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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Revisionist History

Antiwar myths about Iraq, debunked.



BY PETER WEHNER
Tuesday, May 23, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT


Iraqis can participate in three historic elections, pass the most liberal constitution in the Arab world, and form a unity government despite terrorist attacks and provocations. Yet for some critics of the president, these are minor matters. Like swallows to Capistrano, they keep returning to the same allegations--the president misled the country in order to justify the Iraq war; his administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments; Saddam Hussein turned out to be no threat since he didn't possess weapons of mass destruction; and helping democracy take root in the Middle East was a postwar rationalization. The problem with these charges is that they are false and can be shown to be so--and yet people continue to believe, and spread, them. Let me examine each in turn:

The president misled Americans to convince them to go to war. "There is no question [the Bush administration] misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq," according to Ted Kennedy. Jimmy Carter charged that on Iraq, "President Bush has not been honest with the American people." And Al Gore has said that an "abuse of the truth" characterized the administration's "march to war." These charges are themselves misleading, which explains why no independent body has found them credible. Most of the world was operating from essentially the same set of assumptions regarding Iraq's WMD capabilities. Important assumptions turned out wrong; but mistakenly relying on faulty intelligence is a world apart from lying about it.

Let's review what we know. The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is the intelligence community's authoritative written judgment on specific national-security issues. The 2002 NIE provided a key judgment: "Iraq has continued its [WMD] programs in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade."

Thanks to the bipartisan Silberman-Robb Commission, which investigated the causes of intelligence failures in the run-up to the war, we now know that the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief "were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE" (my emphasis). We also know that the intelligence in the PDB was not "markedly different" from that given to Congress. This helps explains why John Kerry, in voting to give the president the authority to use force, said, "I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." It's why Sen. Kennedy said, "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." And it's why Hillary Clinton said in 2002, "In the four years since the inspectors, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability and his nuclear program."

Beyond that, intelligence agencies from around the globe believed Saddam had WMD. Even foreign governments that opposed his removal from power believed Iraq had WMD: Just a few weeks before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Wolfgang Ischinger, German ambassador to the U.S., said, "I think all of our governments believe that Iraq has produced weapons of mass destruction and that we have to assume that they continue to have weapons of mass destruction."

In addition, no serious person would justify a war based on information he knows to be false and which would be shown to be false within months after the war concluded. It is not as if the WMD stockpile question was one that wasn't going to be answered for a century to come.

The Bush administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments. Earlier this year, Mr. Gore charged that "CIA analysts who strongly disagreed with the White House . . . found themselves under pressure at work and became fearful of losing promotions and salary increases." Sen. Kennedy charged that the administration "put pressure on intelligence officers to produce the desired intelligence and analysis."

This myth is shattered by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's bipartisan Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq. Among the findings: "The committee did not find 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." Silberman-Robb concluded the same, finding "no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. . . . Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments." What the report did find is that intelligence assessments on Iraq were "riddled with errors"; "most of the fundamental errors were made and communicated to policy makers well before the now-infamous NIE of October 2002, and were not corrected in the months between the NIE and the start of the war."

Because weapons of mass destruction stockpiles weren't found, Saddam posed no threat. Howard Dean declared Iraq "was not a danger to the United States." John Murtha asserted, "There was no threat to our national security." Max Cleland put it this way: "Iraq was no threat. We now know that. There are no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear weapons programs." Yet while we did not find stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, what we did find was enough to alarm any sober-minded individual.

Upon his return from Iraq, weapons inspector David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), told the Senate: "I actually think this may be one of those cases where [Iraq under Saddam Hussein] was even more dangerous than we thought." His statement when issuing the ISG progress report said: "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities" that were part of "deliberate concealment efforts" that should have been declared to the U.N. And, he concluded, "Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction."

Among the key findings of the September 2004 report by Charles Duelfer, who succeeded Mr. Kay as ISG head, are that Saddam was pursuing an aggressive strategy to subvert the Oil for Food Program and to bring down U.N. sanctions through illicit finance and procurement schemes; and that Saddam intended to resume WMD efforts once U.N. sanctions were eliminated. According to Mr. Duelfer, "the guiding theme for WMD was to sustain the intellectual capacity achieved over so many years at such a great cost and to be in a position to produce again with as short a lead time as possible. . . . Virtually no senior Iraqi believed that Saddam had forsaken WMD forever. Evidence suggests that, as resources became available and the constraints of sanctions decayed, there was a direct expansion of activity that would have the effect of supporting future WMD reconstitution."

