The Rachel Maddow Show | March 18, 2013
>>> the problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapon. but we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud .
>> condoleezza rice talking about the lead-up to the iraq war in september 2002 about something that was not true. joining us now is retired army colonel lawrence wilkinson . he has been a truth teller about what went wrong. colonel willkerrson, thanks for joining us. how would you describe the prevailing mindset about the war in iraq ? a lot of democrats supported the war. democrats essentially had to repent if they supported the war. how do you think republicans feel about it now?
>> rachel, that depends on to whom you're speaking. some like myself, i think chuck hagel , i would describe as moderates, as hagel as said in the past that iraq was a catastrophe, still believe that and believe that history's verdict ultimately will be that. others in the party are trying desperately to defend the decision because they see it as impacting their future possibilities of particularly regaining the white house . and still others just don't want to listen. they're sort of like that crew that you were describing in your opening remarks that won't believe the truth even if it hits them in the face. and incidentally i was using the lbj revelations in my seminar today to demonstrate to my students some of the things that happen at the highest levels 6 power in this country.
>> thinking about the republican possibility of regaining the white house , people are making that calculation about how they have to explain their past behavior, i think in any presidential year it's a 50/50 chance that a democrat or republican will take the white house , give or take the circumstances. but that's why i am worried about the republican party not sort of getting right about what happened there. because it's possible we are going to have a republican president sometime soon again, and i want to know that the republican party has been through an acknowledgement about what went wrong there, and some sort of process to make sure it doesn't happen again. do you feel like there is at least honesty that it was a mistake, that there's some effort to make sure it doesn't happen again?
>> i wish i could say yes. i wish i could answer in the affirmative. i will tell you that one of the basic reasons i cast a vote for president obama this time around, even though i'm a republican, a second time around, although i'd lost some faith in him because he didn't close guantanamo and other things i wish he'd done, the main reason is because i kept thinking that mitt romney would be another george bush , that despite the fact there's always an inconsistency, of late there's development a schism in the foreign policy and mitt romney would indeed lead us down the road to another catastrophic catastrophic, this time with iran.
>> having been there while it was going so wrong, seeing it up close, when you think about our governance, do you think there's something that we can do now as a country to try to make it right, to fix the harm we did to ourselves as a country, not just politically. is there any kind of way we can fix the strategic error of that war internally and internationally?
>> i think it boils down to the american people . i would like to say there's institutional change we could make statutorily or otherwise. i would like to say that we could elect different people. i would like to say all manner of things that would be easier to do, but i think the bottom line is the american people have got to get angry and they've got to start doing things, local things, state things, national things, whatever they can find or think to do. i was in great neck, new york, talking to a synagogue group this last weekend, and i'll tell you that all those people were war weary and sick and tired of all the people we've been spending. they're jewish americans and yet they see what we're doing in terms of israel, they see what aipac does from time to time in terms of influencing u.s. policy, and they see how it would lead potentially to another war, this time with iran as i said. and the american people need to get angry. they need to get as angry as these people were. they need to do things. they need to write their senators, write their representatives, call them. do whatever they can do within their capacity. some have a greater capacity than others. but it's ultimately going to take the american people to say we are sick and tired of the military instrument being the representation to the world. until we do that, we're going to have more of it.
>> colonel wilkerson , that view that you are seeing out in the world, that's reflected in public opinion polling. that's people saying they think the war in iraq was a mistake. thank you so much for your time tonight, sir. i really appreciate having you here.
>> thank you, rachel.
>> a reminder that our look back at how the count was sold on the iraq war , hubris is going to air this friday at 9 pm eastern. today was a big day for american politics . by new think betamax. think pong. bowledly into the future.