Last night I watched Hardball with Chris Matthews. As usual he had on spin doctors from both the Democratic Party and Republican Party, and they were discussing the ABC Charles Gibson interview with Governor Sarah Palin. In that interview, Gibson tried to assert that the so-called Bush Doctrine of foreign policy was a practice of pre-emptive attacks on the chance that a nation might someday attack the United States. Governor Palin said that when an attack is imminent from another country (as was the case with Israel in 1967 for example) that the United States would be right to attack given that the intelligence reporting was as good as possible.
It was those two words that Mr. Matthews seized upon, “Imminent Threat.” He claimed that President Bush had said Saddam’s Iraq was an imminent threat, and he specifically said that it was not Democrats who made that claim even when the Democratic Party propagandist he had on as a guest tried to correct Mr. Matthews to no avail. Matthews is wrong, and he is misleading millions of people around the world as well as fueling the lie that Operation Iraqi Freedom is not about freedom (a war Senator Obama promises tp continue for at least a year and a half-perhaps as long as 2013).
Sorry Chris…it was the Democrats who claimed Saddam was an imminent threat-not President Bush.
“Can we really leave this to chance, when we could eliminate this deadly threat by acting now in concert with the international community, or alone if the threat is imminent — which it is not now? In my view, we cannot. ”
-Sen. John Kerry (D) 10/09/2002
If we wait for the danger to become clear, it could be too late.
Sen. Joseph Biden D-Del., September 4, 2002
The path of confronting Saddam is full of hazards. But the path of inaction is far more dangerous. This week, a week where we remember the sacrifice of thousands of innocent Americans made on 9-11, the choice could not be starker. Had we known that such attacks were imminent, we surely would have used every means at our disposal to prevent them and take out the plotters. We cannot wait for such a terrible event – or, if weapons of mass destruction are used, one far worse – to address the clear and present danger posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
-Sen. John Edwards (D) 9/12/02
Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, February 5, 2003
First, we must be prepared to use force again if Saddam takes threatening actions, such as trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems, threatening his neighbors, challenging allied aircraft over Iraq, or moving against his own Kurdish citizens. The credible threat to use force and, when necessary, the actual use of force, is the surest way to contain Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction program, curtail his aggression and prevent another Gulf War.
Second, so long as Iraq remains out of compliance, we will work with the international community to maintain and enforce economic sanctions. Sanctions have caused Saddam more than $120 billion — resources that would have been used to rebuild his military. The sanctions system allows Iraq to sell oil for food, for medicine, for other humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people. We have no quarrel with them. But without the sanctions, we would see the oil-for-food program become oil-for-tanks, resulting in a greater threat to Iraq’s neighbors and less food for its people.
The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with the new Iraqi government, a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people.
-Pres Clinton Desert Fox announcement December 1998
(NOTE: in response to the Desert Fox attacks, Al Queda issues a press release declaring, “We say it loud and clear that we will retaliate for what is happening to the sons of our nation in Iraq.” Immediately afterwards-according to the 911 Commission, Bin Laden authorized KSM’s 911 plot to be set in motion.)
President Bush, on the other hand, was explicit in saying the threat was not imminent:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
-Pres Bush State of The Union Jan 12, 2003
“I believe it is essential that when we see a threat, we deal with those threats before they become imminent. It’s too late if they become imminent. It’s too late in this new kind of war, and so that’s why I made the decision I made.”
-President Bush interview with Meet the Press
All this rhetoric, back and forth, and so on. Too many Americans-Chris Matthews and MSNBC especially-like to claim that since no mountainous “stockpiles” of WMD were found, there was no imminent threat of WMD attack from Saddam’s regime. Is that REALLY true?
“It was reasonable to conclude that Iraq posed an imminent threat [emphasis added]. What we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place potentially than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war,”
-1/28/04 Dr. David Kay testimony to Sen. Intel. Committee
It’s too bad MSNBC doesn’t even bother to get its facts right. Maybe they get their facts from Huffington post opeds, Daily Kos’ ranters, or other conspiracy theorists rather than just clicking to Factcheck.org.
To be fair, there was a flub from Press Sec Ari Fleicher where he got into a debate and said that Saddam had been an imminent threat, and a similar one from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, but those were both after the invasion and thus cannot be cited as examples of the Bush Administration somehow misleading people into war. To rely on those two off the cuff remarks as a crux of the Bush Doctrine would be a fictional re-writing of historical dates.
When a cable “NEWS” channel opts to present fiction as fact, is it still news or is it something else? Where does honesty fall in terms of importance on a “NEWS” channel? At MSNBC…it’s likely found in the number of ‘corrections’ that Chris Matthews does or the number of apologies that Keith Olberman makes.