A Cautious Man
July 12, 2004
Little White Lies You Tell to Ease the Pain
In a speech today on the War on Terror, President Bush seems to be demonstrating an ability to block out any "bad news" - that being information which contradicts his long-held worldview on the source of, motivations for, and solutions to the dangers faced by the U.S. from terrorist attacks. Whether it’s the Senate Intelligence Committee, or the 9/11 Commission, there are more and more indications that the efforts of the Administration are either ineffectual or aimed at the wrong targets. Nevertheless, it appears that from now through the election, the President will continue to pretend that there have not been major mistakes in defending against terrorism. There's the "unfinished business", which the President wants us to believe has been taken care of -
Today, Afghanistan is a world away from the nightmare of the Taliban. That country has a good and just President. Boys and girls are being educated. Many refugees have returned home to rebuild their country, and a presidential election is scheduled for this fall. The terror camps are closed and the Afghan government is helping us to hunt the Taliban and terrorists in remote regions. Today, because we acted to liberate Afghanistan, a threat has been removed, and the American people are safer.Look, we all know that it's premature to declare victory in Afghanistan. The country is still the site of major military actions, and our soldiers are still dying there. There are areas outside of Kabul and other cities which are still controlled by Taliban supporters. And speaking of breeding grounds for terrorism -
Three years ago, terrorists were well-established in Saudi Arabia. Inside that country, fundraisers and other facilitators gave al Qaeda financial and logistical help, with little scrutiny or opposition. Today, after the attacks in Riyadh and elsewhere, the Saudi government knows that al Qaeda is its enemy. Saudi Arabia is working hard to shut down the facilitators and financial supporters of terrorism.Interesting discussion by the President, all but pointing to Saudi Arabia as the locale where attacks on the U.S. were funded and planned. But, he doesn't think that's important to focus on, since he had his favorite target -
America must remember the lessons of September the 11th. We must confront serious dangers before they fully materialize. And so my administration looked at the intelligence on Iraq, and we saw a threat. Members of the United States Congress from both political parties looked at the same intelligence, and they saw a threat. The United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence, and it saw a threat. The previous administration and the Congress looked at the intelligence and made regime change in Iraq the policy of our country.As has been mentioned here before, this seems to be part of an effort to make people forget that there were weapons inspectors in Iraq up to the day President Bush told them to leave.
In 2002, the United Nations Security Council yet again demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. As he had for over a decade, Saddam Hussein refused to comply. In fact, according to former weapons inspector David Kay, Iraq's weapons programs were elaborately shielded by security and deception operations that continued even beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Even if we give the President a "pass", and assume he's an innocent victim of mistakes by the intelligence agencies, the fact remains that he still says that the invasion, at the time it took place, in the manner it took place, and with the limited support from other nations with which it took place, was still a correct decision. That he still believes this, is not a comforting thought, because it suggests that he is content to ignore facts which challenge his preconceived notions.
And that is not a good thing.