Hardball with Chris Matthews, 6/24/14, 8:16 PM ET

Matthews on the policies that led to war

Chris Matthews examines the “Bush-bred foreign policy” that has led the U.S. into jumping into wars, and says that the U.S. needs a fresh start in order to avoid engaging in another conflict in Iraq.

How about we make a fresh start?

Updated

Let me finish tonight with my concern about this tendency to shoot first and ask questions later, this Bush-bred foreign policy that has us jumping into wars.

I had a suspicion, a real one, that our going into the Gulf War under the first President Bush would lead to further incursions. Why? Because history teaches that once we get engaged in a war situation, it keeps pulling us back in. Going to war is like doing business with the mob. You don’t get into it and simply walk away.  

Oh no, all the pressure then builds on commitments you supposedly made. If you fight in one instance, you are called to fight again in another. So we fought Saddam Hussein because he invaded Kuwait; then we fought Saddam because he didn’t do what we told him to do as part of our ending the first war with him. And now the rumblings of war are based on the fact that since we were in Iraq, we owe Iraq our continued firepower in perpetuity.

So it’s been two Bushes, two wars, and now this vague sense that we are one precondition away from firing away, killing more Arabs on international television, shooting Sunnis from the sky for the sin of trying to take back their country from those characters in Baghdad we gave it to.

How about we make a fresh start? How about we look at Iraq as if we’d never fought two wars there and try and think whether we would even think of getting involved in a civil war there, a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia that’s been afoot for over a millennium. Would we?  

And if not, is the prime reason for our going back into the fighting there that we did it twice before to our regret?

But isn’t doing the same thing and expecting a different result the sign of insanity?

Iraq

How about we make a fresh start?

Updated