tv Fareed Zakaria GPS CNN December 27, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PST
sotu, state of the union, for extras. fareed zakaria gps starts right now. ♪ in baghdad today, bombs go off on average every 12 hours. the awful routine that follows each bomb looks hauntingly familiar to americans who watched the iraq war play out on television. familiar, except for this. after many bombings, kareem wasby plays his cello. he is the conductor of the iraqi orchestra.
sometimes he plays the iraqi national anthem. [ singing in foreign language ] my homeland, they sing, life and hope are in your air. >> i george walker bush -- >> george w. bush had a dream, a vision where saddam would fall, the people would rejoice and iraq would become a stable democracy, a beacon of hope, breaking the endless cycle of tyranny and extremism in the middle east. but if you think that this is just history, it isn't.
many politicians want to send more troops back into iraq and into syria as well. look at the horror in paris, the downing of that russian jet, the terror and threats all wrought by isis. but will another american intervention be more successful than the last one? it is crucial that we understand how the iraq war went to terribly wrong. go back to beginning of the story. it is tempting to ask, what if. what if there had been someone who could have warned us what would happen if we invaded iraq. in fact there was one man who did just that. >> once you got to iraq and took it over, and took down saddam hussein's government, then what you going to put in its place? it is a volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of iraq, you can end up seeing pieces of iraq fly off.
it is a quagmire. >> that is right. dick cheney predicted that iraq would be a quagmire. flash forward to 2003, dick cheney appeared on "meet the press" with the late tim russert. >> my belief is we will in fact be greeted as liberators. >> if your analysis is not correct and we're not treated as liberators but as conquerors, do you think the american people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with a significant american casualties? >> i don't think it is likely to unfold that way, tim, because i believe that we will be greeted as liberators. >> so what changed dick cheney and why was george w. bush so determined to go to war in iraq? >> it is just one of those awful moments.
>> 9/11 pushed him and cheney into a very dark place. >> i think that we have to prove that i'm a tough guy. we have to prove that we can reshape the middle east otherwise the rest of my administration, various terrorist groups and tin pot dictators are going to take advantage. >> richard clarke was in the white house on 9/11. it was that very night, he says, when the iraq war really began. >> on the night of 9/11 we all meet in the situation room in the east wing in the bunker. and rumsfeld is there straight from the pentagon, still on fire at the time. and in that conversation, rumsfeld starts talking about invading iraq when the pentagon is still burning. the president said saddam,
saddam, go back and look at everything. find whether or not saddam was involved. >> so even as the fires of 9/11 still burned -- >> the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. >> -- one of the most disastrous chapters in american history began, building a case to go to war against saddam hussein, even though he had nothing to do with the ner9/11 attacks. >> when you want to believe something and you say to the world, give me intelligence that says this, they will give you intelligence that says that. >> information was gathered fast. many sources of iraqi intelligence were barely vetted. >> 9/11 changed everything. >> and it changed americans.
george bush rode a powerful wave of patriotism. american flags were everywhere. >> to run out of 600,000 flags in a period of couple days is just incredible. >> the president's approval rating soared and republicans, democrats, and even journalists rallied around him. >> george bush is the president, he makes the decisions, and, you know, as just one american, wherever he wants me to line up, just tell me where. americans did line up. just three months after 9/11, the u.s. went to war in afghanistan. against the taliban who had sheltered osama bin laden. despite grim predictions from experts, the taliban were toppled. bolstering the bush administration and the nation's
trust in it. so at the white house, the focus turned back to iraq, to finding a justification for war. >> can't distinguish between al qaeda and saddam when you talk about the war on terror. >> as the months went on, the rhetoric grew increasingly frightening. >> we cannot wait for the final proof. the smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. >> and there was a constant drum beat of run phrase, weapons of mass destruction. >> saddam hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction poses a grave danger. >> saddam hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction. >> not everyone was buying what the administration was selling. though the majority of americans supported the war, huge anti-war crowds filled the streets of new york. but britain's tony blair stood
by george w. bush. >> it's important we hold to the path that we've set out. >> and in this country, there were many experts who believed in george bush's vision, that the opposing saddam hussein could be the jolt the middle east needed, that democracy was possible in iraq. the final push to war game in february of 2003. >> we're about to see a major historical event unfold live on television. >> when the secretary of state presented a powerful and per se sieve case against saddam to the united nations. >> we have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails. ladies and gentlemen, these are sophisticated facilities. for example, they can produce anthrax and toxin. they can produce enough dry
biological agent in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people. >> everything you just heard him say is not true. >> leaving saddam hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option. >> there is no clear evidence that anyone knew it then, but there were no mobile biologics weapons factories. there was no nuclear weapons program, no weapons of mass destruction period. intelligence.strophic failure of six weeks later, america went to war. >> my fellow citizens at this hour, american and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger.
