In a speech this evening President Bush defended the 2003 invasion of Iraq, citing 9/11. Though he conceded that Saddam Hussein wasn’t connected to 9/11 in any way, he insisted that “in a world where terrorists armed with boxcutters had just killed nearly 3,000 people,” it was reasonable for America to oust “a sworn enemy”that was believed to have weapons of mass destruction.
Though Bush expressed surprise at the length (5 and a half years and counting) and expense (over $600 billion in direct costs so far), he lauded his own decision to not “take the easy option and install a friendly strongman in his place.”
Though championed by the president (apparently to this day) as vital to America’s global war on terror, the Iraq war turned up no weapons of mass destruction and sparked an enormous insurgency, leading to the deaths of thousands of US soldiers and a staggering number of Iraqi civilians. Though the president’s speech largely stayed familiarly on message, his comments revealed that he apparently does not view Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as a “friendly strongman.” Whether this is because he’s not strong enough, or not friendly enough, is something only the Bush Administration knows for certain.
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