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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  December 27, 2015 7:00am-8:01am PST

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sunday morning with us, and you can catch me every sunday here on "the lead" and go to the, state of the union. thank you for being with us, and thank you for being with us, and fareed zakaria is next. -- captions by vitac -- in baghdad today, bombs go off on average every 12 hours. the awful routine that follows each bomb looks hauntingly familiar to americans who watched the iraq war play out on television. familiar, except por this. after many bombings, kareem
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wasby plays his cello. she is the con dductor of the iraqi orchestra. sometimes he plays the iraqi national anthem. my homeland they say are in your life and in your air. >> i george walker bush -- >> george bush had a dream, a vision where saddam would fall, and the people would rejoice and iraq would become a stable democracy, a beacon of hope, breaking the endless cycle of tyranny and extremism in the middle east.
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but if you think that this is history, isn't. many politicians want to send troops back into the middle east. think of the downing of the russian jet and the intervention of isis, but will american intervention be better this time than last time? it is crucial that we understand how the iraq war went so long. go back to beginning of the sto! story. it is tempting to ask, wa if. what if there is someone who could is have warned us what could have happened if we invaded iraq. in fact there was one man who did just that. >> once you got to iraq and took it over, and took down saddam hussein's government, then what you going to put in its place?
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it is a volatile part of the world, and if you take down the government of iraq, then what happens? it is a quagmire. >> that is right. dick cheney predicted that iraq would be a quagmire. and flash forward to 2003, dick cheney appeared on "meet the press" with the late tim russert. >> then the iraqi people would be liberated. >> if you are wrong, do you believe that the american people are prepared for a long, costly and bloody battle with significant american casualties? >> i don't think it is likely to unfold that way, tim, because i believe that we will be greeted as liberators. >> so what changed dick cheney and why was george w. bush so determined to go to war in iraq?
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>> #/11 is just one of those awful moments. >> 9/11 pushed him and dick cheney to aer the ribble place. >> i think that we have to prove that i'm a tough guy. we have to prove that we can reshape the middle east otherwise the rest of my administration, tin pod dick dictators are going to take advantage of me. >> richard clarke was in the white house ta that night, and he said it is that night when it began. >> on the night of 9/11 we all meet in the situation room in the east wing in the bunk er. rumsfeld is there which is still on fire, and many that conver
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aresation rumsfeld starts talking about invading iraq while the pentagon is still burn i ing. the president, he said, saddam, saddam. find and go back and look at everything, and find out whether or not saddam was involved. >> and so in the aftermath of 9/11. >> and soon everybody will hear us. >> the choice was made to go to war against saddam hussein even though he had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. >> and when you don't want to see something, and you say to the world, give me intelligence that says something, they will find you intelligence that says that. >> information was gathered fast. and many sources of the iraqi intelligence were barely vetted. >> 9/11 changed everything.
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>> and it changed americans. george bush rode a powerful wave of patriotism. american flags were everywhere. >> to run out of 600,000 flags in a period of a couple of days is just incredible. >> the president's approval rating soared and republicans and democrats and even the journalists ral lid around him. >> george bush is the president, and he makes the decisions, and, you know, as one american, wherever he wants to me line up, just tell me where. >> americans did line up. just three months after 9/11 the u.s. went to war in afghanistan against the tall ban who had sheltered osama bin laden. despite the grim predictions of the experts, the taliban were
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toppled, bolstering the bush's edadministration confidence and the nation's trust nit. and so back to the white house, the focus was back to iraq to try to find a justification for war. >> and you can't distinguish between al qaeda and saddam when you talk about the war on terror. >> as the months went on, it was increasing. >> i can't wait for the final proof, the smoke gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. >> there was a constant drum beat of one phrase "weapons of mass destruction." >> saddam's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. >> saddam hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction. >> and not everybody was buying what the administration was selling. though the majority of american
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s supported the war, huge anti-war crowds filled the streets of new york, but britain's toe theny blair stood by george w. bush. >> it is important to the hold to the path that we have set out. >> and there were those who joked that this is what was needed for democracy to work. >> and the final result came in 2003 >> we rare about to see a major historical event unfold on live television. >> when secretary the of state colin powell presented a powerful case against saddam hussein to the united nations. >> we have first-hand descriptions of biological weapons on wheels and rails. these are sophisticated
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facilities to for example produce anthrax and botulinem products, and they can produce enough to kill thousands upon thousands of people. >> everything that you heard eco lynn powell say is not true. >> leaving saddam hussein with weapons of mass destruction is certain suicide. >> none of this was true. there were no weapons of mass destruction. and it was a catastrophic intelligence failure. and six weeks later americans went to war. >> my fellow americans, at this hour, american and coalition forces in the early stages of military operations to disarm iraq, to free its people and to
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defend the world from grave danger. >> "operation iraqi freedom"p happened fast. faced with the lightning u.s u.s.-led attack, iraq's vast army melted away. baghdad fell in less than three weeks. saddam hussein and his sons disappeared. >> u.s. intelligence officials say saddam could be injured or even dead. >> there was wild celebration in the streets. it looked as though george bush's dream was going to come true. and then, all hell broke loose. just weeks after saddam was toppled, iraq was in chaos, no
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one was in charge. >> what happened to my country? fighting, killing, stealing. >> virtually every government building was looted. iraqi's carried off everything they could find, electricity was out all over the country. massive piles of garbage went uncollected. >> there was an opportunity to win the hearts and minds, and that was completely lost. >> children roamed the streets. >> my school is closed, and my destiny is minute by minute lost. >> schools were closed indefinitely. >> we have to study. we have to study. you invade us. >> gas lines were miles long in an oil rich country.
