I don't know quite what <$Ad$>to think of Pat Robertson's claim that President Bush told him there'd be no casualties in Iraq. Candor requires me to say that, as a general matter, I don't trust this guy as far as I could throw him. I certainly wouldn't put in any stock in his say-so if he were accusing someone I supported.
(Oddly enough, Kevin Drum has the best Bush-exonerating theory on this one, though I think it's a stretch.)
But in this case, it's sort of an admission against interest. Robertson's no Kerry supporter. He has no interest in hurting the president.
And even if you assume that Robertson is acting out of some sort of intra-Republican pique, he's said this before -- and not at a time when the statement would be quite so politically charged.
As Andrew Sullivan notes this evening, back in June on Hardball Robertson said ...
I felt very uneasy about [the war] from the very get-go. Whenever I heard about it, I knew it was going to be trouble. I warned the president. I only met with him once. I said, You better prepare the American people for some serious casualties. And he said, Oh, no, our troops are, you know, so well protected, we don't have to worry about that.
Having said it months ago when the stakes were much lower -- and not having been contradicted at the time -- makes Robertson's claim more plausible. As Sullivan also points out, this looser formulation also has the ring of truth. To say that the US would suffer no casualties is either a rhetorical shorthand or ridiculous on its face.
When he spoke a few months ago, Robertson's point was that President Bush was sure the war would be a painless one.
That sounds a lot like our president.
A reader (MS) brings up another point.
When trying to refute Robertson's claim, Karen Hughes told the Associated Press, "Obviously, we already had casualties in Afghanistan at the time. If you look at that, that (the comment) was not consistent with what was going on."
In other words, Hughes is arguing that the president couldn't have said such a thing because such a statement wouldn't have been consistent with the reality that everyone could see in front of them.
Need I say more?