Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...


Friday, July 18, 2003  

Yesterday a reporter asked the President, "Mr. President, others in your administration have said your words on Iraq and Africa did not belong in your State of the Union address. Will you take personal responsibility for those words?"

It was a pretty good question. Bush is all about personal responsibility (that's the heart of his "compassionate conservatism"--he's compassionate to the poor if they take the responsibility to go out and get stinking rich). In fact, you could make the argument that, given Bush's small experience and considerable lack of knowledge, people voted for Bush mainly because they thought he was a straight-shooter, buck-stops-here kinda guy. (Last August he lectured to Wisconsinites: "We're ushering in a period of personal responsibility. People are responsible for the decisions they make in life...") So what do you think his response was?

First, I take responsibility for putting our troops into action. And I made that decision because Saddam Hussein was a threat to our security and a threat to the security of other nations.

I take responsibility for making the decision, the tough decision, to put together a coalition to remove Saddam Hussein. Because the intelligence -- not only our intelligence, but the intelligence of this great country -- made a clear and compelling case that Saddam Hussein was a threat to security and peace.

I say that because he possessed chemical weapons and biological weapons. I strongly believe he was trying to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program. And I will remind the skeptics that in 1991, it became clear that Saddam Hussein was much closer to developing a nuclear weapon than anybody ever imagined. He was a threat. I take responsibility for dealing with that threat.

We are in a war against terror. And we will continue to fight that war against terror. We're after al Qaeda, as the Prime Minister accurately noted, and we're dismantling al Qaeda. The removal of Saddam Hussein is an integral part of winning the war against terror. A free Iraq will make it much less likely that we'll find violence in that immediate neighborhood. A free Iraq will make it more likely we'll get a Middle Eastern peace. A free Iraq will have incredible influence on the states that could potentially unleash terrorist activities on us. And, yeah, I take responsibility for making the decisions I made.



It's a remarkable response, steeped in the kind of misdirection, parsing, obfuscation, and (what appears to be outright) lying that has marked this President's administration. I highlighted a few of the statements I found particularly troublesome.

"I take responsibility for putting our troops into action." No kidding? I'm glad you cleared that up. But that's an answer to a question no one asked nor cares about, which is a classic Bush tactic. During the ramp up to the war, reporters would say, "Gee, looks to me like this is a country decimated by over a decade of international scrutiny, and after weeks of searching, Hans Blix has found not a single molecule of WMD. Why is Saddam Hussein, of all people, a threat?" And then Bush would talk about the oppressed Kurds.

"...a coalition to remove Saddam Hussein." Coalition? George, we were there when you failed so abjectly to put together a coalition that you couldn't even go back to the UN. Millions of people protested around the globe. It was six months ago.

Then the President made a series of remarkable claims, so far completely unsupported by the evidence:

"...because he possessed chemical weapons and biological weapons"

"...he was trying to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program"

"The removal of Saddam Hussein is an integral part of winning the war against terror."

"A free Iraq will make it much less likely that we'll find violence in that immediate neighborhood."

"A free Iraq will have incredible influence on the states that could potentially unleash terrorist activities on us."



All of these are dubious at best, particularly the bold (the President is always bold, even when making bizarre and obviously false statements) comment about how the invasion will reduce violence in Iraq.

I wrote a couple days ago about how I felt the press has dropped the ball on holding the President accountable. Well, here's another example of a truckload of BS, delivered when someone asked him about the last load he delivered. I await eagerly the media's response to his responses.

posted by Jeff | 9:30 AM |
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