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Bush Calls Flawed Iraq Intelligence Biggest Regret


Bush’s exit interview (NBC Nightly News, Jan. 12, 2009) — President George W. Bush delivered an at-times defiant speech in which he expressed regret and discussed some mistakes he has made while in office. Chuck Todd reports. (04:00)

December 1, 2008

WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush said the biggest regret of his presidency was flawed intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and told ABC “World News” in an interview airing on Monday, December 1, 2008 that he was unprepared for war when he took office.

Bush leaves the White House on Jan. 20 with public approval ratings near record lows partly due to the unpopular Iraq war that toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. More than 4,200 U.S. troops have died in Iraq.

“The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein,” Bush said.

But he declined to speculate on whether he would have gone to war if the intelligence had said Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction. …

He told ABC: “I will leave the presidency with my head held high.”

Full story


Iraq: Key Figures Since the War Began

December 1, 2008

U.S. Troop Levels

  • October 2007: 170,000 at peak of troop buildup
  • November 2008: 146,000


  • Confirmed U.S. military deaths as of Dec. 1, 2008: At least 4,207
  • Confirmed U.S. military wounded (hostile) as of Nov. 28, 2008: 30,840
  • Confirmed U.S. military wounded (non-hostile, using medical air transport) as of Nov. 1, 2008: 34,618
  • Deaths of civilian employees of U.S. government contractors as of Sept. 30, 2008: 1,264
  • Assassinated Iraqi academics as of Nov. 27, 2008: 408
  • Journalists killed on assignment as of Dec. 1, 2008: 135


  • Nearly $576 billion so far, according to the National Priorities Project.

Oil Production

  • Prewar: 2.58 million barrels per day
  • Nov. 16, 2008: 2.40 million barrels per day


Security Developments in Iraq

U.S. soldiers secure the area of a car bomb after it detonated close to the police academy on Palestine Street in central Baghdad, Dec. 1, 2008. A suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance to the police academy shortly before a parked car exploded, the interior ministry said. Some 15 people were killed and 45 wounded in the twin blasts. At least 33 people were killed Dec. 1 in a spate of attacks targeting security forces across the country. (Photo credit: Ali Yussef / AFP — Getty Images)

Following are security developments in Iraq on Dec. 1, 2008, as reported by Reuters.

MOSUL – A suicide car bomb and a parked car bomb exploding in quick succession killed 15 people and wounded 37 when it struck a joint Iraqi police and U.S. military patrol in Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – A double-strike by a suicide car bomber and another on foot killed 15 people and wounded 45 outside a police academy in eastern Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb killed three people and wounded 13 when it exploded next to the patrol of Iraqi Major-General Mudhar al-Mawla in the Sulaikh district of northern Baghdad.

MOSUL – Gunmen kidnapped a doctor as he headed to work in western Mosul, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen killed the principal of an Islamic studies high school in a drive-by shooting in Mosul, police said.


8/9/2013 Update

U.S. Soars in World Popularity Charts Post-Iraq — But Will It Last?

                                                                                       Pew Research Center

By Bill Briggs

August 8, 2013

Favorable global feelings toward the United States have returned to 2002 levels, matching generally warm, pro-American sentiments measured just prior to the Iraq War: 64 percent of the planet’s inhabitants tend to like America, according to numbers tabulated for NBC News by the Pew Research Center.

That equates to a 13-point rise in American favorability among the same 19 nations surveyed by Pew in 2007. The Pew team polled people in countries spanning from Pakistan, where only 11 percent of locals today back the United States, to Ghana where 83 percent of the populace is pro-American, Pew figures show.

But that post-Iraq uptick in international American respect already is believed to be eroding and will ultimately decline, yanked lower by a complex Middle Eastern brew: how the U.S. government has reacted to Arab uprisings and the continuing disarray in Syria and Egypt plus the U.S. military’s wildly unpopular use of drone strikes against suspected Muslim militants, foreign policy experts contend.

Jordan (14 percent U.S. favorable rating), the Palestinian territories (16 percent) and Egypt (16 percent) all point to a paplable mistrust of the American government. Balancing those ugly ratings are sunny U.S. grades among people living in the Philippines (85 percent favorable), Israel (83 percent), Kenya (81 percent) and Italy (76 percent), Pew found.

“During the (George W.) Bush era, the Iraq War was very unpopular in many parts of the world and that drove down ratings of the U.S.,” said Richard Wike, asssociate director of the Global Attitudes Project at the Pew Research Center. “President (Barack) Obama, for the most part, his policies have been viewed more favorably in many parts of the world. That’s helped American image. …

Some of America’s most potent attractions abroad are its “soft powers,” Wike said, listing a global admiration for U.S. science and technology, pop culture and “the American ways of doing business.”

On the opposite side of the scale: the American military’s use of drones. Pew’s 2013 survey showed that in 39 nations it surveyed, the majority of residents in only three nations (the United States, Israel and Kenya) favored the weapon as a tactial tool. Favorability ratings on drones bottom out in countries like the Palestinian territories (3 percent back their use), Jordan (4 percent) and Pakistan (5 percent). …

Full report


Related reports on this site

Condoleezza Rice’s Iraq War Revisionism (May 10, 2011)


Lawrence O’Donnell: Condoleezza Rice on lessons from Iraq (MSNBC “The Last Word,” May 5, 2011) — The former Secretary of State sat down for an exclusive interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. The two had a must-see conversation about the lessons learned from the Iraq war and much more. (11:50)

Iraq WMD Lie Exposed (Feb. 15, 2011)


“Curveball” Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi: ‘I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime.’

George W. Bush Memoir (Nov. 8, 2010)


Bush: Cheney ‘angry’ I didn’t pardon Libby (NBC Today, Nov. 8, 2010) — In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer, former President George W. Bush recounts Vice President Dick Cheney’s anger over his decision to let a jury’s verdict of perjury stand against disgraced aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby. (04:09)

Bush-Cheney ‘Hell Bent’ on War (Nov. 27, 2009)

Image: Anti-war protesters
Anti-war protesters from the Stop the War group wear masks depicting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, former President George W. Bush, center, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, outside the conference center where the Iraq war inquiry was taking place in central London, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009 . (Photo credit: Lefteris Pitarakis / AP)

Iraq War Plan Soon After 9/11 (Nov. 22, 2009)

Protesters hold placards with the words ‘No Cover Up’ and ‘No More Lies’ as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in London, June 15, 2009. (Photo credit: Shaun Curry / AFP — Getty Images)

Exit Stage Right: The Bush Legacy (Jan. 18, 2009)


Rating Bush’s wars (MSNBC, Jan.16, 2009) — A “Hardball” panel talks about the impact of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars on the Bush legacy. (10:46)

Bush Rewriting History on Iraq? (Jan. 13, 2009)

Some of the documents turned over to the U.N. by Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion.

Iraq: Intelligence and Policy Failure (Dec. 10, 2008)


Bush is history (MSNBC, Dec. 9, 2008) — Countdown’s Keith Olbermann lists why White House talking points designated to cast President Bush in a positive light actually serve as a reminder of the president’s many faults and shortcomings. (04:51)

5 Responses to “Iraq ‘Biggest Regret’ — G. W. Bush”
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