It was déjà vu all over again with Fox News contributor Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush’s former press secretary, as he began selling regime change in Iran - as if the last regime change he pushed, in Iraq, turned out so well.
On America’s Newsroom today, Fleischer told cohost Sandra Smith that he “welcomed” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s deliberately provocative speech comparing Iran's leaders to the Mafia.
Then Fleischer talked about regime change in Iran with words that could have been recycled from comments he made about regime change in Iraq in 2002 and 2003. From the Media Matters transcript:
FLEISCHER: It was Ronald Reagan-like. And you know what? Iran is going through turmoil in its streets and its cities right now and has been for months, and it’s a leaderless rebellion that’s taking place because there is such a dissatisfaction throughout the Iranian society with its government. And Mike Pompeo put his finger on one of the biggest problems and it’s corruption. The people want their basic needs, they want their food, they want their healthcare, they want their environment—and the Iranian government is so corrupt it’s making it much harder for people to live in that country. So fascinating changes underway inside of Iran, no one can predict where they’re going to go. But the more unstable we can help Iran to become, the better it is to actually secure peace if we can get rid of that theological regime one day, or if the Iranian people can get rid of it themselves.
Smith could be heard murmuring her agreement off-camera.
In a March, 2018 roundup of Iraq War cheerleaders 15 years later, Media Matters included some from Fleischer. They are eerily reminiscent of what he said today:
“My point is, the likelihood is much more like Afghanistan, where the people who live right now under a brutal dictator will view America as liberators, not conquerors.” [The New York Times, 10/12/02]
“I think that if you look at the Iraqi people, the Iraqi people are overwhelmingly pleased with the fact the United States has helped them to get rid of the Saddam Hussein regime. That was clear from their dancing in the streets, from the way they tore down the statues. And I think that is the viewpoint of the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people.” [White House press briefing, 7/1/03]
Watch Fleischer act as though he has learned nothing since then below, from the July 23, 2018 America’s Newsroom, via Media Matters.