Jewish World Review June 11, 2003 / 11 Sivan, 5763
Credibility is lying in order to accuse your opponents?
In an unconscious self-parody, the New York Times ran on Saturday a story
under the headline: "Truth is the First Casualty. Is Credibility the
The story, by Steven Weisman, was not about Howell Raines or Jayson Blair or
columnist Maureen Dowd's creative use of the ellipsis. It was about the
failure so far to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Weisman quoted a Democratic senator, a former Clinton aide, and a professor
at Yale who charged that President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair "exaggerated" and "overstated" evidence about Saddam Hussein's WMD
programs in order to make a case for war.
Since fewer than 300 of more than 900 suspected WMD sites in Iraq have yet
been investigated, a conclusion that Saddam possessed no such weapons is, at
best, wildly premature. And even if it could be proved conclusively that
Saddam disposed of all his WMD before hostilities began, it is a further
macabre leap to assert that Bush and Blair were inventing a cause for war.
To get an idea of how macabre, let's reverse the argument. Before
hostilities began, the editors of the New York Times, several Democratic
senators, and many college professors claimed that war with Iraq would
result in thousands of American casualties, tens of thousands of Iraqi
civilian casualties, and send hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding
into neighboring countries. None of this happened. Should we therefore
conclude that those who made these claims were lying in order to keep Saddam
Hussein in power?
The assertion that Bush and Blair lied about Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction is as preposterous as it is malicious. Robert Kagan, Rich Lowry
and others have demonstrated that Bush said nothing about Saddam's weapons
programs that hadn't been said earlier by President Clinton and his national
security team. In his report to the UN Security Council Jan. 27, Chief
Weapons Inspector Hans Blix said there was "no evidence" Saddam had
destroyed his stocks of anthrax, and "strong evidence" that he had produced
more. The most alarming report on the Iraqi nuclear program came from the
German intelligence service.
"If all these people were lying, there is only one person who ever told the
truth: Saddam Hussein," Kagan noted.
More mass graves have been discovered in Iraq. On June 4, the remains of
some 200 Kurdish children, apparently buried alive with their dolls, were
found near Kirkuk. But liberals, in their desperation to say something bad
about Bush and Blair, elevate the word of the child killer over theirs.
The effort to smear Bush and Blair already has caused grief to the Guardian,
a left-wing British newspaper. The Guardian last week had to retract two
prominent stories pushing the "Bush and Blair made it all up" thesis.
The first concerned an alleged meeting Feb. 5 between Secretary of State
Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, at which the two,
according to the Guardian, lamented the poor quality of the WMD evidence.
The Guardian acknowledged the meeting never took place. (Straw wasn't even
in the U.S. at the time.)
The second was a story, from German sources, that Deputy Defense Secretary
Paul Wolfowitz had admitted the Iraq war was chiefly about oil. As the
Guardian acknowledged in its correction Saturday: "Mr. Wolfowitz, in fact,
had said nothing of the kind."
The distortions continue. The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
blasted Friday news stories that a classified intelligence report had said
the U.S. had no reliable evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass
What the DIA report said was that intelligence officials could not pin down
the exact location of weapons caches. "We did not have any doubts about the
existence of the program," said Admiral Lowell Jacoby.
When you have to lie in order to accuse your opponents of lying, your own
credibility becomes the issue.
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
administration. Comment by clicking here.
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03/11/03: Ultimatum's moment of truth
03/11/03: Thank you, Turkey, we needed that
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03/04/03: Bioterror nightmare approaching --- how it could likely happen
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02/20/03: Anti-war group gets it right about great humanitarian tragedy in last Gulf War
02/18/03: Iraqis: Why are these people marching for tyranny?
02/07/03: French kiss(ed)-off
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12/18/02: Nothing better illustrates Trent Lott's unfitness for the post of Senate
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11/25/02: Why war with Iraq can be averted
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© 2002, Jack Kelly