Robert Scheer, Chicago Tribune, December 18:
What the heck, I’ll pop over to Iraq one last time for a meet-and-greet with the kids I’ve sent to war. Thank goodness I’m not going to have to do this again, though – I was born an upbeat guy, but it does get to you knowing that the thing is such a bloody mess and yet more of them are going to be sacrificed.
Did I write a secret memo saying that I don’t believe in this thing anymore? You bet! But you can’t let the public in on that and just cut and run. Jeez, how would that look for the Rummy legacy?
First, I go over there back in 1984 and kiss Saddam Hussein’s derriere to get him to take on the ayatollahs in Iran. And now I leave Iraq in the hands of those Iraqi Shiites who were trained in a decade of exile in Iran. Those are the insurgents I’m worried about, not those Sunni guys who used to be with us. Should I have tried to convince young Bush that Saddam could be brought over to our side? Probably.
Yeah, sure, the guy’s a killer, but he could have been our killer – again. Did I know about his killing those Shiite villagers back in 1982? Hey, I was fully in the loop – but that was then and this is now, so let him hang. Only, why did they have to limit his trial to crimes that I knew all about before we shook hands? Some darn columnist will dig up that photo and point out that if Saddam is guilty of war crimes, then maybe I’ve got blood on my hands. Phooey.
I’m not going down that negative road that finished off old Bob McNamara’s legacy. What a disappointment – this is a guy who could sell us the Vietnam War and then blows it by suddenly getting all squishy about the truth when he’s long retired. Jeez Louise, he was once my role model. No secretary of defense ever sold a losing war better.…