Thursday, December 18, 2003

Fuhgedaboutit?

President Bush continues to move the goalposts in his constant struggle to justify the war. A year ago it was an “imminent threat” and “we’re 45 minutes from Armageddon.” Now it’s “Well, Saddam Hussein was thinking about it. Same thing!” From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 — In the debate over the necessity for the war in Iraq, few issues have been more contentious than whether Saddam Hussein possessed arsenals of banned weapons, as the Bush administration repeatedly said, or instead was pursuing weapons programs that might one day constitute a threat. On Tuesday, with Mr. Hussein in American custody and polls showing support for the White House’s Iraq policy rebounding, Mr. Bush suggested that he no longer saw much distinction between the possibilities. “So what’s the difference?” he responded at one point as he was pressed on the topic during an interview by Diane Sawyer of ABC News.

What’s the difference? How about that was the reason you started the war?

“This was a pre-emptive war, and the rationale was that there was an imminent threat,” said Senator Bob Graham of Florida, a Democrat who has said that by elevating Iraq to the most dangerous menace facing the United States, the administration unwisely diverted resources from fighting Al Qaeda and other terrorists. The overwhelming vote in Congress last year to authorize the use of force against Iraq would have been closer “but for the fact that the president had so explicitly said that there were weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to citizens of the United States,” Mr. Graham said in an interview on Wednesday.

Not to mention the entire raison d’etre in the State of the Union address and just about every other public appearance up until the invasion.

This week, at a news conference on Monday and in the ABC interview on Tuesday, Mr. Bush’s answers to questions on the subject continued a gradual shift in the way he has addressed the topic, from the immediacy of the threat to an assertion that no matter what, the world is better off without Mr. Hussein in power. Where once Mr. Bush and his top officials asserted unambiguously that Mr. Hussein had the weapons at the ready, their statements now are often far more couched, reflecting the fact that no weapons have been found — “yet,” as Mr. Bush was quick to interject during the interview.

This isn’t just one more example of Bush’s chronic ADD – “We must fight terra…oh, look at the kitty” – it’s scrambling for a justification for a needless war that has killed hundreds of American soldiers, thousands of Iraqis, and plunged the Middle East into even more danger than it already had. How much more perfidy will it take before we rise up and throw the bastards out?