Molly Ivins has been widely and deservedly condemned around the blogosphere for a particular line in a recent column that claims that the US has killed more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein did. That might be the most offensive part of Ivins’s column – and don’t you dare question her patriotism over it! – but it’s probably not the stupidest. After all, countries at war with each other usually kill more of their enemies’ citizens than they do of their own. It pretty much goes without saying that in the same war, Saddam Hussein killed more Americans than George Bush did, or that Hitler killed more Americans in World War II than FDR did. The only time one party kills more of its own citizens than the enemy does is when that party is one of worst of the worst, e.g., Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot or, um,
Dick Durbin Saddam Hussein. So while Ivins’s claim may be stupid, baseless and unpatriotic, it at least describes some events that could have happened, or which Ivins may have honestly believed did.
That’s more than I can say for Ivins’s historical revisionism over H.J. Res. 114, the October 11, 2002 vote by both houses of congress to authorize the use of force in Iraq. Rather than concede that the 77-23 split in the Senate and the 296-133 split in the House may indicate that Karl Rove was on to something, Ivins rationalized the “no” votes thusly:
The vote on invading Iraq was 77-23 in the Senate and 296-133 in the House. By that time, some liberals did question the wisdom of invasion because: A) Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11 and B) it looked increasingly unlikely that Iraq actually had great stores of weapons of mass destruction because the United Nations inspectors, who were on the ground, couldn’t find any sign of them – even though Donald Rumsfeld said we knew exactly where they were.
Item (A) is, of course, common, run-of-the-mill moonbattery. Voting against the war on Iraq because Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 makes no more sense than voting against the war in Afghanistan because Afghanistan had nothing to do with the invasion of Kuwait of, for that matter, turning Dennis “Please call me BTK” Rader loose because he had nothing to do with the murder of Sharon Tate. It would be one thing if the Bush Administration had ever alleged such a link, but of course it hasn’t. It would be another if Ivins at least believed in good faith, albeit mistakenly, that the Bush Administration had ever made such a claim, but her March 11, 2003 column makes it clear even that is not the case. In that article titled “Bring Back Poppy,” which ran a mere eight days before Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Ivins wrote:
According to a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS, 42 percent of Americans believe Saddam Hussein of Iraq was personally responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center, something that has never even been claimed by the Bush administration.
Is Ivins honestly going to argue that the Bush Administration reversed gears sometime between March 11, 2003 and March 19, 2003 and started claiming Saddam Hussein of Iraq was personally responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center? Or does she merely assume that enough time has passed since March 11, 2003 that her readers are now ready to believe a revisionist lie about the Administration’s pre-2003 rhetoric which they never would have believed had she told the same lie in 2003? Or was she just trying to make a funny by writing a column with the theme “we are all individuals who think for ourselves,” only to herself repeat a lie that she herself did not believe, but which all those other liberal non-individuals had been chanting since singer/geopolitical analyst Barbra Streisand sent her infamous September 25, 2002 fax urging Dick “Gebhardt” to vote against H.J. Res. 114 because “Sadam” Hussein had not bombed the twin towers and had nothing to do with al “Queda” (Spanish for “stay,” which presumably is what she wanted our troops to do)?
Dishonest though it is, Ivins’s newfound revisionism about (A) is not the loonies part of her column. Like her allegation that George Bush killed more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein did, it is dishonest and wrong, but at least could have happened. Part (B) of the argument, however, could not have, unless Ivins believes up to 156 Congressmen are capable of time travel. That argument is, once again, that:
The vote on invading Iraq was 77-23 in the Senate and 296-133 in the House. By that time, some liberals did question the wisdom of invasion because: … it looked increasingly unlikely that Iraq actually had great stores of weapons of mass destruction because the United Nations inspectors, who were on the ground, couldn’t find any sign of them.
Oh really? Hans Blix’s team may well have been “on the ground” somewhere in the world on October 11, 2002 – most of us are, after all – but whoever’s ground they might have been on, it sure as hell wasn’t in Iraq’s. There were no UN inspectors in Iraq until November 18, 2002, which was more than a month after H.J. Res. 114 had been voted on, and which probably would have never happened if not those 156 allegedly prescient Congressmen had gotten their way and defeated H.J. Res. 114. So to credit them for acting in advance on some future findings by a group of inspectors they effectively voted against allowing into the country at all is a whopper, indeed.
Perhaps this was an honest mistake by an idiot savant who just happened to remember the precise number of Representatives and Senators voted for vs. against H.J. Res. 114, but could not remember when that vote took place and saw no reason to bother looking it up. Or, perhaps, it was a bald-faced lie by a hack columnist who figures she can write anything she wants because most of her readers are like idiot savants themselves, only without the “savant” part. I report, you decide.