Hey, fans of political spin: Here's the latest self-defense from the Bush Administration, scrambling to explain why it sent hundreds of thousands of young Americans off to kill and be killed in Iraq when it had no solid evidence that there was any need to do so:
Condoleeza Rice, George W. Bush's National Security Advisor, justified the invasion and occupation of Iraq by saying, "nothing pointed to a reversal of Saddam Hussein's very active efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, to have very good programs in weapons of mass destruction."
This argument is fallacious on the order of the lawyer who forced someone to answer yes or no to the question, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" Do you remember how the Republicans used to make fun of Bill Clinton when he engaged in this kind of legalistic mumbo jumbo? Of course, she made this comment on Fox News, known for a conservative team of ex-journalists who tend to fall for this kind of argument.
Lack of evidence that a crime has not occurred is not the same thing as evidence that a crime has occurred. If there's a man who lives next door to me who has a history of embezzling money from work, would I be justified in having him arrested on suspicion of doing it again, just because I didn't have any evidence that he was not?
For that matter, the fact is I have no evidence that George W. Bush has stopped driving drunk. Nothing concrete points to a reversal of George W. Bush's very real history as a convicted drunk driver, to drive a car while under the influence of alcohol. Shall we go and throw Bush in jail on the lack of evidence that he has completely and forever cleaned up?
Of course not! This isn't the American way of doing things, although Bush and company would like us to forget it. Here in America, our legal and ethical traditions are based upon giving the benefit of the doubt, when there is a lack of evidence that we should do otherwise. If there is no evidence that a person or group of persons has committed a crime, we do not assume that there is a crime and start the punishment. That's just not the way Americans do things.
It turns out that the Bush Administration had no solid evidence to suggest that Iraq had any weapons of mass destruction at all! It turns out that George W. Bush and his friends in high places were just working on a hunch, a guess. Should American foreign policy be planned according to guesswork?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not crying any tears for Saddam Hussein. No, I'm thinking about the hundreds of thousands of young Americans who have had their lives torn apart, and sometimes ended by this war. I'm thinking about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who were killed in Bush's invasion. I'm thinking about the hundreds of billions of dollars in debt that Bush is giving to our children and grandchildren so that he can finance his Middle East Crusade.
Bush says it's no big deal. Bush says it will all come out in the wash. We'll leave it to you to decide whether America can afford any longer to have a President who is so casual with the money and lives of the American people he is sworn to represent.
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