The Buzz

Iraq Advice, Then and Now

On rhetoric

“Defeating [Al Qaeda and its affiliates] will require a strategy—not a fantasy. It will require sustained difficult military, intelligence and diplomatic efforts—not empty misleading rhetoric.”

Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, June 17, 2014.

“Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”

Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003.

On the cost of waiting to act

“If this House now demands that at this moment, faced with this threat from this regime, British troops are pulled back, that we turn away at the point of reckoning—this is what it means—what then? What will Saddam feel? He will feel strengthened beyond measure.”

Tony Blair, March 18, 2003.

“Every time we put off action, the action we will be forced to take will ultimately be greater.”

Tony Blair, June 14, 2014.

On Iraqi sectarianism

“To portray it as some obscure thing between Shia and Sunnis, that Americans couldn't tell you which is which, is misleading.”

Paul Wolfowitz, June 17, 2014.

“We have no idea what kind of ethnic strife might appear in the future, although as I have noted, it has not been the history of Iraq’s past.”

Paul Wolfowitz, February 27, 2003.

On designing the war

“'I would say that what's been mobilized to this point—something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers—are probably, you know, a figure that would be required.''

Gen. Eric Shinseki, February 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.”

Paul Wolfowitz, February 27, 2003.

“...By the way, I'm not the architect of the war. If I were the architect, it would have been handled very differently.”

Paul Wolfowitz, June 17, 2014.

On staying for the long haul

“The best estimate of what we will need, post-Saddam Hussein, is what the President and Secretary Powell and Secretary Rumsfeld have been saying: we will stay as long as necessary and leave as soon as possible.”

Paul Wolfowitz, February 27, 2003.

“The possible cost of war in Iraq ought to be considered in the context of America's other international undertakings of recent years. Our preliminary estimate is that it has cost us slightly over $30 billion to maintain the containment of Saddam Hussein for the past 12 years...I can’t imagine anyone here wanting to spend another $30 billion to be there for another 12 years...”

Paul Wolfowitz, February 27, 2003.

“Look, Dwight Eisenhower became president in 1953 having campaigned to end the war in Korea, which he did immediately. He did not remove American troops from Korea. If he had done so, Korea wasn't ready to stand on its own feet for another 10 or 20 years and even then not very well. But today it's a miracle story.”

Paul Wolfowitz, June 17, 2014.

On the price of war

“This is the education of Barack Obama, but it’s coming at a very high cost to the Syrian people [and] to the Iraqi people...”

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