Maddow Makes Tom Ridge Sweat Over Iraq

"I don't think you guys get back your credibility on national security until you realize that [going to war] was a wrong decision."

Rachel Maddow may have stayed civil while interviewing Tom Ridge this week, but she certainly didn't hold back. In a three-part, 30 minute interview, Maddow challenged Ridge's role in several notable Bush Administration debacles, including Katrina and several contentious decisions related to the War on Terror.

Some quotables...

On Iraq:

"MADDOW: I think you making that argument right now is why Republicans after the Bush and Cheney administration are not going to get back the country’s trust on national security. To look back at that decision and say ‘we got it wrong but it was in good faith’ and not acknowledge the foregone conclusion that we are going to invade Iraq that pervaded every decision that was made about intelligence. Looking back at that decision-making process, it sounds like you’re making the argument that you would have made the same decision again.

Americans need to believe that our government would not make that wrong a decision, that would not take such a foregone conclusion to such an important issue, that the intelligence that proved the opposite point was all discounted, that the intelligence was combed through for any bit that would fit the foregone conclusion of the policymakers. The system was broken and if you don’t see that the system was broken and you think that it was just that the intel was wrong - I think that you’re one of the most trusted voices on national security for the Republican party, and I think that is the elephant in the room. I don’t think you guys get back your credibility on national security until you realize that was a wrong decision made by policy makers; that wasn’t the spies fault."

On Katrina:

"Did everything just go to hell at [the Department of Homeland Security] in the 7 months after you left that agency, or do you think you bear some responsibility for Homeland Security failing the country so catastrophically after Katrina?"

On the 2004 election: 

"Were there times when you felt like people wanted to [raise the terror alert level] for reasons other than national security"

The entire interview is in three parts, below.

The following videos are courtesy MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, and were originally aired on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009. Watch: (parts 2 & 3 below the fold)

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