I know, I know, I’m wasting my time by putting all this out there yet again, after having done it time after time over the course of the last several years. But it seemed that it might come in handy to have this stuff gathered together in one post, if nothing else. So without further ado, here’s Mike’s Basic Primer on Lies.
The trouble, it seems to me, is that some who sympathize with the Left misrepresent or at least misunderstand the meaning of the word “lie.” To actually lie, one must first have a solid knowledge of the truth. Lying is a matter of will and intent. An honest mistake isn’t a lie; thus, the claim that “Bush lied” because he based his decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power by force on so-called “faulty intelligence” actually points up not only an irrational hatred of the man himself but also a fundamental ignorance of what intelligence work is. Intelligence is never concrete, static, or foolproof; intelligence, much like many of those individuals intelligence agencies rely on for their information, is random, uncertain, and riddled with guesswork and flaws.
Bush, as President, was and is charged with a certain responsibility: defending this nation from its enemies. He was and is forced to make critical decisions based on interpretations and analyses done by various intelligence agencies, which analyses were in turn based on uncertain raw intelligence data. All this merely makes the presidential decision-making process unremarkable and entirely ordinary when compared with historical precedent.
What makes Bush’s decision-making process unique is the context in which many of those decisions have been made. Bush’s presidential decisions were not and are not made in a vacuum; there was and is a very specific, very important context to be borne in mind, for Bush if not for the rest of us — a context the Dems and the Left generally would very much like you to either forget or ignore, since most people are aware of their dismal record on national security. Here is the context, for you forgetful Lefties out there:
If Bush had made his judgment to invade Iraq without taking this context into consideration, people who actually do think America is worth fighting to defend — and yes, there are plenty of people who don’t think so, although it’s more politically costly for them to admit it nowadays than it used to be — would have considered him at best incompetent (see Clinton, Bill — response to Islamic terrorism) or grossly negligent (ibid). His duty was to err, if err he must, on the side favoring our national security, to shade his decisions in such a way that our country’s safety is not compromised; what that means is that if any evidence could be shown that indicated a potential threat from Saddam’s Iraq, those of us who put America’s interests first would have demanded that action be taken — as in fact we did, for months before Bush finally decided that the risk of inaction was too great to accept in the post-9/11 geopolitical landscape.
This was by no means an indefensible decision, except to those on the Left who are too evolved and sophisticated to believe in quaint, antiquated concepts like national defense and patriotism anymore. It was a judgment call based on recent events and the best intelligence available, intelligence that was by no means perfect, because no intelligence ever is. If Bush gave more credence to the parts of it that indicated a potential threat, well, good. That’s exactly what those of us who voted for him hired him to do. It does not, however, make him a liar. It makes him exactly what we hoped he’d be: an American President who is unwilling to roll the dice with the safety of our country and its citizenry, or to rely on the goodwill and basic honesty of mad, terrorist-coddling dictators like Saddam Hussein.
Those of you who think that’s wrong are entitled to your opinion, but you’re not necessarily entitled to get your pretty pink panties all in a wad when the rest of us question your patriotism over it. Because really, it all comes down to this: either you think we ought to err in favor of American security, or you don’t. If you don’t, you most likely fall into one of two possible categories:
If you’re one of those who actually does understand how intelligence works and is just playing the political “gotcha” game to even the score for Clinton or otherwise advance the Lefty agenda, you have no claim to any kind of patriotism at all; you’re guilty of breaking one of its cardinal rules, the one that says all political disagreement stops at the water’s edge. Your “dissent” is illegitimate, based as it is on a deceptive representation of your actual agenda. And you leave yourself open to a charge of treason, although it’s unlikely it will ever be formally made; there is simply no question at all that your efforts encourage America’s enemies, place our soldiers in greater danger, and undermine the broader war effort. Even our enemies openly acknowledge that, and our soldiers damned sure know it too.
If you’re one of those who think Bush should have been more reticent in defending the nation and should have ignored intelligence suggesting that Iraq was a potential threat even after eight years of such fecklessness regarding Islamic terrorism’s potential to do us serious harm got us that big construction site in lower Manhattan, you might still have some credible claim to patriotism. You are certainly entitled to hold that opinion if you wish, against all rationality and plenty of evidence suggesting that the threat we currently face from violent radical Islam — and, most especially for purposes of this post, outlaw states that support and enable its practitioners — is quite real. But you are also very, very reckless. And very, very stupid. And, for the next three years at least, very, very irrelevant.
And if you’re one of those who thinks that there’s a significant difference between Bush’s so-called “lies” and Clinton’s real ones, well, you’re right. And here it is: Clinton lied for nothing more noble than self-aggrandizement; he lied for the most banal purpose imaginable, and his lie betrayed his near-sociopathic contempt for the office he held, the people who put him there, and women generally. Bush “lied”¹ because he took this national-security business seriously enough to make a politically dangerous decision and stick with it, because he thought that after having endured the deadly and damaging 9/11 attacks, America could no longer afford to tolerate certain things. In any mature moral sense, Clinton’s lie was actually more contemptible than Bush’s, which wasn’t a lie at all but is being claimed so only to provide a political handhold to people who take power more seriously than they do principle: ie, Democrats and the Left.
