Separating speaker and action
Posted by aogFriday, 09 January 2004 at 09:11 TrackBack Ping URL

I find the constant harping on the “Bush lied!” meme somewhat bizarre.

First off, it presumes that demonstrating that President Bush made up the WMD threat from Iraq from whole cloth would prove something about the invasion of Iraq. What this might be, I fail to see. I suppose I might care if I had used Bush’s speeches and statements to make up my mind on the issue. However, I didn’t really pay much attention in that respect. I did my own research, read sources across the political spectrum and used my own judgement. That makes it particularly bizarre that people who would never believe Bush about anything feel so outraged over his alledged lieing. Why do they care? I suppose it’s part and parcel of that world view that people are too stupid to figure this out themselves and so must have been mislead by Bush.

It’s also problematic because if Bush had in fact been just making it up, one would think it would have been easy to catch him at it. The problem that is faced is that there was the fact that Iraq had used chemical weapons in the past and a general concensus that Iraq had or was close to having biological or nuclear weapons. That may turn out to be like most conventional wisdom and completely wrong, but it does make it hard to sustain the “he just made it up” view.

All politicians lie, so blathering on about that gets tuned out, especially after the fact. What’s important is to point this out beforehand. However, if one’s predictions (like 500,000 civilian casualties or mass starvation) turn out to be even more fanciful that the other side’s lie, or what exactly the lie was keeps shifting, the case against the politician becomes a lot more difficult to make.

Finally, while Bush lieing might indict Bush, it’s really irrevelant to whether the invasion was justified. I take the harping about Bush to indicate that such critics have no good arguments about the invasion itself and so are reduced to ad hominem attacks. That’s a poor way to argue against the war, but a fine way to use the war to achieve other political ends.

Tracked from Low Earth Orbit: Dominoes, not bombs on 28 January 2004 at 17:39

[source] One point that I’ve heard [Richard] Perle make really sticks with me. The emphasis on WMDs was largely the...