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>> there are three top priorities here, number one, water, number two, water, number three, water. >> running water had been cut off. and an increasingly desperate situation, rage boiled over. >> i ask you why? who responsible? i ask you and all the world why? why? you don't know. i don't know. who knows? who knows? who knows? >> stuff happens. >> back in washington. >> good afternoon. >> given how predictable the lack of law and order was -- >> reporters confronted donald rumsfeld about the chaos. >> it's a fundamental misunderstanding to see those
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images over and over again with some boy walking out with a vase and saying, oh, my goodness, you didn't have a plan. that's nonsense. they know what they are doing and doing a terrific job and it's untidy and free people are free to make mistakes. >> but the biggest mistake was this. despite rumsfeld's assurances, it was clear. the united states did not have a plan for post-war iraq. as the chaos grew deeper, so did the divide between iraq sunni's and shiites. with no one in charge, iraqis clung more tightly to what they knew, to members of their own clans and sects. other muslims began to look like the enemy. the seeds of civil war were sown. >> our country will be sending one of our best citizens -- >> and to paul bremer. two months after toppling
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saddam, the president dispatched him to iraq to clean up the mess. and wait until you see wa he did when he got the iraq. that is next on "the long road to hell."
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in may of 2003, presidential envoy with paul bremer landed in baghdad. the city was on fire. >> all of the ministries had been looted and police stations a all over to the country had been destroyed. >> saving iraq was up to a man who had never served in the middle east, who spoke no arabic and who had been given three weeks to prepare for the mission. >> the only significant organization that he had run was ambassador to the netherlands.
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it was astounding. >> thank you for taking this honor. i'm proud of you. >> right away, within a few day s on the ground, bremer issued two o orders widely considered to be the most calamitous mistakes of the iraq war. >> they were disastrous. >> and the first was to bar all of saddam's baath party from holding the government skw jobs. >> the baathists who used their power to remove the iraqi people from office. and several hundred thousand iraqis who were the most advantaged and who had the best education, and all of these people lost their jobs. >> and then bremer fired saddam's army. a huge force of young iraqi men, mostly sunnis and turned out into the chaotic streets. of course, they still had their guns. >> this is a huge concern. >> general david petraeus was
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fighting the iraqi insurgency. >> i said that your policies are killing our troops, and you are casting them out of the one institution that was respected in iraqk and now they have no future. >> many critics have pointed to brem bremer's two orders as the reason for the iraqi insurgency. some say, they even led to isis. >> many of the people who are today with the islamic state on the military side are people are from that army. >> who approved the order? for years members of the bush administration have pointed fingers at each other. but for the first time paul b m bremer gave me a clear answer to the question. white house officials have variously pinned the blame on you. >> not the president. >> not the president. >> no, the president hasn't. >> yeah, well, he approved them. >> he approved them? >> yes. >> and george bush has never
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take even clear responsibility, but bremer says that the idea to fire baath party members came from this man, doug fit, a key aide to the president. >> doug fit showed me the draft, and say we are going to do this. >> paul bremer says that de-baathification was your idea. >> no, it was discussed interagency for months. and obviously, bremer did set it up. >> but it seems that a lot of people are blaming you. >> it does, but it is not true.
