For newer readers, let’s revisit what the supporters and architects of this war told us to sell it:
“The United States is committed to helping Iraq recover from the conflict, but Iraq will not require sustained aid.”
–OMB Director Mitch Daniels, quote in the Washington Post on April 21, 2003.
“Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that’s something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.”
–Donald Rumsfeld, January 19, 2003.
Note, we’re now well past the $500 billion mark, and closing in on $1 trillion. Last year, we spent nearly $5,000 per Iraqi citizen. More:
“Costs of any [Iraq] intervention would be very small.”
–White House economic advisor Glen Hubbard, October 4, 2002.
“Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction.”
–Ari Fleischer, February 18, 2003.
“We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”
–Paul Wolfowitz, March 27, 2003.
“A year from now, I’ll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush.”
–Richard Perle, September 22, 2003.
“I expect we will get a lot of mitigation [from other countries re: the cost of rebuilding Iraq], but it will be easier after the fact than before the fact.”
–Paul Wolfowitz, March 27, 2003.
“Some of the higher-end predictions that we have been hearing recently, such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq, are wildly off the mark.”
“I am reasonably certain that they will greet us as liberators, and that will help us to keep requirements down.”
“Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way. . . . The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein, and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.”
–Dick Cheney, when asked if the American public is ready for a long, bloody battle, March 16, 2003.
“I don’t think it would be that tough a fight.”
“There are other differences that suggest that peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests.”
–Wolfowitz, February 27, 2003
“Bring ‘em on. We’ve got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.”
–President Bush, when asked if the insurgency and resulting U.S. casualties might cause him to ask for more help from U.S. allies, July 2, 2003.
Now, let’s look at what those nutty, “unserious” libertarians warned would happen if we went to war with Iraq:
“In the words of one Iraqi: ‘We thank the Americans for getting rid of Saddam’s regime, but now Iraq must be run by Iraqis.’ To prevent that gratitude from turning to resentment and hostility, we must have the wisdom to leave as quickly as possible. If we don’t, the United States runs the risk of reliving its experience in Lebanon in the 1980s. Or worse, our own version of the Soviet experience in Afghanistan — Arabs and Muslims from the region could flock to Iraq to expel the American infidel.”
–Charles V. Pena, May 8, 2003.
“Promoters of nation-building in Iraq, including many who scorned similar efforts by a Democratic administration a few years ago, point to nation-building successes in Germany and Japan following World War II. Along these same lines, Bush declared that ‘[r]ebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment’ and that the United States would ‘remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more.’ But there are still more than 70,000 U.S. troops in Germany and 50,000 in Japan, and this lingering troop presence has given rise to a virulent anti-Americanism. If these ’success’ stories reflect the model for post-war Iraq, we should expect U.S. troops to remain in this troubled region for many years.”
–Christopher Preble, March 4, 2003
“In the absence of strong allies and regional bases, the successful prosecution of another war in Iraq may be more costly in time, lives and resources than the Gulf War.”
–William Niskanen, December 31, 2001
“Another war in Iraq may serve bin Laden’s objective of unifying radical Muslims around the world in a jihad against the United States, increasing the number of anti-U.S. terrorists. In contrast, the Sept. 11 attacks and the successful prosecution of the war in Afghanistan have divided the Muslim political elite.”
“Yet no matter how emotionally satisfying removing a thug like Saddam may seem, Americans would be wise to consider whether that step is worth the price. The inevitable U.S. military victory would not be the end of America’s troubles in Iraq. Indeed, it would mark the start of a new round of headaches. Ousting Saddam would make Washington responsible for Iraq’s political future and entangle the United States in an endless nation-building mission beset by intractable problems.”
–Ted Galen Carpenter, January 14, 2002
“If Iraq’s forces don’t quickly crumble, the U.S. might find itself involved in urban conflict that will be costly in human and political terms.”
–Doug Bandow, August 12, 2002
“The Gulf War Cost $80 billion (in 2002 dollars). Because the United States would probably be faced with a long occupation of Iraq to stabilize the country after the invasion, the cost is likely to be higher this time around. And unlike the Gulf War, no financial support from other nations can be expected to defray the costs.”
–Ivan Eland, August 19, 2002
“The MacArthur Regency worked in Japan because the U.S. occupiers entered a country sick to death of war, with a tradition of deference to authority…
…That process is particularly unlikely to be repeated in Iraq, a fissiparous amalgam of Sunnis, separatist Shiites and Kurds. Keeping the country together will require a strong hand and threatens to make U.S. servicemen walking targets for discontented radicals.”
–Gene Healy, January 1, 2003
Worth keeping in mind should we get a President McCain, who will inevitably start rattling his saber at Iran.