Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was an example of key planners of the invasion and occupation of Iraq who have been rewarded – not blamed – for their incompetence.
Questions following a Policy address to the Council for Foreign Relations in New York City (January 23, 2003)
I think, Mr. Wolfowitz, your answer amounts to: "We can't tell you what we have of information, but trust us. It's there." Now, isn't the fundamental principle of a democratic free nation precisely not to trust government? Why should Americans trust their government? We've heard that before in Vietnam, we've heard it many times: "Trust us," and it turned out to be untrustworthy.Wolfowitz:
I don't see how this administration thinks it can build a policy for war, preventive war, that would be accepted by our allies and by American citizens on the basis of "We've got the info; we can't tell you how we got it or where we got it; we got it, trust us." And isn't that a foolish and ultimately self-destructive way for this administration to proceed?
In some cases, we can tell very clearly where we got information from. In some cases, you would put somebody's life at risk if you told how you got it. That's a fact of life; it's not something you can overcome.Question (Kathleen McCarthy, the Graduate Center, City University of New York):
I must say I sort of find it astonishing that the issue is whether you can trust the U.S. government. The real issue is, can you trust Saddam Hussein? And it seems to me the record is absolutely clear that you can't. And we're going to have to have some very powerful evidence that he has changed and that we can trust him, because otherwise, we are trusting our security in the hands of a man who makes ricin, who makes anthrax, who makes botulism toxin, who makes aflatoxin, and who has no compunctions whatsoever about consorting with terrorists. Who do you want to trust?
My question is this: Why is it a much more important immediate short-term goal to disarm Iraq than North Korea, when we know that North Korea also has a very sophisticated arsenal and ties to terrorist groups. Why is supporting and promoting freedom in Iraq more important than promoting freedom in North Korea, when we also know that the administration there is very cruel as well?Wolfowitz:
It's a reasonable question and I hear it a lot . . . . These are different cases, different countries. The North Korean people suffer as much, maybe worse, if it's possible. They're the only candidates in the world for suffering worse than the Iraqi people.Wolfowitz, on Feb. 19, 2003:
But again, it is a different case. We have different partners, different countries to work with. We have got to have a strategy that doesn't just do one problem at a time, take the most important one and wait for everything else. We're trying, in a reasonable way, to focus now where we have the world's entire attention focused, to clean up something that's 12 years old.
We're seeing today how much the people of Poland and Central and Eastern Europe appreciate what the United States did to help liberate them from the tyranny of the Soviet Union. I think you're going to see even more of that sentiment in Iraq. There's not going to be the hostility that you described Saturday. There simply won't be.Wolfowitz, testifying before the House Budget Committee prior to the Iraq war, Feb. 27, 2003:
It's 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.House subcommittee on Iraq testimony (February 28, 2003):
I can't imagine anyone here wanting to spend another $30 billion to be there for another 12 years.27-March-03:
We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.Wolfowitz told Vanity Fair in May 2003 that the members of Bush's war cabinet couldn't make up their minds on the reasons for the invasion of Iraq:
The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason, but . . . there have always been three fundamental concerns. One was weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people.Wolfowitz, later embarrassed by the publication of this quote, claimed Vanity Fair misconstrued his remarks; but this quote comes from a transcript that was posted on the Department of Defense web site.
Paul Wolfowitz June 4, 2003:
Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.Roger Hedgecock Show (February 6, 2004):
This word imminent keeps coming up. The President never said that there was an imminent threat. . . . . Look, intelligence is an uncertain business. As I said a few minutes ago, you don't have the luxury before the fact of basing your decisions on what you may learn later. . . . . I mean stop and think about that hole in which we found Saddam Hussein hiding. He hid in a hole like that for nine months. That's a big enough hole to contain enormous lethal quantities of anthrax or other biological weapons. There could be such stashes still in Iraq. . . . .(World Bank Days) March 17, 2005):
....the importance of leadership and what it consists of: not lecturing and posturing and demanding, but demonstrating that your friends will be protected and taken care of, that your enemies will be punished, and that those who refuse to support you will regret having done so.