"Bush Lied?" Yes, he did.

I received this email yesterday:

Bush Lied??

If you really believe the Liberal Left's rhetoric that President Bush lied about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and he took us to war solely for his oil buddies, then read this. If you are a fair minded person and want to help set the record straight, Please Pass This On To Your Entire E-Mail List.

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

"Iraq is a long way from USA but, what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S.Constitution and Laws, to take necessary actions, (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs"
Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"Hussein has .. chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue a pace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
Sen John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do"
Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.
He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime . He presents a particularly griev
ous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan.23.2003


Since I would like to "help set the record straight," I have a response:

Were the Democrats correct in their remarks? The simple answer is "No," and their errors can be (simplistically and incorrectly) viewed as equivalent to Bush's lies. The situation is, however, more complex. Many of the quotes are shorn of any relevant context, such as opposition to Bush's preferred brand of unilateral - and unprovoked - military action.

Democrats' primary failure in these instances was being too trusting, and simply repeating the tales that the administration and its lackeys were spinning. One would hope that Bush's track record of deceit will dissuade them from doing so again. The possibility that some Democrats were knowingly complicit in Bush's deceptions in no way absolves Bush for initiating those deceptions.

Snopes, as usual, examines the quotations in "WMD Quotes" and provides some much-needed context.

An interesting contrast to the "Bush Lied?" email is a series of quotations in Edward Herman's "Some Choice Morsels, Past and Present" from the March 2004 issue of Z Magazine. It is quite evident that, before the Bush party line was finalized, many conservatives saw Iraq in a very different light.

My favorites follow:

"I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq" (Paul Wolfowitz, 2003--Note: These words have inspired the Iraqi resistance in their efforts to oust the "coalition." Wolfowitz of course assumes that the coalition members are not foreigners, as they are U.S. citizens and folks approved by us, therefore possessing a Godfather's right to be at home anywhere within his domains).

"He [Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors" (Colin Powell, February 2001, before the propaganda line was firm).

"We are able to keep his arms from him [Saddam Hussein]. His military forces have not been rebuilt" (Condoleeza Rice in April 2001, also before the party line hardened).

"No one can now doubt the word of America" (George Bush, Jan. 20, 2004--meaning that his team may lie without restraint, and violate our "word" and legal obligation to adhere to international law, but the world does not doubt that the Bushies will carry out threats to commit violence against defenseless targets).

"No cause can justify the loss of innocent lives" (Colin Powell in August 2003, commenting on innocent lives lost after an Al Qaeda attack; he would no doubt qualify this to take account of "tragic errors").

Despite of the potential for endless recriminations involved in politicians' changing assessments of the situation, it is beyond doubt that BUSH DID LIE ABOUT IRAQI WMDs, AND HE DID TAKE OUR NATION TO WAR UNDER FALSE PRETENSES. Those are the facts, not "the Liberal Left's rhetoric." It is irrelevant who agreed with Bush, and to what extent they went along with his lies.

UPDATE: "Let's Play a Game of 'Who Said This?'" from Another Perspective puts several of the quotes into quiz format. It's rather amusing, in a mordant way.


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