The Corner

Scowcroft and Iraq

Brent Scowcroft gave an interview to the Turkish Daily News.  Among the highlights:

Question: Hans Blix, the former weapons inspector in Iraq, says that country is worse off today than it was under Saddam Hussein. Do you agree?

Scowcroft: I don’t know if it is worse, or better or what. I think it is different. If you are a Sunni you were probably better off before. If you are a Shiite you are probably better off now. Saddam maintained order by brutal suppression. Now the suppression is gone people are killing each other. So I don’t know how to answer this.

Question: What went wrong? Didn’t anyone tell this administration about the complex situation in that country with the Shiites, Kurds, etc.?

Scowcroft: I think the answer is obviously not.

To say that Bush didn’t understand the complexity is wrong, and plays into the silly libels of folks like Peter Galbraith who have promoted the canard that Bush didn’t know the difference between Sunni and Shi’a.  The White House weighed the complexity against Saddam’s history of pursuing WMD, supporting terrorism, brutalizing his people, and invading his neighbors.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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