On a visit to Ohio yesterday, White House senior political adviser Karl Rove claimed he never wanted the war in Iraq:
“I wish the war were over,” Rove said. “I wish the war never existed… History has given us a challenge.”
History shows Rove was exceptionally eager in 2002 for the upcoming Iraq war, anxious to reap what he viewed would be the political gains for conservatives leading another military conflict:
In January 2002, Rove told conservatives, “Americans trust the Republicans to do a better job of keeping our communities and our families safe…We can also go to the country on this issue because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America’s military might and thereby protecting America.”
In June 2002, Rove was giving PowerPoint presentations candidates advising them to “focus on the war” in their fall campaigns.
In August 2002, Rove was chairing the White House Iraq Group, whose mission was to “develop a strategy for publicizing the White House’s assertion that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the United States.”
In September 2002, Time reported that when friends asked whether Bush planned to invade Iraq, Rove was been known to reply, “Let me put it this way: If you want to see Baghdad, you’d better visit soon.”
Former White House counterterrorism director Richard Clarke later wrote that the Iraq “crisis was manufactured, and Bush political adviser Karl Rove was telling Republicans to ‘run on the war.’”
Rove also claimed yesterday that it was bin Laden, not President Bush, who decided to launch the Iraq war:
In a question-and-answer period after his speech, Rove was asked whose idea it was to start a pre-emptive war in Iraq.
“I think it was Osama bin Laden’s,’’ Rove replied.
Rove’s comments are part of re-emerging tactic by the Bush administration to associate the ongoing war in Iraq with 9/11. Rove and company appear to have forgotten that President Bush said 9/11 had “nothing” to do with the war in Iraq.