"How come nobody's been fired yet?"


That's the question the NY Post's Robert George asks in a smart column on the weapons of mass destruction snafu. He calls the failure to talk straight about bad intelligence info "a real embarrassment to the image of the United States, and potentially a colossal one—at a time when that image needs to be strongest."

If the public has reason to doubt the accuracy of the advice and information the president is receiving, they will become increasingly skeptical of the support and sacrifices he asks of them.

Thus, it is in Bush's own best interests—political and diplomatic—to get this matter straightened out.

At stake, right now, are no less than the credibility of the nation's intelligence apparatus, the word of the president and the integrity of United States. It's time for some accountability.

As interesting as what's being said here is who's saying it–George is a conservative, GOP loyalist, not your father's Bush-basher.

NEXT: Spoils of War

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  1. Well, it seems to me that…

    Oh, what’s the point in posting? Most people who complain about not finding MWD (myself included) were against the war from the start, and most people who aren’t that upset by not finding them were for the war. Any argument over issues other than “Should we have gone to war?” is just a proxy for “Should we have gone to war?”

  2. kevincount:

    They may be cliched, but they refer to real-world phenomena and are relevant to current, concrete issues. We could make up new names to describe them every six months, which would amount to the same things as the PC renaming of crippled-handicapped-disabled-differently abled-handicapable…. Or are you saying that neocons don’t exist (or are a “code-word” for Jews), or that chickenhawkism (and laptop bravado) isn’t a phenomenon worth commenting on?

    I guess you can add my cliches to the list along with:
    “against his own people”
    “attacked his neighbors”
    “world’s worst leaders/world’s worst weapons”
    “9-11 changed everything”
    “either with us or with the evildoers”
    “moral equivalence”
    “blame America first”

    As for state capitalism, of course no such thing exists. The Fortune 500 are just the winners in a free market, none of their profit comes from government intervention, and the only beneficiaries of the “mixed economy” are welfare mothers. And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

  3. speaking of orwell, perhaps you should actually read “Politics and the English Language” –


  4. Not so, thoreau! There was a time when I was undecided on the war. On the one hand was the horror of the Saddam regime, and on the other were the horrors of a war (and postwar). What clinched it for me was the realization that I couldn’t trust this administration to act truthfully and responsibly in its dealings with the American people, and in its governance of Iraq. So for those fence sitters who ended up being pro-war because of their faith in Bush’s character and honesty, this debate matters quite a bit.

  5. Joe-

    Lately, whenever I participate in a war-related forum on Reason, it seems like the debates always evolve into proxies for “Should we have gone to war?” It might start with “See, I told you this war was not supported by the evidence” or it might start with “Some people just can’t admit that good things came of this war.”

    Then somebody ends up calling me a liberal Democrat. Not that I care too much (some of my best friends are liberal Democrats) but they clearly intend it as an insult.

    That said, I do agree with you that the reliability of our intelligence is an important matter, but an answer concerning our intelligence on WMD probably won’t change too many minds about the war now that it has already happened, regardless of what that answer might be.

  6. I say support for this war is a mile wide and an inch deep outside a hard core of world-remaking ideologues. Remember the “I can’t believe I’m a hawk club?”

  7. “At stake, right now, are no less than the credibility of the nation’s intelligence apparatus”

    As if there was any credibility there to begin with.

  8. GETTING CLOSER: What will the political consequences be if a) Saddam is captured and b) we get real new intelligence and data on the Iraqi WMD program? I think that’s when president Bush gets out his saw and cuts off that big, high branch his Democrat opponents are now sitting on.

  9. It’s still a little to say definitively that the lying liar was lying.

  10. i smell a political trap for the anti-war camp, they have taken the cheese and bush will laugh his ass off when they “finally” uncover the crate of anthrax.

    as a pro-war person who hates war and is always glad to see healthy debate it pisses me off how frigging stupid 90 percent of the anti-war camp is!

