Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Here's Timothy Noah of Slate slamming President Bush, I think unfairly. Noah calls Bush both ignorant and a liar, based on two claims: 1) Bush said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq 2) Bush said all taxpayers will receive a cut in their taxes according to his plan.

Well, Timmy, no one disputes that Saddam had WMD. We all agree he used chemical weapons an the Iranians and the Iraqi Kurds. What's more, there were UN inspectors in Iraq searching for Saddam's WMD until 1998, in case y'all don't remember, and when Saddam kicked them out was when we got all mad and started building up an alliance against Iraq. Finally, among the UN Resolutions that Saddam broke was one in which the 15 members of the Security Council unanimously agreed that Saddam had WMD. The question was whether to trust the inspectors to find them or to go after Saddam militarily. That was a pretty famous resolution, good old #1411. Everyone on the Council, including Russia, France, Germany, and Syria, knew that Saddam had WMD. He seems to have gotten rid of them or hid them pretty successfully, but President Bush was not lying when he said, more or less, "We know they had them. If they've gotten rid of them, why don't they just say so and prove it? Therefore, I assume that they've still got them."

As for Bush's statement about his tax plan, Noah digs up a chart (which he links to) that shows that of the nearly 90 million US taxpayers, some 8 million will actually not see a tax cut. That's around 9%. Bush is guilty of exaggeration and hyberbole here, agreed, but what he said is pretty much true. The overwhelming majority, and 91% is pretty overwhelming, will have their taxes cut. Bush's statement would have been completely true if he'd included the word "almost". He really should have, but calling Bush a liar over this one is to get pretty persnickety about the meaning of "liar". I can think of a few lies told during the previous Administration that were considerably more blatant than this one.

I'm not calling Tim Noah a liar. Wrong? Yes. Incorrect? Sure. Anti-Bush? Of course. Full of shit? Well, yeah, I'd go that far. But he's not a liar. He is merely the possessor of stupid opinions.

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