None Dare Call It Conspiracy

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Corlyss_D
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None Dare Call It Conspiracy

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:13 pm

None Dare Call It Conspiracy
By Morton Keller from The Wall Street Journal
Posted December 13, 2005


Variations of "Bush lied" have been part of the political scene ever since America plunged into its permanent overseas embroilment in the Second World War. Reviewing that record won't settle the current dispute over how and why we got into Iraq. But it should remind us that George W. Bush's accusers are hardly walking in fresh snow.

The charge that FDR knew of the Japanese intention to attack Pearl Harbor, but used it to ensure U.S. entry into the war against the Axis, surfaced after 1945, when the war was over, FDR was dead, and the decks were cleared for some sleeves-rolled-up recrimination. In 1948 the progressive historian (and prewar isolationist) Charles A. Beard accused Roosevelt of "maneuvering the country into war." Anti-New Deal Republicans such as Robert A. Taft, anxious for a stick with which to whack at FDR, thought his "policy of bluff" drove Japan to its Pearl Harbor attack. The accusation never really took hold, but never wholly faded away. Eccentric historian John Toland (who found much good in Hitler) resurrected the FDR conspiracy story in his book "Infamy" (1982), which unfortunately appeared a year after Gordon Prange's "At Dawn We Slept" definitively buried it.

Fast forward (not very far) to June 1950, and to what almost everyone saw as North Korea's invasion of South Korea. Once again the U.S. was caught flatfooted by a devastating assault. And once again, politically motivated conspiratorialists shifted the blame to an administration charged with either cuddling up to the communists or hell-bent on going to war with them.

The most potent assault on Truman came from the Republican right. Hadn't Dean Acheson conveniently excluded South Korea from the anticommunist defense perimeter, thereby opening the door to the North Korean onslaught? The catchy "20 years of treason" theme, raised by Joseph McCarthy to a low art, was taken up by Republicans still hungry for revenge against FDR and the New Deal.

The left played the other side of the conspiracy street. I.F. Stone produced "The Hidden History of the Korean War" in 1952. This tract argued that the U.S. and South Korea were the real aggressors, maneuvering a compromise-seeking North into using military force first. Stone's book, all but ignored when it first appeared, got a new lease on life in the Vietnam 1960s, when other voices on the left repeated the charge.

Next came Lyndon Johnson, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the Vietnam War. Here the he-lied-us-into-war theme got its fullest mainstream workout. And not without reason: The second North Vietnamese "attack" on a U.S. warship in the Gulf of Tonkin appears never to have happened. But on the assumption that it did, a near-unanimous Congress authorized the use of force, which the administration relied on to justify its major escalation of the U.S. role in Vietnam.

Did LBJ and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara knowingly use a nonevent to get what they wanted from Congress? William Fulbright, who led the charge in the Senate to get the resolution passed, at first exonerated Mr. McNamara of any conscious intention to deceive. Later he changed his mind. Shades of Mr. Bush and WMDs -- though the belief that Saddam had such weapons rested on a far broader evidentiary and intelligence basis than the Tonkin Gulf incident.

When we get to Mr. Bush, WMDs and Iraq, the principle that while history doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes, applies in spades. In March 2003, as in December 1941, June 1950 and the summer of 1964, there was broad agreement that Something Had to Be Done. If flat-out lying created that mood, that is a black mark indeed on American policy making. But if the conspiracy charge was (to put it mildly) far from open-and-shut, and if the conspiratorialists were driven more by ideology and partisanship than by proof, then a healthy skepticism is in order.

History's lesson is this: In modern America, the path to war is beset with actions that rest on uncertain or arguable justification. The political/ideological fringes will craft theories of conspiracy with scant regard for fact or probability. And the opposition will make what it can of this material, within the limits of political prudence.
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operafan
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Post by operafan » Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:45 am

A couple of things to be aware of; 1) generally people don't like be lied to or made a fool of, 2) alot of people think that 'we know Saddam has WMD' which was retracted later was a lie, that the intel used in the lead up to and the justification for the war was a lie. 3) if the intel on this war was so bad even though we were bombing the place, had Kurdish boots on the ground, and civilians giving info, there is no likelyhood that we have good intel on any other country and therefore the real crux of the matter, no one is going to give the o.k. for another pre emptive war. This war has circumscribed the authority of future presidents. No more slam dunks.

The table is being set for war with Syria/Lebanon, and Iran. Counting Afghanistan that is (if I did the math correctly) 3 million sqare miles, equilent to California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico - a fair chunk of western U.S. Getting people to sign up for wars where we don't speak the languages, don't have enough troops, don't have enough equipment, for the goal of stability in the region to have a ghost of a chance of working. The real goal, oil, is practically speaking, un defendable against anyone with a match. Some one is going to have to tell 'lies', be 'unforthcomming', whatever to sell the wars. The nuclear barganing chip is a good one for inspiring fear, and has worked once, but that may be all it is good for.
'She wants to go with him, but her mama don't allow none of that.'

