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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Iraq - from the horse's mouth

He had a big audience and he was nervous. His wife was standing with him but he would be doing most of the talking. We all clapped hard when he was introduced, his wife grabbed his hat off of his head, he smiled, and began to talk.

He was a young married man with a brand new baby girl. He had joined the Reserves to augment his pay, provide education benefits and because he loved his country and was willing to serve. But it was a shock when, right after the birth of the baby, he got short notice to get ready...to deploy.

They couldn't tell him where he was going, except that it was overseas, it would be hot and somebody might be shooting at him. He had just a couple of weeks to get ready to leave everyone behind. We were all at a couple's retreat together and the rest of us surrounded him and his bride and prayed. A few days later he was gone.

Winter was full on in the Indiana hinterlands, but he was in California training. Before the spring arrived he was in Iraq. It was a shock to his system.

"It was cold when we got there, didn't usually get above 100 degrees. But summer came and it got hotter...120 or maybe even 140. And I was wearing a helmet that weighed about 20 pounds, bulletproof, and then I had my protective jacket with inserts that weighed about 70 pounds. I had to wear a full uniform and carry my weapon at all times when I was outside. That is how we worked..."

So they worked. His unit was working on building up an airfield and the buildings that would be associated with a major airfield. They worked at night, 12 hours at a time, six days a week and six hours on Sundays. It sometimes dipped below 100 degrees in the evenings and "...one week it got down to about 80. It was a cold wave. I told my wife and she said, 'that's not cold' and I said, 'Oh, yes it is!' That was a great week."

He encountered the Camel Spiders, relatively huge creatures so named because they would crawl up under a camel and eat through its belly until it died. They were several inches around including their legs. Camel Spiders loved shadows and so to avoid the heat they would sometimes follow a soldier step-by-step, remaining in his shadow so as to avoid the heat of the day. They could bite and were a possible source of nasty infection but he never heard of anyone being bit and they weren't poisonous. He wondered at the Iraqis who, if they saw one, would scoop it up and carry it away. Did they eat them?

He explained how no one touched another person with their left hands and never ate with the left hand, since that was supposed to be the "hand that you wipe with, so they don't use it." You would never show another person the sole of your foot, that was another insult. There were adjustments to be made, living in "The Sandbox" as the troops call it. Iraq.

He learned so many things in Iraq. From the other troops, he learned that in combat areas there is no rivalry between Marines and Navy and Army and Air Force - they are all American troops, in it together. He learned that the Iraqi soldiers and police respected the Americans but in his area they rarely interacted. He learned to live in a semi-trailer, sleep in crowded bunk areas while explosions resounded in the distance, and to treasure those moments when he could enjoy air conditioning. He learned to find a new level of communion with his wife within the precious phone calls they shared every week (unless the base was under any kind of threat and all commo was shut down). With no tv and with a life of 24/7 spent with the men of his crew, he learned how to really know someone and understand their thinking, be truly close to other human beings. Best of all, he didn't learn what it meant to be wounded or killed. Only twice did his area come under direct attacks and in both cases he and his men weren't even there.

The attacks were usually a mortar or rocket launcher strike. There was little or no organized fighting anywhere nearby, just a few terrorists here and there hoping to get lucky by lobbing in explosives. Being about fifty miles from downtown Baghdad, he didn't see the suicide attacks that happen there, attacks that are timed for news coverage and to spread fear and unrest. On a clear day he could see Baghdad in the distance, just as you can see Chicago from the sand dunes of the Indiana shoreline of Lake Michigan.

He did learn a lot about the people. They were reticent at first, but soon became friendly with him and his buddies. Often they would express their gratitude towards them. He was surprised at how many had a rudimentary ability to communicate in English, way out here in the countryside away from the city.

He and his wife had given their talk to our group of high school students and now it was time for questions. The kids wanted to know, why did the Iraqis thank him and for what?

Now he sank his teeth into that one. He told us how the Iraqis explained things. Under Saddam, the dictator and his cronies had the money and power and luxuries. The vast majority of people were lucky to be given electricity two days out of the week. Schools were few and small and no one was taught beyond the sixth grade unless they had connections. Most of the people grew up scrabbling to make money and with no modern skillsets due to the lack of education. This is why Iraqi nationals sought to escape the country and come to the USA; for the education. There were soldiers and contractors building more schools and building up the infrastructure of the country and working to provide full-time water and electricity to all. There was hope for education and jobs.

