msnbc | March 18, 2013
>>> is under way, the president came on the air tonight a half hour ago to say this war could go on longer than a lot of people are saying.
>> tomorrow marks ten years since the beginning of the u.s.-led invasion of iraq . a decade since the shock and awe of baghdad. ten years that have come with hindsight, with introspection. and little of it coming from those acknowledged as the arca detectives of that war until now.
>> i have to say, i'm architect. if i'd been the architect, things would be have been different.
>> that was paul wolfowitz . joining me now correspondent for the nbc correspondent, and the book "selling the iraq war ." i want to play more of wolfowitz 's response when he was asked if he would do it again.
>> bottom line, would -- given what you know today, would you have done it again?
>> might have -- i certainly would have done it differently, particularly with respect to counterinsurgency strategy.
>> in an interview with the uk sunday time, wolfowitz went on to say that the war spiraled out of control. and the most consequential failure was to understand the tenacity.
>> it's a remarkable piece of sound. in fact, if you listen closely, he started to say "might have" which would be an enormous concession on his part. first thing, we would have heard from any of the architects and let's be clear, paul wolfowitz was one of the most passionate and vigorous and influential advocates within the bush administration for the invasion of iraq . i think that qualifies him as being one of the architects of this war. but for him to -- he sort of pulled back. and then said well, i would have done it differently. he is focusing on the way the invasion was carried out. the failure to recognize the insurgency as it did develop, the failure to recognize as he put it the tenacity of saddam's supporters within iraq. but he doesn't address what i think is sort of the most fundamental question which is the basis upon which the war was sold to the american public.
>> of which wolfowitz , again, one of the most vigorous, one of the most outspoken. was absolutely committed to the idea that there were connection between saddam hussein and al qaeda , assertions that turned out to be false.
>> a false premise .
>> yeah, it's the false premise that i think is -- when people talk about a mea culpa , that's what they probably want to hear most from the architects of the war like wolfowitz . and that, he didn't address.
>> you bring up the plural there. the architects. let's talk about those, former vice president dick cheney , he published a book active with the campaign. it's kind of a where are they now moment. condoleezza rice . also published a book. and donald rumsfeld , he published a book. and wolfowitz is chair of the u.s.-taiwan business council and head of the world bank . do the players say something about who is and who isn't shouldering blame for the flawed premise to invade?
>> it's fascinating to me to compare the track record of these people in the last ten years with what happened to the architects of the vietnam war where robert mcnamara went into the world bank and finally 20 years later talked about it. most stepped back from the stage. so it's strikele to me that we still hear weighing in on public policy people who had proven so wrong, the fundamental argument for the war that it was going to lead to de.
>> one thing that's interesting this recent showtime documentary about dick cheney where he talks in reference to this. take a look.
>> i don't run around thinking, gee, i wish we'd done this. or i wish we'd done that. the world is as you find it, you've got to deal with that. and we get one shot. you don't get do-overs. so i don't spend a lot of time thinking about it.
>> so as we look at this, mike, i think in a recent piece you called the iraq war the biggest strategic error since world war ii .
>> that was james.
>> james, why does the bush administration continue to stand by these decisions and not flinch about all we know right now?
>> it may be the character of dick cheney . condoleezza rice has been stepped away from the mainstream. of wolfowitz was fundamentally important to the war and also in the execution of it. he said, while he would have done it differently. he's was the one who dressed down. it's the fault of the media and people in our business from not calling into account more than they have been. so that's one of the ongoing mysteries.
>> james fouts of the atlantic and michael izicoff. gentlemen, i appreciate it.