In his new book and in recent media appearances promoting it, former top Bush aide Karl Rove has been revising the history of the Iraq war, particularly regarding the issue of Saddam Hussien’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.
Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, Rove continued with his Iraq war history revision campaign. Noting that the Bush administration had mishandled the management of the war, host Tom Brokaw mentioned that “the cost of the war skyrocketed almost from the beginning. There was not a sharing of the oil revenue that a lot of people had promised.” But Rove flatly denied that the Bush administration said Iraqi oil revenues would help pay for the war:
ROVE: No, no. Tom with all due respect that was not the policy of our government that we were going to go into Iraq and take their resources in order to pay for the cost of the war. … [T]he suggestion that somehow or another the administration had as its policy, “We’re going to go in to Iraq and take their resource and pay for the war” is not accurate.
Rove’s claim is simply not true. In fact, days after the U.S. invasion, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told a congressional panel that Iraqi oil revenues would help pay for reconstructing the country, i.e. a cost of the war. “The oil revenue of that country could bring between 50 and 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years. We’re dealing with a country that could really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon,” he said.
One month before the war, then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Iraq “is a rather wealthy country. … And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction.”
Since the start of the Iraq war, the U.S. has spent tens of billions of dollars in reconstruction costs.