An examination of Rethuglican revisionism

Orwell Goes to War Des Moines Register Editorial

Friday 08 October 2004

We live in Orwellian times, where obvious falsehoods are asserted brazenly as the truth.

The day after the final report of the Iraq Survey Group confirmed that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no active programs to produce them, Vice President Dick Cheney blithely asserted that the report justified the invasion of Iraq.

No, Mr. Vice President, the report shattered the last forlorn hope that the war was necessary. It established that Iraq posed no threat to the United States before the 2003 invasion or any time in the foreseeable future. President Bush, on the very day the report was issued, said, "There was a risk, a real risk, that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons or materials or information to terrorist networks."

No, Mr. President, you don't seem to get it. Saddam had no weapons or materials to give. The chemical and biological weapons were destroyed years ago, and Iraq's capacity to develop nuclear weapons was actually deteriorating at the time of the invasion. Not to mention that Saddam had no meaningful ties with terrorists. On Thursday, Bush dropped the reference to weapons but continued to insist Saddam had knowledge of weapons that could have been given to terrorists. That's knowledge anyone can get off the Internet.

When the United States was gearing up to invade, United Nations arms inspectors were in Iraq. If they had been allowed a few more months to complete their work, they would have discovered what the post-invasion inspectors now report - that Iraq had no stockpiles or active programs involving weapons of mass destruction. But President Bush insisted the invasion couldn't wait. He described a "grave and immediate threat" from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. During the futile search for weapons after the invasion, the words changed in an Orwellian rewriting of the justification. "Immediate threat" was downgraded to just a "threat" and then to a "gathering threat." Now it's clear there was no threat, gathering or otherwise.

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