Skip to comments.10 Yr Anniversary of OIF: The Lie that Bush Lied
Posted on 03/19/2013 9:27:00 AM PDT by Starman417
As the 10th anniversary of OIF arrives, Peter Feaver goes through some of the most prevalent myths regarding the wrongful narrative that "Bush lied, people died":
1. The Bush administration went to war against Iraq because it thought (or claimed to think) Iraq had been behind the 9/11 attacks. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the Bush Administration did explore the possibility that Hussein might have collaborated with al Qaeda on the attacks. Vice President Dick Cheney (along with some officials in the secretary of defense's office) in particular believed this hypothesis had some merit, and in the early months gave considerable weight to some tantalizing evidence that seemed to support it. However, by the fall of 2002 when the administration was in fact selling the policy of confronting Hussein, the question of a specific link to 9/11 was abandoned and Cheney instead emphasized the larger possibility of collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda. We now know that those fears were reasonable and supported by the evidence captured in Iraq after the invasion. This has been documented extensively through the work of the Conflict Records Research Center (CRRC), which examined the captured files of the Hussein regime. A 2012 International Studies Association panel sponsored by the CRRC on "Saddam and Terrorism" was devoted to this topic and spent quite a bit of time demonstrating how those who insist that there were no links whatsoever simply rely on a poorly worded sentence referencing "no smoking gun" of a "direct connection" in the executive summary of the 2007 "Iraqi Perspectives Project - Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Documents" report and ignore the evidence of links and attempted connections uncovered in the report itself as well as subsequent work by the project.It is heartening whenever I see someone link or make reference to the Iraqi Perspectives Project, since it went largely ignored by the media (aside from misrepresenting its contents, thanks to lazily piggying on McClatchy's summary report).
My own contribution in regards to what President Bush and VP Cheney actually said in regards to Saddam and 9/11, and why there is confusion: Did President Bush Link Saddam Hussein to 9/11?
Feaver's myth #2 has to do with the belief that we went to war for the sake of democratizing Iraq:
(1) Bush was committed to confronting Iraq because of the changed risk calculus brought about by 9/11, which heightened our sensitivity to the nexus of WMD and terrorism (believing that state sponsors of terrorism who had WMD would be a likely pathway by which terrorist networks like al Qaeda could secure WMD); (2) Bush was also committed not to making the mistake of Desert Storm, namely stopping the war with Hussein still in power and concluded that confronting Hussein must end with either full capitulation by Hussein or regime change through war; (3) given regime change, the best option for the new Iraq was one based on pluralism and representative government rather than a "man on horseback" new dictator to take Hussein's place. To be sure, the Bush administration greatly underestimated the difficulty of the democratization path, but democratization was not the prime motivation -- confronting the WMD threat was. Democratization was the consequence of that prime motivation.
It's true that the political language changed after it was becoming embarrassingly clear that the wmd stockpile we believed would be found in Iraq wasn't likely to turn up. Douglas Feith in his book points out that this was a mistake on the administration's PR, not to reiterate to the American public and defend the original arguments for why we went into Iraq and removed Saddam's regime:
it was a strategic error for the President to make no effort to defend the arguments that had motivated him before the war. We were in a U.S. presidential election year, and President Bush's political opponents were intent on magnifying the Administration's mistakes regarding WMD in Iraq. On television and radio, in print, and on the Internet, day after day, they repeated the claim that the undiscovered stockpiles were the sum and substance of why the United States went to war with Saddam. At first they argued that the war was based entirely on error. Now critics had escalated to the accusation that the war was based on lies.
Electoral politics aside, I thought it was important for national security reason that the President refute his critics' mistatements. The CIA assessments of WMD were wrong, but they had originated in the years before he became President. The same intelligence assessments had been accepted by Democratic and Republican members of Congress, as well as UN and other officials around the world. And, in any event, the erroneous intelligence was not the entire rationale for overthrowing Saddam.
It would be useful to "make clear the tie-in between Iraq and the broader war on terrorism"- in the following terms: The Saddam Hussein regime "had used WMD, supported various terrorist groups, was hostile to the US and had a record of aggression and of defiance of numerous UN resolutions." In light of 9/11, the "danger that Saddam's regime could provide biological weapons or other WMD to terrorist groups for use against us was too great" to let stand. And other ways of countering the danger- containment, sanctions, inspections, no-fly zones- had proven "unsustainable or inadequate."
-Douglas Feith, War and Decision, Pg 491-2
You know, the lore out there was we went to war to bring democracy to the Iraqi people. That was not the case. We went to war to achieve some hard national security objectives.
Before we went to war the president had, in the situation room, a conversation about, once we topple Saddam, what is our obligation to the Iraqi people? Is it simply to substitute an authoritarian who will not move against our interests by supporting terror, invading neighbors, pursuing WMD? Or do we have an obligation because we are the United States of America, and because they've suffered under 30 years of a brutal authoritarian. Do we have an obligation to give the Iraqi people a chance, an opportunity, to build a democratic future for themselves?
The president decided on the latter, and I actually think we achieved that objective. It wasn't pretty, and Iraq today is not pretty, but it has an opportunity to build a democratic future despite the enormous pressure that Syria and other events are putting on Iraq.
Read more from the FP roundtable.
Reflecting back to pre-war debates:
When the Bush administration did put the Iraq issue on the front-burner over the summer of 2002, I found the arguments of Bush opponents to be over-drawn and unconvincing -- in particular, the anti-Bush position seemed not to take seriously enough the fact that the U.N. inspections regime had collapsed nor that the sanctions regime was in the process of collapsing -- and so I found myself often critiquing the critics. I found the Bush argument that Hussein was gaming the sanctions and poised to redouble his WMD efforts when the sanctions finally collapsed to be a more plausible account of where things were heading absent a confrontation (and as we now know from the interviews with Hussein after his capture that was exactly what he was planning to do).
Feaver's Myth #3 addresses the conspiratorial claim that Bush and Cheney went to war to make their friends rich and steal Iraqi oil.
#4 has to do with the notion that those dreadful neocons, like Feith and Wolfowitz, held such power of the Administration as to steer us to war.
Feaver, citing Frank Harvey, points out that he:
(excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...
Bush 43 went in to get Hussien and give him to daddy Bush to make him proud of him
Now all those WMD’s liberals claimed didn’t exist.. are being used in Syria!
I’m assuming that OIF is Operation Iraqi Freedom — but that is not at all apparent from the article (at least to me).
You forgot the “Sarcasm” tag....
The build-up to the war took so long that Sadaam had plenty of time to hide WMD’s. Bush believed the intelligence that everyone else had, including the Clintons and the UN. Bush never defended himself, and on another front, turned the effort into “nation building”, and these were two main reasons that his Presidency was such a disaster that it led to Obama. Bob
Karl Rove advised Bush not to respond to the “Bush lied and troops died” attacks. Rove told Bush that it would not be “presidential” to respond. It was particularly bad when that beotch HIllary Clinton looked at the same intelligence that Bush looked at, voted to invade Iraq, and then said “Bush lied.” Bush just sat there like a dope and took it.
His refusal to fight for principle caused me to wonder whether Bush was truly as stupid as Democrats said he was. Bob
Thanks Starman417. BTW, 9/11 “Truthers” are all jackasses.
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