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Entries in Iraq (24)

Monday
Oct102011

George W. Bush: Iraq, Afghanistan Wars ‘Worth Fighting’

ABC News(DALLAS) -- To the 30 percent of veterans who in a recent Pew Research Center poll said that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t worth fighting, former President George W. Bush has this to say: "I hope history proves them wrong.”

“The only way for there to be peace is for free societies to emerge.  And, you know, history takes a while to unfold,” he told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff in an exclusive interview over the weekend.  “I happen to think it was worth fighting. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have put them into combat.”

The veterans with whom he has met have all indicated that they were “proud to serve,” he told Woodruff during an interview in which the 65-year-old two-term president talked about his efforts to aid wounded veterans through the George W. Bush Institute.

The interview took place ahead of the Bush Institute’s Warrior Open, a golf tournament in suburban Dallas for military service members who were severely injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The tournament will take place on Monday and Tuesday.

In the wide-ranging interview, Woodruff asked Bush about a number of issues, including the topics making headlines in the race to select the next GOP presidential candidate.  Bush declined to answer.

“I’m not going to opine on the subjects of politics,” he said.

Four organizations that supported the recovery and rehabilitation of 2011 Warrior Open competitors and their families will be honored during the golfing event.  The organizations are Hope For The Warriors, Salute Military Golf Association, Semper Fi Fund and Troops First Foundation.

“I love these guys, love the women in service,” Bush said.  “And to the extent that I can help them, I will.  To the extent that I can herald their courage, I will.”

The Warrior Open is the second of two events of the Bush Center’s Military Service Initiative emphasizing the importance of sports -- such as mountain biking and golf -- for rehabilitating many of those seriously injured on the front lines.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep122011

McCain Admits Americans Won't Allow Another Middle East War

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Americans suffering from war fatigue won't permit more U.S. military involvement in the Middle East, according to Sen. John McCain.

The Arizona Republican told Fox News Sunday that he still supports the decisions made by the previous Bush administration to invade Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks and remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power.

However, McCain admitted, "I also think we learned a lot of lessons, and frankly, I don't think you're going to see the United States of America in another war in that part of the world."

"I don't think American public opinion would stand for it," the 2008 GOP presidential nominee conceded.

McCain believes that the U.S. had no choice but to go after al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan when America was attacked 10 years ago.

Yet, "whether it's mismanaged and whether we underestimated the enormity of the challenge we faced, I think historians will judge," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Donald Rumsfeld: 'It's Possible' Troop Decisions Were a Mistake in Iraq

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- More than four years after leaving public life, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld continues to believe the war in Iraq was worth the effort, and has no apologies for his decision-making in leading the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Rumsfeld concedes that "it's possible" that decisions on how many troops to send into Iraq marked the biggest mistake of the war.

"In a war, many things cost lives," Rumsfeld told ABC News.

Pressed on the fact that President Bush has written that cutting troop levels in Iraq was "the most important failure in the execution of the war," Rumsfeld called that "interesting."

"I don't have enough confidence to say that that's right.  I think that it's possible.  We had [an] enormous number of troops ready to go in.  They had -- we had off-ramps, if they weren't needed."

"It's hard to know," Rumsfeld continued.  "You know, the path you didn't take is always smoother."

The interview -- Rumsfeld's first for television since 2006 -- is tied to the publication of his memoir, Known and Unknown, this week.

The book spans a half century that took Rumsfeld, now 78, from a back bench as a 30-year-old member of Congress to success in the private and public sectors.  He served Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, including a stint as President Gerald Ford's chief of staff.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct272010

Former U.S. Marine Running Race Against Backdrop of Iraq Controversy

Photo Courtesy - Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ilario Pantano sounds like the average Republican candidate vying for Congress.

In a polite, yet passionate tone, the self-described born-again Christian argues for repealing the health care bill and instilling more free market reforms in the United States.

But the 38-year-old Marine veteran's history sets him apart from his fellow candidates.

Just five years ago, Pantano was facing charges of premeditated murder, punishable by death. While serving in Iraq in 2004, then-2nd Lt. Pantano killed two Iraqis after stopping them for a search. He then placed a sign on their car's dashboard that read, "No better friend, no worse enemy."

Pantano claimed he acted in self-defense. His counterpart who reported the case to superiors said Pantano was agitated and wanted to teach the insurgents a lesson.

Pantano's battalion was officially on a peacekeeping mission.

Eventually, the charges were dropped but not before an admonishing by the investigating officer, who called Pantano's actions "morally and ethically wrong" and a "disgrace of the armed forces."

Five years later, the New York trader-turned-military man-turned deputy sheriff is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and could soon be a new addition to the Republican lineup in Congress. Nationally, Democrats are attempting to use Pantano's record to question his legitimacy for Congress.

The outspoken critic of the Obama administration calls the controversy a non-issue.

"I don't need to defend my record. I was completely exonerated. I was given another command. I made the decision to resign [from the military] out of my own will, purely because I was concerned about the safety of my men and ultimately the safety of my family back at home," Pantano, who just Tuesday received a glowing endorsement from Sarah Palin, told ABC News.

"Anybody is entitled to their opinion," Pantano said of the officer's scathing report. "The case really is closed. I'm running for Congress. I'm not running to a run a platoon in Iraq in 2004."

Pantano, author of Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy, is one of 27 veterans running for Congress this election season. He represents a new breed of Iraq war alumni who will soon replace World War II combat veterans, only a handful of which now walk the halls of Congress.

But unlike their predecessors, many of these candidates have been mired in national scandals.

Allen West, a Republican candidate for Congress in Florida and a retired Army lieutenant colonel, faced allegations of improper detainee abuse in Iraq and was fined after a military hearing in 2003.

The 49-year-old Tea Party-backed candidate is currently leading in the polls.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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