral reasoning. No one will argue that Saddam was a “good” guy. But the fact remains that NO ONE in the US government has the moral, Constitutional, or legal authority to decide that any given Iraqi is better off dead than living in Saddam’s regime. The only possible moral argument for an invasion would have been an active ongoing genocide of some kind, and no such mass slaughter of any kind was under way at the time.

    While Saddam may have killed a million people during the course of his entire 23 year regime, by the time the US invaded in 2003 his murderouis campaigns had largely been contained. No-Fly Zones protected Kurd’s in the north and Shi’a in the south. While Saddam continued to be a ruthless dictator there’s no question that the war killed hundred of thousands more Iraqi’s than Saddam’s regime would have during the same period of time.

    And remember, a good chunk of the people Saddam killed prior to the first Golf War were casualties of his invasion of Iran, an invasion that the US supported and encouraged. The photo of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam’s hand from this period is well known is it not? Remember the joke? “We know Saddam has chemical weapons… because we sold them to him”.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/22/2015 - 05:54 pm.

      Please substantiate

      Mr. Udstrand, you seem to like making statements about history and then ignore the inquiries asking for the proof. You never supported your statement that it was a “documented history” that Bush wanted to invade Iraq right after 9/11 and that it was all for oil. And now you again ignored a question of how many Iraqis died FROM American hands. You also implied that America sold chemical weapons to Iraq – do you have a proof of that?

      • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 02/25/2015 - 05:14 pm.

        “America sold chemical weapons to Iraq”

        “The newspaper says a review of a large tranche of government documents reveals that the administrations of President Reagan and the first President Bush both authorized providing Iraq with intelligence and logistical support, and okayed the sale of dual use items — those with military and civilian applications — that included chemicals and germs, even anthrax and bubonic plague.”

  21. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/22/2015 - 02:24 pm.

    No lies and no oil

    Mr. Brandon, the links I provided are enough to understand that Bush did not lie – that all that matters. And if all you have left to complain about is my misspellings, I am glad that you accepted everything else (or, more likely, ran out of arguments which, in honest discussion, is the same thing).

    Ms. John-Knutson, every life is precious but we are talking about politics and decision-making and assigning the blame so in this case numbers are the key and should not be inflated so I am glad you seem to agree that yours were. Plus, again, America is not responsible for Iraqis killing Iraqis… I also suggest you think about 9/11 victims.

    Mr. Rovick, your information clearly supports my contention here that Bush did not lie (which is defined as knowingly telling the false things) and that oil had nothing to do with war in Iraq so Mr. Wagner and Mr. Udstrand may want to pay attention. It is also interesting that apparently Blix never gave any thoughts to a notion that he, by his actions, could have kept Saddam at power.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/22/2015 - 03:03 pm.


      The links you provided make it likely that one person stated his opinion that Bush did not lie (which is of course not the same as telling the truth).
      The point about misspellings is that they can make the meaning of a statement ambiguous, although in this case your meaning was quite clear; maybe clearer than you think.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/22/2015 - 03:03 pm.

      Incompetents frequently believe their own lies

      Maybe I missed it but I haven’t actually seen anyone accuse Bush of “lying”. The fact is that Bush and his entire team were wrong on multiple counts on an astounding magnitude. Which if any of them “knew” that they were misinforming the world is debatable. I’ve never seen anyone accuse Bush himself of being a knowledgeable and smart guy, so he may well have the believed the garbage flowing out of his administration. That doesn’t change the fact that as commander and chief he’s responsible for the invasion and everything that flowed out of it.

      What I claim is that this was propaganda machine, and that has been well documented. The extent to which propagandists believe their own propaganda is a different question. One could make a distinction between intellectual dishonesty and outright lies I suppose.

      Earlier you asked me how Bush intended to pay for war with Iraqi oil, you’ll have to ask him, he’s the one who made that claim, not me.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/23/2015 - 09:24 am.

