Consensus by Fraud
. We all remember, or at least, should remember, those chilling polls showing that a shitload of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in 9/11, despite the utter lack of evidence to support this belief (and despite the fact that even the Bush Administration, which has no particular loyalty to truth, nevermade this claim). Billmon
wonders if the same thing might be happening again, this time with regard to WMDs in Iraq.
This isn't entirely of the Administration's doing, but they are certainly benefitting from it. When suspected WMDs are discovered, it's a huge, huge story. When those suspicions are proved false, that's a minor, minor story. That's a simple reality of the news business (which the Republicans also exploited under Clinton: allegations, big news; exonerations, not news). The result is that we've all heard the breathless and tense stories about possible WMD findings, but only the most observant of us may have caught all of the retractions.
I've seen this myself at law school. Several of my friends are utterly convinced that WMDs were found in Iraq, thus justifying the war retroactively. [There are two errors in that view, I feel, but at the moment, I'm only interested in the error of fact.] No WMDs have been found in Iraq. The UN didn't find any, and so far, the US hasn't found any. The question is, do Americans know that? Do they care? [It isn't necessarily wrong not to care, after all.] But the rest of the world knows, and the rest of the world cares.
If WMDs are not found, it may not hurt Bush, but it will definitely hurt America. According to a partial transcript posted by Eschaton
, Ari Fleischer said "I think our credibility is rather strong." It isn't. It's actually extremely weak throughout most of the world, and whether or not Bush gets blamed at the polls next year, that is a serious problem for us all.
UPDATE: For more on this, see Jake Tapper's
over at Salon.com.