Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Big Whopper, Small Fries

Came across this bit from Michael Barone, he of the US News and World Report:

"At the same time, we must remember that the United States and our allies did not go to war solely because of weapons of mass destruction. There were other reasons, which Bush articulated at the time and which have been vindicated by events."
While this may be true for Neo-Con tank-thinkers, most American people accepted the call to war solely on the premise of WMD's. To suggest that we would have spent a half a trillion dollars to depose an internationally impotent dictator on the other side of the world or that we would have sacrificed thousands of American lives in an experimental program to plant the seeds of democratic process in Iraq is at least distracting, if not outright lying.

I again looked up President Bush's October 7th, 2002 speech in Cincinnati, a major presentation of the case for war coming just days before the Senate vote to authorize use of force on Iraq. Forty of forty-eight paragraphs of Bush's speech (I think, don't make me count again) reference the existence of weapons of mass destruction in some way. This was the sizzle, there can be no doubt. This was the double beef whopper, with a small order of fries. With gloriously consistent incompetence it apparently hasn't occurred to anyone to change the banner over the speech on the White House web site. Here it is.

It is unfortunate that Dems are barking up the wrong tree with their emphasis on who lied to whom, however. It's not a critical point whether we were lied to, and certainly we might have expected it. We should resist the temptation of investigating how these great leaders of the free world were duped by amateurish forgeries and focus on the surreality that their defense is that they were. We need to disregard the specter of dishonesty in the maintenance of the aluminum-tubes-as-centrifuge-component theory and concentrate on the absurdity that the administration's defense is their mishandling of known information, such as DOE's conclusion that these tubes were ill-suited for the purpose; that Iraq lacked the technology to reformulate them; State's opinion that these were likely for rockets; and that the PO for these "burning guns" was posted on the internet.

Eventually we will know whether dishonesty, incompetence, or a combination of both was at work here. Any or all are indefensible and, far worse, direct causation of national and international tragedy.

Dems who voted for the war are equally flawed, and some will get their knocks early on along the next presidential campaign trail from more courageous examples.. Russ Feingold has consistently fought such adventurism, joining conservatives in opposing the continuation of operations in Kosovo as well as leap-frogging liberals in the call for an exit strategy in Iraq.

There are many, many of us on the left who view with great skepticism johnny-come-lately Democrats like Kerry and Edwards and their elephant tears over being "duped" into taking a position popular with the misinformed majorities of their constituents.

We were the exceptions―the distinct minority for whom the WMD discussion was moot. We needed only words like these, from Washington's Senator Jim McDermott:
"There is no question that Saddam Hussein is not a nice person or that he's broken the resolutions of the United Nations, but that does not give us the power to pre-emptively strike a country. Once you start down that road, where do you stop?"
To the righteous this is self-evident. It is not mere coincidence that this truth is one of many lying along the road not taken.


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