Friday, August 27, 2004

Uncovered--a Personal Review

In attempt to connect this review to Alan Keyes, I'll open with this from Alan Keyes on Williams & Whisman (WJBC 1230 AM)(Bloomington).
KEYES: Well, meaning no offense, have we forgotten that we're at war, that we're involved in the most insidious war I think this country may ever have faced, and that the decision to go into Iraq was to open a front in that war, based on intelligence that suggested that Saddam Hussein was in fact looking to develop weapons of mass destruction, had the contacts to put them in the hands of terrorists? You know, I am opposed to any policies that would have us acting as the policeman of the world--but don't tell me that a president who acts in the wake of an attack like September 11th to preemptively prevent terrorists from using even more harmful weapons against our people is acting in some routine fashion. We do not live right now in routine times. We are in the midst of a war. And a president who did not in fact act to defend the lives of our people against the threat that his intelligence was indicating existed would be irresponsible. Thank God President Bush is not irresponsible.
I just returned from Uncovered: The War on Iraq and I loved it, but at the same time it made me feel stupid. It fills in the gaps that Michael Moore assumes that we know in Farhenheit 9/11: that there were no WMD's. It takes many of the "facts" that were proferred by the Bush administration in favor of the war, and systemtically shows that they weren't true. Ultimately, for me this was more personal than Farhenheit 9/11, because I fell for the lines, for the WMD justification for the war. And buying into the rationale, when others didn't and I shouldn't have, makes me feel dumb. In 2000, I couldn't decide who to vote for, but at that time, I lived in a solidly Republican state, so I didn't think my vote really mattered and I never really decided. After September 11th, 2001, I agreed with those who thought the President did a great job of uniting the country, etc. After Afghanistan, came talk of Iraq and I was initially skeptical. I was out of the country and, thus, particularly embarassed by international response when I heard the phrase, "this is the man who tried to kill my dad." I remember listening to the state of the union address. I was still a little skeptical, but impressed by the details given. But then, Colin Powell gave his speech to the U.N. I read the whole thing, I even wanted a copy of the powerpoint slides. I respected Colin Powell and trusted him, so I came closer to supporting the war effort. Then, as the kicker, the media that I was always told was "liberal" bought into the imminent threat argument. So I was sold. I wanted more of an international coalition, but I believed the President and his administration. I remember saying to a friend, "I trust the government. They have access to intelligence that we don't, so if they say there is an imminent threat, there is." When it turned out that there were no WMD's, I felt betrayed. At that point, I gave up on the Bush administration and the Republican party. So watching the movie, my feelings were really ones of embarassment. How could have others have figured out that the whole WMD thing just wasn't true? The movie brought me almost to the point of tears realizing that my own lack of skepticism, (combined with plenty of other people's), resulted in a war on a country who posed no imminent threat. (As an aside, I recognize that there are other post-hoc reasons being tossed about as justifications. But those weren't the ones proferred at the time, and they weren't the ones that I was sold on.) To those of you who protested on Lake Shore Drive, I respect you. Whatever it was that made you skeptical, I wish I had had it. But I have it now.