In his convention speech, John Kerry said, “I know there are those who criticize me for seeing complexities — and I do — because some issues just aren’t all that simple.” On the campaign trail, George Bush fired back with his oft-used line, “There’s nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat!”
Is that so? Back in 2003, Bush sounded like he had some pretty complicated reasons for threatening to veto the $87 billion Iraq spending bill:
The Bush administration threatened for the first time Tuesday to veto an $87 billion package for Iraq and Afghanistan if Congress converts any Iraqi rebuilding money into loans…
“Including a loan mechanism slows efforts to stabilize the region and to relieve pressure on our troops, raises questions about our commitment to building a democratic and self-governing Iraq, and impairs our ability to encourage other nations to provide badly needed assistance without saddling Iraq with additional debt,” the letter [from the White House] said.
While we’re at it, can someone please tell Paul Wolfowitz that there’s nothing complicated about supporting troops in combat:
MR. RUSSERT: But why is it that we had 600,000 troops for the Persian Gulf War to remove Saddam from Kuwait, when we only have 300,000 to take over all of Iraq?
MR. WOLFOWITZ: It’s a long and complicated answer, but I think the simplest part of it is what I have just said. If we had waited to put 600,000 troops in place, we would have lost all elements of surprise. (Meet the Press, 4/6/03)
Make sure Donald Rumsfeld gets the memo, too:
RUMSFELD: The system works. There were some allegations of abuse in a detention facility in Iraq. It was reported in the chain of command. Immediately it was announced to the public. Immediately an investigation was initiated. I recognise the appetite of people for instant information and instant conclusions. These things are complicated. (Congressional testimony on Abu Ghraib, (5/5/04)
DONALD RUMSFELD: In a long, hard war, we’re going to have tragic days, as this is. But they’re necessary. They’re part of a war that’s difficult and complicated. (Press conference after 15 soldiers die in Iraq, (11/03/03)
Halliburton, of course, should be informed:
‘Under these conditions no one should expect that assembling such complicated logistics would be the epitome of pristine perfection,’ said Alfred Neffgen, KBR chief operating officer for the Americas. (Explaining financial mismanagement in Iraq, (7/22/04)
And of course, CC Condoleeza Rice:
DR. RICE: Well, look, Ahmed Chalabi did, I think, a lot of good work on behalf of his country when he was in exile. And, yes, there was a relationship. It has not been an easy relationship of late — I think that you can see that, that’s not hard to see. But Iraq is a complicated place and we’re going to continue to work with whomever we need to in that complicated place. (Press Briefing, 6/1/04)
As it turns out, maybe things do get a little complicated when it comes to: vetoing funds for Iraq, understaffing the occupation force, failing to investigate torture allegations, letting soldier casualties rise, wasting taxpayer money, and hob-nobbing with con-men. Glad we cleared that up.