Sorry, but calling the president a ‘liar’ is out of bounds for BOTH parties

Sigh. I really don’t want to have this argument with friends, especially not on the anniversary of 9/11, but I can’t let what Kathryn said over on Facebook stand without responding.

It was in reply to this post back here, in which I asserted that Democrats drag themselves down to Joe Wilson’s level when they respond to him by saying, “Bush lied.” I had thought it would be a teachable moment, in which I could say, See how bad y’all sounded over the past four years? See what it’s like when someone refuses to respect the president for partisan causes, declaring him and all he says illegitimate?

My good friend Kathryn responded:

Wait–Bush did lie, and got us into a war, and Obama didn’t lie last night at all–quite the contrary, and Wilson knew it according to the papers. Wilson was out of line and Democrats’ saying things today doesn’t put us on the level of a tantrum during the President’s speech either. Sorry.

To that, another friend, Randy Ewart, added:

I concur with Fenner – well said!

You know, I’d hoped we’d put this behind us when Bush went home to Texas. I certainly heaved a sigh of relief. I never liked the guy. I always resented the fact that he was president, when it should have been John McCain. (Remember how South Carolina ill-served the nation back in 2000?)

But the eight years of hatred that Democrats spewed at the guy, starting from the very beginning, with the Long Count in Florida, was an ugly thing to behold. And yes, it started that early. I remember a couple of conversations I had with Mike Fitts back in the summer of 2001, asking if he could explain the vitriol to me. It was obvious that Dems didn’t just disagree with the guy; they hated him. Which wasn’t good for the country. Yes, I had seen and decried the venom that Republicans had directed at Bill Clinton well before he’d had a chance to do anything to deserve it, too — I particularly recall the bumper stickers saying “Don’t Blame Me — I Voted for Bush” that cropped up on cars before his 1993 inauguration. But the reaction to Bush seemed to go even a step farther — and this was well before the “sins” that Democrats usually list when explaining their distaste for the man.

Oh, and I don’t recall Bush lying. Yes, I realize it’s an article of faith among y’all that he DID (what was it again — the WMD that he and everyone else firmly believed were there in Iraq, seeing as how he had actually USED some of them — or something else?), just as it is an article of faith among Republicans such as Joe Wilson that this president is lying when he tries to set the record straight. It is so important to them to conflate their twin bugaboos — “socialized medicine” and illegal immigration — that it is heresy for anyone (particularly the Chief Heretic) to suggest otherwise, heresy so foul that it wrings furious cries from their lips at inopportune moments.

(Just an aside: Isn’t it ironic that two men who have grabbed national attention by calling these two presidents liars are both named Joe Wilson? Oh, and that other Joe Wilson was wrong, too — the intel he brought back from Niger did NOT conclusively refute the yellowcake reports, according to the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report.)

And I’m not even going to get into that “got us into a war” stuff, except to say that we were already IN a war. Argue whether we should have reopened the front in Iraq when we did, fine. But we were already in a war.

I know y’all mean what you say, but I’m sorry — I see an obvious symmetry between Joe calling this president a liar and y’all calling the last one the same.Y’all have your perspective as Democrats, and Joe has his as a Republican. And I have mine as founder of the UnParty, so consider the source.

45 thoughts on “Sorry, but calling the president a ‘liar’ is out of bounds for BOTH parties

  1. doug_ross

    Bush lied, Cheney lied, Rumsfeld lied… and they had Colin Powell lie before the U.N. with his dog-and-pony show.

    It was a coordinated effort to acheive a pre-determined objective based on philosophical concepts that define the neo-cons.

    Exactly like Obama’s approach to healthcare. They aren’t interested in compromise or facts.

    A pox on both their houses.

  2. Lee Muller

    War on Iraq began in 1998, with nearly unanimous support of the Democrats. President Clinton made 80 speeches about WND.

    Brad, you don’t seem to know the real story behind Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. You seem to have a vague notion, put out by the Democrat media.

