Mitt Romney for President, From the People Who Brought You the Iraq War

no comments
March 19, 2012

Nine years ago today, George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq.

He and his team of advisors said there were weapons of mass destruction. They said the war would be quick. They said it would be cheap. They said it was important.

The war cost the United States about $1 Trillion. It cost nearly 5,000 American lives. Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians died. Over 30,000 American soldiers were injured, with many more still fighting the mental ravages of war — ballooning the cost of the VA system, already stretched before the war.

America’s war in Iraq took three years longer than the Civil War and four months longer than World War II. We were there longer than we were in Vietnam, because apparently we don’t know how to learn from history.

Today, the 9th anniversary of this disastrous war, is the first anniversary not marked by continued war. Last December, that war was ended and troops were pulled out.

There is still that other war, and it, too, needs to end.

But let’s stop for one moment and consider history, such that we may learn from it… maybe.

The Republican primary season is increasingly chaotic. There is growing talk of a brokered convention, but many dismiss that as just talk. There are loud voices, strong ones, all lined up behind Mitt Romney and insisting that he will be the nominee. They say the delegate math is in his favor and it is only a matter of time. But that time might still get us to May 22nd, the Kentucky Primary.

If so, our Republicans friends will head to the polls with a vote in their hands.

Looking back over the Iraq war and looking forward at a Mitt Romney administration, it’s difficult for anyone to not support one without the other. If you accept the Iraq war was a success, that it was not a distrous and extremely costly mistake, then you will love a Mitt Romney presidency.

Mitt Romney has surrounded himself with some of the brightest minds of the Bush administration, some of the powerful architects of that failed and miserable war.

From the people who brought you the war in Iraq, they now offer you Mitt Romney — the pro-Obamacare, pro-Planned Parenthood, pro-Immigration faux-conservative who will do and say whatever he’s told — has set up a foreign policy team full of Iraq War masterminds and, well, they are the ones who will tell him what to do and what to say.

Which should be disconcerting to every American voter, regardless of party. Independent voters should run away. Moderate Republicans should run away. Fiscally conservative Republicans should run away.

Here are Mitt’s foreign policy puppetmasters:

Cofer Black
Christopher Burnham
Michael Chertoff
Eliot Cohen
Norm Coleman
John Danilovich
Paula J. Dobriansky
Eric Edelman
Michael Hayden
Kerry Healey
Kim Holmes
Robert Joseph
Robert Kagan
John Lehman
Andrew Natsios
Meghan O’Sullivan
Walid Phares
Pierre Prosper
Mitchell Reiss
Daniel Senor
Jim Talent
Vin Weber
Richard Williamson
Dov Zakheim

Where to even begin.

Robert Kagan was the co-founder, with Bill Kristol of the Project for a New American Century, the think tank that spent years pushing for a return dalliance in Iraq. In October 2001, Kagan and Kristol praised President Bush for declaring his “War on Terror” was not just about finding Osama bin Laden, nor simply disrupting the al Qaeda terrorist organization. No, Kagan wrote:

Bush’s Thursday speech was significant because the president made clear that taking decisive action against Saddam does not require absolute proof linking Iraq to last week’s attack.

Kagan spent years advocating for the Iraq war, and he used September 11th to push the case still further… regardless of any link to the 9/11 attacks. With the war underway, Kagan continued his cheerleading. In early April of 2003 he called it Bush’s “brilliant military campaign.”

Giving Robert Kagan a job in foreign policy, asking him for advice on how the world works and how America should work in the world, shaping your campaign around his worldview is quite simply dangerous.

If Mitt Romney appointed Bernie Madoff to his economic advisory team, Americans would be appalled. Robert Kagan has the exact same record of success.

Cofer Black, Bush’s chief of counter-terrorism, is a former vice chairman of the reckless mercenary force Blackwater to which the Iraq war was outsourced under a series of no-bid contracts.

Michael Hayden, architect of the Bush administration’s domestic wiretapping program, was still trying in vain to tie Iraq to al Qaeda as late as 2008. That’s some solid advice for Mr. Romney.