  11. kevincount:

    I have actually read the essay. I’m surprised you have. “Cliched” is not equivalent to “meaningless.” If I seem to use certain words a lot, it might reflect the fact that their referents appear so much in the real world. Rhetorically denouncing a political term as a “cliche” or as Newspeak jargon does not destroy its validity or usefulness in describing reality.

    The people who get so hot and bothered about the terms “neocon” or “state capitalism,” I suspect, are really in denial about the REAL WORLD PHENOMENA these terms describe. Maybe the Orwell allusion that hits closest to home for you would be the attempt, by eradicating certain words, to make thought about certain concrete events impossible.

  12. yeah, they’re setting themselves up for the fall. the WMD were there all along. muwahhahahahahahah!

  13. Nobody lost their job over 9/11 related mistakes, why is anyone surprised that no one has lost their job over this?

    It’s the government. Merely doing your job badly isn’t reason enough to boot you.

  14. cinquo:

    Yeah, I’m surprised Bush’s proconsul in Iraq hasn’t “discovered” (wink, wink) weapons of mass destruction already. They must be waiting for the most politically opportune moment to “find” them.

    I’m surprised that Bill Kristol is among the victims of Bush’s “rope a dope” strategy, though–either that or an extremely selfless devotee to the cause of Bush’s reelection. That most warlike of neocon chickenhawks has already made moves to publicly dissasociate himself from prewar WMD claims and cut his losses. Is this just a pose, a suicide mission for the sake of the Party, when he really knows the WMDs are there? Or did the chief of the war party, whose moles permeate the civilian leadership of the DOD, just turn out to be the Judas Iscariot of the New American Century?

  15. As soon as Saddam knew than Bush would be our president, he started hiding the WMD because he knew he could not BS the republicans like he could the democrats, nor could he buy conivance with a few well placed campaign donations.

  16. kevin count of cliched and/or meaningless abstractions:

    war party

    = 3

    new low, and you forgot to blame “state capitalism” which would give you a solid 4.

  17. If there were weapons in Iraq in any quantity the biggest concern ought to be that they’ve been spread about by now. The principal objective of this war was to secure and destroy those weapons. By what do we measure success, or even mission accomplished? Does one declare victory against an army that barely fought? I have heard it repeated so often that the war in Iraq was a success that it must be true.

  18. as an anti-war person who loves war. Just wanted to say that.

  19. trainwreck: The principal objective of this war was the destruction of Saddam’s regime.

  20. …and always has been, and will always remain so, unless the military actually achieves any of its other objectives, at which time the development of an Iraqi democracy/capture of nonconventional weapons/spreading of democratic ideas to other Middle Eastern Countries will be recognized as having always been the principal objective.

  21. cinquo,

    And the principal stated justification was the WMD.

    Gene 6-Pack,

    Wow, that interpretation should count as an interesting addition to the “Was Saddam rational?” debate!

  22. Sometimes reading these posts about the war is like watching a WWII documentary written from the point of view of the Germans.

    Time will tell.

  23. 1. i didn’t say cliched equaled meaningless. I said that you use cliched and/or meaningless jargon on a regular basis.

    2. i don’t get hot and bothered by “neocon” or “state capitalism” particualry — but by sloppy, lazy thinkers such as yourself, who simply steal other’s buzzwords and then pat yourself on the back for being so clever.

    3. is “neocon” just a word for struassians? then why not just refer to these people by name. or is it “jewish republicans” or “zionist hawks”? all four words are used interchangably with “neocon” but are more concrete on their own. because it has mulitiple meanings “neocon” is jargon and garbage.

    4. is “state capitalism” just your hatred for the fortune 500? then simply identify the Fortune 500 as the target of your wrath. or give us another definition, as this also has multiple meanings – communists decribe the Soviets as “state capitalism” but the US economy and the Soviet economy are clearly not the same, etc etc. it is a garbage word, something that smells of the 1930s bullshit jargon that orwell was wise enough to point out.

    5. since you know this from reading orwell, that means you are being deliberatly deceptive, which means you should not be taken seriously..

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