Jewish World Review June 18, 2004 / 29 Sivan 5764
The Big Lie Campaign
As wars go, the conflict in Iraq was (and is) as good as it gets. A three week military campaign with minimal casualties, 25 million people liberated from one of the most sadistic tyrants of modern times, the establishment of a military and intelligence base in the heart of the terrorist world. What well-meaning person could oppose this? In fact there is none. It was one thing to worry about the war before the fact, as Brent Scowcroft and others did, that a military conflict could lead to eruptions in the Muslim world and a conflagration out of control. This was opposition based on honorable intentions, which events have effectively answered.
But the current opposition to the war after the fact has no such justification in real world events. The war has had enormous beneficial effects with minimal negative consequences. A terrible tyrant was taken down. The filling of mass graves with 300,000 corpses were stopped. Plastic shredders for human beings were deactivated. Prisons for four to twelve year olds were closed. A democratic constitution has been drafted. Two-thirds of al-Qaeda's leadership is gone. There hasn't been terrorist attack in America in more than two and a half years, something no one would have predicted after 9/11. By any objective standard, the Bush war on terror is a triumph.
These real world considerations are why the campaign waged by the Democratic Party and a Democratic press against the Bush war policy is based not on any analysis of the war itself, but on maliciously concocted claims about the prewar justification for military action. For purely political agendas, the Democrats hope attempt to convict the Administration of "misleading the American public" and wasting American lives through deception and fraud, and thus to defeat the President at the polls in November.
This is the campaign of the Big Lie and its success depends on the very fact that it is a big lie. Its aim is to shift the very terms of the argument to a terrain favorable to the critics who have been refuted by the events themselves a terrain entirely irrelevant to the reality of the war itself. To respond to this campaign would require of its targets candor and courage, because the only way to cront it is to impugn the integrity, honesty and goodwill of those who so maliciously prosecute it. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration does not seem up to this task of calling its critics to account. This is why it is on the defensive and in serious trouble in its political campaign.
How does this Big Lie operate? A look at today's top headline in the New York Times (whose example is faithfully followed in most of the nation's press) illustrates it well: "Panel Finds No Qaeda-Iraq Tie." That is the news of the day similar in its negative spin for the Bush campaign to the news of the last 30 or 60 days as well. The Times headline refers to the report of the 9/11 commission that Mohammed Atta did not meet with Iraqi government officials in Prague prior to 9/11 and that it could find no evidence that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 plot. The Times "News Analysis" accompanying the account draws this conclusion: "In questioning the extent of any ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the commission weakened the already spotty scorecard on Mr. Bush's justifications for sending the military to topple Saddam Hussein."
Actually this Times reportage is several lies in one. First, the panel did not conclude that there was no Qaeda-Iraq tie. It concluded that it could not find a Qaeda-Iraq tie in respect to the attacks of 9/11. This is entirely different from the claim that there were no links between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime. There are in fact extensive links, which Stephen Hayes and others have detailed.
But that is just the beginning. The bigger lie in this particular claim is that Mohammed Atta's visit to Prague was one of "Mr. Bush's justifications for sending the military to topple Saddam Hussein." Mr. Bush made no such claim, certainly not in connection with a justification for the war in Iraq. (The Times actually prints Bush's references to Iraq and al-Qaeda links on February 8, 2003, none of which mentions 9/11.) The justification for sending the military to topple Saddam Hussein was the violation of UN Resolution 1441 and 16 UN resolutions before that. Resolution 1441 authorized the use of force as of December 7, 2002, the deadline that had been set by the Security Council on November 8, 2002.
Anyone doubting that Saddam violated this resolution can consult the recent memoir written by chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, Disarming Iraq. Blix opposed the military option right to the end. But he states very clearly in his book that Saddam failed to meet the requirements of UN Resolution 1441, that he showed his contempt for them in fact, and that they were a legal justification for force.
The lie about al-Qaeda is just one of a tissue of lies concocted by Administration critics about the rationale for the war in Iraq, each of which is designed to distract attention from the moral worthiness of the war and the critics' own unhappiness with the war on terror itself. The Times' "News Analysis" also cites the failure to find WMDs as a further undermining of the Administration's rationale for the war. But WMDS were not the rationale for the war. The rationale for the war was Saddam's violation of UN Resolution 1441, which called for compliance or "serious consequences." Saddam did not comply. The consequences followed.
The President's rationale for the war was contained in his September 12, 2002 address to the United Nations General Assembly. He did not refer to an al-Qaeda link. He did not refer to an "imminent threat" (the third malicious falsification put forward by proponents of the Big Lie). What the President said was this: "The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?"
The UN resolutions that Saddam had defied were constituent elements of the truce that Saddam had signed at the end of the Gulf War and the condition under which the allied forces allowed him to remain in power. Saddam violated that truce. The 2003 Iraq war was in fact the resumption of the hostilities of 1991 that had been interrupted to allow Saddam the chance to comply. (In fact, they were only partially interrupted since the United States and Britain flew continuous sorties over Iraq throughout the decade of the 1990s). Many critics of the war argue that Saddam should have been appeased once more, and given more time to comply. That it is a reasonable (if morally distasteful) argument. To claim that the Bush Administration misled the American people and waged the war under false pretenses is not.
The critics of the Bush Administration have used their lies about the rationale for the war to call the President a liar, a fraud, a deceiver and a traitor. These are terms that apply to the critics themselves. But the Bush Administration has not had the gumption to use them (or their political equivalents). The Bush Administration had better rethink this reluctance if it intends on retaining power in November. American voters are not going to be able to sort out these lies for themselves in the absence of a strong case by the Bush team.
