Posted by James Lamond
In his recent interview with Charlie Gibson, the President spoke of regrets and do-overs in a sad attempt to shape his legacy.
Here is part of the exchange:
GIBSON: You've always said there's no do-overs as President. If you had one?
BUSH: I don't know -- the biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein. It wasn't just people in my administration; a lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington D.C., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence. And, you know, that's not a do-over, but I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess.
GIBSON: If the intelligence had been right, would there have been an Iraq war?
BUSH: Yes, because Saddam Hussein was unwilling to let the inspectors go in to determine whether or not the U.N. resolutions were being upheld. In other words, if he had had weapons of mass destruction, would there have been a war? Absolutely.
GIBSON: No, if you had known he didn't.
BUSH: Oh, I see what you're saying. You know, that's an interesting question. That is a do-over that I can't do. It's hard for me to speculate.
The President's responses are just disturbing on two levels.
First, his logic. President Bush completely contradicts himself by first saying that the intelligence failure is his biggest regret, but if the intelligence had been correct, he still would have gone to war. Does that make any sense? He regrets that the intelligence was wrong, but if it was right he would have done the same thing.
Second, Bush is trying to erase his responsibility for the failure in Iraq by placing the blame on the flawed intelligence. While others may have believed the manipulated intelligence the Bush administration offered, he is the one who rushed to war and completely mismanaged it once he was there. He does not seem to regret his doctrine of "preventative war" and spreading democracy to the Middle East, his dismissal of allies, the lack of preparation for war, or the complete lack of understanding of the country in which he was invading. These combined with the the utter mismanagement of the war effort by the Bush administration is what led to the disaster, we see today- not just the fact that there were no WMDs in Iraq.
By reading the president's responses in the the interview, one would think that the only problem in Iraq is that we didn't find WMDs. The truth is that there is so much more went wrong with the war than just the intelligence. It was also the failed policies of the administration. Ultimately the blame falls on the president himself.