War in Iraq: Bush’s Policies

How has the war in Iraq affected President Bush’s domestic agenda? What is the impact of the war on the U.S. political landscape? What can Bush do in the wake of the war with Iraq to not repeat his father’s political fate?

Thomas E. Mann, senior fellow of governmental studies at the Brookings Institution, was online to discuss the impact of the war on President Bush’s policies

Editor’s Note: moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

The transcript follows.

Laurel, Md.: Have you seen Michael Kinsley’s Op-Ed today? The gist of it is that contracts for rebuilding Iraq are being disbursed to politically-connected companies without the usually open bidding. If this characterization is accurate and fair, it adds to the image of the Bush administration as a crony of corporate interests.

If WMDs of sufficient quantity and sophistication to be a threat to American aer never found; does the Administration have a credibility problem abound its aims and methods? Spoils to the Victor, (Post, April 18)

Thomas E. Mann: Kinsley makes a valid point. It is in the interests of the United States for all countries to allow open bidding on contracts for reconstruction. The sooner we switch from churlishness to magnanimity, the better off we will be in the long, difficult, costly road ahead in Iraq and the Middle East.

The American public now indicates finding weapons of mass destruction and Saddam are not necessary to justify the war, but our standing in the world depends importantly on lending credence to our prewar charge that Iraq’s WMDs posed an imminent threat to our security.

To read the rest of the transcript, please visit The Washington Post site.