Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Imminent threat issue

Spinsanity has a few good paragraphs on the "imminent threat" misquote by the press and how it is hardening into fact, to be used against Bush. All the links are very useful, keep thme at hand because this will remain as an issue, Bush’s opponents will not let it die; the Hell with the facts.

Discussions - 2 Comments

If the point here is to be factual, then be factual. What does "imminent" mean? And is it possible that although the word "imminent" rarely came out of the mouths of folks in the Bush administration (but it did, in fact, come out of their mouths with respect to Iraq on a few occasions, see here, even though for the sake of argument I’ll concede that these were slips of the tongue; see here), that they still said that the danger to Iraq was imminent? I mean, remember the "depends on the meaning of what ’is’ is" ridicule? Two points about this: parsing phrases is dishonest. The administration did try to create the impression that Iraq had dangerous weapons and was prepared to use them. Was there an imminent threat during the Cuban missle crisis (a comparison used by the administration)? Imminent enough to put us at the brink of war.

Secondly, though, does the administration really want to get into word games here? In a sense they already have: "you can’t prove that we said the word ’imminent.’" Give me a break. The administration tries to convince the American people that there is a serious threat of "mushroom clouds" and biological attacks, and when the evidence doesn’t appear to be there, they turn around and say that the precise words they used make an actual difference with respect to the case. This is exactly the kind of silliness that got Clinton a reputation for not being trustworthy. I suppose that Bush can draw strength from the fact that most people still would have voted for Clinton a third time despite this reputation.

Now if there is a serious point to be made here -- that military invasions are justified and will be pursued by this administration even though the traditional forms of "imminence" will not be present -- then the administration should make that case. The problem is that this is a) likely to be an insane military strategy, b) not likely to be very popular, c) likely to require good intelligence to justify the attacks, and d) really just a reinterpretation of imminence rather than a rejection of the term.

So, I suppose it depends on what the meaning of is imminence is.

Brett, Go sale your snake oil somewhere else cause WE ain’t buying it nor is the VAST majority of the American people!

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