Iraq War Conspiracy Theories
I missed this Jonah Goldberg piece the other day but he makes some worthwhile points.
It just seems everything old is new again. Bush “lied” because he believed the same intelligence John Kerry believed. Bush “lied” even though John Edwards called the threat from Iraq “imminent” Ã¢€” something Bush never did. No one bothers to ask how it could be possible that Bush lied. How could he have known there were no WMDs? No one bothers to wonder why Tony Blair isn’t a liar. Indeed, no one bothers to ask whether the Great Diplomat and Alliance Builder believes our oldest and truest allies Great Britain and Australia are lead by equally contemptible liars. Of course, they can’t be liars Ã¢€” they are merely part of the coalition of the bribed. In John Kerry’s world, it’s a defense to say your oldest friends aren’t dishonest, they’re merely whores.
Oh, one more thing no one asks. How could Bush think he could pull this thing off? I mean, knowing as he did that there were no WMDs in Iraq, how could he invade the country and think no one would notice? And if he’s capable of lying to send Americans to their deaths for some nebulous petro-oedipal conspiracy no intelligent person has bothered to make even credible, why on earth didn’t he just plant some WMDs on the victim after the fact? If you’re willing to kill Americans for a lie, surely you’d be willing to plant some anthrax to keep your job.
And speaking of the victim, if it’s in fact true that Bush offered no rationale for the war other than WMDs, why shouldn’t we simply let Saddam out of his cage and put him back in office? We can even use some of the extra money from the Oil-for-Food program to compensate him for the damage to his palaces and prisons. Heck, if John Edwards weren’t busy, he could represent him.
I’m serious. If this whole war was such a mistake, such a colossal blunder, based on a lie and all that, not only should John Kerry show the courage to ask once again “How do you tell the last man to die for a mistake?” but he should also promise to rectify the error. And what better, or more logically consistent, way to solve the problem Bush created? Kerry insists it was wrong to topple Saddam. Well, let’s make him a Weeble instead. Bush and Saddam can walk out to the podiums and explain that his good friend merely wobbled, he didn’t fall down. That would end the chaos John Kerry considers so much worse than the status quo ante. And if the murderer needs help getting back in the game, maybe the Marines can cut off a few tongues and slaughter a couple thousand Shia and Kurds until Saddam’s ready for the big league again. That will calm the chaos; that will erase the crime.
Goldberg’s piece is somewhat tongue-in-cheek but it gets at a larger truth through ironic overstatement. It’s perfectly reasonable to say that Saddam was a tyrant who was a threat to his own people but not worth a great expenditure of U.S. blood and treasure to overthrow, especially given the advantage of hindsight on the WMD issue. That’s essentially my position with regard to Sudan, for example. The discourse would be much less divisive, however, if more people on the anti-war side would acknowledge that acting as if our intelligence were correct and that Saddam’s behavior over the course of a quarter century constituted a trend was reasonable, too. Stating things that are true to the best of one’s knowledge is not a “lie,” even if disproven by later evidence. Scientists that pre-dated Copernicus weren’t liars when they said that the Earth was the center of the universe, either.
via Stephen Green