Madman Redux (and Bush’s Fading Memory)

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Laurence, after all the other lies and rationales and assertions and credible scenarios for invading Iraq collapsed, Bush justified his entire policy on the basis of a private psychiatric insight. Here he is on Meet the Press, February 8, 2004.

Tim Russert: Now looking back, in your mind, is it worth the loss of 530 American lives and 3,000 injuries and woundings simply to remove Saddam Hussein, even though there were no weapons of mass destruction?

President Bush: It’s essential that I explain this properly to the parents of those who lost their lives. Saddam Hussein was dangerous, and I’m not gonna leave him in power and trust a madman. He’s a dangerous man.

Today, as Christians are driven from the country and the endless civil war between Sunnis and Shiites heat up again, we can at least be consoled by Bush’s assurance that this would never, ever, ever come to pass — because Chalabi told him so!

Russert: If the Iraqis choose, however, an Islamic extremist regime, would you accept that, and would that be better for the United States than Saddam Hussein?

President Bush: They’re not going to develop that. And the reason I can say that is because I’m very aware of this basic law they’re writing. They’re not going to develop that because right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al-Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion.

Here is the entire exchange:

Russert: If the Iraqis choose, however, an Islamic extremist regime, would you accept that, and would that be better for the United States than Saddam Hussein?

President Bush: They’re not going to develop that. And the reason I can say that is because I’m very aware of this basic law they’re writing. They’re not going to develop that because right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al-Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion.

Russert: Before we take a break, now that we have determined there are probably not these stockpiles of weapons that we had thought, and the primary rationale for the war had been to disarm Saddam Hussein, Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defense Secretary, said that you had settled on weapons of mass destruction as an issue we could agree on, but there were three. “One was the weapons of mass destruction, the second is the support for terrorism, and third is Saddam’s criminal treatment of his Iraqi people.”

He said the “third one by itself is a reason to help Iraqis but it’s not a reason to put American kids’ lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did.”

President Bush: Um-hmm.

Russert: Now looking back, in your mind, is it worth the loss of 530 American lives and 3,000 injuries and woundings simply to remove Saddam Hussein, even though there were no weapons of mass destruction?

President Bush: Every life is precious. Every person that is willing to sacrifice for this country deserves our praise, and yes.

Russert: Do you think —

President Bush: Let me finish.

Russert: Please.

President Bush: It’s essential that I explain this properly to the parents of those who lost their lives. Saddam Hussein was dangerous, and I’m not gonna leave him in power and trust a madman. He’s a dangerous man. He had the ability to make weapons at the very minimum.

8:17 am on November 10, 2010