>> operation iraqi freedom happened fast. faced with a lightning u.s.-led attack, iraq's vast army melted away. baghdad fell in less than three weeks. saddam hussein and his sons disappeared. >> u.s. intelligence officials say saddam could be injured or even dead. >> there was wild celebration in the streets. it looked as though george bush's dream was going to come true. and then, all hell broke loose. just weeks after saddam was toppled, iraq was in chaos, no one was in charge. >> what happened to my country?
fighting, killing, stealing. >> virtually every government building was looted. iraqis carried off everything they could find. electricity was out all over the country. massive piles of garbage went uncollected. >> there was an opportunity to win the hearts and minds, and that was completely lost. >> children roamed the streets. >> my school is closed and my destiny is minute by minute lost. >> schools were closed indefinitely. >> we have to study! we have to study! you invade us! >> gas lines were miles long, in an oil rich country. >> there are three top priorities here. number one, water. number two, water.
number three, water. >> running water had been cut off. and an increasingly desperate situation. >> the war is finish in baghdad! >> rage boiled over. >> who responsible? i ask you! all wars, why! why! you don't know! i don't know! who know! who know! >> stuff happens. >> back in washington -- >> good afternoon. >> given how predictable the lack of law and order was -- >> reporters confronted donald rumsfeld about the chaos. >> it is a fundamental misunderstanding to see those images over and over and over again of some boy walking out and saying, oh, my goodness, you didn't have a plan. that's nonsense.
they know what they're doing and they're doing a terrific job. freedom is untidy. free people are free to make mistak mistakes. >> but the biggest mistake was this. despite rumsfeld's assurances, it was clear, the united states did not have a plan for post-war iraq. as the chaos grew deeper, so did the divide between iraq's sunnis and shiites. with no one in charge, the iraqis clung more tightly to what they knew, to members of their own clans and sect. other muslims began to look like the enemy. the seeds of civil war were sewn. >> our country will be sending one of our best citizens. >> enter paul bremmer. the president dispatched him to iraq to try to clean up the mess. and wait until you see what he did when he got to iraq.
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in may of 2003, presidential envoy paul bremer landed in a city that was spinning out of control. >> the city was on fire. all of the ministries had been looted. police stations all over the country had been destroyed. >> george bush promised to keep people of iraq safe. >> saving iraq was up to a man who had never served in the middle east, who spoke no arabic and who had been given three weeks to prepare for the mission. >> the only significant organization that he had run was ambassador to the netherlands. it was astounding. >> thank you for taking this honor. i'm proud of you. >> right away, within a few days
on the ground, bremer issued two orders widely considered to be the most calamitous mistakes of the iraq war. >> they were disastrous. the first was decree barring all members of the baath party. >> the baathists who used their power to remove the iraqi people from office. and several hundred thousand iraqis who were the most advantaged and who had the best education, and all of these people lost their jobs. >> and then bremer fired saddam's army. a huge force of young iraqi men, mostly sunnis turned out into the chaotic streets. of course, they still had their guns. >> this is a huge concern. >> general david petraeus was fighting the iraqi insurgency.
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sites in syria, joining russia as vladimir putin exacts his own revenge. >> we'll find them in any spot on the planet and punish them. >> for the russian jet isis blew out of the sky. >> shocked and disgusted. >> barbaric. >> there's no talking to them. >> furious reaction on the presidential campaign trail. >> i'm going to bomb the shit out of them. true. i don't care. >> over what to do about isis. >> they've got to begi)d stoppe! >> and even before the latest isis 03y atr >> how does president obama sleep at night? >> republican presidential candidates were demanding action. >> if i'm president of the united states, we're going in on the ground and we're going to pull the caliphate up by its roots and kill every one of these w2vebastards we can find iraqis are running for their
lives. tens of thousands of them desperate to escape isis. and many more fleeing syria. >> we're running now with these migrants andxt refugees. >> all of them on a dangerous journey to reach europe. to reach safety. >> wepo hope to get germany. >> governments struggling with how to handle the gigantic numbers. some are closing their border;' or worse. >> okay. sorry. okay. ky smell the tear gas now. >> the risks theú--í refugees t have become heartbreakingly clear.