What was the biggest adjustment for him? He admitted that he found he sometimes missed the guys he had been with all of the time and he missed the young boy who did their laundry, a kid of junior high school age who longed for more schools to be built so he could go back to learning rather than run around hauling laundry. He would wake up at night afraid because he couldn't locate his weapon, or he would wake up certain that he was still in his bunk and able to see the interior of the trailer as if he were really there.

They asked him why we didn't hear good things about Iraq, only the bad. He said he figured it was politics. He saw a country where two of the three religious sects were thankful for us, plus the Kurds, and that only one sect worked against us because they didn't want a free country, they wanted a theocratic dictatorship. But the people were thankful, good work was being done and the attacks were sporadic and primarily centered in major cities where news media might record them.

All in all, he was proud to have served, grateful to have been deployed for less than a year and very, very glad to be back home with his wife and baby. We gathered around them and prayed for them, thanking God for their return. He gave me a big hug and I sure gave it back. He was truly back home.

~~~~~~~

Greg and Debbie, the couple of whom I wrote, are now back together. My son Rob is back from Afghanistan in one piece. My godson Chuck is back from Iraq. My friend Tom is there right now, and so is my other godson, Cecil. Everywhere lives are being disrupted by our young people having to leave home and deploy overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, facing personal dangers for the sake of those left at home.

Some don't make it back. In an all-volunteer military, that possibility is known from the get-go. The vast majority of our troops are highly professional and dedicated to do the job and do it right. I was impressed with what I saw at both the training bases and home bases of the young men I know in the service today.

Today it snowed for the first time this year. It snowed hard, two or three times, but the ground and air were still too warm to sustain it and the snow melted almost immediately. In a month or two it will snow and it will stay and the whole area will be covered with white. It'll be cold, but it'll be beautiful.

In Iraq and Afghanistan today our troops are serving and are often in danger. Afghans are learning to live in a free society of their own crafting and the Iraqis are just beginning that process. Right now, were we to leave, it would all fall apart and freedom would melt away just as snow in Indiana melts in October. But if we stay the course that investment will pay off. Afghans and Iraqis will be self-governing and able to secure themselves as well and we will begin withdrawing troops. It'll be different from the government we know, but it will be beautiful, too.

Every single serviceman and woman I've encountered from those zones tell me the same thing. The people appreciate us and are glad we came. The conditions are getting better, improvements are being made, and the news media have everything slanted so things appear bleak and nearly hopeless.

I went with my wife and son-in-law and daughter to see a Toby Keith concert, for her birthday. I had posted a bit about that, but I remember something that Toby said. You know he got into a slam session against the Dixie Chicks after they began saying un-american things on stage and Toby defended his country and his President because, well, it is his country and President! But he is a musician and a patriot and not a politician. He said, "Screw politics, and God Bless America!" I understood what he meant. I say this to you, my friends. Screw politics! Let's pull together, all parties, to support our troops overseas and make it easier for them as they work to do the job they were sent to do. It's not a Bush thing or a Clinton thing, it is an American thing. Defeating Islamofascism is key to our very survival. I also say this. Go ahead and go out of your way to thank the troops who make it back home for their sacrifice and dedication. God knows they've seen enough negative junk in the press. It would mean a lot to them and I think they deserve it.

Others are saying the same things! Like Amy, whose husband has been to Iraq and might know a little bit about it.

You should really read this one, too! Pillars of Government Week, Part I :The Military. Cassandra posts an intelligent and worthwhile mini-essay on the military and the US Government and as it relates to the Iraq situation.

(PS - BTW my daughter's name is Michelle, it was her birthday and in a Freudian moment of some kind I gave Greg's wife the wrong name. It's fixed now!!!)

38 comments:

cranky old fart said...

"Screw politics! Let's pull together, all parties, to support our troops overseas.

I'm with you 100% on this.

"and make it easier for them as they work to do the job..."

I"m with you 100% on this too.

Man that was easy.

Now how best to accomplish this? Aye, there's the rub.

Is it best to simply bury our heads in the sand while civilian idiots continue to ignore reality, and keep the boys and girls in a meat grinder?

We owe them MORE than that. I think so. Do you?

As a soldier once said, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

