To follow up on V’s post about chemical weapons found in Iraq: Guess Who, in the Bush administration, didn’t want anyone talking about the weapons?
Theories vary, but according to Eli Lake’s article, it would have been Karl Rove:
Starting in 2004, some members of the George W. Bush administration and Republican lawmakers began to find evidence of discarded chemical weapons in Iraq. But when the information was brought up with the White House, senior adviser Karl Rove told them to “let these sleeping dogs lie.”
The issue of Iraq’s WMD remnants was suddenly thrust back into the fore this week, with a blockbuster New York Times report accusing the Bush administration of covering up American troops’ chemically induced wounds…
Dave Wurmser—who served at the time as a senior adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney on national-security issues—remembers…“In 2005-6, Karl Rove and his team blocked public disclosure of these findings and said, ‘Let these sleeping dogs lie; we have lost that fight so better not to remind anyone of it.’”
Rove’s reasons make sense. Except they don’t.
It’s true that a lot of politics is about Controlling The Narrative, and you want people talking about the narratives that work for your side. So you talk up the narratives that do, and you shut up about the ones that don’t. It is sometimes called “message discipline” or “staying on message”.
Except in one important case: WHEN YOU’VE BEEN LIED ABOUT. When someone (the Left) has lied about your integrity or key issue maliciously, you don’t pass up chances to air the exculpatory evidence – also known as The Truth – which will expose your opponents as liars. Especially when those chances to air the truth aren’t going to cost you much.
If Lake’s story is accurate, Rove was so clever about Controlling The Narrative that he lost sight of the most important narrative of all: Spreading the truth. Getting the real story out.
Rove may also have lost sight of the next most important narrative, Obeying the law:
After the U.S. found thousands of the old chemical-weapons shells, Wurmser and others at one point argued that they had an obligation to declare the stocks of chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention and destroy them. The United States was, after all, the occupier of Iraq and had assumed the country’s sovereign responsibilities as a signatory to the convention.
“It was all for nothing; Rove wanted the issue buried,” Wurmser said.
The law being the Chemical Weapons Convention, in this case.
I should acknowledge here that, if Lake’s story is accurate, then the rise of ISIS isn’t 100% the Obama administration’s fault. Oh yes, it’s largely their fault: the Obama administration was quite negligent in letting the Islamists in Iraq make a comeback. But apparently, the Bush administration may have been negligent in its failure to declare-and-destroy Saddam’s WMD stockpiles.