Bush Responds to Anti-Iraq War Critics

Ralph
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Bush Responds to Anti-Iraq War Critics

Post by Ralph » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:18 pm

Bush takes on critics of Iraq war
President says war is central to fight against terrorism

TOBYHANNA, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- President Bush Friday accused critics of the Iraq war of distorting the events that led to the U.S. invasion, saying Democrats viewed the same intelligence and came to similar conclusions.

"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the president said during a Veterans Day speech in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.

"Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war," Bush said. "They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein." (Watch Bush attack his critics -- 1:17)

"These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will," Bush said.

The president also cited a Senate Intelligence Committee report issued in July 2004 that said the committee "was not presented with any evidence that intelligence analysts changed their judgments as a result of political pressure, altered or produced intelligence products to conform with Administration policy, or that anyone even attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to do so."

Senate Democrats are pressuring the committee to complete a "Phase 2" of the report that would focus on how the prewar intelligence was used by the administration. (Full Story)

A bipartisan panel headed by federal Circuit Court Judge Laurence Silberman and former Republican Sen. Charles Robb, also came to similar conclusions. However, that committee only examined the intelligence community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs, not how the intelligence was used.
Democrats respond

Democrats responded immediately -- and angrily -- to Bush's comments.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, responded to Bush's speech in a statement, saying that the commander-in-chief missed an opportunity to lay out "a clear strategy for success in the war in Iraq."

"Attacking those patriotic Americans who have raised serious questions about the case the Bush administration made to take our country to war does not provide us a plan for success that will bring our troops home," Reid said.

"The American people are demanding a comprehensive plan and the benchmarks by which to measure our success for the war in Iraq," Reid said. "The president's continued refusal to provide that plan does nothing to support our troops or their families."

In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, noting that a majority of House Democrats voted against the resolution that authorized the war, faulted the president for politicizing Veterans Day.

"On Veterans Day we should come together to honor those who have served in our Armed Forces. Instead, President Bush is using Veterans Day to try to bolster his political standing on the war in Iraq rather than honor our nation's men and women in uniform.

"The president does a disservice to the troops and the American people when he tries to silence those asking questions about putting our men and women in uniform in harm's way," Pelosi said.
Continuing the war

Bush reiterated his argument that the United States must continue to fight to prevent Iraq from becoming a failed state from which terrorists would launch attacks on other nations to implement their radical ideology.

Bush referred to a letter he said was written by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's No. 2 leader. The letter, according to Bush, said the group's goal is to force the United States to leave Iraq, just as it had departed from Vietnam, Beirut and other engagements, after suffering heavy casualties. (Read a report on al-Zawahiri's letter)

The authenticity of the letter has been questioned by some terrorism experts. (Full story)

"They believe that America can be made to run again, only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences," Bush said.

"The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity," the president said. "We must recognize the Iraq war as our central front against the terrorist."

If the terrorists drive America out of Iraq, Bush said, they could develop weapons of mass destruction, intimidate Middle East regimes friendly to the West, attack the United States and "blackmail our government into isolation."

"Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme," Bush said. "They are fanatical and extreme but they should not be dismissed."

Comparing the terrorists to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, Bush said "evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply."
Staying in Iraq

Bush also dismissed critics who say the U.S. invasion of Iraq has strengthened the terrorists.

"No act of ours invited the rage of killers and no concession, bribe or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder," Bush said. "Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, we will never accept anything less than complete victory."

The president said the U.S. forces -- along with Iraqi partners -- are implementing a strategy he described as "clear, hold and build."

"We're working to clear areas from terrorist control, to hold those areas securely, and to build lasting democratic Iraqi institutions through an increasingly inclusive political process."

About 2,500 people had been expected to attend the event, including veterans and their families and members of the state's congressional delegation.

The speech was meant to "directly take on some of these false attacks that have been recently brought up by some Democratic leaders," a White House official said Thursday.

National security adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters Thursday that the thrust of Bush's speech "is to continue to talk to the American people about the war on terror, the nature of the enemy, what is at stake (and) the importance that we see it through to success."
'Campaign-style' strategy

Earlier this week, senior White House officials told CNN they were working on a "campaign-style" strategy to respond to stepped-up Democratic criticism that Bush officials manipulated intelligence in making the case for war, an accusation the administration repeatedly has denied.

The intelligence debate intensified following the October 28 indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, who resigned the day he was indicted.

Libby was charged with obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to federal agents investigating the leak to reporters of the identity of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame. Her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, had publicly challenged a key element of the administration's case for war.

In his briefing Thursday, Hadley detoured from the president's upcoming four-nation Asia tour to defend the administration's rationale for invading Iraq and to rebut charges that intelligence had been manipulated.

Hadley told reporters the intelligence used to support the war had been developed over a "long period of time."
2003 CIA report raised doubt

"We all looked at the same intelligence, and most people -- on the intelligence -- reached the same conclusion," Hadley said, referring to the present and previous administrations and to Congress.

Adding to the intelligence dispute is a January 2003 CIA report that raised doubts about claims that al Qaeda sent operatives to Iraq to acquire chemical and biological weapons. (Full story)

In January and February 2003, President Bush and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell made dramatic assertions that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda and argued for military action to prevent Baghdad from providing its suspected stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. (Watch: CIA experts question intelligence source -- 2:17)

Powell repeated the claim before the United Nations in making the case for the invasion of Iraq.

No such stockpiles turned up after the U.S.-led invasion, and the independent commission investigating al Qaeda's 2001 attacks on New York and Washington found no evidence of a collaborative relationship between the two entities.

CNN obtained a CIA document Thursday that outlined the history of the claim, which originated in 2002 with a captured al Qaeda operative who recanted two years later.

The CIA report appears to support a recently declassified document that revealed the Defense Intelligence Agency thought in February 2002 that the source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, was lying to interrogators.

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, this week released the DIA report in alleging the administration cited faulty intelligence to argue for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.



Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/11/11/ ... index.html
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:52 pm

Same old, same old, - on both sides. One really does get tired of it.

What we would rather like is for Bush to lay out a concrete and specific plan, point by point and with a definite timetable (and with some realism) as to what exactly his vision for our engagement in Iraq is now and how exactly the desired outcome will be achieved. The vague generalizations and cheerleading (and constant scolding of his critics) we've become accustomed to is simply evidence for suspicions that he has no idea really, - and for those focused on casualty tallies the main reason for believing these lives may well have been lost in vain.

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:13 pm

Poll: Most Americans say Bush not honest
11/11/2005, 9:55 p.m. ET
By WILL LESTER
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two crucial pillars of President Bush's public support — perceptions of his honesty and faith in his ability to fight terrorism — have slipped to their lowest point in the AP-Ipsos poll.

While the CIA leak investigation, the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina and high energy costs have all taken their toll, the polling found the Iraq war at the core of Americans' displeasure with the president.

All of those concerns are cutting into traditional Bush strengths.

Almost six in 10 now say Bush is not honest, and a similar number say his administration does not have high ethical standards.

During his re-election bid in 2004, Bush skillfully wove the public's trust of him and faith in his handling of the terror threat into a winning campaign over Democrat John Kerry.

Now, 56 percent disapprove of the way Bush is handling foreign policy and the war on terrorism, the poll found. Overall, 37 percent approve of the job Bush is doing as president.

An AP-Ipsos poll last week asked people to state in their own words why they approve or disapprove of the way Bush was doing his job. Almost six in 10 disapproved, and they most frequently mentioned the war in Iraq — far ahead of the second issue, the economy.

"To use an unfortunate metaphor, Iraq is a roadside bomb in American politics," said Rich Bond, a former national Republican chairman.

Iraq has cast a cloud over Bush's public standing in general. The public's view of the likeability of the affable president has dropped from 63 percent in August to 52 percent now.

"The war is an overriding issue. Look at the body count on a daily basis," said Tom Rector, a Democrat from Spokane, Wash.

The president has vowed to stay the course in Iraq, bringing democracy to a country infested with terrorists and rocked by explosions almost daily.

The president gets credit from a majority of Americans for being strong and decisive, but he's also seen by an overwhelming number of people as "stubborn," a perception reinforced by his refusal to yield on issues like the Iraq war, tax cuts and support for staffers under intense pressure.

Eighty-two percent of those polled describe Bush as "stubborn," with seven of every 10 Republicans agreeing with that description.

Concern about the administration's ethics has been fueled by the controversy over flawed intelligence leading up to the Iraq war and the recent indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame, a scandal that touched other top officials in the administration.

That loss of trust complicates Bush's efforts to rebuild his standing with the public.

"Honesty is a huge issue because even people who disagreed with his policies respected his integrity," said Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist from the University of Texas.

Bush, who promised in the 2000 campaign to uphold "honor and integrity" in the White House, last week ordered White House workers, from presidential advisers to low-ranking aides, to attend ethics classes.

Some observers say they aren't impressed.

"It's like shutting the barn door after the horse escaped," said John Morrison, a Democrat who lives near Scranton, Pa.

Some Republicans are nervous about the GOP's political position.

"A lot of elected Republicans are running for the hills in the Northeast," Connecticut GOP strategist Chris DePino said after citing "a waterfall of missteps" by Republicans. Bush and the GOP must return to their message that the United States has been safe from terrorism during his administration, DePino said.

GOP pollster David Winston said Republicans are hoping the strength of the economy and the upcoming elections in Iraq can improve the public's mood about the administration.

Many of those who approve of Bush's job performance pointed to his Christian beliefs and strong values, the second biggest reason given for supporting him — after agreeing with his policies.

"I know he is a man of integrity and strong faith," said Fran Blaney, a Republican and an evangelical who lives near Hartford, Conn. "I've read that he prays every morning asking for God's guidance. He certainly is trying to do what he thinks he is supposed to do."

The poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Nov. 7-9 by Ipsos, an international polling firm, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

___

On the Net:

Ipsos: http://www.ap-ipsosresults.com
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

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Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:56 pm

God whispers in one of the President's ears, and the devil (Karl Rove) in the other. Up to now, temptation has gotten the best of him. As is so often the case, most evangelicals confuse the two voices.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:58 am

Gregory Kleyn wrote:
What we would rather like is for Bush to lay out a concrete and specific plan, point by point and with a definite timetable (and with some realism) as to what exactly his vision for our engagement in Iraq is now and how exactly the desired outcome will be achieved. The vague generalizations and cheerleading (and constant scolding of his critics) we've become accustomed to is simply evidence for suspicions that he has no idea really, - and for those focused on casualty tallies the main reason for believing these lives may well have been lost in vain.
No more a possibility and infinitely more difficult than it would have been for FDR to have laid out a specific point-by-point plan with a definite timetable for the conquest of the Axis Powers at the beginning of WW2.

The problem is that we're engaged in a war against trans-national guerillas and Iraq is only one of its battlefields.

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Re: Bush Responds to Anti-Iraq War Critics

Post by Teresa B » Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:29 pm

Ralph wrote: "While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the president said during a Veterans Day speech in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.
:? Let's see...From "Saddam's WMD" to "Saddam's plans for WMD" to "freedom for the Iraqi people" to "bringing democracy to the Middle East" to "global war on terrorism" ...When does the message about why the war was waged quit being rewritten by the Bushies?

Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

pizza
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 4:03 am

Re: Bush Responds to Anti-Iraq War Critics

Post by pizza » Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:52 pm

Teresa B wrote:
Ralph wrote: "While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the president said during a Veterans Day speech in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.
:? Let's see...From "Saddam's WMD" to "Saddam's plans for WMD" to "freedom for the Iraqi people" to "bringing democracy to the Middle East" to "global war on terrorism" ...When does the message about why the war was waged quit being rewritten by the Bushies?

Teresa
Did you forget the 12 year jerking around Saddam gave the coalition and the UN or wasn't that a sufficient reason? How much longer would you have suggested we waited for him to comply with his full disclosure obligations made in return for the '91 truce?

pizza
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Post by pizza » Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:27 pm

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Who Is Lying About Iraq?
By Norman Podhoretz
CommentaryMagazine.com | November 11, 2005

[This article will appear in the December issue of Commentary but has been released in advance at the magazine's website, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/

Among the many distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsifications that have emerged from the debate over Iraq, one in particular stands out above all others. This is the charge that George W. Bush misled us into an immoral and/or unnecessary war in Iraq by telling a series of lies that have now been definitively exposed.

What makes this charge so special is the amazing success it has enjoyed in getting itself established as a self-evident truth even though it has been refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike. In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up, or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.

Nevertheless, I want to take one more shot at exposing it for the lie that it itself really is. Although doing so will require going over ground that I and many others have covered before, I hope that revisiting this well-trodden terrain may also serve to refresh memories that have grown dim, to clarify thoughts that have grown confused, and to revive outrage that has grown commensurately dulled.

The main “lie” that George W. Bush is accused of telling us is that Saddam Hussein possessed an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD as they have invariably come to be called. From this followed the subsidiary “lie” that Iraq under Saddam’s regime posed a two-edged mortal threat. On the one hand, we were informed, there was a distinct (or even “imminent”) possibility that Saddam himself would use these weapons against us and/or our allies; and on the other hand, there was the still more dangerous possibility that he would supply them to terrorists like those who had already attacked us on 9/11 and to whom he was linked.

This entire scenario of purported deceit has been given a new lease on life by the indictment in late October of I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby stands accused of making false statements to the FBI and of committing perjury in testifying before a grand jury that had been convened to find out who in the Bush administration had “outed” Valerie Plame, a CIA agent married to the retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV. The supposed purpose of leaking this classified information to the press was to retaliate against Wilson for having “debunked” (in his words) “the lies that led to war.”

Now, as it happens, Libby was not charged with having outed Plame but only with having lied about when and from whom he first learned that she worked for the CIA. Moreover, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor who brought the indictment against him, made a point of emphasizing that

[t]his indictment is not about the war. This indictment is not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.

This is simply an indictment that says, in a national-security investigation about the compromise of a CIA officer’s identity that may have taken place in the context of a very heated debate over the war, whether some person—a person, Mr. Libby—lied or not.

No matter. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, spoke for a host of other opponents of the war in insisting that

[t]his case is bigger than the leak of classified information. It is about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the President.

Yet even stipulating—which I do only for the sake of argument—that no weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the period leading up to the invasion, it defies all reason to think that Bush was lying when he asserted that they did. To lie means to say something one knows to be false. But it is as close to certainty as we can get that Bush believed in the truth of what he was saying about WMD in Iraq.

How indeed could it have been otherwise? George Tenet, his own CIA director, assured him that the case was “a slam dunk.” This phrase would later become notorious, but in using it, Tenet had the backing of all fifteen agencies involved in gathering intelligence for the United States. In the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of 2002, where their collective views were summarized, one of the conclusions offered with “high confidence” was that

Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.

The intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel, and—yes—France all agreed with this judgment. And even Hans Blix—who headed the UN team of inspectors trying to determine whether Saddam had complied with the demands of the Security Council that he get rid of the weapons of mass destruction he was known to have had in the past—lent further credibility to the case in a report he issued only a few months before the invasion:

The discovery of a number of 122-mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker, and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions. . . . They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.

Blix now claims that he was only being “cautious” here, but if, as he now also adds, the Bush administration “misled itself” in interpreting the evidence before it, he at the very least lent it a helping hand.

So, once again, did the British, the French, and the Germans, all of whom signed on in advance to Secretary of State Colin Powell’s reading of the satellite photos he presented to the UN in the period leading up to the invasion. Powell himself and his chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, now feel that this speech was the low point of his tenure as Secretary of State. But Wilkerson (in the process of a vicious attack on the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of Defense for getting us into Iraq) is forced to acknowledge that the Bush administration did not lack for company in interpreting the available evidence as it did:

I can’t tell you why the French, the Germans, the Brits, and us thought that most of the material, if not all of it, that we presented at the UN on 5 February 2003 was the truth. I can’t. I’ve wrestled with it. [But] when you see a satellite photograph of all the signs of the chemical-weapons ASP—Ammunition Supply Point—with chemical weapons, and you match all those signs with your matrix on what should show a chemical ASP, and they’re there, you have to conclude that it’s a chemical ASP, especially when you see the next satellite photograph which shows the UN inspectors wheeling in their white vehicles with black markings on them to that same ASP, and everything is changed, everything is clean. . . . But George [Tenet] was convinced, John McLaughlin [Tenet’s deputy] was convinced, that what we were presented [for Powell’s UN speech] was accurate.

Going on to shoot down a widespread impression, Wilkerson informs us that even the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) was convinced:

People say, well, INR dissented. That’s a bunch of bull. INR dissented that the nuclear program was up and running. That’s all INR dissented on. They were right there with the chems and the bios.

In explaining its dissent on Iraq’s nuclear program, the INR had, as stated in the NIE of 2002, expressed doubt about

Iraq’s efforts to acquire aluminum tubes [which are] central to the argument that Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear-weapons program. . . . INR is not persuaded that the tubes in question are intended for use as centrifuge rotors . . . in Iraq’s nuclear-weapons program.

But, according to Wilkerson,

The French came in in the middle of my deliberations at the CIA and said, we have just spun aluminum tubes, and by God, we did it to this RPM, et cetera, et cetera, and it was all, you know, proof positive that the aluminum tubes were not for mortar casings or artillery casings, they were for centrifuges. Otherwise, why would you have such exquisite instruments?

In short, and whether or not it included the secret heart of Hans Blix, “the consensus of the intelligence community,” as Wilkerson puts it, “was overwhelming” in the period leading up to the invasion of Iraq that Saddam definitely had an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, and that he was also in all probability well on the way to rebuilding the nuclear capability that the Israelis had damaged by bombing the Osirak reactor in 1981.

Additional confirmation of this latter point comes from Kenneth Pollack, who served in the National Security Council under Clinton. “In the late spring of 2002,” Pollack has written,

I participated in a Washington meeting about Iraqi WMD. Those present included nearly twenty former inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), the force established in 1991 to oversee the elimination of WMD in Iraq. One of the senior people put a question to the group: did anyone in the room doubt that Iraq was currently operating a secret centrifuge plant? No one did. Three people added that they believed Iraq was also operating a secret calutron plant (a facility for separating uranium isotopes).

No wonder, then, that another conclusion the NIE of 2002 reached with “high confidence” was that

Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.1

But the consensus on which Bush relied was not born in his own administration. In fact, it was first fully formed in the Clinton administration. Here is Clinton himself, speaking in 1998:

If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction program.

Here is his Secretary of State Madeline Albright, also speaking in 1998:

Iraq is a long way from [the USA], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.

Here is Sandy Berger, Clinton’s National Security Adviser, who chimed in at the same time with this flat-out assertion about Saddam:

He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.

Finally, Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, was so sure Saddam had stockpiles of WMD that he remained “absolutely convinced” of it even after our failure to find them in the wake of the invasion in March 2003.

Nor did leading Democrats in Congress entertain any doubts on this score. A few months after Clinton and his people made the statements I have just quoted, a group of Democratic Senators, including such liberals as Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, and John Kerry, urged the President

to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons-of-mass-destruction programs.

Nancy Pelosi, the future leader of the Democrats in the House, and then a member of the House Intelligence Committee, added her voice to the chorus:

Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons-of-mass-destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.

This Democratic drumbeat continued and even intensified when Bush succeeded Clinton in 2001, and it featured many who would later pretend to have been deceived by the Bush White House. In a letter to the new President, a number of Senators led by Bob Graham declared:

There is no doubt that . . . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical, and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf war status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.

Senator Carl Levin also reaffirmed for Bush’s benefit what he had told Clinton some years earlier:

Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations, and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed, speaking in October 2002:

In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical- and biological-weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, agreed as well:

There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. . . . We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.

Even more striking were the sentiments of Bush’s opponents in his two campaigns for the presidency. Thus Al Gore in September 2002:

We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.

And here is Gore again, in that same year:

Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.

Now to John Kerry, also speaking in 2002:

I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force—if necessary—to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.

Perhaps most startling of all, given the rhetoric that they would later employ against Bush after the invasion of Iraq, are statements made by Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, also in 2002:

Kennedy: We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.