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>> and the false prewar intelligence that led to war. his office was tasked with looking at intelligence and some which the cia did not deem credible. >> good morning. >> the problem with the cia is that it is sloppy over and over again. >> remember the intelligence that george bush asked for on the night of 9/11. >> the president asked me, saddam, saddam, and go back and look at everything. find out whether or not saddam was involved. >> doug feith found out what the president was asking for. a 2007 pentagon investigation was highly critical of what he found and how he found it. >> the inspector general report says that effectively the office was cherry picking evidence, and that it was inappropriate. >> no, the he inspector genera never said that, but if you want
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to get into that -- >> develop and produced and altered intelligence disis sem nated that was inconsistent with the intelligence community. >> yes, that is for sure, we disagreed with the intelligence community. >> and so did dick cheney, and he was quick to blame the office. >> and when george tenet sat in the president's office, and asked about how sure are are we about the weapons of mass destruction, and he said, it is a slam dunk, mr. president. >> and there were more than just mistakes when it come ts to the iraq war. >> if you look at the technical definition of war crimes, i believe that the united states committed war crimes. >> there there were calls for war crimes in england against tony blair, george bush's
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staunch ally in the war. he is the only person we spoke to in this program that took responsible for iraq. >> i can say that i apologize for the fact that the intelligence that we received was wrong. i can also apologize by the way for some of the mistakes and planning and certainly our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime. but i find it hard to apologize for removing saddam, and even from today in 2015, it is better that he is not there than that he is there. >> coming up next, the men who want to go back. >> you have the fight them. you have to fight them. >> and the enemy we could face.
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a beautiful friday night in paris turns to terror as isis strikes at the heart of the city. dozens of innocent people slaughtered. at a nightclub at sidewalk cafes, bombs at a stadium.
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france fights back bombing isis area. and in russia vladimir putin exacts his own revenge. >> we will find them at any spot. >> and then a russian jet is blown out of the sky. >> it is barbaric. >> there is no talking to them. >> and furious reaction on the campaign trail. >> i am going to bomb the shit out of them. i don't care. >> over what to do with isis. >> i don't care. they have to be stopped. >> and even before the latest isis atrocities. >> how does president obama sleep at night? >> republican candidates were demanding action. >> if i i'm president of the united states, we are going in on the ground and we are going to be pulling up the caliphate by its roots and kill every one of these bastards, and if we don't, they are coming here if
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we don't. let's get on with it. >> and as the debate rages, iraqis are running for their lives. tens of thousands of them desperate to escape isis. and many more are fleeing syria. >> we're running now with these migrants and refugees. >> all of them on a dangerous journey to reach europe, to reach safety. >> we hope to get germany. >> governments there are struggling with how to handle the gigantic numbers. some are closing their borders or worse. >> sorry. okay. i can smell that tear gas now. they are chanting. >> the risks the refugees take have become heartbreakingly
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clear, but still, they come but they will not be coming to america if some presidential candidates have their way. >> what barack obama and hillary clinton are proposing to bring to the country tens off thousands of syrian ref e yee e gees, and in light of what happen happened in paris, that is nothing short of lunacy. >> ted cruz says that the united states should only accept christian refugees. president obama reacted angrily. >> when you start to say that, positions in responsibility, saying that the christians are more worthy of protection than muslims are in a war-torn land, that is feeding the isil narrative, and it needs to stop.
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>> as for the refugees, if no one will take them, this is the al tern thetive. alternative. >> we will continue to strike the necks of your people. >> the beheadings, mass murders and the rape and enslavement of women, and all of it borne of the chaos from country since america first wept into iraq. >> if it were not for the american invasion of iraq and the subsequent disbanding of the iraqi army by the united states, there would be no isis. >> this is camp -- >> and the seeds grew the at an american prison in the raublgir desert. in the insurgency, many of the
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members were locked up in camp buka. in 2004, one of them was abu bakr al baghdadi, the future leader of isis. >> he wasn't considered from everything that we know how a high-level detainee. he was allowed to lead prayers and allowed to give religious lessons. >> that's right. the u.s. not only had al baghdadi in custody, he was actually allowed to teach islam to fellow inmates. by 2014, al baghdadi's isis was declaring itself a caliphate, an islamic state, and it quickly began capturing towns and cities in iraq. as alarm grew in the united states, the obama administration
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struggled with how to fight isis without actually going into ground combat. 3500 american troops are on the ground, training iraqi forces. >> the iraqi army abandoned the position. >> the same forces who had famously run from battle when confronted by isis. >> the iraqi army outnumbered isis 20 or 30 to 1 in mosul. iraq's second largest city, and surrendered it without a fight. >> perhaps the most important question is, does it make sense to go to war again in a country that may not even be a country anymore. listen to people who know iraq well. >> iraq does not exist except for lines on a map. >> most iraqis never see themselves the as iraqis. they see themselves as shia or as sunnis or as kurds, and u.s.
