Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is on a full-court press tour to promote her new book. Between trading jabs with her fellow Bush administration colleagues and crediting Bush for the Arab Spring, Rice defended the decision to invade Iraq in a sometimes contentious interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Stephanopoulos pressed Rice on the high costs of the war and the lack of a meaningful link between Iraq and Al Qaeda:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Was the long and costly war in Iraq worth the sacrifice?
RICE: Every international relations class begins with the middle east is the most volatile region in the world. We also now know that it was the cradle of of Al Qaeda and extremism and therefore it was
STEPHANOPOULOS: Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq. You know that.
RICE: Bin Laden was a Saudi. Zawahiri was an Egyptian.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not Iraqi though.
RICE: This came out of the Middle East. Now we didn’t go to Iraq to bring democracy to the Iraqis. And I try in the book to really explain that that wasn’t the purpose.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Some in the administration thought it was.
While Rice doesn’t explicitly defend the disproven claim of an Iraq-al Qaeda link, her logical jujitsu with Stephanopoulos does back her into a corner when she maintains a link between combating al Qaeda and invading Iraq because “This came out of the Middle East.” But her final assertion should require further explanation:
RICE: Rice: Well we were very clear about this. This was a security threat and I as much as anybody really regret the cost, particularly in lives, but I also know that nothing of any value is ever lost without sacrifice.
With no tangible proof of an Iraq-al Qaeda link and no evidence to substantiate the Bush administration’s claims of Iraq’s chemical or nuclear weapons programs, Rice should elaborate on what “security threat” was worth over 100,000 civilian deaths and 4,482 U.S. military fatalities.