As Jeb Bush was tying himself into a pretzel over the Iraq War last week, a curious silence emanated from the usual cadre of Iraq War architects, boosters, and hangers-on.
The willingness of Bush's Republican primary rivals to criticize him for initially saying he supported the war — even knowing what is known now — was itself remarkable and suggests a watershed moment in the GOP's reckoning with disaster of the Iraq War. But also notable was the dog that didn't bark.
TPM reached out to a number of key figures in the run-up to the Iraq War, most of whom would not comment. We did find some Iraq War supporters who would talk, but rather than affirmatively defending the decision to go to war, they dismissed the line of questioning Jeb Bush faced as "unfair" or attributed the Iraq War failures to big government "throwing money" at the problem.
Then there was James Woolsey, the former CIA director and Iraq War advocate. He said what would have changed his support for the invasion was not 20/20 vision about WMDs or the difficulty of the occupation, but seeing how Barack Obama has handled the war.
"'I should have said in '03, ‘No, I don't want us to go to war under Barack Obama," Woolsey said.
The upshot is that the right-wing sound machine which for more than a decade came loudly to the defense of the war and savaged its critics was for the first time almost subdued in its response.
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