One of the most outspoken advocates for the war in Iraq said on NPR on Wednesday that asking whether the war was worth fighting is an “unreasonable question.”
During an interview with Richard Perle — who was chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee during the run-up to the war — NPR host Renee Montagne noted some of the war’s more grim results: hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis dead or wounded and asked Perle whether it was all worth it:
Q: There’s no question you were a great proponent of going into Iraq and getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Ten years later, nearly 5,000 American troops dead, thousands more with wounds, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded. When you think about this, was it worth it?
PERLE: I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done in the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t, a decade later, go back and say, “Well we shouldn’t have done that.”
Listen to the clip:
Perle has tried hard over the years to either justify the war or even wipe his fingerprints from it altogether. He once even tried to say he, and the neoconservatives in the Bush administration, had “no influence” on the decision and just yesterday, he said it didn’t matter whether Saddam Hussein had WMD, the U.S. should have invaded anyway (he actually had previously said the U.S. wouldn’t have invaded if the U.S. new he had no WMD).
But as far as whether the war was worth it, CAP’s Matt Duss has a pretty good take: “The end of former Iraq President Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime represents a consider- able global good, and a nascent democratic Iraqi republic partnered with the United States could potentially yield benefits in the future,” he writes in the Iraq War Ledger, A Look at the War’s Human, Financial, and Strategic Costs, “But when weighing those possible benefits against the costs of the Iraq intervention, there is simply no conceivable calculus by which Operation Iraqi Freedom can be judged to have been a successful or worthwhile policy. The war was intended to show the extent of America’s power. It succeeded only in showing its limits.”