Bill O’Reilly joins the ranks of disillusioned ex-Bushies

Following Andrew Sullivan’s lead, outspoken and frequently incoherent Fox pundit Bill O’Reilly is turning on President Bush, and apologizing for insisting last year that Iraq possessed WMDs.

The anchor of his own show on Fox News said he was sorry he gave the U.S. government the benefit of the doubt that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s weapons program poised an imminent threat, the main reason cited for going to war.

“I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this,” O’Reilly said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“What do you want me to do, go over and kiss the camera?” asked O’Reilly, who had promised rival ABC last year he would publicly apologize if weapons were not found.

O’Reilly said he was “much more skeptical about the Bush administration now” since former weapons inspector David Kay said he did not think Saddam had any weapons of mass destruction.

While critical of President Bush, O’Reilly said he did not think the president intentionally lied. Rather, O’Reilly blamed CIA Director George Tenet, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton.

It was all Tenet’s fault. And therefore, all the blame can be laid on Clinton. Makes sense to me.

UPDATE: Joseph Bosco chronicles other prominent right-wingt pundits who appear to be harboring similar doubts about their former idol. After more than two years of worship, this is absolutely extraordinary, and the reasons are fairly simple: fiscal irresponsibility and an inability to communicate. The WMD thing hasn’t helped, either.

The Discussion: One Comment

It was stupid from the start to seek to justify the war on the basis of weapons of mass destruction. The main problem is that it isn’t considered an acceptable reason to intervene militarily because a government are are a pack of sadistic murdering bastards who regularly rape and kill their own citizens, and have invaded other countries and probably would do so again given half a chance. The main reason this is not an adequate justification is because there are a hell of a lot of other countries who fit that description. There’s no way you’d ever be able to get UN acceptance for such a justification because one of said countries holds veto power (and no, much as I dislike France, it isn’t them). There are plenty more general members who would vote against it just to save their own guilty hides. In the same way, while a lot of people would define the Allies’ war against the Nazis in WWII as a ‘just war’ on the basis of the fact that the Nazis were sick murdering bastards systematically killing millions of people, that is not an adequate justification for war according to the criteria that the invasion of Iraq is being judged against. Today, I think I am safe in saying that most would agree that it would have been a good thing if foreign countries had intervened against Germany in the early days when the Nazi party began to systematically break the terms of the WWI Versailles peace agreement. There is no doubt that the Iraqis were systematically breaking the terms of the peace agreement after Gulf War I, a peace agreement which was a lot less harsh than the one signed at Versailles. To me this was a cut and dry justification for war. The war ended on the basis of certain agreed terms. You’re breaking the terms and show no inclination to change your ways despite repeated threats. Thus, the war is back on. It isn’t GW II, it is a resumption of GW I. Again, the hard part would have been selling this to the UN.

Isn’t it ironic that the most bitter critics of the war appear to be mostly the same people who most criticise(d) USA for having supported Hussein in the past? Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

You would think that the more liberal minded people would be applauding a mission to remove such a tyrant. You would think too that it would be the more conservative American voters who would want to see justification for the war on the basis of American self interest (self defense from an imminent threat and protection of the oil supply). I find it endlessly ironic that it is the so-called ‘left’ who believes the war was all about oil and marched against the war, and it is the so-called ‘right’ which is justifying the war on a moral basis that the world is a better place without Hussein ruling Iraq. Did the world turn upside down while I wasn’t looking?

As for the comment about Clinton … I don’t think there is any doubt that Clinton gutted the CIA and is responsible for a serious degredation in US intelligence gathering during his 8 year tenure. There were problems with the CIA before he came to power, but they continued to get steadily worse. I have no problem at all in believing that US intelligence could have been seriously faulty and have misinformed the President.

There is a question that is still to be answered. We know certain things as facts: a) Iraq used to have large stockpiles of WMD and a major programme to develop more. b) Iraq failed to prove to anyone, UN or USA, what had happened to said stockpiles.

Iraq insisted that it had disposed of them, but consistently refused to supply documentary or physical evidence that it had done so. It also did everything it could to obstruct WMD inspection teams. So, my questions are:
a) what happened to the old stockpiles? They didn’t just vanish.
b) if they were destroyed, what was the purpose of all the obstruction? Wouldn’t proving it undermine the American case for sanctions (and later war)?

February 11, 2004 @ 12:54 pm | Comment

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