Setting the Iraq Record Straight
Because Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and a gaggle of Republican consultants are incapable of articulating a defense of the Bush-43 administration’s prosecution of the Iraq War, an independent observer more schooled in the science of persuasive communication must intervene for the sake of the historical record. Here goes.
Contrary to revisionist history, the Iraq War was far from a discretionary “war of choice.” All the world’s major intelligence agencies agreed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, an assessment ratified by Bill Clinton and his CIA Director (“slam dunk,” remember?). The 9/11 Commission later documented numerous contacts between Saddam and al-Qaeda.
But wait, wasn’t the message from the 9/11 report just the opposite, i.e., no collaboration between al-Qaeda and Saddam? That is the partisan canard, but the text of the report merely denies any “operational” or tactical relationship involving Saddam and al-Qaeda. You see, the Democrat commission members wormed that compromise language into the final copy to ground their deceptive spin -- for the benefit of the inattentive public -- of no collaboration period. Sort of how $9.95 seems closer to $9 than $10 if you look at it fast and don’t think about it, the Democrats trust our brain-dead populace to overlook the “operational” modifier -- and the subliminal scheme seems to have worked. The key, ironic fact is that absence of operational collaboration leaves open the possibility of strategic interaction between Saddam and al-Qaeda. Get it?
Obviously, a Saddam connected to al-Qaeda in any way creates a more definite exigency for military action by the U.S. and the coalition President Bush assembled. (No go-it-alone cowboy was Mr. “W,” also in contrast to the political caricature.) In the 9/11 aftermath, no U.S. administration could have responsibly neglected to connect the dots among Saddam, WMD, and al-Qaeda -- especially with no degrees of separation -- as most of the Democrats in Congress agreed at the time.
Another convenient fiction is that Bush and Cheney fabricated the WMD evidence, but the two were exonerated of that smear by the Robb-Silverman report, a Senate investigation, and the Butler report in the U.K. Perhaps some readers did not know that. Of course, if President Bush knew there were no WMD in Iraq, why would he have invaded using that pretext only to find inevitable evidence that he was lying? The Bush detractors have yet to answer that one.
So, if true that no Iraq WMD were found after the war, that means there weren’t any? Obviously, such a stretch violates the logical prohibition against proving a negative (and the Iraq Survey Group succumbed to that lapse, to a degree). Recall the Russian truck caravan from Iraq to Syria on the eve of the war in 2003. What was Saddam so eager to transfer out of his country? Where did Syria get its present WMD? Not assuming anything here, but what a coincidence!
Speaking of, not only Syria but even Libya had WMD. You also know that Iran, Israel, and Pakistan presently have WMD, not to mention Hizb’allah, and Iran will soon diversify into a new WMD product line. Can we believe that nearly every country in the region except Iraq had WMD of one kind or another, especially since Saddam’s Iraq had used WMD in the 1980s? Ultimately, Saddam acknowledged that he would soon have re-started his nuclear weapons program if we had not invaded, which establishes the Iraq war’s necessity.
The punchline on Iraq WMD: How much of it has actually turned up in postwar Iraq? Apart from a small amount of bioweapon material, there were those 500 canisters of chemical weapons found in 2006. You hadn’t heard? See Walter Pincus in the Washington Post (7/1/06), assiduously suppressed by the mainstream media because the news does not fit their propaganda narrative, and as if such a weaponry stash doesn’t count. (Maybe Bush planted it.) Degraded? Only partly; the chem cache had potential lethality in the mass casualty range.
Then there was Saddam’s stockpile of yellowcake uranium, also found long after the ’03 invasion. Yes, those 16 words in Bush’s notorious speech proved to be true. And if you did not already know any part of the preceding recital, you should be asking yourself why not? Everything reported here is verifiable, objective fact. A rather important correction of the public mythology, is it not? But why don’t we hear this from prominent Republicans?
Other details we can wish Dick Cheney or others had emphasized lately, or ever:
• Among the multiple justifications for our Iraq intervention were that Saddam was violating the Gulf War armistice and U.N. inspection terms, and committing acts of war against the U.S. almost daily by firing on our aircraft. Another of the legitimate purposes was humanitarian, i.e., ridding a nation and the world of a heinous tyrant and mass murderer. The liberal Democrat humanitarian façade often is exposed as tedious posing, such as now with their demonstrated contempt for humanitarian motives.
• The Democrat critics mock Mr. Cheney’s prediction that our military would be “greeted as liberators” in Iraq. They seem to think he was wrong. They should view the old footage of Iraqis lining the streets to greet our liberating forces -- as liberators. Then they should review the Iraqi public opinion polls on the subject following Saddam’s overthrow. (Even Megyn Kelly swallowed the Democrat propaganda, apparently.) Cheney was right. Of course, he never said the Saddamites or al-Qaeda would be among those celebrating our arrival.
• At least the Democrats have finally given up on their “war for oil” mantra. And if so wrong about that, what else?
• Please note that Bush, Cheney, and the U.S. military won the war in Iraq twice: the major combat phase and the insurgency phase. Bush and Cheney have been vindicated strategically. Saddam’s arsenal was neutralized, and al-Qaeda was indeed routed, humiliated, and denied a nation-state staging area for more attacks on the U.S. The biggest mistake along the way was Rumsfeld’s small-footprint strategy, but once Mr. Bush found the right general in David Petraeus, à la Lincoln and Grant, our side achieved the double victory and bequeathed a relatively stable situation.
Tragically, we now have a president who is throwing those priceless gains away. But what would we expect from one who declares that he is “uncomfortable with the concept of victory.” Or is it time to think the unthinkable? The liberal Democrats always were obsessed with sabotaging “Bush’s war” so it would be seen as a Republican defeat, accruing to their own partisan advantage.
So what’s the problem with Republicans? Why is this device -- telling the truth -- so alien to them when the truth is on their side? If the Dems can get so much mileage out of untruth, why not use reality in reply? Might some of those Republican political consultants be Democrat plants or double agents? Again, every premise in this presentation is demonstrably factual -- yet contrary to prevailing perception, a real tribute to Democrat “big lie” skill.
Perhaps we can agree with the Democrats that Bush/Cheney did commit one atrocity against the American polity. Faced with relentless Democrat defamation, Mr. Bush in particular never answered back while in office, and still hasn’t. That passivity is a major blunder in mass communication strategy because it cedes the arena to the opposition. When the audience hears only one side, cognition is shaped in accordance and attitude formation follows. It was precisely such marketing malpractice by the Bush political operation that led to “Bush fatigue” and the election of a catastrophic president named Barack H. Obama. Thanks a lot, guys.
So, does any reader still think political packaging qua marketing communication is only peripheral cosmetics?
The author is a long-time registered Democrat -- and an occasional registered Republican -- which should dispel any impression of partisanship. His recent books include Frugal Cool (Corby 2009), and The Language of Branding (Nova Science 2011).