In a new interview with Reason magazine, former White House press secretary Tony Snow attempts to whitewash the failures of the Bush administration in Iraq, claiming that the only time the situation was “sour” was for 15 months, between Feb. 2006 and early 2007:
Reason: There’s a strong sense, borne out by action or the lack thereof, that the president is impervious to his critics. So for a long time, people had been telling him that the Iraq war wasn’t going well, but he was not listening.
Snow: The critics quite often have criticisms but they don’t have recommendations. The new narrative is that somehow the Iraq war has been a failure for a long time and that everybody knows that it’s been a failure for a long time. The period when Iraq went sour was from the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samara in February 2006 until really the surge in 2007. Fifteen months, maybe?
Even out of the administration, Snow is still repeating the talking point that the Feb. 2006 bombing was the start of Iraq’s deteriorating security situation. In January, Snow also claimed that no one anticipated the “eruption of sectarian violence.” While such fighting did escalate after the bombing, it wasn’t calm before that point. A look at the pre-Samara situation one more time for Snow:
– “The numbers of car bombs, suicide car bombs and roadside bombs all doubled from 2004 to 2005.”
— In 2005, there were more U.S. casualties in Iraq (846) than there were in 2006 (821).
— On Feb. 27, 2005, Knight Ridder quoted then-Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Kadhim warning about sectarian violence, “It’s the beginning, and we could go down the slippery slope very quickly. … Both sides are sharpening their knives.”
— On Sept. 26, 2005, CBS News reported that “there is an undeclared civil war already underway in Iraq, between the Sunni minority who ruled this country under Saddam and the Shiite majority.”
Furthermore, it’s premature to declare victory in Iraq. Military commanders and other Iraq experts have warned that the “positive” momentum is “not yet irreversible” and Iraq is “going nowhere” in “political terms.”