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Changing Rationales

A Timeline of Bush Administration Quotes on Iraq

This timeline of Bush administration quotes on Iraq, compiled by Bryan Thomas and Rudy deLeon, recounts the words and pledges that were offered during the past five years of the current conflict.

President Bush stands with members of his national security team at his Crawford, TX ranch, including Vide President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace. (AP/Evan Vucci)
President Bush stands with members of his national security team at his Crawford, TX ranch, including Vide President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace. (AP/Evan Vucci)

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View the extended quote anthology (pdf)

We provide this timeline and anthology as a reference for debate on the current war in Iraq. After five years of combat and the expenditure of considerable American treasure, particularly the lives of her sons and daughters, it is an important exercise to recount the words and pledges that were offered during the origins of the current conflict.

A grateful American people acknowledge the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States, their spouses, children, and parents. They have served, and are serving with great distinction. To these soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen, their fellow Americans acknowledge with much appreciation the tremendous burden they have carried.

Looking back at these words, we do not challenge the intent or integrity of those we quote. But the references remind us that no responsibility is greater than the decision to take a country to war. That commitment must be rooted not in easy politics and a promise of a quick mission accomplished, but instead in hard, shared sacrifice and awareness of the path ahead. This is our American challenge as we seek a new direction and an end to the war in Iraq.

The timeline and text is organized in four sections.

I. Reasons for War
II. Planning and Execution
III. Cost of War
IV. Defining Victory

View the full timeline (pdf)

View the extended quote anthology (pdf)

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

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