micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)
Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Time for a counter-narrative
Saddam's a Hitler
Saddam abuses human rights
Saddam has ties with al Qaeda
Saddam wants and/or has weapons of mass destruction
Before, during and after Operation Iraqi Freedom the Bush Administration threw up a lot of arguments for the action. It seemed obvious that they were just looking for a reason that would sell the war to whoever the intended audience was, and the reason they settled on was the threat of Saddam's current weapons of mass destruction and programs for such weapons, including the possibility of Saddam getting nuclear weapons. "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," President George W. Bush said in his State of the Union speech this past January. The unnamed country was supposed to be Niger and in fact a State Department document from the previous December 19 said Iraq had engaged in "efforts to procure uranium from Niger" without qualification.
There has long been plenty of reason to doubt this claim and, for reasons deserving of speculation, this claim was not regularly repeated by the Bush Administration. Secretary of State Colin Powell didn't mention it in his February 5 United Nations Security Council speech, for instance. Doubts really began to circulate last month due to a New Republic piece by John B. Judis and Spencer Ackerman. Joseph Wilson, U.S. envoy to Gabon from 1992 to 1995, said over the weekend that he had been evaluated the charge for the Central Intelligence Agency last year and found that there was no merit to the claim. Yesterday the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee of Great Britain issued a report that said that there was no evidence to back up the charge that Saddam's government had tried to get enriched uranium from Niger.
Responding to this, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said yesterday that the Bush Administration should not have made the claim, according to Josh Marshall, The New York Times and The Washington Post. (Strangely Fleischer's comments don't seem to be coming up on the whitehouse.gov.)
"The CIA warned the US Government that claims about Iraq's nuclear ambitions were not true months before President Bush used them to make his case for war, the BBC has learned," the BBC writes in a story tonight. It is perhaps something of an understatement to say this is big news. Although Team Bush's case for war was never one-dimensional, if they could lie about this, it is worth trying to figure out what else, if anything, they lied about. It is also worth demanding an answer from them as to why they did lie about the claim that Iraq had attempted to get enriched uranium from Niger.
Congressional Democrats are reportedly up in arms about this and demanding an investigation. There should no doubt be one, although this call and even such an investigation is an insufficient response to the situation. As explained in "Channeling Cavuto" and "Musing on the 'Shanes' of this world," much of what the Bush Administration says about the "war on terror" does not appear to be intended to be taken literally but rather as the equivalent of macho jock posturing. The Bush Administration's "war on terror" is pro-active on the military level and that will appeal to a lot of people in a country where the mainstream political discourse is filled with people like Arizona Republican Congressman J.D. Hayworth who believe that not actively seeking out war with country's that the Bush says the U.S. should go to war with even though those countries are not a threat to the U.S. is "appeasement." The facts are there for a serious critique of the "war on terror" but to popularize this critique it will most likely be necessary to wrap this critique to a narrative that is as popular as Bush's boastful statements. In other words, it is necessary to convince people that they should feel good about opposing the "war on terror." I wish I knew of a narrative that could be that popular.