My view is that it doesn’t matter whether Bush ever said “imminent”. He and his administration did everything possible to pump up the scare-factor for the Iraq invasion, trying to tell Americans that we had to do something NOW! NOW! NOW!
I would tend to say that Bush’s hyperbole went well beyond the word “imminent”, a term used by some of his spokesmen who were representing him to the American media and public. These professional communicators were never corrected, disciplined or otherwise “put in their place” for use of this statement.
In the years since the invasion began, the American public has decidedly moved away from their initial position of support for the president and his policies. The war has slid down into a quagmirish conflict, and the candid views from a recent Baghdad embassy cable show Iraq’s slide is far worse than most of us ever suspected.
Perhaps an intelligent discussion can be had on this topic. There are some who say “imminent” has a special meaning in international law, but relying on that has nothing to do with the status of what average Americans were being told in the weeks leading up to the invasion. Average Americans had the daylights scared out of them, and they don’t have to go running to wonkish texts to look up words that may or not be used with special coded meanings. They rely on the plain meaning of words, and when the president, his spokesmen and his top cabinet secretaries tell them that Iraq is gunning for America with the worst weapons known to humanity their ears perk up. The fact is that the majority of Americans think Bush misled them about the justifications for the war.
I pose a simple question: Does the “I” word even matter? For some of the above reasons, I think it doesn’t. However, I think it would be a great opportunity for folks to discuss why they think this word is relevant to the American people.