Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Imminence and WMDs 

Glenn Manishin of Fear and Loathing emailed about my link to him when analyzing Bush's Inaugural Address. I said:
No wonder moderate Democrats resent Bush: he applies pi to problems while they're stuck trying to square the circle.
Manishin disputes the speech's substance, making several arguments; this focuses solely on his first, regarding WMDs:
I don't "resent" Bush, I just think it's ironic that a war started to stop an imminent threat that turned out not to be imminent.
Presumably, Glenn's addressing the Iraq Survey Group's conclusion that Saddam did not have significant WMDs (though he concealed that from weapons inspectors and planned to acquire WMDs once sanctions were lifted). Recently, the White House candidly acknowledged "there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." I'm not disputing the absence of WMD's--but Manishin's still wrong, for several reasons.

Initially, though a common error, the President himself never said Iraq was "an imminent threat". Indeed, he said precisely the opposite several times:
The President's new foreign policy is known as the Bush Doctrine. It doesn't rely on "imminence" at all.

Second, those arguing other Administration officials said the danger was imminent are wrong. They focus particularly on Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and spokesmen Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.
Considered together, these remarks emphasize the absence of inninence as a trigger, consistent with the Bush doctrine.

Third, the Administration never grounded the Iraq war solely on WMDs. Indeed, there were multiple and overlapping reasons for invading, said Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz:

[T]here have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two. . . .

The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it. That second issue about links to terrorism is the one about which there's the most disagreement within the bureaucracy, even though I think everyone agrees that we killed 100 or so of an al Qaeda group in northern Iraq in this recent go-around, that we've arrested that al Qaeda guy in Baghdad who was connected to this guy Zarqawi whom Powell spoke about in his UN presentation.

Bush himself cited reasons apart from weapons, many times:
And Congress concurred. The Joint Resolution authorizing Force in Iraq listed numerous arguments for toppling Saddam having nothing to do with WMDs, including, "the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." Been there, done that--an accomplishment undiminished by the magnitude or timing of Saddam's threat to America.

Simply put, as John Hawkins at Right Wing News has documented, a host of concerns other than WMDs justified the invasion.

(Though not directly relevant, I note that the belief Saddam had WMDs was widely shared by current Bush critics, from Kerry to Clinton to Chirac, and that Bush's famous "16 Words" were entirely accurate.)

Fourth, even if WMDs were the sine qua non for war, why is Bush's intent relevant? Writing in Tech Central, Philosophy Professor Keith Burgess-Jackson challenges liberal logic:
Either there is a justification for the war (objectively speaking) or there is not. If there is, then it doesn't matter what motivated President Bush. If there isn't, then it doesn't matter what motivated President Bush. Either way, it doesn't matter what motivated President Bush.
David Horowitz similarly demolishes the claim:
The attacks on the President in the first year of the war in Iraq were entirely about the rationale for the war. This is odd in itself. If we were to discover say that Abraham Lincoln had contrived to send a secret Union force to attack Fort Sumter and blame it on the Confederacy would that change our view of whether the Civil War was worth fighting?
Glenn's argument thus sweeps too broadly, because it would outlaw any action. If Iraq, and the world, is better without Saddam, isn't that enough?

Conclusion: I agree with Horowitz:
In four years, George Bush has liberated nearly 50 million people in two Islamic countries. He has stopped the filling of mass graves and closed down the torture chambers of an oppressive regime. He has encouraged the Iraqis and the people of Afghanistan to begin a political process that give them rights they have not enjoyed in 5,000 years. How can one not support this war?
Ignore the one-sided hype from a hysterical press. Don't lose sight of what America's achieved and the prospects for success to come.

My recommendation, Glenn: courage.

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The focus on "WMD's were the main reason for going into Iraq" betrays something of the accusers' focus. WMD were our main selling point to the UN, which we still hoped would support us.

The reasons given to the American people were broader. Only if one considers what Bush said to the UN as vastly more important than what he said to the American people can one buy into the prevailing accusation.

The UN is not the center of the universe.

By Blogger Wyman, at 10:48 PM, January 22, 2005  

actually its been proven widely that the senate did not have the same intel as the Bushies. So anyone who makes the weak argument that if Bush lied so did Kerry knows better. What president in history didnt have access to more top secret info than Congress has??? http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2005/1027nj1.htm
The turkey defense is so funny its almost laughable in that we told the democratically elected Turkish Govt that if they did not help us we would overthrow his government. In an attempt to "bring democracy" to Iraq, although it wasnt the reason then, we threatened to end it in Turkey. these are just two of the numerous lies, weasels, inconsitencies and fairy tales in your posts. Next thing I know you will be telling us that there were no looters in Iraq after the invasion........

By Blogger Jeff_simpson7, at 12:11 AM, November 09, 2005  

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