Mitt Romney at the third Republican debate:
>MR. FAHEY: Thanks, Wolf.
>Governor Romney, I wanted to start by asking you a question on which every American has formed an opinion. We’ve lost 3,400 troops; civilian casualties are even higher, and the Iraqi government does not appear ready to provide for the security of its own country. Knowing everything you know right now, was it a mistake for us to invade Iraq?
>MR. ROMNEY: Well, the question is kind of a non sequitur, if you will, and what I mean by that — or a null set. And that is that if you’re saying let’s turn back the clock, and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors, and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein, therefore, not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn’t be in the conflict we’re in. But he didn’t do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in. I supported the president’s decision based on what we knew at that time. I think we were underprepared and underplanned for what came after we knocked down Saddam Hussein.
>By the way, Harry Reid was wrong. We did not lose the war in Iraq. And that’s not the sort of thing you say when you have men and women in harm’s way.
>We did, however, not do a great job after we knocked down Saddam Hussein and won the war to take him down, and his military. And at this stage, the right thing for us to do is to see if we can possibly stabilize the central government in Iraq so that they can have stability and so we can bring our troops home as soon as possible.
>Not to do that adds an enormous potential risk that the whole region could be embroiled in a regional conflict.
Jon Stewart (I’ll update when I can get an official transcript):
>Jon: Uh, that’s not a non sequitur. A non sequitur would be “We have lost 3400 troops so far in Iraq. Do you believe unicycles to be furniture?”