    Obama has no health care plan – no proposals in writing. He talks about all sorts of conflicting proposals from four draft bills.

  3. Birch Barlow

    Ah. So then can I assume that to get your blessing, the candidate would have to actually have a chance at winning? And of course, given the size of your party, the chances of winning would be almost none. With this said, would it be safe to say that an Unparty candidate could never exist?

  4. Mike Toreno

    This is what Keith Olbermann, a jounalist whose diligence and honesty led to success for him in the same way that your laziness and lack of integrity led to your failure, has to say about Bush:

    He lied about how he reacted to Al-Qaeda before 9/11 and he lied about how he reacted to Al-Qaeda after 9/11.

    He lied about getting Bin Laden, and he lied about not getting Bin Laden.

    He lied about nation-building in Iraq, lied about the appearance of new buildings **in** the nation **of** Iraq, and lied about embassy buildings in nations like Iraq.

    He lied about trailers with mobile weapons labs in them, and he lied about trailers with Cuban prostitutes in them.

    He and his administration lied—by the counting of one non-profit group—532 times about links between Al-Qaeda and Iraq. Only 28 of those were by that President, but he made up for that by lying 231 times about W-M-D.

    There are no barriers to entry to give you a monopoly. Your role is not to set boundaries of acceptable discourse based on Republican talking points that you pull off the fax machine. Joe Wilson’s remarks were unacceptable not because it is beyond the pale to accuse the President of lying, but because (1) Wilson was lying and (2) he was interfering with the President’s speech, trying to hijack the event.

    Bush did lie. The fact that you’re too lazy to do the work to evaluate his claims, and too dishonest to acknowledge facts that undermine your viewpoint, doesn’t alter that.

    You can pretend all you want that everybody else’s analysis of facts is corrupted by partisanship and you alone have the truth, but nobody cares about that, or about your ability to find sources that say what you want, and falsely characterize them as “bipartisan” (such as when you refer to claims made in the additional comments of Roberts, Hatch, and Bond, and falsely attribute them to the report as a whole.

    You know, you can keep repeating the same behavior the led to the failure of your career, or you can change and try to succeed. Up to you.

  5. kbfenner

    For the record: I do not hate George Bush. I do not know George Bush well enough to hate him. I did resent the uncalled-for interference of the Supreme Court in the 2000 election and the subsequent arrogance of the assertion of a nonexistent mandate by Bush, but hate is a strong word. Al Gore did a lot more good with An Inconvenient Truth anyway.

    Bush knew or should have known that the pretexts upon which he relied to embark on war in Iraq were inaccurate. Pretty serious stuff.

    Nonetheless, no one has interrupted a speech and called any President a liar from the floor of Congress in this century. Democrat or Republican.

  6. Bart

    kbfenner, in 2005, during the STOTU address, was Bush not loudly booed and called names from the Democrat side of the aisle? Maybe the comments were made by Republican ventriloquists so it look like Democrats were to blame. And, in October 2007, did the honorable Democratic representative from California, Peter Stark not call Bush a liar from the podium while addressing congress? Or was it another example of a Republican ventroliquist at work?

    I do not support what Wilson did because as I said earlier, it was rude and disrespectful to the POTUS while addressing a joint session of congress. He apologized as he should have and in all fairness, it should stop there. The main difference here is that the Democrats never apologized to Bush for their disruptive behavior and neither did Stark for calling Bush a liar while addressing the House.

    Agree or disagree with the man in the White House, he still holds the office and if nothing else, respect for the office should be upheld at all times.

  7. Karen McLeod

    I agree that both sides need to practice more civility. Having said that, I suspect that people are more likely to respond impolitely to/about president Bush precisely because they did believe him. When it turned out that Iraq had no WMD’s people attributed it to false information. It was only when it came out that there had been accurate information available from a better source, and that Mr. Bush had chosen to ignore it, that people really became upset, and felt betrayed. It may be that the first person Mr. Bush deluded was himself. At any rate, we can do little about the past, but we can each do our part to change future behavior.

