Jansing and Co | March 19, 2013
>>> a series of coordinated bombs tore through baghdad this morning killing at least 56% and injuring more than 200 others. this violence comes ten years to the day after the u.s. and its allies invaded iraq . a new gallup poll finds a majority of americans, 53%, now view the war as a mistake. support for the war seems to fall down party lines . 66% of republicans continue to stand by the bush administration 's decision to invade, but 73% of democrats say the military campaign was a mistake. i'm joined by retired army colonel and medal of honor recipient jack jacobs . former pennsylvania congressman patrick murphy , first veteran of the iraq war to serve in congress. great to have both of you today.
>> great to be with you.
>> we've been talking a lot about iraq because of chuck hagel 's confirmation and many republicans, we see the polls, they also still believe in this war in spite of the fact we know there were no wmds, in spite of the fact they've discounted certain ties between saddam hussein and al qaeda . i'm wondering, jack, how you think that all of this, the appointment of hagel who was obviously a republican, but who opposed the war, how it all plays into our current state of affairs .
>> well, everything is tainted by sequestration, about the loss of funds, lots of ominous views about what'll happen to our defense posture because of cuts should they come in great pro-fusion in the next few months or so. hagel was selected at least partially because he, number one, agreed with the president of the united states on the use of the military power and number two because he has a lot of contacts in congress at the end of the day being secretary of defense. has as much to do with the relationship between the pentagon and congress as it does anything else. but our adventure in iraq is going to weigh very, very heavily on how we view the use of the american power in the future. it's already had an effect on it. i'm reminded of the observation by the people who first came to maturity at the end of the vietnam war . people who are leaders now said we're not doing that again, never again. well, they did it again when we went to iraq and we're saying never again from now on but it really is to be seen whether that is going to be the case.
>> congressman, let me read what michael hirsch wrote in the national journal . he says today there is a new humility, indeed a kind of neo-isolationism that is shaping major decisions as profound lace hubris did a decade ago. call tt iraq syndrome. it has clearly become our nation's vietnam syndrome and will likely be the dominant factor in foreign policy decisions of both democratic and republican administrations for years to come. what do you think?
>> i wouldn't necessarily agree, because, you know, in vietnam we said as the colonel said we learned our lesson but we didn't learn a lesson in the iraq war . even now, the same warhawks are saying we should be in syria. we should go and bomb iran. so i feel as if there is a premise we should be more isolated, that's not the temperature of the republican party for the most part, besides rand paul, who is separate. that's a shame. because we as a country should always be the reluctant warrior. when you look back now to the ten-year anniversary of the iraq war to know this war was started as you mentioned, chris, because the bush administration said there was weapons of mass destruction , and because they said there was a connection with 9/11, neither of which were true and our intelligence agency said to the administration this isn't true yet they still moved forward at the cost of over 4400 americans losing their lives.
>> almost 4500 american troops killed. at least 3400 u.s. contractors died. 130,000 iraqi civilians. and then the financial cost is absolutely staggering. more than 2 trillion. i saw one report recently that said when you start to calculate the long-term costs, including what it costs us to take care of the veterans who came back, and who were seriously wounded, we could be looking at something closer to 6 trillion. now whether or not people agree with that number, what lessons have we learned from iraq ?
>> well, a lot of them. there are a lot of tactical lessons. don't drive down unsecured roads which all of us learned when we were very young soldiers. it always takes more resources to hold on to an objective than it does to take it in the first place. that is certainly the truth. we went in for a short period of time. did not allocate as many people as we should have to hold on to the terrain and found ourselves there for another, the better part of another decade. incrementalizing the same way we did in vietnam with no objective in sight. no real, articulated objective in sight. the single most important lesson we have learned, and i hope we don't forget it, is that we can't be use a military instrument of power as the default instrument of power. we do all the time because the military is really good at what it does. but we've got economic instruments and diplomatic instruments we need to hone. we're no good at using them. we better start getting good at using those.
>> i think the colonel makes a great point. that is why i'm hopeful we have two vietnam war veterans at the center of power down in washington in john kerry , the secretary of state, and chuck hagel .
>> you think that does change the equation?
>> they have to work together. you can't have the separate entities. also another vietnam veteran but especially the state department , dod, we got to work together. we can't ask these young heroes to do everything. they are not miracle workers . listen, they are awesome, the best. we both served with them. but, one, you can't, when you send them into harm's way you better give them enough fire power and troops. when the highest ranking army general at the time testified to congress before the iraq war saying if we do this we need 700,000 troops and yet they put about 150,000 originally but wolfowitz who never served in war, never wore the cloth of our country said the very next day the general is wildly off the mark. the lesson also is learned, if you commit the country to war listen to the military experts who have been t lost friends, and make sure you get it right.
>> you write about that in your blog so people can check it out. thanks to you both for your service. also this friday at 9:00 catch the msnbc documentary "hubris, selling the iraq war " hosted by rachel maddow detailing how faulty intelligence paved the way