It all looked so easy

July 10, 2005|By Will Englund

CONFUSED ABOUT the war in Iraq? You're not the only one. More than two years after the fighting started, it's still going on and it's becoming harder and harder to remember what it was all supposed to be about. So today we're offering a Readers' Guide to the Road to War. We turn the clock back to the spring of 2003 and let the people who opened hostilities explain, in their own words, what they were shooting for. Compiled by Will Englund; artwork by KAL.

So, why did we have to go to war in Iraq?

"We're dealing with Iraq because the dictator of Iraq has got weapons of mass destruction. He can't stand America, he can't stand our friends, he can't stand our allies. He's got connections to terrorist networks."

- President Bush, March 4, 2003.

"It's all these other chemical and biological weapons that have not been identified, thousands of liters in several categories that are still out there. We don't know if they've been destroyed. They say, you know, they don't have them but, well, show us, give us some proof."

- Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., March 2, 2003.

"This [Saddam Hussein] is a man who would like nothing more than to team up with a terrorist network, a man who could use a terrorist network perhaps to use the weapons of mass destruction he's developed - and lies about - to harm countries that he can't stand, America, Israel, countries in his own - immediately around him."

- President Bush, Oct. 7, 2002

"We can't keep 200,000 troops in the Middle East for the summer."

- Henry Kissinger, March 2, 2003.

"It's time to deal with this problem."

- National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Feb. 24, 2003

"I think that two things will happen once we liberate Iraq. People will be dancing in the streets like they were in Afghanistan and very quickly we will see enormous supplies of weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons, biological weapons and everybody will have - wipe their foreheads and say thank God we did it when we did it."

- Defense commentator Kenneth L. Adelman, Feb. 11, 2003

"Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

- President Bush, Jan. 28, 2003

"The president really, though, is trying to avoid a war."

- Treasury Secretary John Snow, March 4, 2003.

Now, what was the war about again?

"There have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did."

- Mr. Wolfowitz, May 9, 2003.

"This will not be a war for oil."

- Mr. Wolfowitz, Feb. 27, 2003.

So, how's the war going?

"In the early days of the war, the plan was criticized by some retired military officers embedded in TV studios. But with every day and every advance by our coalition forces, the wisdom of that plan becomes more apparent."

- Vice President Dick Cheney, April 9, 2003.

"You know, under the Geneva Convention, it's illegal to do things with prisoners of war that are humiliating to those individuals. And the United States, of course, avoids showing photographs of prisoners of war."

- Mr. Rumsfeld, March 23, 2003.

"It's important for the American people to realize that this war has just begun."

- President Bush, March 23, 2003

"Having traveled hundreds of miles, we will now go the last 200 yards."

- President Bush, April 3, 2003

"These are Arabs, 23 million of the most educated people in the Arab world, who are going to welcome us as liberators. And when that message gets out to the whole Arab world it is going to be a powerful counter to Osama bin Laden. The notion that we're going to earn more enemies by going in and getting rid of what every Arab knows is one of the worst tyrants, and they have many governing them, is just nonsense. To the contrary, we'll have millions of people witnessing on our behalf, and we will finally be able to stop bombing Iraq every day, which we've been doing for more or less the last 12 years. It'll be a great step forward."

- Mr. Wolfowitz, Feb.. 27, 2003

"I think we have good control, but we may need to police up some meat-heads."

- Brig. Gen. Lloyd Austin, 3rd Infantry Division, May 14, 2003

"It was difficult to imagine before the war that the criminal gang of sadists and gangsters who have run Iraq for 35 years would continue fighting."

- Mr. Wolfowitz, July 22, 2003.

"The fact is, you know it, we often just make mistakes. We do stupid things."

- Mr. Wolfowitz. July 22, 2003.

Now, what about those weapons?

"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."

- White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Jan. 9, 2003.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.