For much of the Bush/Cheney era, as conditions in Iraq deteriorated, then-President George W. Bush had some standard rhetorical lines. It wasn’t unusual, for example, to hear the beleaguered Republican president say something like, “Some people say an Iraqi democracy is a bad idea. I disagree.”
It always seemed like a straw-man argument, but as it turns out, perhaps Bush was referring to members of his own national security team. MSNBC’s Amanda Sakuma reported today:
President George W. Bush was wrong to try to build democracy in Iraq, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a recent interview, marking a striking admission from a key player behind the 2003 U.S. invasion.In an interview with British newspaper The Times, Rumsfeld said that efforts to oust Saddam Hussein and replace his tyrannical regime with democracy were unworkable, and that he had concerns about the plan from the beginning.
According to the report, the former Pentagon chief said, “I’m not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories. The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned about it when I first heard those words.”
Hmm. It’s been 12 years since Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld launched their disastrous war. It’s been nine years Rumsfeld gave the nation a reprieve and walked away from the Defense Department post.
He’s only now getting around to saying – out loud – that he’s always been “concerned” by Bush’s stated rationale for the catastrophic conflict?
And if Rumsfeld believes an Iraqi democracy is “unrealistic,” what alternative form of government would he have in mind for the country?
As for why anyone should care what Rumsfeld says about any topic, let’s not forget this Washington Post report from a year ago.
Former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, known for his controversial decisions during the Iraq war, has been courted by several potential candidates and plans to meet with Cruz. Cruz has hired former Rumsfeld aide Victoria Coates as his national security adviser.
Right. After all of his failures, all of his incompetence, and all of his mismanagement, Rumsfeld has reportedly found himself in demand among Republican presidential hopefuls.
It’s tempting to think national GOP candidates might seek out Rumsfeld ‘s guidance, if only to know what not to say and do, but I think we know better.