Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 14, 2003
WAR: The Niger Trap

Kevin Drum says that despite the relative insignificance of the Niger story itself, it's a "smoking gun" because

Bush's problem is not that a single 16-word sentence of dubious provenance made it into his State of the Union address. His problem is that he promised us that Saddam was connected to al-Qaeda, he promised thousands of liters of chemical and biological weapons, he promised that Saddam had a nuclear bomb program, and he promised that the Iraqis would greet us as liberators. But that wasn't all. He also asked us to trust him: he couldn't reveal all his evidence on national TV, but once we invaded Iraq and had unfettered access to the entire country everything would become clear.

But it didn't. We've had control of the country for three months, we've had access to millions of pages of Iraqi records, and we've captured and interrogated dozens of high ranking officials. And it's obvious now that there were no WMDs, no bomb programs of any serious nature, and no al-Qaeda connections. . .

In the end, we went to war because a majority of the population trusted George Bush when he presented his case that Iraq posed an imminent danger to the United States and the world.

Uranium-Gate is a symbol of that misplaced trust. If George Bush's judgment had been vindicated in Iraq, a single sentence in the State of the Union address wouldn't matter. But it hasn't, and he deserves to be held accountable for his poor judgment by everybody who believed him.

This sounds reasonable, but it's also why the Democrats are walking into a trap here. They're hoping to convince people that this story symbolizes the failure of the Iraq war, that the case for war in its totality was all a hoax. But more evidence about what was really going on in Iraq contiunues to seep in -- and when WMD capabilities are eventually found and more links to terror groups are laid out (I'm increasingly confident we'll find both) -- it's the Democrats who will find egg on their faces.

Remember: hawkish Democrats in the 1960s and hawkish Republicans in the 1970s and 1980s turned out to be wrong about some important particulars of the Soviet Union's nuclear and military capabilities. But did the public condemn them for seeing through the campaign against communism to victory?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:24 AM | War 2002-03 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

"Remember: hawkish Democrats in the 1960s and hawkish Republicans in the 1970s and 1980s turned out to be wrong about some important particulars of the Soviet Union's nuclear and military capabilities. But did the public condemn them for seeing through the campaign against communism to victory?"

How many soldiers died in Viet Nam?

The public that did condemn them were ostracized and called hippies. Meanwhile major decision makers within the bearaucracy held their tongues for fear of retribution.

Viet Nam was about Asian (ie. Chinese) communism, not Russian Communism. The latter of which is dead, the former of which is still alive and kicking. (More importantly, we were fighting against Communism, never understanding that the Vietnamese were fighting for Nationalism.)

Bottom line, 50,000 plus American dead, let alone the maimed and permanently scarred, let alone the Vietnamese themselves...and Russia fell anyways while China remained unaffected.

But hey, its all right because the good public didn't condemn anyone for the bad decisions that were made, as long as, in an unrelated development, the Red Scourge of Russian communism fell over 20 years later.

What is this about Crank? Doing the right thing or blindly following the administration?

You seem more concerned with who ends up with egg on their face as opposed to finding the truth. In other words, following right in the footsteps of the Democrat sycophants during the last administration!

Sure, your assumptions about what Iraq did and did not possess maybe valid. But you seem unconcerned with the possibility that the data was trumped up and the possibility that the threat was not imminent.

We confused Vietnam with the fight against Communism, and lost an unwinnable war.

Are we confusing Iraq with the fight against terrorism, and against Al Queda in particular?

Posted by: C Giddy at July 15, 2003 11:50 AM

First of all, I don't think Vietnam was mostly about flawed intelligence so much as a failure of strategic thinking (i.e., going in without a clear mission and exit strategy, and failing to develop and trust the South to lead the fight).

The only way to judge the imminence of a threat, post-September 11, is to wait to get hit. That's precisely why we have a lower threshold now for assessing threats.

I'm concerned with both questions - what's right and what's politic. Both are important.

Posted by: The Crank at July 16, 2003 6:02 AM
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