Well, the President sure seems to have riled the board over at the New York Times. In fact, it’s riled them so much that they’ve gotten out the chicken blood and reanimated the old liberal corpses to stumble about the argument and menace the weak-hearted.
What zombies have the Times invoked to combat a pretty clear and unequivocal speech by the President. Well, let’s see what’s shambling around today.
We did not expect Mr. Bush would apologize for the misinformation that helped lead us into this war, or for the catastrophic mistakes his team made in running the military operation. But we had hoped he would resist the temptation to raise the bloody flag of 9/11 over and over again to justify a war in a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks. We had hoped that he would seize the moment to tell the nation how he will define victory, and to give Americans a specific sense of how he intends to reach that goal – beyond repeating the same wishful scenario that he has been describing since the invasion.
Ah yes. Them. What liberal could talk about iraq without saying 1) Bush lied, 2) Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, and 3) we need a timetable.
Is it worth hacking those undead arguments to death one more time just to show those few people who are undecided on the issue how ignorant the Grey Lady is of the facts?
First, Bush didn’t lie. No one lied. Saddam had WMDs. We know this as a matter of fact. A few thousand dead Kurds is all the proof I, or any reasonable person, would need. Did he have them right before we invaded? No one can say for sure one way or the other. I’d put my money on yes, since that’s what the intelligence organs of every major government on the planet was saying at the time. Why didn’t we find them? Because he moved them. It’s not like we didn’t give him a few months to do it before we went in.
Aside from that, please let’s stop saying that WMD was the reason we did what we did. Yes, WMDs were a reason. Yes, we led with that reason before the UN. I would have done exactly the same thing because I couldn’t imagine trying to sell the UN on a humanitarian reason is a fool’s errand since we can’t get them to say the “g” word when we talk about Darfur and we can’t stop them from raping little girls in Africa. Humanitarian reasons for war don’t register in an organization where mass murderers are embraced and feted.
What we had were a string of broken resolutions to use at the UN and even then we had to bend a few arms to get them to endorse our enforcing their resolutions. We used the broken resolutions on WMD because it’s all we could use with the corrupt and cowardly UN. I can’t recall the last NYT editorial about that, though.
Second, I’ll admit – reluctantly – that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. My question here is “so what”? I don’t know if the editorial board of the Times is fluent enough to notice but we’re waging a war against terrorism, not merely against al-Qaeda. Even the most cursory knowledge of international terrorism tells you that groups like al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the MeK (Saddam’s own terror group), and Ansr al-Islam (which Saddam allowed to operate freely in Kurdish territory) share personnel, material, and funding all the time. Our President was smart enough to know that, which is why he said that all terror groups were in our crosshairs, as well as the regimes that funded them or gave them safe havens or training sites. Iraq was definitely in the terrorist-supporting business. Was Saddam behind 9/11? No. Was he behind other terrorist attacks on Americans? You’d be an idiot to think otherwise.
Lastly, the pesky timetables. Laying aside the very valid point of not wanting to give the terrorists our exactly schedule for pulling out, specific timetables are a ginormously bad idea. Does anyone at the Times know how long it takes to train a police officer? Try about nine months – six months in the Academy, and two to three months of field training with an experienced officer. How many experienced police officers do you reckon exist in Iraq right now? Now, let’s get a field force trained and on the street. How many police officers do you believe that will take. How many people do we have who can possibly train them?
The fact is that training and rebuilding a police department alone is a humongous task. We’re not only doing that, but we’re training and rebuilding a military, soo. While we’re doing that, we have nations like Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia actively trying to stop us. They send in people who murder fledgeling officers with bombs. They provide cash for weapons needed to kill Iraqis and Americans.
We all know it’s going to take a while. The President and the Secretary of Defense have told us all this (remember that “long, tough slog” thing?). So what’s the real complaint here?
I suspect that the complaint is really that the Times wasn’t paying much attention when the President was talking a couple of years ago. I also suspect that when they did hear what he said, they didn’t believe him.
That they weren’t paying attention then isn’t an excuse to resurrect the fables that the anti-war Demcorats have invoked for the past few years. They’re a news organization. They ought to know better.