Today Mr. Bush has excoriated his opponents for claiming that he lied them into war. The President said: “Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war.” Well I’m neither a Democrat nor really anti-war, but yep, that’s the claim. (By the way, he’s being fact-checked.) That claim is pretty convincing, particularly to anyone who’s actually read the 521-page Senate Report on Intelligence Failures (highlights here), or the Downing Street Memo. If you want a more scholarly version of Mr. Bush’s complaint, check out Norman Podhoretz in Commentary; he is convincingly demolished by Kevin Drum. Why am I so upset about this? Because I thought that taking out Saddam was a moral act, something worth doing for its own sake, a chance to prove that Arabs don’t have to live in dictatorships where there are torturers in the jails, that Western Civilization is capable of moral action. Instead, the war was sold based on conventional marketing wisdom: pick a couple of simple messages and stay on them. I was watching TV and reading the papers, and all the war marketers were saying, over and over, was “He’ll have nukes soon!” and “He’s Osama’s buddy!” Both false; and there are still torturers in the jails. I’m sufficiently irritated that I don’t mind saying “I told you so”, which I did in February and March of 2003. Feh. I hate lies.


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November 11, 2005
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