The fog of war
Posted by aogMonday, 11 August 2003 at 09:29 TrackBack Ping URL
Oliver Willis is still trying to push the “President Bush lied” meme. Willis writes
But what President Bush has done makes Richard Nixon and his dirty tricks look like amateur hour. It’s a missed opportunity, because the liberation of Iraq could have stood as an example of a forthright American that would acknowledge that we would no longer tolerate tyranny. Instead, the case that was made to the American people and to the world at large was just a pile of lies on top of lies. Again, the Nixon comparison rings true because the Watergate break-in was not necessary to help Nixon get re-elected and these deceptions were not needed to make the case for regime change in Iraq. […]When the president stands in front of his country and tells us our way of life is under attack, we believe him. Republican or Democrat or Independent, you understand that that sort of information should transcend party lines and naked ambition. That line has now been erased.
Willis’ partisan shading of the facts is clear in his choice of Nixon as an example. There are several other choices far more appropriate as they all involve American involvement in military actions in a foreign country that had not attacked the US, all of them within the last 60 years.
  • Franklin Roosevelt, who connived and manipulated to support the UK during the early years of WWII. There was the illegal transfer of 50 destroyers from the US to the UK, violating US neutrality.
  • John Kennedy, whose entire life as President was a lie. He made all sorts of false statements about our involvement in another foreign country in order to ramp up military action.
  • Lyndon Johnson who manufactured the Gulf of Tonkin incident and got the US involved in what is considered by the Democrats and the Left as the most horrible example of unjustified US military action in history.

But of course there’s a severe problem with all of these far more apropos analogies — they’re all Democrats. The last two are especially dangerous to bring up, because of the “another Vietnam” rhetoric. The last thing one would want to remind the voters of after labeling the war in Vietnam the ultimate American debacle is that it was the project of two Democratic presidents, one of whom manufactured an excuse at the cost of the lives of US troops.

Willis fails to persuade on another front as well. Even accepting for the moment that Willis’ claims of exagerations and lies in the run up to the war are accurate, one might consider the fact that most of that was due to having to please our “allies” in NATO and the UN. Had we not kowtowed to a morally bankrupt entity like the UN, Bush would have been able to emphasize the more worthy parts of the logic for invading Iraq. A key problem with the Democratic position on this issue is that the UN actively dislikes American security while the American people view as the highest priority. This means that you can be with the UN or with the American people but not both and the citizenry is waking up to this fact.

One more little detail that Willis glosses over is that the UN and its member states accepted the evidence. Many of these states (such as the UK, France and Russia) have their own very extensive intelligence organizations but they didnt’ dispute the factual basis of the US claims. The only thing in dispute was the proper response. If the evidence provided by the US is so bogus, why didn’t that come up earlier? Because of the rapid 14 month run up to the invasion? There’s even some evidence that the bogus reports of attempted uranium purchases in Niger were manufactured in order to discredit other evidence. Why do that if that other evidence is bogus to start with?

At the end, Willis’ claims of where Bush “lied” are weak at best. Of the two major disputations, one requires a severely out of context quote and the other is still supported by its original source. Not exactly compelling counter-evidence.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
oj Monday, 11 August 2003 at 21:42

It would also seem to be significant that the break-in and cover up were illegal. Lying isn’t criminal.

Noel Saturday, 16 August 2003 at 10:04

We should have invaded Cuba, not Nam. And neither without victory as the goal. Clinton, not Bush, made Nixon look amatuerish.

End of Discussion