Monday, January 26, 2004
Operation 'We Don't Need No Stinkin' WMDs", continued
(Read about Ashcroft's statements here)
Since the Attorney General isn't usually considered an expert on foreign policy, and we all know that the WAR ON TERRORISM isn't a criminal matter, it's more than a little odd that Ashcroft has anything to say about the grounds of justified war. Unless, that is, he's part of a coordinated Administration effort to ease into the admission that Iraq didn't have any WMD stockpiles.
Ashcroft fits neatly into the pattern I began blogging about Friday and mentioned again yesterday. As a loon Ashcroft is well positioned to float the idea that the war was justified by the imaginary existence of weapons. He's marked out territory that seems distinct from that occupied by Powell, Cheney, Bush, and Kay, but isn't really. And the press is, predictably, balancing Ashcroft's statements with a recapitulation of Kay's claims from last week.
On a related matter, .jasonblog. argues that the Administration's strategy won't work, because the Democrats will be able to put Bob Graham, "on television every Sunday pointing out that he saw the same intelligence, and was unable to conclude from it that the threat was imminent. The message will be front and center: The intelligence was not to blame."
While this is certainly something the Democrats will do, and will have to do, I'm not confident that this kind of response will succeed. In fact, it seems to me that it plays into Republican hands.
What the Bush Administration is trying to do is shift the debate from 'does Iraq have WMDs?' to 'how should one respond to the suspicion that Iraq has WMDs?' Then they can characterize themselves as, at worst, overly zealous in their desire to save American lives. Their critics, on the other hand, will be soft on terrorism.