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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The "Madman" Line

One of Bush's lines that really bugs me is that he could've taken "the word of a madman" or decided to "defend America" by invading Iraq. Given that choice, he'll defend America every time. It's a mainstay of the stump speech, and it made its way into Bush's convention speech too:

Do I forget the lessons of September 11th and take the word of a madman, or do I take action to defend our country? Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time.

This is an effort to marginalize war opponents as people who somehow found Saddam Hussein trustworthy--those idiots!

In fact, people who didn't want to go to war instead preferred continuing the weapons inspections, and the idea of inspecting someone strongly suggests a lack of trust. The Republicans like to dismiss the inspections as useless, as Dick Cheney has.

This is all by way of an article in this summer's Foreign Affairs entitled "Containing Iraq: Sanctions Worked."

The failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has prompted much handwringing over the problems with prewar intelligence. Too little attention has been paid, however, to the flip slide of the picture: that the much-maligned UN-enforced sanctions regime actually worked. Contrary to what critics have said, we now know that containment helped destroy Saddam Hussein's war machine and his capacity to produce weapons.

If there's been much discussion of this article in the blogosphere or the larger media, I've missed it, and it would be nice if someone could locate a full text version of the article (only a 500-word preview is online at the FA site). Maybe it's not been a big deal since related issues have been hashed out so many times?

I've been meaning to post that for a little but since I think that issue goes right to the heart of whether Bush made the right call on invasion. Of course, Kerry has twisted himself in such a pretzel that he can't make much use of it, but it might be helpful for consistent war opponents like me to use as evidence in debates.

OK, enough of that. If you didn't read Atrios over the long weekend, don't miss this video clip.