        Well now someone has accused Bush of lying

        I guess it’s an unavoidable conclusion that willful and deliberate disregard for the truth or reliable information is dishonest on a basic level. Statements that flow out of such dishonesty can be described as lies regardless of special insight into the minds or those who issue such dishonesty. The court of history is not the same as a court of law after all.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/22/2015 - 05:50 pm.

      Not so gray

      Actually, it pretty well demonstrates that a complex lie was committed:

      What are Lies?

      Lies are misrepresentations used as a means of creating false impressions, managing impressions, or covering up actions – in order to influence the thoughts and actions of others. Individuals who lie know what the truth is, and want to conceal it.

      A lie has 3 main features::

      A lie communicates or hides information
      * The liar knows the truth.
      * The liar intends to deceive in order to influence the audience to believe something that is not true – so that subsequent impressions, decisions and actions on the part of the victim(s) or others will be in the liar’s favour.
      * Information provided when lying is not always untrue.

      “A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.”
      William Blake

      Lies (particularly political lies) commonly involve part-truths; or truth that is taken out of context; or truth presented in other misleading ways, in order to deceive the audience – with the intent to influence what the audience believes, and consequently, what they will do. Half truths tend to be the more diabolical of lies, because they are so misleading.

      “A half truth is a whole lie.”
      Yiddish Proverb

      A half-truth usually involves a deceptive statement or image that includes some element of truth:

      It might be partly true (but what is left out or what is picked to say or show is misleading); or

      It may be totally true, but only part of the whole true story, and is misleading because the information was provided out of the correct context; or

      It may employ a deceptive element which serves to imply something is a fact or true when that is not the case; such as the deliberate mis-use of punctuation; or the use of words with a double meaning; or the use of qualifying (weasel) words; or the manipulation of an image.

      The deceptive nature of half truths or truths out of context is such that courts rightfully demand the “whole” truth.

    • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 02/23/2015 - 06:42 am.

      Study: Bush, aides made 935 false statements in run-up to war

      “In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003,” reads an overview of the examination, conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and its affiliated group, the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

  22. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/22/2015 - 06:42 pm.

    Paying attention!

    Folks like me have been paying attention for, many, many, years. The Machiavellian approach does not work with those paying attention. Making the statement/opinion does not make it true, finding a contrived source to support a proposition does not make it true. What is clear, is a continued collecting of partial and twisted facts to support a pre-drawn conclusion, as before, “Intellectual dishonesty” as above Machiavellian philosophy the end justifies the means”is by definition” intellectual dishonesty. Blix has not been repudiated, the “Revisionist History” for the article is accurately titled, Point proven with the continued dialogue, perpetrate the falsehood enough and you will make it truth. For “those paying attention” there is not enough paint in Tom Sawyers bucket to white wash the Iraq fiasco and the million plus dead.
    PS: All presidents have dealt with dictators, monarchs etc, less we be at war with 1/2 the world at any given day.

  23. Submitted by Eric LC on 02/23/2015 - 01:41 pm.

    Law and policy, fact basis of Operation Iraqi Freedom

    The explanation for the ‘why’ of OIF is straightforward based on primary sources that are easily accessed on-line, such as the Gulf War ceasefire UN Security Council resolutions for Iraq, the US law and policy that enforced the UNSCRs, the conditions and precedents that set the stage for OIF, and the determinative fact findings that triggered the decision for OIF. President Clinton, whose entire presidency was preoccupied by the Iraq enforcement, is the best source for understanding OIF.

    This draws on the primary sources of OIF to explain the law and policy, fact basis for the mission:

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/23/2015 - 03:34 pm.

      your blog

      states your opinions in much greater length.
      They are still opinions.
      Iraq was still not a threat to the -security- of the United States, although it may have threatened the profitability of some multinational corporations with interests in the United States.

  24. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/23/2015 - 10:18 pm.

