Skip to comments.'Bush Lied, You Lied'
Posted on 03/03/2006 5:31:17 AM PST by SJackson
Several weeks ago I wrote an article ("Insanity of the Bush Lied Hypothesis," Jan. 27) that addressed the allegation that George W. Bush lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. I noted that this charge doesnt make sense, even when granting it for the sake of argument, and that underlying the charge is an obsessive hatred of Bush that muddles the thinking of otherwise sensible people.
The response to the article was generally positive, though I did receive some angry e-mails.
"I think there is something fundamentally dishonest about your article," began one writer, who offered that his "most charitable interpretation" was that I couldnt help myself from "distorting the truth" to defend the Republican president even though my view on Iraqi WMDs was consistent with that of the previous president, a Democrat. The e-mail concluded: "Are you an educator and historian, or are you a propagandist?"
A number of e-mailers flat-out called me a liar. Bush had lied, and now I had lied to defend the liar. One e-mail did everything but shout, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"
A few e-mails were less emotionally charged, and I felt a responsibility to respond a correspondence which has carried on for weeks. One of these e-mailers was a Harvard professor of neuroscience. He made a good point, the answer to which should be shared more broadly.
"I think you misrepresent what people mean when they say, Bush lied," wrote the professor. "They are not generally making references to his beliefs, but they are making reference to the simple fact that he made claims for which he has no evidence . And given the seriousness of the issue at hand (war), the bar was raised and the evidence had to be pretty damned good."
The professor is too charitable to the "Bush-Lied-Kids-Died" crowd, whose line of reasoning is not so thoughtful. (I know this because I correspond with them daily.) Nonetheless, he posed a valid question, which merits a response.
The professor is correct: Bush did not have absolute evidence of stockpiles of Iraqi WMD. He had no pictures or first-hand accounts from, say, a Tony Blair or Kofi Annan returning from a remote corner of Iraq to report: "Saddam has a warehouse of chemical warheads. I saw them."
Yet, such unequivocal evidence was not possible. It was unattainable because Saddam Hussein concealed his WMD, as he had since 1991, when the United Nations first began doing inspections. All along, he claimed he did not have WMD, and all along we continued to find them.
Our "evidence" for his WMD in the 1990s was identical to George W. Bushs "evidence" later: volumes of testimony from Iraqi scientists, citizens, soldiers, and foreign officials who comprised the "intelligence" that reported that Saddam had WMD. Entire books laid out the details, such as the bestseller Saddams Bombmaker by Khidhir Hamza.
Here are merely a few facts about Saddams WMD inventory, which were uncovered by UN inspectors in the 1990s and became widespread public knowledge:
The Iraqi dictator acquired gallons of chemical and biological agents. He repeatedly used chemical arms and probably employed bio weapons in some form, likely on groups like the Marsh Arabs. His bio arsenal was staggering anthrax, botulinum toxin, and dozens of others. His regime remains the only in history to weaponize aflatoxin, a substance that slowly causes liver cancer and has no battlefield utility whatsoever. He loaded thousands of artillery shells and missiles with such substances.
The United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) needed several years to destroy these weapons, and was certain that countless more remained hidden.
Much more elusive were nuclear weapons. UNSCOM learned that Saddam had an enormous nuclear program that dated back to the 1970s. Spread among 25 facilities, it employed 15,000 technical people. Based on a Manhattan Project bomb design, Iraqi scientists pursued five different methods for separating uranium. Saddam pumped $10 billion into the program.
This information was made public in the mid-1990s by UN officials. UNSCOM chief scientist David Kay reported that Saddam had been only 12 to 18 months away from a workable nuclear bomb at the time we drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1991. This became a lingering fear once Saddam again barred weapons inspectors from suspect sites in the late 1990s; writers in The New York Times were vigilant in reminding us that Saddam must be perilously close to possessing that bomb.
A September 1998 article by Barton Gellman in the Washington Post reported "credible" evidence (from UN arms inspectors) that "Iraq has built and has maintained three or four implosion devices that lack only cores of enriched uranium to make 20-kiloton nuclear weapons."
An intriguing February 25, 2001 London Times feature went further, reporting that Saddam had actually secretly tested a nuclear weapon.
The Clinton administration had enough, and in December 1998 unleashed a flurry of cruise missiles at Iraqi sites. Still, Saddam would not relent. And by 2003, not a single weapons inspector had entered an Iraqi building in five years a risk the president of the United States found unacceptable in a post-9/11 world.
This brings us to George W. Bush, and to my answer to the professors question: Indeed, George W. Bush did not have unmistakable evidence of stockpiles of Iraqi WMD, but neither did the UN in 1991 nor Bill Clinton in 1998. Bush knew what they knew: Saddam had a rich history of manufacturing and using these weapons, and then lying about and hiding their existence.
Yes, theres a liar in this story, all right. His name is Saddam Hussein.
Dr. Paul Kengor is author of "God and George W. Bush." He is also executive director of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College and a visiting fellow with the Hoover Institution.
The "Bush Lied" argument is the most frustrating to me. Those who maintain it have an unshakable religious faith that it is true (or perhaps don't have a valid understanding of what "truth" is).
The left id they exist because it blows a major part of there argument out of the water.
The President and the administration because they went in to neutralize the WMD threat. And it looks as if that failed.