Prior to the inception of hostilities in Iraq in March 2003, the Democratic Party with honorable exceptions like Senator Lieberman and Minority Leader Gephardt was a party of appeasers, demanding more time and more offerings to the Baghdad butcher to avoid a military conflict. From the day Baghdad was liberated in April 2003 and continuously through the present, the Democratic Party and its willing press have constituted a chorus of saboteurs, attacking the credibility, integrity and decency of the commander in chief, exaggerating, sensationalizing and magnifying every American setback or fault with the guilt orgy over Abu Ghraib the most egregious example effectively tying the hands of American forces in the field and encouraging the enemy's resistance. The hard left actually celebrates this resistance. The soft and cowardly left merely encourages it while pretending not to notice what is doing.
In either case and in both cases what we are confronting in this spectacle is an unprecedented event in American political life. In the midst of a good war and a noble enterprise, a major American party is engaged in effort to stab its own country in the back for short term political gain, and is willing to do to so by the most underhanded and unscrupulous means.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington
and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor David Horowitz is editor of
Front Page Magazine and the author of several books, including,
The Art of Political War and Other Radical Pursuits,
Hating Whitey, Art of Political War, Radical Son : A Generational Odyssey . To comment, please click here.
12/26/03: Present From Progressives: Starvation
09/08/03: How to look at the war on terror
08/11/03: Total California Recall
08/05/03: Challenging the racist Dems in California
07/21/03: The Party of Sabotage
07/09/03: The Trouble with Treason
05/05/03: Taking On The Neo-Coms, Part II
05/01/03: Taking On The Neo-Coms
04/29/03: Everything the Left Said About the War Is Wrong (Including the Claim that It Was Right)
04/16/03: The Doctrine Pre-Emption, a Strategy Under Attack
04/14/03: The next screwing
04/08/03: As a former 'radical,' I see the threat of militant Islam on American campuses
04/03/03: The war refutes the opposition
03/31/03: Moment of Truth (for the anti-American Left)
03/24/03: The Second Front
03/17/03: The Fifth Column Left Declares War
02/18/03: The march to save Saddam
02/10/03: Secessionists against the war
01/21/03: They want to place America under siege
01/15/03: Another political lynching
12/31/02: As we look towards a future filled with the clouds of war
12/17/02: Trent Lott must go
09/04/02: The problem with America's colleges --- and the solution
08/26/02: Ted Koppel's Spin Zone: How Nightline Controls What You See
08/19/02: Reparations buffoons on the Washington Mall
07/30/02: The Destructive Romance of the Intellectuals
07/24/02: Port Huron and the War On Terror
07/08/02: Disturbing holiday thoughts
06/24/02: Know The Enemy (And What He Believes)
06/18/02: Missing diversity
06/06/02: Free the FBI: A plea from a former 'radical'
04/10/02: A Middle East history primer
03/12/02: Appreciating the Commander-in-Chief
02/14/02: Bill Clinton's State of the World
01/17/02: Why Israel Is The Victim And The Arabs Are The Indefensible Aggressors In the Middle East
10/01/01: I know a thing or two about college protest --- and this time the students are dead wrong
09/06/01: Pardoned, but unforgiving
08/07/01: Social Security Reactionaries and Reformers
07/24/01: White, Blind, and Proud
07/11/01: Progressive Crime Wave
06/26/01: Issues that dare not speak their name
06/12/01: The 20th Anniversary of an American Killing Fields
05/23/01: The Triumph of 'Multicultural' Thugs
05/08/01: How Leftists Play the Race Card Against Conservatives – And Increase the Flow of Drugs to the Inner City At the Same Time
03/13/01: Provocative, and proud of it
03/06/01: Dubya's Tax Plan: Don't Feed the Beast
02/21/01: Lazy daze
02/05/01: You gotta have faith
01/23/01: The Democrat inquisition
01/09/01: Perfect mirror-images of what libs profess to fear
12/12/00: Party without a conscience
12/05/00: Al Gore has poisoned the body politic --- for generations to come
11/14/00: Al Gore is not fit
10/31/00: Party of fear, politics of hate
10/16/00: Dems are lucky to have Gore
09/19/00: A Miracle the Press Will Not Report
09/14/00: It’s the Character, Stupid!: Further Thoughts On “Why Gore Will Lose”
09/06/00: The Death of the Civil Rights Movement
08/22/00: Back to the Future
08/09/00: Bush will win
07/25/00: Conason Unleashed
07/12/00: Our nation's heritage is under attack in our classrooms, so why doesn't anybody care'
07/03/00: Hillary and "The Third Way": How America's First Lady of the Left Has Bamboozled Liberals and Conservatives Alike
06/27/00: AlGore's Missile-Defense Dodge
06/20/00: In the Enemy Camp
06/12/00: Feminism's Dirty Secret
05/18/00: Look who's leading the Virtue Squad in its crusade to purge the House of campaign finance excess
05/08/00: The Mind of the Left From an Amazon Perspective
05/01/00: America's Totalitarian Shame
04/19/00: Political child molesting
04/04/00: What Hillary won't 'fess up to --- and why
03/29/00: No reason To Glorify the Left's Legacy of Violence
03/27/00: Smoke and Mirrors
03/20/00: Deafening Silence
03/15/00: The Lead Investigator Strikes Back
03/08/00: Racial Killings & Gun Control
02/28/00: Primary Lessons
02/22/00: Racial Shakedowns
01/25/00: Intellectual Class War
01/03/00: A faith that ruined whole continents and destroyed a world of human lives
12/28/99: Brain Dead Till the End
12/14/99: Letter to the past
12/07/99: Why Republicans Lose
11/23/99: MLK is no doubt spinning in his grave
11/10/99: Finding the American Center
11/02/99: Reflections on The Road Taken and Not