Beyond this, Saddam's regime was one of the most sadistic and aggressive in modern history. It started a war against Iran and used mustard gas and nerve gas. A decade later Iraq invaded Kuwait. Iraq was a massively destabilizing force in the Middle East; so long as Saddam was in power, rivers of blood were sure to follow.

Promoting democracy in the Middle East is a postwar rationalization. "The president now says that the war is really about the spread of democracy in the Middle East. This effort at after-the-fact justification was only made necessary because the primary rationale was so sadly lacking in fact," according to Nancy Pelosi.

In fact, President Bush argued for democracy taking root in Iraq before the war began. To take just one example, he said in a speech on Feb. 26, 2003: "A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interests in security, and America's belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq. . . . The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. . . . A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region."

The following day the New York Times editorialized: "President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. . . . The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time."

These, then, are the urban legends we must counter, else falsehoods become conventional wisdom. And what a strange world it is: For many antiwar critics, the president is faulted for the war, and he, not the former dictator of Iraq, inspires rage. The liberator rather than the oppressor provokes hatred. It is as if we have stepped through the political looking glass, into a world turned upside down and inside out.

Mr. Wehner is deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives.


People like Jimmy Carter and Al Gore and John Kerry and Hilary Clinton are the ones who have changed their tune. If anyone is the "liar" in this scenario, it is they. Today's liberals prefer their political viewpoints "fact-free" but here is the truth, like it or lump it.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Revisionist History"

Hey, we agree! This is an accurate description of Wehner's piece.

Sorry, sorry, couldn't resist.

Let's be serious. I knew the administration's case was a crock, and I'm not necessarily the longest aluminum tube in the bunch (discredited), or the quickest mobile lab in the fleet (discredited), or the sharpest(?) piece of yellowcake in the . . . (well, you get the idea). Millions of Americans knew. It was that obvious. If any of your guys had managed to clear the propaganda jam from your bs dectectors.


Anyway, I'll see your quote and raise you one . .

'Debunking' of antiwar 'myths' about Iraq, debunked.

____________________________

"FACT CHECK: Rove Deputy Peddling False Claims About Pre-War Iraq Intelligence [from Think Progress]

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Peter Wehner, Karl Rove’s deputy and the director of the White House’s Office of Strategic Initiatives, writes an op-ed attempting to debunk “antiwar myths.” The White House has been emailing the article to reporters this morning. Employing the same tactic that led the nation into war, the White House continues to use the media to peddle false claims in the hopes they will be accepted. Below is a debunk of their debunk:

1) To rebut the “myth” that “The president misled Americans to convince them to go to war,” Wehner claims, “Important assumptions turned out wrong; but mistakenly relying on faulty intelligence is a world apart from lying about it.”

FACT: Administration Created Stovepipes To Feed Politicized Intelligence. In his nomination hearing last week, Gen. Michael Hayden admitted that he “wasn’t comfortable” with the administration’s approach to Iraq intelligence. Hayden’s comments reveal that intelligence experts like himself were sidelined in the run-up to the war while political leaders like Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Doug Feith set up intelligence stovepipes to “get the information they wanted directly to the top leadership.”

FACT: Administration Had Its Sights Set on War Regardless of Intelligence. Despite Bush’s insistence that he didn’t want war, there is overwhelming evidence he made up his mind to go to war well before the intelligence community rendered its judgments.

2) To rebut the “myth” that “The Bush administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments,” Wehner claims, “This myth is shattered by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s bipartisan Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq.”

FACT: Roberts Blocking Phase II. The question of whether the administration exerted political pressure over pre-war intelligence was left to Phase II of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Cover-Up Committee, continues to thwart the completion of the report.

FACT: CIA Review Panel Found Analysts Were Subjected To Pressure. A July 2003 report produced by a “CIA review panel found that agency analysts were subjected to ‘steady and heavy’ requests from administration officials for evidence of links between Iraq and al-Qaida, which created ‘significant pressure on the Intelligence Community to find evidence that supported a connection.’”

3) To rebut the “myth” that “Because weapons of mass destruction stockpiles weren’t found, Saddam posed no threat,” Wehner states, “[W]hile we did not find stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, what we did find was enough to alarm any sober-minded individual.”

