•Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld predicted publicly that the war would take “[f]ive days or five weeks or five months” at the outside.
•The administration estimated the war would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to wage; Anderson reports the actual operational tally at $750 billion and rising, not including debt service, replacement of military hardware, and ongoing care for wounded veterans, which added together will more than double that figure. (The war in Afghanistan has cost more than $350 billion to wage so far.)
•Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle proclaimed, “Iraq is a very wealthy country ... they can finance, largely finance, the reconstruction of their own country.” In fact, Iraq had been decimated by two previous wars and United Nations sanctions.
This notion of a US invasion of Iraq as a geopolitical cakewalk was all the more surprising because, to gin up support for the war, the Bush administration and its supporters transformed Saddam Hussein into the mother of all boogeymen. In September 2002, Bush launched the mushroom cloud argument by declaring that Iraq was “six months away from developing a [nuclear] weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.”