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Get Facts Straight Before Crying ‘liar’ on WMD’s

From Usenet this morning.
I don’t know as I could say this better.

>>>

I haven’t written much about the ongoing brouhaha over whether President
Bush “lied” America into the war with Iraq.

The main reason for my silence is that it’s a monstrously stupid
argument -and usually deliberately so. But I have better reasons for my
wait-and-see approach.

First, let’s deal with the stupidity. The really dumb argument is that
Bush simply made up the whole thing. This line is rarely offered
explicitly by serious people because it is so illogical. But you will
hear it alluded to by Democratic presidential candidates like Howard
Dean or John Kerry who don’t mind leaving the impression that Bush is a
deceitful warmonger. And you will certainly find this “idea” buzzing
around the fever swamps of the left, mostly on the Internet. The basic
problem with this analysis is it requires that Bush knew the truth but
said the opposite. After all, a lie is only a lie if you know the truth
and then say something very different. So in this case, Bush needed to
know something nobody had an inkling of. As Kenneth Pollack, formerly on
Bill Clinton’s national security staff, recently noted in The New York
Times, “At no point before the war did the French, the Russians, the
Chinese or any other country with an intelligence operation capable of
collecting information in Iraq say it doubted that Baghdad was
maintaining a clandestine weapons capability.” The United Nations
weapons inspectors reported time and again throughout the 1990s that
Saddam had not disarmed. The only time he could have disarmed was during
the four-year period when no inspections took place. No serious person
thinks Saddam did that. Even French foreign minister Dominique de
Villepin admitted last November, “The security of the Americans is under
threat from people like Saddam Hussein who are capable of using chemical
and biological weapons.” In fact, Bush must have known Bill Clinton was
wrong, too. Either that, or Bill Clinton was a liar as well. Because in
1998, Bill Clinton spoke forcefully to the American people about the
grave threat posed by Iraq’s mounting chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons programs. On Dec. 19, 1998, right after Bill Clinton was
flouting the will of our allies and the U.N. by launching a military
strike against the Iraqis, President Clinton told the American people in
a televised address: “Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to
strike military and security targets in Iraq. … Their mission is to
attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its
military capacity to threaten its neighbors. … Saddam Hussein must not
be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms,
poison gas or biological weapons.”

The strike was wildly popular with most prominent Democrats at the time,
most of whom -including presidential candidates Dick Gephardt, Joe
Lieberman, and John Kerry -were strong Iraq hawks until a few months
ago.

But according to the purist “Bush lied” school, not only was everyone
wrong about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, but Bush secretly knew
it and didn’t say so. Moreover, he was so convincing in his lies he was
able to mislead Democratic leaders, veterans of the Clinton
administration and the global intelligence community. And you thought
Reagan was an actor.