What is a lie? A lie is an “assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue: a deliberate misrepresentation of fact with intent to deceive (Webster’s Third).” Was President Bush lying when he said that he believed that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction? Let’s put the question another way: did President Bush not really believe that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq possessed WMDs? For that is what those who accuse the president of lying on this subject are saying.
So let’s play a little game. Just for giggles, let’s assume the president was lying when he said he believed that Hussein had WMDs. Does the president have enemies, honorable adversaries, those who respectfully disagree with his policies, those who hate his guts and the horse he rode in on? Yes. Are there people who have kept the deeds and misdeeds of Hussein’s regime in their sights far longer than the president has? Definitely. Are there individuals, international entities, intelligence services, foreign heads of state, Iraq experts, Iraqis themselves, who have been studying, reporting and spying on Iraq who could have definitively refuted the president’s belief that Iraq had WMDs? Of course there are. But outside of one Scott Ritter, they did not do so.
Could President Bush’s predecessor, having access to the same information, have refuted this belief? Of course he could have. So why did former President Clinton make this speech and why does he keep corroborating President Bush’s statements on the subject (and proving my assertion in the comments of this post that even a person of low character can sometimes tell the truth)?
Or maybe both presidents were/are lying? Maybe the UN, Jacques Chirac, MI5 and the rest are all lying and this whole matter is merely one big conspiracy: the UN and the French sit back and pretend to oppose the actions of the US, the UK and the rest of the Coalition of the Willing, while all the time absolutely none of them ever believed that Hussein possessed WMDs!
Maybe President Clinton knew that George W. Bush would be elected in 2000 and they cooked up this whole scheme together back in 1998. Or maybe the two, along with President G.H.W. Bush cooked it up back in 1989! /crazy tin-foil hat donning sufferer of BDS
Not only do the chains of logic unravel, they melt down to cause the Mother of All Migraines. But that's what happens when facts are reshaped to suit one's beliefs rather than the other way around.
Faced with such disparate sources of information with conflicting agendas--President Clinton, Jacques Chirac, the CIA and the UN, et al.--telling him that Hussein has WMDs, it would have defied all reason for President Bush to not have believed it to be true.
However, the question remains: if they existed, where are they? If they are never uncovered, does that mean that the president lied about believing that they existed? Only in a world in which anything that one’s enemy says is a lie, no matter if a friend says the exact same thing.
People that use such methods to denigrate the words and actions of an opponent will say and, likely, do anything. Laugh at them, sure, but definitely keep both eyes on them.
(Thanks to Instapundit)