Michael Chertoff, who famously announced on national television after Hurricane Katrina that the Superdome was secure as the split screen showed a very different view, came to Bush’s defense in 2007 as more and more Congressional Republicans called for an end to the Iraq war — claiming an al Qaeda attack would be imminent if Bush bowed to the GOP pressure.

Dan Senor was Bush’s spokesman on Iraq in both the lead-up to the war and the first year of the occupation.

Eric Edelman was a deputy to Dick Cheney, working under Lewis “Scooter” Libby  – who outed a CIA agent after her diplomat husband pointed out the fallacies of the Bush administration’s War on Iraq narrative. In 2007, Edelman responded to a Congressional request for information on planning for withdrawal from Iraq by claiming the request boosted “enemy propaganda.”

Eliot Cohen was an advisor to Condoleezza Rice. In the lead up to the Iraq war he joined the “Committe for the Liberation of Iraq,” a group closely alligned with the Kagan’s Project for a New American Century and the American Enterprise Institute. In 2001, Cohen wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

After Afghanistan, what? Iraq is the big prize… One important element will be the use of the Iraqi National Congress to help foster the collapse of the regime, and to provide a replacement for it. The INC, which has received bad, and in some cases malicious treatment, from the State Department and intelligence community over the years, may not be able to do the job with U.S. air support alone.

He went on CNN and asserted that “we know” there are links between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein and he continued to cheerlead the war in the years after.

Robert Joseph, then a top aide to Condoleezza Rice, was instrumental in convincing the Bush team to use the fabricated evidence of Iraq’s purchase of uranium from Niger. The uranium claim was central to the case made by Bush and his administration to convince the American people that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea. That was Joseph’s work, and now he’s working for Mitt Romney.

The list goes on. There’s Grant Aldonas, special advisor to the Romney campaign and Bush’s undersecretary of commerce, who went around telling business leaders that war in Iraq “would open up this spigot on Iraqi oil, which certainly would have a profound effect in terms of the performance of the world economy for those countries that are manufacturers and oil consumers.”

There’s John Bolton, who has endorsed Romney in 2012. Bolton was Bush’s undersecretary for arms control from 2001 to 2005. He travelled the world trying to convince skeptical nations to join Bush’s farcical “coalition,” and in April of 2003 when asked if the lack of weapons of mass destruction proved that Iraq was not an imminent threat to United States, Bolton responded:

I just said that it did to the extent they had WMD programs that they could have shared with terrorists or used in and of themselves — that’s a risk.

Maybe you’re willing to wait until after the weapons have been used.

I was not willing to wait and neither were the people of the United States.

And Bolton’s views haven’t changed. In 2011, he went on FOX News and argued that we should not end the war in Iraq, supporting his position by pointing out “we’re still in Germany, we’re still in Japan.” Both of which are true but demonstrate a woeful — and dangerous — misunderstanding of the nature, purpose and lessons of the Iraq War (not to mention history in general and global realities in specific).

Last December, a month before Mitt Romney proudly announced his endorsement, Bolton wrote a long column in the Guardian arguing for a continued occupation, a continued war:

America’s complete withdrawal of its troops from Iraq is a tragic mistake. It jeopardises the gains made by President Bush’s (and Tony Blair’s) eminently correct 2003 decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and risks the broader Middle East falling into chaos.

That’s the kind of advice Mitt Romney is getting.

It’s clear that Romney is following his leaders, whether he’s being told to pretend to eat grits or he’s being told to now be against Planned Parenthood, or he’s being told to lie and say he never advocated for Obamacare, or he’s being told that the Iraq War was righteous and good and — worse — needs to be continued… Mitt Romney surrounds himself with dangerous characters who present a disatrous track record.

If you liked the Iraq War, if you thought that was a good way to expend 9 years, 5,000 American lives and one trillion dollars, then you’ll love Mitt Romney.

On the bright side, the war is over. Happy anniversary. That was an awful, awful mistake.

Now we just need to end that other war.


More from Reuters:

Romney’s chief political strategists, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, are veterans of both Bush-Cheney campaigns. Romney campaign adviser Kevin Madden was a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney effort in 2004, then was a spokesman for Bush’s Justice Department.