  8. Lee Muller

    If Obama wants civility, he needs to
    1. Produce proof of citizenship

    2. Explain how is no longer the communist he was raised to be, and the Socialist Party candidate of the 1990s.

    3. Stop fighting the FEC and open up his campaign records, and show us who was making the $100,000,000+ in donations from Palestine, Syria, and the West Bank.

  9. Brad Warthen

    You’re right, Kathryn, that no one called out. So on one side we have Joe losing control for a moment and yelling out in the chamber. On the other hand we have millions of Dems fulminating CONSTANTLY about “Bush lied, people died;” etc., etc., for 8 years, but none of them actually yelling out in the chamber at any point.

    My point is that neither had a sound basis for calling the president a liar, and it is wrong to delegitimize one’s political opposition that way.

    You want to know somebody who lied? Mark Sanford.

    You want to know somebody else who lied? Benjamin Netanyahu’s staff. But here is a case where there IS a moral difference between the two situations, as you Dems keep saying (unpersuasively) that there is a moral difference between y’all calling the pres a liar and Joe doing it:
    In Sanford’s case, he lied — and set up his staff to unwittingly lie — so he could keep seeing his girlfriend behind everybody’s back. Netanyahu’s staff lied for national security reasons…
    In both cases, though, they lied, and a certain amount of indignation is warranted. Bibi’s lies were just less petty and self-serving.

  10. Brad Warthen

    Oh, yeah — and Bill Clinton lied, too. Shook his finger in our faces and lied, admonishing us as though WE were the wrongdoers for doubting him.
    That one pretty much goes in the Sanford category of petty and self-serving (or, as Dems like to say “just sex”). Like all those Nixon people covering up their stupid shenanigans, only more embarrassing…

  11. Brad Warthen

    And Birch, there are a lot of people who are quite electable who would make excellent UnParty fodder — Joe Lieberman, Lindsey Graham, Joe Riley, John McCain… Barack Obama to a certain extent.

    A successful UnParty candidate might have to be independently wealthy, though — like Ross Perot without the crazy. That’s why otherwise good people run under those party labels; because they can’t make it on their own. They need the money and the support base.

  12. Birch Barlow

    It’s all for show, starting with Rep. Wilson making his rude comment. If he truly wanted to call out the President for “lying”, then he could have done so. He could have attempted to make an honest case. But that doesn’t get you face time or resonate with “the base”. And then the aftermath comes, consisting of lawmakers running around going on TV feigning outrage and demanding apologies as if apologies had not been made already.

    But of course it’s all a political game. Notice how no one has focused on the issue — whether or not illegal immigrants are covered by the bill — but instead on the he said, she said. Wilson started it. The other buffoons joined in. And Americans are hooked. Meanwhile, honest debate over health care has gone missing.

  13. Burl Burlingame

    Birch, which is exactly why Wilson did it. The news cycle then focused on him instead of the content of the president’s speech. Doesn’t matter what Wilson actually said, the entire point was to disrupt and confuse, and was clearly preplanned.

  14. Bart

    Burl and Birch, you give Republicans too much credit for having the ability to plan something like this. Personally, I don’t believe for one moment they are capable of pulling it off, much less plan it.

    The few astute Republicans who occasionally make sense would never allow a display like the one Wilson put on to happen. They understand all too well an incident like this one will NOT help their cause, but will actually hurt it.

    And Brad, once again, in 2007, the representative from California, Peter Stark DID call Bush a liar while addressing the House. Or is the House not considered part of the chamber? Or, does calling the president a liar from the podium fall under a separate set of rules than what Wilson did? Just wondering.

  15. Mike Toreno

    Bart, calling someone a liar from the podium definitely falls under a separate set of rules. Stark made his statement during his time, during the time when he was entitled to speak. Wilson yelled out his false claim during the President’s time, during the a time the President was entitled to speak but Wilson wasn’t.

