President George W. Bush was wrong to push democracy on Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld, his former secretary of defense says.

In an interview with The Times of London, one of the chief architects of the 2003 war against Iraq concedes the nation’s seamless transition to democracy always seemed “unrealistic.”

“I’m not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories,” Rumsfeld tells the Times.
“The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned about it when I first heard those words.”

Rumsfeld’s comments are in stark contrast to his remarks in April 2003 in the wake of widespread looting in Iraq, when Rumsfeld famously declared: “Democracy is untidy.”

“Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things,” he said at the time. “They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that’s what’s going to happen here.”

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