attribution: History Channel Video
The disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq wasn’t just an American war of choice. As much as anything else, it was a war of talking points. Designed, as President Bush once explained, to “catapult the propaganda,” the tried and untrue sound bites about “the smoking gun that could come in the form of mushroom cloud,” about Saddam seeking uranium in Africa, about being “greeted as liberators,” about an insurgency in its “last throes” in 2005, about the “ties going on between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime” and so much more converted the Bush administration into a weapon of mass deception.
But it was ten years ago this weekend that George W. Bush vomited forth one of the more reprehensible defenses of his debacle in Iraq. Nineteen months after launching the invasion, 17 months after announcing “major combat operations in Iraq have ended” and 14 after declaring “bring ‘em on” to the growing ranks of insurgents, President Bush offered this lone lament in an August 29, 2004 interview with Time magazine:
"Had we had to do it [the invasion of Iraq] over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success - being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day."
Fight another day, indeed. Eleven years after George W. Bush opened the Pandora’s Box of sectarian conflict in Iraq and 10 after he proclaimed it a “catastrophic success,” the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) has emerged with a vengeance. And ISIS owes its stunning battlefield victories to a deadly alliance of Al Qaeda fighters Bush admitted he attracted to Iraq, Sunni tribesmen alienated by his man in Baghdad Nouri al-Maliki and, it turns out, some of Saddam’s former officers who “should have surrendered or been done in.”
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