Campbell: Holding Bush Accountable

From The Smirking Chimp comes word of this opinion piece by Don Campbell: Pause the postwar glee to ask: Were supporters misled? It’s yet another example of the “Hey, did Bush lie to us about Iraqi WMDs to justify the war?” talk going around, and I find it especially significant because Campbell describes himself as previously having supported the war based mainly on the WMD assertions. This is your prototypical swing voter talking here, from the pages of the can’t-get-more-mainstream USA Today:

If the weapons are found and their authenticity confirmed, Bush will have the I-told-you-so moment of his presidency. He’ll deserve to be rewarded politically for staring down the Nervous Nellies and defending the nation against weapons controlled by a mad man.

If the weapons are not found, the most charitable explanation is that they were moved out of Iraq while we were bombing our way to Baghdad — or that we had rotten intelligence to begin with. Either illustrates incompetence.

The more ominous conclusion is that Bush deliberately misled Americans to gather support for the Iraqi invasion — or unwittingly was misled himself by gung-ho advisers, none of whom wear uniforms. I don’t know which of the two is worse, but either should carry a heavy political price.

6 Responses to “Campbell: Holding Bush Accountable”

  1. Barney Gumble Says:

    My theory is that they will claim they were moved to Syria, but will back burner it until the 2004 election, then fan it into a ‘crisis’ and invade Syria.

    “Syrian War in 2004!”

  2. Tony B Says:

    There remain some unanswered questions:

    If Saddam had WMD then why did he not use them?

    If he failed to use them at such a desparate time, when would he have used them?

    If we truly thought he’d had WMD, why did we expose our troops to such grave danger?

    Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died in this war, why?

  3. Craig Says:

    Tens of thousands of INNOCENT Iraqis?? Unless you’re a faithful follower of Saddam’s ex-Minister of disInformation, that number is wildly inaccurate! You’d need to throw in most of Iraq’s military forces, paramilitary thugs and other assorted cronies of the Saddam regime to reach your number. Since this then includes people who supported or participated in the killing and torturing of their own people, you’ll need to give the word “innocent” a very loose definition, not found in Webster’s dictionary!

  4. John Callender Says:

    How do you know it’s wildly inaccurate? Our side has refused to issue any kind of official accounting of the number of innocent people we’ve killed (and are continuing to kill) as part of the war. When we have issued official numbers for isolated categories of victims (like victims of cluster bombs) we’ve lied shamelessly to avoid admitting the true extent of the damage.

    I think you’re probably correct, in that we probably haven’t killed tens of thousands of noncombatants, at least not so far, counting only since we started large-scale bombing in anticipation of the recent invasion. But I’m not sure how you can be so confident that it is wildly inaccurate.

    I’m also not quite sure what the larger point is. Are you saying that merely killing thousands of innocent people, rather than tens of thousands, is okay? Are you willing to apply that same formula to those who piloted hijacked jets into the World Trade Center, thereby killing a mere 3,000 or so innocent people?

  5. Craig Says:

    We can play the “how do you know” game forever. How do YOU know that “tens of thousands” isn’t a farfetched number, or that the US government is shamelessly lying about civilians killed? Because “The Arab News” and other related sources tells you so? I’ve read that publication myself and its as slanted against the US military actions as you feel Fox News is a trumpeter for it!

    I just have the feeling that as I look at the items posted on this site, that everything is filtered through the primary mindset that the Government and its military forces are on the wrong side of every issue.

    This whole issue is not as black and white as those who wrap themselves in the American flag and those who keep their distance from it, want to believe.

    Those who are outraged by the cilivian deaths seem to vent their anger solely at the US, yet strangely give a pass to a regime that purposefully placed their people in harms way (among other atrocities). Some people are willing to accept without question that US forces are casually mowing down innocent civilians who are protesting peacefully, rather than concern the logical likelyhood that there are coldly calculating people in the crowd and immediate area who are shooting at US troops to draw fire onto the gathering and thus fuel anger and hatred toward US intentions.

    I believe most rational people are as intellectually insulted by those who try to promote the idea that America’s leaders and military are always in the right, as they are by those who insist that America’s leaders and military can never be trusted to do the right thing.

    You can say, “fine, if you don’t agree with my views you don’t have to read it”. Quite true, but I came to this site to hopefully find some thoughtful discussion and reasoned opinion of things that may not be highlighted on mainstream news. Not an unrestrained bashing of all things that smell of support of the US view on the war and its actions.

  6. John Callender Says:

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re probably right about the recent shootings by US troops into crowds of Iraqis. I think it’s likely the troops did indeed get shot at, rather than spontaneously firing on a peaceful gathering. But I don’t think that relieves us of responsibility for the resulting deaths, any more than we can disclaim responsibility for the other noncombatants who have died and are dying because of the war.

    We invaded the country and overthrew its government. Lots of people are pissed at us. Some of them are going to be willing to shoot at us. That was a completely predictable part of our decision to invade. We don’t get to act surprised now, and claim that our failure to predict this somehow justifies the killing of innocent people.

    I don’t blame the individual soldiers on the ground for trying to save their lives by shooting into crowds of protesters. Nor do I blame the military in general. I blame the civilian leaders who gave them their mission.

    If you’re interested in seeing this site present another side of things, a side that you think comes closer to the truth, I’d be willing to give you an author account that would let you post your own items on the site. If you browse through some of the oldest material here, you’ll see that the site has a tradition of presenting opinion representing a wide range of viewpoints; I’d be interested in reviving that, if I could find some thoughtful folks willing to contribute a different perspective.

    If you, or any other folks out there who are offended by my bias, are interested in that, let me know. Thanks.

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