Romney’s economic advisers include Glenn Hubbard, architect of the Bush-era tax cuts as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and now dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He’s joined by Harvard’s N. Gregory Mankiw, author of a popular economics textbook and Bush’s primary economic adviser from 2003 to 2005.

Romney has named 24 “special advisers” in national security and foreign policy, 16 of whom served in diplomatic or political roles under Bush. They include Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security chief, and Dan Senor, who was an administration spokesman in Iraq.

On judicial issues, Romney is advised by at least three top veterans of Bush’s Justice Department.

Romney’s education advisers include Margaret Spellings, who was secretary of education under Bush and a chief advocate for No Child Left Behind.


War Is Over If You Want It

one comment
October 21, 2011

President Obama today:

Here at home, the coming months will be another season of homecomings. Across America, our servicemen and women will be reunited with their families. Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.

This December will be a time to reflect on all that we’ve been though in this war. I’ll join the American people in paying tribute to the more than 1 million Americans who have served in Iraq. We’ll honor our many wounded warriors and the nearly 4,500 American patriots — and their Iraqi and coalition partners — who gave their lives to this effort.

And finally, I would note that the end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition. The tide of war is receding. The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus our fight against al Qaeda and achieve major victories against its leadership — including Osama bin Laden. Now, even as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, where we’ve begun a transition to Afghan security in leadership. When I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in both these wars. And by the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and make no mistake: It will continue to go down.

Meanwhile, yesterday marked the definitive end of the Qaddafi regime in Libya. And there, too, our military played a critical role in shaping a situation on the ground in which the Libyan people can build their own future. Today, NATO is working to bring this successful mission to a close.

McConnell admits that new GOP war critics are giant partisan hypocrites

no comments
June 23, 2011

Oh yes he did. Here’s Mitch McConnell on why so many Republicans have suddenly become big war critics/doves:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

“I do think there is more of a tendency to pull together when the guy in the White House is on your side. So I think some of these views were probably held by some of my members even in the previous administration, but party loyalty tended to kind of mute them. I think a lot of our members, not having our party in the White House, feel more free to kind of express their reservations.”

Hey Geoff Davis, he’s talking to you!

It’s kind of easy to point to this and say this is another example of Mitch McConnell being “off his game”, admitting to something true in public when he is supposed to spin. But maybe Mitch is playing chess here, either in competition with the Paul/Tea Party right, or giving Obama more slack to screw up with next year concerning the wars.

Fascinating, either way.

Two from Bowling Green indicted on terrorism charges

no comments
May 31, 2011


BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Two Iraqis have been indicted in Kentucky on federal terrorism charges, including allegations that they provided support to Al-Qaeda in Iraq and conspired to transport Stinger missiles overseas.

Thirty-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan and 23-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, both former residents of Iraq who currently live in Bowling Green, were charged in a 23-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Bowling Green.

The 23-count indictment was unsealed Tuesday after the pair made their initial appearances in federal court in Louisville.

Neither is charged with plotting attacks within the United States. Prosecutors identified Alwan as a one-time member of the Iraqi insurgency who planted improvised explosive devices aimed at killing U.S. troops in the country over eight years.

Get off our backs?

Geoff Davis and The Way We Were

no comments
May 24, 2011

Yesterday we discussed how odd it was that Rep. Geoff Davis would spend 8 years vilifying critics of the Iraq War as al-Qaeda appeasing cut-and-runners who don’t support the troops, and then casually said that the Iraq War was a mistake yesterday. Without being prefaced by, you know, a big apology.

Well, we’ve had more time to dip into the archives, and boy did we find some more stuff. This is from November 3rd, 2005 on the House floor, as Republicans sought to show the “truth” about the War in Iraq. Iraq was going swimmingly, you see, unlike what those liars in the liberal media and cut-and-running Democrats were saying.

