To his credit, however, Mr. O'Reilly goes on to say that although some (including G.W. Bush and Dick Chaney as well as the aforementioned Mark Davis) still think the 2003 invasion was the right thing to do "...history will show that the tribal divisions in that country made it impossible for a non-dictator to govern effectively. The Sunni-Shia hatred runs so deep [that] unity was impossible...[and]...it is safe to say that the American government did not understand the brutal Iraqi internal situation when the war started." I suggest you read that last bit of wisdom again because it may be as close as you will ever get to O'Reilly admitting error. I say this because, by my recollection, he has, historically, been one of the most vocal drum beaters for the whole idea of invading Iraq. In this context it is interesting that in the last few words quoted above, he characterized the war as having "started" as if it was by spontaneous combustion rather than an invasion.
By way of a short summary, Mr. O then stipulates that, " Talking Points [by which he means himself] believes history will judge that both Presidents Obama and Bush made serious mistakes in Iraq." I too believe (perhaps that should read: "Opinionsunlimited believes") that analysis. But I also believe that if President Bush had not made his mistake of sending an invasion force into Iraq, then President Obama would have been denied the opportunity to make his mistake of pulling those same troops out. In brief, the fact of the first mistake set the conditions for the second.
As an interesting side note, I was watching the "O'Reilly Factor" again last night and no less a conservative thinker than Laura Ingraham was invited to explain her change of heart regarding the invasion of Iraq. She is now of the opinion that it was an error, but that change didn't evolve until about 2007 and, then, was based, largely , on her perception that the effort had lost popular support.
My question then, as the title suggests, is what took these "smart guys" so long to reach their current views of the events/mistakes in Iraq?
And those of you who may think I have just come to this conclusion myself are encouraged to visit the archives of this blog where you will see that I have been playing this tune for several years