    Facts and fiction

    Mr. Brandon, that person that stated his opinion was in a position to know many things that you and I did not know so that is why his opinion is more likely the truth than many others. And if you understood what I wanted to say, then your bringing misspelling up just shows that you ran out of other arguments, as I said. And, by the way, what do the Koches have to do with our discussion? And you can dismiss the blog reference that Eric LC provided as an opinion but then please admit that your statements are also just an opinion with no substantiation.

    Mr. Udstrand, have you heard of “Bush lied, kids died” thing? Mr. Holbrook said that Bush lied in his comment here. And you said that the whole thing was Bush’s propaganda operation which is an accusation of knowingly cooking the facts… without providing any proofs of that, by the way. And no facts disproving that all intelligence services believed in WMD in Iraq. And by the way, even if Bush said that he would pay for this war with oil (which I do not recall but do not want to research), it does not mean that this war was FOR oil, does it?

    Mr. Rovick, where is the evidence that Bush knew the truth?

    Mr. Huntley, so even CPI admitted that Bush did not lie but acted on the basis of erroneous (mistaken) information, right? So even Mr. Soros could not find the evidence that Bush lied…

    Mr. Wagner, I understand that you have an opinion and no facts will change it but I still don’t get it what intellectual dishonesty you refer to?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/24/2015 - 09:40 am.

      Non sequitur

      An opinion is still not a fact;
      the person stating it may have had access to privileged information, but also has reasons for distorting it.
      That’s why one asks for documentation.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/24/2015 - 09:18 pm.

      The broadest lie of the Bush administration was to consistently turn “question marks into exclamation points” in their rush to war.

      If a used car salesman says, “the car starts wonderfully !”, when he is really thinking, “I wonder if it will start ?”– what he says is a lie.

      Blix’s phrase–“turning question marks into exclamation points”.

  25. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 02/24/2015 - 11:33 am.

    Why we left

    It’s not like there wasn’t an attempt to renegotiate the status of forces agreement that had US troops withdraw in 2011 to maintain a US force. The Iraqis wanted us out. Staying would have required fighting the government we went to so much trouble to establish. I’m surprised Eric left out of his commentary. I’m less surprised the war hawks have tried to hide that in the memory hole.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/24/2015 - 04:20 pm.


      I am pretty sure the Obama administration could have offered something the Iraqis wanted, if he had desired that we stay the course. Since he wanted out to honor his campaign promises, we left.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/25/2015 - 11:15 am.

        He wanted out to honor his campaign promises

        You make it sound like that’s a bad thing.

        Why would President Obama have wanted to stay? The American public was sick of the war in Iraq. Sick of the waste of lives (American and Iraqi), sick of the waste of money, and sick of American global power being poured down the drain. “Staying the course” would have meant not just breaking a campaign promise, but going against the very clear wishes of the American people.

        In a democracy, Presidents aren’t supposed to do that.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/25/2015 - 12:06 pm.

          Statement of Fact

          I did not mean to imply good or bad thing.

          Some of the commenters here are saying that the USA did not finish the stabilization job and that is why IS is a big problem. I am just pointing out that the decision to leave before stabilation was attained occurred long after Bush was gone.

          I mean we still have troops in Korea, Japan, Germany…

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/25/2015 - 01:53 pm.

            Stop lying

            In 2008, George W Bush signed the US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, which explicitly stated the deadline of December 31, 2011, as the final withdrawal date for US troops from Iraq.


            • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/25/2015 - 04:19 pm.

              Times Change

              Bush thought in May 2003 that things were going to get better as the peace loving Iraqis embraced their freedom. Unfortunately he was wrong and adjusted.

              Ultimately Obama made the decision to withdraw, knowing that stability had not been attained. He owns the choices he made, as Bush own his.

              • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/25/2015 - 05:01 pm.

                I can’t tell if this is trolling, blatant stupidity, or some sort of dimensional-neurological disease that causes the afflicted to transition between alternate realities.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/26/2015 - 08:19 am.


                  It is just a different perspective.
                  Saddam chose to invade Kuwait
                  Bush I chose to push Saddam into the cage
                  Clinton chose to maintain the cage
                  Bush II chose to invade instead of maintain the cage or walk away
                  Bush II chose to try to stabilize the country
                  Obama chose to pull troops out.
                  Obama chose to send troops back.

