Was the war in Iraq worth it?

'The Five' weigh in on 10-year anniversary


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," March 19, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Today is the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war. All over the network, you hear what did we learn?

The media likes to say no more Vietnams, but when there's a war, it's always a Vietnam to them. It's the David/Goliath narrative they can't shake.

But the problem with Iraq, we won. It wasn't pretty and you can question the cost definitely, but we won. And the media is miffed.

Yes, I'm ready for lecture, how immoral the war was and how you knew that WMDs was lie and it was about oil and enriching the defense industry and how unlike every other policymakers in world, you didn't fall for it. Thanks, nimble (ph).

I guess it's just better to dither on the throne where things were different. But I'll take the victory in Iraq over humiliation in Benghazi any day. And remember, nearly everyone thought there were WMDs, a notion Saddam let lie. How different was the suspicion from the current concerns in Iran?

As for the Iraqi people, the WMD was Hussein, himself. Why we left him there in '91, who the hell knows? I just heard someone say the war was a blot on our combat history. Hell no. The surge showed when you decide to win, you win.

I don't need an American-hating media to clang their navel-gazing bell, especially when things turned out better.

This anniversary is for the troops and those who benefited from their bravery. Honor those lost. For those alive, shake their hand and tell them great job, because it was.

A.T., do you think the world is better off without Saddam Hussein?

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: I do. I do think he was a mad man that needed to be taken out because the evidence we had at the time showed that he was a threat.

That is my view how we should intervene in these other countries.

I think there is a belief that when the U.S. military takes action we have an obligation to do more than just destroy the regime that is threatening us. We've also had this since the Marshal Plan, right?


TANTAROS: We did it in Europe. However, I think that, Greg, this is very, very different. And I think that when we have an enemy, we go in, we take them out. No insurgency. No morale building. No democracy promotion.

I think we are dealing with a very different society. I didn't see Paul Revere on a horse in Tahrir Square. And I think we lost a lot of blood and treasure unnecessarily after we could have taken him out and gotten the heck out.

GUTFELD: Bob, isn't that the story, '91? I mean, that was always going to be the mistake. We left him there. We let down the Kurds and we let down the Iraqis.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Yes. But there is a lot of arguments about that. You know, Colin Powell said that George H.W. Bush if you go up that highway, you have to take control of this country. We were not prepared to do it. We didn't have the people to do it. We're not prepared to do it.

I think it was the right thing. I think Bush made the right call.

And the other thing to keep in mind here is, when you talk about the media, remember most of the media, mainstream media that you keep talking about here were behind the war in Iraq when it started. In fact, they were embedded reporters in all the different troops.

GUTFELD: Fair point.

BECKEL: But over time --

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: But that was for transparency. That wasn't to get behind the war. That was that they could cover the war.

BECKEL: No, no, but what I'm saying when they got there, there are very few people who are against the war in the press, if I remember right, right at the beginning, right at the beginning. Now, it changed as time went along.

The issue as far as I'm concerned was I was opposed to the war in the beginning and opposed to it now. And the reasons are many -- I won't get in just the deaths and the people who were wounded, but I think the rising of Iran is the single fall-out of this.

And Saddam Hussein, whatever you thought of him, never would have allowed Iran to nuclear weapons.

GUTFELD: What do you think, Dana?

PERINO: I think it can be looked at from that way or the other way, if Saddam Hussein who had used chemical weapons in the past, who had designed and plan to make a nuclear weapon, that the arms race would be much more intense right now if he were in power, and that the Mideast would be more unstable than it is today.

GUTFELD: What do you think of the intel playing a role in this?

PERINO: I went back and read President Bush's chapter on this today.

Interesting, because there is a paragraph he describes when they found out that the information that the CIA provided was wrong, that he decided right then and there he was never going to blame them. But he was going to try to find out how they could prevent it from happening again. That's how they got the nonpartisan Chuck Robb commission. And I think that the country is better off for it.

Interestingly, on the 17 U.N. resolutions that were in front of -- that were questioning Saddam Hussein. On the last resolution, it was a vote of 15-0 in the National Security Council -- Russia, China and Syria voted. It wasn't as if it was a Republican idea.

The world thought Saddam Hussein --

GUTFELD: You can't get that kind of --

PERINO: You can't get that cooperation now.

GUTFELD: Eric, what do you think?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Well, let's talk about what happened. Let's remember that Saddam Hussein aligned his troops. He took the border of Kuwait and he was going to Kuwait.

So, it's not like there's a big speculation whether he was a bad guy.

He was a bad guy.

BECKEL: He did go into Kuwait.

BOLLING: No, he didn't go to Kuwait. He lined them up and we did Desert Storm and stopped them. He lit the Kuwaiti oil field on fire but didn't go to Kuwait to try to take the country down. He never got there.

He decided to light the oil fields on fire.

The point being, we had to take Saddam Hussein out. We had been punched in the face with 9/11. Afghanistan war was starting up. We had to do what we did. I think it's the smartest thing George Bush did. He restored confidence in America.

PERINO: Can I make one other point? We have a tease. Gadhafi, six days after Hussein was discovered in the spider hole by U.S. troops, Gadhafi gave up his chemical and nuclear weapons plans.

TANTAROS: Willingly.


BECKEL: I hate to crush you, but he really did get to Kuwait. Don't you remember the story of dumping babies out of incubators and all that?

BOLLING: No, Bob, what happened was they had him on the border. Oil fields were on the border. He was going to take the oil fields, first. He couldn't take them, so he lit them on fire.

PERINO: We need Schwarzkopf's map.


GUTFELD: Yes, what a great guy that was. Boy, those are --

PERINO: Those are days.

GUTFELD: Those are days. All right.

BECKEL: You are wrong on that. You remember the guy went with him, the guy with the helmet. Who was that guy? The Kuwaiti guy with the big tank helmet, looked like Patton. Interesting guy.

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