The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Actually, the bad news is very good news

October 25, 2006

I commented on this point more than three years ago, but since President Bush said something dubious again today, it seemed worth repeating. First, here’s what Bush said at his news conference, with the egregious part in red:

Over the past three years I have often addressed the American people to explain developments in Iraq. Some of these developments were encouraging, such as the capture of Saddam Hussein, the elections in which 12 million Iraqis defied the terrorists and voted for a free future, and the demise of the brutal terrorist Zarqawi. Other developments were not encouraging, such as the bombing of the U.N. Headquarters in Baghdad, the fact that we did not find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and the continued loss of some of America’s finest sons and daughters.

That’s right, the President of the United States thinks that the failure to find WMD in Iraq was bad news.

However, all the best evidence suggest that the failure to find WMD indicates that Saddam Hussein did not possess WMD and did not have significant programs.

This is very good news.

Hussein had no weapons to pass along to terrorists, he had no ability to make a mushroom cloud. He could not threaten the US.

Moreover, the news means that international disarmament efforts, economic sanctions, and weapons inspection can succeed.

That is all very good news and the President still doesn’t understand. Let’s hope someone learns the lesson before similar mistakes are made in regard to Iran.

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Rodger A. Payne is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. He serves on the University’s Sustainability Council and was a co-founder of the Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice program. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters and coauthor, with Nayef Samhat, of Democratizing Global Politics: Discourse Norms, International Regimes, and Political Community (SUNY, 2004). He is currently working on two major projects, one exploring the role of narratives in international politics and the other examining the implications of America First foreign policy.