highboy said...

"Is it best to simply bury our heads in the sand while civilian idiots continue to ignore reality, and keep the boys and girls in a meat grinder?"

That was a good speech about agreeing to come together cranky. I almost believed it. But you kind of ruin it when you refer to those who support the war as "idiots". But I suppose you'd be more comfortable with civilians in the "meat grinder".

scohen said...

I'm pretty sure Cranky meant the civilians in charge (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al), not laypeople. After all, you or I can't keep the sodiers deployed no matter what we do.

You should probably re-read a comments and make sure that you're actually being insulted before you fire up the snark-generators.

highboy said...

"You should probably re-read a comments and make sure that you're actually being insulted before you fire up the snark-generators"

I'm pretty sure if people are addressing someone specific, they probably specify, seeing as how we're ALL civillians. That's how dialogue works.

scohen said...

Tim,
Jeez, sometimes you can be a pain.

So, explain to me how a normal civilian can "keep the boys and girls in a meat grinder". Since you and I don't control where our armed forces are deployed we can't, it's the civilian leadership who does.

You'd be more effective if you didn't fly off the handle because you didn't understand a quote. To anyone that takes the time to parse his words, it's readily apparent where Cranky pointed the finger. That's how dialogue works.

Again, lose the snark.

highboy said...

"To anyone that takes the time to parse his words, it's readily apparent where Cranky pointed the finger. That's how dialogue works."

Okay, pretending I agree that's what he meant, what is the difference? Calling war supporters idiots or our leaders idiots is hardly what radar meant by joining together to support the troops. Calling the Commander and Chief an "idiot" is hardly "making it easier for them as they work to do the job..."

scohen said...

Tim,
I think that was Cranky's point. In my opinion, it's a little disingenuous of Radar to ask us to come together and support a policy that has clearly failed.

I've often been intrigued by the claim that calling the President an idiot demoralizes the troops. How does keeping them in a horrible situation not sap their morale?

The crux of the problem, is that I don't see a good way out of this --and I'm starting to think there isn't one. That's one of the reasons I was against this whole "war" from the start. This is one of those rare situations that I really loathe being right. We clearly can't continue with the current policy, but what policy should we put in its place?

Hawkeye® said...

scohen
In my opinion, it's a little disingenuous of Radar to ask us to come together and support a policy that has clearly failed.

So explain to me this "clear policy failure", you refer to. This administration's policy has been to fight terrorism and prevent another 9/11 type attack on American soil. So where is the failure? Bush is fighting terrorism and there has not been another attack on American soil...

Sounds like a very SUCCESSFUL policy to me!

Did Bush say it would be a cake-walk? ...NO! Did Bush say it would be easy? ...NO! Did Bush say it would be a short war? ...NO! Did Bush say lives would not be lost? ...NO!

Bush promised the American people a LONG, HARD struggle with victories that would not always be seen. The members of Congress applauded. We are only getting what Bush promised. And so far... he has been successful.

Could things change tomorrow? You bet. But so far anyway, the man has kept his word. No failure there.

cranky old fart said...

Hawkeye,

What Bush promised was that we had to start this war in Iraq beacause Saddam had WMD. He pimped Powell to make the B.S. case. That's what he promised.

Yes, you and I know that he couild have cared less about WMD. It was all about something else. But that's how he sold it.

We would be "greeted as liberators" Cheney said, like that was ever a probability, and like he even cared.

The Point of my first comment was that to make the backhanded case, as Radar has attempted again and again, to say that if you don't support the administration's policies, you don't support the troops is total, dangerous and obvious B.S.

Surely even you can recognize that.

And as for this "Bush promised the American people a LONG, HARD struggle", excuse me while I barf.

Yes, it is a long hard struggle for those dying every day. As for the stateside profiteers and the head in the sand Congress, well not so much.

What if any sacrifice has been asked of the civilian population? And why is this? Rather obvious again. No?

highboy said...

"it's a little disingenuous of Radar to ask us to come together and support a policy that has clearly failed."

This is why we can't come together, because the policy hasn't failed, yet partyhack liberals continue to assert that it has.

"Yes, you and I know that he couild have cared less about WMD. It was all about something else"

I hope this isn't one your "war for oil" conspiracy theories again.

"We would be "greeted as liberators" Cheney said, like that was ever a probability, and like he even cared."