Byrd: The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical- and biological-warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons.2

Liberal politicians like these were seconded by the mainstream media, in whose columns a very different tune would later be sung. For example, throughout the last two years of the Clinton administration, editorials in the New York Times repeatedly insisted that

without further outside intervention, Iraq should be able to rebuild weapons and missile plants within a year [and] future military attacks may be required to diminish the arsenal again.

The Times was also skeptical of negotiations, pointing out that it was

hard to negotiate with a tyrant who has no intention of honoring his commitments and who sees nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as his country’s salvation.

So, too, the Washington Post, which greeted the inauguration of George W. Bush in January 2001 with the admonition that

[o]f all the booby traps left behind by the Clinton administration, none is more dangerous—or more urgent—than the situation in Iraq. Over the last year, Mr. Clinton and his team quietly avoided dealing with, or calling attention to, the almost complete unraveling of a decade’s efforts to isolate the regime of Saddam Hussein and prevent it from rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction. That leaves President Bush to confront a dismaying panorama in the Persian Gulf [where] intelligence photos . . . show the reconstruction of factories long suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons.3

All this should surely suffice to prove far beyond any even unreasonable doubt that Bush was telling what he believed to be the truth about Saddam’s stockpile of WMD. It also disposes of the fallback charge that Bush lied by exaggerating or hyping the intelligence presented to him. Why on earth would he have done so when the intelligence itself was so compelling that it convinced everyone who had direct access to it, and when hardly anyone in the world believed that Saddam had, as he claimed, complied with the sixteen resolutions of the Security Council demanding that he get rid of his weapons of mass destruction?

Another fallback charge is that Bush, operating mainly through Cheney, somehow forced the CIA into telling him what he wanted to hear. Yet in its report of 2004, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, while criticizing the CIA for relying on what in hindsight looked like weak or faulty intelligence, stated that it

did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence, or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities.

The March 2005 report of the equally bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission, which investigated intelligence failures on Iraq, reached the same conclusion, finding

no evidence of political pressure to influence the intelligence community’s pre-war assessments of Iraq’s weapons programs. . . . [A]nalysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments.

Still, even many who believed that Saddam did possess WMD, and was ruthless enough to use them, accused Bush of telling a different sort of lie by characterizing the risk as “imminent.” But this, too, is false: Bush consistently rejected imminence as a justification for war.4 Thus, in the State of the Union address he delivered only three months after 9/11, Bush declared that he would “not wait on events while dangers gather” and that he would “not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer.” Then, in a speech at West Point six months later, he reiterated the same point: “If we wait for threats to materialize, we will have waited too long.” And as if that were not clear enough, he went out of his way in his State of the Union address in 2003 (that is, three months before the invasion), to bring up the word “imminent” itself precisely in order to repudiate it:

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

What of the related charge that it was still another “lie” to suggest, as Bush and his people did, that a connection could be traced between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorists who had attacked us on 9/11? This charge was also rejected by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Contrary to how its findings were summarized in the mainstream media, the committee’s report explicitly concluded that al Qaeda did in fact have a cooperative, if informal, relationship with Iraqi agents working under Saddam. The report of the bipartisan 9/11 commission came to the same conclusion, as did a comparably independent British investigation conducted by Lord Butler, which pointed to “meetings . . . between senior Iraqi representatives and senior al-Qaeda operatives.”5

Which brings us to Joseph C. Wilson, IV and what to my mind wins the palm for the most disgraceful instance of all.

The story begins with the notorious sixteen words inserted—after, be it noted, much vetting by the CIA and the State Department—into Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address:

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

This is the “lie” Wilson bragged of having “debunked” after being sent by the CIA to Niger in 2002 to check out the intelligence it had received to that effect. Wilson would later angrily deny that his wife had recommended him for this mission, and would do his best to spread the impression that choosing him had been the Vice President’s idea. But Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, through whom Wilson first planted this impression, was eventually forced to admit that “Cheney apparently didn’t know that Wilson had been dispatched.” (By the time Kristof grudgingly issued this retraction, Wilson himself, in characteristically shameless fashion, was denying that he had ever “said the Vice President sent me or ordered me sent.”) And as for his wife’s supposed non-role in his mission, here is what Valerie Plame Wilson wrote in a memo to her boss at the CIA:

My husband has good relations with the PM [the prime minister of Niger] and the former minister of mines . . . , both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.

More than a year after his return, with the help of Kristof, and also Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, and then through an op-ed piece in the Times under his own name, Wilson succeeded, probably beyond his wildest dreams, in setting off a political firestorm.

In response, the White House, no doubt hoping to prevent his allegation about the sixteen words from becoming a proxy for the charge that (in Wilson’s latest iteration of it) “lies and disinformation [were] used to justify the invasion of Iraq,” eventually acknowledged that the President’s statement “did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address.” As might have been expected, however, this panicky response served to make things worse rather than better. And yet it was totally unnecessary—for the maddeningly simple reason that every single one of the sixteen words at issue was true.

That is, British intelligence had assured the CIA that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy enriched uranium from the African country of Niger. Furthermore—and notwithstanding the endlessly repeated assertion that this assurance has now been discredited—Britain’s independent Butler commission concluded that it was “well-founded.” The relevant passage is worth quoting at length:

a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.

b. The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.

c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium, and the British government did not claim this.

As if that were not enough to settle the matter, Wilson himself, far from challenging the British report when he was “debriefed” on his return from Niger (although challenging it is what he now never stops doing6), actually strengthened the CIA’s belief in its accuracy. From the Senate Intelligence Committee report:

He [the CIA reports officer] said he judged that the most important fact in the report [by Wilson] was that Niger officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Niger prime minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium.

And again:

The report on [Wilson’s] trip to Niger . . . did not change any analysts’ assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original CIA reports on the uranium deal.

This passage goes on to note that the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research—which (as we have already seen) did not believe that Saddam Hussein was trying to develop nuclear weapons—found support in Wilson’s report for its “assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq.” But if so, this, as the Butler report quoted above points out, would not mean that Iraq had not tried to buy it—which was the only claim made by British intelligence and then by Bush in the famous sixteen words.

The liar here, then, was not Bush but Wilson. And Wilson also lied when he told the Washington Post that he had unmasked as forgeries certain documents given to American intelligence (by whom it is not yet clear) that supposedly contained additional evidence of Saddam’s efforts to buy uranium from Niger. The documents did indeed turn out to be forgeries; but, according to the Butler report,

[t]he forged documents were not available to the British government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine [that assessment].7

More damning yet to Wilson, the Senate Intelligence Committee discovered that he had never laid eyes on the documents in question:

[Wilson] also told committee staff that he was the source of a Washington Post article . . . which said, “among the envoy’s conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because ‘the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.’” Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the “dates were wrong and the names were wrong” when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports.

To top all this off, just as Cheney had nothing to do with the choice of Wilson for the mission to Niger, neither was it true that, as Wilson “confirmed” for a credulous New Republic reporter, “the CIA circulated [his] report to the Vice President’s office,” thereby supposedly proving that Cheney and his staff “knew the Niger story was a flatout lie.” Yet—the mind reels—if Cheney had actually been briefed on Wilson’s oral report to the CIA (which he was not), he would, like the CIA itself, have been more inclined to believe that Saddam had tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger.

So much for the author of the best-selling and much acclaimed book whose title alone—The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity—has set a new record for chutzpah.

But there is worse. In his press conference on the indictment against Libby, Patrick Fitzgerald insisted that lying to federal investigators is a serious crime both because it is itself against the law and because, by sending them on endless wild-goose chases, it constitutes the even more serious crime of obstruction of justice. By those standards, Wilson—who has repeatedly made false statements about every aspect of his mission to Niger, including whose idea it was to send him and what he told the CIA upon his return; who was then shown up by the Senate Intelligence Committee as having lied about the forged documents; and whose mendacity has sent the whole country into a wild-goose chase after allegations that, the more they are refuted, the more they keep being repeated—is himself an excellent candidate for criminal prosecution.

And so long as we are hunting for liars in this area, let me suggest that we begin with the Democrats now proclaiming that they were duped, and that we then broaden out to all those who in their desperation to delegitimize the larger policy being tested in Iraq—the policy of making the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy—have consistently used distortion, misrepresentation, and selective perception to vilify as immoral a bold and noble enterprise and to brand as an ignominious defeat what is proving itself more and more every day to be a victory of American arms and a vindication of American ideals.

—November 7, 2005


NORMAN PODHORETZ is the editor-at-large of COMMENTARY and the author of ten books. The most recent, The Norman Podhoretz Reader, edited by Thomas L. Jeffers, appeared in 2004. His essays on the Bush Doctrine and Iraq, including “World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win” (September 2004) and “The War Against World War IV” (February 2005), can be found by clicking here.

ENDNOTES:

1 Hard as it is to believe, let alone to reconcile with his general position, Joseph C. Wilson, IV, in a speech he delivered three months after the invasion at the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, offhandedly made the following remark: “I remain of the view that we will find biological and chemical weapons and we may well find something that indicates that Saddam’s regime maintained an interest in nuclear weapons.”

2 Fuller versions of these and similar statements can be found at http://www.theconversationcafe.com/foru ... 34.htmland. Another source is http://www.rightwingnews.com/quotes/demsonwmds.php.

3 These and numerous other such quotations were assembled by Robert Kagan in a piece published in the Washington Post on October 25, 2005.

4 Whereas both John Edwards, later to become John Kerry’s running mate in 2004, and Jay Rockefeller, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, actually did use the word in describing the threat posed by Saddam.

5 In early November, the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who last year gave their unanimous assent to its report, were suddenly mounting a last-ditch effort to take it back on this issue (and others). But to judge from the material they had already begun leaking by November 7, when this article was going to press, the newest “Bush lied” case is as empty and dishonest as the one they themselves previously rejected.

6 Here is how he put it in a piece in the Los Angeles Times written in late October of this year to celebrate the indictment of Libby: “I knew that the statement in Bush’s speech . . . was not true. I knew it was false from my own investigative trip to Africa. . . . And I knew that the White House knew it.”

7 More extensive citations of the relevant passages from the Butler report can be found in postings by Daniel McKivergan at www.worldwidestandard.com. I have also drawn throughout on materials cited by the invaluable Stephen F. Hayes in the Weekly Standard.

