Tom Brokaw and Karl Rove butted heads this morning over whether or not the Bush administration had suggested oil revenue sharing could help pay for the war in Iraq.
Brokaw argued that the administration had claimed "we would share oil revenue and it would help offset the cost of the war."
Rove emphatically and repeatedly disagreed.
"With all due respect, that was not the policy of our government, that we were going to go into Iraq and take their resources in order to pay for the cost of the war," he said.
So who's right?
Liberal blogs are seizing on these comments from then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz during the early days of the war to prove Rove was wrong: "The oil revenue of that country could bring between 50 and 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years. We're dealing with a country that could really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
Obviously, that's pretty strong evidence for Brokaw's argument. To be fair, however, Rove might argue that Wolfowitz was not claiming that Iraq would pay back the U.S. for its expenses, but simply that Iraq could use oil revenue to rebuild its country so the U.S. doesn't have to spend even MORE.
The question is how one defines "cost of war," and whether or not the money changing hands to the U.S. before being used to rebuild Iraq is a significant enough point to bolster Rove's interpretation.