    But there are a couple of aspects of it that I think are more important. The first is that Wilson was lying. What the President was saying was true. It conflicted with what Wilson wanted to believe, but so what? Wilson’s not entitled to interrupt someone who’s entitled to be speaking with a false accusation of lying.

    The second is that Wilson wasn’t willing to act according to the standards he set for others. He was on CSPAN with Bob Filner in 2002, and when Filner said Saddam Hussein got WMD from us (which was true) Wilson went into full metal freakout mode, accusing Filner of hating America, and making all kinds of other stupid remarks. In Wilson’s mind, opposition to the President’s claims is unpatriotic. He has one standard for himself and another for other people.

  16. Mike Toreno

    Brad, nobody appointed you to set out the boundaries of acceptable discourse. Comment on the facts, don’t set out a viewpoint and pretend it’s unassailable because you’re too lazy to seek out the facts that undermine it, and too dishonest to acknowledge them.

    Successful bloggers look at facts and comment on facts and provide insight to their readers. They don’t spend all their time telling people what they are and aren’t entitled to say.

    I mean, who asked you to tell us what is and isn’t acceptable discourse? Who are you? Just some nobody.

    The attitude your displaying now led to the failure of your career. Try something different.

  17. martin

    Bart, I think when you have party leaders like Gov. Pawlenty (with HIS Presidential aspirations) unwilling to come right out and say there are no death panels in the legislation, as he could not force himself to do on Morning Joe this AM, you have to come to the conclusion that they just want to fear monger this and every other issue to attract more of the far, far lunatic fringe. This is probably the only way they see of gaining potential voters at this point.
    They are creating mobs, as we see at the town halls, and will not be satisfied until they act out violently.
    Like Mark Sanford, they have gone beyond any rational thought.
    Everett Dirksen and Jerry Ford are spinning in their graves about what their party has become. Is Howard Baker senile? I just saw Bob Dole. Why don’t any of these people say something about the craziness?
    I agree with Burl, there is too much going on for this not to be thoroughly planned.

  18. Karen McLeod

    Mike, there’s “acceptable discourse” and there’s rudeness which hinders acceptable discourse, not to mention reasonable debate. While I personally think that the Republicans are working on using this type of attact as a political weapon, I realize that both parties need to back down. Using vitriol in response to reason does nothing but demonstrate that the person using the vitriol does not have a good arguement.

  19. Burl Burlingame

    There’s too much focus on Wilson’s words. He shrieked with rage when most people would allow the person on the podium to speak.
    As the astroturfers plan: ” Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements … try to “rattle him,” not have an intelligent debate: The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda….”
    Republicans incapable of pulling off such dirty tricks? South Carolina is the birthplace of John McCain’s imaginary illegitimate child!

  20. Lee Muller

    All the European countries with socialist medicine have “death panels”, which decide how to ration care, and formulas for denying treatment to the elderly.

    What makes anyone think such rationing would not occur under the Democrats’ proposals for rationed medical care?

  21. Randy E

    There was evidence that W was at least lacking diligence or being reckless in initiating the Iraq War. There was clear evidence of W not shooting straight with congress.

    Wilson and other tea bagging bullies are calling Obama a liar regarding illegal immigrants but there is the stipulation in the bill specifically addressing the illegal immigrant issue. At worst, Obama is mistaken in his analysis but a liar?!

    (BTW, I am befuddled that Brad considers the Iraq War simply a new front when Sadamn was uninvolved in the very reason we attacked Afghanistan – 9/11).

    Toreno, if you’d lay off the personal snipping at Brad I’d find your posts to be positive contributions.

  22. Bart

    Sorry Burl, you have a much higher opinion of Republican’s abilities than I do.

