By PETER MARCUS - January 31, 2007
Denver Daily News

A former United States Ambassador to the United Nations would not apologize to the Denver City Club and the Denver Forum during a joint luncheon yesterday for the invasion of Iraq, but he did admit that the Bush administration has continuously “screwed up” since the war began.

The Honorable Kenneth Adelman spoke in the ballroom of the Oxford Hotel during a question-and-answer session moderated by former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm.

No such apology

“I expected an apology from you today,” said one guest of the luncheon, who identified himself as a former intelligence officer for the United States Army during the Vietnam War.

Adelman, who recently became a Colorado resident, defended the Bush administration’s motivations for invading Iraq in the first place, noting numerous intelligence reports from around the world that indicated that Saddam Hussein was capable of and already was developing weapons of mass destruction.

He said in the days following 9/11, emotions were running wild and it was confirmed that Osama Bin Laden was a threat and that Saddam Hussein could pose an increasing threat to the United States.

Adelman argued that Congress approved Bush to use force in invading Iraq by a two-thirds majority.

Where things went wrong

The former Ambassador to the United Nations and Arms Control Director under President Reagan said the war took a terrible turn for the worst when the looting in Iraq began in April of 2003.

Adelman was watching television when his good friend and colleague, then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, responded to the looting by saying, “stuff happens.”

“Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things,” Rumsfeld said. “They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that’s what’s going to happen here.”

Unfortunately for Rumsfeld and the Bush administration, the opposite happened.

Adelman put it yesterday: “That’s not what free people do, that’s what barbarians do.”

Is there a hopeful outcome?

Adelman is not optimistic of a positive outcome to the American occupation of Iraq. He said the troop surge proposed by President Bush for an additional 21,500 troops is worth a try, but the chances of it succeeding are very low.

He said if by July 4th there is no progress made, “then I will say it is hopeless.”

As for when America first invaded Iraq: “All the evidence indicated that if you removed Saddam, the Iraqi’s would be successful and prosperous,” he argued.

In the end, Adelman views the occupation of Iraq as the wrong course of action. He said America and Iraq would have been better served by turning over authority to the U.N. in 2003.

“The occupation of Iraq was a tremendous mistake,” he said.