msnbc | March 17, 2013
>>> 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.
>> reporter: and with those words, the iraq war ushered in a dramatic change in politics as we know it. let's go to our political war room right now. former democratic congressman, patrick murphy . he was the first iraq war veteran to serve in congress. republican strategist ron christie, former special assistant to president george w. bush . thanks to both of you.
>> and happy st. patrick's day.
>> i was about to say.
>> all three of us with green ties.
>> the irish can't be upset with us. ten years after the invasion, most americans are still very critical of the war in iraq . abc news/" washington post " poll, nearly six out of ten americans say that the war was not worth fighting. the poll also found similar sentiments over the war in afghanistan . as a veteran, as a congressman, how surprised are you about numbers like this? or are you surprised at all?
>> i'm not surprised at all. i mean, we all know that the iraq war was the war of choice . it was an unnecessary war, and it was a war, really, on two false premises. one, that there were weapons of mass destruction , that our own intelligence said it was no, but our civilian administration championed faulty intelligence. and secondly, the fact that there was a connection with 9/11 in iraq , which there was none. now, those numbers -- i was surprised on the afghanistan number. that was the right war to bring bin laden to justice. we've done that now and it's time to bring our troops home. but the iraq war , absolutely not. that was absolutely my sentiment, even though i served there, and most americans .
>> ron, much has justifiably been made of the lost blood and the treasure that we've lost, but politically, there have been some ramifications, especially for your party. there's an op-ed in "the washington post ," and it claims that the republicans lost their hold on the national security issue, in part because of the war in iraq . op-ed saying in part, quote, the republican's mismanagement of the war allowed democrats to reclaim an issue lost to them since the truman administration . suddenly, the gop wasn't viewed as unquestionably strong on national security . how long and what it's going to take for the gop to bounce back from the war in iraq , politically?
>> i think it's going to take some time. ting there's no question, as patrick mentioned, there was certainly the sense in the administration, i was working in the white house that day, that we believe that there was a connection with 9/11. we believe that there was a connection with the weapons of mass destruction of stephen hadl hadley, one of our former national security advisers came out and said, that was wrong. we made a mistake. there's absolutely no question that the republicans now have lost really the stronghold that we've had for decades, of, we are the party for national defense . but one thing i would counter with is, it shouldn't be a republican or a democratic issue. it should be americans standing united. so it shouldn't be the democrats are better at this or the republicans. it's, the civilian leadership making the best choices to put our men and women in uniform in harm's way.
>> especially, craig, i want to highlight that. there's a quote that i used to try to follow, that politics should stop at the water's edge.
>> we're all americans . and we saw that spirit on 9/11. the problem is, and i'm not saying you or -- but there were folks within the administration, i would say, specifically dick cheney --
>> and paul wolfowitz as well.
>> and paul wolfowitz , those guys knew that they were basically getting intelligence that our own cia said was wrong and they manipulated and championed that faulty intelligence to sell it to some in the administration, but also to the american public.
>> i want to play what paul wolfowitz said this morning on cnn. take a listen and we'll talk about it on the other side. take a listen. this was a few hours ago.
>> bottom line. would, given what you know today, would you have done it again?
>> i certainly would have done it differently, particularly with respect to our counterinsurgency strategy. let's be clear about that.
>> was the miscalculation of the insurgency the greatest of the mistakes we made in iraq ?
>> no, no, it was the reckless arrogance of people like that gentleman right there, the one who said after the highest ranking general in the army, general shinseki , who lost his foot in vietnam , who testified in congress, before we go to iraq , we'll need several hundred thousand foot, it was that general right there who said, the general is widely off the mark, and we were discounting him. so we had about as half as many troops as we needed. which is one of the reasons why i lost 19 men there who never made it home.
>> we just didn't have enough boots on the ground from the beginning?
>> no. besides from it not being the right war, if we're going to commit our troops, we should give them enough troops that they need and the equipment. when roadside bombs are blown up every day --
>> and then you had secretary of defense donald rumsfeld saying, you go to war with the army that you have.
>> that's right, craig. and this is what ticks most americans off, whether you're a democrat or a republican. these guys are making these knucklehead decisions, have no skin in the game. when it was their generation serving war, none of them served. paul wolfowitz didn't serve in vietnam . george bush didn't. dick cheney said, well, i had better things to do during vietnam . he got four deferments. you had to send my generation's sons and daughters into war without the right equipment, without enough troops, and based on faulty intelligence. it's immoral, it's reckless, and it's wrong.
>> the only thing i would say to that, of course, it wasn't just the bush administration making that determination, it was our allies in france, it was our allies in britain. we had a coalition of the willing who actually went over to iraq and said, this was the right war to fight at this time. i agree with you. i have serious reservations about whether we should have gone in there or not. and you are going to go into war, you have to damn well sure you have all the equipment that you need. were mistakes made? absolutely. but will this ultimately tarnish