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More Historical Revisionism

Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly continues to spread the myth:

“In other words, by summer of 2002 Bush had already decided on war regardless of Saddam Hussein’s actions; democracy promotion was not even mentioned in passing as a reason for the war”

Instapundit already debunked that falsehood weeks ago.

Now, if by “democracy promotion was not even mentioned in passing as a reason for the war” Drum means only that it wasn’t mentioned in the particular excerpt that he posted, then that’s just really, really lame. Or perhaps he just posted out of ignorance, and will now correct the record.

As for Drum’s assertion that:

“by summer of 2002 Bush had already decided on war regardless of Saddam Hussein’s actions”

That’s simply the same tired nonsense the anti-liberation crowd has been peddling since before the liberation of Iraq. “Regardless of Saddam Hussein’s actions”? Hussein’s actions weren’t in serious dispute before the war.

The information that President Bush was getting from the intelligence agencies indicated Hussein was continuing to pursue his WMD programs, and it is well known that Iraq’s government was a supporter of terrorism. That was the bipartisan, consensus view at the time.

As Senator Joe Lieberman wrote in October 2002:

“…we have evidence of meetings between Iraqi officials and leaders of al Qaeda, and testimony that Iraqi agents helped train al Qaeda operatives to use chemical and biological weapons. We also know that al Qaeda leaders have been, and are now, harbored in Iraq.

Saddam’s is the only regime that combines growing stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and a record of using them with regional hegemonic ambitions and a record of supporting terrorists.”

What was in dispute was what to do about the threat, not whether there was a threat. That some of the intelligence information later turned out to be incorrect is a reflection on the intelligence-gatherers, not on the president or on the decisions made given the information available at the time.

Did it ever occur to any of these revisionists that if they can’t come up with any honest arguments, maybe they’re wrong about the issue? No, hating President Bush still trumps all other considerations apparently.

posted by: The Editors @ 10:29 am May 2, 2005


  1. And Kevin links to this, which pretty much takes the air out of Glenn’s “debunking.”

    “We all know that this was advanced as a benefit of the invasion, but gimme a break. If someone sells you ‘a Porche with a nice stereo system’ and you then discover you’ve actually bought a Dodge Dart, are you supposed to be mollified because it actually has had a nice stereo system installed?”

    Comment by Jack Morutsu — May 2, 2005 @ 1:11 pm May 2, 2005

  2. Blah, blah, blah. That is all they have left. We know, and that’s all that counts. BTW, by “we” I mean most of America. It gets tired fast.

    Comment by Rosemary — May 2, 2005 @ 1:20 pm May 2, 2005

  3. Jack:

    You must be joking. Kevin Drum said democracy promotion “was not even mentioned”. Since it is a fact that it was mentioned many times, Kevin Drum’s statement is demonstrably false. Whether the falsehood was a result of ignorance or dishonesty is the only open question, though we suspect the latter. Your pathetic and silly analogy does nothing whatsoever to change that fact. You have helped in the cause of demonstrating the intellectual emptiness of the anti-liberation left though. For that we thank you.

    Comment by The Editors — May 2, 2005 @ 5:04 pm May 2, 2005

  4. Very nicely done, gents.

    Comment by Rosemary — May 3, 2005 @ 2:06 am May 3, 2005

  5. Yeah, dishonesty, intellectual emptiness, and Bush hatred are the *only* reasons that the country thinks Bush hyped WMD way over democracy in the runup to the war. It’s certainly not because people like Paul Wolfowitz said “There have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people….The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it’s not a reason to put American kids’ lives at risk.” Only a pathetic and silly person would care about what those White House senior level appointees think anyway.

    Democracy was always the second most important reason for the war, so important that Bush would barely even need to mention it in his state of the union 7 weeks before the bombs dropped. I mean, it’s a given, right, so why would he even need to talk about it in the most important speech of the year right before a war? Everyone who watched that speech could just read between the lines on the whole democracy thing. That’s how important it was. Only dishonest, ignorant, intellectually empty people could believe otherwise.

    “by “we” I mean most of America”

    Washington Post/ABC News poll, April 24

    Was the war in Iraq worth fighting?
    Yes: 44
    No: 54

    Comment by Tom (Dishonest and ignorant. Also dirty and treasonous.) — May 3, 2005 @ 1:12 pm May 3, 2005

  6. Tom:

    Kevin Drum made a demonstrably false statement. We noted that fact.

    Whether or not you believe President Bush “hyped WMD” (he didn’t) does nothing to change that fact. Whether or not you think it was right to depose Saddam Hussein, the brutal dictator and supporter of terrorist groups, and to liberate the Iraqi people does not change that fact. Whether or not you can cite some opinion poll about whether those polled think it was “worth it” to liberate Iraq does not change that fact. Thank you very much for your comments, but please do try to stay on the topic of the post next time.


    “In 1991, the world collectively made a judgment that this man [Saddam Hussein] should not have weapons of mass destruction. And we are here today in the year 2002 with an uninspected 4-year interval during which time we know through intelligence he not only has kept them, but he continues to grow them.”

    “I believe the record of Saddam Hussein’s ruthless, reckless breach of international values and standards of behavior which is at the core of the cease-fire agreement, with no reach, no stretch, is cause enough for the world community to hold him accountable by use of force, if necessary. The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new.” — John Kerry, October 9, 2002

    Comment by The Editors — May 3, 2005 @ 7:35 pm May 3, 2005

  7. And so Kevin Drum withdrew that statement.

    “Bottom line: Yes, Bush occasionally made broad references to freedom and liberty in his prewar speeches. What U.S. president doesn’t? And there were a few neocon intellectuals outside the administration who made the democracy promotion argument. But within the administration itself, there’s really no evidence that anyone took democracy promotion seriously as a rationale for war: their original plan was to oust Saddam fast, install someone reliable in his place, and get out.”

    You must understand, it’s hard to stay on topic when I’m so intellectually empty, guy. Three cheers for staying on the topic of calling liberals names!

    Comment by Tom (Dishonest and ignorant. Also dirty and treasonous.) — May 4, 2005 @ 6:30 am May 4, 2005

  8. “And so Kevin Drum withdrew that statement.”

    It doesn’t look like he withdrew the false statement, based on the quote you excerpted in your comment, Tom. It looks like he’s trying to back away slightly without making a correction.

    And since there’s no name-calling in our post, we don’t know what you’re getting at there.

    Thank you again for visiting and writing.

    Comment by The Editors — May 4, 2005 @ 9:53 am May 4, 2005

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