                  Seems factual and unbiased to me. How does this vary from your reality?

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/25/2015 - 02:05 pm.


            President Bush set the date for the withdrawal of American troops. He made the decision. President Obama’s decision was that he did not reverse that decision.

            We still have troops in Korea, Japan, Germany because those countries want them there. We once had a significant presence in the Philippines pursuant to a treaty, we left when that treaty expired, and are now rebuilding a small, but still temporary presence in that country. It is not up to the US to impose its will on other countries and hold dominion over palm and pine against the wishes of the host country.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 02/25/2015 - 01:16 pm.

        Sure, John…

        because the billions of dollars and the lives and limbs of thousands of America’s finest wasn’t quite enough of a sacrifice for a country that wasn’t quite as obsessed of getting rid of the “tiger” that you were.

  26. Submitted by John Appelen on 02/24/2015 - 04:42 pm.

    Rationale for War

    Repeatedly in these comments, folks say that we only went in because of WMD’s and there was no concern for the Shiites / Kurds. However per this link, the War Resolution named 10+ factors to justify the invasion.

    It is interesting how we apparently all remember 2002/2003 very differently.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 02/25/2015 - 01:13 pm.

      Yeah…some of us

      actually reside in a reality based,warts and all, world.. others not so much.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/26/2015 - 08:22 am.


        Those reasons for invading seem pretty well documented and communicated. I am unsure why you choose to deny their existence.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 02/26/2015 - 02:46 pm.

          I don’t deny their existence

          I deny that they were in any way a justification for our actions, nor were they at the top of the list when invading Iraq was being discussed by the likes of Rumsfeld and Cheney. But you go right ahead and delude yourself into thinking that so you can continue to validate your deep belief in American exceptionalism.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/26/2015 - 09:22 am.

      Rationale for war…

      …Is not a game of whack-a-Mole. Wars get people killed, you don’t start war and then argue about your reasons AFTER the fact.

  27. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/25/2015 - 08:26 pm.

    Reality and facts

    Mr. Rovick, can you tell me why you take Mr. Blix’ opinion as a fact but ignore Mr. Silberman’s opinion who knew much more about Bush’s thinking?

    Mr. Brandon, Mr. Silberman had all the documentation but I can guess that part of is classified. What would be a fact for you to prove that Bush did not lie? Just wondering… Remember, everyone may have reasons to distort information and facts… including people who hate Bush.

    Mr. Ecklund, Mr. Holbrook, are you acknowledging that it was Bush’ good idea to pull out of Iraq and Obama cannot take credit for that? On the other hand, Obama made a decision to do it when it was wrong, as Mr. Appelen said, so it is his fault that we have ISIS.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/26/2015 - 09:13 am.

      Bush’s good idea to pull out of Iraq

      Yes, it was President Bush’s correct decision to withdraw. Although I think it should have been done earlier, the fact that he set a definite date was the right thing to do. Credit where credit is due.

      President Obama gets credit for not trying to reverse that decision. He also gets credit for following the dictates of international law by not continuing a military presence in a sovereign state that has withdrawn its permission for that presence. It is not his “fault that we have ISIS.”

      It still was wrong to invade in the first place.

  28. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/26/2015 - 08:41 am.

    Bush lied people died

    ILya, when I said no one had thus far accused Bush of lying per se, I was referring to this comment thread at that point.

    Look, it’s really simple, a person with integrity simply doesn’t get something like WMDs, and the Iraq War, so completely and totally wrong. That kind of incomprehensibly huge mistake can only flow out a complete and deliberate disregard for the truth and facts. Most people with any moral sense understand that such deliberate disregard for the truth is the moral equivalent of lying.

