Frank Rich revisits the run-up to Iraq

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 at 04:14 PM

My personal thanks to Frank Rich for a wonderful column in Sunday's NY Times, titled The Ides of March 2003, reviewing who said what, and what happened when, in the days just before and after our invasion of Iraq.

The entire column is worth reading (an unrestricted version appears at Truthout's web site), but I couldn't resist pulling these excerpts:

Isn't it more likely that antipathy toward the United States in the Islamic world might diminish amid the demonstrations of jubilant Iraqis celebrating the end of a regime that has few equals in its ruthlessness?
-- John McCain, writing for the Op-Ed page of The New York Times on March 12, 2003.

On the March 16, 2003 "Meet the Press," Dick Cheney says that American troops will be "greeted as liberators," that Saddam "has a longstanding relationship with various terrorist groups, including the Al Qaeda organization," and that it is an "overstatement" to suggest that several hundred thousand troops will be needed in Iraq after it is liberated. Asked by Tim Russert about ElBaradei's statement that Iraq does not have a nuclear program, the vice president says, "I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong."

"There will be new recruits, new recruits probably because of the war that's about to happen. So we haven't seen the last of Al Qaeda."
-- Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism czar, on ABC's "This Week," March 16, 2003.

And, from the recently declassified "key judgments" of the National Intelligence Estimate of April 2006:

The Iraq conflict has become the cause clbre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.

If all this doesn't make you sick, try reading the next post on Richard Perle, one of the few remaining rabid supporters of "victory" in Iraq.