One of the speakers that day to explain the treachery of those who criticized the war was Rep. Geoff Davis. Enjoy:

The whole thing is quite fascinating. But here’s some of the fun parts:

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to share a perspective that I think is often lost in the freedoms we enjoy, the freedom to meet in this Chamber, the freedom to reflect upon the great decisions that have been made here through the generations, The decision to enter into a war, to provide freedom and the maintenance of our union, the decision to free peoples in Europe and ultimately preserve our security at home.

On December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt stood in this Chamber and declared that December 7 was a day of infamy. He shared that this unprovoked attack which moved the United States to war, eventually into Europe as well. In the Korean War, we stopped Communist aggression. In Vietnam, the American people responded. During Operation Desert Storm, the American people responded.

In this Chamber in September of 2001, President Bush responded to an attack that was not brought about, my friends, by some nebulous global war on terror. I think it is important that we understand this war is not about some nebulous terrorist concept. This is about Islamic extremism that chooses to impose itself on the world. These people who largely act as agents of states, these non-state actors do not follow the teachings that they purport. Yet if we look more deeply, we see that they are seeking to be true to their interpretation of that religion.


More than that, I would suggest to you that these same people who want to talk about numbers and these liberal reporters who do not care about this Nation, who do not care about the price that was paid for the freedoms that they enjoy, where were you for the last 25 years? Where were you when 16,000 American soldiers died between 1983 and 1996 in service to this Nation? Where were you when 24,000 American men and women gave their lives between 1980 and 2004? Your comments, frankly, are despicable, dishonorable, uninformed, unhistorical, anti-intellectual and, frankly, un-American. But I respect your freedom to make those statements, because they were purchased with the blood of all of those who served.


But now you disagree with the policy when our Nation is threatened by extremists, and soldiers and Marines and airmen and sailors have responded to that call, and you sit here mouthing your empty words.


To me, I think the lesson that we have to ask ourselves is how do we get around this, how do we avoid this problem. Well, the media is not going to be helpful to this country because I think they have lost their connection with the heartland of this Nation, with the people who have borne the burden of the price of freedom through the generations.


That is the contrast that we have here: freedom, opportunity, hope, true faith, or extremism, persecution, tyranny and hatred. Thank you for you who serve.

So there’s that…

What’s that word I’m looking for that describes Geoff Davis?

After years of vilifying critics of Iraq War, Rep. Davis becomes one (UPDATE)

no comments
May 23, 2011

Kentucky’s 4th District Representative Geoff Davis told Ryan Alessi that the Iraq War was a mistake. Here’s the full interview, which I recommend you listen to full and in context:

First of all, I think it’s great that he realizes that perhaps the worst foreign policy mistake in American history was, in fact, a mistake. That’s progress.

But what I found odd about this statement was that it wasn’t prefaced with a large apology for being so wrong for so long, and vilifying opponents of the war for so many years.

Davis ran on invading Iraq in his unsuccessful 2002 run, then ran against Nick Clooney in 2004 by using Clooney’s opposition to the war against him, while Davis strongly supported it. Dick Cheney even came to town in 2004 to show his support for Davis, as he was one of the brave souls willing to be a rubber stamp for George W. Bush’s foreign policy, if elected:

“President Bush has a clear vision for the future of the nation. Aboard he will use — excuse me, abroad he will use America’s great power to serve great purposes, to protect our homeland by turning back the forces of terror and to spread hope and freedom throughout the world. Here at home, we will continue building prosperity that reaches every corner of the land. Geoff shares that vision and once he’s in Congress, he’ll be a key ally in carrying it out. The President and I are proud the stand with him today.”

Davis then doubled down in September of his first term in 2005, penning this column titled “Staying the course in Iraq“:

Staying the course in Iraq

Washington, Sep 25, 2005 – On Thursday, Sept. 22, President Bush spoke at the Pentagon on the importance of staying the course in Iraq. This speech, unfortunately, received little coverage from the national media. The Washington Post included the President’s comments in the penultimate paragraph of a story about Democratic lawmakers’ concerns over our continued presence in Iraq. The New York Times only mentioned the President’s speech in a story about a Saudi official’s comments on Iraq.

For months now, the demagoguery of those demanding to know when the President will withdraw our troops from Iraq has been widely reported. But when the President answers, the national media ignores his comments in favor of covering the political expediency of anti-war protestors.