We were. That's why thousands of Iraqis were seen dancing in the street, hugging and shaking the hands of our troops. But you may have missed that if you watch CNN for your news briefs.

"Yes, it is a long hard struggle for those dying every day. As for the stateside profiteers and the head in the sand Congress, well not so much."

Whatever. Its kind of hard to have a debate with someone who resorts to conspiracy theories all the time. People die in a war cranky. The U.S. troop death toll does not take away the importance and value of fighting this war.

scohen said...

"Sounds like a very SUCCESSFUL policy to me!"

It only sounds successful if you ignore documents like the latest NIE that directly contradict your assertion. Iraq is a mess. It's in danger of plunging into a civil war --even the generals said as much. Ignoring this won't make it go away.

"Bush is fighting terrorism and there has not been another attack on American soil..."

Reminds me of a Simpson's episode.

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The "Bear Patrol" is working like a charm!
Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: [uncomprehendingly] Thanks, honey.
Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Hmm. How does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work; it's just a stupid rock!
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer: (pause) Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

So you think that the war Iraq, and nothing else is protecting us from terrorism? Is that the only explanation? Isn't it also possible that increased vigilence is making us safer while the war is making us less safe?

And Tim, Another mischaracterization:
"Whatever. Its kind of hard to have a debate with someone who resorts to conspiracy theories all the time."

Cranky said that there has been no sacrifice demanded from rank-and-file citizens and he's absolutely right. He did not mention a war for oil or any conspiracy theory, that's just another strawman argument that you dredged up. Really, the only argument you've put forth against what we've been saying is to impugn our news sources. If only they'd tell us about a school opening, things would be better. That sounds a lot like how Pravda operated. While it too was a 'good news' paper, I just don't think that's how journalism has or should operate.

highboy said...

"He did not mention a war for oil or any conspiracy theory, that's just another strawman argument that you dredged up."

Which is why I said "I hope". Follow your own advice and read a comment before responding to it.

"Really, the only argument you've put forth against what we've been saying is to impugn our news sources."

The NIE document conflicts with the PIPA report.

"If only they'd tell us about a school opening, things would be better."

have done so:

"BAGHDAD — Iraqi Government officials and Coalition Force members celebrated the reopening of two schools in Kirkuk Oct. 12. The renovations were part of a broader civil affairs program and will serve as a model for other area schools.
Musalla Secondary School students proudly hung their country and school flags on the newly-painted walls of their refurbished school in preparation for a ceremony attended by local officials.

The secondary school and a city elementary school are the first of six renovations under the program, which includes construction of new science labs with computers. Students can also look forward to new school supplies donated from the U.S., and other essential materials such as computer desks provided by a nongovernmental agency"

scohen said...

"The NIE document conflicts with the PIPA report."

What PIPA repot?
Did you mean this PIPA? If so, you're not exactly making a valid point.
Their own site says "Most Iraqis Want US Troops Out Within a Year" and "US Presence Provoking More Conflict Than it is Preventing". How exactly does that differ from what the NIE said?

Or perhaps you meant this PIPA report that concluded that watching Fox news made you "significantly more likely to have misperceptions, while those who primarily listen to NPR or watch PBS are significantly less likely.". How did you know I listen to NPR and watch PBS?

When I google for "PIPA Report" I find that google tells me that "Bush supporters are more likely to hold false beliefs", which doesn't exactly contradict what I was saying. I can only assume that you were talking about something different, as the PIPA report that I found makes your opinion look rather weak.

That's all well and good that two schools were opened in Iraq. If only we could stop the senseless violence in Baghdad, we'd be all set.

highboy said...

"That's all well and good that two schools were opened in Iraq. If only we could stop the senseless violence in Baghdad, we'd be all set."

Moving the goal posts I see. Good one scohen. I guess there was no violence in the middle east before we got there huh?

As to your selective quoting of the PIPA report its clear through its findings that the Iraqis blame the militias, not the Americans, for the high level of sectarian violence. Nice job citing me the PIPA report from 2003 by the way. In case you've missed it, its 2006, and although Americans have lost confidence that we can be successful, it also shows that the number of people believing Saddam had WMDs is on the rise...again.

I particularly like this gem:

"Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also stressed the significance of the discovery, which he said showed that weapons of mass destruction were “still being found and discovered” in Iraq. However, senior intelligence officials, speaking to the media anonymously, downplayed the report, saying the chemical weapons were probably made before the 1991 Gulf war and were not usable."

Gotta love those "anonymous" sources. Very reliable.

"How did you know I listen to NPR and watch PBS?"

You're a liberal who repeatedly believes in false information. Call it "profiling".

"I've often been intrigued by the claim that calling the President an idiot demoralizes the troops. How does keeping them in a horrible situation not sap their morale?"

And you think that saying "Hey, I support you guys. The person in charge of your lives over there is an idiot however. I hope this encourages you" doesn't demoralize troops? I suggest you serve in the military for a while before believing such twaddle.

loboinok said...

What Bush promised was that we had to start this war in Iraq beacause Saddam had WMD. He pimped Powell to make the B.S. case. That's what he promised.

Saddam did have WMD. The only people who didn't know he had them were, people with an agenda, people who hate Bush and people who were in danger of having their graft cut off.

Democrats knew, Republicans knew and most of the world knew(those who weren't in denial anyway).

scohen said...

Tim,
It's funny that you accuse me of selective quoting of the report, and then go on to selectively quote the report. Look at their site man, they clearly come to the conclusion that Iraq did not have WMD --and you accuse me of believing false information. You should read one of their reports (there are many) and see if you can figure out what they're saying, because they clearly disagree with your conclusions.

"Gotta love those "anonymous" sources. Very reliable. "

Demonstrate how the claims made by the anonymous sources aren't reliable. Produce workable chemical weapons made after 1991. To my knowledge, this hasn't been done. Lobo, remember what I said, produce the weapons and you win the argument, otherwise, don't claim that Iraq had them when we went to war. Unless, of course, it depends on what your definition of 'had' is.
This report from the site that Tim cited, could not be more relevant to the current discussion.

Tim, I think one of your problems is that you believe an Iraqi either supports Al Qaeda or supports the US. That's overly simplistic --they can want both out of their country.

"Moving the goal posts I see. Good one scohen. I guess there was no violence in the middle east before we got there huh?"

So let me get this straight. I say mockingly that reporting on how many schools are built somehow negates all the negative things going on. Then you show me that two schools are built, and somehow this refutes my point? You're kidding, right? This is another of those patented Tim's only joking things --it HAS to be because no sane person would call that a valid logical conclusion. And while I never claimed that the Middle East was not violent before our involvement in Iraq (yet another mischaracterization), did decapitated corpses routinely show up in Baghdad before we came?

highboy said...

"Demonstrate how the claims made by the anonymous sources aren't reliable."

Probably the fact its "anonymous". Of course its very convenient for a liberal seeing as how they can tout this "source" and no one can check his/her/ credibility. How about demonstrating how the anonymous source is reliable? Or do you just automatically believe whatever the liberal DNC faxes you in the morning?

" Produce workable chemical weapons made after 1991. To my knowledge, this hasn't been done. Lobo, remember what I said, produce the weapons and you win the argument, otherwise, don't claim that Iraq had them when we went to war."

Wrong. Lobo has already produced documents that demonstrated Saddam had WMDs and moved them. Your "they weren't there nah, nah nah," argument is just a demonstration of childish stubborness to accept the truth. Deep down you know Saddam had them and so does anyone else with common sense.

"Tim, I think one of your problems is that you believe an Iraqi either supports Al Qaeda or supports the US. That's overly simplistic --they can want both out of their country."

Sure they want Americans out of their country. But they clearly want Al Qaeda out more.

"This is another of those patented Tim's only joking things"

Its funny how you twisted that, seeing as how you are the one that demanded proof and when I give it, now all the sudden you are "mocking", and you weren't serious. Right scohen. I believe you.

"did decapitated corpses routinely show up in Baghdad before we came?"

No because they were buried beneath the sand.

cranky old fart said...

"...Lobo has already produced documents that demonstrated Saddam had WMDs and moved them. Your "they weren't there nah, nah nah," argument is just a demonstration of childish stubborness to accept the truth. Deep down you know Saddam had them and so does anyone else with common sense."

So the administration is lying when they say otherwise?

Sheesh, talk about state of denial.

cranky old fart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cranky old fart said...