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foreign policy, like it or not, probably has to the adapt to to a post iraqi era. i keep saying the rand mcnally era of the middle east has seen its day. >> the map telling the story, take a look. this is kurdish a area, and autonomous and called kurd stan the. and south of baghdad are the shiite ae yas, and that i come proiz moo the majority of the country, and in the middle, this large swath of one-third of iraq which spills into syria is sunni land. this is where isis has taken control, and shwhat it has turned into the de facto islamic state. iraq ends here, but only on the map maps. the border between iraq and syria drawn arbitrarily by the british after world war i has now become meaningless, and disaffected sunnis inhabited this area, and the islamic state
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controls large swathes of it as we well. so any boots on the ground fight against isis would likely have to be in both iraq and syria. all of which leads back to one question, can we fight eisis in iraq? when there really is no iraq left. >> at the end of the day, we can't put that country together. and as iraq falls apart, the blame game escalates. president bush or president obama? >> the person i blame is barack obama and not george w. bush. >> when we come back, the finger pointing versus the facts.
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what put iraq main the precarious position it is in now? was it the beginning, bush's invasion, or the end, obama's withdrawal? >> we are here today because of the disastrous blunder of the bush/cheney policies that got us into iraq that gave us the can of worms that we are are trying to deal with right now. >> and when it comes to iraq the
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person i blame is president obama and not president bush. >> when it comes to blame, 50% say it is president bush, and 50% say it is president obama's. president obama said he was against the war from the start, and when he ran for president he made an important pledge. when i am commander in chief, i will set a new goal on day one. i will end this war. >> less than four years later, and a little slower than he had originally hoped, the last american combat soldier left iraq. >> bush administration und undersecretary of defense douglas feith. >> the thing that gave them the greatest opportunity was when president obama decided to quit. and we killed our influence in
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the country. >> obama official anthony blinken says there is a slight hitch in feith's argument, it was not obama who set the withdrawal. >> in 2008, president bush signed an agreement with iraq providing that the united states and its forces would leave iraq by 2011. >> many in the process say that the united states did not try hard enough, because in the end, president obama wanted to get out. >> at the end of the day, the iraqis wanted us out. that is what happened. >> those iraqis were led by prime minister nuri al maliki. he had come into office promising to heal the country's sectarian divide. instead, he inflamed it. maliki met frequently with david petraeus, and when the general commanded all coalition forces in iraq.
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>> i would have loved to have tested the proposition that 10,000 troops and a three-star or four-star operational commander would have given us the influence to dissuade president maliki are from the sectarian actions that he took. >> 10,000 troops, a plan to leave a force of that side had been floated in washington and baghdad. it was a plan that never came to fruition. >> i don't know if 10,000 troops would have given us the leverage. i suspect that it would not have, but i would have liked to is have tested the proposition. >> it nef was tested some experts say because of prime minister maliki. the nosew york newspaper said tt president maliki did a favor for iran, he promised to expel all american forces before 2011 was over.
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and back in 2006, it was george w. bush who put maliki in office in the first place, so does bush bear the blame? richard clarke made a point earlier on in which he tells us what he thinks. >> fit weren't for the american invasion of iraq, and the subsequent disbanding of the iraqi army by the united states, there would be no isis. isis is a direct outgrowth of the american invasion. >> but clarke's former colleague douglas feith sticks to his guns. if today, you knew what you knew back then about invading iraq, what would have been your answer? >> the only meaningful way to approach that is that president bush know iing what he knew at e time made the right decision, and i think that he did. >> tony blair when he was prime
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minister of the united kingdom was bush's most public partner on the iraq war. >> of course, you can't say that those who removed saddam in 2003 doesn't bear the blame in 2013. >> but he wonders about the alternative. >> we have tried putting in troops, and not putting in troops in libya, and tried no intervention at all, but demanding regime change in syria, and it is not clear to me, that even if our policy did not work, subsequent policies have worked bet ter. >> bush or obama, well, maybe there is another party to blame for the sad state the of iraq in the region. >> what has happened in the middle east is in part the result of things that we have done like the iraq war and things that we have not done like syria or things that we have done like libya, and any
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number of acts of comission or omission which historians will rightly take the united states and others to task for, but what is mising from the analysis is its own responsibility. this is deeply suffering from modernity. we will look inside of the surge when we come back. doin' it. did it. done. doers built this country. the dams and the railroads. ♪john henry was a steel drivin' man♪ hmm, catchy. they built the golden gates and the empire states. and all this doin' takes energy -no matter who's doin'. there's all kinds of doin' up in here. or what they're doin'. what the heck's he doin? energy got us here. and it's our job to make sure there's enough to keep doers doin' the stuff doers do... to keep us all doin' what we do.