FACT: Charles Duelfer, the Administration’s Own Iraq Investigator, Found No Evidence That Saddam Posed an Immediate Threat. Duelfer, 10/6/04: “We found no evidence that he was passing to terrorist groups WMD material.” “We found no evidence [of an active nuclear weapons program], nor do we judge that there was one.” “It was my judgment that Iraq retained, perhaps, a strategic reserve — in other words, a deterrent, not an offensive capability.”

4) To rebut the “myth” that “Promoting democracy in the Middle East is a postwar rationalization,” Wehner states, “President Bush argued for democracy taking root in Iraq before the war began,” citing an example from February 2003.

FACT: Major Iraq Speeches Failed To Mention Democracy. In a major speech on Iraq in October 7, 2002 in Cincinnati, Bush failed to mention his desire to bring “democracy” to Iraq even once. Bush’s2003 State of the Union failed to mention Bush’s desire to bring “democracy” to Iraq. Instead, Bush spent paragraph after paragraph laying out the false intelligence for going to war.

FACT: Bush Said Disarmament Was Mission In Iraq. Bush,3/6/03: “Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament. And in order to disarm, it would mean regime change. I’m confident we’ll be able to achieve that objective, in a way that minimizes the loss of life. No doubt there’s risks in any military operation; I know that. But it’s very clear what we intend to do. And our mission won’t change. Our mission is precisely what I just stated. We have got a plan that will achieve that mission, should we need to send forces in.”"
_______________________________

There are numerous links in the original text. I actually think they could have done better - they've left out a lot - but they were presumably going for short and sweet.

"In addition, no serious person would justify a war based on information he knows to be false and which would be shown to be false within months after the war concluded"

Why on earth not? If it gets you the war you want, and if you can keep spinning fast enough . . .

And it's a bit more complicated than 'known to be false'. I don't think the Adminstration (what Bush knew is am interesting question: I suspect he just didn't bother with all the complicated details) ever knew for certain that the central claim -WMDS!!! -was false. What we know happened was that any information supporting this view was presented as definite fact, dropping the bits about how it was from unreliable sources/ suspected of being a forgery/rejected by experts/etc.

For example:
"Experts at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the scientists who enriched uranium for American bombs, advised that the tubes were all wrong for a bomb program. At about the same time, Thielmann’s office was working on another explanation. It turned out the tubes' dimensions perfectly matched an Iraqi conventional rocket.

“The aluminum was exactly, I think, what the Iraqis wanted for artillery,” recalls Thielmann, who says he sent that word up to the Secretary of State months before.
Houston Wood was a consultant who worked on the Oak Ridge analysis of the tubes. He watched Powell’s speech, too.

“I guess I was angry, that’s the best way to describe my emotions. I was angry at that,” says Wood, who is among the world’s authorities on uranium enrichment by centrifuge. He found the tubes couldn’t be what the CIA thought they were. They were too heavy, three times too thick and certain to leak.

"Wasn't going to work. They would have failed," says Wood, who reached that conclusion back in 2001.

Thielmann reported to Secretary Powell’s office that they were confident the tubes were not for a nuclear program. Then, about a year later, when the administration was building a case for war, the tubes were resurrected on the front page of The New York Times.

“I thought when I read that there must be some other tubes that people were talking about. I just was flabbergasted that people were still pushing that those might be centrifuges,” says Wood.

The New York Times reported that senior administration officials insisted the tubes were for an atom-bomb program.

“Science was not pushing this forward. Scientists had made their determination, their evaluation, and now we didn’t know what was happening,” says Wood.

In his U.N. speech, Secretary Powell acknowledged there was disagreement about the tubes, but he said most experts agreed with the nuclear theory.

“There is controversy about what these tubes are for. Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium,” said Powell.

“Most experts are located at Oak Ridge and that was not the position there,” says Wood, who claims he doesn’t know anyone in academia or foreign government who would disagree with his appraisal. “I don’t know a single one anywhere.”

. . . Why would the secretary take the information that Thielmann’s intelligence bureau had developed and turn it on its head?

“I can only assume that he was doing it to loyally support the President of the United States and build the strongest possible case for arguing that there was no alternative to the use of military force,” says Thielmann.

That was a case the president himself was making only eight days before Secretary Powell's speech. In his State of the Union address, the president said: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear-weapons production.”

