Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Why did so many Democrats and a majority of Americans think Saddam was a threat with WMD?

I wish the general public had a better memory. Maybe it is the frantic pace of American life and the fantastic array of events and activities shoving their way into all minds, making brains so crowded that a single memory is hard to retrieve. Like a computer due for an upgrade, perhaps our disks are nearly full.

In the run up to the Iraq war, the public was bombarded daily by various members of Bush League politicians telling us over and over that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Saddam was a threat to the region and an imminent threat to our own security.

He has weapons of mass destruction. He has weapons of mass destruction. He is a threat. We don’t want the “smoking gun” to be a mushroom cloud. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. Besides, he has flaunted UN declarations, murdered Iraqis (years before, but still...), and, perhaps most important, he tried to have George Herbert Walker Bush killed. Did you hear that he has weapons of mass destruction and poses an imminent threat?

At the same time, most other nations were skeptical. Yes, they really were. Not only that, the United Nations had a team of inspectors headed by Hans Blix on the ground in Iraq. They had faced Iraqi bluster and threats, but according to regular reports to the UN and the world, Blix said the team was able to go wherever they wished. They had made hundreds of unannounced visits to suspected sites of WMD. Nothing. They had made surprise return visits to sites. They had made surprise visits to palaces, rumored to house secret labs. Mr. Blix continued to report that there was, as yet, no evidence that Saddam was engaged in the production or stock piling of WMD.

Still the Bush League repeated “Weapons of Mass Destruction” so often that late night comedians began satirizing the call. Colin Powell went before the UN and spoke at length about the reported secret intelligence proving WMD. He held a small vial, supposedly of anthrax, similar to the anthrax the Bush League said mobile labs in Iraq were making as part of their WMD program. Imminent threat, you know. Mushroom cloud on the horizon. Smoking gun. Purchasing materials from Niger. WMD! WMD! WMD! Imminent threat. Defies UN resolutions.

Congress eventually passed a resolution authorizing the Bush League to use military force against Saddam as a last resort, if all else failed in the negotiations. Hans Blix kept reporting that his team was moving freely about Iraq and finding no evidence of WMD. Few seem to remember that.

Did anyone in the Bush League suggest that it might be both easier and less costly to continue with the inspection team in a country that did not have its infrastructure destroyed in shock and awe bombing? Easier and less costly than to invade a war torn country of angry survivors, insurgents, terrorist recruits, and then search the rubble? If so, that idea was dismissed, and Bush began his war in 2003.

It is now near the end of 2005, and our memories are numb. The Bush League is trooping around the nation and world chanting that many others also thought Saddam had WMD and was an imminent threat. That argument sounds very much as if Bush is whining. He seems to be saying, “Don’t place all the blame on me because we found no WMD, and there were no ties between Saddam and Ossama, and Iraq posed no imminent threat! Congress and everyone else also thought Saddam had WMD,” Bush sometimes says. “They had the same intel as I did,” he repeats, “and they thought Iraq was a threat, too.” He seems to mean, “So, get off my back.”

But those are lies. First, everyone else did not have the same intelligence reports as the Bush League. Powell referred to the intelligence as “secret intel.” It was classified stuff! “Everyone else” does not have intelligence gathering sources feeding them information. Even members of Congress, for the most part, rely on the intelligence reports fed to them by the administration.

Second, “everyone else,” or even “most people” did not believe there was an imminent threat from Iraq. At least they did not believe so at first. That is why the Bush League chanted their WMD mantra for so long in the run up to war. To convince the people, the people who did not have their own intelligence gathering sources!

Bush now pouts that, after all, Democrats also voted for the resolution to use force, downplaying that it was to be after “all else failed.” He says other countries, many people, and all but nine senators thought Saddam was a threat. He accuses “others” of revisionism now, concerning the perceived threat by Saddam.

Unfortunately, collective memory fails, for the most part. So far, at least, no one has said to the president, “Why do you think all those people you cite came to believe that Saddam was a threat?”

What would his answer be? It is hard to predict, but the truth is that Americans who thought Saddam had WMD and was an imminent threat believed it because, in those days, they believed their President!

What about you who are reading this? Did you think Saddam had WMD? Why did you think so? Because you believed the Bush League, of course!

So what Bush does not understand that he is saying, when he argues that a lot of others should also be blamed for believing Iraq needed invading, is that those others should be blamed for believing the President of the United States when he told them over and over and over that Saddam was a threat!

According to recent polls, the majority won’t make the same mistake again, at least with this president. It is a hopeful sign. Still, better memories couldn’t hurt, either.

~ ~

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who can argue with a summary of the facts?

11/17/2005 12:28 AM  
Blogger Russ said...

Thanks for your recent comment on one of my posts. I am actually in the process of jsut putting archives online post by post, so it was odd to see a comment jump up in the middle of it all!

Great site.

11/17/2005 1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your conclusion is right on. It needs broadcasting. And I am one of the ones who was convinced by the president that Saddam was a threat. You are right. I thought so because I believed Bush. It is hard to admit, but that is the reason I was for the war at first. Now Bush says he was wrong because the intelligence was wrong, but he says we were wrong, too. Yes, we were wrong to believe him. But why wouldn't we, back then?

11/17/2005 12:36 PM  
Blogger photogenic said...

Thanks for your comment! I had just barely finished it off and was pleased to find out, upon opening the post, that it was appriciated.

Your post interested me... I have been trying to figure out this WMD issue lately. Everyone seems to be solidly in one camp or the other. I know that it is impossible to know everything but I'm really trying and so this was helpful.

11/18/2005 12:15 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

You post ignores many facts. I understand you points but you repeat as unrefuted truth that which is very much in dispute. I can't say it as well as NORMAN PODHORETZ so I am giving you the link to his article. Like many political pundits, (myself not excepted) you tend to ignore the evidence that does not support your conclusions.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007540

11/18/2005 3:01 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Russel, I won't doubt that I have not included all the facts. Now just tell me, specifically, what I have included that is not factual. Exactly what have I "repeated as unrefuted truth" which is "very much in dispute"? And disputed by whom?

You do understand that merely saying I have reported as truth that which is disputed, without giving me specifics, does not mean that I actually have, don't you?

I went to the link site you suggested, but did not find Podhoretz. I have read his ideas before, however. There was an article by former FBI director Louis Freeh posted there, and it did not make the Bush League look any better. Thanks for that link. I shall visit it regularly. Also, thanks for your visit to my blog and for your comments.

11/18/2005 4:24 PM  
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