Karl Rove’s Hindsight on Iraq’s WMDs: ‘I Should Have Stood Up and Rang the Warning Bell’

Karl Rove could kick himself for not taking a stance against his political foes on the weapons of mass destruction debate.

Interviewed on African American Conservatives, the former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush recalls taking flack during the overthrow of since-executed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Karl: Calls Dems on carpet for "rewriting history."

Karl: Calls Dems on carpet for "rewriting history."

“You have pointed out that many prominent Democrats reversed their position in favor of countering the military threat posed by Saddam Hussein with an attack that they, quote, ‘Hoped to turn the American people against the president with a simple charge that was meant to be politically lethal: Bush had lied about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the threat posed by Saddam Hussein,’” host Marie Stroughter tells Karl, who resigned in 2007 amidst various White House scandals.

“To what degree,” Marie then asks, “was this tactic dishonest and—dishonest as it obviously was—effective?”

“I think it was effective largely because the Bush administration—and I’m responsible for it—did not effectively respond to it,” says Karl.

I should have stood up and rang the warning bell and said, ‘This is a dagger aimed at the heart of the Bush presidency, and we need to respond.’

“It was launched on July 15 of 2003 in a speech by Ted Kennedy; later that day a news conference by Tom Daschle; later that day in remarks by Senator John Edwards in a Senate committee hearing; a speech by John Kerry; and then a speech by Jane Harmon, all saying Bush misled the country on WMDs,” continues Karl, whose new book is titled Courage and Consequence.

“But, in fact, every one of those people had said Saddam has WMDs. John Kerry and John Edwards made far more alarmist statements about Saddam and the presence of WMDs than the administration was willing to make about it.

“Even Ted Kennedy, who opposed the Iraq War Resolution, nonetheless said Saddam has WMDs.

“And for them then to spend the next several years—along with a large number of other Democrats—saying that Saddam had WMDs, or that Bush lied about it, after they themselves said it, I think was cynical and hypocritical.”

To hear Karl’s full interview, click here.

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