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Monday, May 08, 2006


Donald Rumsfeld and the "certainty" lie

The corporate media, kicked in the rear by the latest flagrant, public attempt by Donald Rumsfeld to rewrite history in responding to the "L word" question from Ray McGovern, is actually now exposing Rumsfeld's long history of similar behavior - categorically denying having made statements that he did, in fact, make. Poor Don, he's "old school"; he hasn't come to fully appreciate the power of Google.

The thing about this issue, as illustrated in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article on the subjects of Iraqi WMD and on Iraqi ties to al Qaeda, is that it demonstrates the one clear, incontrovertible lie that was told by practically everyone in the Administration, from Bush on down. And that was the lie of certainty. If George Bush, or Donald Rumsfeld, or Colin Powell, or Dick Cheney, or any of them had said, "We think that Iraq has stockpiles of WMD," it would be hard to prove that was a lie. Personally, I believe even that was a lie, as I have argued previously on multiple occasions (see below). But it would be hard to prove. But when they said that they knew Iraq had stockpiles of WMD, that went into the realm of absolute, provable lie. And that difference was no minor issue, no simple "slip" on the part of the warmongers. No, it was very much a deliberate choice.

Here's Rumsfeld, back in Sept. 2003, already trying to backtrack on that certainty:

"I said, 'We know they're in that area,' " referring to the weapons. "I should have said, 'I believe we're in that area. Our intelligence tells us they're in that area,' and that was our best judgment."
But that's not what he said, and it was no accident.

Here's something I wrote (in response to another Rumsfeld quote, naturally) back in February, 2004:

What has been proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that the claims of certainty and "no doubt" by the Bush and Blair administrations were a complete and utter fabrication. And of course it is those claims on which the justification for "immediate threat requiring preemptive action" (in the realm of international law), or "just war" (in the realm of morality) rest.
War proponents lied about their certainty because only by doing so could they get the war they wanted. And without question they knew what they were doing. It's really that simple.

While I'm at it, on the point that the administration didn't even really believe that Iraq had WMD, I'll reprint something I wrote in September, 2003:

If you did go to war because you thought there were WMD which might find their way into the hands of terrorists (the ostensible purpose for the war, since it was 100% clear that Iraq itself had no way of attacking the U.S. with any weapons at all), then you would have spent months preparing for an immediate, massive effort to seize them and prevent them from getting into the hands of terrorists. Instead, we saw a decidedly lackadaisical search, with known nuclear facilities left unguarded, teams not even ready to go for months after the fall of Baghdad, etc.

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