Isaw the bumper sticker again this week: "When Clinton lied, nobody died."
Of course, plenty of people died at former President Bill Clinton's behest in U.S. operations in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo, in defense of the "no-fly zone" in Iraq and in retaliation for attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, but the sticker's owner wants us to pass over all those deaths.
Instead, we should recall that when Clinton lied under oath about boinking Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office, she (and he) lived through the experience.
The contrast is with President Bush, who lied about Saddam seeking uranium in Africa, lied about Saddam's efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction and tried falsely to convince people there was a link between Saddam and terrorism, thus creating enormous havoc.
Problem is, more and more evidence is emerging that (dare I say it?) Bush didn't lie about any of those things.
(I leave aside the issue of "Bush said Saddam was behind 9/11" - he instead openly denied it, and a lie by your political enemies doesn't become true because they repeat it endlessly.)
# Uranium in Africa: John Leo, writing for realclearpolitics.com, and Christopher Hitchens, writing on Slate.com, both noted this month, "Bush was right about Iraq's quest for uranium."
The Iraqi representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Wissam al-Zahawie, paid an official visit to Niger, whose sole export of any value was uranium ore, in 1999 on a trade mission. Iraq had previously purchased uranium there in 1981, and the intelligence services of Italy, France and Britain informed Washington about the 1999 visit. That tip-off was not related at all to a crude forgery of an agreement purportedly signed by al-Zahawie for a purchase.
Thus, Ambassador Joseph Wilson famous claim that his brief visit to Niger disproved any uranium purchase was disingenuous. His report was seen at the CIA
as upholding the claim that Saddam had an interest in purchasing uranium, as an editorial in The Washington Post noted on Sunday. That actual interest, not any theoretical purchase, was all Bush claimed. Bush 1, Critics 0.
# WMD plans: Gen. Anthony Zinni, who now is cited as an opponent of the idea Saddam was a WMD threat, said this in 2002 in testimony to Congress: "Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region."
He added, "Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, (and) retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions . . . Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains scientific, technical, and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months."
Zinni was right the first time, according to James Lacey, a national security specialist writing in the April 10 issue of National Review:
"The evidence found by the ISG
(the International Survey Group, set up by the Bush administration after the 2003 invasion and cited as verifying Iraq's lack of WMD programs and weapons) confirms that Saddam was preparing to rapidly reconstitute his WMD program the moment he broke out of sanctions, which - given the frayed state of the coalition against him - would inevitably have happened."
Lacey lists Saddam's extensive efforts to, in the dictator's own words after Desert Storm, "preserve the nation's scientific brain trust essential for WMD," and then concludes, "Not only did Bush not 'lie,' the critics themselves are guilty of selectively citing evidence and of ignoring facts inconvenient to their argument." Bush 2, Critics 0.
# Saddam supported terror: New translations of documents captured in Iraq are disclosing repeated contacts by representatives of Saddam's government with agents of Osama bin Laden.
And, as Stephen F. Hayes reports in "Camp Saddam" in the April 3 issue of The Weekly Standard, "Beginning in 1994, the Fedayeen Saddam opened its own paramilitary training camps for volunteers, graduating more than 7,200 'good men racing full with courage and enthusiasm' in the first year. Beginning in 1998, these camps began hosting 'Arab volunteers from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, the Gulf, and Syria.' "
After the invasion, Hayes reports, the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines found a 10-acre camp 10 miles outside of Baghdad. In an interview with an embedded reporter from Stars & Stripes, Capt. Aaron Robertson said: "We believe this is a training camp where Iraqis trained forces for the Palestine Liberation Front. This is what we would refer to as a sensitive site. This is clearly a terrorist training camp, the type Iraq claimed did not exist."
The camps operated right up until the coalition invasion, Hayes reports. No direct ties to 9/11 have so far been unearthed - and the emphasis is on "so far" - but the contention that Saddam had "no links to terror" is false.
Bush 3, Critics 0.