Our goal in Iraq is for the Iraqi people to live in freedom and choose their own government rather than having one imposed on them by terrorists. We will continue to stand with the Iraqi people as they face down terrorists. We will not cut and run because that would prove right the lies of terrorists’ who say America is weak. We will prevail because there is too much – our freedom, our childrens’ freedom and the security of our nation – at stake for us to lose.

I believe it’s important that everyone have the opportunity to know what President Bush said last week, so I have excerpted his speech below.

Two months later, Democratic hawk Jack Murtha switched positions, coming out hard against the mistake in Iraq, and saying that America must look to withdraw. Did Davis concur? No, he accused those with this point of view as “shameful” and of “cooperating with” and “emboldening” al-Qaeda:

“Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s deputy, as well as Abu Musab Zarqawi, have made it quite clear in their internal propaganda that they cannot win unless they can drive the Americans out. And they know that they can’t do that there, so they’ve brought the battlefield to the halls of Congress. And, frankly, the liberal leadership have put politics ahead of sound, fiscal and national security policy. And what they have done is cooperated with our enemies and are emboldening our enemies. I think, most importantly, that the soldiers and the Marines on the ground in Iraq have made the statement that with their unbelievable, unprecedented reenlistment rates — I’ve talked with hundreds of soldiers and Marines, ranging from junior enlisted soldiers to my West Point classmates who I’ve known for nearly 30 years and served with in the Middle East myself as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, and they believe in the mission. They see the success. And they ask me, why is politics consuming this mission that we are clearly winning? And I would say this for all to hear in America, as well as for our enemies who watch this broadcast: that our exit strategy is winning and supporting the Iraqi people.”

Davis kept up the drumbeat for Iraq in his 2006 campaign:

“He knows we can’t leave Iraq too soon. If we do that, Iraq will fall and create a sanctuary for terrorists. Geoff knows we need to leave a stable Iraq behind.”

And here’s Davis from 2007, where those who were against the war and in favor of pulling out were for “surrender“:

“Some in the Democratic leadership have declared it the job of Congress to micromanage the war in Iraq, yet we learn today that the Speaker of the House has refused to even be seen face to face with the very military commanders whose hands will be tied by the Democrat war funding bill.

“This latest insult to our troops should come as no surprise since others in the Democrat leadership have declared the war lost despite our military commanders’ statements to the contrary and before General Petreaus has even gotten the additional resources he’s requested. His reinforcement hasn’t even been fully implemented before Congressional leaders have called it a failure.

And when candidate Obama was busy advocating for pulling out of Iraq in 2008, this is the wisdom that Geoff Davis dropped on us:

“I’m going to tell you something: That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button,” Davis said. “He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country.”

I’m sure there are plenty more quotes out there, but that’s just what I was able to find in the past two hours.

But I guess that’s water under the bridge now. I too favor withdrawal from Iraq, which has been occurring slowly, and withdrawal from Afghanistan, which needs to start happening before July and quickly, at that. So I’ll take the high road and not accuse Geoff Davis of being a cut-and-runner, surrenderer, and ally of al-Qaeda, like he was so willing to do to Democrats over the past 8 years.

A few other thoughts on his statements to Alessi. First, his belief that we should have focused more attention and troops to Afghanistan is laughable, as the only reason we took our eyes off the ball there was the ridiculous war in Iraq, which he fully supported. And his statement that “the intelligence in Iraq” turned out to be bad is quite true, but Geoff Davis probably should have admitted that back in 2004 when he was busy defending the invasion as a wise move for America and vilifying those who correctly disagreed. Also, Davis claims that Barack Obama was for “immediate withdrawal” from Afghanistan and has abandoned that promise. Those who actually spent any time paying attention in that election and not preoccupying themselves with calling Obama “boy” would know that the opposite is true, as he promised to leave Iraq and double down on Afghanistan, which is exactly what he’s doing. I don’t like that move, but facts are facts. Lastly, Davis may very well be right on Libya, as it’s looking more and more like those who pulled the trigger on this move either didn’t think of a clear way forward, or misjudged what effect it would have. The jury is still out, but color me skeptical.

