This morning, CNN aired an exit interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. During the interview, reporter Zain Verjee asked Rice if she “regretted her role in the Iraq war.” Rice responded by saying that she had no regrets about the war and is “absolutely so proud” of invading Iraq:
QUESTION: Do you regret your role in the Iraq war?
SECRETARY RICE: I absolutely am so proud that we liberated Iraq.
SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely. And I’m especially, as a political scientist, not as Secretary of State, not as National Security Advisor, but as somebody who knows that structurally it matters that a geostrategically important country like Iraq is not Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Rice’s pride is misplaced. Indeed, leaving aside the fact that the war was predicated on false intelligence, Rice cannot credibly argue as a “political scientist” that invading Iraq was in the interest of the U.S. “geostrategically.”
Indeed, Iraq posed no military threat to the United States in 2003. As Rice herself explained in July of 2001, Saddam Hussein had been unable to reconstitute himself militarily following the 1991 Gulf War. More importantly, the invasion of Iraq destabilized the region and empowered Iran politically and militarily. And contrary to neo-conservative predictions, Iran accelerated its nuclear weapons program in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Contrary to Rice’s assessment of the strategic value of the war in Iraq, a group of the some of the nation’s most celebrated political scientists argued in a paid advertisement in the New York Times on the eve of the Iraq war that the invasion was not in America’s strategic interests and predicted several of the negative effects of the war:
View the full ad here.
Despite her pride, Rice was — and remains — wrong about invading Iraq.