The President Is To Blame

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chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay has convincingly made the
case that pre-war intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq was highly faulty. The Bush administration relied upon and
accepted the validity of intelligence reports that posited Iraqi
possession of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons materials.
These reports have not been borne out by the evidence, as most libertarians
expected might very well be the case. No weapons materials of the
type alleged to exist have been found, nor is there any evidence
that such materials were moved or destroyed prior to the US invasion.

Bush administration played a dangerous gambit in emphasizing the
rationale of stopping a dictator who possessed dangerous weapons
or their precursors. The Bush administration lost this gambit. That
is the way of dangerous gambits. Now the Bush administration must

coalition governments involved in the invasion of Iraq offered many
rationales for the invasion. Bush could have chosen to simply stick
with those that would not very possibly be refuted once the war
was over: for example, Bush might have claimed that Iraq had to
be attacked because Iraq posed a future nuclear threat that was
particularly pernicious because of the strong possibility of future
co-operation between the Iraqis and Muslim terrorists planning to
attack the West. Bush did say something like this, but it was never
the emphasis. The emphasis was alleged weapons of mass destruction.
these were not found, the central rationale offered for fighting
a war that has cost countless lives, and billions of dollars, is
shown to be almost totally without grounds.

this is not reason to kick a politician out of office, what is?
Maybe failing in this way, and also tacking on absurd plans for
Mars missions, removing the United States' southern border, and
generally spending Americans' money as if there is no tomorrow?

current excuse being offered: the Commander in Chief is not to blame,
it was the fault of his underlings. The President, poor innocent
that he is, was led astray by intelligence personnel, themselves
probably due to be claimed free of wrongdoing because of "the system";
or (inevitably) because of some misdeed that is decried as ultimately
the fault of that philanderer, Bill Clinton.

am sure Bill Clinton is to blame. But we can't do much to
him at this point; more importantly, he is not alone in his guilt,
nor even principally to blame. Because whatever Clinton's degree
of guilt, the present Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces, who
had much opportunity to develop a proper level of distrust for intelligence
reports after the failures that led up to 9-11, and whom we have
no reason to believe left the central intelligence decisions concerning
Iraq to individuals he did not appoint – this man, George Bush,
he is to blame. And greatly so.

argue otherwise is to invent a vast new victimology that betokens
the death of the concept of responsibility in America. "The President
didn't mean to invade Iraq, his intelligent agents made him
do it, please don't blame that wonderful Christian man who, after
all, reads the Bible a good deal and has a very multicultural view
of the future of this country! Presidents are hardly responsible
for their decisions when they haven't personally appointed every
single intelligence agent involved!" I suppose, why not. We have
tried destroying the concept of responsibility relative to every
poor or weak person in the world; we might as well now reverse things,
starting at the top of the heap, and show that the rich and powerful
are equally without blame.

2, 2004

Verhaegh [send him
] is an instructor in philosophy at Kent State University.
Here is his philosophy website.


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