    The “You Lie” comment can be used as a tool for Obama as well. If Wison’s words are constantly in the news and deflects attention away from Obama’s health care overhaul, why is that a bad thing for supporters of the bill? If attention can be redirected in the direction of Wilson and the anger and disgust of most Americans channeled into a more favorable view of the bill, doesn’t it help the cause? Besides, if it wasn’t helping Obama, do you actually believe it would have as much play time on MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and other news outlets as it is receiving?

    I simply do not believe this was hatched up in some back room. I do not believe everyone who attends town hall meetings are shills for special interest groups nor do I believe they are sheeple, following some mystical leader. I know too many who are very upset over the bill and they are genuine in their anger.

    I am angry but not over the intent of trying to do something about health care in America but over a 1018 page conglomeration that is incomprehensible to the average person and has not been read by those charged with voting on it.

    Both sides have been parsing words and neither side has been able to come out with a comprehensive review of the components of the bill.

    I read and review contracts for the company I work for and if I were to advise the owner to sign something of this importance without reading it first, I would lose my job. The same goes for our elected representatives.

    As for the rumor about McCain’s illegitimate child, maybe 100 people believed it, if that many. Maybe they are second cousins to those who believe Bush had something to do with 9/11. Only problem is, there are considerable more who believe Bush was responsible for 9/11 than those who believed the McCain love child rumor.

    Mike, I understand the difference between Stark and Wilson but the truth is, both men accused the president of being a liar. Bush was booed and trash talk came from Democrats in 2005 during the STOTU address to the joint session of congress. Protocol may be different but the disrespect was the same – from both sides.

  23. Mike Toreno

    Karen, both parties do not need to back down. By saying that, you are just giving the Republicans a heckler’s veto, which is what Huckleberry Graham was doing in his remarks the other day. If your overriding goal is bipartisanship, you only care about placating your opponents, not your supporters, and you never achieve agreement. Say you have 100 people; 60% favor position A, 40% favor position B. Your only goal is to compromise with your opponents, so you modify position A to position A+1. You bring over a quarter of your opponents, so now 70% support position A+1, 30% support position B. But now, the only people who count are the 30% who oppose you, the 10% you brought over are now your supporters, so they don’t matter. So you keep changing your position to accommodate your opponents, over and over and over, and every time you do it, the supporters you brought over don’t count.

    That’s what a fixation on bipartisanship is, it’s a way for people who see politics as a game to sit and pontificate about civility, it doesn’t acknowledge that we put people in office because they want them to do things to improve our lives.

    And this doesn’t take into account the fact that huge numbers of Republican politicians and supporters are motivated by racism and xenophobia. They don’t see the Democratic victory as legitimate because they don’t believe in elections. They believe that only they are “real” Americans.

    And this is attitude of politics-as-game, of urging “bipartisanship” over accomplishments, of highlighting the screaming of teabaggers over the numerous respectful and informative townhalls that have been held, is one of the reasons the press is in the death spiral it’s in.

    It takes work to examine policy issues and explain them, and most members of the press are too lazy to do it. Look at Brad. He could have tried to understand and explain important public issues, and if he had, his career might not have been a failure.

    But that takes work, and given the choice between failing in his career and doing some work, he chose failing in his career.

  24. Mike Toreno

    Bart, Bush was (and is) a liar. He deliberately and calculatedly lied in order to lead our country to war. He lied about the most important thing a country can do. That’s got to count for something. Nobody but Brad is urging a rule that calling the president a liar is out of bounds, and he’s just a failed journalist and a failing blogger. We don’t need to pay attention to what he says.

    If Wilson had accused Obama of being a liar during his own time, I wouldn’t have objected. The president isn’t a king. If he had done it during his own time, somebody like Barney Frank would have slapped him down, said something like, Mr. Speaker, is the gentleman from South Carolina unable to read, or is he just too lazy, here, let me read the relevant portions of the bill to the members of the House. But he didn’t do it during his time, when an exchange was appropriate, he interjected himself at a time when it wasn’t appropriate for Obama to respond.

