Robertson: I warned Bush on Iraq casualties; President’s response: ‘We’re not going to have any’
NEW YORK — The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, “We’re not going to have any casualties.”
Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion. He described Bush in the meeting as “the most self-assured man I’ve ever met in my life.”
“You remember Mark Twain said, ‘He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.’ I mean he was just sitting there like, ‘I’m on top of the world,’ ” Robertson said on the CNN show, “Paula Zahn Now.”
“And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, ‘Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.'”
Robertson said the president then told him, “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties.”
Robertson, the televangelist who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, said he wishes Bush would admit to mistakes made.
“I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy,” Robertson said. “I warned him about casualties.”
More than 1,100 U.S. troops have died in Iraq and another 8,000 troops have been wounded in the ongoing campaign, with the casualty toll significantly increasing in the last six months as the insurgency there has deepened.
Asked why Bush has refused to admit to mistakes on Iraq, Robertson said, “I don’t know this politics game. You know, you can never say you were wrong because the opposition grabs onto it: ‘See, he admitted he screwed up.’ “
Even as Robertson criticized Bush for downplaying the potential dangers of the Iraq war, he heaped praise on Bush, saying he believes the president will win the election and that “the blessing of heaven is on Bush.”
“Even if he stumbles and messes up — and he’s had his share of stumbles and gaffes — I just think God’s blessing is on him,” Robertson said.
As for Bush’s Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry, Robertson said, “I don’t think he’s a leader. He’s a ponderous debater, a good senator probably.”
Thanks to James Mock for drawing my attention to this article. –BL