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Depends on what the definition of "imminent" is

Reported by Chrish - November 27, 2005

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace took a special minute 11/27/05 to reiterate the Rovian talking point that neither Bush nor Cheney ever uttered the phrase "imminent threat" during the selling of the Iraq invasion, er, run-up to the Iraq war. He said he received "a lot" of mail this week about an exchange last Sunday with Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) on what Cheney said in the run-up to the war on Iraq, er, in Iraq.

First he goes to a clip of the November 20 show, with Biden saying "He said and (Bush) said, and implied, that there was an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein." Wallace replies "I don't think that the vice-president ever said anything about an imminent threat and actually some Democrats did." Biden says "Oh he did, he did."

Back in the present, Wallace says "Well, we checked, and we could find no instance when the vice-president ever said Saddam was an imminent threat. So we asked Senator Biden to back up his claim. This was the best (his emphasis) his office came up with. Take a look:"

Cut to video of Cheney August 26, 2002, saying "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."

Wallace then says "Certainly a threat, but nothing about an imminent threat."

Wallace is mouthing the party line that zeroes in on the use of a phrase. If the officials didn't use that particular phrase then they are exonerated of hyping the intelligence for the war.

But most Americans aren'y buying it, this mincing of words. We know we were misled with repititions of themes and fearful scenarios. The meat of the matter is correct, that Cheney and Bush (and Rice and Rumsfeld and Powell) implied that the United States was in short-term danger from Saddam Hussein if we didn't back a pre-emptive military take-down.

According to Miriam-Webster Online, imminent means

: ready to take place; especially : hanging threateningly over one's head
1 giving signs of immediate occurrence
Synonyms include
impending, pending, threatening
Related Words: approaching, coming, forthcoming, future, near, nearing, oncoming, upcoming; brewing, gathering; likely, possible, probable; inevitable, unavoidable; menacing, ominous, portentous; anticipated, awaited, expected, foreseen, predicted

Some other things that Cheney said were:

"As former Secretary of State Kissinger recently stated: "The imminence of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the huge dangers it involves, the rejection of a viable inspection system, and the demonstrated hostility of Saddam Hussein combine to produce an imperative for preemptive action." If the United States could have preempted 9/11, we would have, no question. Should we be able to prevent another, much more devastating attack, we will, no question. This nation will not live at the mercy of terrorists or terror regimes."
Source: Vice President Speaks at VFW 103rd National Convention, White House (8/26/2002).

"We know they have biological and chemical weapons."
Source: Press Conference by Vice President Cheney and his Highness Salam bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain, White House (3/17/2002).

"[H]e is, in fact, actively and aggressively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons."
Source: Meet the Press, NBC (9/8/2002).

"There is also a grave danger that al Qaeda or other terrorists will join with outlaw regimes that have these weapons to attack their common enemy, the United States of America. That is why confronting the threat posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror."
Source: Remarks by the Vice President at the Air National Guard Senior Leadership Conference, White House (12/2/2002).

Combined with Bush's statements:

"On its present course, the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency. . . . it has developed weapons of mass death."
Source: President, House Leadership Agree on Iraq Resolution, White House (10/2/2002).

"Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."
Source: President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat; Remarks by the President on Iraq, White House (10/7/2002).

"If the Iraq regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than one year."
Source: President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat; Remarks by the President on Iraq, White House (10/7/2002).

it is so clear that they were trying to create a frightening and imminently dangerous scenario for Americans. It was only a year after the attacks of 9/11 and some of us had barely stopped crying and were very vulnerable to this fearmongering.

If you take the 237 statements to this effect and echo them via the willing propagandists at Fox and AM radio, and through the cowering corporate media, these statements were heard literally thousands and thousands of times in the six months leading up to the invasion. The final month was filled with such urgency (because the reports from inspectors were coming out clean) that most Americans were screaming for it.

For Fox and other Bush administration apologists to mince words now is the kind of "depends on what the definition of is, is" nonsense that they despised when it came from a Democrat.

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