Battlepanda: Selective hindsight


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Selective hindsight

Good catch by guest blogger Steve at the Washington Monthly. The White House rhetoric on Iraq is stuck uncomfortably between offence and defence, between "I was wrong, and so were you" and "I was right all along".
Consider Dick Cheney's speech this afternoon (text, video).

"In a post-9/11 world, the President and Congress of the United States declined to trust the word of a dictator who had a history of weapons of mass destruction programs, who actually used weapons of mass destruction against innocent civilians in his own country, who tried to assassinate a former President of the United States, who was routinely shooting at allied pilots trying to enforce no fly zones, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, whose regime had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder."

Cheney isn't trying to share responsibility for a war most Americans believe was a mistake; he's back to where he was in 2002, arguing that the invasion, war, and occupation of Iraq were not only the right call, but were absolutely necessary.

This isn't an easy needle to thread. The Bush gang will grudgingly concede that Iraq had no WMD, or nuclear program, or ties to 9/11, and in their weaker moments, admit that Saddam Hussein did not pose an imminent threat to the United States. Simultaneously they'll argue that the war was essential from the beginning. The White House wants to have its yellowcake and eat it too.

Another choice nugget of hypocrisy jumped out at me when I watched Cheney's speech
this afternoon -- he is hell bent on maintaining that the president cannot be blamed for intelligence 'failures' in hindsight, yet he wants to use the revealation of the Oil for Food scandal to justify the invasion post facto.
Finally, according to the Duelfer report, Saddam Hussein wanted to preserve the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when sanctions were lifted. And we now know that the sanctions regime had lost its effectiveness and been totally undermined by Saddam Hussein's successful effort to corrupt the Oil for Food program.

Erm, Mr. vice president? If you want to argue that it is unfair to take the unflattering facts we gained after the invasion into account when judging the decision of this administration to go to war, you can't try to simultaneously use a convenient one to justify the invasion. M'kay?