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january 10th, 2007, president george w. bush goes before the american people to talk about the war effort. >> it is clear that we need to change our strategy in iraq. most urgent priority for success in iraq is security. >> almost exactly a month later -- >> al shabaab -- >> general david petraeus arrives in baghdad after being named the u.s. commander in iraq.
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he had already done two long tours of duty in country. but what he sees this time around almost four years after the war started was disturbing and different. >> first day, full day in command was traveling around baghdad to see the situation there which frankly was really, really quite horrifying. i had known these neighborhoods as thriving, bustling prosperous areas, and in some cases, completely bloin. the people had moved out. in one case, it is almost metaphorical, because there was literally tumbleweed blowing down the empty road. >> the president had decided that iraq needed an influx of american troops to secure the peace. petraeus had a plan to do just that. >> do you mind if i ask what you do for a living? >> and it started with this.
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>> the only way the to secure the people, and ensure security was to live with them, and to be in the neighborhood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. >> the general says this tactic is the exact opposite of what the united states had been doing prior to the month, pulling out of the cities and the towns and neighborhoods of iraq, and retreating to massive u.s. bases. >> let's go, move it. >> the other interesting innovation of the early surge was more controversial. he needed to find a way to stop the sunni insurgents from killing the american troops and civilians. they were in open are rebellion against the government. we had to give them inscentives to support the new iraq. >> the idea was to give the sunnis a piece of the pie. >> iraq has a bounty of energy, resources and wa te, and the land of two rivers and farmland and it has inkrcredible natural blessings, and they want to have
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their share of that. >> petraeus and the commanders quickly turned that the around by hiring those sunni militias to work for them. the militias would be paid to protect the very same groups of people they had been killing. >> we made the shaikhs contractors, and contracted with them for fixed site security just adds we did with international firms. >> those tactics and others made the military surge work. >> the 19 1/2 months that i was privileged to command the troops in iraq, violence went down by 8 80%. it was incredible. >> it was incredible until it stopped working as it did when the united states pulled back. coming up, my thoughts on the lessons of america in iraq. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars.
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i have taken you through a trip of history in the last hour, reminding you of the choices made and their consequences. so what do i make of it all? well, let me first be honest with you and tell you what i made of it all at the time. i was in favor of the iraq war. i believed that a modern dem a democracy in iraq could be a new model of politics for the region, a middle ground between repressive dictatorship and islamic fanaticism, and i never believed that the iraqis and the others were incapable of self-rule, and i still believe
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that the only long term answer for radical islam is for the muslim societies to organize politically, theocratically. now, i did urge a different approach to iraq with many more troops to maintain order. a u.n. mandate for legitimacy to avoid an image of american occupancy. and i said that it would tear the country apart, but it did not stop me from supporting the are regime's decision to topple saddam hussein. he was a brutal dick tator who plunged many into war. and now for modernity and tolerance, there is an example
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of away from the fervor, but in the end, it was a mistake, causing geopolitical chaos, and untold tragedy. at least 150,000 civilians died in addition to the almost 4,500 american brave soldiers. some argue that you can overlearn the lessons of iraq. sure. but my question about a larger american intervention in syria or elsewhere derives not just from iraq. consider this, the united states replaced the regime in iraq and gave the new one massive assistance for a decade. the result chaos and humanitarian tragedy. washington toppled the regime in libya, but chose not to at the tempt nation building in that country, and the result is
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humanitarian chaos and tragedy. and then the u.s. led the chaos in libya, and the result was chaos and tragedy. and the reality is that in that part of the world, the regimes are fragile and overseeing weak society and often no sense of neighborhood itself. that case, outside of interventions no matter how well-being, they cannot always make it better, and sometimes worse. could iraq have turned out differently and set a different pattern? if a stable, functioning democracy had been established in the heart of the middle east, could it have been a model for the region? a third way between dick tatorsp and radical islamic? we well, if america had made all of the right decisions, who knows,
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but it didn't, and as a result, we will never truly know. thank you for watching. thank you for watching. i'm fareed zakaria. -- captions by vitac -- good morning. i'm brian stelter and it is time for "reliable source os" the weekly look of the story behind the story of how news and pop culture get made. this morning we are covering the biggest media screwups of the year. a credibility crisis made worse in cases like brian williams. it is no wonder that the easiest way to rally a crowd is to attack the messengers. >> we all love the media. do we love the media? [ booing ] >> no, the level of dishonesty is up real. >>