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What you mean “We”?

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 20 years ago, in 2004, on the World Wide Web.

Here are the facts as we know them.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld, and several other senior government officials in the U.S. and U.K. told us that Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. They told us that they were actively trying to find nuclear weapons. They told us that they had connections with the al-Qaeda terrorist network, and that therefore Iraq posed an imminent threat to the security of the United States. Therefore pre-emptive war was necessary, and nothing short of regime change would do.

photo: Dick Cheney

They lied. When Ambassador Joe Wilson told them that their evidence for claiming that Saddam Hussein was trying to acquire nuclear weapons was a forgery, they kept citing that completely spurious, forged evidence in public statements. When the U.S. intelligence apparatus was not giving the answers that they needed to justify their policy, they didn’t change the policy; they set up a new intelligence office to give them the answers they wanted [The Guardian]. Intelligence was cherry-picked and sexed-up and those who offered qualified or dissenting views were marginalized and went completely unmentioned in public statements [The Observer]. They had a goal, they looked for evidence to support that goal, and when they did not find good evidence they repeated evidence that they were informed repeatedly ahead of time was questionable or completely spurious evidence. And it turns out that what they claimed on nearly every point was false.

photo: Donald Rumsfeld

Iraq had no stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.

Iraq had no connections with al-Qaeda.

Iraq was not any threat to the United States whatsoever.

Or, to put it another way: they are a bunch of big fat fucking liars and as a result some 600 British and American troops, and somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians are dead.

photo: George W. Bush

The administration’s line now is that in spite of all of this, it was really no-one’s fault that the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom went off to war on a lie. We got it all wrong, the story goes, but from the evidence that we had in front of us, it looked pretty reasonable to us at the time. To which the obvious response is: What you mean we, paleface? As Scott Ritter points out, IHT: Not everyone got it wrong on Iraq’s weapons [IHT].

In case you have forgotten, there were lots of people—gosh, maybe even a whole movement of people—who said that Iraq posed no imminent threat.

We showed that the administration’s case for war was based on shaky evidence, leaky-bucket arguments, politicized manipulation of data, and constantly shifting rationalizations.

We argued that there was no good reason at all to believe that there were links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

We also said, by the way, that the assault on Iraq would kill thousands of civilians and that it would result in a nasty, rudderless, destructive, costly, and hopeless occupation.

I am all for careful examination of the data on the table. But when the data on the table is this clear there are certain sorts of politically expedient mincing—much loved by blowhard teevee experts and newspaper columnists—that common decency demands we put to one side.

We didn’t get it wrong, Messrs. Bush and Blair and Cheney and Rumsfeld. You did. The facts are: the anti-war movment was right, and you were wrong. We told the truth, and you lied. But because you had the guns and the tanks and the bombs to do it, you unleashed this dirty war anyway. There’s no way to fudge that or qualify that or get around that, and the blood of the dead and maimed is on your hands. There is no we about it. There’s some moral clarity for you; stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

For further reading:

12 replies to What you mean “We”? Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Intelligence Failures

    On second thought, I think that I was a little too hard on President Bush in my post yesterday. Huey Freeman set me straight:…

  2. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Lies and the lying liars who recant them

    In weather today, the forecast for Hell is cloudy and below freezing, with a chance of snow: WASHINGTON – Conservative television news anchor Bill O’Reilly said Tuesday he was now skeptical about the Bush administration and apologized to viewers …

· March 2004 ·

  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    The War on Iraq One Year On: Countdown Regime Change

    Today is the first anniversary of the Bush administration’s war on Iraq. hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets in protest of the war, the occupation, and the lies that were used to murder some 8,000…

  2. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Hardy Har Har

    Belly laugh! Let’s say you told a lie and everyone found out. In fact, let’s say you started a war over a lie and everyone found out. Hell, let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that you started…

· June 2004 ·

  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Outrage Fatigue

    I, like Roderick Long, haven’t had much to say about the war on Iraq lately; Roderick chalks it up to outrage fatigue. I think…

· September 2004 ·

  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Yadda yadda yadda

    Yesterday I offered the following commentary on the debate over the authenticity of the alleged memos on Bush’s alleged no-show for Air National Guard appointments:…

· October 2004 ·

  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    It’s Official

    Just in case you were wondering, it’s official. George W. Bush looked us in the eye and he told us a bunch of damned lies….

  2. Wendigo

    While we’re on the subject of why we went into Iraq, I think the Project for a New American Century (www.newamericancentury.org) proves pretty illuminating.

    They were pushing for a firmer stand against Iraq from 1998 onward, and mention Iran, Iraq and North Korea together in a report on “strengthening America’s defense.”

— 2005 —

  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    In Their Own Words, “Can We Start Calling Him ‘Officially a Big Fat Fucking Liar’ Now?” edition

    (Thanks, Tom Tomorrow. I got a million of ‘em.) George W. Bush, speech in Cincinatti, Ohio, 7 October 2002: After eleven years during which…

— 2006 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Tu quoque

    Here’s the latest from the Great Patriotic War on Terror: WASHINGTON — Adding fire to the political debate over national security, a bleak government intelligence…

— 2008 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2004-06-12 – Outrage Fatigue:

    […] psychology. The issue itself is tired: in the presence of such callous and brutal disregard for the truth, for rational argument, for other people’s lives and livelihoods, or for basic human dignity, […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2004-02-09 – Intelligence Failures:

    […] second thought, I think that I was a little too hard on President Bush in my post yesterday. Huey Freeman set me […]

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