After the war, the White House said the African uranium claim was false and shouldn’t have been in the president's address [this was known at the time; in fact, a reference to yummy yellowcake had been removed from a previous speech at then-CIA director Tenet's request]. But at the time, it was part of a campaign that painted the intelligence as irrefutable. "


According to accounts, this sort of thing continued after the war began and Iraq fell:

"A year after Bush administration claims about Iraqi "bioweapons trailers" were discredited by American experts, U.S. officials were still suppressing the findings, says a senior member of the CIA-led Iraq inspection team.

At one point, former U.N. arms inspector Rod Barton says, a CIA officer told him it was "politically not possible" to report that the White House claims were untrue. In the end, Barton says, he felt "complicit in deceit.""


Was the case for war built on lies in the most literal and simplistic sense? Well, possibly not. More likely, they just didn't bother to make sure they were telling the truth, or let the public in on how shaky that case was. (And then sometimes they just said things that everyone else told them weren't true. Faith-based intelligence, I guess.)

It was a magical transformation worthy of Cinderella: take worst case scenarios from unreliable sources viewed with a high degree of uncertainty and debate (at best) and *poof*!! - you've got incontravertible facts. And scary mushroom cloud imagery. Except in this case the glass slippers were actually the shoes from another fairy tale, the ones that couldn't be taken off once you put them on, but just made you dance dance dance til you died.

The kindest interepretation is that they decided that the American people were little children who had to be scared, by spooky stories, into supporting the 'right' decision, (which they had fooled theselves, through incompetence and groupthink, into believing). Little white lies. Don't go play by the river alone, or a monster will eat you up!

If you base your business strategy on unsubstantiated rumors from internet chatrooms, and things don't quite go like you hoped - well, you didn't *lie* . . .

I don't think utter failure of due dilligence and contempt for the American public are impeachable offenses, but they may be grounds for a country-wide silent treatment. That would be amusing.

Yet while we did not find stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, what we did find was enough to alarm any sober-minded individual."

Bait and switch. You stop by the store, glance caught by the huge pictures of smoking-gun mushroom clouds and devastated U.S. cities, for an incredibly low price (oil revenue will cover it!), but when you go in , all they have is some on-ice plans, and they cost so much more in blood and treasure.
Y'know, I think that's illegal in Pennsylvania . . .

Did anybody think Saddam was a purring pussycat? Sure, he had dreams and schemes. Bush could have made the case that somewhere down the road, sanctions would fall or be completely subverted, Saddam would get back to work, and he would eventually become a threat to US interests in the region, and that we had to make sure the sanctions held, or take action.

But then they wouldn't have been able to get their war on.

"so long as Saddam was in power, rivers of blood were sure to follow. "

In his country, yes. In reality, we had him contained, able to make his own people suffer, but - unless sanctions were lifted (de jure or de facto) and the US backed off, that was it. A horrible it, but right now you're putting up with other its all over the world, including some of our allies. That was never the point, never the reason, anymore than freeing the women of Afghanistan had anything to do with that (much more justified) war beyond riling the public up (and how are they doing now?).

"In fact, President Bush argued for democracy taking root in Iraq before the war began. To take just one example, he said in a speech on Feb. 26, 2003 . . . President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. . . . The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time."

So at the very end of February, and given the NY Times' phrasing, it sounds like this was the first time it was presented to the general public, which had previously just heard about nukes, and heard many speeches that rhetorically linked Iraq and 9/11, until most of them believed there was an actual proven link (including one soldier who I heard being interviewed in Germany after being wounded in Iraq). Of course, those of us who followed the whole charade in mounting disbelief and dread had already been hearing for some time about the neocon fantasy-baseball version of Middle East strategy - it was not reassuring us.

" The liberator rather than the oppressor provokes hatred."

Well, yes, that often happens, especially in a region that is very, very touchy about the US in general, and especially when the liberator is unable to provide order, security, and a decent standard of living. It's human nature. People would mind being misled a lot less if the administration hadn't completely messed things up from sheer incompetence (hey, freedom is messy!) - and inevitable result of the 'this *is the truth how dare you question us we're not listening complain and we'll out your CIA agent wife or force you to step down' approach.

"So, asked Smith of the young men, "You know people who would like it better the old way?"

"Yes," responded No. 1. "It breaks my heart knowing that, because it was so bad, but now, they feel it's worse, and they just wish that Saddam's regime could come back."

