Wild Speculation

As Holden pointed out Monday, the White House talking point regarding a possible military attack on Iran was “wild speculation”. That got me thinking about what other things the WH had called “speculation” and when they’d done it.

But first, I missed my chance to meet up with Kos Sunday in Portland because we were sheetrocking a ceiling, but I did catch him (not literally) Monday evening at the Kennedy School (the one in Portland has nothing to do with governing, just beer).


One year to the day before the Iraq invasion, Vice President Cheney and Prime Minister Sharon of Israel held a press conference:

[QUESTION:] Prime Minister Sharon, on the issue of Iraq, are you prepared to say today that you would support a U.S.-led attack on Iraq even if that required restraint from the Israeli government in the face of an Iraqi attack on Israelis?

CHENEY: If I might go first, Prime Minister.

There’s been great press speculation about the possibility of a military action against Iraq. I have said repeatedly throughout the course of my travels in response to those questions, one, no such decision’s been made. And secondly, we never speculate about perspective [sp] future operations.


In August 2002 — seven months before invading Iraq — President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld talked about defense in-between clearing brush in Texas.

Q Sir, after you’ve studied today the military capabilities of the United States and looking ahead to future threats, one thing that has to factor in is the growing number of U.S. allies, Russia, Germany, Bahrain, now Canada, who say that if you go to war with Saddam, you’re going to go alone.

Does the American military have the capability to prosecute this war alone?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, if you’re asking — are you asking about Iraq? The subject didn’t come up in this meeting.

But, having said that, we take all threats seriously and we will continue to consult with our friends and allies.

I know there is this kind of intense speculation that seems to be going on, a kind of a — I don’t know how you would describe it. It’s kind of a churning



On 6 March 2003 — less than two weeks before the invasion of Iraq — this exchange took place at a press conference:

[THE PRESIDENT:] As far as ultimatums and all the speculation about what may or may not happen, after next week, we’ll just wait and see.


Q Are we days away?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re days away from resolving this issue at the Security Council.


In November 2003, Scott McClellan was asked whether the US was happy with the Iraqi Governing Council:

Q We’re going to stick with this group, then, and not seek to establish another one?

MR. McCLELLAN: We’re continuing to work closely with the governing coalition. You’re asking me to get into a bunch of speculation, and that’s not something I intend to do.

So much that’s been speculated on has come to pass, what’s a little “wild speculation” among friends?