Dec. 15, 2008
President Bush is trying mightily to rewrite the history of the Iraq war before his administration leaves power. He and members of his national security brain trust, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, would like to dispel the narrative that they misled the country into war. Instead, both Bush and Rice are trying to characterize the White House as the unwitting recipient of faulty intelligence.
In recent interviews, both Bush and Rice have expressed regret that the prewar intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction proved to be seriously flawed.
“I don’t know – the biggest regret of all the presidency has to be the intelligence failure in Iraq,” Bush said in an ABC interview when asked if there was one “do over” he would like to have. “A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein.”
The president’s attempt to disassociate himself from accountability for the phony pretext for war is simply outrageous. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, were not just two guys in a crowd of “a lot of people” who were worried about Hussein’s weapons capability. They were elevating the hysteria about Iraq at a time when some of this nation’s most important allies were openly skeptical of U.S. claims of Hussein’s weapons cache and capabilities. The Bush administration was sounding alarms – such as Rice’s January 2003 suggestion that ceding to uncertainty might cause the “smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” – even though U.N. inspectors were coming up empty.