In April 2006, ThinkProgress produced a report titled “The Architects of War: Where Are They Now?” We wrote at the time, “a review of the key planners of the conflict reveals that they have been rewarded — not blamed — for their incompetence.” Referencing our report in July 2007, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, “To read that summary is to be awed by the comprehensiveness and generosity of the neocon welfare system.”
Flash forward to today, and the answer to our original question of the Iraq war architects — “where are they now?” — can be answered quite simply: They’re on your TV screens, in your radio, and in your newspapers — shamelessly demanding credit for the work they’ve done.
For example, consider former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith. According to the Pentagon Inspector General’s office, Feith delivered a briefing to the White House in 2002 that “undercut the Intelligence Community” and “did draw conclusions that were not fully supported by the available intelligence.” What is he doing now? In an interview with NPR yesterday, he blasted Obama for not properly crediting the “success” of Iraq:
He didn’t say America is more secure. And that’s the kind of statement that could help explain to the American people why we need to persevere and do all the things that he’s pledging to do in the future. … And then he also, in January of 2007, just when the surge was getting underway, proposed legislation that would have ended the war in March of 2008. And had that legislation succeeded, it would have prevented the success that he celebrated in his speech tonight.
Another example: former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, who took blame for allowing President Bush to make the false claim in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Africa to build a nuclear weapon. What is he doing now? In an interview with the New York Times, Hadley demanded Bush be given “credit” for Iraq:
“I thought I owed it to the former president that somewhere out there somebody gives him some credit and points out that he’s the one actually that started withdrawing U.S. troops and he’s the one that set up the framework for both a long term relationship with Iraq and a December, 30 2011 end date,” Mr. Hadley said in an interview.
And there’s also former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who conceded the case for invading Iraq was determined based on what could be easily sold to the public. “For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on,” he said. In an op-ed in the New York Times this Monday, Wolfowitz was more magnanimous about sharing “credit” with U.S. soldiers, Iraqi forces, and the Iraqi people. Wolfowitz, who incorrectly predicted Iraq’s reconstruction would be paid for with Iraq’s oil, urged Obama to maintain “a long-term commitment, albeit at greatly reduced cost and risk.”
And on your TV sets, you’ll frequently see Ari Fleischer — the prominent pre-war mouthpiece who said Iraq would “shoulder much of the burden” for reconstruction, who said the Iraqis would “rejoice,” and who claimed that there was no chance “of losing the peace.” On both CNN and MSNBC over the last 24 hours, Fleischer has bemoaned that Bush isn’t being given enough credit for ending the war in Iraq. Watch it:
Check out our Iraq War Timeline here.