Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has written to the Smithsonian raising questions about the caption that sits beneath its new portrait of George W. Bush. The current wording of the caption states that Bush's term was marked by "the attacks on September 11, 2001, that led to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." Sanders, bless his heart, points out that the 9/11 attacks -- all together, now -- had nothing to do with the Iraq war.Over at The Edge of The American West, Ari has a post up about this. First he praises Bernie, then he says this:
From Sanders' letter to Martin Sullivan, director of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington:When President Bush and Vice President Cheney misled our country into the war in Iraq, they certainly cited the attacks on September 11, along with the equally specious claim that Iraq possessed vast arsenals of weapons of mass destruction. The notion, however, that 9/11 and Iraq were linked, or that one "led to" the other, has been widely and authoritatively debunked ... Might I suggest that a reconsideration of the explanatory text next to the portrait of President Bush is in order[?]
Still, I wonder: is it unreasonable to suggest, as the Smithsonian’s captions does, that the attacks of September 11 led, albeit indirectly, to the conflict in Iraq? Put another way, it seems clear that there was no substantive link between the 9/11 attackers and Saddam Hussein. But fabricated ties between the two nevertheless formed an important part of President Bush’s spurious case for war. The caption, then, seems right enough (strictly speaking, at least) to pass muster, even if the impulse that Sanders apparently sees lurking behind it merits a stout challenge.I responded to him no, no, no. Seems that anything that preceded Iraq could be fabricated to tie into anything. Go Bernie!
Update: The caption will be changed!