Everybody makes mistakes.
Nearly everybody — or is it again everybody? — lies.
But that doesn’t mean the mistake of believing, asserting and acting upon the once-widely accepted notion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was a “lie.’
And it could be a costly political mistake for Republicans to nominate a White House candidate who said of the last GOP president and his administration: “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none.”
That’s the wild way Donald Trump put it during Saturday night’s donnybrook of a GOP debate in Greenville.
Then, after Jeb Bush defended his brother by saying he built “a security apparatus to keep us safe,” Trump reprised a theme that would sound ugly enough coming from a Democrat: “The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign. Remember that.”
Then on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Trump backtracked — though just a bit.
He said of the second President Bush, “I’m not blaming him” for the World Trade Center coming down.
Then Trump did sort of re-lay that blame with “you can’t say that we were safe under his reign, when the World Trade Center comes down, and the CIA said something like that was going to happen.”
Hey, 9/11 happened less than eight months into Bush’s presidential watch.
OK, so Bush and his sidekicks pushed the WMD angle — maybe even stretched it — to rally support for our 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Still, Lindsey Graham, our senior senator, aptly said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Saturday night’s debate viewers saw the “Michael Moore candidate emerge” in Trump’s “nut job” outbursts against the latest President Bush.
Then again, there could be S.C. vote-getting method to Trump’s madness. This is an open primary state. The former surreality show star has demonstrated crossover appeal to Democrats.
So what better way to distance yourself from GOP business as usual than to bash the Bushes?
However, “W” wasn’t alone in the view that Saddam had WMDs, was trying to get more and had to be ousted.
Plus, though taking Saddam out hasn’t worked out too well, leaving him in power wouldn’t necessarily have produced a swell outcome either.
And that’s no lie.
1) Who said this on Sept. 23, 2002? “We know that he has stored away secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country. ... Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”
2) Who said this on Oct. 10, 2002? “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaida members. ... If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
3) Who said this on Jan. 23, 2003? “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. ... And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real.”
4) Who was the special envoy for President Ronald Reagan who shook hands with Saddam in Baghdad, a scene captured in a photo, two decades before urging another president to remove him from power by force?
5) Who recently said this on a popular TV show? “When we unleash the dogs of war, we must go where they take us.”
6) Who was the pro wrestler long introduced as being from Tehran, Iran, then, after a shift in U.S. foreign policy, suddenly introduced as being from Baghdad, Iraq?
1) Al Gore
2) Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton
3) Then-Sen. John Kerry
4) Donald Rumsfeld. The Reagan administration, which sent “Rummy” on that diplomatic mission in 1983, sided with Iraq in its war against Iran and provided some arms through third parties. But Saddam’s use of chemical weapons limited how much support the U.S. could get away with providing. In 2002 and 2003, Rumsfeld, as secretary of defense for “W,” was an ardent — and effective — advocate of invading Iran to topple Saddam.
5) Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (played by Maggie Smith). In the “Downton Abbey” episode that aired on SCETV 16 nights ago, the dowager delivered that “dogs of war” warning after firing a maid who had dared speak harshly to a local doctor with whom the countess was having a heated dispute over health care policy.
First District Rep. Mark Sanford had cited this well-put wariness from the dowager in an earlier episode last month, when she also was discussing health care policy: “For years, I’ve watched governments take control of our lives. Their argument is always the same: ‘Fewer costs, greater efficiency.’ But the result is the same, too. Less control by the people, more control by the state — until the individual’s own wishes count for nothing. That is what I consider my duty to resist.”
6) The announced city of the Iron Sheik’s origin changed from Tehran to Baghdad in 1990 after Saddam invaded Kuwait.
And no, many rasslin’ fans didn’t realize that Iran and Iraq had fought, from 1980-88, a war that claimed more than a million lives.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.