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Re: Bush Responds to Anti-Iraq War Critics

Post by herman » Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:17 pm

pizza wrote:
Teresa B wrote:
Ralph wrote: "While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the president said during a Veterans Day speech in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.
:? Let's see...From "Saddam's WMD" to "Saddam's plans for WMD" to "freedom for the Iraqi people" to "bringing democracy to the Middle East" to "global war on terrorism" ...When does the message about why the war was waged quit being rewritten by the Bushies?

Teresa
Did you forget the 12 year jerking around Saddam gave the coalition and the UN or wasn't that a sufficient reason? How much longer would you have suggested we waited for him to comply with his full disclosure obligations made in return for the '91 truce?
Then the WH should just have built their casus belli on that.

Teresa is of course right. Bush is the last person in the US to accuse anyone of trying to rewrite history. There have been so many successive real reasons why he went to war we've lost count.

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Re: Bush Responds to Anti-Iraq War Critics

Post by pizza » Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:47 pm

herman wrote:
pizza wrote:
Teresa B wrote:
Ralph wrote: "While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the president said during a Veterans Day speech in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.
:? Let's see...From "Saddam's WMD" to "Saddam's plans for WMD" to "freedom for the Iraqi people" to "bringing democracy to the Middle East" to "global war on terrorism" ...When does the message about why the war was waged quit being rewritten by the Bushies?

Teresa
Did you forget the 12 year jerking around Saddam gave the coalition and the UN or wasn't that a sufficient reason? How much longer would you have suggested we waited for him to comply with his full disclosure obligations made in return for the '91 truce?
Then the WH should just have built their casus belli on that.

Teresa is of course right. Bush is the last person in the US to accuse anyone of trying to rewrite history. There have been so many successive real reasons why he went to war we've lost count.
It's axiomatic that if you do the right thing for the wrong reason, it's still the right thing.

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Re: Bush Responds to Anti-Iraq War Critics

Post by herman » Sun Nov 13, 2005 4:37 am

pizza wrote:It's axiomatic that if you do the right thing for the wrong reason, it's still the right thing.
It is not "axiomatic" at all. It is of course signally unethical.

You can give this course of action a shot, but you will only get away with it if you're fast and lucky.

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Re: Bush Responds to Anti-Iraq War Critics

Post by pizza » Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:56 am

herman wrote:
pizza wrote:It's axiomatic that if you do the right thing for the wrong reason, it's still the right thing.
It is not "axiomatic" at all. It is of course signally unethical.

You can give this course of action a shot, but you will only get away with it if you're fast and lucky.
On the contrary, Mr. US expert. Not only is it axiomatic, but it's also the law in every jurisdiction of the United States. If a judge rules correctly for the wrong reason, the ruling will stand. Guess why: what's right is right. Admittedly a tough concept for a European cynic to swallow.

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Post by Barry » Sun Nov 13, 2005 11:36 am

<<<Machiavelli's pagan virtue is public virtue, whereas Judeo-Christian virtue is more often private virtue. A famous example of good public virtue and bad private virtue might be President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's somewhat mischievous evasions of truth in getting an isolationist Congress to approve the Lend-Lease Act in 1941, which allowed for the transfer of war supplies to England. "In effect, writes the playwright Arthur Miller about Roosevelt, "mankind is in debt to his lies." In his Discourses on Livy, Machiavelli sanctions fraud when it is necessary for the well-being of the polis. This is not a new or cynical idea: Sun-Tzu writes politics and war constitute "the art of deceit," which, if practiced wisely, may lead to victory and the reduction of casualties.>>>

- Robert D. Kaplan from Warrior Politics

I know some will jump on that last line and say that Iraq is causing more casualties, but that's a shortsited view. It may be causing more casualties in the now, but who knows how many it will save in the future. That's still yet to be determined. The key is to look at the big picture and not recoil in moral disgust over every thing that doesn't fit in with our traditional view of private morality. It's the long-term results that matter.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by herman » Sun Nov 13, 2005 3:22 pm

Barry Z wrote: The key is to look at the big picture and not recoil in moral disgust over every thing that doesn't fit in with our traditional view of private morality. It's the long-term results that matter.
I was not talking about private morality. I was talking about the realities of political life.

You can get away with lying in order to do what you perceive as right when nobody's watching closely.

In world politics everybody is watching.

The only way to get away with it in that case is, as I said, to be fast and lucky, and build on first successes. In this case that does not seem to be happening.

As to your quote, you forget that there is no "big picture". You talk as if there is a "big piture" out there somewhere, but there are only various ways you can construct a "big picture".

The Bush people have attempted to sell a "big picture" various times, and have had to adjust and revise their "big picture" time and again.

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Post by Barry » Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:21 pm

herman wrote: As to your quote, you forget that there is no "big picture". You talk as if there is a "big piture" out there somewhere, but there are only various ways you can construct a "big picture".
Your failure to see and understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Some of us have been discussing it on here for a long time. Iraq is one part within a much larger war.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by pizza » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:50 am

Interesting how those with convenient memories "forget" that the US did in fact present the case of Iraq's failure to meet its obligations to the UN and built its case upon that failure -- and of course the UN itself had conveniently "forgotten" that Saddam had violated all his obligations under the '91 truce. But what the hell, making a buck off oil for fraud was the name of the UN, French, German and Russian game.

It must be hard for some minds to understand that there can be more than one reason for doing something that needs to be done.

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Post by herman » Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:25 am

Barry Z wrote:
herman wrote: As to your quote, you forget that there is no "big picture". You talk as if there is a "big piture" out there somewhere, but there are only various ways you can construct a "big picture".
Your failure to see and understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Some of us have been discussing it on here for a long time. Iraq is one part within a much larger war.
It does not exist. It's an intellectual construct and as such is not a fact, but something that can be agreed upon or not.

It helps if you stake your political agenda on a desired "big picture" if your policies are in any meaningful way constructive of that "big picture".

Bush blew it virtually right away in going to Iraq on the pretense that Iraq was part of 9 / 11 and that Saddam had helped Al Quaeda commit terrorist acts. In other words, the "big picture" story was just a pretense to try and secure Iraq for the US.

So if the people who posit this "big picture" don't even act accordingly I'm not sure it's really a terribly persuasive concept.

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Post by pizza » Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:36 am

herman wrote:
Barry Z wrote:
herman wrote: As to your quote, you forget that there is no "big picture". You talk as if there is a "big piture" out there somewhere, but there are only various ways you can construct a "big picture".
Your failure to see and understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Some of us have been discussing it on here for a long time. Iraq is one part within a much larger war.
It does not exist. It's an intellectual construct and as such is not a fact, but something that can be agreed upon or not.

It helps if you stake your political agenda on a desired "big picture" if your policies are in any meaningful way constructive of that "big picture".

Bush blew it virtually right away in going to Iraq on the pretense that Iraq was part of 9 / 11 and that Saddam had helped Al Quaeda commit terrorist acts. In other words, the "big picture" story was just a pretense to try and secure Iraq for the US.

So if the people who posit this "big picture" don't even act accordingly I'm not sure it's really a terribly persuasive concept.
It's only persuasive for rational people who have a sense of self-preservation -- not for ostriches that ignore the threat staring them in the face.

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Post by Barry » Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:24 am

herman wrote:
Barry Z wrote:
herman wrote: As to your quote, you forget that there is no "big picture". You talk as if there is a "big piture" out there somewhere, but there are only various ways you can construct a "big picture".
Your failure to see and understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Some of us have been discussing it on here for a long time. Iraq is one part within a much larger war.
It does not exist. It's an intellectual construct and as such is not a fact, but something that can be agreed upon or not.

It helps if you stake your political agenda on a desired "big picture" if your policies are in any meaningful way constructive of that "big picture".

Bush blew it virtually right away in going to Iraq on the pretense that Iraq was part of 9 / 11 and that Saddam had helped Al Quaeda commit terrorist acts. In other words, the "big picture" story was just a pretense to try and secure Iraq for the US.

So if the people who posit this "big picture" don't even act accordingly I'm not sure it's really a terribly persuasive concept.
See my last post to you. Your failure to understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Big concepts seem to escape you in general. The fact that a family hasn't set foot in church for hundreds of years doesn't change the fact that they live in a society and culture which has undeniably been greatly impacted by the laws and customs of the Church and Judeo-Christian history (even someone as agnostic and anti-religion as I am has to acknowledge that). That an educated person would fail to understand something so self-evident is frankly amazing. In light of that, it's certainly not surprising that you'd fail to grasp a large concept (big picture) that takes a little more thought.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by karlhenning » Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:38 am

Your failure to understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Big concepts seem to escape you in general.
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
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http://www.luxnova.com/

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Post by herman » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:18 pm

Barry Z wrote:See my last post to you. Your failure to understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Big concepts seem to escape you in general. The fact that a family hasn't set foot in church for hundreds of years doesn't change the fact that they live in a society and culture which has undeniably been greatly impacted by the laws and customs of the Church and Judeo-Christian history (even someone as agnostic and anti-religion as I am has to acknowledge that). That an educated person would fail to understand something so self-evident is frankly amazing. In light of that, it's certainly not surprising that you'd fail to grasp a large concept (big picture) that takes a little more thought.
Well, this is going nowhere. I think I understand fully what you think "the big picture" is. What you don't seem to understand that even though you fully endorse "the big picture" - there are islamic terrorists out to get us, and we need to defend our way of life in a epochal war and various fronts all over the world - that doesn't mean it exists in the way a mountain exists. The big picture is an intellectual concept which you can agree with or not.

One of the reasons why I disagree with the concept is, as I have explained zillions of times before, that the West would most likely lose a war lasting ten years or more, since the resources are very obviously stretched already after a limited war of two or three years. Recent incidents have demonstrated it would only take this to annihilate a major US city, because most firepower seems to be located in Iraq. So no matter how satisfying the concept of a really big war may seem in your mind, it is impractible and self-defeating.

The problem with you is you see everything in black and white terms. Same with the "have you as a European been impacted by Christian influences in yr morality". As I said only a couple of days before, my negative response to that was in the context of the issue whether morality was possible without Christianity. And to that I have to say yes it is possible; I have read Plato and the Greek tragedies in the original and there's plenty of morality there.

