“Cakewalk”

Bush administration officials and their hawkish supporters now say they never promised an easy war -- but the record shows otherwise.

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Richard Perle, recently resigned chairman of the Defense Policy Board, in a PBS interview July 11, 2002:

“Saddam is much weaker than we think he is. He’s weaker militarily. We know he’s got about a third of what he had in 1991.”

“But it’s a house of cards. He rules by fear because he knows there is no underlying support. Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder. ”

Ken Adelman, former U.N. ambassador, in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post, Feb. 13, 2002:

“I believe demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they’ve become much weaker; (3) we’ve become much stronger; and (4) now we’re playing for keeps.

Vice President Dick Cheney, on NBC’s “Meet the Press” March 16:

“The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but that they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.”

“My guess is even significant elements of the Republican Guard are likely as well to want to avoid conflict with the U.S. forces and are likely to step aside.”

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN March 23:

“The course of this war is clear. The outcome is clear. The regime of Saddam Hussein is gone. It’s over. It will not be there in a relatively reasonably predictable period of time.”

“And the people in Iraq need to know that: that it will not be long before they will be liberated.”

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Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars March 11:

“Over and over, we hear reports of Iraqis here in the United States who manage to communicate with their friends and families in Iraq, and what they are hearing is amazing. Their friends and relatives want to know what is taking the Americans so long. When are you coming?”

“In a meeting last week at the White House, one of these Iraqi-Americans said, ‘A war with Saddam Hussein would be a war for Iraq, not against Iraq.’”

“The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator. They know that America will not come as a conqueror. Our plan — as President Bush has said — is to ‘remain as long as necessary and not a day more.’”

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a breakfast meeting March 4, 2003:

“What you’d like to do is have it be a short, short conflict. The best way to do that is have such a shock on the system, the Iraqi regime would have to assume early on the end is inevitable.”

Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair writer, in a debate Jan. 28, 2003:

“This will be no war — there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention.

“The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling … It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on.”

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