    And add to that the fact that Wilson believed from 2001 to 2009 that any crticism of the president was unamerican, that people who recited facts that contradicted the administration’s storyline hated America. If he believed that then, he’ll have to admit that his action the other day demonstrated that he hates America and is unpatriotic.

  25. Mike Toreno

    Randy, Brad believed the Iraq war was a new front because he believes in some grand concept by which the United States is going to bring enlightenment to the dark people through military power. He believes that the ability to envision a favorable outcome justifies war – the actual outcome isn’t important. Of course, his real motivation is to see himself as part of a romantic adventure. War is exciting and glamorous if you aren’t at any personal risk and don’t think about it too hard.

    I don’t view Brad’s deficiencies in isolation; he’s an exemplar of the press as a whole. While his deficiencies of diligence and character are more pronounced than average, his is not an isolated case. There’s a reason Jon Stewart, rather than any real journalist, does some of the best journalistic work. Brad could do decent journalistic work too, if he would just try. It’s not hard.

  26. Birch Barlow

    I get it Brad. But you missed my whole original point.

    Can you not make a difference with your vote unless you are choosing between the two likely winners? Can you not write-in a name instead of choosing Sanford or Moore so as to say that these two are unacceptable? Letting my voice be heard that those two are unacceptable was and is far more important to me than saying that Moore is slightly less worse than Sanford.

    Maybe I am wrong though. If so, then the political process has no meaning to me. I want no part of it.

  27. bud

    On the other hand we have millions of Dems fulminating CONSTANTLY about “Bush lied, people died;” etc., etc., for 8 years, but none of them actually yelling out in the chamber at any point.

    My point is that neither had a sound basis for calling the president a liar, and it is wrong to delegitimize one’s political opposition that way.

    You are just demonstrating a complete absolute and utter disregard for the evidence. As Toreno, KB, Karen and others have CORRECTLY pointed out the president and his minions most definately and UNDENIABLY misrepresented the facts about the Iraq WMD program before we committed combat troops to that situation. Scott Ritter and others were very suspicious of the claims made by the administration. And, what’s of critical importance, the inspectors were doing diligent work to determine the truth. The administration willfully ignored the growing evidence that Iraq had no significant WMD. And they were certainly of no threat to the USA as they claimed. That was crystal clear before we entered Iraq.

    So does that mean Bush lied? Perhaps he really did believe the falsehoods he was telling were true. That would take this out of the realm of lying. But the same could be said of Clinton. Perhaps he did not believe what he did was sexual. I don’t believe either president really did believe their false statements were true. The preponderance of evidence for both men is that they simply misled the public intentionally for their own personal agenda.

    Until you can acknowledge that Bush willfully misled the American citizens in the leadup to the Iraq war you cannot claim the moral high ground on any discussion about partisanship. Those claims just make you look like an ass.

  28. Bart

    bud, I knew for over a year before we went into Iraq the invasion was going to happen. One of my clients at Stinnis Center in MS called to cancel a high profile project because he had been reassigned to the team whose responsibility was to prepare our military to move into Iraq.

    As for whether Bush was lying or not, I won’t make that call because I also have close ties with a few chemical engineers who verified that the captured mobile labs could indeed be used to produce chemical weapons.

    The history of Saddam Hussein using chemical and biologicial weapons cannot be disputed. He used them against his own people plus he used them against Iran and in the first Gulf War against Israel. There were two Iraqi towns or cities, whichever you prefer that were completely wiped out when Saddam Hussein ordered the weapons be used against them.

    He constantly boasted about having WMDs, the pursuit and development of nuclear weapons, and he did have a major stockpile of yellow cake in country.

    If we are going to have an honest discourse about who said what and when, keep in mind the recorded comments and statements by many prominent Democrats, pre-Bush, about Hussein having WMDs and the need to remove him from power is on record.

