Iraq

Mistakes Were Made. Or Maybe Not.

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

To say that "mistakes were made" in Iraq is an effective way for Republican politicians and pundits to imply that invading Iraq was a mistake without outright saying so, but Florida senator and GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio does not believe that any mistakes were made.

It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information that he was provided as president,” Rubio told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” [...]

“The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there,” Rubio added of the invasion’s aftermath.

It really is amazing to me that the Republican party intends to wed itself to the Iraq war for the foreseeable future. We're still paying for the mistake, among many other mistakes, and we'll be paying for it for a long time; not just in treasure but in the physical and emotional scars of tens of thousands of wounded veterans and their families.

As a Democrat I'm pleased that Republicans have decided to become Bush administration apologists and, to varying degrees, pledge to follow the Bush playbook in 2016. But that doesn't mean it makes any sense for them.

This is a political wedge issue with no wedge. There is no significant pro-Iraq war demographic to score with and there will never be.

While I digress, I have to address Rubio's assertion that President Bush made the decision to "go into Iraq" based on "information that he was provided."

The Bush administration based the decision on information that they demanded be provided to them and, when that didn't work out, they simply made shit up.

Rubio is not the only Iraq war apologist to use this line of reasoning. Others, including Jeb Bush, have used phrases such as "given what we know now" to imply that George W. Bush was an innocent victim of faulty intelligence.

It strikes me that if the next president were a Republican, they would be at odds with the intelligence community on day one following nearly two years of campaigning on the idea that they, rather than the Bush administration, are responsible for Iraq.

  • i_a_c

    The Bush administration based the decision on information that they
    demanded be provided to them and, when that didn’t work out, they simply
    made shit up.

    The White House was having trouble with its own party in the House on this issue, so Dick Cheney met with then-Majority Leader Dick Armey and told them Saddam was making suitcase nukes.

    Complete and utter horseshit, 100% a lie. It’s even worse than that, as the very concept of a “suitcase nuke” is laughable, as were the fairy tale portable chemical weapons labs. That shit was all nonsensical to anyone with a clue about what nuclear weapons are, or for anyone who greeted the idea of portable chemical weapons labs asking “What could possibly go wrong?”

  • 1933john

    Corrected copy:
    “It was a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information that he provided as president,” Rubio told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” […]:

  • GrafZeppelin127

    I’ve actually been told, on several occasions, that it was Democrats who talked/convinced/goaded/coerced a reluctant George W. Bush into invading Iraq, not the other way around. There is no limit to the cognitive dissonance on this issue.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Proper response to that is “So you’re saying Bush was a weak President who let those ‘Democrat wimps’ you’re always talking about push him around.”

      Yeah, I know. The cognitive dissonance will have them seeing Bush getting pushed around as evidence that he was a strong leader. But it’s worth a shot. Maybe at some point one of them will actually blow a chip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuYbDP2kDfg

      • GrafZeppelin127

        Oh, I’ve made that point repeatedly: Bush was this heroic, brilliant, strong, decisive, formidable, highly-respected, divinely-inspired, historically-great leader — who was utterly powerless to prevent anything that happened during his presidency, or to prevent the Democrats from ruining everything.

  • Victor the Crab

    “Well, the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there.”

    Is it really better now, Rubio? Because, instead of Saddam, we now have to deal with ISIS, thanks to you and your Republican cohorts, dumbass!

    • Christopher Jones

      So… the next time somebody uses that asinine phrase, it’s completely reasonable to follow it up with, “So then, you’re telling me that the world is a better place with ISIS?”

      • Victor the Crab

        One would hope so.

  • muselet

    Josh Marshall methodically demolished the “George W Bush was misled by bad intelligence” argument last Friday.

    George W Bush received precisely the information he and his bloodthirsty advisers wanted; if not from the intelligence services, then through channels operated by those selfsame bloodthirsty advisers. Bush and Dick Cheney and the chickenshit chickenhawks who styled themselves “The Vulcans” wanted a war in Iraq and were not to be denied by something as trivial as reality.

    “The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there,” Rubio added of the invasion’s aftermath.

    Really. Marco Rubio thinks the world is a better place because Da’esh exists. Yeah, yeah, IOKIYAR, but isn’t saying something like that, out loud and on purpose (as Steve Benen puts it), supposed to be disqualifying for a presidential candidate?

    I get the feeling Marco Rubio isn’t the brightest bulb in the candelabra.

    –alopecia

  • Christopher Foxx

    While I digress, I have to address Rubio’s assertion that President Bush made the decision to “go into Iraq” based on “information that he was provided.”

    The Bush administration based the decision on information that they demanded be provided to them and, when that didn’t work out, they simply made shit up.

    And that’s the key point in any rebuttal to folks who say “Bush made the right call.” Yes, Presidents don’t get the benefit of hindsight and need to make the best decision they can based on the information known at the time. And sometimes, as the results of that decision become known over time, hindsight will show the decision was a mistake.

    But Bush disregarded much of the information known at the time, so he (and his apologists) don’t get that “based on what was known at the time” defense.

    • GrafZeppelin127

      Exactly right, re: “the key point.” It’s also the point that apologist holdouts can’t be made to understand.

      I don’t think anyone wants to absolve the various Democrats who, for whatever reasons, went along with this in 2002-03, of their part in the whole debacle. But the idea that this was anything other than a pack of schoolyard bullies convincing and coercing the other kids into doing a monumentally stupid thing, is just wrong.

      • Christopher Foxx

        It’s also the point that apologist holdouts can’t be made to understand.

        Not that it’s a difficult concept:
        “Bush did not make a decision based on the information available. Instead, Bush and his administration ignored or lied about the intelligence so that they could get the result they wanted.”