Thursday :: Oct 9, 2003

Condi, Bush, and the Rest Revise History Again


by Steve

Given the false pretenses upon which Mr. Bush took us into Iraq and his tumbling poll numbers, it was inevitable that Condi Rice and others would now try and defend the original decision. Since both she and the Vice-president have both lied repeatedly about Iraq and its capabilities, we need to stay on top of the reporters who cover these pathetic attempts to justify the war to remind their readers what was actually said by these folks in selling the war, not just what they are saying now.

For Rice to justify the war now because "(r)ight up to the end, Saddam Hussein continued to harbor ambitions to threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction" is not only factually suspect, but also totally irrelevant to what the Administration actually said at the time. No matter how they try and walk away from it, the Administration made its case for war on the alleged imminent threat posed by Saddam, his "stockpiles" of chemical and biological weapons, his past record of using such weapons, the assertion that he was "reconstituting" nuclear weapons, and other specious examples of actually having such weapons (the aluminum tubes, the alleged Niger uranium purchase, the mobile weapons labs, etc.). As long as Rice talks about WMDs, it is critical to remember that the case they made for why the war needed to happen in March was because the world could not wait for any more inspections, again because he had weapons and was an imminent threat. No blather from Rice now about "ambitions", having programs but maybe not weapons, or what he may do years from now is credible when you measure those comments against what they actually said in the run up to war.

It is possible to support toppling Saddam and opposing how we did it and when. I know because I am one of those people. After listening to eight years of the GOP telling me that Clinton lied all the time, I am tired of watching the GOP now lie repeatedly about what Saddam actually possessed, and their reasons for invading when they did. Again, we were told he was an imminent threat due to his actual possession of stockpiles of WMDs and a reconstituted nuclear program, not because he had WMD "programs" or "ambitions", and because he was an alleged supporter of terrorists who had a connection to 9-11. Not one piece of any of this has since been proved.

To say the intelligence was flawed and therefore it is not their fault only works until Rice trots out the defense she did yesterday. In recent weeks, the Administration has tried to defend itself by blaming the intelligence community for relying on old unverified data. This is a nonstarter as David Kay himself indirectly confirmed because the only way to have better intelligence than outdated 1998 assessments was to have assets on the ground getting up-to-date assessments. In other words, we could have had just that if the Administration had let the IAEA inspectors continue with their work in the spring. But Bush felt a need to deal with an imminent threat that has since never materialized, and invade immediately. But with Rice's speech yesterday, the Administration seems to be walking away from the "bad intelligence" excuse and again returning to what Saddam allegedly harbored in his head, his "ambitions." So which is it, the bad intelligence, or Saddam's ambitions, which we now know could not have been fulfilled for years by the paltry if not nonexistent WMD capabilities we have found to date?

And for Bush today to liken the Iraq occupation with our post-war efforts in Germany and Japan is bogus, as Slate pointed out over a month ago.

So please, when you see these stories, find the email addresses of those reporters and get on them. You can reach the Postís Dana Milbank at milbankd@washpost.com, or David Sanger of the New York Times at dasang@nytimes.com.

Steve :: 7:07 AM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!