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July 11, 2003
ALEX KNAPP ON THE "BUSH LIED" MEME:
So what you're left with is the Administration making a decision to rely on the word of British intelligence. In other words, they relied on a long-term ally and friend, whose military has conducted many joint operations with us and with whom intelligence is shared on a regular basis. The British still claim that their intelligence is correct. So the headline of this article is just completely inaccurate. But not only that, there is no indication that Mr. Bush himself had any knowledge of this discussion. In other words, the evidence that Bush lied? ZERO.
Heaven knows I'm no Bush supporter, but if this is the best the Democrats can do, then they're going to keep losing for a long, long time. This was one sentence in one speech, people! The Bush Administration's case for going into Iraq was a lot more than this statement. Hell, I wouldn't even have remembered Bush had said it if it hadn't sparked so much brouhaha. This was not a vital part of Bush's case. It was hardly part of it at all.
Look, Bush is vulnerable on a lot of issues related to national security: overextension of troops, Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan, ties to the Saudis, a pathetic Homeland Security effort, the apparent willingness to go ahead and let N. Korea have nukes, and more. And what are the Democrats doing? Focusing their attention on this non-issue, and a little bit on the continuing conflict in Iraq (ie criticizing without offering any credible alternative--and "send in more troops" is not a credible alternative). But what the Democrats certainly are not offering is a credible foreign policy, particularly as regards terrorism. Instead, they offer petty, sniping bullshit.
Surely, the opposition party can do better than this. But instead, they're so blinded by their hatred of Bush that they're not accomplishing shit, nor are they offering any constructive alternative to his policies.
Damningly accurate criticism, especially from a guy who says he's already decided not to vote for Bush on other grounds.
UPDATE: Howard Kurtz notes:
Bush is driving the Democrats and the liberals crazy. They don't understand why everyone doesn't see what they see. It's not so much that they want to refight the war over the war -- some supporting toppling Saddam -- but this is obviously an opening they can use to tarnish the president's image on a national security issue. The problem is, most folks don't seem to care.
I think that people are tuning them out because their motivation is so transparent, and because they've piled on a bunch of issues like this, only to have them collapse one after another. It's the whole "crying wolf" thing.