|Portrait of Bush, constructed from photos of people killed in his war|
Recently, a friend of mine sent me a link to a video produced by the GOP that, apparently is being promoted as a mitigation of Junior's responsibility for the disaster in Iraq. Here's the link:
The link to this video was accompanied, of course, by the usual conservative sniveling:
Democrats, some Republicans, and the anti-war coalition continue to call this “Bush’s War”. They continue to claim that Bush and Cheney lied to the American people! Were Clinton, the people in his administration, the Democrats, and Congress lying when Clinton was President in the late 90’s, or after the attacks on 911? Some people want to take credit when things are going right, or when some poll says it’s the popular thing to do, but will blame others when things are not going well, lose an election, or some poll says it is no longer popular. Maybe this is why it’s called politics. Some folks will accuse, blame, and do or say anything to gain power and control. --Anonymous Bush apologistEven putting aside the red-faced, indignant tone of this little diatribe, don't you find this pathetic? What we have here is a display of the typical tactics conservatives use when the pathos of their behavior is exposed: avoidance of responsibility, obstinate refusal to face the facts, panicked finger-pointing.
Let's examine, first, the implication of the video. Apparently, the statements on the video are meant to indicate that Bush and Cheney were not lying when they made their claims about WMD in Saddam's Iraq. After all, the video shows various Democrats saying that they too believed Saddam had WMD. Well, sorry, conservatives. None of the statements in this video are as pronounced and absolute as these:
[Saddam Hussein] now is trying through his illicit procurement network to acquire the equipment he needs to be able to enrich uranium. --Dick Cheney, September 8, 2002, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press
We do know that [Saddam Hussein] is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. We do know there have been shipments going into . . . Iraq, for instance, of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to—high-quality aluminum tools that only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs. --Condoleeza Rice, September 8, 2002, appearing on CNN's Late Edition
And we believe [Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. --Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003, appearing on Meet the PressAnd, of course:
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. --Junior Bush, January 28, 2003, State of the Union SpeechFor conservatives, the distinction between general statements such as those in the video, and specific (false) statements like those quoted above is probably too subtle to grasp. But most Americans can discern the difference. It is one thing to say that Hussein likely had or was seeking WMD. It is another thing, entirely, to say that he was currently acquiring and enriching uranium and was already in possession of nuclear weapons. (There is a complete report on the false statements made by the administration both pre- and post-invasion available at the Center for Public Integrity's website.)
Now, let's examine another aspect of the sentiment expressed by our anonymous conservative friend: Since there was an apparent consensus that Saddam either had or was seeking to acquire WMD, Bush was justified in initiating an invasion. Well, I'm not sure how one comes to that conclusion. There are many countries that have WMD. I don't think anyone would argue that we should invade France, for example.
The Democratic statements in the video express a suspicion that Hussein may have WMD. In fact, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Senator Joe Biden, Senator Hillary Clinton, and Senator Evan Bayh all make statements that indicate a willingness to support an invasion of Iraq. In my mind, this is just an indication of the personal cowardice of these individuals. Their statements were made at a time when Junior Bush had high approval ratings, a time when these Democrats probably imagined that Junior would get away with his lies.
But there was that vote in Congress, which came in the temporal post-911 sweet spot (from a Karl Rove perspective) just before the 2002 mid-term elections. Here, at least, is an area where the administration showed competence. By forcing cowardly Democrats to either vote for war authorization or vote against it and risk being labeled as defeatists, the administration achieved their sheen of legitimacy for the war. And look how well it worked! Even today, people like our conservative friend are using that vote as evidence that Bush acted in response to the general political consensus.
Regardless, no matter how many obscure Democratic statements conservatives dredge up, the fact remains that Junior and his gang pushed aggressively for an invasion using false information. They used every sales pitch they could to make it happen: they lied about the effort it would require. They lied about the cost. They lied about a non-existent connection between Hussein and the 911 attacks.
Then, after they had rushed the country into the war over the objections of millions, they mishandled and mismanaged it to the point that 5 years into it, there is no end in sight.
Well, I guess there's nothing to say, but "Mission Accomplished." After all, prominent members of the Bush administration, including Dick Cheney, himself, have gotten filthy rich as a direct result of the invasion. (If that don't make you smell a rat, you ain't got no nose, as they say).
Sorry, kids. This is Junior's war. He and his gang are directly responsible for its consequences. Although I harbor no illusions that the suffering he has imposed on the world will bother him, he is nonetheless responsible for it. He gets to live with it. So do we all.