But whether or not Davis is right in any of the statements he made to Alessi, one thing is glaringly missing: a giant apology to critics of the Iraq War who said that the invasion was a fool’s errand that distracted from the war on al-Qaeda, helped bankrupt America, lead to the unnecessary death of thousands of Americas, and created a wave of unnecessary hostility towards America all over the world. It would have been nice to hear this viewpoint when the president was of his own party, but I suppose we’ll have to guess as to Geoff Davis’ motives. Maybe it was genuine.

And if he’d like to follow these statements with an apology, we’re all ears.

UPDATE: Much much much more from Geoff Davis here, with video of him on the House floor going apoplectic on Iraq War critics.

Even Paulbots have their moments

no comments
February 11, 2011

Howdy, folks. As David mentioned, I’ve been hobnobbing with V.C.’s and Howard Kurtz over the past 3 days, so my apologies for abandoning you. (also, give Schankula lots of thanks for picking up the slack in marvelous fashion. Now. You can do it in 6 minutes, like Mr. Chandler.)

Oh, and I was at CPAC today. A big thank you to these fine upstanding conservatives for giving me such a nice press pass. The set up in their blogger room and press balcony was so decadent, I almost forgot to wretch during Rick Santorum’s passionate defense of Hosni Mubarak and explanation of how Obama loves the Muslim Brotherhood more than America. He also talked a lot about Reagan’s stool, which… oh, I’ll let you make the Santorum joke.

I’ll have much, much more on the festivities later, but I thought I’d at least share the only redeemable moment of this sad affair. Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, the architects of the least intelligent foreign policy decision in the entire history of America, were today’s big closers. Donald Rumsfeld was given (I kid you not) the “Defender of the Constitution Award”. At the first mention of Rumsfeld’s name, the Paulbots filled the large ballroom with boos. They booed and heckled Rummy throughout his speech (outnumbered by U-S-A chant eventually), and then had a similar greeting for their surprise guest:

So Paulbots may be paranoid, sexist, selfish, robotic and hopelessly naive, but they do occasionally have their moments. Of course, these were Ron Paulbots, not Rand Paulbots, and you know what a big difference that is.

Much more coming later on the festivities, including Bachmann, Mitch, Rand, Trump, King, Moffett, Adams, hunting and killing RINO’s, and the rest of Real America Takin Their Country Back.

Another reminder why we should celebrate Joe LIEberman’s coming retirement

no comments
January 20, 2011

Yes, he spoke at the Republican National Convention and told America what a great vice president Sarah Palin would be, and countless other things.

But this morning he gives us another reason:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

You see, Sadam was developing weapons of mass destruction and tactically supporting the terrorist movement behind 9/11.

It’s rather amazing that a senator could say this on national TV in 2011, but if you’re shocked, you just don’t know Joe LIEberman.

McConnell says Palin is qualified to be president, Bush is a liar

no comments
January 14, 2011

Ryan Alessi asked two questions to Mitch McConnell that needed to be asked:

1. Is Sarah Palin qualified to be president?

2. Was George W. Bush’s account of McConnell asking him to withdraw troops from Iraq in 2006 accurate?

For the first question, Mitch McConnell swallows his pride and says that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president of the United States.

As for the second question, he says that Bush is lying (i.e., “I don’t recall that”), though he doesn’t expand on that (that was like soooo long ago, dude).

This just shows us once again that Mitch McConnell is a top notch professional liar. Take a bow, Kentucky.

Rand Paul still won’t give a direct answer about Afghanistan/Iraq

no comments
January 4, 2011

Anderson Cooper asked Ron Paul about Afghanistan.

Ron said get out! Now! For the love of God, what are we doing there?

Anderson Cooper asked Rand Paul if Afghanistan was worth it and if he agreed with his father.

Rand completely avoided those questions and posed two hypothetical questions instead.

Liberty weeps…

(from 2:20 to 4:40)




Social Networking Crap

Shop at the Barefoot and Progressive Store!

Free Ad Space

Help support B&P! DONATE!

Free Ad Space

Share Barefoot & progressive