    As to the “facts”. I have repeatedly pointed out that Bush’s (by Bush I mean he and his White House team) deceptions and perversions of the available intelligence at the time are now and have been a matter of documented history. I’m not going to provide point by point citations because documented history is not difficult to locate if you actually want to find it.You can play a debate game if you want, and pretend you can’t find the documented history, but the rest of us are not required to play with you.

  29. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/26/2015 - 07:01 pm.


    Mr. Holbrook, I am glad you give Bush at least some credit – quite a few people can’t force themselves to do it. Now, Bush set up a certain date assuming certain conditions. Those conditions obviously were not met by that time and that meant that a reasonable and responsible person would adjust the actions accordingly. Obama did not do that for purely political reasons and therefore he does “own” ISIS. If a man has a date set up and his house catches fire, he would change his plans and would try to save his son rather than go on a date…

    As for what was wrong, I pointed out that it was “staying” that was wrong, not invasion – please recognize the difference.

    Mr. Udstrand, I did point out a few references to Bush’ “lies” in this comment thread. And your logic that a person with integrity would not act so wrong is unreasonable. First, we all know everything afterwards, and second, I provided proofs that pretty much everyone thought the same as Bush so there was no deliberate disregard for the truth. Plus, how about Clinton, Kerry, Biden…. They, too?

    I also went back through the entire thread and did not find a single reference in your posts even though I asked for some. Stating that something is a well-documented fact does not make it a fact. Of course, the Internet may “provide” a proof of anything anyone wants to find (UFO, Yeti, Loch-Ness monster, etc.) but that doesn’t make them real.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/27/2015 - 09:08 am.

      Please stop making things up

      What conditions were “assumed” when President Bush negotiated the Status of Forces Agreement that called for withdrawal by the end of 2011? If you mean factual assumptions that didn’t pan out, that’s too bad–any conditions that had to be met before withdrawal should have been stated in the agreement. The idea that there were conditions in Iraq that had to be met before troops could be withdrawn is a fantasy.

      President Obama had no power to decide on his own that US troops would remain in Iraq beyond the date set in the agreement. It doesn’t matter if conditions change, or if withdrawal would be imprudent. The President is not free to ignore the dictates of international law by stationing forces in a sovereign nation without approval.

      • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 02/27/2015 - 03:13 pm.

        It should also be pointed out that President Obama worked very hard to negotiate a status of forces agreement that would have allowed American troops to stay, but the Iraqi government refused to give our troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts.

  30. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/26/2015 - 11:02 pm.

    Let’s just assume for the sake of argument that Bush and Co.

    were correct and that Saddam Hussein had horrible weapons of destruction that endangered world peace.

    OK, in 2003, the United States invades Iraq with the world’s most powerful military by far.

    As I recall, the initial conquest was pretty much of a walkover.

    Now, if Saddam Hussein really had all those awful weapons, why didn’t he use them? If you have weapons like that, isn’t the most logical time to use them when you are being invaded? If your country was being invaded, wouldn’t you throw everything you had at the invader?

    Fortunately for our troops, that didn’t happen.

    Which suggests that there were no usable WMDs to being with and that it really was all about the oil, with Saddam Hussein being a bad dictator because he wanted to sell oil in euros and the Saudis being good dictators, because they were willing to play nice with ARAMCO.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/27/2015 - 07:52 am.


      I assume you are with Jason on denying that all of the other factors listed here were important in the decision process.

      I will never understand wanting to think the worst of Bush’s intent. He inherited a mess and did what he thought was best to resolve it.

      As I mentioned above, there were only 3 choices and they all sucked.
      1. Stick with what had not worked for 10 years.
      2. Run and let Saddam take reprisal on our allies in Iraq.
      3. Attack and have faith that the Iraqi people could self rule.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/27/2015 - 09:58 am.

        You did not answer my question

        If Saddam Hussein really had dangerous weapons, why didn’t he use them when attacked by the most powerful military in the world?

        Furthermore, if human rights violations were a concern, then why buddy up to Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, countries with human rights records as bad as or worse than Saddam Hussein’s?

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/27/2015 - 05:38 pm.


