Skip to comments.Romney changes stance on Iraq invasion
Posted on 12/22/2011 8:23:38 AM PST by TitansAFC
In an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" a few days ago, Mitt Romney was asked whether, given what we know today, the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do. Romney wouldn't say.
"Oh boy, that's a big question," Romney answered. "And going back and trying to say, given what we know now, what would we have done? Would we have invaded or not? At the time, we didn't have the knowledge that we have now." Romney mentioned intelligence before the war suggesting that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. After the war, U.S. and international inspection teams did not find those weapons, which had been the basis for much of the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq. Still, Romney told Fox's Chris Wallace that the invasion was "appropriate at the time" because the U.S. acted "in light of that belief" -- that is, in intelligence that turned out to be faulty.
Wednesday morning, in an interview on MSNBC, Romney got the question again. This time, his answer was not only different but definitive: No, the U.S. would not have invaded Iraq had officials known there were no weapons of mass destruction there.
"Well, if we knew at the time of our entry into Iraq that there were no weapons of mass destruction -- if somehow we had been given that information, why, obviously we would not have gone in," Romney said.
"You don't think we would have gone in?" asked MSNBC's Chuck Todd.
"Well, of course not," Romney answered. "The president went in based upon intelligence that they had weapons of mass destruction. Had he known that that was not the case, the U.N. would not have put forward resolutions authorizing this type of action. The president would not have been pursuing that course."
Romney's statement on MSNBC is not only a change from what he said on Fox a few days ago. It's also a change from his position during his first run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2007-2008. In a January 2008 GOP debate in Florida, Romney was asked, "Was the war in Iraq a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent?" Romney answered: "It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now."
Coming just days after the last U.S. troops left Iraq, Romney's answer is likely to cause consternation among Republicans who maintain that going to war was the right decision, even in light of the failure to discover WMD. But Romney's new answer is not terribly different from what even some George W. Bush loyalists have said in recent years. For example, in his memoir, Courage and Consequence, former top Bush aide Karl Rove wrote: "Would the Iraq War have occurred without WMD? I doubt it: Congress was very unlikely to have supported the use-of-force resolution without the threat of WMD. The Bush administration itself would probably have sought other ways to constrain Saddam, bring about regime change, and deal with Iraq's horrendous human rights violations."
Liars always get caught up in their own lies!!!
Flip-flop, heck no, he’s a LIAR! He forgot what he’s previously said!
Let him explain his change in positions 3 days apart!
Romney is a typical blow-with-the-wind politician.
And a blow-hard. Getting a straight, consistent answer out of him is like getting the truth out of Obama.
Romney continued: "What do you guys think? What do you want to hear? Wait, is it okay if we hold that question until I can poll this with the general public and get back to you on that?"
Never misses an opportunity to underwhelm.
Another example of Harvard’s long falling standards, and of the repulsican party’s uncanny ability to pick milquetoast nothings in lieu of someone with an actual talent.
I don’t like Romney, but I don’t see any “gotcha” here.
And he thinks that makes him clever.
Bush’s mistake was listening to Colin Powell in the first place. He’s the one who insisted on spending months convincing the UN about the WMD’s, then nation-building for years in Iraq. The proper way to deal with Saddam would have been to go in, destroy all the big stuff, kill Saddama and his sons, install our own dictator, and leave. Six months to a year, tops. But an eight year occupation? Nuts.
The sad part of the entire saga, was that Saddam did have WMD’s. They were under seal and part of the inventory declared to the UN. The intel back then suggested he had undeclared WMDs. Everyone always focuses on the undeclared WMDs and not the fact that he possessed declared WMDs. In case people don’t realize it, a declared WMD is as lethal as an undeclared WMD when used by an irrational dictator.
Saddam DID have weapons of mass destruction (murder). Just ask the Kurds. OIF vet
Basically Saddam was taking a page from the CIA and set up his facilities to do just-in-time production. That way he could have everything there ready to be processed at a moments notice and hand them off to his in-house terrorist group to have plausible deniability. That pretty much fits with what we’ve found.
There’s also numerous reports of things either being destroyed or carted to somewhere else, such as Syria, who is having their own trouble right now. We may find those weapons yet.
In this case, it’s not a flip-flop. Both times, his meaning was the same: going in was the correct decision based on the intel we had at the time, but if we knew Hussein didn’t have WMDs, we should not have gone in.
I can respect that position, as it is also my own position. I don’t go around advocating the U.S. invade Burma or Congo or any of a number of other human rights disasters. But if a madman is trying to build nukes or bioweapons, well, that’s a different story.