A young man, who will be called No. 3, added: "A lot of people want, well, 'We just want Saddam come back. We don't want to live this life. OK, dictator? We don't care; doesn't matter anymore. We just want Saddam get back. We just want our life to get back to before.' " "

And these are young men who thank us, and say that the war was a good thing, and don't want us to leave yet, for the same reason I can't in good faith advocate such a move - because Iraq would likely implode.

We put the shoes on because they looked pretty. And now there's no way we can get them off.

Dance dance dance.

-Dan S.

A Hermit said...

Damnit Dan, you beat me too it. (and did a better job than I did...)

FACT CHECK: Rove Deputy Peddling False Claims About Pre-War Iraq Intelligence


-------------

Karl Rove's deputy!? Now there's a reliable source of information!

You can keep believing the Party Line if it makes you feel better Radar, but more and more of your fellow Americans are proving the old adage that you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

52% say they now believe the Bush administration "intentionally misled the American public" when making its case for war.

Sen. Roberts is still stonewalling the second part of the senate investigation into the use of prewar intelligence. Why? What are they afraid of Radar?

By the way, I knew at the time that the whole WMD threat was being grossly exagerated, if not totally fabricated. How did I know? Because I listened to the CBC and the BBC; I read the excellent reporting being done by the Knoght Ridder news service (the last bastion of real journalism in the US in my opinion), I read past the headlines to the articles buried on page 14 of the major US dailys and looked beyond the jingoistic cable news readers.

And I was right, Radar. There were no WMD's, no links to Al Qaeda, no "grave and gathering threat". The proof is in the pudding, as they say. My news sources were right, yours were wrong.

(Homer)mmmmm...pudding...(/Homer)

A Well Fed Hermit

highboy said...

"By the way, I knew at the time that the whole WMD threat was being grossly exagerated, if not totally fabricated. How did I know? Because I listened to the CBC and the BBC;"

Who will continue to piss on your head and tell you that it is raining.

"And I was right, Radar. There were no WMD's"

Wrong, as I already posted links that state otherwise. Try reading them.

"You can keep believing the Party Line if it makes you feel better Radar, but more and more of your fellow Americans are proving the old adage that you can't fool all of the people all of the time"

Or that if you are fed the lie long enough, people eventually believe it. I'll trust the soldiers who are actually serving over there before putting my faith in a poll.

"Karl Rove's deputy!? Now there's a reliable source of information"

So should we listen to the U.N. instead? Before or after they're done laundering money and raping children?

All the tin foil hat conspiracy theories in the world do not take away from the truth: Saddam broke international law, and no one would do anything about it but the U.S, as always. Pick apart Bush's speeches all you want, but the fact remains that your liberal sources have agendas of their own, much like any media. Cold hard facts win the day. It is a FACT that Saddam had mass amounts of sarin gas, capable of killing enough to be considered a WMD by any reasonable person. (Of course most of YOUR news sources chose not to make a big deal of it) It is a FACT that Saddam violated 14 Gulf War Cease Fire Treaties, breaking international law, and it is a fact that sanction after sanction made not one bit of difference. It is also a fact that the U.N. opposed the war for no other reason then to prevent us from finding out what we already knew: that they are a waste of oxygen.

A Hermit said...

"It is a FACT that Saddam had mass amounts of sarin gas,"

When? In 1988 when the Reagan/Bush Republicans were shaking his hand and selling him helicopters and missile technology and people like you were callin gme "anti-American" for suggesting that it wasn't a good idea to get into bed with a tyrant like Saddam?

"It is a FACT that Saddam violated 14 Gulf War Cease Fire Treaties, breaking international law"

Hence the sanctions...

"and it is a fact that sanction after sanction made not one bit of difference."

The sanctions were weakened because multinational corporations (mostly headquartered in the US) put their bottom lines ahead of the law.

"The United States administration turned a blind eye to extensive sanctions-busting in the prewar sale of Iraqi oil, according to a new Senate investigation."

But they still had the effect of crippling Iraq's military, and the inspections regime of the 1990's had eliminated Iraq's wmd capability. Read the Duelfer Report

Sensible people all over the world opposed the invasion because

a) It was unneccessary.
b) It was illegal
c) It was bound to have serious>unintended, negative consequences
d) None of Iraq's neighbours wanted an invasion.
e) The idea of preventive war is a violation of American principles. (And many thoughtful people would say a violation of Christian principles.)

