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RUSH: The Republican presidential candidates are being hit with, “Well, knowing what you know now, would you go back into Iraq?” And they’ve mostly accepted the premise that Iraq was a big boondoggle, a huge mistake, Bush lied, we shouldn’t have done it, and they’re answering on that basis.


Well, on Fox News Sunday, which I didn’t see, during the group panel discussion, Chris Wallace speaking with Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, Wallace said, “The politics of Iraq have gotten a lot of attention the last couple of weeks with Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, bunch of others, and these questions of was it a mistake to go in 2003, was it a mistake to get out in 2011, what impact this could all have on the Republican race, the Democrat race. Bob Woodward, I know you want to talk about it because you’ve written a lot and you’ve reported extensively on this. What do you say about it?”

WOODWARD: There’s a kind of line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq. Lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD, and he was the one who was skeptical. A mistake certainly can be argued and there’s an abundance of evidence, but there was no lie in this, that I could find.

RUSH: See how easy that is? See? Bob Woodward, the sane member of Woodward and Bernstein, says there wasn’t any lie. He looked into this. And, by the way, the Democrats, don’t forget, all signed on to this. Twice the Democrats in the Senate signed onto this, the use of force agreement. And it took Bush, Woodward says 18 months, it took Bush almost a year of going all over this country making speeches, building the case, United Nations and all that. And at no time during any of that did anybody accuse Bush of lying at that point. Only after the fact when it became a political football, but there’s Bob Woodward: Hey, Bush did not lie. That’s not at all what happened here. Case closed, that’s it.

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RUSH: Now, back to Bob Woodward. One more sound bite, Fox News Sunday. After Woodward claimed (paraphrasing), “Hey, I looked into this. I wrote a book about this. There might have been mistakes made in the Iraq war, but Bush did not lie about anything.” Chris Wallace said, “What about 2011 and Obama’s decision to pull all the troops out? There had been the Status of Forces Agreement between Bush and the Iraqi government that provided for a follow-on force. The Pentagon was talking about somewhere between 10 and 20,000. A lot of people think Obama didn’t really want to keep any troops there.”

WOODWARD: Look, Obama does not like war, but as you look back on this, the argument from the military was, let’s keep, 10, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy, and we all know insurance companies make sense. When you’re a superpower you have to buy these insurance policies, and he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision, but clearly a factor.

RUSH: All right, I have to tell you, folks, do you realize how tough it probably was for Bob Woodward to admit both of these things? That, A, Bush didn’t lie. And then in the second sound bite essentially saying that the loss of Iraq is Obama’s fault? Now, that has to be a tough thing for Bob Woodward to say, because Obama’s his guy. No doubt voted for him, invested a lot of hope in him. But it’s clear. Obama lost Iraq by refusing to keep a follow-on force and he went out and claimed victory for it, but he wanted no part of any remaining force.

He’d been promising his insane base he was gonna close Gitmo, get us out of Iraq, get us out of Afghanistan, and make sure the United States took it in the shorts everywhere possible, as we deserved. And so he calls it an insurance policy. We all know insurance policies make sense.

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RUSH: Bill in Macon, Georgia, you’re next. Glad you waited. Welcome to the program, sir.

CALLER: Thank you, Rush. Hey, Rush, two quick points. One, we did not go to war in Iraq over weapons of mass destruction. We went to war over the lack of weapons inspectors being able to do their jobs. And number two, contrary to a caller last week you had, even if George Bush had decided to, quote, unquote, not invade Iraq, the next day he still had the problems with what do I do with the sanctions, what do I do with the no fly zones. So when I hear Chris Wallace ask that simple question about “If you’d have known now what you’d have known then,” it’s like they’re ignoring 12, 13 years of history.

RUSH: Well, obviously, because the purpose of the question is to “gotcha.” I mean, the question’s a setup. I mean, knowing what you know now, would you have encouraged and helped Obama pass Obamacare? Knowing what you know now, we could do this with any politician for anything at any time they served. This is time for the Republicans running for the presidency and important in this is to not accept the premise of the question, which that Iraq was a mistake. And the answer you gave would be a great way of doing it.

The premise is that Bush lied, that he knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, that the intelligence told him there was no WMD, but that Cheney convinced Bush to do it anyway. And that’s the premise under which these questions are being asked. And some of these Republicans are so shell-shocked and afraid of the media, they’re accepting the premise and then any answer they give is a trap. Whereas the correct answer would be not to accept the premise and turn it around and say, “Well, knowing what we know now, if we’re gonna have a Democrat Party that would have done everything to sabotage the war and a forthcoming Democrat president would get us out of there prematurely, no, I might not have gone into Iraq if I’d have known Barack Obama was gonna be elected.”

What an answer that would have been. “If I’d have known Barack Obama was gonna be president no way would I have gone into Iraq because I couldn’t guarantee that our success would be maintained.” Just as simple as that. Or use what you said. “What do you mean, knowing what we now know? Do you know why we went to Iraq?” Just put it back on the reporter. “Well, I’m the one asking the questions, not answering.”

“Well, tell me. I’m asking you a question, why did we go to Iraq?”

“Well, Saddam had weapons of mass –”

“No. He was not permitting weapons inspectors. There were 14 different UN resolutions he was in violation. That’s why there was such a grand, huge coalition, the world united against the guy. He rolled the dice that what happened to him would never happen. He was all bluster. He was trying to look big in the eyes of the mullahs in Iran, and he wanted to be thought of as the big guy in the Middle East to take on the evil US. So he was lying about all this stuff. Of course, he did use mustard gas on his own people, the Kurds, so he had done it before.”

But there’s any number of ways of answering that question. And your way is an excellent one, too. Is to just get ’em off this notion of weapons of mass destruction.

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