Lies Lies Lies
Leaving aside the central issue of whether the Bush administration lied (or at least overstated) about the Iraqi weapons of mass destructions, there’s the tangent but still compelling issue as to why people are so willing to believe the Bush administration lied (or at least overstated) about the Iraqi weapons of mass detruction. From my point of view, there are two not mutually exclusive explanations.
1) The people bitching about Bush hate him with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, and will use any excuse to bring him down. This is naturally the position of the conservatives and most people who supported the war. It also has the virtue of being true: People who hate Dubya really hate Dubya. It would be interesting to find some way to gauge whether people who truly hate Dubya hate him more intensely than the people who truly hated Clinton hated him; possibly the best way to discover this would be to lock them all in a very large box, toss in some bludgeoning implements, and see who eventually crawls out of the box’s bloody interior. Naturally, I’m for doing this right this very second.
2) The Bush administration appears to many people to be patronizing, guarded and stingy with the truth, an appearance based on fact that the adminstration is patronizing, guarded and stingy with the truth; it’s not even so much that the Bush folks lie as it is about the overall impression that they don’t feel obligated to share what they know with the likes of us. Let’s face it, any presidential administration that wants to classify information already in the public domain is not an administration that engenders many feelings of trust and goodwill.
The first of these is of course nothing the Bush people can do much about — Bush haters would hate Bush even if he were to up the top marginal rate to 80%, line the pockets of the poor with gold, and ban oil drilling within 1000 nautical miles of the United States shoreline. But the second of these is definitely of their own doing. If you want people to trust you, don’t give them the distinct impression that their role is to shut up and unquestioningly do as they’re told, because you know what’s best for them, and that should be enough.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m entirely at peace with our having gone to war with Iraq. It was the right thing to do, and I’m glad we did it, and I’m glad that Bush decided it needed doing. But I’m also perfectly peachy keen with the Bushies being accused of dishonesty and duplicity regarding what was the primary reason for going to war, and taking their lumps therein. I don’t expect it’ll make the Bush administration any more open — rather the opposite — but I think it’ll remind people that we should be able to hold our government accountable not only for its actions, but for the stated reasons for those actions as well. Despite the whining of Conservatives crying foul, this expectation of accountability is not a bad thing.