“Caught on Video” beats “Caught in Text”

Oh dear. The whole “did the Bush administration use the word imminent” question has been debated for several months now, but seeing it come across in video is much more powerful. Compare and contrast this excerpt from Center for American Progress and this new ad from MoveOn.org that excerpts last Sunday’s Face The Nation:

Text Snippet from CAP

The Bush Administration is now saying it never told the public that Iraq was an “imminent” threat, and therefore it should be absolved for overstating the case for war and misleading the American people about Iraq’s WMD. Just this week, White House spokesman Scott McClellan lashed out at critics saying “Some in the media have chosen to use the word ‘imminent’. Those were not words we used.” But a closer look at the record shows that McClellan himself and others did use the phrase “imminent threat” — while also using the synonymous phrases “mortal threat,” “urgent threat,” “immediate threat”, “serious and mounting threat”, “unique threat,” and claiming that Iraq was actively seeking to “strike the United States with weapons of mass destruction” — all just months after Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted that Iraq was “contained” and “threatens not the United States.” While Iraq was certainly a dangerous country, the Administration’s efforts to claim it never hyped the threat in the lead-up to war is belied by its statements.

  • “No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.”
    — Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02

  • “Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent – that Saddam is at least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain. And we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons.”
    — Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/18/02

Video from MoveOn.org

I should state for the record that I’m probably the only one in my social group (and perhaps the entire Bay Area) that actually supported going into Iraq. I’m still not convinced I was wrong, though I also thank my friends for not rubbing it in as my faith in intelligence reports and a few level-headed people in our current administration proved unfounded. But regardless of whether going into Iraq was a good idea and regardless of whether our executive branch screwed up on our planning and execution, the back-filling Rumsfeld is doing here is just embarrassing. After all, it’s not about the activity but about the lying about it, right?