Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Regarding Iraq, Saddam, and WMD, Where Did the Lies Originate? In the Bush White House? Or Elsewhere?

Thanks to Sarah Hoyt for linking the Wall Street Journal piece, The Dangerous Lie That ‘Bush Lied’.

As someone who served as co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction—a bipartisan body, sometimes referred to as the Robb-Silberman Commission — Laurence H. Silberman finds it
astonishing to see the “Bush lied” allegation evolve from antiwar slogan to journalistic fact.

 … it is one thing to assert, then or now, that the Iraq war was ill-advised. It is quite another to make the horrendous charge that President Bush lied to or deceived the American people about the threat from Saddam.

 … It is … certainly possible to criticize President Bush for having believed what the CIA told him, although it seems to me that any president would have credited such confident assertions by the intelligence community. But to accuse the president of lying us into war must be seen as not only false, but as dangerously defamatory.

The charge is dangerous because it can take on the air of historical fact—with potentially dire consequences. I am reminded of a similarly baseless accusation that helped the Nazis come to power in Germany: that the German army had not really lost World War I, that the soldiers instead had been “stabbed in the back” by politicians.
Indeed, if anybody can be accused of lying in this matter, it is the very people — in America as well as abroad — who are not only accusing George W Bush of lying but who are simply presenting that as an incontrovertible (an almost ho-hum) fact. As I wrote in 2008,
his opponents, his accusers (both American and foreign!), did lie (in the very fact that they charged him with lying), and that they were lying all the time. (And if you think lying is too strong a term, and want to say that they "were mistaken", that would be fine with me — except for one thing: that was/is an alternative explanation that they never allowed for Bush and/or the neocons!)
Isn't one of the lies ignoring what was the one of the really most pressing reason for sending U.S. troops to Iraq?
Rudolph Giuliani:
President Bush will make certain that we are combating terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we don't have to confront it, or we reduce [the chance] of confronting it here in New York City, or in Chicago or in Los Angeles or in Miami [or in San Bernardino] or in the rural areas of America.
That's what it means to play offense with terrorism, and not just defense.
 Furthermore, Mr. Watergate scandal himself, aka Bob Woodward, has stated that
there was no lying in this that I could find.

Above is a video that Glenn Reynolds runs regularly to remind people, American and foreign (go to GR's link to see Instapundit's preponderance of evidence), what Democrats had been saying about Saddam's WMD before the invasion (my only beef with the video is it doesn't show foreign leaders, such as Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder, when they were making the exact same type of remarks and/or speeches).

As I wrote 11 years ago, on the eve of the 2004 election:

Is Bush the World's Worst Leader?

When confronted by a militant leftist many years ago who was ticking off all the sins and failures of capitalist democracy, Winston Churchill finally indicated that he agreed with the man. "Democracy is the worst form of government", nodded the Old Lion. He marked a pause, before adding, "…with the exception of all the rest."

That is what I think about when I am confronted by angry people, American or foreign, who proceed to tell me what a "disaster" George W Bush has been and who can tick off his every sin and bewail the sorry record of his administration. (Not to mention every sin linked to America and capitalist society.)

Bush, I agree with them, is the worst leader in the world, and the worst politician, and the worst liar, and the man with the worst record… with the exception of… all the rest. (And the same can be said of capitalism compared to the rest of the world's economic systems…)

Foremost among the liars worse than Bush is Saddam Hussein, of course. The tyrant was a known fibber, doubling as a psychopath and — last but not least — a man repeatedly seeking war-making capabilities, and if Dubya mentioned WMD as a reason to oust the dictator, it's not because he (Dubya) was lying, but because Saddam had built the reputation he had.

Take the members of the "peace camp". Their foremost lie lay in their eagerness to castigate Bush and his administration, in the process conveniently forgetting that Saddam was the liar with the reputation just mentioned and that their secret services, as much as the CIA and MI6, had concluded that Saddam was hiding WMD.

In addition, they gave credence to the pretense that with just a bit of goodwill, the United Nations could, and would, solve the entire problem and entice the murderer of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, if not to share power, at least to tone down on his killing… This being the same organization that threw a democracy out of its seat in the UN human rights committee (it happened to be Uncle Sam, but it could just as well have been any other Western-type democracy) while elevating countries like Libya or Syria to its chairmanship. It was also the organization that, when subsequently faced with genocide in Sudan, proceeded to do little else but issue communiqués deploring the situation and calling upon the murderers to ease up on their killing.

Take the United Nations as a whole, which, in unison with the "peace camp" members, pretended to be objective, detached, and holier than thou, when its members, in fact, were involved in the largest scam in human history. This, of course, brings us back to the Peace Camp, which pretended that their only, or their foremost, concern was a just and lasting peace, in contrast to Bush's "war for oil" when, in fact, it would have been more appropriate to have the pre-conflict situation termed as their "tyranny for oil" gambit.

Then there are the pacifists, both private citizens and government bigwigs, who marched through the streets and/or made rousing speeches, pretending that the largest threat to the world today was Uncle Sam.

Then there are the media outlets, both within the United States and abroad, which echoed those sentiments, while making much out of the fact that Iraq now is supposedly in chaos and insecurity — as if having the thuggish members of Saddam's secret police enter into your home with impunity, take away your parents, spouse, and/or children, and torture and murder them, can in any way be likened to an environment of public safety and to the absence of chaos.

To be totally honest, I liken the accusations concerning Bush and Blair's claims about Saddam's WMD to accusing Churchill, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, or Montgomery of lying to the Rangers when they ordered them to storm the cliffs of the Pointe du Hoc on June 6, 1944, to neutralize some long-range cannons (weapons of mass destruction, one could call them); after sustaining heavy losses, the Rangers found that the cannons were nowhere to be found, the Germans having removed them from the Normandy coast not long before.

History has a long flow of evidence showing that when Uncle Sam is being attacked, castigated, or mocked, it is usually the people, institutions, and countries doing the berating who are the worse sinners. And who have something to hide, as much from the rest of the world as from themselves.
To quote Sir Winston again, 
a fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Read the three-and-a-half-years-later (!) update
Shall we let the last word go to Dennis Prager?
Few liberal activist groups tell the truth. Not because their members are liars -- in private life they may well be as honest as anyone else -- but because whatever the left advocates it deems more important than truth.
  … when the left ceaselessly repeats the mantra "Bush lied," it may simply be projecting onto George W. Bush what comes quite naturally to the left — when it offers false Iraqi death statistics, false homeless data, false rape statistics, false secondhand smoke statistics, false claims about the percentage of gays in the population, and false claims of just about everything else the left cares about.
Related: So Long As We Are Hunting for Liars in the Iraq Controversy…