"Clearly, putting a 'Mission Accomplished' [banner] on an aircraft carrier was a mistake," Bush said about how his administration handled the fall of Baghdad to U.S. troops. "It sent the wrong message."
I thought that may have been the most embarrassing moment, but to mention it as a "mistake" seems to be an attempt to smokescreen the real mistakes. By contrast, more egregious things were called something else.
He termed other aspects of the U.S. invasion of Iraq "disappointments," including the failure to find weapons of mass destruction and the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.
On the Newsweek.com site, Jacob Weisberg analyzed the outgoing president's term like this.
Bush's three most obvious legacies are his decision to invade Iraq, his framing of a global war on terror after September 11 and the massive financial crisis.
Probably the biggest question Bush leaves behind is about the most consequential choice of his presidency: his decision to invade Iraq. When did the president make up his mind to go to war against Saddam Hussein? What were his real reasons? What roles did various figures around him—Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice—play in the decision? Was the selling of the war on the basis of WMD evidence a matter of conscious deception—or of their own self-deception?
I feel these are good questions. To mention the silly incident on board the aircraft carrier as a "mistake" while describing these other troubling situations as "disappointments" is political spinning at its most transparent.
What's your opinion? Do you think Bush's selling of the Iraq war "on the basis of WMD evidence" is a punishable offence that should be investigated at the international level, as some have suggested? When do you think the President decided to invade Iraq? That seems to be an important question about which experts disagree. Do you think it was mainly his own idea or was there pressure from other sources to go to war?
Please feel free to comment.