          Saddam invaded his neighbor and we put him in the cage. (for better or worse)

          Has Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan invaded one of our allies?

          I am indifferent to the WMD’s because I think we invaded for all the reasons listed in that link. Including protecting the Shiites and Kurds, and giving them a chance at a better life. It is the Liberals here who think it was all about oil and WMD’s.

          • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/27/2015 - 07:11 pm.

            Iraq is not the only place where the Kurds are oppressed

            Shall we invade Turkey and Iran as well? Turkey doesn’t even recognize the Kurds as a separate ethnic group and calls them “Mountain Turks,” even though their languages and cultures are not related.

            And, as often happens when tables are turned, once the Shiites were in power, they turned around and oppressed the Sunnis and imposed Islamic law on everyone, making life harder for women and impelling Christians (one of the oldest Christian communities in the world) to flee.

            May I remind you that it was one of our own diplomats who hinted that the U.S. would be fine with Saddam Hussein seizing Kuwait. (Frankly, I shed few tears for Kuwait, which is a quasi-dictatorship, in which only a small percentage of males have the right to vote, and the member of the Al-Sabah famly I encountered in graduate school was the single most arrogant and self-important person I have ever met.) Before that, Saddam Hussein made an unprovoked attack on Iran–with the full blessing and assistance of the U.S.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 02/27/2015 - 02:35 pm.

        Inherited a mess?

        The middle east has always been a mess. Bush took it an exacerbated the situation tenfold. His war will go down in history as the biggest foreign policy blunder in US history. It cost this country lives, money, status and most importantly, fostered even more intense hatred for the west. Bush was nothing more than a bad contractor that left your house in worse shape than the problem you hired him to fix in the first place. The difference is, no one hired him…he just volunteered his services.

        • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/27/2015 - 03:19 pm.

          The Middle East hasn’t been quite as messy as it is now

          I know three different people who traveled overland through Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and India as backpackers in the 1960s. This was before the U.S. government tried to “save” the Shah, before U.S. supported the Mujahedin in Afghanistan, before American support of Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran, before the Gulf War, before the invasion of Iraq.

          They all report having had a great experience with friendly and hospitable people. Far from feeling any danger, they sensed that the locals looked out for them and made sure that they stayed safe and healthy. There were conflicts, but strictly between locally based forces, like the Indians and Pakistanis or Arabs and Kurds, and everyone made sure that the American travelers didn’t get caught up in the crossfire.

          Attempting such a journey today (Istanbul to Calcutta overland?!) would be a mark of insanity nowadays. Turkey and India would probably be all right, but the parts in between, not so much.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/27/2015 - 05:44 pm.

          Apparently Congress approved the remodel.

      • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 02/27/2015 - 03:17 pm.

        I think one could fairly argue that #1 had in fact achieved most of its objectives. But even you suggest it hadn’t, there weren’t only two other options. You could have incrementally applied more pressure (expand the no-fly zone, airstrikes against suspected WMD locations, allowed the UN inspectors to continue working) as opposed to invading (especially when there was such a half-hearted plan for what came next).

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/27/2015 - 05:42 pm.


          Bush was definitely guilty of thinking the best of the folks in Iraq.

          Who would have thought they would work so aggressively to kill each other once the Dictator was removed…

          It reminds me of “The Lord of the Flies”…

          • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 02/28/2015 - 02:54 pm.

            History is hard to overcome

            Why would the people be committed to the notion of “Iraq”, a country created by Western nations after WWI and held together after that time by monarchies and dictatorships that oppressed its opponents?

            When you’re ignorant of history, you end up with Pollyanna notions of “being greeted as liberators”.

  31. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 02/27/2015 - 11:26 am.

    Call Jeb the three story mistake but do remember…

    ,,, do not forget the same old Wolfowitz doctrine plus the Bush legacy. Are we to be under the influence of same old gang; with Wolfowitz doctrine the prompter thus reestablishing such policies as behind the New World Order of old man Bush and his not too creative sons, advocating the idea of Empire, the idea of “exceptionalism”; the idea that we conquer the world not live with and communicate with others?

