May 31, 2004

The Buck Never Stops

Today I opened an e-mail with a list of quotes from Clinton and various other people talking about stopping Saddam Hussein from gaining weapons of mass destruction and so forth. For example:

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." -- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." - Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

There were quite a number of quotes saying essentially that if Saddam Hussein ever threatened the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, we would kick his ass. And I'm reading this stuff and then at the bottom it says, "Send this to every one you know, the liberal media won't say it..." And I'm thinking, say what?

I'm thinking, why are we talking about Bill Clinton? He's a figure from the last century. Are the Bush loyalists so desperate now that they have to blame the catastrophe in Iraq on Clinton?

What do I care about Bill Clinton? It's 2004. Yeah, sure, the policies under Clinton toward Iraq were indefensible. What does that have to do with Bush's outrageous invasion now? Is that supposed to justify it? Are they saying that Clinton would have invaded Iraq if history had been different and the Constitution had been amended to allow him to run for a third term and he had still been in office now? Is this a sort of retro-pre-emptive accusation of possession with intent?

The item was sent to me on a mailing list of many people, and I didn't really want to disturb these people in their homes who had never heard of me or asked to hear from me, but just happened to be on a mailing list with me. But I also saw some names on the list of people who would have been as outraged as me, so I sent off an answer. If you are going to send me garbage like that, you must not be offended if I respond.

Obviously, anyone in the world can say they will take all necessary action to defend the United States against an unprovoked attack by Iraq or any other country using weapons of mass destruction. That is a far cry from launching an invasion on a country that does not present a threat to the United States and can't begin to defend itself against an invasion. The "threat" from Iraq was more than under control under the brutal policies of the Clinton administration. None of it begins to justify the barbarous and incompetent action undertaken by Bush and his neocon mentors.

Here is my response:

Are the following statements supposed to put the blame for the war on someone previous to the Bush administration, which did, in fact launch the war?

Why is it they want power and authority but always want to put the responsibility on someone else, someone before them, someone under them?

What happened to the idea that the person in command takes responsibility? If you are in command, and something happened under you, such as false intelligence that led to a war on false pretenses, or tortures taking place under your authority, or failures to heed intelligence about an impending terrorist attack and take action, it is not enough to say, "We didn't know. We are launching an investigation into who is responsible." If you are in command, you are responsible. That is the burden of command. If you can't take the responsibility, then give it up.

What corporation would allow its chief executive to pass the buck? What general would blame a loss on his underlings?

None of the statements below by these people or anyone else take the responsiblity off Bush for his war. The president always has to make his own decisions in the face of all kinds of disagreement under him and around him. And when he does make a decision, he has to take responsibility for it. That's what being the president means.

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