The fact that you deliberately disregard the way I contextualize my response is rather telling - too complicated apparently - and I think you might as well keep your silly suggestions as to whether I am or not an eductaed person to yourself.

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Post by herman » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:30 pm

oops, double post.

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Post by pizza » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:37 pm

herman wrote:oops, double post.
Wasn't worth the first one.

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Post by herman » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:52 pm

Another way in which this "big picture" can be shown to not so unshakable is the way the "big picture" guys on this board were calling the riots in France an intifadah and another way in which islamofascists were wreaking havoic in Europe.

All reporting and research has by now shown that there was not the slightest religious motivitaion behind these riots - if anything the ispiration came from MTV gangsta rap clip rather than from Al Jazeera.

So, this firm belief in "the big picture" as a thing that's beyond debate makes believers see the facts that do not exist, because they need to feed "the big picture" with evidence.

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Post by Barry » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:52 pm

herman wrote: The big picture is an intellectual concept which you can agree with or not.
Again, I don't think you could be more wrong. The fact that Islamic extremists are engaging in a worldwide effort to do damage to us and spread their way of life and laws do places that want no part of it is not a concept. It's a reality. The big picture is how we deal with it. And there is NO choice but to have a big picture to deal with it. Ignoring the problem or dealing with it more passively isn't going to make it go away.


One of the reasons why I disagree with the concept is, as I have explained zillions of times before, that the West would most likely lose a war lasting ten years or more, since the resources are very obviously stretched already after a limited war of two or three years. Recent incidents have demonstrated it would only take this to annihilate a major US city, because most firepower seems to be located in Iraq. So no matter how satisfying the concept of a really big war may seem in your mind, it is impractible and self-defeating.
Thankfully we have leaders who aren't as defeatist as you. We can win this war, but it is going to take perserverence; something you and so many of your fellow Europeans clearly lack.

The problem with you is you see everything in black and white terms. Same with the "have you as a European been impacted by Christian influences in yr morality". As I said only a couple of days before, my negative response to that was in the context of the issue whether morality was possible without Christianity. And to that I have to say yes it is possible; I have read Plato and the Greek tragedies in the original and there's plenty of morality there.
If you stated all along that your point was that morality is possible without Christianity, I'd have flat out agreed with you. Sorry if I missed that particular post of yours, but without recalling your exact wording, i know I've seen posts of yours on the subject in the not-too-distant past that any reader would have thought indicated you were stating that you (or families that have not entered a church for many generations) are not touched by the influence of Judeo-Christian morality, which is ridiculous.
Last edited by Barry on Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by pizza » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:58 pm

herman wrote:
All reporting and research has by now shown that there was not the slightest religious motivitaion behind these riots - if anything the ispiration came from MTV gangsta rap clip rather than from Al Jazeera.
Pure unadulterated nonsense. There's been no such "research" worth the name. The riots are still in progress in case you haven't noticed.

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Post by herman » Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:06 pm

Barry Z wrote: Again, I don't think you could be more wrong. The fact that Islamic extremists are engaging in a worldwide effort to do damage to us and spread their way of life and laws do places that want no part of it is not a concept. It's a reality.
No. It's a point of view. The other way of looking at it is that OBL and such figures want to put "their" insufficiently fundamentalist governments under pressure, and indeed cause as much damage as they can - but the idea that islamic terrorists have territorial ambitions in the west is not commonly accepted by experts.

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Post by herman » Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:10 pm

pizza wrote:
herman wrote:
All reporting and research has by now shown that there was not the slightest religious motivitaion behind these riots - if anything the ispiration came from MTV gangsta rap clip rather than from Al Jazeera.
Pure unadulterated nonsense. There's been no such "research" worth the name. The riots are still in progress in case you haven't noticed.

As to the reports and research, you obviously don't read the serious European papers. And, of course, as I just said, you would only accept reports and research that prove your non-existent point.

And yes, even in Holland a bunch of kids set fire to four (4) cars this weekend. As you'll understand I am writing this from under my bed, with the lights out.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:21 pm

herman wrote:
Barry Z wrote: Again, I don't think you could be more wrong. The fact that Islamic extremists are engaging in a worldwide effort to do damage to us and spread their way of life and laws do places that want no part of it is not a concept. It's a reality.
No. It's a point of view. The other way of looking at it is that OBL and such figures want to put "their" insufficiently fundamentalist governments under pressure, and indeed cause as much damage as they can - but the idea that islamic terrorists have territorial ambitions in the west is not commonly accepted by experts.
I'm not sure which experts you're talking about, but I've seen and heard otherwise. I've also seen a map from a jihadist website in which they plain out state what their aim is (it was on C-Span.......don't ask me to provide the web address).
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

herman
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Post by herman » Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:25 pm

Barry Z wrote:I'm not sure which experts you're talking about, but I've seen and heard otherwise.
Well, that's my point. There are various ways of looking at this, and claiming "my POV is the big picture" isn't, as I said, terribly persuasive.

Although it's a lot better than saying, as you have often done, I should should get ready for going to mosque every day, soon.

And that's it for today AFAIC.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:29 pm

I should add that even if the Jihadists only wanted to control all of the middle east, that would be completely unacceptable. Allowing them to do so would completely ruin western economies. That may be acceptable to you, but it isn't to me.

But again, I don't think they are limiting their sites on the Middle East. There is no doubt that they have infiltrated every major western nation. And dismissing the notion that there is a big picture, which Iraq is only a part of, in dealing with this enemy is to put one's head in the sand and deny reality (it would also be long-term national suicide if our leaders were to ever have such an attitude).
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

herman
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Post by herman » Tue Nov 15, 2005 5:29 am

Barry, the facts as to expansionist aims are: no Islamicist invasions and occupations of western territory have been reported. The US has invaded and is occupying a Middle Eastern country, causing major destruction to the infrastructure and society as a whole. Bush has repeatedly stated his aim of bringing "democracy and freedom, western style" all over the world. We may like our style of democracy, but to people who have been born and raised in other forms of gvt thsi sounds like 100% expansionist language.

Of course there are large numbers of more or less muslim sub-populations in Europe. Wanna know why? They were invited to come on over. Most of these people just want to get on with their lives. A tiny minority is dangerous and this has to be tackled. Declaring a "clash of civilizations" is not going to do the job; it only exacerbates the problems.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:39 am

herman wrote:Barry, the facts as to expansionist aims are: no Islamicist invasions and occupations of western territory have been reported. The US has invaded and is occupying a Middle Eastern country, causing major destruction to the infrastructure and society as a whole. Bush has repeatedly stated his aim of bringing "democracy and freedom, western style" all over the world. We may like our style of democracy, but to people who have been born and raised in other forms of gvt thsi sounds like 100% expansionist language.

Of course there are large numbers of more or less muslim sub-populations in Europe. Wanna know why? They were invited to come on over. Most of these people just want to get on with their lives. A tiny minority is dangerous and this has to be tackled. Declaring a "clash of civilizations" is not going to do the job; it only exacerbates the problems.
Nonsense again and again. Aren't you embarrassed? The Iraqi voting turnout percentage-wise exceeded that of the US presidential election. And these are people who are under constant attack by the Islamic fascists who are doing the killing. They were willing to brave the real possibility of death for the right to exercise their newly established democratic rights.

As usual, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

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Post by herman » Tue Nov 15, 2005 7:14 am

pizza, your "rebuttal" has no connection whatsoever with what I said.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:07 am

Declaring a class of civilizations is having a realistic open-eyed view of what's happening in the world; not throwing some wild theory out there. The people and nations who understand that have a much better chance of holding on to their way of life and prevailing in this struggle.

That jihadists haven't mounted a traditional armed invasion of the west is meaningless in the type of class we're already engaged in and will continue to be engaged in for years to come. I'm aware nothing I can say will change your mind on that, Herman.

But I've got a lot more confidence in the views of Samuel Huntington (the author of The Clash of Civilizations) than I do in yours. His books and essays have consistantly been slammed by those like yourself when they come out; only to be reevaluated as having been on the mark years later. (the book is actually a general statement on war in the 21st century; that it will be between competing civilizations more than nation-states).

But I don't even need Huntington or Kaplan to tell me what is plain to see.
I'm confident time will bear Pizza, Corlyss and me out. If you're lucky, the U.S. will do what we always do; save Europe in the process of winning the war.
Last edited by Barry on Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

pizza
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Post by pizza » Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:09 am

herman wrote:pizza, your "rebuttal" has no connection whatsoever with what I said.
Read the last sentence of your first paragraph.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Tue Nov 15, 2005 1:29 pm

The Weekly Standard

Bush Fights Back
With his Veteran's Day speech the president and his team seem committed to going on the offensive.
by William Kristol
11/21/2005, Volume 011, Issue 10

ON VETERANS' DAY, the president fought back. In a major speech Friday at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania, President Bush defended the war in Iraq. Most notably, he defended the probity and honesty with which his administration made the case for the war to remove Saddam. At last, the president confronted the slander that he "lied us into war"--a slander propagated by his opponents with amazing success.

Here is the key passage in Bush's speech:

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and antiwar critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: 'When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat and a grave threat to our security.' That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

And then the president went on offense:

These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. And our troops deserve to know that, whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united and we will settle for nothing less than victory.

Bush's counterpunch hit home. Ted Kennedy was upset. He found the speech "deeply regrettable." How dare the president try "to rebuild his own credibility?" How dare the president defend his honor--and the country's? For the nation's honor is at stake, too. If we went to war based on lies told by our president, then it is a disgrace to us all. It is a further disgrace that we reelected him. It is yet a further disgrace that Congress continues to support this war, by appropriating funds for it. It is a disgrace that Senator Kennedy has not moved to have the president impeached.

At least the anti-American left, which wants to get out of Iraq immediately and to impeach the president, is consistent. But Kennedy--and his colleagues like Sen. Harry Reid--do not really want to follow the logic of their accusations. They would rather just damage the president--and the country's foreign policy--and enjoy the political effect.

