If these Bushies want to come on the air to attempt some turd polishing about why the Bush administration chose to invade Iraq, a country that was not a threat to us, then they should be treated the way Paul Begala treated lying propagandist Ari Fleischer on Anderson Cooper's AC360.
COOPER: Out of Iraq by the end of next year, that was the promise from President Obama. He said the combat mission's over, but America and will provide support for the Iraqi people as both a friend and a partner.
Ari, you were obviously working for George W. Bush. I'm curious to what you thought as you listened to this. And obviously, not a great speech but a historic moment.
FLEISCHER: Well, my first thought was 7 1/2 years ago I was in the Oval Office when the president gave a speech committing us to Iraq. And it's appropriate. Americans don't like to commit troop abroad. And when we do, we want to win, and we want come to come. And the president -- I think President Bush has won because of the surge.
And then, in December of 2008, remember when the shoe was thrown at him? That was actually the announcement of a security agreement with the Iraqi government to bring our troops hope at the end of 2011.
The day had to come. So I'm glad the day was able to come and that President Obama gave a speech where he could thank the troops who also made this possible who really deserve all the credit for making it possible.
COOPER: Do you think he should have said more about President Bush?
FLEISCHER: You know, I think it would have been gracious of him if he'd mentioned the surge, but the problem he has, for President Obama to put the words "President Bush," "Iraq" and anything good in the same sentence, the Democrat base, which already doesn't want to show up in November -- what will Nancy Pelosi see if he starts talking like that?
So I understand -- I wish he was more gracious about it, but he has his own Democratic political imperatives, and he has -- he followed those tonight.
COOPER: Paul, what did you think of the speech? We haven't heard from you tonight.
BEGALA: Well, I think it was -- first, he was trying to do three different things, right? Say we're going to withdraw from Iraq, but we're going to surge into Afghanistan, but we're going to withdraw from there, too. But then, we're going to take care of folks here at home. I want to pick up, though, on this point that Ari makes about the surge, because it is staggering to me. First off, the surge was only necessary because President Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld went to war with too few troops, because they wanted to prove General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, wrong. That's why we needed it in the first place.
Second, it could have never succeeded without the preceding Sunni awakening. Iraqis themselves had to decide. It wasn't the American surge and then -- that cured it. It was the Sunni awakening.
But I'll make a deal with President Bush. We'll give you all the credit for the surge if you take half of the blame for the lies that got us into the war, by which I mean Iraq -- excuse me, Ari, by which I mean...
FLEISCHER: No, Paul, it's not right.
BEGALA: ... by which I mean Ari himself saying Iraq was an imminent threat to America, by which the president of the United States saying it was a mushroom cloud that could become a smoking gun, by which I mean the threat of unmanned aerial drones that Saddam supposedly had that would gas America, the connections that they allege which were false between al Qaeda and -- and Saddam's regime.
So, you know, there was so much they got wrong about this. Some of it just was botched, and some of it was deeply dishonest. And the notion that somehow George Bush is owed any moment of grace here is appalling to the history.