Televangelist Pat Robertson is causing quite a stir with his statement that President George W. Bush told him "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties" in Iraq.
Here's the story ...
And here's my theory:
Robertson could be telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, without it being (yet another) indication that Bush is a stark-raving nutsoid.
Bear with me for a minute here.
As you'll recall, the Bush administration preceded the invasion of Iraq with "precision strikes" intended to kill Saddam Hussein. As a matter of fact, I seem to recall that at least one of those strikes occurred a little before the "magic deadline."
Is there any reason to believe that this was done ad hoc, without a plan in place to exploit it if it worked, other than the fact that the Bush administration makes a habit of doing things ad hoc without plans in place to exploit them if they work?
My tentative conclusion is that Bush already had a deal cut with one or more Iraqi military leaders: If we could take Hussein and the Revolutionary Command Council out of the picture, they'd assume control, lay down their arms and welcome the "liberators" in to set up a new Iraqi government that the US could work with. If I'm not mistaken, some Iraqi commanders did keep their troops in barracks and surrender early, although that may have been just propaganda or wishful thinking. Trying to discern reality through the lens of CNN or Fox is like trying to bash a pinata during a tornado.
But if such a deal was in the works, it's entirely conceivable that Bush believed this would be a bloodless coup with few, if any, casualties. He probably wasn't going to tell Pat Robertson why he believed that, but he might have told Robertson that he believed it.
Grain of salt as always, but let it never be said that I don't give Bush the benefit of doubt when there actually is some.