While perusing a post at Rambling Rhodes (you might want to turn off images before pulling it up — he’s a wise ass), I got into a discussion with “Joshua” regarding Bush’s Iraq policy. Joshua argued that Bush purposefully acted to convince people that an attack from Iraq was imminent, and used that pretext to go to war there. This even after I quoted Bush’s infamous State of the Union speech, in which he pretty much said exactly the opposite. My final response in the discussion (slightly edited) bears posting:

[Joshua said:] The definition of the word ‘imminent’ is ‘existing in or inherent in’

Well there’s your problem!

Imminent: adj. 1) Likely to happen soon; about to occur. — World Book Dictionary

The statement that the danger is “growing” is not a statement that they’re going to hit us any minute now, which is what imminence would suggest. All those quotes you give actually seem to argue my side better than yours, as Bush keeps making statements that the danger is “real” and “growing” — which it was — and that we had to act before it became “imminent”.

There are a whole lot of people who argue that Global Warming is a danger. Right now, a danger. By your standard they are all liars because they know damned well that global warming is not going to kill us tomorrow, but decades or centuries from now.

Saddam directly supported terrorists, with both money and the means to train. According to the 9/11 commission he had direct ties with Al Qaeda (though not necessarily directly in planning the 9/11 attacks). Afghanistan was a cesspool of terrorist camps and training grounds. If you actively nurture anti-American terrorists and then those same terrorists attack America, you are at least partly culpable for that attack whether or not they were wearing your country’s uniform.

Terrorists are not a large cohesive force like an army. The only way to fight them en masse is to, in effect, “drain the swamp” — removing the opportunity for them to recruit, train, and plot. And that in part means convincing some countries to stop supporting them, and using “other means” to stop the ones who continue to do so.

[Joshua had argued that Saddam would not have actually attacked the USA with WMDs, because he knew that] Any country even tangentially associated with a WMD attack against the United States will be leveled.

You’re right. And they did it anyway. And now two countries that were associated with the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks have had their regimes levelled.

I’m not sure that your suggestion regarding Saddam’s reasoning is correct. Bin Laden pretty clearly thought that the US would tuck its tail between its legs and beg for mercy after the attacks. He was dead wrong — but that doesn’t change what was going through his head before the attacks. The last thing he expected was for us to roll into Afghanistan and take out the Taliban, as evidenced by the fact that right before 9/11 he spent beaucoup bucks building himself a mansion there, which he then never got to live in on account of having to run for his life. It has been argued that the reason Saddam defied the UN and the US right to the end was that he thought that his friends in France would be able to prevent a US attack. He was mistaken.

Of course you can never really know what Saddam was thinking. As for the question would Saddam Hussein have instigated that? I can only say: not directly.

PETA got in trouble for funding an environmental terrorist organisation. Their response was but we’re not funding the terrorism, we’re funding their other activities. The argument was quickly shot down, because obviously, whatever other money the environmental extremists don’t have to spend on their other activities, they can spend on their illegal activities. So to argue that Saddam did help Al Qaeda but had nothing to do with 9/11 is specious reasoning. He gave them funding; he gave them training grounds. He helped them directly, and thus helped whatever they were working on. He also knew, in rough terms, their intent: hurt America, as did everyone else in the world.

Comments are invited and encouraged

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