Cornered, Bush Snaps Back

Bush <a title="Bush Forcefully Attacks Critics
of His Strategy in Iraq – New York Times” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/11/international/middleeast/11cnd-bush.html?ei=5094&en=80f33f18ca70c64d&hp=&ex=1131771600&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print”>gave a speech today showing that he’s resorting to the only tactic he seems able to wield: when faced with facts, attack someone. In this case, he’s refuting critics’ (Democrats’) claims that he and his administration misled the country into war in Iraq. Here’s the phrase you’re going to hear over and over and over:

“That’s why more then a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power,” Mr. Bush said.

Seems pretty forceful, but as always it’s the framing: as I understand it, Cheney’s Office of Special Plans and the White House Iraq Group cherry-picked the intelligence before the House and Senate saw it, so those Democrats that voted to give the president the option to use force (which, by the way, was not a command to go to war) saw the intel that the Bush administration wanted them to see.

I find Bush’s arrogrance especially galling, saying:

“While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decisions or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began,” the president said in a Veterans Day speech in Tobyhanna, Pa.

Who’s rewriting history? This is coming from the guy who said the threat was weapons of mass distruction, and when that didn’t pan out (after the war was started, mind you, not because weapons inspectors were allowed to find out beforehand), switched the rationale to spreading democracy, or removing a brutal dictator from power, etc.

What also really steams me is that Bush is saying, again, that (in the words of the New York Times) the critics “are undercutting U.S. forces on the front lines.” Enough of that crap: Bush undercut his own forces by sending them off to a non-essential war, and did so without proper force or protection (how are we doing with that body armor, by the way?). For him to do this on Veterans Day is deplorable.

[Update] Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus provide more details in the Washington Post.

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