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August 30, 2014 1:16 PM Some People Never Learn

By Martin Longman

It’s surprisingly easy to compose a list of the 25 stupidest things Bush administration officials said about the invasion of Iraq, and no such list can be remotely comprehensive. For example, the list I just referenced has President Bush assuring Reverend Pat Robertson that he doesn’t need to prepare the public for casualties because we won’t have any casualties, and it has Donald Rumsfeld dismissing concerns about looting because “free” people are free to do dumb things, but it makes no reference to Paul Wolfowitz saying in Congressional testimony that, “There’s a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money. We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” It doesn’t include his testimony that “It is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army — hard to imagine.” It doesn’t include his testimony that “I can’t imagine anyone here wanting to spend another $30 billion to be there for another 12 years.”

The Bush administration said countless stupid things, told an uncountable number of lies, and made so many horrible predictions that it is a herculean challenge to try to document them all. But even their strongest critics didn’t predict just how wrong things would go.

Nearly half of Syria’s population has been displaced either internally or externally as refugees in the worst humanitarian crisis to strike the Middle East in at least a century, according to new data released by the International Rescue Committee.
The complex civil war, which has now morphed into a three-way free-for-all among rebels, the Syrian regime and a caliphate of Islamic extremists attacking virtually everyone, has driven at least 3 million people from Syria into neighboring countries. The movement is stressing already fragile nations such as Jordan and Lebanon, who have born the brunt of the exodus even as both deal with their own unstable internal political situations.
Turkey also has received hundreds of thousands of refugees and continues to struggle to control its own border; thousands of foreign Jihadi fighters have used Turkey to access the Syrian battlefield. They offset the tens of thousands of Syrian fleeing the fighting, leaving southern Turkey awash in desperate refugees and militants of all stripes.
In terms of world history, the IRC, considered one of the world’s most effective aid organizations, says the situation has reached a level of disaster not seen worldwide since the Rwandan genocide, more than 20 years ago that saw fewer people - about 1.5 million _ displaced but nearly a million killed.

Yeah, I didn’t even get to Iraq, where it is estimated that over a million people have been “freedomed” from their homes.

I don’t think the American people are focused enough on the lesson here, which is what happens when you listen to conservatives and allow them to have control of our foreign policy apparatus and the most lethal military in the history of mankind.

It’s a lesson we should all heed as the present administration tries to figure out how to triage all the crises that have resulted from the Bush administration’s reaction to 9/11.

Martin Longman is the Web Editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune. He has worked as a community organizer for ACORN/Project Vote and as a political consultant for Democracy for America.

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