The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen is an honest writer, basically. He wears his hates on his sleeve. In his 4/7 column, he wrote, ". . . I knew that the most alarming case against Saddam Hussein — that he was an imminent threat to the United States — was a lie."
Note Nordlinger's exacting level of specificity. What the president said in his 2003 State of the Union speech is the only thing that matters. But here is one of the many places that you can find a collection of statements from Bush Administration representatives discussing the grave nature of the threat from Iraq. Also, don't forget his 2002 Cincinnati Speech. Here are a couple of tidbits:
Please note that word "imminent" — and recall what President Bush said in his State of the Union address, before he went to war against Saddam: "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations will come too late."
Concluding his column, Cohen said, "The fact will remain that this war was fought for a lie."
This is a cherished belief that liberals — and many conservatives, and others — will hold on to till the day they die. But the truth is that they can speak confidently about WMD because the U.S. invaded. And it’s odd that they never blame Saddam Hussein for failing to comply with the U.N., or the United Nations for failing to make him comply — or even to care whether he did. Indeed, the U.N. abetted him.
While there are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone -- because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. This same tyrant has tried to dominate the Middle East, has invaded and brutally occupied a small neighbor, has struck other nations without warning, and holds an unrelenting hostility toward the United States.
Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.
The attacks of September the 11th showed our country that vast oceans no longer protect us from danger. Before that tragic date, we had only hints of al Qaeda's plans and designs. Today in Iraq, we see a threat whose outlines are far more clearly defined, and whose consequences could be far more deadly. Saddam Hussein's actions have put us on notice, and there is no refuge from our responsibilities.
Nordlinger may actually believe that because the President didn't utter the phrase, "Iraq is an imminent threat," that he and his administration were not trying to create the impression that the country had to go to war in Iraq right away, but reasonably intilligent native English speakers can be forgiven for drawing that conclusion from the administration's verbal case for war.
Also note what Nordlinger says about the U.N. and Saddam: "it's odd that [liberals] never blame Saddam Hussein for failing to comply with the U.N., or the United Nations for failing to make him comply -- or even to care whether he did. Indeed, the U.N. abetted him." Did Hans Blix , of a U.N inspection team, fall down the memory hole? As I remember, he was their searching for non-existent WMDs when he had to leave before the U.S. invasion. How was the U.N. abbeting Saddam?