Iraq war quotes

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By:   Business people   Journalists   Military personnel   Politicians   George W. Bush   Tony Blair   Donald Rumsfeld
Country:   UK   US     Year:   2003   2004   2005   2006
About:   The insurgency   Troop cuts   WMD
Other characteristics:   Optimistic   Pessimistic   Prediction

ITN Evening News, April 9, 2003; John Irvine: "A war of three weeks has brought an end to decades of Iraqi misery." [1]
BBC News at Six, April 9, 2003: Nicholas Witchell on the US drive into central Baghdad: "It is absolutely, without a doubt, a vindication of the strategy." [2]
BBC News At Ten, April 9, 2003; Andrew Marr on the pulling down of Saddam's statue in Fardus Square: "Mr Blair is well aware that all his critics out there in the party and beyond aren't going to thank him for being right when they've been wrong and he knows there might be trouble ahead. But I think this is a very, very important moment for him. It gives him a new freedom, and a new self-confidence. He confronted many critics - I don't think anybody after this is going to be able to say of Tony Blair that he is somebody who is driven by the drift of public opinion, or focus groups or opinion polls. He took all of those on. He said that they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating, and on both those points he has been proved conclusively right. It would be entirely ungracious, even for his critics, not to acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result." [3] [4]
BBC1 Breakfast News, April 10, 2003; Mark Mardell on Blair and the war: "It has been a vindication for him." [5]
ITN Evening News, April 10, 2003; Tom Bradby: "This war has been a major success" [6]
June 2, 2003; Tony Blair on the hunt for Iraq's WMD: "And I simply say to you that the British intelligence services are amongst the best and finest in the world, and the idea that Saddam Hussein has for 12 years been obstructing the UN weapons and inspectors, has been engaged in this huge battle with the international community, when all the way along he had actually destroyed these weapons, is completely absurd... As I say, I think it would be useful if we waited until we actually got the full evidence before us. But I would point out to you, we already have, according to our experts, two mobile biological weapons facilities (more) that were almost certainly part, according to our intelligence, of a whole set of those facilities. We have a situation where I don't think there is any doubt in anybody's mind that Saddam Hussein accumulated these weapons, indeed he used the weapons against his own people. And I have no doubt at all, as I said to you earlier, that the assessments that were made by the British intelligence services will turn out to be correct."[7]
July 23, 2003; Tony Blair on the killing of Saddam Hussein's sons:

"This is a great day for the new Iraq. These two particular people were at the head of a regime, there wasn't just a security threat because of its weapons programme, but was responsible, as we can see from the mass graves, for the torture and killing of thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqis. And the celebrations that are taking place are an indication of just how evil they were. And I think what is so important is that people understand that if we are able to make the progress that we want to make in Iraq, that is going to open up not just new opportunities for Iraqi people, it is going to increase the stability of that country, of the region, and therefore the security of the whole of the world. So I think it is a very, very important move forward and I think it is great news."[8]

December 15, 2003; George W. Bush after the capture of Saddam Hussein:

"The former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions... It marks the end of the road for him and all who bullied and killed in his name... In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived." [9]

December 15, 2003; Tony Blair after the capture of Saddam Hussein:

"Where his rule meant terror and division and brutality, let his capture bring about unity, reconciliation and peace between all the people of Iraq. Saddam has gone from power, he won't be coming back. That Iraqi people now know and it is they who will decide his fate." [10]

April 7, 2004; Rupert Murdoch on Australian radio:

"Clearly, we have no alternative. We have got to see the job through. And I think it is being misrepresented. There’s tremendous progress in Iraq. All the kids are back at school – ten per cent more than when Saddam Hussein was there. There is one per cent more fresh water. There’s … most of Iraq is doing extremely well. There is one small part where the Sunnis are, which were the people who supported Saddam Hussein, who are giving trouble, and more by, I think, giving cover to international terrorists and people from the Taliban and from Afghanistan coming in. And it’s not - this is notable - they’re not really trying to kill Americans even, they’re trying to kill people, like, from the United Nations. Anyone who is trying to come in and help get their country going properly." [11]

April 2005:

New York Times reporter Eric Schmitt interviewed "senior commanders and Pentagon officials" who told him that "the American-led military campaign in Iraq is making enough progress in fighting insurgents and training Iraqi security forces to allow the Pentagon to plan for significant troop reductions by early next year." "We're on track," said General Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

June 2005:

"I'm confident that we'll be able to continue to take reductions over the course of this year," stated General George W. Casey, Jr., the commander of U.S.-led forces in Iraq, as he stood alongside Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a June 22 news conference. His confidence, he said, came from improvements in "the security situation and the progress of the Iraqi security forces." Casey added, though, that he opposed setting a timetable for withdrawal of troops. "I feel it would limit my flexibility," he said. "I think it would give the enemy a fixed timetable, and I think it would send a terrible signal to a new government of national unity in Iraq that's trying to stand up and get its legs underneath it."

July 2005:

Newspapers reported the contents of a leaked "secret" memo written by British Defense Secretary John Reid, stating that the "United States and Britain are drawing up plans to withdraw the majority of their troops from Iraq by the middle of next year" and estimating that this would mean "a reduction in overall U.S.-led forces in Iraq to 66,000 troops."

August 2005:

Newsweek dutifully reported on "the Pentagon's secret plans," crediting Donald Rumsfeld as the planner behind "drastic troop cuts" that would "scale down the U.S. troop presence in Iraq to about 80,000 by mid-2006 and down to 40,000 to 60,000 troops by the end of that year."

October 2006:

[President Bush] said the deaths of 93 US troops and 300 Iraqi security personnel in the last month were of "serious concern" to him. Civilians had suffered "unspeakable violence at the hands of the terrorists, insurgents, illegal militias, armed groups and criminals," he said. He warned that if Iraq became a failed state, extremists could gain access to oil wealth and launch fresh attacks. If the US was not successful in Iraq, he said, extremists could use it as a base from which to try to establish a "radical empire from Spain to Indonesia".[12]

November 17, 2006: At a private dinner organized by the Fabian Society, British minister Margaret Hodge is alleged to have:
  • denounced the Iraq war as Tony Blair’s "big mistake in foreign affairs".
  • said she had had doubts as far back as 1998 about Mr Blair’s attitude to foreign affairs because he had espoused what she described as his "moral imperialism" – the need to impose British values and ideas on other countries.
  • explained – in reply to a question from a guest – that she had accepted Mr Blair’s arguments about the supposed dangers posed by Iraq because "he was our leader and I trusted him".
  • after she had criticised the PM, she said: "I hope this isn’t going to be reported." [13] [14]

November 18, 2006; Tony Blair agreeing with David Frost's suggestion that "so far [Iraq]'s been ... you know, pretty much of a disaster":

"It has, but you see what I say to people is "why is it difficult in Iraq?" It's not difficult because of some accident in planning, it's difficult because there is a deliberate strategy, al-Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on the one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militia on the other to create a situation in which the will of the majority of Iraqis, which is for peace, is displaced by the will of the minority for war."[15]