"Saddam broke international law, and no one would do anything about it but the U.S"

This is nonsense; the UN inspectors were all over Iraq, they were given unprecedented access to Iraqi sites, they went to all the sites identified by US intelligence and they found nothing.

I'm not about to launch a comprehensive defense of the UN, I have my own beefs with them, but to dismiss teh organization as useless because it doesn't work miracles is just silly. And in the case of Iraq, they were right; the IAEA said Saddam had no nukes and no chance of making nukes. We now know they were right. The UN inspectors said there were no WMD's, we now know they were right. Shinseki warned more troops were needed to secure the country, we now know he was right, others warned the cost would be many times hihger than the Bush administration's projections, we now know those critics were right

Sorry HIghboy, wishful thinking can only outrun the facts for a short while. Reality has a way of catching up...

A Long-distance Hermit

highboy said...

"When? In 1988 when the Reagan/Bush Republicans were shaking his hand and selling him helicopters and missile technology and people like you were callin gme "anti-American" for suggesting that it wasn't a good idea to get into bed with a tyrant like Saddam?"

No, in 2005 when uncoverin weapons stashes and chemical warheads. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/07/02/international1018EDT0516.DTL And hey, look at one of the sources: Washington Post. Liberal news sources like that can't be wrong.

"Hence the sanctions..."

Which worked so well.

"The sanctions were weakened because multinational corporations (mostly headquartered in the US) put their bottom lines ahead of the law."

Or because the U.N. didn't enforce them, because they were too busy covering up their scandals.

"Sensible people all over the world opposed the invasion because"

"It was unecessary."

If you don't care about terrorism sure.

"It was illegal."

That has been tried and failed.

"It was bound to have serious negative and unintended consequences."

Like stopping millions from being gassed and tortured to death, stopping the U.S. from being attacked with sarin gas, enforcing international law...

"None of Iraq's neighbors wanted an invasion."

Who cares?

"The idea of preventive war is a violation of American principles."

The idea of war in order to prevent an attack on our country is against American principles?

"And many thoughtful people would say a violation of Christian principles."

And they would be wrong. God ordered the offensive throughout the entire Bible.

"This is nonsense; the UN inspectors were all over Iraq,"

And they are as trustworthy as Bin Laden. Again, the U.N did not want their oil for food scandal exposed. Ironic this is, since Bush Sr. didn't want to war with Iraq the first time, but was pressured to by the U.N., because the U.N had interests at stake. Now they demonize Jr. for going to war because they had interests at stake.

"but to dismiss teh organization as useless because it doesn't work miracles is just silly."

Wrong. They contribute nothing but scandal upon scandal and gang rape, and we throw them billions every year for international disaster aid funding. What is the first thing they do when the tsunami struck? Asked everyone for money. Where did all those excess billions go? They are useless.

"we now know they were right."

I have already showed otherwise, unless of course you don't think a weapon that can kill lots of people is a WMD.

A Hermit said...

"They contribute nothing but scandal upon scandal and gang rape"

They feed the hungry and
heal the sick.

The UN is, like any human organiztion, (including the United States) imperfect, but demonizing them ignores reality.

(By the way, when Bush cut funding to the UNFPA he set in motion a funding crisis which has led to an increase in child mortality, women's mortality in childbirth, and in the rate of abortions in those countries which used to benefit from the women's health and education programs the fund provided. Talk about unintended consequences...)


"I have already showed otherwise, unless of course you don't think a weapon that can kill lots of people is a WMD."

Technically speaking only Nukes qualify as "weapons of mass destruction"; chemical and biological weapons are "unconventional munitions" and historically have been a lot less effective than advertised. Conventional bombs and artillery "kill a lot of people" too.

But in any case, here's a quote from your own link, proving you wrong Highboy:

"Boylan said the suspected lab was new, dating from some time after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Bush administration cited evidence that Saddam Hussein's government was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for the invasion. No such weapons or factories were found."

Did you get that? BEFORE the invasion; no chemical weapons or weapon labs. AFTER the invasion...suspected new chemical lab containing precursor chemicals (like the ones Reagan used to sell to Saddam back when he was actually using poison gas on people) but no actual chemical weapons.

Heckuva job Georgie...

The rest of your comment doesn't even deserve a response. "Who cares" is not an argument and "God ordered the offensive throughout the entire Bible." is just crazy, and probably offensive to most of the thoughtful Christians I know.

