BLACKBURN, England, March 31 -- Greeted by antiwar protesters at almost every stop in a tour of a working-class region of England, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that the Bush administration has probably made thousands of "tactical errors" in its handling of the Iraq war. But she defended the invasion as the right strategic decision.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "wasn't going anywhere without military intervention," Rice told a crowd of British foreign policy experts in the clubhouse of the local soccer stadium here. And, she said, "you were not going to have a different Middle East with Saddam Hussein at the center of it."
"I know we've made tactical errors, thousands of them I'm sure," Rice said. "But when you look back in history, what will be judged is did you make the right strategic decisions."
I wonder what Rummy and his commanders will have to say about that comment since they're responsible for those thousands of errors.
What is more interesting though is the fact that Rice admits that the illegal invasion of Iraq was definitely about regime change. It was never about WMDs or spreading democracy. It was always about turfing Hussein. That's why they didn't have a sufficient follow up plan and thought they'd simply be greeted with flowers and candy during their cakewalk. And that, Ms Rice, was the wrong strategic decision that set off those thousands of tactical errors.
PM Margaret Thatcher's former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd had this reaction to her speech:
"It is quite possible to believe that" democracy is essential, Hurd said to the crowd after she spoke, but also to "believe that essentially the path must grow from the roots of its own society and that the killing of thousands of people, many of them innocent, is unacceptable whether committed by a domestic tyrant or for a good cause upon being invaded."