    One for example is the following: “People can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons.”

    Former President Clinton
    During an interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live”
    July 22, 2003

    One more: “No one has done what Saddam Hussein has done, or is thinking of doing. He is producing weapons of mass destruction, and he is qualitatively and quantitatively different from other dictators.”

    Madeleine Albright, President Clinton’s Secretary of State
    Town Hall Meeting on Iraq at Ohio State University
    February 18, 1998

    At least give some credence to the fact that it was not just George W. Bush and his advisors were singing the same song about WMDs in Iraq.

    Was Bush wrong to invade Iraq? Each of us have our own opinions and I seriously doubt you will change yours nor will I change mine. At least I will acknowledge Bush was probably misled to a degree but then again, Saddam Hussein was misleading the entire world, wasn’t he? This according to his own words.

    Your analogy of Clinton maybe thinking what he did was not sexual did bring a chuckle. Only Clinton could do a 15 minute discourse on the meaning of the word “if”.

  29. Lee Muller

    Between November 1998 and November 2000, President Clinton made 80 speeches in which he talked about “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction”.

  30. Randy E

    Bart, the reasons for the invasion repeatedly changed. It was all about WMD with yellow cake and slam dunks. There were references to Sadamn and 9/11. Then it was Sadamn is a bad man who did bad things. You talk about biological weapons but W talked about mushroom clouds.

    This convoluted reasoning is no basis for going to war.

  31. Lee Muller

    It was the UN inspectors who said Iraq was hiding nuclear weapons, right up to the moment US forces invaded in 2002. Remember when Saddam threw the inspectors out?

    Coaliation forces (38 nations) captured 600,000 tons of WMD, including bombs too large for any warplanes Irag ever had, nuclear weapons machinery, biological weapons labs, and large caches of chemical weapons.

  32. Bart

    Randy, true, the reasons either kept changing or more reasons for invading were added, depending on how one looks at the whole picture.

    With the unsurety of living with a man like Saddam Hussein, having potential nuclear capability, in the end, what was the right choice? Saddam never made it a secret that he was pursuing the materials necessary for a nuclear weapon and he led the world to believe he either possessed or was close to possessing the capability.

    If we had the wisdom of foresight with the same accuracy as we do of hindsight, then things would be very different but we don’t.

    Just like Vietnam, we will continue to discuss, parse, disagree, agree, and evaluate the war in historical context and if we were right or wrong.

    And, if you were to read the comments from prominent Democrats starting in 1998 through 2003, they too warned of Saddam Hussein’s pursuit of nuclear weaponry. Some were convinced he already possessed them. Clinton addressed the subject in his 1998 STOTU address: “Together, we must confront the new hazards of chemical and biological weapons and the outlaw states, terrorists, and organized criminals seeking to acquire them. Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade and much of his nation’s wealth not on providing for the Iraqi people but on developing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them.”

    President Clinton
    State of the Union address
    January 27, 1998

    The case for going into Iraq was made official in 1998 by Clinton: “The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, signed into law by President Clinton, states:

    “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

    Iraq Liberation Act of 1998
    105th Congress, 2nd Session
    September 29, 1998

    Agree or disagree, we should be open to listen to all sides and use a little common sense on the issue of Iraq. We had been operating in the dark for years and had no idea of what was actually going on in Iraq. All we knew was information contained in the fragmented intelligence reports supplied by other nations. We had no eyes or ears on the ground in the ME.

    Did Bush overreact and listen to wrong advice? Maybe, but history will be the final judge. Will Iraq survive and become a quasi democracy in the ME? Who knows, only time will tell.

    Will Afghanistan ever become a unified country with a stable government, not a Taliban theocracy? Unlikely.

  33. bud

    We had been operating in the dark for years and had no idea of what was actually going on in Iraq.

    That statement is false. Inspectors were in Iraq UNTIL the Bush invasion started.

