Groggy But Alive

Jesus Christ. Food poisioning is a bitch. I’ve been officially recovered for more than a week but still can barely summon up the energy to get my work out every week. I’m afraid the old unpaid blog has been suffering as a result, and for that I apologize. I still can’t say I feel a hell of a lot better, though. Anyway, you may have seen the following post floating around in your e-mail in box:

If you really believe that President BUSH lied – – THAT THERE NEVER WERE ANY WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN IRAQ AND HE TOOK US TO WAR SOLELY FOR HIS OIL BUDDIES — then read this.

“One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.” – President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998″

[many similar quotes from leading Democrats snipped]

“Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction… So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…”

– Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

SO, NOW THE DEMOCRATS SAY PRESIDENT BUSH LIED, THAT THERE NEVER WERE ANY WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION AND HE TOOK US TO WAR FOR HIS OIL BUDDIES??? AGAIN, THEIR MEMORY OF THINGS THEY HAVE SAID, SOME MOST RECENTLY, HAS FAILED THEM…NOW, WHO IS THE LYING???

It’s an interesting bit of sophistry, and here’s how it works:

First up, the time-honored rhetorical device of choosing to believe your enemy when it’s convenient. Do Republicans believe that Bill Clinton lied about having sex with Monica Lewinsky? Of course. Yet they choose to believe the former president, whom they repeatedly called a liar, when he claimed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. By their own standards, Clinton’s testimony is unreliable. He’s a proven liar, so nothing he says should be taken seriously, right?

Second, many of those quotes are old, going back to 1998 and 1999. Most intelligence experts still believed that Iraq had WMDs at that time. The relevant question about Iraqi WMDs, however, concerns whether or not it had them on March 20, 2003, the first day of the invasion. And the Newsweek headline–“We Were All Wrong”–is bullshit. “We” were not all wrong at all. I just finished compiling my essays about the Bush Administration for an upcoming book last night. I found dozens of comments by myself and more qualified experts dating back to 2001 citing the fact that the CIA did not believe there was enough proof to say that Iraq still had WMDs. “We” weren’t wrong. In fact, neither were the Bushies. They knew that they didn’t have jack for evidence–Colin Powell himself called the charges he listed at the United Nations “bullshit”–but decided to stampede the nation into war nonetheless. Using ancient intelligence to justify new attacks is illogical and immoral.

Finally, many leading Democrats in Congress and the media, either eager to appease GOP warmongers or genuinely misled by Bush Administration liars, joined the call for war that led to the illegal 2003 invasion. At best, they were idiots; at worst they were co-conspirators with the Bushies. John Kerry should be ashamed to have voted with the White House for war. Yes, Virginia, there are evil Democrats too.

The general argument being made, that the war was justified because “everybody”—including Dems—believed Iraq had proscribed weapons of mass destruction, is a another desperate distraction from the central point. Bush, Cheney et al. planned this war back in 1998. The fact that they got a bunch of Democratic simps and liberal fools like Chris Hitchens to go along with them doesn’t diminish their responsibility. (Though we should certainly hold the latter equally guilty as co-consipirators.)

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About Ted Rall

Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at ANewDomain.net, editor-in-chief of SkewedNews.net, a graphic novelist and author of many books of art and prose, and an occasional war correspondent. He is the author of the biography “Trump,” to be published in July 2016.

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