Is lying about the reason for war an impeachable offense?

Jun 9, 2003 21:54 · 476 words · 3 minute read

Most of the article is not specifically about whether lying about the reason for a war an impeachable offense. Most of it covers the White House position on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, with specific quotes from Bush. Author John Dean writes:

Presidential statements, particularly on matters of national security, are held to an expectation of the highest standard of truthfulness. A president cannot stretch, twist or distort facts and get away with it. President Lyndon Johnson’s distortions of the truth about Vietnam forced him to stand down from reelection. President Richard Nixon’s false statements about Watergate forced his resignation.

One thing that Dean leaves out is that Hans Blix, who was in charge of the UN arms inspections, had stated that he did not believe that Iraq had WMD. And, after all, it was his job to know about that stuff. Sure, Iraq made his job harder at every turn, but no one has shown specific evidence that refutes Blix’s claim.

Update: I wrote the above before I read A Plot To Deceive? in the Washington Post. I had thought that one of Blix’s final statements before the war had been that he did not believe Iraq possessed WMD at this time. However, I don’t have time to go hunting down Blix quotes at the moment. Robert Kagan, author of the Washington Post article, does include a few Blix quotes stating that Iraq did possess WMD. The article goes on to state that if Bush was conspiring to project Iraq as having WMD, then he did it with a whole host of others, including UN workers, Jacques Chirac (in February, no less), Al Gore, Bill Clinton.

It’s certainly possible that the intelligence we had was simply incorrect. We did, after all, bomb a Chinese embassy by mistake! Many people are probably not willing to cut Bush some slack on this one because the administration has seemed shady and secretive. Just as the CEO of a company works for that company’s shareholders, the President works for the US citizens, and people want to feel like they know how the country is conducting itself and doing business. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to try to get to the bottom of this story.

Update 2: Though I still stick by my conclusion just above about trying to find the real story of the WMD, I found this perspective in the Telegraph interesting. Mark Steyn was in Iraq, talking with people who were quite happy to no longer be under Saddam’s thumb. He wrote about how the British have managed to turn this victory in Iraq into a defeat.

I think there are very few who would say that this was not a victory for the Iraqi people. What’s at issue is that this war was brought on under the notion of self-defense, and without broad international consensus.