Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it ~ George Santayana (12/16/1863 to 9/26/1952) philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States, wrote in English and identified himself as an American. The quote presented here is from Santayana's The Life of Reason Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense.
Today, many (if not most) American citizens agree that our war with Vietnam was a mistake and we never should have gotten involved in a conflict that lead to the deaths of 58,220 American soldiers. I bring up Vietnam because some say a lie by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson lead to our involvement that escalated to full blown combat.
Professor of History at the University of Kentucky George C. Herring argues that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and the Pentagon "did not knowingly lie about the alleged attacks, but they were obviously in a mood to retaliate and they seem to have selected from the evidence available to them those parts that confirmed what they wanted to believe".
So, although exactly what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin was later called into serious question, LBJ used the incidents to pressure Congress into passing the Southeast Asia Resolution on 8/7/1964 (which eventually lead to all out war).
Whether or not LBJ lied is, in my opinion, a tad more nebulous that the question of whether or not George W. bush lied in order to pressure Congress into allowing him to invade Iraq. Although blogger Willis Hart of the blog Contra O'Reilly strongly disagrees. In fact, according to him it is "quite chilling" that I would suggest such a thing. In a 6/3/2012 post Mr. Hart alludes to a bunch of other lies that LBJ may have told (I'm not well read when it comes to the Vietnam war, nor did I live through it), and (of course) he incorrectly assumes that I defend LBJ in regards to all of these probable lies. I was, however only referring to the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
The reason for Hart's posting was (in part) to gauge my "intellectual honesty" when it comes to declaring a president a "war criminal". I say George W. bush is a war criminal due (in part) to his lies about Iraq having WMD. I say ex-preznit bush knew Iraq possessed no WMD, as the inspectors on the ground at the time told him so. The Hartster disagrees.
|Willis Hart: you gave me no evidence that Bush KNEW that there weren't weapons of mass destruction and then lied to the American public... No testimony. No paper trail. Zero. (7/10/2012 AT 7:00pm).|
Unfortunately Willis is wrong. The invasion of Iraq was ordered by ex-preznit bush on 3/20/2003 AFTER the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, told the Security Council (on 3/7/2003) via written report that the "UN inspections in Iraq worked". Mr. ElBaradei's team conducted 247 inspections at 147 sites and found "no evidence of resumed nuclear activities... nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any related sites". The IAEA report went on to say that "Iraq had not imported uranium since 1990... no longer had a centrifuge program, [and that] Iraq's nuclear capabilities had been effectively dismantled by 1997".
The IAEA answers to both the Security Council and the UN General Assembly. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security (Source: Wikipedia). A report by the IAEA submitted to the UNSC most certainly qualifies as the "paper trail" that Mr. Hart is sure does not exist.
Two days after ordering the invasion, in a radio address on 3/22/2013, the former preznit said, "our cause is just, the security of the nations we serve and the peace of the world. And our mission is clear, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people".
Given the fact that the weapons inspectors submitted a report 14 days earlier to the UN that said they hadn't found any WMD, is it a reasonable assumption that bush lied? I mentioned the IAEA Report in a comment on Mr. Hart's blog on 5/5/2012. On 7/10/2012 he made the claim that there is no paper trail or evidence and until then we can't talk (i.e. he can't be convinced bush lied). In response I said, "I already gave [you the evidence]. We can't talk because you ignored it and are pretending it doesn't exist".
I think it is VERY clear that Mr. bush lied. The only other excuse would be that he did not believe the inspectors, and that simply does not fly with me AT ALL. A commenter on the Hart blog known as dmarks (or "Dennis Marks" as he is otherwise known) argues that Saddam had been given many chances and had drawn out the process (of complying with the UN resolutions that said he must dispose of his WMD), and that he had fired on UN planes in violation of the cease-fire that ended the first Gulf War. While that is all true, it completely ignores the fact that Saddam was a crazy dictator and such things are to be expected from crazy dictators!
When Saddam violated the various UN resolutions it was entirely up to the UN to determine how those transgressions were to be dealt with. Enforcement of UN resolutions concerning Iraq was NOT the prerogative of the United States or ex-president bush. The fact is that bush made his case for war with Iraq to the UN and the UN rejected it.