And the attacks have been working. In last week's Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey, 57 percent of Americans endorsed that proposition that the president "deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq," compared to 35 percent who thought he "gave the most accurate information he had." Five months ago, those numbers were 44 percent "misled" versus 47 percent "accurate information." Eight months ago, shortly after Bush's second term began, there were only 41 percent who thought Bush had "misled" them, while 53 percent credited the president with being "accurate." No new information has appeared in those eight months. All that has happened is an unanswered assault by Bush's enemies. The White House figured the election was over and didn't recognize that the anti-Bush campaign would continue.

Now the president and his team seem committed to fighting back. They have the advantage that the facts are on their side. As several commentators have pointed out in this magazine and elsewhere--most recently Norman Podhoretz in the December Commentary--the Democratic charge that Bush lied us into war is itself a lie. Lies can work when unrefuted. In a healthy democracy, they tend to boomerang when confronted and exposed. Now Bush has begun to refute the lie. He needs to keep doing so, and also to continue making the positive case for why the war was right and necessary.

If the American people really come to a settled belief that Bush lied us into war, his presidency will be over. He won't have the basic level of trust needed to govern. His initiatives, domestic and foreign, will founder. Support for the war on terror will wane. The lie that Bush lied us into war threatens the Bush presidency in a way no ordinary political charge does. Bush needs to refute it--and to keep on refuting it--for his sake, for the nation's, and for the sake of the truth.

--William Kristol

© Copyright 2005, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

rwetmore
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Post by rwetmore » Tue Nov 15, 2005 10:09 pm

Pizza,

In my view, it doesn't matter that the "Bush lied" mantra is utterly false. That's never what it has been about from the start. The Democrats and the MSM have always known it's false. The idea is to keep it in the news as long as possible because people will continue to believe it, and it will draw votes away from Republicans in '06 & '08.

Just look how many people who post here believe it (and will till their dying breath!). It doesn't matter what Bush says...he's a liar, so his defense is a lie. IT'S ALL LIES!!!

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Post by Werner » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:10 am

How long do these people think they can keep up this prpetense? According to some motions in Congress lately, not too long.

It seems that Kristol, Podhoretz, et al are swimming on a melting ice floe. They can write, and they have a public platform.

You an cry "LIES!" all day long. Eventually, history will catch up with you.
Werner Isler

pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:23 am

Werner wrote:How long do these people think they can keep up this prpetense? According to some motions in Congress lately, not too long.

It seems that Kristol, Podhoretz, et al are swimming on a melting ice floe. They can write, and they have a public platform.

You an cry "LIES!" all day long. Eventually, history will catch up with you.
Everyone can cry "LIES" all day, can't they Werner? History has already caught up with the liars who say Bush lied.

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Post by herman » Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:28 am

The objective of Bush's latest speech and of Kristol's article is pretty clear. For his approval ratings Bush doesn't just need an external enemy (the terrorists - and that's a monosyllabic word in Bush's parlance), but he also needs a domestic enemy.

Kristol says (not quite ingenuously) that it doesn't make sense Bush's ratings have dropped lately while there hasn't been any new information. Of course there has been new information since the elections, and also the general population doesn't live in Washington DC sucking on a constant news feed. For the general population things like the Downing Street memo (a damning piece of evidence if ever) have to sink in slowly; they get combined with other information, such as Plamegate indeed, or even a non-Iraq thing like Katrina, and just the appalling fact that American soldiers are still getting killed on a daily basis - but to Kristol and Bush that is no information.

However it is true that Bush is sinking deeper and deeper just because the focus is on him, without any distractions, and that picture is apparently not making a lot of Americans happy. They reelected Bush because war presidents usually get reelected and because Bush and the GOP in general are at their best when it can tar an opponent. Bush had it easy when he could accuse Kerry (by proxy of course) of having a dubious Vietnam record, or having been born with a silver spoon in his mouth - not a man of the people like G. W. Bush. Character issues. However now there is no Democratic contender and it's time Bush gets something accomplished before his time has run out. And it isn't happening.

Things take a little time to sink in. Many people saw at a glance that Bush was a man with terrible character problems - a callous empty shell, a man who has serious connection problems. And on a more factual basis, a man who has bungled every single opportunity in his life. A failure, with rich friends saving his ass every time. That's the record. However for a lot of people it took Katrina to see what a horrible fake George Bush is. Just a couple of images: Bush looking at the devastation from Airforce One, like he was taking the scenic route. Bush making jokes about his friend Trent Lott's mansion being rebuilt - and then it all added up, and came back to the way this man sent thousands of Americans (and many more Iraqis) to their deaths because he wanted to be "a war president" - and be reelected, beating his dad's record, lying and manipulating the facts all the way.

It is typical of the man's character that the only way he can think of saving his political ass is by going on the offensive again, picking on Edward Kennedy's fat carcass and calling people unpatriotic because they ask questions about the Iraq War. And by attacking the media, a thing no self-respecting politician should ever do. But you can't expect this man to put something positive on the record. So that's why his rating are going down.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:37 am

Not for the Bush bashers who wouldn't admit they're wrong if the WMDs jumped up and bit them in the ass:

Where the WMDs Went
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | November 16, 2005

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Bill Tierney, a former military intelligence officer and Arabic speaker who worked at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 and as a counter-infiltration operator in Baghdad in 2004. He was also an inspector (1996-1998) for the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) for overseeing the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles in Iraq. He worked on the most intrusive inspections during this period and either participated in or planned inspections that led to four of the seventeen resolutions against Iraq.

FP: Mr. Tierney, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Tierney: Thanks for the opportunity.

FP: With the Democrats now so viciously and hypocritically attacking Bush about WMDs, I’d like to discuss your own knowledge and expertise on this issue in connection to Iraq. You have always held that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Why? Can you discuss some actual finds?

Tierney: It was probably on my second inspection that I realized the Iraqis had no intention of ever cooperating. They had very successfully turned The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections during the eighties into tea parties, and had expected UNSCOM to turn out the same way. However, there was one fundamental difference between IAEA and UNSCOM that the Iraqis did not account for. There was a disincentive in IAEA inspections to be aggressive and intrusive, since the same standards could then be applied to the members states of the inspectors. IAEA had to consider the continued cooperation of all the member states. UNSCOM, however, was focused on enforcing and verifying one specific Security Council Resolution, 687, and the level of intrusiveness would depend on the cooperation from Iraq.

I came into the inspection program as an interrogator and Arabic linguist, so I crossed over various fields and spotted various deception techniques that may not have been noticed in only one field, such as chemical or biological. For instance, the Iraqis would ask in very reasonable tones that questionable documents be set aside until the end of the day, when a discussion would determine what was truly of interest to UNSCOM. The chief inspector, not wanting to appear like a knuckle-dragging ogre, would agree. Instead of setting the documents on a table in a stack, the Iraqis would set them side to side, filling the entire table top, and would place the most explosive documents on the edge of the table. At some point they would flood the room with people, and in the confusion abscond with the revealing documents.

This occurred at Tuwaitha Atomic Research Facility in 1996. A car tried to blow through an UNSCOM vehicle checkpoint at the gate. The car had a stack of documents about two feet high in the back seat. In the middle of the stack, I found a document with a Revolutionary Command Council letterhead that discussed Atomic projects with four number designations that were previously unknown. The Iraqis were extremely concerned. I turned the document over to the chief inspector, who then fell for the Iraqis’ “reasonable request” to lay it out on a table for later discussion. The Iraqis later flooded the room, and the document disappeared. Score one for the Iraqis.

On finds, the key word here is “find.” UNSCOM could pursue a lead and approach an inspection target from various angles to cut off an escape route, but at some point, the Iraqis would hold up their guns and keep us out.

A good example of this was the inspection of the 2nd Armored Battalion of the Special Republican Guards in June 1997. We came in from three directions, because we knew the Iraqis had an operational center that tracked our movement and issued warnings. The vehicle I was in arrived at the gate first. There were two guards when we arrived, and over twenty within a minute, all extremely nervous.

The Iraqis had stopped the third group of our inspection team before it could close off the back of the installation. A few minutes later, a soldier came from inside the installation, and all the other guards gathered around him. He said something, there was a big laugh, and all the guards relaxed. A few moments later there was a radio call from the team that had been stopped short. They could here truck engines through the tall (10”) grass in that area. When we were finally allowed in, our team went to the back gate. The Iraqis claimed the gate hadn’t been opened in months, but there was freshly ground rust at the gate hinges. There was a photo from overhead showing tractor trailers with missiles in the trailers leaving the facility.

When pressed, Tariq Aziz criticized the inspectors for not knowing the difference between a missile and a concrete guard tower. He never produced the guard towers for verification. It was during this period that Tariq Aziz pulled out his “no smoking gun” line. Tariq very cleverly changed the meaning of this phrase. The smoking gun refers to an indicator of what you are really looking for - the bullet. Tariq changed the meaning so smoking gun referred to the bullet, in this case the WMD, knowing that as long as there were armed guards between us and the weapons, we would never be able to “find,” as in “put our hands on,” the weapons of mass destruction. The western press mindlessly took this up and became the Iraqis’ tool. I will let the reader decide whether this inspection constitutes a smoking gun.

FP: So can you tell us about some other “smoking guns”?

Tierney: Sure. Another smoking gun was the inspection of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Special Republican Guards. After verifying source information related to biological weapons formerly stored at the National War College, we learned at another site that the unit responsible for guarding the biological weapons was stationed near the airport. We immediately dashed over there before the Iraqis could react, and forced them to lock us out. One of our vehicles took an elevated position where they could look inside the installation and see the Iraqis loading specialized containers on to trucks that matched the source description for the biological weapons containers. The Iraqis claimed that we had inspected the facilities a year earlier, so we didn’t need to inspect it again.

Another smoking gun was the inspection of Jabal Makhul Presidential Site. In June/July 1997 we inspected the 4th Special Republican Guards Battalion in Bayji, north of Tikrit. This unit had been photographed taking equipment for the Electro-magnetic Isotope Separation (EMIS) method of uranium enrichment away from inspectors. The Iraqis were extremely nervous as this site, and hid any information on personnel who may have been involved with moving the equipment. This was also the site where the Iraqi official on the UNSCOM helicopter tried to grab the control and almost made the aircraft crash.

