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THE ARCHITECTS OF THE IRAQ WAR: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH: "If you don't think it's a gamble to put a man in the White House who believes we should have guns in church, who thinks the Taliban is a rock band, who was such a failure as a businessman that his company was nicknamed "El-Busto," who wants to turn our Social Security system into a Wall Street boiler room, who can't name a single thing he disagrees with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson on, who smeared a bona fide hero named John McCain, and whose principle policy proposal is to give America's surplus to the idle rich in the form of a $1.3 trillion tax cut, you're either nuts or a Republican."

... Equal Time co-host Paul Begala, shooting the bull.    December 2000


 

THE ARCHITECTS OF THE IRAQ WAR: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

 

President Bush did not fire any of the architects of the Iraq war. In fact, a review of the key planners of the conflict reveals that they have been rewarded — not blamed — for their incompetence.


PAUL WOLFOWITZ

Role In Going To War: Wolfowitz said the U.S. would be greeted as liberators, that Iraqi oil money would pay for the reconstruction, and that Gen. Eric Shinseki’s estimate that several hundred thousand troops would be needed was “wildly off the mark.” [Washington Post, 12/8/05; Wolfowitz, 3/27/03]

Where Is He Now?: Bush promoted Wolfowitz to head the World Bank in March 2005. Two years into his five-year term, Wolfowitz was rebuked by the World Bank investigative committee for engineering an unethical pay and promotion package for his girlfriend and, after repeated calls for his resignation, stepped down on May 17, 2007. Wolfowitz is now a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank that “has the President’s ear” on national security issues. [Washington Post, 3/17/05, 5/18/07; Financial Times, 6/28/07]

Key Quote: “The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason [for going to war].” [USA Today, 5/30/03]


DOUGLAS FEITH

Role In Going To War: As Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Feith spearheaded two secretive groups at the Pentagon — the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans — that were instrumental in drawing up documents that explained the supposed ties between Saddam and al Qaeda. The groups were “created in order to find evidence of what Wolfowitz and his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, believed to be true.” Colin Powell referred to Feith’s operation as the Gestapo. In Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack, former CentCom Commander Gen. Tommy Franks called Feith the “f***ing stupidest guy on the face of the earth.” [LAT, 1/27/05; NYT, 4/28/04; New Yorker, 5/12/03; Plan of Attack, p.281]

Where Is He Now?: Feith voluntarily resigned from the Defense Department shortly after Bush’s re-election. He is currently writing a memoir of his Pentagon work and teaching a course at Georgetown University “on the Bush Administration’s strategy behind the war on terrorism.” The Defense Department’s Inspector General found that Feith’s secretive groups at the Pentagon “developed, produced, and then disseminated” deceptive intelligence that contradicted “the consensus of the Intelligence Community.” These groups are still under investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee. [Washington Post, 1/27/05;Georgetown press release, 5/1/06; NYT, 2/9/07]

Key Quote: “I am not asserting to you that I know that the answer is — we did it right. What I am saying is it’s an extremely complex judgment to know whether the course that we chose with its pros and cons was more sensible.” [Washington Post, 7/13/05]


STEPHEN HADLEY

Role In Going To War: As then-Deputy National Security Advisor, Hadley disregarded memos from the CIA and a personal phone call from Director George Tenet warning that references to Iraq’s pursuit of uranium be dropped from Bush’s speeches. The false information ended up in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address. [Washington Post, 7/23/03]

Where Is He Now: On January 26, 2005, Stephen Hadley was promoted to National Security Advisor. [White House bio]

Key Quote: “I should have recalled at the time of the State of the Union speech that there was controversy associated with the uranium issue. … And it is now clear to me that I failed in that responsibility in connection with the inclusion of these 16 words in the speech that he gave on the 28th of January.” [Hadley, 7/22/03]


RICHARD PERLE

Role In Going To War: Richard Perle, the so-called “Prince of Darkness,” was the chairman of Defense Policy Board during the run-up to the Iraq war. He suggested Iraq had a hand in 9-11. In 1996, he authored “Clean Break,” a paper that was co-signed by Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, and others that argued for regime change in Iraq. Shortly after the war began, Perle resigned from the Board because he came under fire for having relationships with businesses that stood to profit from the war. [Guardian, 9/3/02, 3/28/03; AFP, 8/9/02]

Where Is He Now: Currently, Perle is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute where he specializes in national security and defense issues. He has been investigated for ethical violations concerning war profiteering and other conflicts of interest. [Washington Post, 9/1/04]

Key Quote: “And a year from now, I’ll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they’ve been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation.” [Perle, 9/22/03]


ELLIOT ABRAMS

Role In Going To War: Abrams was one of the defendants in the Iran-Contra Affair, and he pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts of withholding information from Congress. He was appointed Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on the National Security Council for Near East and North African Affairs during Bush’s first term, where he served as Bush’s chief advisor on the Middle East. His name surfaced as part of the investigation into who leaked the name of a undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. [Washington Post, 5/27/03, 2/3/05]

