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Quotes on the U.S. war in Iraq

Rob Meltzer, 2003:

"Since taking power in Iraq, the Bush administration has installed a non-democratic council over the Iraqi people. Every time the Bush administration says that it is trying to 'persuade' Iraqis to disclose information to the Americans, it sounds like an admission that the United States is involved in torture. And when the Bush administration begins blowing away Iraqi political opponents and publishing pictures of the dead bodies, one has to wonder whether Bush has gone a little too native. In short, if Bush is winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, it might be because he reminds them of someone else who used to run that country. It is simply not convincing that American troops had no choice short of assassination to deal with these men. ... If Bush gives the impression that he is killing the only people who know the truth, it just serves to undermine the credibility of American power, and America overseas.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 2006:

"I believe strongly it [invading Iraq] was the right strategic decision. I know we've made tactical errors, thousands of them, I'm sure. ... I am quite certain there are going to be dissertations written about the mistakes of the Bush administration. But when you look back in history what will be judged on is [whether the] right strategic decision [was made].


Frank Rich, 2006:

"'That [WMD] is what this war was about,' Ari Fleischer said midway through Operation Iraqi Freedom. Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, told the journalist Sam Tanenhaus of Vanity Fair that WMDs were 'the one issue that everyone could agree upon' in the White House war counsels and 'the core reason' for the war.

* * *

When Bush said 'We found the weapons of mass destruction' to a Polish reporter on May 29, 2003, he already knew that the 'mobile biological laboratories' he was referring to were nothing of the kind. As The Washington Post reported in 2006, two days before Bush made his claim, a secret Pentagon-sponsored fact-finding mission of nine U.S. and British biological-weapons experts had reported back to Washington that 'there was no connection to anything biological' in the trailers, which were jokingly derided by the scientists and engineers who had examined them as 'the biggest sand toilets in the world.'"

Excerpt from a Republican memo in 2007:

"The debate [on H. Con. Res 63] should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose."

Andrew J. Bacevich in 2008:

"Yet, as events have made plain, the United States is ill-prepared to wage a global war of no exits and no deadlines. The sole superpower lacks the resources – economic, political, and military – to support a large-scale, protracted conflict without, at the very least, inflicting severe economic and political damage on itself. American power has limits and is inadequate to the ambitions to which hubris and sanctimony have given rise.

Here is the central paradox of our time: While the defense of American freedom seems to demand that U.S. troops fight in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, the exercise of that freedom at home undermines the nation's capacity to fight. A grand bazaar provides an inadequate basis upon which to erect a vast empire."

Associated Press in 2011:

"After two decades of war and civil conflict, about 1.5 million Iraqi women – 10 percent of the country's adult females – are widows, a new study says. Nearly 60 percent of these women lost their husbands in the violence that followed the 2003 U.S. invasion, and most are desperately poor."

Eric Felten in 2011:

"In the first months of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Americans fighting there bucked this conventional wisdom [that soldiers are motivated by supporting each other rather than by causes], with a high number of soldiers saying they were motivated to fight as payback for 9/11. But as the war dragged out into an ugly and endless guerrilla conflict--and as the argument that the war had anything to do with 9/11 became rather less compelling--troops fell back on that simplest of wartime truths. 'We weren't fighting for anybody else but ourselves,' said one American soldier in Iraq in 2005, 'we were just fighting for each other.'"

HuffPost World in 2013:

"The death toll in Iraq this year ranges from some 7,900 to 8,700 people so far, making 2013 the most deadly year for the country since 2008, according to, a U.K.-based website founded in 2003 and run by volunteers to record civilian deaths. The special United Nations representative for Iraq described some recent attacks as “execution-style killings,” and single bombings have claimed as many as 85 lives. Many independent monitors are concerned the situation will continue to worsen."


"Bush having identity crisis?" Rob Meltzer, Metrowest Daily News, Aug. 2, 2003

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a speech at Blackburn's Chatham House in England. March 31, 2006. Accessed March 31, 2006.

Frank Rich. The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina. New York: Penguin Press, 2006. p. 95, 219.

Excerpt from a memo from Representatives John Shadegg (R-AZ) and Peter Hoekstra (R-MI). Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein. Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes. New York: Abrams Image, 2008. p. 62. H. Con. Res. 63 read as follows: "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."

Andrew J. Bacevich. The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008. p. 11.

AP. The Week, Sept. 30, 2011, p. 20.

Eric Felten. Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. p. 28.

"A Wave Of Violence Sweeps Iraq," by Shane Shifflett, Hilary Fung, Eline Gordts and Jay Boice. HuffPost World. Dec. 17, 2013.


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