Feb. 7, 2003 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy: "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
Or perhaps this not long after?
March 4, 2003 Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a breakfast with reporters: "What you'd like to do is have it be a short, short conflict. . . . Iraq is much weaker than they were back in the '90s," when its forces were routed from Kuwait.
Oh, and don't forget this!
March 11, 2003 Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars: "The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator."
And then sadly but predictably, the walk back begins......
March 16, 2003 Vice President Cheney, on NBC's Meet the Press: "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months." He predicted that regular Iraqi soldiers would not "put up such a struggle" and that even "significant elements of the Republican Guard . . . are likely to step aside."
But Dubya sternly reassures us that they have no fucking clue.
March 20, 2003 President Bush, in an Oval Office speech to the nation: "A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict."
While Rummy comes to the conclusion that it's not going quite as he had planned on the back of that cocktail napkin with Dick and Wolfie over 18 year old Scotch at the Country Club. As usual, he decides to put the blame elsewhere.
March 21, 2003 Rumsfeld, at a Pentagon news briefing: "The confusion of Iraqi officials is growing. Their ability to see what is happening on the battlefield, to communicate with their forces and to control their country is slipping away. . . . The regime is starting to lose control of their country."
And Dubya continues to love to talk tough when accompanied by his poodle.
March 27, 2003 Bush, at a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, when asked how long the war would take: "However long it takes. That's the answer to your question and that's what you've got to know. It isn't a matter of timetable, it's a matter of victory."
But the coup de grâce to their fantasy of quickly stepping in and having the virgins, flowers and candy thrown at their feet was finally administered on Talking Head TeeVee on March 30. 2003.
Even Harriet Myers gets some face time on the issue.
March 30, 2003 Myers, on Meet the Press: "Nobody should have any illusions that this is going to be a quick and easy victory. This is going to be a tough war, a tough slog yet, and no responsible official I know has ever said anything different once this war has started."
And Rummy? Well, take it from that english language and physics killing psycho himself.
March 30, 2003 Rumsfeld, on Fox News Sunday, when asked whether Iraqis would "celebrate in the streets" when victory is won: "We'll see."
Thousands of days and hundreds of thousands of lives later, we come to December 18, 2011. The day that
The last convoy of U.S. soldiers pulled out of Iraq on Sunday, ending nearly nine years of war that cost almost 4,500 American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and left a country grappling with political uncertainty.
The war launched in March 2003 with missiles striking Baghdad to oust President Saddam Hussein closes with a fragile democracy still facing insurgents, sectarian tensions and the challenge of defining its place in an Arab region in turmoil.
The final column of around 100 mostly U.S. military MRAP armored vehicles carrying 500 U.S. troops trundled across the southern Iraq desert from their last base through the night and daybreak along an empty highway to the Kuwaiti border.
Honking their horns, the last batch of around 25 American military trucks and tractor trailers carrying Bradley fighting vehicles crossed the border early Sunday morning, their crews waving at fellow troops along the route.
"I just can't wait to call my wife and kids and let them know I am safe," Sgt. First Class Rodolfo Ruiz said as the border came into sight. Soon afterwards, he told his men the mission was over, "Hey guys, you made it."
For U.S. President Barack Obama, the military pullout is the fulfillment of an election promise to bring troops home from a conflict inherited from his predecessor, the most unpopular war since Vietnam and one that tainted America's standing worldwide.
Today is a day of celebration for our military members as they return. Home. For Christmas. Hopefully, for good.