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Monday, February 27, 2006

As the 3-year anniversary of Bush & Cheney's Wacky Iraqi Adventure nears, I thought it might be interesting to look back at what was happening back in February 2003. So hit the "Way Back Machine" Mr. Peabody, we've got some improbable history to explore!

Image hosting by Photobucket 'To 2003 Sherman, let's go!'

I believe the state of the nation in late February 2003 was, well, pretty much 'scared shitless'. Only a few weeks earlier, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge had told us all to stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting to protect ourselves from the terrorist bogeyman hiding underneath our beds with dirty bombs strapped to their chests. And of course, the war drums were beating loudly as administration officials swarmed the airwaves and speaking circuits in an effort to convince us that Saddam was about to kill us all, just like he did on 9/11. And it was working.

2/26/03: Bush speaks to the American Enterprise Institute

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"In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world -- and we will not allow it. (Applause.) This same tyrant has close ties to terrorist organizations, and could supply them with the terrible means to strike this country -- and America will not permit it."

Well, I guess he didn't permit any of those things to happen, so, uh, Mission Accomplished?

"The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people."
Last week: The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, warned yesterday that Washington might cut aid to the Iraqis if the new government included sectarian politicians, pointing out that the US had spent "billions" in building up the police and the army. "American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly. We are not going to invest the resources of the American people into forces run by people who are sectarian."

"Today they live in scarcity and fear, under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war, and misery, and torture."
Ummmmm... wow. Do I even have to point out the irony of that statement?

2/27/2003: Paul Wolfowitz to the House Budget Committee

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"The President's budget requests $379.9 billion for the Department of Defense for FY 2004, a $15.3 billion increase over last year's enacted level. The budget projects that the DoD topline will, in real terms, grow about 2.5 percent per year through 2008."
Well, he was close. The proposed 2007 defense budget? Nearly $440 billion, an increase of 7 percent over last year. And that doesn't even include the $120 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the unknown cost of Operation Iranian Freedom. And the military contractors cheer, hooray!

"Moreover, when we send our forces into combat, we want them to have the kind of overwhelming advantage that minimizes casualties and provides for decisive victories, not the bare margin necessary for a close win."
December 2004: Soldiers Must Rely on 'Hillbilly Armor' for Protection

"The same rigorous planning and tough decision-making used in our budget preparation are being applied to our execution of the war on terrorism and to preparations for a possible war in Iraq."
By "rigorous" he apparently means "none at all." On both fronts.

"We are working, instead, to promote a culture in the Defense Department that rewards unconventional thinking and gives people the freedom and flexibility to take risks and try new things."
Wolfy: Hey, let's try something new and unconventional!
Rummy: What's that?
Wolfy: No plan, too few troops, outdated equipment and a whole lotta hope!
Rummy: Brilliant! You will be rewarded with a primo position at the World Bank.
Wolfy: Thank you! Think I'll get a medal too?
Rummy: Throw a little torture into the mix and we can talk.

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Interlude: A little irony from the Wayback Machine
It was only 745 years ago this month, February 1258, that Genghis Khan's grandson, Hulagu Khan, led his Mongols across the Tigris and proceeded to sack, burn and destroy Baghdad. Wow, history really does repeat itself, doesn't it?

Finally, 2/23/03: Wolfowitz to the Iraqi-American Community

"The United States and coalition allies will provide for the safety of the Iraqi people from day one."
And Yesterday, in Baghdad:
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He's six years old. Enough is enough.

Kick these guys out. Every single last one of 'em. Now.

Shakes: Today's To-Do
Dreyfuss: Bush is to Blame
Dan Froomkin: Not Lame Yet?
Involuntary Pull Toward Civil War
Lewis Lapham: The Case for Impeachment

[return to DAYS home]

Jed, excellent work. Thanks for doing the heavy (time-travel) lifting.
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