Where Is He Now: Abrams was promoted to deputy national security adviser in February of 2005. In that position, he has led a smear campaign to attack Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting Syria. [Slate, 2/17/05; IPS, 4/9/07; Washington Post, 2/15/07]

Key Quote: “We recognize that military action in Iraq, if necessary, will have adverse humanitarian consequences. We have been planning over the last several months, across all relevant agencies, to limit any such consequences and provide relief quickly.” [CNN, 2/25/03]


SCOOTER LIBBY

libbyRole In Going To War: As Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Libby repeatedly pressured CIA analysts to report that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and links to al Qaeda. He also provided classified government information to New York Times reporter Judith Miller that formed the basis of a series of articles highlighting Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that were later entirely discredited. Along with Hannah, Libby was a principal author of the discredited draft UN presentation. [Washington Post, 6/5/03; National Journal, 4/6/06; FAIR, 3/19/07; NYT, 10/30/05]

Where Is He Now: On June 5, 2007, Libby was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for perjury and obstruction of justice for his role in the CIA leak case. On July 2, 2007, Bush commuted Libby’s prison sentence, ensuring he would serve no time in jail. [NYT, 6/5/07; Bush, 7/2/07]

Key Quote: “I’m a great fan of the Vice President,” Libby told Larry King in 2002. “I think he’s one of the smartest, most honorable people I’ve ever met.” [Time, 10/28/05]


JOHN HANNAH

johnhannahpiccropped2.jpgRole In Going To War: As deputy national security advisor to Vice President Cheney, Hannah served as the conduit between Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress and the Bush administration, passing along false information about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction that the administration relied upon to justify the invasion. Hannah was also a principal author of the draft speech making the administration’s case for war to the UN. Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA director George Tenet rejected most of the content of the speech as exaggerated and unwarranted. [Newsweek, 12/15/06; NYT, 10/30/05]

Where Is He Now: On October 31, 2005, Cheney promoted Hannah to national security advisor, replacing the role served previously by Scooter Libby. [CNN, 10/31/05]

Key Quote: Reprising his role in misleading the country to war with Iraq, Hannah has told a U.S. ambassador that 2007 is “the year of Iran” and that a U.S. attack is “a real possibility.” [Washington Post, 2/11/07]


DAVID WURMSER

Role In Going To War: At the time of the war, Wurmser was a special assistant to John Bolton in the State Department. Wurmser has long advocated the belief that both Syria and Iraq represented threats to the stability of the Middle East. In early 2001, Wurmser had issued a call for air strikes against Iraq and Syria. Along with Perle, he is considered a main author of “Clean Break.” [Asia Times, 4/17/03; Guardian, 9/3/02]

Where Is He Now: Wurmser was promoted to Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs; he is in charge of coordinating Middle East strategy. His name has been associated with the Plame Affair and with an FBI investigation into the passing of classified information to Chalabi and AIPAC. [Raw Story, 10/19/05; Washington Post, 9/4/04]

Key Quote: “Syria, Iran, Iraq, the PLO and Sudan are playing a skillful game, but have consistently worked to undermine US interests and influence in the region for years, and certainly will continue to do so now, even if they momentarily, out of fear, seem more forthcoming.” [Washington Post, 9/24/01]


ANDREW NATSIOS

Role In Going To War: Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, Andrew Natsios, then the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, went on Nightline and claimed that the U.S. contribution to the rebuilding of Iraq would be just $1.7 billion. When it became quickly apparent that Natsios’ prediction would fall woefully short of reality, the government came under fire for scrubbing his comments from the USAID Web site. [Washington Post, 12/18/03; ABC News, 4/23/03]

Where Is He Now: Natsios stepped down as the head of USAID in January 2006 and is teaching at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh’s School of Foreign Service as a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and Advisor on International Development. In September 2006, Bush appointed him Special Envoy for Darfur. [AP, 2/20/06; Georgetown, 12/2/05; Washington Post, 9/19/06]

Key Quote: “[T]he American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this.” [Nightline, 4/23/03]


DAN BARTLETT

bartlettRole In Going To War: Dan Bartlett was the White House Communications Director at the time of the war and was a mouthpiece in hyping the Iraq threat. Bartlett was also a regular participant in the weekly meetings of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG). The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the “marketing” of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. [Washington Post, 8/10/03]

Where Is He Now?: Bartlett announced his resignation on June 1, 2007 to pursue his “prospects in the private sector.” He was promoted to Counselor to the President on January 5, 2005, and was responsible for the formulation of policy and implementation of the President’s agenda. [Washington Post, 6/2/07]

Key Quote: “Most people would argue we are part of the solution in Iraq, not part of the problem.” [CNN, 10/23/06]


MITCH DANIELS

Role In Going To War: Mitch Daniels was the director of the Office of Management and Budget from January 2001 through June of 2003. In this capacity, he was responsible for releasing the initial budget estimates for the Iraq War which he pegged at $50 to $60 billion. The estimated cost of the war, including the full economic ramifications, is approaching $1 trillion. [MSNBC, 3/17/06]