but still, they come.ç they will however not be coming to america, not if some presidential candidates have way. >> what barack obama and hillary clinton are proposing is that we bring to this country tens of thousands of syrian muslim particularly in light of what happened in paris, that's nothing short of lieu nascy. >> they have suggested the united states should only accept christian refugeese/9r(t&háhp &% >> when you start seeing á yñ protection than$"f1ñ muslims ara war-torn land, that feeds the isilsñ >'v%xnarrative. j#y7d to stop. >> as for the refugees, if novfo one will take them, this is the
alternative.m6zsñ-oñ >> our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. >> the beheadings, rape and enslavement of women. all of it was borne of the rainfall and chaos that has crippled the country. >> now, this is camp bucca. >> indeed, thelq seeds ofza6ñ grew at an american prison in the iraqi desert./3ç during the insurgency, the mostn dangerous jihadis were@'t lockep at camp
or not, probably has to adapt to a lpost-iraqi era. i keep saying the rand mcnally era of the middle east has seen its day. >> autonomous largely self-governing called kurdistan. they come please the majority of the country. in the middle, this large swath, one-third of iraq is sunni land. this is where isis has taken control. this is what it has turned into, a de facto islamic state. iraq ends here, but only on maps. the border between iraq and syria has now become meaningless. disaffected sunnis inhabit most of this area and the islamic state now controls large swaths of it as well.
4h5q= be in both iraq and syri. all of which leads back to one question, can we fight isis in iraq? when there really is no iraq left? >> at the end of the day, we can't put that country together. >> and as iraq falls apart, the blame game escalates. president bush or president obama? >> the person i blame is barack obama not george w. bush. >> when we return, the finger pointing versus the facts. is never easy.
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era which got us into this war in iraq in the first place. >> when it comes to blaming people about iraq, the person i blame is barack obama, not george w. bush. >> the american public is evenly split. 44% say it's balm's fault, 43% say it's bush's. >> and the war in iraq was unwise. >> president obama has said he was opposed the iraq war from the start. and when he ran for president in 2008, he made an important pledge. >> when i am commander in chief, i will set a new goal on day one. i will end this war. >> less than four years later, a little slower than he had originally hoped, the last american combat soldier left iraq.
bush administration under secretary of defense says obama's withdrawal bolstered both iran and isis. >> the thing that gave them the greatest opportunity was when president obama decided to quit. and we killed our influence in the country. >> obama official says there's a slight hitch in the argument. it wasn't obama who set the withdrawal. >> in 2008, president bush negotiated a status of forces agreement with the government of iraq. and it provided that the%e6"óñr leave iraq by the end of 2011. >> many of the participants in this process say the obama administration didn't try hard enough because at the end of the day president obama just wanted to get out. >> at the end of the day, the iraqis wanted us out. that's what happened. [ applause ] >> those iraqis were led by prime minister al maliki.
he had come into office promising to heal the country's sectarian divide. instead, he inflamed it. maliki met frequently with david petraeus. >> i would have loved to have tested the proposition that it might have given us the kind of influence necessary to dissuade prime minister maliki from some of the highly sectarian action that he took. >> 10,000 troops, a plan to leave a force of that size had been floated in washington and baghdad. it was a plan that never came to fruition. >> i don't know whether 10,000 troops would have given us the leverage. i actually, i suspect it might not have. but i would have liked to have tested the proposition. >> it was never tested some experts say because of prime minister maliki. they reported that after iran made sure maliki was reelected
prime minister in 2010, maliki then turned around and did a favor for iran. he promised to expel all american forces before 2011 was over. now back in 2006, it was george w. bush who put maliki in office in the first place. so does bush bear the blame? richard clarke made a point earlier on in which he tells us what he thinks. >> if it were not for the american invasion of iraq and the subsequent disbanding of the iraqi army by the united states, there would be no isis. isis is a direct outgrowth of the american invasion. >> but clarke's former colleague sticks to his guns. >> if today you knew what we all know about what has happened in iraq, would you going back have invaded iraq? what's your answer? >> i think that the only meaningful way to approach that
is to ask whether president bush knowing what he knew at the time made the right decision. and i think he did. >> tony blair hen he was prime minister of the united kingdom, was bush's most public partner on the iraq war. >> of course, you can't say that those of us who removed saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015. >> but blair still wonders, what was the alternative? >> we have tried intervention and putting down troops in iraq. we've tried intervention without putting in troops in libya. and we've tried no intervention at all but demanding regime change in syria. it's not clear to me that even if our policy did not work, subsequent policies have worked better. >> bush or obama?