And if you want a practical example of some real liars in action, we know where to look. Herewith a by no means comprehensive collection of Lefty lies on various topics, in no particular order:
- Bush was in some way responsible for 9/11, or had advance knowledge of it but did nothing to prevent it (which amounts to the same thing) or, put another way, as radical, non-moderate, non-mainstream Democrat and DNC chair Howlin’ Howie Dean did, it’s “an interesting theory” — absurd on its face, and I won’t dignify it further by addressing it, but to anyone not wearing the latest in tinfoil headgear, it’s clearly a…LIE
- Bush said Iraq was an imminent threat — no, what he said was this: “…Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?” — a statement that clearly conveys the precise opposite of what the Lefties are so fond of smugly asserting…LIE
- Joe Wilson is an honest whistle-blower whose credibility and reliability is unimpeachable, and therefore a cause of great fear and consternation for the Bush admin — not hardly. Joe Wilson blatantly lied about at least three easily-verifiable things that we know of, and possibly even more, placing his credibility somewhere far, far south of your average used car salesman’s…LIE
- Valerie Plame was a covert agent outed by some sinister Bush admin cabal — no, she wasn’t – she hadn’t had an out-of-country CIA assignment in over five years, which is the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act’s legal threshold for “covert” — or it is, at least, according to two of the guys who wrote the damned thing. One assumes that they would have some minimal grasp of the meaning of their own creation, or one would if one were someone interested in the truth and not a Lefty liar pursuing a partisan get-Bush agenda at any and all cost. The Fitzgerald commission also returned no indictments for “outing” Plame after a two-year investigation — none, zip, zero, nada — which would also seem to negate the “outing” assertion for anybody but a Lefty…LIE
- Saddam had never threatened the US — ridiculous to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the history of the last, oh, fourteen years — which, apparently, does not include very many of the “reality”-based. From Saddam’s constant saber-rattling threats against us, to weekly attacks against our military aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones over Iraq, to helping out with the ’93 WTC bombing and providing shelter to those who committed it, to placing a standing bounty on the head of a former US president (and one can’t help but suspect that if it were any non-Republican, non-Bush-family president, it might matter somewhat to the Proudly Patriotic Left), this one is just another stupid Lefty…LIE
- Bush killed the Kyoto treaty — leaving aside for now the extremely dubious nature of the whole global-warming proposition, the Kyoto treaty was effectively junked by Resolution S-98, the Byrd-Hagel resolution — in a unanimous 95-0 vote, during the CLINTON ADMINISTRATION, not Bush’s; Gore symbolically signed the abomination, but Clinton never submitted it for ratification, and thankfully neither has Bush…LIE
- FEMA, under Bush’s stewardship, is incapable of mounting an adequate and appropriate response to natural disaster — a twofer, in that it either wilfully or ignorantly misrepresents what FEMA’s mandate and overall task is, and is also patently untrue, if the Katrina disaster is any indication — under Michael Brown’s leadership, FEMA mounted a response in NOLA that was a) no slower than its response to previous disasters, and b) hampered in the main by the disorganized incompetence of the local political leadership, which failed to implement its own disaster plans and generally behaved not as responsible adults but as whining, weeping children. FEMA surely isn’t perfect, but only a Lefty could ever expect any federal agency to be, and complain when it isn’t in the face of one of the worst storms in history…LIE
- WMDs were the only reason we went after Saddam, and promoting democracy in a part of the world not exactly known for it was an after-the-fact rationalization — see this for a quite adequate refutation…LIE
- Bush, ever the photo-op phony, served up a plastic turkey to troops in Iraq at Thanksgiving — Tim Blair’s got your “plastic turkey” swinging…LIE
- Bush went AWOL from the TANG — it’s remarkable — and revealing, of the virulently debilitating nature of BDS at least — that, after the Rathergate forged-memo scandal, the Left has the nerve to keep bringing this tired old lie from the 2000 campaign up, but then I suppose if Mary Mapes, the LIC (Liar In Charge) of bringing those phony documents to light can have the gall to show her face in public and still insist on the veracity of the “fake but accurate” story, I suppose most Lefties are shameless enough to disregard the disgrace associated with another plain old-fashioned….LIE
- There was no connection between Islamist terrorism and Saddam’s Iraq — another laughably absurd claim, and another one scarcely worth bothering about. Unless the Left, in their ceaseless quest to make excuses for and lend moral support to any and all of America’s enemies, has now defined “terrorism” so narrowly that it no longer describes people like Abu Nidal, Zarqawi, Abdul Rahman Yasin, and others…LIE
- Actual honest recounts of Florida ballots show that Gore won the 2000 election — this is it: the Big One, the Enchilada, the Big Kahuna of Lefty lies; this is the one from which all the others flow, the one that started the whole BDS ball rolling, the one the Left will simply never forgive, forget, or recover from — the culmination, the Alpha and Omega of thirty-some years of Left/liberal derangement. Unfortunately for the foundations of their delusions, recounts done in accordance with the election rules in force in Florida at the time show no such thing…LIE
As a liar, our President looks pretty darned Bush-league next to these pros.
Yeah, I know. Sorry; I couldn’t resist.
Update! And the latest lie, currently being peddled by Left/Liberal Lemmings all over the blogosphere and elsewhere: that Bush said that everyone who disagrees with him on Iraq is “irresponsible.” Once again, the Left has taken a Bush statement and turned it on its head, claiming, as they did with “imminent threat,” that he said the exact opposite of what he actually did say, which is this: “”While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decisions or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.”
Can anyone but a moron — or a craven, venal liar — possibly misunderstand something as clear and plainspoken as that?
Never mind; don’t answer that one.
Updated update! Via Bill – more. And how.
¹ and of course, he actually didn’t by any reasonable definition of the word; he made a decision that some people don’t like, is all