An Unimpressed Hermit

highboy said...

"Technically speaking only Nukes qualify as "weapons of mass destruction"; chemical and biological weapons are "unconventional munitions" and historically have been a lot less effective than advertised. Conventional bombs and artillery "kill a lot of people" too."

Meaning, unless he had nukes, Saddam was no threat, DESPITE chemical weapons. Got it.

"Did you get that? BEFORE the invasion; no chemical weapons or weapon labs."

Or, no nukes were found. I also provided more than one link. We found sarin gas, lots of it. Not suspected. Found.

"like the ones Reagan used to sell to Saddam back when he was actually using poison gas on people"

I love it when Canadians talk trash on Reagan. If it weren't for him, you'd be communist and speaking Russian. (Not that far of a stretch I guess)

""Who cares" is not an argument "

Neither is the line that none of Iraq's neighbors wanted an invasion.

""God ordered the offensive throughout the entire Bible." is just crazy, and probably offensive to most of the thoughtful Christians I know."

So were you lying when you said you were such a prolific student of the Bible? Or did you miss every single nation that God ordered Israel to destroy? Did you miss King Saul getting punished for NOT killing everything God ordered him too? Did you miss God commanding the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites and take their land, then punishing them for not running all of them out? Wow, there is quite a bit you seemed to have missed when reading so studiously. Those actions, if the English language is of any use, were offensive.

A Hermit said...

"I also provided more than one link. We found sarin gas, lots of it. Not suspected. Found."

Two links that I've seen, one of which didn't work and the other one contradicted you. Not very convincing.

"I love it when Canadians talk trash on Reagan."

Just stating the facts. Read some history, Highboy, Reagan supported Saddam Hussein.

As for "saving" us from the Commies, don't make me laugh. COmmunism collapsed under its own weight, and would have done so sooner if America hadn't weakened itself with its futile adventures in Southeast Asia.

"So were you lying when you said you were such a prolific student of the Bible?"

You go ahead and believe that if it makes you feel better, son...

"Or did you miss every single nation that God ordered Israel to destroy?"

Miss it?! That's the sort of thing that led me to reject the Christian religion. I believe you missed me pointing out the bloodthirstiness of the Old Testament God as an example of the inconsistency of Biblical morality. (See the post on Divine Command Theory and the Euthyphro comments).

Now grow up and pay attention little boy, you might learn something.

An Amused Hermit

A Hermit said...

"Did you miss God commanding the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites and take their land, then punishing them for not running all of them out?"

Are you making an argument for wiping out the Iraqis, Highboy? Is that how you would save people from tyranny; "kill `em all and let God sort them out?" "Destroy the village in order to save it?"

Are you suggeting that America is the new Chosen People? George Bush is a Prophet of God, carrying out divine orders?

Please do go on...I'm fascinated...

Anonymous said...

""Boylan said the suspected lab was new, dating from some time after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003"

I missed that bit. Thank god we found it, and I just hope there aren't others scattered around the country . . .

Are any of the U.S. bases in valleys? That wouldn't be good, if the insurgency's cooking up chemical weapons . . .

"I love it when Canadians talk trash on Reagan. If it weren't for him, you'd be communist . . ."

Look, like Hermit says, it's true - we were allied with Saddam more or less up to the day he invaded Kuwait. We were using and arming him as a bulwark against both communism and Islamic fundamentalism - in fact, we may have assisted his bloody rise to power.

There's a lesson in that, somewhere.

We not only gave him all sorts of weapons, we may have (intentionally or unintentionally) helped him target his own people . . . I would have to dig that up, check how credible it was, though . . .

Plus, even without Reagan, I think the USSR was pretty much doomed by that point; he just hastened the inevitable. Short of a outright invitation - or complete collapse on our part - I don't think there was any chance of the Russians taking over North America by that time. Although there were one or two times we almost ended up little radioactive cinders. . . Reagan's little on-air comment about outlawing the Soviet Union - the bombing starts in five minutes - was pretty quickly established as a joke, luckily. However, at one time a malfunctioing alert system informed the Russians that we had just launched a large number of nukes at them, and it was only thanks to one guy in a bunker who didn't trust it refusing to do whatever - put in the code or turn the key or push the button - that they didn't launch what they imagined to be a taking-us-down-with-them counterattack. It's just amazing - the world as we know it could have ended that day, and it didn't, thanks to that one man. (Of course, he was reprimanded, his career trashed, and years later when an American paper or magazine tracked him down, he was living in some crappy little apartment on a meager pension or something . . . ).