    The evidence is completely, utterly, undeniably clear on this. The Bush administration made claims about Iraq that were ultimately proven to be false AND, more importantly, were being shown AT THE TIME to be false. Whether Clinton or Albright made some claim based on evidence they had in the 90s does not change the fact that credible inspectors were unable to locate the dreaded WMD.

    As for the nuclear claim, I remember at the time how ridiculous that was. There simply was no common sense reason to believe that an isolated Iraq was anywhere close to having a nuclear weapon. The Bush administration simply inflated the evidence and IGNORED anything that may have cast doubt on their claims.

    Until people can recognize that presidents can willfully mislead the public about important matters we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Johnson did it in 1964 and 50,000 Americans needlessly died. Bush did it again in 2002-2003 and again Americans and Iraqis paid the ultimate price. Bush cannot be defended on this. He was a liar, plain and simple.

  34. Bart

    No bud, we did not know what was going on in Iraq EXCEPT for what Saddam Hussein wanted us to know. The inspectors were there but kept in the dark. And, if we are to place so much reliance on inspectors, then why did they miss the Iranian’s centrifuge program that had grown so massive?

    So, Iraq couldn’t have developed a nuclear weapon program under the noses of inspectors, unlike what Iran has done?

    So, point out the intelligence information OUR so-called CIA was supposed to have gathered to support your position? You cannot. Because they WERE operating in the dark about what was going on in Iraq.

    Or, maybe these were the same inspectors who worked at some of our meat packing plants where salmonella ran rampant.

  35. bud

    If the CIA was operating in the dark then that is even MORE not LESS of a reason to believe show the Bush Administration was overstating its case. They claimed as FACT something that cannot be fact if the CIA was in the dark. If you accept the CIA in the dark premise that in itself proves Bush was a liar.

  36. Karen McLeod

    Mike, yelling “you lie!” does nothing to inform anyone. Stating why the bill, which has language denying illegal immigrants subsidized medical care, in fact does not prevent them from getting said subsidized care, and offering means to amend the bill so that it effectively does prevent them from doing so is a whole different ball gamme. The first is combative, and tends to squelch rational discussion. If Rep. Wilson wants me to believe him he needs to do the latter; since he has not, I can only conclude that he has no rational position.

  37. Bart

    bud, with all due respect, you and I will have to agree to disagree on this issue.

    You are not going to change my mind, likewise, I will never change yours.

    Under the circumstances of the times, I am willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt on this one and not believe him to be a liar.

    Thanks for the discourse.

  38. Lee Muller

    None of the proposed legislation for government medical care explicitly prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving care.

    Attempts to add such provisions have been blocked by Democrats four times.

    Yesterday, the White House announced they would seek to have such provisions added to the bills.

    So Joe Wilson was correct.

  39. Lee Muller

    bud, do you think the 4,000,000 civilian Cambodians, Chinese and Vietnamese exterminated by the communists in Cambodia and South Vietnam after US troops left in 1975 were “needless”, or acceptable to leftist Democrats.

    Democrats seem to trust that whomever the communists murder, it was justified.

  40. Burl Burlingame

    So, if a person is received at an emergency room with a life-threatening emergency, and he does not possess what you consider enough paperwork, you’ll shovel him outside to die?
    May it happen to one of your relatives.

  41. Lee Muller

    We should treat illegal alien criminals the same as other criminals who show up for medical treatment:

    1. Treat them medically.

    2. Require hospitals and doctors to report that any suspicion of a criminal seeking treatment.

    3. Arrest them, if they are at a hospital.

    4. Seek them out an arrest them, if they get away after treatment.

    5. Prosecute medical personnel who attempt to aid and abet criminals by treating them secretly.

    Every hospital that has been used by illegal aliens, or is likely to be used by illegal aliens, should have a positive identification process in place to immediately identify the patients, and if they are citizens, and how they intend to pay for treatment. No taxpayer monies should go to any hospital which does not comply.

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