When I returned to the States, I learned that the Iraqis were extremely nervous that we were going to inspect an unspecified nearby site, and that they checked that certain code named items were in their proper place. I knew from this information the Iraqis could only be referring to Jabal Makhul Presidential Site, a sprawling mountain retreat on the other side of the ridge from the 4th Battalion, assigned to guard the installation. This explained why the Iraqis caused the problems with the helicopter, to keep it from flying to the other side of the mountain.

We inspected Jabal Makhul in September of 1997. The Iraqis locked us out without a word of discussion. This was the start of the Presidential Site imbroglio. The Iraqis made great hay out of inspectors wanting to look under the president’s furniture, but this site, with its hundreds of acres, was the real target.

During the Presidential Site inspections in Spring of 1998, inspectors found an under-mountain storage area at Jabal Makhul. When the inspectors arrived, it was filled with drums of water. The Iraqis claimed that they used the storage area to store rainwater. Jabal Makhul had the Tigris River flowing by at the bottom of the mountain, and a massive pump to send water to the top of the mountain, where it would cascade down in fountains and waterfalls in Saddam’s own little Shangri-la, but the Iraqi had to go to the effort of digging out an underground bunker akin to our Cheyenne Mountain headquarters, just so they could store rainwater.

A London Sunday Times article in 2001 by Gwynne Roberts quoted an Iraqi defector as stating Iraq had nuclear weapons in a heavily guarded installation in the Hamrin mountains. Jabal Makhul is the most heavily guarded location in the Hamrin mountains. With its under-mountain bunker, isolation, and central location, it is the perfect place to store a high-value asset like a nuclear weapon.

On nukes, some analysts wait until there is unambiguous proof before stating a country has nuclear weapons. This may work in a courtroom, but intelligence is a different subject altogether. I believe it is more prudent to determine what is axiomatic given a nation’s capabilities and intentions. There was no question that Iraq had triggering mechanisms for a nuke, the question was whether they had enriched enough uranium. Given Iraq’s intensive efforts to build a nuke prior to the Gulf War, their efforts to hide uranium enrichment material from inspectors, the fact that Israel had a nuke but no Arab state could claim the same, my first-hand knowledge of the limits of UNSCOM and IAEA capabilities, and Iraqi efforts to buy yellowcake uranium abroad (Joe Wilson tea parties notwithstanding), I believe the TWELVE years between 1991 and 2003 was more than enough time to produce sufficient weapons grade uranium to produce a nuclear weapon. Maybe I have more respect for the Iraqis’ capabilities than some.

FP: Tell us something you came up with while conducting counter-infiltration ops in Iraq.

Tierney: While I was engaged in these operations in Baghdad in 2004, one of the local translators freely stated in his security interview that he worked for the purchasing department of the nuclear weapons program prior to and during the First Gulf War. He said that Saddam purchased such large quantities of precision machining equipment that he could give up some to inspections, or lose some to bombing, and still have enough for his weapons program. This translator also stated that when Saddam took human shields and placed some at Tarmiya Nuclear Research Facility, he was sent there to act as a translator. One of the security officers at Tarmiya told him that he had just recovered from a sickness he incurred while guarding technicians working in an underground facility nearby. The security officer stated that the technicians left for a break every half hour, but he stayed in the underground chamber all day and got sick. The security officer didn’t mention what they were doing, but I would say uranium enrichment is the most logical pick.

What, not enough smoke? There was the missile inspection on Ma’moun Establishment. I was teamed with two computer forensic specialists. A local technician stood by while we opened a computer and found a flight simulation for a missile taking off from the Iraqi desert in the same area used during the First Gulf War and flying west towards Israel. The warhead was only for 50 kilograms. By the time we understood was this was, the poor technician was coming apart. I will never forget meeting his eyes, and both of us realizing he was a dead man walking. The Iraqis tried to say that the computer had just been transferred from another facility, and that the flight simulation had not been erased from before the war. The document’s placement in the file manager, and the technician’s reaction belied this story. UNSCOM’s original assessment was that this was for a biological warhead, but I have since seen reporting that make me think it was for a nuclear weapon.

These are only some of the observations of one inspector. I know of other inspections where there were clear indicators the Iraqis were hiding weapons from the inspectors.

FP: Ok, so where did the WMDs go?

Tierney: While working counter-infiltration in Baghdad, I noticed a pattern among infiltrators that their cover stories would start around Summer or Fall of 2002. From this and other observations, I believe Saddam planned for a U.S. invasion after President Bush’s speech at West Point in 2002. One of the steps taken was to prepare the younger generation of the security services with English so they could infiltrate our ranks, another was either to destroy or move WMDs to other countries, principally Syria. Starting in the Summer of 2002, the Iraqis had months to purge their files and create cover stories, such as the letter from Hossam Amin, head of the Iraqi outfit that monitored the weapons inspectors, stating after Hussein Kamal’s defection that the weapons were all destroyed in 1991.

I was on the inspections that follow-up on Hussein Kamal’s defection, and Hossam said at the time that Hussein Kamal had a secret cabal that kept the weapons without the knowledge of the Iraqi government. It was pure pleasure disemboweling this cover story. Yet the consensus at DIA is that Iraq got rid of its weapons in 1991. This is truly scary. If true, when and where did Saddam have a change of heart? This is the same man who crowed after 9/11, then went silent after news broke that Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence operative in Prague. Did Saddam spend a month with Mother Theresa, or go to a mountain top in the Himalaya’s? Those that say there were no weapons have to prove that Saddam had a change of heart. I await their evidence with interest.

FP: So do you think the WMD is the central issue regarding Iraq?

Tierney: No, and it never should have been an issue. The First Gulf War -- and I use this term as a convention, since this is actually all the same war -- was a prime example of managing war instead of waging it. Instead of telling Saddam to get out of Kuwait or we will push him out, we should have said to get out of Kuwait or we will remove him from power. As it was, we were projecting our respect for human life on Saddam, when actually, from his point of view, we were doing him a favor by killing mostly Shi’ite military members who were a threat to his regime. I realize that Saudi Arabia, our host, did not want a change in government in Iraq, and they had helped us bring down the Soviet Union with oil price manipulation, but we should have bent them to our will instead of vice versa. Saddam would not have risked losing power to keep Kuwait, and we could have avoided this whole ordeal.

We topped one mistake with another, expecting Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party, a criminal syndicate masquerading as a political party, to abide by any arms control agreement. Gun control and Arms control both arise from the “mankind is good” worldview. If you control the environment, i.e. get rid of the guns, then man’s natural goodness will rise to the surface. I hope it is evidence after more than a decade of Iraqi intransigence how foolish this position is. The sobering fact is that if a nation feels it is in their best interest to have certain weapons, they are going to have them. Chemical weapons were critical to warding off hoards of Iranian fighters, and the Iraqis knew they would always be in a position of weakness against Israel without nuclear weapons. The United States kept nuclear weapons to deter the Soviet Union, but we would deny the same logic for Iraq?

There is also the practicality of weapons inspections/weapons hunts. After seventeen resolutions pleading with the Iraqis to be nice, the light bulb still didn’t go off that the entire concept is fundamentally flawed. Would you like to live in a city where the police chief sent out resolutions to criminals to play nice, instead of taking them off the streets?

As I said earlier, I knew the Iraqis would never cooperate, so the inspections became a matter of illustrating this non-cooperation for the Security Council and the rest of the world. No manipulation or fabrication was necessary. There was a sufficient percentage of defectors with accurate information to ensure that we would catch the Iraqis in the act. UNSCOM was very successfully at verifying the Iraqis’ non-cooperation; the failure was in the cowardice at the Security Council. Maybe cowardice is too strong a word. Maybe the problem was giving a mission that entailed the possible use of force to an organization with the goal of eliminating the use of force.

On the post-war weapons hunt, the arrogance and hubris of the intelligence community is such that they can’t entertain the possibility that they just failed to find the weapons because the Iraqis did a good job cleaning up prior to their arrival. This reminds me of the police chief who announced on television plans to raid a secret drug factor on the outskirts of town. At the time appointed, the police, all twelve of them, lined up behind each other at the front door, knocked and waiting for the druggies to answer, as protocol required. After ten minute of toilet flushing and back-door slamming, somebody came to the front door in a bathrobe and explained he had been in the shower. The police took his story at face value, even though his was dry as a bone, then police proceeded to inspect the premises ensuring that the legal, moral , ethnic, human, and animal rights, and also the national dignity, of the druggies was preserved. After a search, the police chief announced THERE WERE NO STOCKPILES of drugs at the inspected site. Anyone care to move to this city?

FP: Let’s talk a little bit more about how the WMDs disappeared.

Tierney: In Iraq’s case, the lakes and rivers were the toilet, and Syria was the back door. Even though there was imagery showing an inordinate amount of traffic into Syria prior to the inspections, and there were other indicators of government control of commercial trucking that could be used to ship the weapons to Syria, from the ICs point of view, if there is no positive evidence that the movement occurred, it never happened. This conclusion is the consequence of confusing litigation with intelligence. Litigation depends on evidence, intelligence depends on indicators. Picture yourself as a German intelligence officer in Northern France in April 1944. When asked where will the Allies land, you reply “I would be happy to tell you when I have solid, legal proof, sir. We will have to wait until they actually land.” You won’t last very long. That officer would have to take in all the indicators, factor in deception, and make an assessment (this is a fancy intelligence word for an educated guess).

The Democrats understand the difference between the two concepts, but have no qualms about blurring the distinction for political gain. This is despicable. This has brought great harm to our nation’s credibility with our allies. A perfect example is Senator Levin waving deception by one single source, al-Libi, to try and convince us that this is evidence there was no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda, as though the entire argument rested on this one source. Senator Levin, and his media servants, think the public can’t read through his duplicity. He is plunging a dagger into the heart of his own country.

Could the assessments of Iraq’s weapons program been off? I am sure there were some marginal details that were incorrect, but on the matter of whether Iraq had a program, the error was not with the pre-war assessment, the error was with the weapons hunt.

I could speak at length about the problems with the weapons hunt. Mr. Hanson has an excellent article in “The American Thinker,” and Judith Miller, one of the few bright lights at the New York Times, did an article on the problems with the weapons hunt that I can corroborate from other sources. But if the Iraqi Survey Group had been manned by a thousand James Bonds, and every prop was where it should have been, I doubt the result would have been much different. The whole concept of international arms inspections puts too much advantage with the inspected country. Factor in the brutality used by the Baath Party, and it amounts to a winning combination for our opponents.

