PrestoPundit

DOUGLAS FEITH HAS A TERRIBLY INSIGHTFUL

Posted by PrestoPundit on 05/27/2008

article on how Bush’s rhetorical 180 on the war in Iraq helped cripple support for the war at home:

In the fall of 2003, a few months after Saddam
Hussein’s overthrow, U.S. officials began to despair of finding
stockpiles of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The resulting
embarrassment caused a radical shift in administration rhetoric about
the war in Iraq. 

President Bush no longer stressed Saddam’s record or
the threats from the Baathist regime as reasons for going to war.
Rather, from that point forward, he focused almost exclusively on the
larger aim of promoting democracy. This new focus compounded the damage
to the president’s credibility that had already been caused by the
CIA’s errors on Iraqi WMD. The president was seen as distancing himself
from the actual case he had made for removing the Iraqi regime from
power.

This change can be quantified: In the year beginning
with his first major speech about Iraq – the Sept. 12, 2002 address to
the U.N. General Assembly – Mr. Bush delivered nine major talks about
Iraq. There were, on average, approximately 14 paragraphs per speech on
Saddam’s record as an enemy, aggressor, tyrant and danger, with only
three paragraphs on promoting democracy. In the next year – from
September 2003 to September 2004 – Mr. Bush delivered 15 major talks
about Iraq. The average number of paragraphs devoted to the record of
threats from Saddam was one, and the number devoted to democracy
promotion was approximately 11.

The stunning change in rhetoric appeared to confirm
his critics’ argument that the security rationale for the war was at
best an error, and at worst a lie.

Read the whole thing.  I must say I get no happiness discovering folks once inside the Bush Administration confirming things the non-Bushie conservatives were saying at the time.  Long time readers of PrestoPundit are well familiar with my ongoing crusade against the Woodrow Wilson conception of the Iraq war.

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