"and speaking Russian. (Not that far of a stretch I guess)""
Well, English is a Germanic language, French a Romance one, while Russian is Slavic - neither are all that similar, really. And it has that crazy alphabet . . .

-Dan S.

highboy said...

"Two links that I've seen, one of which didn't work and the other one contradicted you. Not very convincing."

I didn't realize it wasn't working. The other didn't contradict me either. You said there were no WMDs. There were. If you only want to consider nukes a WMD, please never hold a position of leadership.

"Just stating the facts. Read some history, Highboy, Reagan supported Saddam Hussein."

And crushed the Evil Empire. Read your history. There is more to the world than the Middle East.

"As for "saving" us from the Commies, don't make me laugh. COmmunism collapsed under its own weight, and would have done so sooner if America hadn't weakened itself with its futile adventures in Southeast Asia."

The futile adventures that drained Russia's economy, since they provided the NVA with most, if not all of, their weapons. Or do you think the NVA had their own AK 47s? Reagan exploited their Vietnam contributions and their own war with Afghanistan to break them. It worked.

"So were you lying when you said you were such a prolific student of the Bible?"

You go ahead and believe that if it makes you feel better, son..."

I have to "dad", when you refuse to acknowledge about 80% of the Bible.

"Miss it?! That's the sort of thing that led me to reject the Christian religion. I believe you missed me pointing out the bloodthirstiness of the Old Testament God as an example of the inconsistency of Biblical morality. (See the post on Divine Command Theory and the Euthyphro comments)"

So then in one response, you say that the idea of God taking the offensive in the Bible is crazy, and in the next you not only acknowledge that He took the offensive but even list it as one of the main reasons for your rejection of Christianity. Got it.

"Now grow up and pay attention little boy, you might learn something."

I did. I learned that you are as consistent as silly puddy, as pointed out above.

"Did you miss God commanding the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites and take their land, then punishing them for not running all of them out?"

"Are you making an argument for wiping out the Iraqis, Highboy? Is that how you would save people from tyranny; "kill `em all and let God sort them out?" "Destroy the village in order to save it?"

What, you don't think our argument was heated enough, you had to invent one? Any body even semi literate could tell the context with which I wrote that. I was listing a few of the many instances that God took the offensive.

"Plus, even without Reagan, I think the USSR was pretty much doomed by that point; he just hastened the inevitable. Short of a outright invitation - or complete collapse on our part - I don't think there was any chance of the Russians taking over North America by that time."

If Reagan wouldn't have, the U.S.S.R absolutely would have. They had the guts to use nuclear weapons, and let the world know it. Reagan faced IMMENSE pressure from the almost completely Democratic Congress at the time to stay friendly with the Russians, and even slow down the arms race in order not to offend them. If Reagan had done that, the Russians would have walked all over us. Many Democrats at the time, including Carter, (surprise surprise) would not even acknowledge the Soviet Union as a threat to the world.

A Hermit said...

"And they would be wrong. God ordered the offensive throughout the entire Bible."

I took that as referring specifically to Iraq; I see it was intended more generally.

In any case, the Christian tradition I grew up in held that the new Covenant ushered in by Christ's sacrifice did away with the Old Testament law, so in that context it is offensive to that tradition to suggest that a 21st century war is attributable to God's leading.

In fact, it should be offensive to anyone who values democracy to think that any political policy can be defended by claiming Divine authority. Where is the opportunity for dissent, for informed debate if one's critics can simply be dismissed as opposing God's will? This is why the founders of the American republic were so adamant that Church and State remain rigidly separate.

A Hermit said...

"What, you don't think our argument was heated enough, you had to invent one? "

Just asking you to clarify; do you think genocide is a morally defensible action? You're the one who brought it up, so don't be getting pissy with me.


"Many Democrats at the time, including Carter, (surprise surprise) would not even acknowledge the Soviet Union as a threat to the world."

Unlike you I lived through that debate, and I can tell you that you have been badly misinformed about the nature of the arguments at the time.

In any case, we now know that the Detente advocates were correct, the Soviet Union was mostly a paper tiger by the 1980's, and any threat it posed was greatly exagerated.