I was shocked to learn recently that members of the Iraqi Survey Group believed their Iraqi sources when they said they don’t fear a return of the Baath Party. During my eight months of counterinfiltration duty, we had 50 local Iraqis working on our post who were murdered for collaborating. Of the more than 150 local employees our team identified as security threats, the most sophisticated infiltrators came from the Baath Party. This was just one post, yet the DIA believes no one was afraid to talk, even though scientists who were cooperating with ISG were murdered. You can add this to the Able Danger affair as another example of the deep rot inside the intelligence community.

I believe that once the pertinent sources have a sense of security, a whole lot of people are going to have egg on their face. I believe the Iraqis had a WMD program, and I am not changing my story, no matter how many times Chris Matthews hyperventilates.

FP: Before we go, can you briefly touch on some of the prevailing attitudes in the U.S. military that may hurt us?

Tierney: There is a prevailing attitude that the U.S. is too big and ponderous to lose, so individual officers don’t have to take the potentially career-threatening risks necessary to win. I have heard it said that for every one true warrior in the military, there are two to three self-serving, career-worshipping bureaucrats. We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the Army advertised “Be all you can be!” Or in other words, get a career at taxpayer expense.

President Clinton changed the definition of the military from peace makers to peace keepers, and no senior officers resigned or objected. President Clinton took a one star general who ran a humanitarian effort in Northern Iraq, Shalikashvilli, and made him Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The signal was out, warriors need not apply. Shalikashvilli later spoke at a U.N. meeting and listed the roles for the military in the “Revolution in Military Affairs.” He included warm and fuzzy things like “confidence building,” but failed to mention waging war. In my five years at CENTCOM headquarters, I very rarely heard the words, “war,” “enemy,” or “winning.” This was all absorbed into the wonderful term “strike operations.”

Operation Desert Fox was a perfect example of the uselessness of strike operations. Iraqis have told me that the WMD destruction and movement started just after Operation Desert Fox, since after all, who would be so stupid as to start a bombing campaign and just stop.

It was only after Saddam realized that President Clinton lacked the nerve for anything more than a temper-tantrum demonstration that he knew the doors were wide open for him to continue his weapons program. We didn’t break his will, we didn’t destroy his weapons making capability (The Iraqis simply moved most of the precision machinery out prior to the strikes, then rebuilt the buildings), but we did kill some Iraqi bystanders, just so President Clinton could say “something must be done, so I did something.”

General Zinni, Commander of CENTCOM, and no other senior officer had any problem with this fecklessness. They apparently bought into the notion that wars are meant to be managed and not waged. The warriors coming into the military post 9/11 deserve true warriors at the top. I believe the house cleaning among the senior military leadership started by the Secretary of Defense should continue full force. If not across the board, then definitely in the military intelligence field.

FP: Mr. Tierney it was a pleasure to speak with you today. Thank you for visiting Frontpage.

Tierney: Thank you Jamie for the opportunity to say there were weapons, and that we were right to invade Iraq.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:48 am

herman wrote:


It is typical of the man's character that the only way he can think of saving his political ass is by going on the offensive again, picking on Edward Kennedy's fat carcass and calling people unpatriotic because they ask questions about the Iraq War. And by attacking the media, a thing no self-respecting politician should ever do. But you can't expect this man to put something positive on the record. So that's why his rating are going down.
Poor Hermie, who should be looking in the mirror when discussing "empty shells", has just delivered a tantrum to tell us that the president has no right to defend himself and his administration from liars, whether political or media-based.

Imagine the chutzpah of this creature, trying to sell us the idea that people are "ask[ing] questions about the Iraq War". What a crock of bull crap. Hermie and his friends aren't interested in answers. They pretend to have all the answers and the president has no business telling them they're wrong.

rogch
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Post by rogch » Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:27 am

It is not difficult to find good reasons for overthrowing Saddam Hussein's regime. But that can be said about many regimes around the world. It goes without saying, we can't remove all of them by foreign military interventions. Foreign military interventions can solve a problem by removing a regime, but they very often create new problems, as we see in Iraq now.

If the point of the war is to fight against "islamic jihadists" it never should have been started in the first place. Saddam Hussein can be accused of many things, but he was not an islamic jihadist. He was a ruthless opportunist with no other ideology than his own power. And it is the power vacuum created by the american invasion that has made it possible for terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq the way they do now. There were never suicide attacks in Iraq during Saddam's regime, now they are very frequent.

Saddam Hussein has definitely violated a few UN resolutions, but the US' "proofs" about his weapons of mass destruction have been less than impressive. First of all: the UN inspectors that worked in Iraq after the Kuwait war destroyed large stocks of weapons before their cooperation with the Iraqi regime collapsed. And even though the inspectors that worked in Iraq before the war was not completely satisfied with the Iraqi regime, they never said that it was impossible for them to do their job. As a matter of fact, Hans Blix has later said that the american administration made it very difficult for him to do his job. But neither Blix nor the americans have found any weapons of mass destruction. Some of the american "proofs" were presented by Colin Powell in the security council. Now Powell thinks this episode was embarrassing.

Saddam Hussein can't have been very smart, having destroyed his weapons of mass destruction without verification. But that seems to be the case. And if the reason for the war was Saddam's WMD, why didn't the US start the war when he had those weapons and actually used them? If the point was to overthrow Saddam, why didn't the US do it in 1991 when the Iraqi military was fought down? General Schwarzkopf has later said it would have been no problem to enter Bagdad in that war. The US actually started a war against Iraq when it was less dangerous than it had been for a long time. And nobody knows the outcome of this dangerous and illegal military intervention.

Bush is right about one thing though. Some of the leading politicians who now say they are against the war in Iraq did not say much before the war started. In fact, they didn't say much before things started to go wrong for the american forces. That kind of political opportunism is not acceptable.
Roger Christensen

"Mozart is the most inaccessible of the great masters"
Artur Schnabel

Modernistfan
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Post by Modernistfan » Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:03 pm

Let's see:

(1) In the last two days, there have been at least nine more deaths of American soldiers.

(2) It was revealed that the United States used chemical weapons, namely white phosphorus, against civilians.

(3) It was also revealed that our so-called Shiite allies have been running horrific torture chambers in Baghdad.

No so-called "war on terror" is worth this cost, this damage to American prestige, and this loss of American and Iraqi lives. Time to cut our losses and load up the C-130's and send them anywhere away from Iraq.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:11 pm

Modernistfan wrote:Let's see:

(1) In the last two days, there have been at least nine more deaths of American soldiers.

(2) It was revealed that the United States used chemical weapons, namely white phosphorus, against civilians.

(3) It was also revealed that our so-called Shiite allies have been running horrific torture chambers in Baghdad.

No so-called "war on terror" is worth this cost, this damage to American prestige, and this loss of American and Iraqi lives. Time to cut our losses and load up the C-130's and send them anywhere away from Iraq.
Surely you jest. What will American prestige be worth when we cut and run from an obligation? What do you think the loss of Iraqi and American lives will be if we leave? Aside from the bloodbath that will ensue in Iraq, every Islamic terrorist in the world will emerge from his hole and figure we're all bluff and no substance. And they'll be right. Want another Mogadishu on a world-wide scale? Don't be absurd.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:21 pm

Modernistfan wrote:


(2) It was revealed that the United States used chemical weapons, namely white phosphorus, against civilians.
Wednesday, 16 November 2005

U.S. Defends Use Of White-Phosphorus Weapons In Iraq

16 November 2005 -- The Pentagon today admitted to using incendiary white-phosphorus ammunition in Iraq in 2004 during an offensive in the restive Sunni city of Al- Fallujah, but said use of the weapons was legal.

A spokesman for the Pentagon, U.S. Army Colonel Barry Venable, said U.S. forces in Iraq did not use the weapons against civilians. That contradicted a report on Italian state television that said the weapons were used against women and children in Al- Fallujah who were burned to the bone.

Venable absolutely rejected the Italian television report.

Another pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, said incendiary white-phosphorus ammunition was part of the U.S. conventional weapons inventory and was used like any other conventional weapon.

Venable said white phosphorus is not outlawed or banned by any convention, although a 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons prohibits its use against civilians.

(Reuters)

pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:37 pm

rogch wrote:
If the point of the war is to fight against "islamic jihadists" it never should have been started in the first place. Saddam Hussein can be accused of many things, but he was not an islamic jihadist. He was a ruthless opportunist with no other ideology than his own power. And it is the power vacuum created by the american invasion that has made it possible for terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq the way they do now. There were never suicide attacks in Iraq during Saddam's regime, now they are very frequent.

Saddam Hussein can't have been very smart, having destroyed his weapons of mass destruction without verification. But that seems to be the case.
That Saddam had ties to radical Islamic factions has been proven beyond serious question. Being the "ruthless opportunist" that you acknowledge him to be, he would not have hesitated to use terrorists with non-conventional weapons as his proxies to destablize the mid-East or attack American and other Western interests. If he could do business with the French, the Russians and the Germans under the table, do you really think he couldn't induce "jihadists" to do business with him? Money talks, and where billions of dollars are at stake, all kinds of differences can be temporarily overlooked.

There is no evidence that Saddam destroyed his WMDs without verification. There is no evidence that he destroyed them at all. They could have been transferred out of the country or could still be there, unfound. Iraq is a huge country. The fact that they haven't been found simply means they haven't been accounted for. No one denies that he had them. He used them during the war with Iran and on his own people.

Modernistfan
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Post by Modernistfan » Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:58 pm

Pizza, what exactly is our "obligation"? To support a reactionary, medievalist Shiite theocracy? We cannot police the world without bankrupting ourselves and destroying our economy and our democratic way of life.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:14 pm

Modernistfan wrote:Pizza, what exactly is our "obligation"? To support a reactionary, medievalist Shiite theocracy? We cannot police the world without bankrupting ourselves and destroying our economy and our democratic way of life.
When you ask a question and then reply to it yourself with an obviously absurd result, is there a reason for further discussion?

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