From Joe Conason’s Journal in Salon:
“We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in.”
George W. Bush uttered that amazing sentence yesterday to justify the war in Iraq, according to the Washington Post.
What? Yes, I promise that’s what the man said. (And by “him,” the president clearly meant Saddam Hussein not Kim Jong-Il, who actually has refused to let international inspectors into North Korea.)
Now a presidential statement so frontally at variance with the universally acknowledged facts obviously presents a problem for the White House press corps. He wasn’t joking, and he didn’t sound disoriented or unwell. Although Dana Priest and Dana Milbank wrote the story as delicately as they possibly could, they couldn’t make it seem less weird:
“The president’s assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective.”
Appeared to contradict the events leading up to war? Indeed, that’s an exceedingly mild description of what Bush said. There’s no plausible explanation, unless the president suddenly flashed back to his Yale sophomore philosophy seminar, grappling with the argument that everything we perceive is mere illusion.
For the moment, however, let’s just assume reality does exist. What possessed the president to make an assertion that everyone on the planet knows to be untrue?