Saturday, March 27, 2010

The 'Bush Lied' Myth

GSGF keeps bugging to do more neocon blogging, so here a little something, from Peter Feaver, "When Will the 'Bush Lied' Myth Be Abandoned?":


My former White House colleague Pete Wehner has taken up the gauntlet thrown by the provocative leftwing pundit David Corn. Corn listed a number of what he claimed to be unambiguous lies by President Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war and he dared, and then double-dared, anyone to rebut them.

I am not a completely independent observer -- Wehner is a friend and I reviewed his response in draft -- but to my eyes he does a careful and thorough job of demolishing Corn's critique. Of particular value is Wehner's painstaking effort to show how Corn's critique involves cherry-picking intelligence quotes out of context that suit his thesis and ignoring the broad conclusions of those cherry-picked reports or the broader-still findings of the 2002 NIE on Iraqi WMD.

I don't for a minute think that Wehner has put the matter to rest once and for all, however. Even though he convincingly shows that each of Corn's major claims rests on a distortion or outright falsehood, in my experience this business is very much like playing whack-a-mole. The purveyors of the "Bush lied" myth never admit that they have made false claims and never concede when you show their charges to be false. They simply shift the focus a bit and say, "but what about this" and raise a whole new episode.

Nevertheless, I think Wehner has done a service in "
re-litigating the past." Democracy flourishes best when there is a healthy marketplace of ideas and the propagation of conspiracy theory myths -- whether it be the "Bush lied" myths or the "9/11 truther" myths or what-have-you -- has a corrosive effect on that marketplace.

Conclusion at the link.

RELATED: Michael Rubin, "Why Neoconservatism Was and Is Right."


UPDATE: I couldn't resist adding this from Peter Wehner:

Why does Saddam get a pass? Why do the words "Saddam Hussein lied" not pass the lips of David Corn more often (if at all)? And why the obsession with ascribing blame to President Bush -- particularly when, as we have seen, the charges against Bush are discrediting to those who make them?

It is impossible to know the answer to these questions. But this whole "Bush lied" enterprise, in addition to damaging the reputation of those who have engaged in it, has done considerable harm to our country. Propagating fantastic conspiracy theories, sowing unnecessary seeds of distrust and division, and allowing ideology to fan a burning hatred for an American president, often does.

The truth is troubling enough. There were serious intelligence gaps that we failed to find before the war. Some claims -- by Bush administration officials as well as by leading Democrats and leaders of other nations -- were made with too much certainty. And as I have written multiple times in the past, there were serious mistakes in the conduct of the war prior to the new counterinsurgency strategy being announced in January 2007. I have no interest in whitewashing history. But it is long past time that critics of the Iraq war stop willfully and deceptively twisting history to serve their own partisan ends.


The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

My contribution to the debate.

Winston said...

he didn't lie...

Sarge Charlie said...

It's all idiots like Corn-pone have, history will show that President Bush was a very good president.

ditto mr winston.

Anonymous said...

History has already shown that Bush did nothing about Al Qaeda when he could have done something to stop 9/11 from happening, and then he lied not just when he claimed that Iraq had anything to do with it, but also when he made the series of false claims about WMDs - not to mention all the lies that he and other members of his administration told about how long the war would last. Rumsfeld said he doubted it would last six months, for example.

But hey, keep clinging to that "B ush didn't lie" myth if it helps you sleep better at night. You'll still be wrong, but at least the fact that you're wrong won't bother you as much.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


Keep clinging to your idiocy.

Btw, is always filled with lefty commenters. Decided today to take on all-comers on Feavers post. Check it out, Donald.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Someone really needs to take David Corn out to the woodshed, for that matter.

Dave said...


I have my problems with GWB, most of which are well beyond your comprehension, but his response to the first attack of the camel-washers under his watch was far beyond Clinton;s "head up his ass" approach following the five attacks AQ pulled off against America on his watch.