Bush Derangement Syndrome

Only partially tongue-in-cheek, Charles Krauthammer , a former psychiatrist and medical researcher, discovered a new psychiatric condition, Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS): “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush.” This syndrome is perhaps a lingering consequence of the contested 2000 election. There remains a hard-core subset of Democrats, usually Democratic activists, who in spite of all the re-counts are incapable of believing that Bush was legitimately elected president. Even Bush’s 2004 election win by an absolute majority (greater than 50% of the votes) did little to assuage the anti-Bush anger. An absolute majority was something even Bill Clinton was unable to accomplish in two election victories. Indeed, there are those to this day who are convinced that Senator John Kerry really won Ohio and would have had an Electoral College majority even with a minority of popular votes. Perhaps this lingering 2004 anger is aggravated by the early exit-poll results that pointed to a Kerry victory. It is hard to loose. It is even harder to loose, when you believe you have victory in your grasp.

This anger has morphed in to the “Bush lied, people died” argument that Bush deliberately lied about the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to invade Iraq. The argument is at war with itself. If Bush knew there were no WMD and that such information would inevitably come out after a war, it would have been a very clumsy and foolish lie. Moreover, there is little plausible reason to go into Iraq except if that it involved American security. Iraq would have been happy to sell us all the oil we want for a lot less cost than a war. It is enlightening to read pre-war far-Left literature arguing that the US should not go to war because of the large number or troops that would be exposed to Saddams’s biological and chemical weapons.

It is indisputable that there was a pre-war, bi-partisan consensus that Saddam was at least actively seeking WMD. Consider the following pre-war quotes:

“Saddam’s goal … is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed.” — Madeline Albright, Secretary of State for President Bill Clinton.

“I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons … I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out.” — William Cohen, Secretary of Defense for President Bill Clinton.

“The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.” — President Bill Clinton.

“There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years.” — Jay Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.” — Senator Hillary Clinton.

“I want to be real clear about the connection with terrorists. I’ve seen a lot of evidence on this. There are extensive contacts between Saddam Hussein’s government and al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.” Joseph Lieberman, Senator from Connecticut and 2004 Democratic candidate for vice-president.

Were all these people conspiring to abet Bush in a nefarious lie?

There are only two ways to look at this consensus and to make the argument that Bush lied about WMD to get us into war in Iraq. The first is the most excusable. People making this argument may be ailing from acute BDS and are not responsible for their babbling. The second is to internally acknowledge the hollowness of the argument, but to nonetheless exploit it for temporary political advantage in spite of the fact that it serves to undermine the war effort. If one has legitimate criticisms about the Iraq War, there is a moral duty to responsibly voice them. The argument that “Bush lied” is not responsible.

For additional quotations check here and here.

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