    The Bush dynasty would support an authoritative windfall that thinks control and war is our theme?

    We don’t live in this world to merely exploit as ‘winners’ on a ‘grander’ landscape. We co-exist. That is viable democracy and this legacy gang that preceded Obama have really messed things up… our very credibility on the world stage?

    “I dread our own power and our own ambitions” Edmund Burke

    Jeb is not “his own man”. he’s beget from the same old seed. He may stand straighter and taller behind the podium quoting himself with his finger quoting overtly waving above his head… a bit more stylish to be sure than his bro George who stretched his frame across the top of the speakers stand at times in order to convince the audience what he dare not or could not understand I suppose… but dynasties only repeat past errors…not the way to go again and again…

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/27/2015 - 01:54 pm.

      As Jeb’s brother once said . . .

      “There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”

  32. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/27/2015 - 07:23 pm.

    Logic and facts

    Mr. Holbrook, I am not making things up. I never said the conditions were part of the agreement (which means that this agreement was not good); I said there were assumed conditions. A man who set up a date in my example did not mention that he would not come in case of house fire… and yet it is a smart thing for him to change his plans. And, if I remember correctly, Obama tried to negotiate an agreement with Iraq… but, since he WANTED to get out, he was not very insistent on staying. It was a political decision intended for internal consumption.

    Ms. Sandness, it is hard to understand your logic. The first part is OK – since Saddam did not use WMD to repel invasion, he most likely did not have them. But how is this connected logically to the decision to invade that had been made BEFORE Saddam did not use his WMD? And how does it prove that it was for oil? As Mr. Appelen said, that there were quite a few other reasons to invade Iraq – beside WMD and human rights. So again, are you voting against Clinton in 2016 because she supported that war? And how come you voted for Obama-Biden considering that Biden voted for the war as well? And our current Secretary of State Kerry is also a warmonger since he supported the war resolution, too…

    And of course in the 60’s Iran was prospering under the Shah but both Syria and Iraq were military dictatorships hoping to gain favors from America. So, yes, to a degree, it was safe for Americans to be there at that time but that doesn’t mean that there was no mess there.

    Mr. Myron, the Middle East has always been a mess. But Bush won the war in Iraq and that prompted Kaddafi to abandon WMD making the Middle East less dangerous (interestingly, Bush war did find and destroy WMD – just not in Iraq but in Libya). And the Middle East was quiet for a while after a quick victory in Iraq. It was just after America started building democracy there while showing weakness after weakness that the Middle East got even worse. So again, it was not the war which made the Middle East more dangerous but the peacemaking. By the way, Bush got rid of Libyan WMD making Middle East safer and then Obama got rid of Kaddafi making Middle East way more dangerous…

    Ms. John-Knutson, you said that we should “co-exist” in the world. Are you suggesting we should co-exist with ISIS? With nuclear armed Iran? With Boko Haram? I am just curious.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/02/2015 - 11:31 am.

      “He was not very insistent on staying”

      When the Iraqi government would not agree to a key provision of a proposed agreement, that strikes me as the deal breaker (or would you deem it acceptable to leave US personnel to the tender mercies of Iraqi courts?).

      Assuming for the sake of discussion that “changing plans” would have been prudent at that juncture, how was anyone to get around Iraqi intransigence? If the Iraqi government did not think it wise, the US had no authority to impose its will on a sovereign government, even if said sovereign government was largely propped up by US power.

      Incidentally, Libya is not in the Middle East, it is in north Africa.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/02/2015 - 10:16 pm.

        What is where

        Mr. Holbrook, it is illogical to imaging that Obama had nothing to offer to (and nothing to press with) Iraqi government… How about threatening to withhold any future help…

        I never said that Libya is in the Middle East (even though some people refer to Greater Middle East which includes north Africa and Iran). I said that what happened there affected the Middle East – there is no contradiction here.

Leave a Reply