What is a liar?
Like all pieces of loaded language, it means different things to different people. But most would say that a liar is someone who knowingly makes a false statement.
For an example, see Bill Clinton's whopper, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
As of late, many prominent figures on the left (congressmen, activists, filmmakers of considerable girth) have been saying that our current president is a liar because of the false statements he made regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
George W. Bush is many things, most of them unprintable in this newspaper. But, despite what many Democrats are now claiming, a liar isn't one of them.
President Bush didn't lie about WMD in Iraq because, for him to have lied, he had to have known that the claims he was making were false. Contrary to what liberal conspiracy theorists might say, there's simply no way this could've been the case.
If Bush knew before the invasion of Iraq that Saddam didn't have any WMD he would have also known that, when this dearth of weaponry was discovered, he would look like a complete idiot.
Unless he has some sort of bizarre fetish for humiliating himself on the grandest possible scale, there's no way that Bush knowingly started the Iraq war under false pretenses because he stood to gain absolutely nothing by doing so.
What was Bush's motivation to go to war if he didn't truly believe what he was telling the American people in the fall of 2002? Is he simply a genocidal maniac who enjoys using the U.S. military to kill people in foreign countries? Call me na´ve, but I just don't buy that.
Rather, I believe that President Bush was 100 percent sure that Saddam had WMD and was an imminent threat to the U.S. Unfortunately, he was also 100 percent wrong.
This should prompt Americans to ask themselves several questions:
How could this have happened? How could the president of the U.S. have been so totally wrong about the most important decision that any president can make?
What does this say about Bush's competency as a commander in chief? How can he live with himself knowing that his mistake cost the lives of more than 2,000 innocent Americans?
Most importantly though, Americans should be asking themselves why Bush's opposition isn't bringing this up.
Democrats could be raking Bush over the coals with these inquiries. Instead, they seem content to posit illogical conspiracy theories about how the president wanted to go into Iraq so badly that he lied to the American people about WMD so they would support him.
These criticisms are idiotic because, first of all, anyone who thinks about them for more than 20 seconds can see that they don't make any sense, and secondly, they allow Bush to portray himself as the victim of Democrats' baseless attacks.
I didn't think it was possible to get people to sympathize with Bush, but once again Democrats have proven me wrong. Bush can now defend himself by saying that the Democrats are leveling wildly irrational attacks at him and claiming that he acted maliciously in the lead-up to the war.
A lot of adjectives could be used to describe President Bush's prewar judgments - reckless, foolish, even incompetent - but malicious is not one of them.
For Bush to have acted maliciously means that he knew that all of the false statements he was making prior to the war were false and this simply cannot be the case.
Bush isn't a liar; he's just a tragically incompetent fool who made one of history's biggest miscalculations.
For some reason, Democrats feel they need to go beyond merely pointing this out and instead have opted to depict the president as some sort of comically evil supervillain who gets his kicks by putting our troops in harm's way for no apparent reason.
Mark Twain once said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
This could be the Democrats' campaign slogan for 2006 and beyond if they could only pull themselves out of the conspiracy theory dungeon and start thinking rationally for once.
David Schultz is a senior majoring in political science and philosophy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.