Slowly recovering from jetlag here in Canberra, I’ve been catching up with some of the blogchatter about Yellowcake and the infamous sixteen words. I’m struck by a peripheral aspect of the debate. Before the invasion, many anti-war protestors used the slogan “Not In My Name” or something similar. That line was derided by pro-war commentators as epitomising the supposedly self-indulgent or solipsistic attitiude of the anti-war movement. So it’s interesting that, in the wake of the controversy over the State of the Union speech, hawks like Daniel Drezner respond like this:
I understand why Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, and others are so exercised about the “sixteen little words” meme. The uranium question—and the blame game that has erupted along with it— manages to undercut two pillars of strength for the Bush team. …
I can’t get exercised about it, however. My reasons for supporting an attack on Iraq had little to do with the WMD issue. The uranium question was part of one rationale among many the administration gave for pushing forward in Iraq. I’m not saying this should be swept under the rug, but the level of righteous indignation that’s building up on the left is reaching blowback proportions.
Dan can be relied on to have made as well-argued and well-supported case for war as possible, but at this point I really don’t care what it was, for the same reasons the hawks had no time for the “Not In My Name” line. The substance of the President’s case for war is what matters, and it had everything to do with “the WMD issue.” If that case was built on a series of lies—immediate threat, 45-minutes to deployment, uranium from Niger and all the rest of it—then that is something to get exercised about.