In an interview with Fox News Sunday today, Mitt Romney declined to say whether the United States should have invaded Iraq knowing what we know now. Romney did say the invasion was “appropriate” based on what was known in 2003. Byron York quotes Romney’s answer when Chris Wallace asks him whether the invasion was correct in hindsight*:
“Oh boy, that’s a big question,” Romney responded. “And going back and trying to say, given what we know now, what would we have done? Would we have invaded or not? At the time, we didn’t have the knowledge that we have now. At the time, Saddam Hussein was hiding, he was not letting the inspectors from the United Nations into the various places that they wanted to go. The IAEA was blocked from going into the palaces and so forth. And the intelligence in our nation and other nations was that this tyrant had weapons of mass destruction. And in the light of that belief, we took action which was appropriate at the time.”
This is actually not a new position for Romney. In 2007-08, he also refused to take a position re-litigating the Iraq war, calling one such question a “null set.” David Freddoso observed back then, “Yet he is unique among the serious Republican presidential contenders because he has never said he would do it all over again, and they all have.”
*UPDATE: A commenter below takes issue with my paraphrase of Wallace’s question. According to the transcript, here is the exact question: “First of all, looking back – and hindsight is always 20-20 – should we have invaded?” The York item I link to above also contains the exact quote. If Romney had answered yes or no to hypothetical question, this would seem to give us some insight into whether he thought the decision to invade was “correct.” But hopefully this update clears up any confusion.