Over the decades, I’ve seen politicians backpedal, backslide and flip flop. I’d say Bush’s retreat from absolute certainty that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction constitutes an Olympic-scale 2 1/2 backflip. If Bush’s WMD affair had a soundtrack, I’d have to call it Slip Slidin’ Away.
In The White House: Bush Backs Away From His Claims About Iraq Arms, David Sanger characterizes Bush’s latest backpedal like this:
President Bush declined Tuesday to repeat his claims that evidence that Saddam Hussein had illicit weapons would eventually be found in Iraq, but he insisted that the war was nonetheless justified because Mr. Hussein posed “a grave and gathering threat to America and the world.” Asked by reporters if he would repeat earlier expressions of confidence that the weapons would be found in light of recent statements by the former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, David A. Kay, that Mr. Hussein had gotten rid of them well before the war, Mr. Bush did not answer directly.
“There is just no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a grave and gathering threat to America and the world,” Mr. Bush told reporters. “There is just no doubt in my mind. And I say that based upon intelligence that I saw prior to the decision to go into Iraq, and I say that based upon what I know today.
So now that Bush has lost his primary pretext for war with Iraq, he justifies it by saying Sadaam was “a grave and gathering threat to America and the world.” In what way? Did Sadaam have anything to do with 9/11? No. Is he implicated in any major terrorist attack against Americans outside U.S. soil? No. So much for Bush’s “threat to us” rationale. Now, what about Sadaam’s threat to “the world.” Who did he threaten? Iran? That war ended in 1988. Kuwait? That one ended in 1991. Afghanistan? Turkey? Nope. Can anyone find evidence that Sadaam threatened anyone outside his own people? Not that I’m arguing that Sadaam’s treatment of his fellow citizens was anything less than abominable. But if we toppled every tyrant who killed his own citizens with impunity, then we’d be constantly involved in military conflicts all over the world IF the American people would even go for it–which they wouldn’t.
Looks like Bush is all out of excuses. Will someone, anyone call him to task for his half truths, distortions and outright lies? I hope so come November.