Yesterday, former House speak Newt Gingrich declared that the occupation of Iraq has been a mistake for the last 34 months:
It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy [Iraq] after June of 2003.
For Gingrich, it’s a dramatic reversal. In December 2003 (six months after he claimed the occupation of Iraq became a mistake), Gingrich expressed his support for the continuing operations:
I think it’s easy to go back now and second-guess. But when I look back and I think about what we felt in February and March and April, I think it was the right war, it was the right decision. [Fox, Hannity & Colmes, 12/8/03]
In September 2004 (15 months after he says the occupation was a mistake) Gingrich blasted critics who complained “we’re not winning fast enough”:
And instead of applauding this deliberate effort to minimize American casualties and to strengthen the Iraqis, we have some of our friends here at home who want it both ways. They want to complain that we’re not winning fast enough, and they want to complain if we take any casualties. You can’t have it both ways. [Fox, Hannity & Colmes, 9/27/04]
Meet the new Newt. Nothing like the old Newt.
UPDATE: Salon’s War Room finds another good Gingrich quote from 1/19/06: “I think it’s quite clear…that bin Laden and his lieutenants are monitoring the American news media, they’re monitoring public opinion polling, and I suspect they take a great deal of comfort when they see people attacking United States policies.”
UPDATE II: Gingrich persuades the Argus Union Leader to change its headline, claiming his position on Iraq has been “consistent and clear.”