Monday, October 20, 2003

Timing is Everything

Rob Bernard is quoting from Jonah Goldberg about the reasons for going to War in Iraq. There are some "valid" reasons to have gone to War. If we are going to apply any of those reasons on other countries is yet to be determined and so far not lived up to in the case of Liberia where we dipped out toes in the water, and got of Dodge in hurry.

The problem is that without the WMD, the element of a threat vanishes. No WMD, no threat (whether you want to quibble on immediate, impending, or imminent). Why did we have to go to war in March? Was our intelligence that bad that we actually thought Iraq could strike with WMD first? Yes, this was a big fear of everyone, including the luke-warm war supporters (those mostly Dems in Congress authorizing war), but that was based on the assumption that Bush was holding back evidence (for security reasons) and that we should trust him when he and his many underlings said Iraq had those weapons.

Now, of course we could now go how Bush and company have changed talking points and no longer say WMD, they say WMD programs. That, I think everyone agrees is a case of revisionism, which now is spin, but back then was misleading.

If there were no known WMD stockpiles or no actual WMD ready to fire at anyone, then why attack Iraq in March? Why not wait until the 1st ID was in place? Why not appear to be destined for war and instead give Saddam’s generals the summer to take him out. We seem to have been successful in doing that once the war started. We instead could have built credibility with the world and gotten UN approval for the war based on Iraq's refusal to comply with the UN.

We still would have lost credibility because there were no WMD to be found in the numbers stated (or likely at all), but if we had the UN mandate, Bush would have had the cover, could have fought the War starting this November, and could have had foreign troops taking over as peace keepers by next April, just in time for Bush to ride into the height of the primary season. Instead, we get hurry up and fight, damn the post-war, and fuck what anyone else thinks about it. That is standard MO for this President and his team. That is where the criticism of him lies on firm ground. I have yet to hear anyone substantially retort my complaints on the hasty timing of the War. I don't think there is a valid reason for the timing. Valid in at least a semi-objective manner that is. If it was for politics or for misjudgment we must judge that this president can’t be trusted to the tell the whole story to the American people when he wants to take us to war. That is the most critical duty of a President and he failed. He not only failed, but he in my opinion knows he failed and does not feel an once of shame for it. People wonder why he is hated? He is hated for character, like Clinton was, but when that chacater affects everyone, then it matters. If Bush was lucky he could have done this and actually won next year with a Regean percentage of the vote. Instead he will not win by much if he does. He might win a clean number of electoral votes, but the county is as divided now, as I have ever known it to be. I would bet those much older would agree that were more divided now than in 1968. Will 2004 be as bloody and violent as 1968? I fear it may.

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