When bush ordered the invasion of Iraq he violated Articles 33 and 39 of the UN Charter, which is why Kofi Annan (UN Secretary-general from 1/1/1997 to 12/31/2006) said the war "was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter". This statement by Anon was made during a 9/16/2004 BBC interview while he was still the UN leader (not after his term expired).
But Dennis dismissed Mr. Annon's assessment of the legality of the war. Mr. Marks says Annon's comment provided SOME support for the argument of illegality, but not much... because the Secretary-General's comments were "off the cuff" and a "personal opinion". No Dennis, Mr. Annan's assessment was based on what the UN charter says (the 2 previously mentioned articles). That isn't an opinion, but rather a fact-based conclusion. As for Dennis' contention that the remarks were "off the cuff"; that is complete nonsense, as well as a serious charge of incompetence and/or irresponsibility.
The agenda here is clear, I believe... although they may be excusing and dismissing bush's crimes for slightly different reasons, the fact remains that Hart and Marks are acting as apologists for a president who lied and knew at the time he was lying. Lyndon Johnson prematurely went with some intel that later turned out to be wrong and used it as an excuse to ease us into a war step by step. And he kept it quiet when he found out later the intel was inaccurate.
Also, as alleged by Mr. Hart, he "lied" about the war's progress by misrepresenting it as "going swimmingly well when it wasn't"... as if the bush administration didn't do the exact same thing (by touting the success of the surge that actually wasn't a success).
But neither GWb nor LBJ are war criminals according to Mr. Hart. And that's why he says "at least I'm consistent". Personally I think that's a bunch of bullpoop. I'm consistent, in that I think both wars were very bad ideas, although Vietnam came about due to the irrational Communist paranoia of the time (along with some distorting and dishonesty from our leaders), while Iraq can be attributed to outright blatant lies from despicable and reprehensible individuals in the bush administration who wanted war for political advantage; i.e. bush's desire to be a "war president".
Dennis says, "I'm pretty sure his meltdown over the LBJ issue got him booted out of Will's blog". Mr. Marks is wrong. The Hartster didn't ban me over my LBJ comments (the banning came later, and what was at issue was an entirely different topic).
Also, there was no "meltdown", I only said I wasn't convinced that LBJ lied about the Gulf of Tonkin (initially). Certainly not in the same manner bush lied about WMD. LBJ found out LATER the Gulf of Tonkin info he got was inaccurate, while bush found out BEFORE he invaded that Iraq didn't have WMD.
Both liars, I suppose, but in my mind bush's lie was more egregious. That may be due to me being an adult of voting age during the Iraq war, while LBJ left office before I was born (and the war wrapped up while I was an infant). Also, I'm a Democrat and there is some partisan bias in play here... I'll admit that.
What do you think me-buck? Are the lies that got us into Vietnam comparable to the lies that got us into Iraq? I say they are, but only marginally. But the real issue here (the point of this post, that is) is that both Mr. Marks and Mr. Hart are completely wrong when it comes to the issue of bush lying. The evidence plainly shows that bush told a big fat lie, and in regards to that fact I am the one who is being honest, while the Hart fellow is being dishonest.
So what's up with these irrationals on the ironically titled rAtional nAtion uSA blog who'd rather we all move on because bush isn't president anymore? Do they want us to forget the past and thus be condemned to repeat it?
 Study Shows Bush & Co. Lied, 1/23/2008 (PE post by Shaw Kenawe that points to an article from the website The Center for Public Integrity).
 Fact Check: No WMDs in Iraq, 2/19/2008 (Regarding people who say buried barrels of degraded chemical or biological weapons qualify, Fact Check says, "we suggest ridicule").
 Republicans Still Denying Bush Lied About Iraq by Jonathan Chait. Daily Intelligencer, 2/9/2015 (That "the bush Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent" was the conclusion of Phase two of the Senate Report on Prewar Intelligence on Iraq).
 SWTD #312: Iraq War Based On gwb Lie Of "Disarming" Saddam When IAEA Officials Who Were There, On The Ground, Said Iraq Had No WMD, 9/4/2015.