Has Left the Building
By The Plaid Adder
So all right. Now that Kay's report is out and all they
can come up with was "he wished he could have been more of
a threat to the U.S. than he actually was," can we all finally
agree that we are never going to find Weapons of Mass Destruction
Many of us, of course, never believed they existed in the
first place. But one of the things people kept saying, in
response to "Why aren't the Democrats hammering the Bush administration
about this?" was, "Well, they will get hung out to dry if
they go out there and say there are no WMDs, and then suddenly
someone turns up a whole cache of them."
I watched this, and I thought, how long are they going to
wait before they decide it's safe to say there were no WMDs
over there in the first place? How much evidence do they need?
Are they just going to sit there waiting by that dead tree
until Godot shows up to tell them he's been over there and
checked and they've got nothin'?
Would they like it written across the sky in letters of fire?
"THERE ARE NO WMDS IN IRAQ, NOW GET OFF YOUR BUTTS AND BRING
THESE EVIL BASTARDS DOWN USING THEIR OWN LIES AND DECEIT,
Well, that's not going to happen. But with the publication
of the Kay report, it ought to finally be clear to everyone
(hopelessly self-deluded administration officials/booster/donors/propped
up puppet governors of Iraq excepted) that this administration's
attempts to find Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction
are about as convincing as O.J. Simpson's search for the real
killer - and just as likely to come up with credible evidence.
So can we use the issue now? Can we make this about
more than sixteen words in the State of the Union address?
Can our elected representatives finally start saying what
the rest of us have known all along? Which is that we are
at war in Iraq for one reason, and one reason only: because
the Bush administration wanted us to be.
The WMD issue is one of those things that we are constantly
being advised to 'get over.' Americans have forgotten; they
don't care; it's all about liberating the Iraqi people now.
I agree that in a country where Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger
are considered gubernatorial material, it is always a risk
to ask people to think. But really, we ought to be able to
make this simple enough. The Bush administration wanted a
war with Iraq. They lied to us to get us into one. Now, they
have discovered that it is a lot easier to lie your way into
a war than to lie your way out of one. And now, we're all
paying for their mistake.
If we're going to make that argument, we cannot be afraid
of the word 'lie.' I appreciate the effort MoveOn has made
with the "mis-leader" campaign; but the problem with phrasing
it that way is that it obscures the question of intent. In
fact, the Bush administration has been using the same tactic
to try to get themselves off the hook: no, we didn't lie,
we were misled by bad intelligence. This line has been taken
up and repeated in the New York Times and other mainstream
What we have to make people understand is that the Bush administration
did not happen across this 'bad intelligence' by chance. They
went looking for it. Aggressively and insatiably. They were
eating bad intelligence with a spoon, greedily, two-fisted.
And when the CIA said, "Well, look, the only bad intelligence
we had left was SO bad it had started to stink the place up,
so we threw it out," they went around back to the dumpster
where it was rotting and got down on their hands and knees
to lap that bad intelligence out of a puddle.
Why? Because they needed bad intelligence to get their war
started - because there was no legitimate reason to fight
This is what people have to understand. This administration
was not "misled" into war with Saddam Hussein. They wanted
this war. They wanted it so badly they were willing to alienate
the entire international community, squander the goodwill
that the world felt toward us after 9/11, kill thousands of
Iraqis and hundreds of American soldiers, make America an
even bigger and more attractive target for international terrorism
than it ever had been before, and guarantee that for an indefinite
amount of time, we will be sinking so much of our tax revenue
into rebuilding Iraq that we will not be able to pay for anything
at home. And if they wanted the war badly to risk all of this,
of course they wanted it badly enough to lie.
And that is why we have to find a way to use the WMD issue.
Because if we 'let it go,' we are letting go of the best and
clearest example we have of the deep, deep corruption at the
heart of this administration. If we let it go, if we decide
we can't make it matter, then we are letting go of the only
explanation that can explain why the Iraq war, no matter how
well the administration may tell us it's going, is a disaster
for this country and the world. We are glossing over the incredible
fact that our soldiers are killing and dying in Iraq simply
because our government wanted this war - and for no other
This, incidentally, is one of the reasons that I feel a
twinge when people compare Iraq to Vietnam. Yes, they are
both quagmires. Vietnam was a quagmire that we entered into
gradually, as each successive administration made a number
of decisions that drew us further and further into the swamp.
Iraq is a different story. This is a quagmire that Team Bush
jumped into all at once, with both feet, gleefully, because
- why? Because they thought there was gold at the bottom of
it? Because they thought it would be fun? Who knows; but the
fact is that if you go back and look at the months leading
up to the war, you see a dialogue between a chorus of voices
saying, "Don't go in there, that's a quagmire," and Bush,
Wolfowitz et al. yelling, "Quagmire, quagmire, I want my quagmire!
I'm going into that quagmire right now and you can't stop
It's not surprising that most Americans don't get this.
Because after all, it's tremendously counterintuitive. What
kind of lunatic wants a war, if he can avoid it? Especially
when he is already committed to a campaign in Afghanistan
that was not over when we invaded Iraq, and is certainly not
over now? Certainly not the kind of lunatic you'd want running
But we have to take the risk and try to make the argument,
because it's something our fellow Americans need to know.
The Bush administration started this war because they damn
well wanted to. They didn't care what it would cost in either
money or lives. And if we let them get away with the lying
they did to make this war happen, there is no reason to believe
that they will not be able to lie themselves into the next
war, and the next, and the next. How many wars does this crowd
want to start? How many people will die for the lies they
have already told? How many will die for the lies that they
are telling now? How many for the lies that they will tell
in 2004, in 2005, in 2007?
So. This is it. We do not move on, we do not get over it,
we do not accept the idea that Americans cannot be made to
care. I have heard a lot lately about how dumb the electorate
is; I have ranted at length about that myself. But you know
what, one of the things that gets me through the day is my
belief that everyone who wants to learn can be taught. The
administration's many foreign and domestic failures have generated
a national willingness to learn that was not there in the
months after 9/11. We cannot just write our fellow-Americans
off. It is up to us to work out a way of teaching this lesson.
It will be hard and it will be risky but it has got to be
We have waited long enough. The WMDs are not going to make
a surprise appearance in the fifth act. Godot has left the
building. If we want a happy ending - or indeed any ending
at all - then we get out there and write it now, while Rove
and the rest of the stage managers are huddled in the promptbox
frantically revising the script. Now is the time to say it
There were, are, will be no WMDs in Iraq.
Every reason the Bush administration has given us for going
to war in Iraq has turned out to be a lie.
That is because the Bush team cannot tell us the real reason:
that they invaded Iraq because they wanted to.
The Bush team may eventually come up with more plausible
lies about why we are in Iraq but they will never admit the
truth and we must stop waiting for them to do that.
This war is their fault, it is their shame, it is their
failure, and it is their responsibility.
Unfortunately, the fact that we are in Iraq at all is signal
proof of this administration's massive irresponsibility.
Bush will never solve this problem. That is why we must
elect someone else who will.
The Plaid Adder's demented ravings have been delighting
an equally demented online audience since 1996. More of the
same can be found at the Adder's