Bush didn’t lie, and fewer people probably died

Scott Malensek, writing at Flopping Aces, revisits the question of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear abilities. After a scathing indictment of Congresspeople who had access to the full National Intelligence Estimate detailing all known information about Saddam’s nuclear capabilities and his access to other illegal weapons of war, but who still chose not to exercise that right, Malensek points out that information obtained since the Iraq War dovetails with the conclusions in the NIE: Saddam wanted to build WMDs, Saddam was capable of building WMDs, and Saddam would probably have acquired the last, most important ingredient (weapons grade nuclear material) by 2007 — facts that are worth remembering next time someone comes up to you and chants “Bush lied, people died.” As it happens, Bush didn’t lie, although one can still quarrel with his and Congress’ decision to take this nation to war with Iraq. (I don’t quarrel, but one still can.)

UPDATEMore on Hussein and WMDs, this time explaining that Hussein erected a Potemkin village to scare away Iran, a bit of political calculus that might have worked if 9/11 hadn’t suddenly changed the equation.


12 Responses

  1. Excellent link, Book.

    It also refers to what, for me, is the money quote from the Bush speech that I remember well but that the Democrat/Liberal/Left deliberately ignored (as they have done for all of his speeches) is as follows:

    “Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. Well, we don’t know exactly, and that’s the problem.”


    Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. As President Kennedy said in October of 1962, “Neither the United States of America, nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world,” he said, “where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nations security to constitute maximum peril.”

    What is truly, truly unfortunate is that the Democrat/Liberal/Left has so poisoned the atmosphere that it is now likely that the only way that any future politician will have the will to address any future “imminent threat” is after the deed is done. In that event, no doubt the Democrat/Liberal/Left will have quite a bit to celebrate with congratulations all around.

  2. I skimmed through your link, and it’s bull. The guy doesn’t know much about nuclear weapons. He repeatedly states his three points:

    1. Saddam wanted a bomb
    2. Saddam still had some nuclear program infrastructure, and was acquiring some more.
    3. And since Saddam had already built a bomb back in 1992 sans a nuclear core (that special metal ball of enriched uranium or plutonium), it remains perfectly logical that if he could somehow get that material from outside Iraq, then he could have rebuilt his bomb in no time.

    Think about these:

    1. Yeah, sure Saddam wanted a bomb. I’ll bet he wanted ten thousand MIRVs. Do you think that there’s any country in the whole world that WOULDN’T like to have a bomb?

    2. How much infrastructure did he have? Any reactors? How many big weapons labs? Having some plans buried in a garden doesn’t quite add up to a Manhattan Project.

    3. This is where he really goes off the deep end. Iraq had a bomb in 1992 — well, they were missing one little part, the fissile material, but he had everything else he needed. Right. That’s like me saying that I have all the sex appeal of Keanu Reeves except for the good looks. The essence of a nuclear bomb is the nuclear part.

    He then goes on to say that, if Mr. Hussein could only have picked up enough weapons-grade material from out of the country, he’d have a bomb. Yep, that’s true. It’s true for anybody and everybody. Get your hands on weapons-grade material, and you’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away from a weapon. The problem is, where you gonna get 20 or 30 kilos of weapons-grade U235? On EBay?

    Ah, but there was also the possibility of Mr. Hussein obtaining the centrifuges to make his own weapons-grade U235. Right. Do you know how hard it is to get those centrifuges? Iran has been working on that problem for years now and they’ve finally gotten enough to start enriching some U235. There is no way that Mr. Hussein could have gotten his hands on enough centrifuges to make a bomb without the West knowing about it. Why do you think Iran has publicly announced that it has all those centrifuges? Because they know that centrifuge operations cannot be kept secret, and if they had tried to keep them secret, then the world would have assumed the worse when they found out — as they inevitably would.

  3. I would just like to interject a few items about Iraq’s program. I’ll leave conclusions to others. Enriching uranium is an industrial problem and can be solved with brute force methods. It is hard to miss.

    The actual weaponization is an art. Iraq’s systems were incredibly advanced, and obviously well tested. The inspectors gathered up and confiscated all the equipment that went into that testing. Iraq appeared to be heading for a plutonium based system. This requires a nuclear reactor and a subsequent processing plant.

  4. Enriching uranium is an industrial problem and can be solved with brute force methods.

    Yes, and the brute force methods require those damn centrifuges that are so hard to make and impossible to hide.

    This requires a nuclear reactor and a subsequent processing plant.

    Yes, and Iraq had neither of those nor was it even building one.

  5. It can also be done via a gaseous diffusion plant, or a large number of calutrons. Similarly hard to hide. One only needs to visit Oak Ridge. Hanford is also difficult to conceal.

  6. I guess that explains why Pakistan’s, Libya’s, Israel’s and North Korea’s nuclear weapons were all so obvious for all to see when they were in development. Thanks, Ophi, I will sleep much better at night, now.

  7. As a matter of fact, Danny, all of those programs were well-known long before they got anywhere. And so was Iraq’s. How do you think the Israeli’s knew to bomb Osirak? And BTW, South Africa worked on a bomb for a while, and even Brazil poked around with the idea for a very short time.

  8. What matters Danny is that Op thinks war fatality numbers are bad statistics and facts. That is a clue to how he views other data and information.

    One should always use the indirect approach to argument, if you ask me. Hammering on the WMD issue is what the Left wants to do because they were the ones that first prepared the killing field for use. Not us.

  9. WMD doesn’t just include nuclear weapons, and when Bush lied about WMD, it was mainly with regards to chemical and biological weapons. He didn’t say they were going to get them, he said they ALREADY HAD them. Clearly, he lied.

    “The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.”

    “We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas.”

    Cincinnati, Ohio Speech
    October 7, 2002

    “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

    Address to the Nation
    March 17, 2003

  10. The problem is, the military already found bio and chem weapons. They just weren’t in the numbers necessary to sate the blood lust over Iraq.

    As if WMDs ever mattered to the Left. What mattered is international cooperation. It could be global warming, ebonics, crops, genetically engineered foods, whatever. So long as it was under the writ of international law, the Left will be satisfied.

  11. The Bush lied/people died mantra is founded on a really fundamental error about language. Or, at least, I’ll ascribe to the rank and file a linguistic error. At the upper echelons, I think it falls into Orwellian misuse of language. It is not a lie if you are fed intelligence that you genuinely believe is true, if you base your decisions on that intelligence, and if you cite to that intelligence when you’re speaking. Bush may have been misinformed, but that is not a deliberate lie.

    It is, of course, a lie if you know the truth of a statement, and nonetheless insist on repeating an untruth, rather along the lines of the Bush lied/people died crowd.

  12. I think Bush did lie. Bush lied about how he would do everything in his power to defeat terrorism and protect the United States of America. Given that Bush hasn’t even used secret police tactics, turning a jihadist into a woman as a torture method (to go along with the JIhadist’s wearing burkha fantasies), nor even nuclear detonations as a method to execute American killers, then I cannot truly claim that BUsh has told the truth always.

    Bush lied and people refused to die, would be more accurate a term.

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