well, maybe there's another party to blame for the sad state of iraq and the region. >> what's happened in the middle east is in part the result of things we've done and things we haven't done like syria or libya. there's any number of acts of co-mission and omission which historians will take the united states and others to task for. what's missing is also local responsibility. this is a deeply floored part of the world. >> next from blame to credit. george w. bush's rightly lauded for the one, somewhat shining moment of hope in the entire iraq debacle. inside the surge when we come come on,why ya sleepin'? come on! what time is it? it's go time. come on. let's go, let's go, let's go. woooo hoooo!! yeah!! i feel like i went to bed an hour ago. yeah!! i'll make the cocoa. get a great offer on the car of your grown-up dreams
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january 10 president, 2007, president george w. bush goes before the american people to talk about the war effort. >> it is clear that we need to change our strategy in iraq. the most urgent priority for success in iraq is security. >> almost exactly a month latlater, general david petraeus arrives in baghdad after being named the new u.s. commander in iraq. he had already done two long
tours of duty in country. but what he sees this time around, almost four years after the war started, was disturbing and different. >> first day in full day in command i was traveling around baghdad to see the situation there, which frankly was really, really quite horrifying. i had known these neighborhoods as thriving, bustling, prosperous areas. in some cases they're completely blown up. people had moved out. in one case it was almost metaphorical. there was literally tumbleweed blowing down this empty road. >> the president had decided iraq needed an influx of american troops to secure the peace. petraeus had a plan to do just that. >> you mind if i ask what you do for a living? >> and it started with this. >> the only way to secure the people, the only way to ensure
security, is to live with them, to be in the neighborhood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. >> the general says this tactic was the exact opposite of what the united states had been doing in the prior months, pulling out of the cities and towns and neighborhoods of iraq and retreating to massive u.s. bases. >> move it! >> the other interesting innovation of the early surge was even more controversial. we needed to find a way to stop the sunni insurgents from killing american troops and iraqi civilians. they were in open rebellion against the government. >> we had to give them incentives to support the new iraq. >> the idea was to give the sunnis a piece of the pie. >> they, you know -- iraq has a bounty of energy resources and water, great farm land. it's got incredible natural blessings. and they want to have their share of that. >> petraeus hand his commanders
quickly turned that around by hiring those sunni militias to work for them. the militias would now be paid to protect the very same groups of people they had been killing. >> we would contract with them for fixed-site security just as bev we did with international security firms. >> those tactics and many others made the military surge work. >> i think during the 19 1/2 months i was privileged to command the multinational force in iraq, violence went down by 80% or 85%. i mean, it was incredible. >> it was incredible until it stopped working. which it did as the united states began pulling back. coming up -- my thoughts on the lessons of america in iraq.
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i've taken you on a trip through history in the last hour, reminding you of all the choices made and their consequences. so what do i make of it all? well, let me first be honest with you and tell you what i made of it all at the time. i was in favor of the iraq war. i believed that a modern democracy in iraq could be a new model of politics for the region, a middle ground between repressive dictatorships and islamic fi gnanaticisfanaticism. i never believed iraqis were somehow genetically incapable of self-rule. and i still believe that the
only long-term answer to radical islam is for muslim societies to radicalize, economically, thee logically. from india to bosnia seemed far less susceptible to the pull of jihad. now, i did urge a very different approach to iraq, many more troops to maintain order. a u.n. mandate for legitimacy. and to avoid the image of an american occupation. i warned that iraq's sectarian divisions could pull the country apart, but it doesn't change the fact that i did support the decision to topple saddam hussein's regime. some good came of it. saddam was a gruesome dictator who killed hundreds of thousands and plunged his country into wars. kurdistan is a real success story, an oasis of stability, modernity, and tolerance and, by the way, as a result, immune from any jihadi fervor.
but many the end the iraq war was a failure and a terrible mistake causing geopolitical chaos and humanitarian tragedy. millions of iraqis were displaced. at least 150,000 civilians died in addition to the almost 4,500 brave american soldiers. some argued that one could overlearn the lessons of iraq. sure. but my caution about a larger american intervention in syria or elsewhere derives not just from iraq. consider this -- the united states replaced the regime in iraq and gave the new one massive assistance for a decade. the result -- chaos and humanitarian tragedy. washington toppled the regime in libya but chose not to attempt nation building in that country. the result has been chaos and humanitarian tragedy. washington supported a
negotiated removal of the regime in yemen and the election that followed but generally took a back seat. the result -- chaos and humanitarian tragedy. the reality in that part of the world is that many of its regimes are fragile presiding over weak institutions, little civil society, and often no sense of nation hood itself. in that situation, outside interventions, however well meaning, might not make things better. sometimes they can even make things worse. could iraq have turned out differently and set a different pattern? if a stable, functioning democracy had been established in the heart of the middle east, could it have been a model fer the region, a third way between dictatorship and islamic radicalism? well, if america had made all the right decisions, who knows? but it didn't. and as a result, we will never
truly know. thanks for watching. i'm fareed zakaria. hello, everyone, and thanks for joining me this sunday. i'm deborah feyerick in for fredricka whitfield. a tornado watch remains in place for parts of texas, louisiana, and arkansas, areas devastated by tornados that ripped through the dallas, texas, area, on saturday killing 11 people. >> it's very big. oh, it's massive. oh my gosh. it's big! >> and we now know that one of those tornadoes was an ef-4 with winds up to 200 miles per hour. the suburbs of garland and arlington, texas,