Because if they exist where are they and more to the point who controls them, and do they control them all.
"Under the orders of Qusai Hussein, Dr. Obeidi had buried a huge barrel in his back garden. The barrel contained Iraq's crowning achievement in perverted physics: the components of an actual centrifuge for the enrichment of uranium. It also contained all the hard-won printed instructions and expertise on the subject. Dr. Obeidi was "interviewed" by many inspectors in the run-up to last year's war under the same conditions of open blackmail that Saddam had imposed on all his other scientists, and they got no nearer finding out the truth than one would have expected.
"His conclusion is that, given an improvement in the economic and political climate, Saddam could and would have done one of two things: reconstitute the program or share it with others. Had it not been for 9/11, it is sobering to reflect, there would have been senior members of even this administration arguing that sanctions on Iraq should be eased. And, through the open scandal of the oil-for-food program, there were many states or clienteles within states who were happy to help Saddam enrich himself. Moreover, within the "box" that supposedly "contained" him were also living Kim Jong-il, A.Q. Khan, and Col. Qaddafi. We know from the Kay report that, as late as March of last year, Saddam's envoys were meeting North Korea's team in Damascus and trying to buy missiles off the shelf. It would never have stopped: this ceaseless ambition to acquire the means of genocide. If anything, we underestimated that aspect of it.
"The supposed overestimate was, in reality, part of a wider underestimate. Libya and Iran turned out to be even more dangerous than we had thought, and the A.Q. Khan network of "Nukes 'R' Us" even more widespread. But now Iraq can be certified as disarmed, instead of wishfully assumed to be so, Libya's fissile materials are all under lock and key in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the traces "walked back" from Qaddafi's capitulation helped expose A.Q. Khan. Of course, we could always have left Iraq alone, and brought nearer the day when the charming Qusai could have called for Dr. Obeidi and said: "That barrel of yours. It's time to dig it up."
The Left is just angry because Bush bypassed the UN.
Iraq was in constant violation of the treaty requirements.
It was Iraq's obligation to prove to us that he didn't have weapons in violation of that treaty, it was not our obligation to prove he did.
That is how the Germans got away with rearming after WW1.
If only liberals had a brain they might understand this.
Clinton's "flurry of cruise missiles" occurred during a four-day bombing campaign that coincided exactly with the House impeachment vote late December 1998.
The House Democrats, led by Dick Gebhardt, made a statment urging that the vote be postponed in the interest of showing "unity" for the American president while our troops were in harm's way.
A delay of two weeks would have kicked the vote into the next House session, when there would be more sitting Democrats, thereby improving Clinton's chance of beating the impeachment vote.
The Republicans, however, only delayed the vote for one day. As soon as it became clear that the vote would not be delayed as long as Clinton needed, the bombing of campaign of Baghdad was ended.
Something the Anti-GWOT crowd so quickly forgets. Along with the fact that Bubba actually signed an Iraq Liberation Act(?) back in 1998/
Some folks are very impressed that "lied" rhymes with "died." So much so that they like to mindlessly repeat it over and over again like some autistic parrot.
See what actually understanding will do for you ... now people will be saying you lied ;^)
Technically it was Iraq's obligation under the 1991 ceasefire agreement to prove it had ridden itself of all WMDs and banned weapons, not our obligation to prove they had not. Further, the act of firing on our aircraft resumed hostilities regardless of any weapons.
Do you think it will help the BDS inflicted to know the truth?
What was it that CIA Director George Tenet told the the President? Slam Dunk? Woodward: Tenet told Bush WMD case a 'slam dunk'
BYPASSED the UN?
IMO: While the UN was coming up
with one excuse after another
to oppose Bush's efforts to
bring them on board (and now
we know WHY Germany, France,
and Russia were so against
taking action), Saddam had
MONTHS to transport his WMD
and other "goodies" to Syria,
Iran, and other holding sites.
I find it a bit out of the
ordinaire that Iran suddenly
announces it has a nuclear
program up and functioning
within months of Saddam's
extraction from the Spider Hole.
Anyone considering how long it
takes to BUILD such a facility?
Well, it's not done overnight!
They haven't forgotten it; they just ignore it because it doesn't support their current position. If it ever does support their position, look and see how closely they will recall every detail needed, and no more.
Otherwise sensible people?
Is that a little pandering, or is Mr. Kengor perpetuating yet another myth.
I find little, if anything, about Democrats that is sensible. No honesty. No proposals for anything positive. Nothing at all.
It has taken me too long to realize that the modern Democrat Party has drawn its modus operandi from the communists. To them the truth has no value. All that matters is their ideology. As one of my liberal friends blurted one day, "I'm not seeking truth, I'm seeking advantage."
The modern Democrats have become the masters of the distorted "half-truth".
It frightens me to think that the Democrats are seen as a viable political party by the 48% that voted for John Kerry. How can you support a candidate and a political party that simply denies reality and rejects the value of truth?
Saddam was a WMD. As the Dilfer Commission cleary reported, he was waiting for the sanctions to end to resume his WMD programs. ....And thanks to the Euro-Weenies, those sanctions were rapidly unraveling.
Taking the hypothetical "suppose we had done nothing," where would that have left us? -----With a WMD-armed Saddam, encouraging and aiding terrorists.
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