The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Monday, May 02, 2005


Instapundit's little anti-NYT temper tantrum refuted by . . . Wolfowitz and Feith?

Glenn argues that yes, Bush was talking about democracy promotion as a before-the-fact justification for the invasion of Iraq. To make his case, he points to a post of his from a few weeks ago, quoting Bush at the UN general assembly in 2002, in the 2003 SotU address and an appearance on Newshour a month later.

The problem, though, is that you have to read what Bush actually said. The State of the Union Address is perhaps the most prepared and carefully revised speech in American discourse (consider the care that went towards crafting the famous "16 words"). Note that in all three cases quoted, including the SotU, Bush has a chance to say the D-word... and doesn't say it! It's not hard to guess the motivation here: Defining down "liberty" and "free" as "no longer ruled by Saddam". He had chances to talk about democracy promotion, and at each chance he hedged.

Where were the right's great powers of parsing -- so on display in the Clinton years -- when something as inconsequential as the justification for war was involved?



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