Thursday, December 29, 2005

SOME LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Forgot to post my letter to the editor that appeared in my local paper on December 19. I'll post that, followed by a reply that appeared today, followed by my response to the reply, followed by a point I wanted to make about the letters but that just doesn't work as a letter to the editor.

My First Letter

We were 'lied into' Iraq War


If you want to know the truth about any given situation, just listen to what President Bush has to say about it, because it will be the opposite of the truth.

The latest example came recently when Bush said: "It is true that much of the intelligence (regarding Iraq) turned out to be wrong." Actually, the intelligence he received before the war regarding WMD and ties to al Qaeda was exactly right.

During a visit to Egypt on Feb. 24, 2001, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Saddam Hussein "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction." And on CNN on July 29 of the same year, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said that Saddam's "military forces have not been rebuilt." It is unreasonable to assume that Bush's loyal appointees Powell and Rice would have known these things without Bush himself knowing them.

The pre-war intelligence was right. Bush was wrong.

Not only that, but Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, who was the head of Iraq's WMD programs, stated unequivocally that all of Iraq's prohibited weapons were destroyed after the first Gulf War. This particular statement of Kamel's was not known to the general public until late February 2003, but Bush was clearly aware of Kamel's words and had in fact used him as a source in a speech on Oct. 7, 2002.

The pre-war intelligence was right. Bush was wrong.

According to a recent article in the National Journal, Bush was briefed by his intelligence officers on Sept. 21, 2001 (a year and a half before the Iraq invasion), that Iraq had no ties to al Qaeda. In fact, that same story says Saddam felt threatened by al Qaeda.

It's clear from this information that the pre-war intelligence was right and Bush was wrong. We were lied into this illegal, immoral war, and we need to end it now.


The Response That Appeared Today

Bush has plan to fight terrorists

In the Dec. 19 issue of the Hattiesburg American, Mr. Clinton Kirby wrote a letter titled "We were lied into Iraq War." In his letter, Mr. Kirby conveniently overlooks what he wishes to.

First, he overlooked the fact that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had established a training camp in Herat, Iraq, prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. This terrorist Zarqawi fled to Iraq from Afghanistan in 2001 when it got too hot for him there. No one stayed in Iraq without Saddam's blessing - especially a foreigner. Still, Mr. Kirby sees no connection.

Mr. Kirby uses statements made by Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, but only uses parts of statements he chooses and conveniently overlooks the fact that President Bush never said that Saddam's troops were a threat to the U.S. Bush said Saddam was a threat and, as he ordered the use of chemical warfare against his own countrymen, it is no wonder Bush considered him a mad man.

Then Mr. Kirby says that Colin Powell said Saddam had no nuclear arsenal and was no threat. Powell said there was no proof that Saddam had any nuclear weapons or a delivery system, but reiterated that there was evidence that he was trying to reconstitute his program.

This was verified after the invasion by Saddam's own scientist.

Why do Democrats hate Bush so? I tell you why. Because President Bush has a plan and they don't. Because President Bush has morals and they don't. Because President Bush has faced the fact that the War on Terror has to be fought - and President Clinton wouldn't fight it.

Democrats have no party, no plan and no hope. So Mr. Kirby and his Doom and Gloom Party keep peddling their lies in hopes that President Bush will fail. He has already failed. But if President Bush and our military fail, then I am afraid this whole country will fail to defeat terrorism.

Bill Perkins


My Response To The Response (not published yet)

Bill Perkins’ response (“Bush has plan to fight terrorists”) to my letter (“We were 'lied into' Iraq War”) contains some inaccuracies.

Perkins says Zarqawi had a training camp in “Herat, Iraq” before the war, apparently to prove that Iraq harbored al Qaeda terrorists. Aside from the fact that Herat is in Afghanistan, Zarqawi’s prewar presence in Iraq does not prove that Saddam harbored him any more than the presence of 9/11 hijackers like Mohammed Atta in the United States proves that Bush harbored them.

Perkins says I quoted Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice out of context (I didn’t--the quotes I cited were from before 9/11) but Perkins doesn’t even bother to use quotes at all, preferring instead to make his case with his own perplexing interpretation of what Bush and others said. For example, Perkins says Bush never said Saddam’s troops were a threat, only that Saddam himself was a threat. This is an absurd distinction–no leader is a threat without an army.

Perkins relies heavily on Powell’s presentation to the U.N. in February 2003 even though Powell himself recently told Barbara Walters that the presentation is a “blot”on his reputation.

Perkins asserts that “Democrats hate Bush." I cannot make such a sweeping generalization about a group made up of millions of people. But being against the war is not so much about hating Bush as it is about not hating the truth, even though the truth is that America has done something terribly wrong--invading a sovereign nation without provocation.

Perkins asserts that unlike Democrats, Bush “has a plan” and “has morals,” but I submit that merely sending Americans to kill Iraqis or to be killed by Iraqis for the foreseeable future does not qualify as a “plan” that is “moral.” Rather it is, as John Murtha of Pennsylvania (a Democrat who does have a plan–get out of Iraq) pointed out, “a flawed policy wrapped in illusion.”


And Finally, A Point I Wanted To Make But Didn't Have The Space

Until there is definitive proof that we were not lied into the Iraq war, perhaps headlines for letters to the editor should not contain quotes around what the writer says. My December 19th letter carried the headline “We were ‘lied into’Iraq war”–my phrase “lied into” was put in quotes by the editorial page editor.

Contrast that with the headline given to Bill Perkins’ December 29th response to my letter: “Bush has plan to fight terrorists.” No quotes in Perkins’ headline, even though Perkins’ letter does not contain the phrase “to fight terrorists.” Perkins does use the phrase “Bush has a plan,” but he doesn’t say what that plan is–the editorial page editor snatched the phrase “to fight terrorists” out of thin air and added it to the headline of Perkins’ letter.

But the editor could have just as easily, and just as factually, made Perkins’ headline read thusly: “Bush has plan to create more terrorists.” Of course, Perkins’ letter did not contain the phrase “to create more terrorists,” but Bush’s “plan” of wasting hundreds of billions of dollars and sending our soldiers to kill Iraqis or be killed by them is arguably doing just that–creating more terrorists.

There is just as much proof that Bush lied us into war as there is proof that Bush’s plan is to fight terrorists. So the use of quotes around “lied into” in one headline suggests that the writer of that letter (i.e., me) is untrustworthy and making a doubtful statement and the absence of quotes and tacked-on phrase in the other headline suggests that the writer (i.e., Perkins) is trustworthy and making statements that are not in doubt. In other words, the antiwar position is subtly marginalized while the pro-Bush position is normalized.

I’m not necessarily saying that this was done deliberately, but I have a feeling that it was. The liberal media just ain’t what it used to be...

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