Via FrontPage: “Bush-Lied-People-Died” is the rhetorical pot of gold at the end of the left’s argumentative rainbow. But the threshold of proof is so astronomically high–a Bush defender need only show the decision was reasonable, not necessarily correct–that none of Bush’s critics has ever come close to making the case. Put yourself in Bush’s position and consider what you know in late 2002:
a) 3000 Americans are dead in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Also dead is the useful myth that the United States will respond to a direct attack on its soil with a terrible swift sword; the formula for waging war against the U.S. is now apparent to our enemies–just work through non-state actors and turn over a few usual-suspect corpses if the U.S. connects the dots afterwards and demands justice.
b) Saddam is in violation of United Nations Resolution #687 which ended the first Gulf War–to which the U.S. is a principal signatory and thus principal aggrieved party.
c) Saddam’s military is firing at American aircraft patrolling the No Fly Zone in Iraq and Saddam himself doling out cash rewards to the families of Palestinian terrorists who kill Israelis–and occasionally American citizens.
d) There is a sealed indictment of Osama from the Clinton Administration which reads in part, “Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq.”
e) A personal warning was issued from Russian President Vladimir Putin that Saddam is planning terrorist strikes against the United States and an unconfirmed British intelligence report that Saddam recently sought to buy uranium from Niger.
f) The head of the CIA is telling you emphatically Saddam possesses WMDs, echoing the consensus of every other intelligence agency on the planet.
g) Saddam has been jerking around weapons inspectors, thwarting their inquiries and intermittently kicking them out for a decade–which makes little sense unless he’s hiding WMDs.
h) There is incontrovertible proof of Saddam’s willingness to use WMDs on foreign enemies and even on his own people.
i) There are reports of thousands of Iraqi children dying each month as a result of UN sanctions as well as evidence that the sanctions themselves are collapsing amid governmental and corporate corruption.
j) Finally, there is a copy of the Presidential Daily Briefing from August 6, 2001 sitting on your desk titled “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” The intelligence it contains is sketchy–far sketchier than the intelligence you now possess about Saddam’s intentions–but the title haunts you. If only you’d acted preemptively in August 2001, if only you’d taken out bin Laden. . .
In short, given the information at his disposal, George Bush’s decision to oust Saddam looks altogether reasonable–though, again, not necessarily right. To argue otherwise demonstrates both ignorance and bad faith.