Wednesday, June 06, 2007

This Is Really Happening

After the gratuitous display of chest thumping and galling ignorance on parade during the last GOP debate, I noted (somewhat tongue in cheek) about serial offender Mitt Romney:

Romney, of course, has provided us with multiple examples of his ignorance - and something tells me he's not quite done yet.

Well, Mitt "Double Gitmo" Romney - the man who would be President at a time when our country needs sage leadership to begin unraveling Bush's many blunders - made me look prescient last night:

TOM FAHEY, NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER: ...Governor Romney, I wanted to start by asking you a question on which every American has formed an opinion.

We have lost 3,400 troops, civilian casualties are even higher, and the Iraqi government does not appear ready to provide for the security of its own country. Knowing everything you know right now, was it a mistake for us to invade Iraq?

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: Well, the question is, kind of, a non sequitur, if you will. What I mean by that -- or a null set -- that is that if you're saying let's turn back the clock and Saddam Hussein had open[ed] up his country to IAEA inspectors and they'd come in and they'd found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn't be in the conflict we're in. But he didn't do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in.

Someone should probably tell Hans Blix that it would have been different if he were allowed into Iraq before the invasion. Then the US and British intelligence services could have given Blix intel about all the "known" WMD sites so Blix's team could unearth the truth that Romney insists we so desperately needed. Though it's highly likely Blix would have ended up saying something like this:

The United Nations chief weapons inspector has criticised the quality of the intelligence given to him by the United States and Britain about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Hans Blix told the BBC that his teams followed up US and British leads at suspected sites across Iraq, but found nothing when they got there. [...]

In a BBC interview on Thursday, Mr Blix said he had been disappointed with the tip-offs provided by British and US intelligence.

"Only in three of those cases did we find anything at all, and in none of these cases were there any weapons of mass destruction, and that shook me a bit, I must say."

He said UN inspectors had been promised the best information available.

"I thought - my God, if this is the best intelligence they have and we find nothing, what about the rest?"

Just in case you thought Romney misspoke, or was relying on a technicality regarding the IAEA [actually, the IAEA was in Iraq before the invasion as well, as Henley points out in the comments], he confirms his stunning lack of knowledge:

FAHEY: Governor, thank you, but the question was, knowing what you know right now -- not what you knew then, what you know right now -- was it a mistake for the United States to invade Iraq?

ROMNEY: Well, I answered the question by saying it's a non- sequitur. It's a non -- null set kind of question, because you can go back and say, "If we knew then what we know now, by virtue of inspectors having been let in and giving us that information, by virtue of if Saddam Hussein had followed the U.N. resolutions, we wouldn't be having this discussion."

So it's a hypothetical that I think is an unreasonable hypothetical.

Can we really afford another incurious novice in the White House - whose gut reflex is to start wars first and ask questions later? Before you answer that, it should be noted that another GOP frontrunner is vying with Romney for that descriptive. Here's Rudy Giuliani - who claims that he understands terrorism better than anyone running for President:

FAHEY: Mayor Giuliani, same question to you. Knowing what you know right now, was it a good decision?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Absolutely the right thing to do. It's unthinkable that you would leave Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq and be able to fight the war on terror.

And the problem is that we see Iraq in a vacuum. Iraq should not be seen in a vacuum. Iraq is part of the overall terrorist war against the United States.

The problem the Democrats make is they're in denial.

Wow. Just wow. Why exactly would it be unthinkable that you could try to weaken al-Qaeda and reduce the appeal of extremist terrorism while NOT invading Iraq? The opposite, of course, is true: our effort to marginalize extremism and lessen the ability, appeal and reach of terrorists would be greatly enhanced had we never invaded Iraq. James Fallows has a solid response to this misguided contention.

The question remains: will the media expose this dangerous thinking - a mindset that has so damaged this country that even Brent Scowcroft and Noam Chomsky agree?

One of the few foreign policy achievements of the Bush administration has been the creation of a near consensus among those who study international affairs, a shared view that stretches, however improbably, from Noam Chomsky to Brent Scowcroft, from the antiwar protesters on the streets of San Francisco to the well-upholstered office of former secretary of state James Baker. This new consensus holds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a calamity, that the presidency of George W. Bush has reduced America's standing in the world and made the United States less, not more, secure, leaving its enemies emboldened and its friends alienated. Paid-up members of the nation's foreign policy establishment, those who have held some of the most senior offices in the land, speak in a language once confined to the T-shirts of placard-wielding demonstrators. They rail against deception and dishonesty, imperialism and corruption. The only dispute between them is over the size and depth of the hole into which Bush has led the country he pledged to serve. [emphasis mine throughout]

Or will so-called liberal outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times continue to eviscerate what's left of their journalistic credibility by covering the frivolous and the fatuous, while giving equal time and undue respect to bluster and rank stupidity masquerading as steely resolve and leadership.

Despite the enormity of what's involved, I remain skeptical. We non-professionals in the blogosphere are gonna have to work overtime. Just watch your language.

(hat tip Atrios)

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