My main reason for not intervening in clear cases of human rights abuses is one of cost. We can’t afford to be the human rights police. However, I would not say our intervention in Iraq was morally wrong. After all, even the New York Times said Hussein killed a million of his own people in his 25 years of rule, and that’s not counting the deaths in the Iran-Iraq war.
Assuming he had kept up the same pace over the last 8 years, that’s another 320,000 dead. That’s way higher than most estimates of total Iraqi casualties because of terrorist responses to the U.S. efforts.
If you are saving lives, you aren’t morally wrong. It may not be the best use of America’s limited resources, but it’s not morally wrong.
They may find us first.
I like Byron York, but these don’t seem mutually exclusive to me. He said on Sunday (paraphrasing) in light of what we knew then, and yesterday, that we knew wrong. If anything, Wednesday seems like an continuation of Sunday’s idea.
"Well, of course not," Romney answered. "The president went in based upon intelligence that they had weapons of mass destruction. Had he known that that was not the case, the U.N. would not have put forward resolutions authorizing this type of action. The president would not have been pursuing that course." ... In a January 2008 GOP debate in Florida, Romney was asked, "Was the war in Iraq a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent?" Romney answered: "It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now."IOW, no significant change in his position.
...the U.N. would not have put forward resolutions authorizing this type of action.
That’s not an equation on the table and who gives a rats ass about the UN.
Am highly worried about that. I sense destabilization there is going to open up a serious can that will bite us all on the butt. Hope Syria is high on our govt’s list of things to watch because I think we ignore that situation at our own peril.
Yeah, I’m hardly a Romney defender, but this is another case of headline bait where the lede isn’t really supported by the article. And while I disagree with Romney’s conclusions (there was enough justification to invade without WMD evidence: terrorism ties and violation of the ‘91 cease-fire agreement), the two replies are consistent.
Yup, exactly like John Kerry.
I see no evidence Saddam was irrational in regard to the US.
“Getting a straight, consistent answer out of him is like getting the truth out of Obama.”
Don’t blame either of them, because neither KNOWS the Truth!
It was well known and commented on at the time that it was a huge gambol going into Iraq. Who can say if it was a wise gamble based on the knowledge and circumstances at the time?
If it had suceeded Bush would be hailed as a genius. It is looking more and more like the gamble failed.
This passage is a target rich environment.
In the first place, we shouldn't be in the UN in the first place; any argument appealing to a UN position has a weight of precisely zero and is therefore moot.
In the second place, just because Iraq trucked its WMDs into Syria on the eve of the war does not equate to "did not have WMDs".
I hope this piece of crap is not our nominee.
I happen to agree with him that it is now looking certain that we shouldn’t have invaded. Iran is now more influential in Iraq than ever before. Saddam used to keep Iran in check. They were like two scorpions in a bottle. We created a vacuum that is now being exploited by Iran. Obama’s pullout is hastening the return of a civil war. So, we’ve destabilized the region, weakened Iraq, and have, as a result, placed Israel in even more jeopardy. How is this an improvement?
Hindsight is usually better than trying to predict the future. I can think of many times I would have made a different decision if I'd had more facts first before I acted. However, we have to act based on the information we have, and sometimes waiting for 100 percent certainty is more dangerous than acting on our best guesses of how to interpret partial information.
Can we blame Bush for acting irrationally or hastily? That's the key question, and I believe the answer is clearly “no.”
I think we can legitimately point out that 1) virtually every intelligence agency in the world believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and 2) there's a good chance that Saddam himself thought he had WMDs and was lied to by his own top leaders who were under pressure to create things that they apparently hadn't yet managed to create.
As other Freepers have pointed out, Saddam **DID** have the technological capability to make WMDs. He had done so in the past and had used them on his own people as well as on the Iranians. However, having a WMD program is not the same as having WMDs. Maybe Saddam handed WMDs over to someone else; maybe he didn't. Maybe they're still buried in some basement whose location Saddam took to the grave with him. Personally I think the best explanation is that Saddam's own generals and scientists exaggerated their capabilities because they feared for their lives if they were honest with Saddam about what they could and couldn't do.
To believe a people who have never had real freedom or self determination in a thousand years would somehow instantly put aside primitive tribal hatreds and religious rivalries and jump at the chance to share power was foolish and fatuous. Purple thumbs was great, but we were in charge of everything then.
Now, it's all going to shit and no one will ever go back in to fix it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.