Are they under here? No. Are they over there? No.
Hah! I was hiding them behind my back all along. Heh. Never get tired of that one.
GOP’s alarming Iraq amnesia: Jeb Bush, WMDs & the lies neocons want us to forget
by Joan Walsh, Salon
Friday, May 15, 2015 10:46 AM EST
(Jeb) Bush had a hard time saying that the invasion was a mistake, even with what we know now – Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, and toppling the dictator would smash the country into warring pieces – because he, and his core national security advisors, may well not think it was.
We seem to be suffering from collective amnesia when we act like the lack of WMD was a big “surprise” that Bush and the 2016 field must now reckon with, one that means the invasion was a tragic mistake. In fact, the Bush intelligence team cooked the books to either create or exaggerate the evidence at the time, to sell us a cruel war of choice.
The former president has admitted to mistakes in the war’s execution, the occupation and its aftermath. He has lamented the terrible intelligence his administration shared in the lead up to the invasion. But he himself has never said: If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it.
Quite the opposite. In his memoir, he admitted to tactical mistakes, but stated forthrightly: “The region is more hopeful with a young democracy setting an example for others to follow. And the Iraqi people are better off with a government that answers to them instead of torturing and murdering them.”
He added: “There are things we got wrong in Iraq, but the cause is eternally right.”
Dick Cheney certainly agrees. Paul Wolfowitz, one of Jeb’s advisors, blasts the aftermath of Saddam’s fall, and the wholly incompetent occupation – the reign of Paul Bremer and Dan Senor and fresh-faced 20-something ideologues from the Lincoln Group trying to govern Iraq – but not the decision to wage war itself. There were lots of things the Bush team might like to do over, but the invasion isn’t one of them.
The Cheney-Wolfowitz-Rumsfeld faction saw an Iraq invasion as a brilliant stage on which to enact all of their geopolitical goals: It was a chance to replace a Middle East adversary with an ally; to ease our reliance on Saudi Arabia for defense and for oil, and to develop a strategic counterweight to Iran. It was also an opportunity to declare the U.S. would wage pre-emptive war, to showcase our military might in the aftermath of 9/11, and to shore up Cheney’s doctrine of vast, presidential power. The WMD argument was either just one of many concerns, or an outright fabrication.
So let’s be fair to Jeb Bush for a moment: he can’t get this answer “right” politically – as in, now that we know there weren’t WMDs, and the aftermath was a shit-show, the Iraq invasion was a “mistake” – because it probably isn’t what he believes. Let’s remember, he was one of 25 signatories to the founding document of the pro-invasion Project for a New American Century in 1998 – alongside Cheney, Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, Elliott Abrams, Norman Podhoretz, Frank Gaffney and other neocons. Wolfowitz is one of his foreign policy advisors. He has told us that when it comes to Israel, his brother is his top advisor.
The truth is, Bush didn’t exactly flub his first answer to Megyn Kelly; in saying he’d do it all over again, he told us some of what he really thought. Ironically, if he knew then what he knows now – that his answer was hugely unpopular – he wouldn’t have given that answer. So he said it was a mistake. Then he said it wasn’t. Then he said it was. He’s going to be writhing like this for a long time, because he can’t satisfy all the factions that are trying to unite behind him by telling the truth. Whatever it is.