Elementary school child at an opera outreach performance of "Là ci darem la mano!" Don Giovanni - Mozart.

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Post by DavidRoss » Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:02 am

operafan wrote:A couple of things to be aware of; 1) generally people don't like be lied to or made a fool of, 2) alot of people think that 'we know Saddam has WMD' which was retracted later was a lie, that the intel used in the lead up to and the justification for the war was a lie. 3) if the intel on this war was so bad even though we were bombing the place, had Kurdish boots on the ground, and civilians giving info, there is no likelyhood that we have good intel on any other country and therefore the real crux of the matter, no one is going to give the o.k. for another pre emptive war. This war has circumscribed the authority of future presidents. No more slam dunks.

The table is being set for war with Syria/Lebanon, and Iran. Counting Afghanistan that is (if I did the math correctly) 3 million sqare miles, equilent to California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico - a fair chunk of western U.S. Getting people to sign up for wars where we don't speak the languages, don't have enough troops, don't have enough equipment, for the goal of stability in the region to have a ghost of a chance of working. The real goal, oil, is practically speaking, un defendable against anyone with a match. Some one is going to have to tell 'lies', be 'unforthcomming', whatever to sell the wars. The nuclear barganing chip is a good one for inspiring fear, and has worked once, but that may be all it is good for.
(1) True.
(2) True that people think this. They are wrong however, and rather than correcting them, the opposition party and press are encouraging such falsehoods for the sake of political gain. Conducting foreign affairs for the sake of domestic politcal advantage is like pimping your sister.
(3) Yes. Those who know say it takes many years to build good intelligence networks. We have a long way to go to recover from Clinton's legacy.

Rather than "setting the table for war with Syria/Lebanon and Iran," this is an effort to end an ongoing war with them and other states that sponsor terrorism. The real goal is not oil. The real goal is meaningful political, social, and economic reform in the region so that it will cease to be a breeding ground for the vicious mass murderers who are the gravest obstacle to peace in the post-Communist world. Such reform is a threat to the present ruling elites, and to the "revolutionaries" who hope to supplant them.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:48 pm

DavidRoss wrote:other states that sponsor terrorism.
Why, David! Haven't you heard? Erstwhile future Sec. of State under the Kerry administration and current presidential candidate Joe Biden has declared that there are no state sponsors of terrorism, so it will eventually just die out if only we had sense enough not to encourage it with open and unwinnable warfare against it!
The real goal is not oil. The real goal is meaningful political, social, and economic reform in the region so that it will cease to be a breeding ground for the vicious mass murderers who are the gravest obstacle to peace in the post-Communist world. Such reform is a threat to the present ruling elites, and to the "revolutionaries" who hope to supplant them.
Spot on, David! Oil makes it necessary, but that is not the goal of the policy as you say. Without oil, the middle east is subSaharan Africa: a cesspool of mind-numbingly corrupt and bloody prepubescent states that nobody cares about.
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Alban Berg

Re: None Dare Call It Conspiracy

Post by Alban Berg » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:59 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:Variations of "Bush lied" have been part of the political scene ever since America plunged into its permanent overseas embroilment in the Second World War.
"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong."
- George W. Bush, 12/14/05

Not an admission that he lied, of course, and I'm not saying he did, but I never thought I'd hear a statement like the above from Bush's lips.

operafan
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Post by operafan » Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:08 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:
The real goal is not oil. The real goal is meaningful political, social, and economic reform in the region so that it will cease to be a breeding ground for the vicious mass murderers who are the gravest obstacle to peace in the post-Communist world. Such reform is a threat to the present ruling elites, and to the "revolutionaries" who hope to supplant them.
Spot on, David! Oil makes it necessary, but that is not the goal of the policy as you say. Without oil, the middle east is subSaharan Africa: a cesspool of mind-numbingly corrupt and bloody prepubescent states that nobody cares about.
If counter terrorism is the goal, maybe with 16 of the 19 hijackers being Saudi Arabian, fighting terrorists should have included Saudi Arabia. If meaningful political, social, and economic reform is the goal, Saudi is a good place to start, and we have military bases there. If we so burningly want to implement democracy on some country that looks as if it might be unstable, Saudi is a good place to start.

OK that was for shock value. My point is that picking war with Iraq was more about stable oil supply than reform. We can argue about the reasons for war all day, but the question is now moot. There we are, at war. It remains to be seen if democracy takes hold, the folks on the ground are saying that traditional religious/tribal ways of solving problems are very strong, so democratic (non Sharia) courts will be needed to surplant the current system. The current reconstruction plan is to give Iraqi's the land, and foreigners the rest, democracy or no. The oil goes to foreigners to pay for debts, not reconstruction. Bad plan for stability IMO.
'She wants to go with him, but her mama don't allow none of that.'

Elementary school child at an opera outreach performance of "Là ci darem la mano!" Don Giovanni - Mozart.

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