Where Is He Now?: In 2004, Daniels was elected Governor of Indiana. [USA Today, 11/3/04]

Key Quote: Mitch Daniels had said the war would be an “affordable endeavor” and rejected an estimate by the chief White House economic adviser that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion as “very, very high.” [Christian Science Monitor, 1/10/06]


GEORGE TENET

Role In Going To War: As CIA Director, Tenet was responsible for gathering information on Iraq and the potential threat posted by Saddam Hussein. According to author Bob Woodward, Tenet told President Bush before the war that there was a “slam dunk case” that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. Tenet remained publicly silent while the Bush administration made pre-war statements on Iraq’s supposed nuclear program and ties to al Qaeda that were contrary to the CIA’s judgments. Tenet issued a statement in July 2003, drafted by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, taking responsibility for Bush’s false statements in his State of the Union address. [CNN, 4/19/04; NYT, 7/22/05]

Where Is He Now?: Tenet voluntarily resigned from the administration on June 3, 2004. He was later awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom. He released a memoir in April 2007 critical of many in the Bush administration for their roles in the Iraq war and currently teaches at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh’s School of Foreign Service. [Washington Post, 6/3/04; CBS, 4/29/07]

Key Quote: “It’s a slam dunk case.” [CNN, 4/19/04]


COLIN POWELL

Role In Going To War: Despite stating in Feb. 2001 that Saddam had not developed “any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction,” Powell made the case in front of the United Nations for a United States-led invasion of Iraq, stating that, “There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction.” [Powell, 2/5/03; Powell, 2/24/01]

Where Is He Now?: Shortly after Bush won reelection in 2004, Powell resigned from the administration. Powell now sits on numerous corporate boards. He succeeded Henry Kissinger in May 2006 as Chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowship Program at the City College of New York. In September 2005, Powell said of his U.N. speech that it was a “blot” on his record. He went on to say, “It will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now.” [ABC News, 9/9/05]

Key Quote: “‘You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people,’ he told the president. ‘You will own all their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You’ll own it all.’ Privately, Powell and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage called this the Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it.” [Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack]


DONALD RUMSFELD

Role In Going To War: Prior to the war, Rumsfeld repeatedly suggested the war in Iraq would be short and swift. He said, “The Gulf War in the 1990s lasted five days on the ground. I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.” He also said, “It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” [Rumsfeld, 11/14/02; USA Today, 4/1/03]

Where Is He Now?: After repeated calls for his resignation, Donald Rumsfeld finally stepped down on November 8, 2006, one day after the 2006 midterm elections. Rumsfeld is now “working on setting up a new foundation…to promote continued U.S. engagement in world affairs in furtherance of U.S. security interests” so that he can “remain engaged in public policy issues.” He is also shopping a memoir, in the hopes of receiving “a large cash advance.” [AP, 11/8/06; Reuters, 3/19/06; Washington Times, 5/18/07; NY Sun, 6/27/07]

Key Quote: “You go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” [CNN, 12/9/04]


CONDOLEEZZA RICE

Role In Going To War: As National Security Adviser, Rice disregarded at least two CIA memos and a personal phone call from Director George Tenet stating that the evidence behind Iraq’s supposed uranium acquisition was weak. She urged the necessity of war because “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” [Washington Post, 7/27/03; CNN, 9/8/02]

Where Is She Now?: In December of 2004, Condoleezza Rice was promoted to Secretary of State. [ABC News, 11/16/04]

Key Quote: “We did not know at the time — maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency — but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery. Of course it was information that was mistaken.” [Meet the Press, 6/8/03]


DICK CHENEY

Role In Going To War: Among a host of false pre-war statements, Cheney claimed that Iraq may have had a role in 9/11, stating that it was “pretty well confirmed” that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence officials. Cheney also claimed that Saddam was “in fact reconstituting his nuclear program” and that the U.S. would be “greeted as liberators.” [Meet the Press, 12/9/01, 3/16/03]

Where Is He Now: Cheney earned another four years in power when Bush won re-election in 2004. Despite some conservatives calling for him to be replaced, Cheney has said, “I’ve now been elected to a second term; I’ll serve out my term.” Cheney continues to advocate for preemptive military intervention, recently delivering threats toward Iran in a speech aboard an aircraft carrier off Iran’s coast. [CBS Face the Nation, 3/19/06; NYT, 5/11/07]

Key Quote: “I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.” [Larry King Live, 6/20/05]


GEORGE W. BUSH

Role In Going To War: Emphasizing Saddam Hussein’s supposed stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, supposed ties to al Qaeda, and supposed nuclear weapons program, Bush built public support for — and subsequently ordered — an invasion of Iraq. [State of the Union, 1/28/03]

Where Is He Now: In November 2004, Bush won re-election. Since that time, popular support for the war and the President have reached a low point — nearing the levels of Richard Nixon during Watergate. [Chicago Sun-Times, 6/19/07]

Key Quote: “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” [Bush, 10/7/02]


 

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