"Deep down you know Saddam had them and so does anyone else with common sense."

You really shouldn't say our president has no common sense. After all, it demoralizes the troops.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDKepme2-2k

highboy said...

"So the administration is lying when they say otherwise?"

No, the administration is spineless and is playing politics.

cranky old fart said...

"No, the administration is spineless and is playing politics."

To what end? The don't want to admit they told the truth?

What a truly bizarro world!

loboinok said...

So the administration is lying when they say otherwise?

Who knows? Perhaps Rove, knowing the liberals are firmly convinced that Bush "lied us into war", "lied about WMD", "lied about intel", and basically lied everytime he opened his mouth... would convince Bush to recant and actually lie, to show that liberals wouldn't know the truth if it came wrapped in hundred dollar bills.

What reasonable person would give credibility to ANYTHING said by a pathological lier?

Bush used the same intelligence that Clinton and his cabinet used to justify the military action he(Clinton) ordered.

If the intel was reliable and sufficient to justify military action on Clinton's part... why is it now unreliable and unjustified on Bush's part?

Lobo, remember what I said, produce the weapons and you win the argument, otherwise, don't claim that Iraq had them when we went to war.

Not only will I continue to claim it, I will continue to post the evidence. You have demonstrated your standard for proof, fluctuates(we are not dealing with a "theory" in this case).

It's good to post the evidence in any case. Lurkers, who may not normally see it, will, and the site's owner will have the info archived for later reference.

highboy said...

"To what end? The don't want to admit they told the truth?"

Because liberals such as yourself have already demonstrated that they are entirely too partisan to accept the truth no matter how much evidence is given, and so why continue to press it? Bush, along with many Republicans, have been making political calculations. (the wrong calculations) Your side has been doing it too. There is a trend all of a sudden to moderate oneself, the thinking is that it will help them get elected. But as you can see with many Republicans, that isn't what is working, and you see it with Hillary and the Dems. She moved a little more to the center and her own party is about to ostracize her. Same with Lieberman.

Mark K. Sprengel said...

Excellent post! I'm happy for the ones who made it back safe and pray the others will be watched over and make it back as well.

cranky old fart said...

Highboy & Lobo,

Bush says there were no WMD and you say he's lying.

You say "anyone with common sense" knows there were WMD.

How dare you say of the Commander in Chief, in a time of war, that he's a liar and lacks common sense?

Do you realize "You are saying it to Rob, to Cecil, to Tom, to Chuck, to Greg, to young men that [radar] know[s] well who have been overseas..."?

What a truly bizarro world ya'll live in.

highboy said...

Yeah cranky, we heard you the first time, but you apparently ignored our response. By the way, I didn't catch the part where the troops radar posted about said there were no WMDs. Also, there is a difference between Republicans saying "we didn't find any", and "there weren't any".

cranky old fart said...

"By the way, I didn't catch the part where the troops radar posted about said there were no WMDs."

Speaking of not reading, take a look at my comment again. I never said the troops said there were no WMD. I was referencing the part of radar's post where he says calling the president an idiot (liar/no common sense) demoralizes the troops.

BTW, I did read your comments. And?

Having reasons to lie (albeit bizarro reasons) doesn't change the "fact" that he's a liar, does it?

highboy said...

Did the president say there were no WMDs or that they didn't find any?

cranky old fart said...

Highboy,

Say what?

You're the one who implies the administration's lying about all this.

Bush admits there were no weapons. The ISG report says there were no weapons.

But you and lobo say there were. Anyone with "common sense" knows they were there.

Now who's the conspiracist?

highboy said...

I'll ask again: "Did the president say there were no WMDs or that they didn't find any?"

cranky old fart said...

Highboy,

He said it. Most recently in his August press conference:

"Now, look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was -- the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn't..."

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/08/20060821.html

highboy said...

Thanks.

loboinok said...

So the administration is lying when they say otherwise?

Sheesh, talk about state of denial.


Part of my point was... take a position and stick with it.

If you want to debate whether or not there were WMD in Iraq, fine.

I'll post the evidence and you refute it.

What I consider bizarre, is one who believes Bush lied when he claimed there were WMD in Iraq, and also believes Bush lied when he claimed there were no WMD in Iraq (and accuses me of living in a "bizarro world").

Bush says there were no WMD and you say he's lying.

No, you said he lied and Tim said he was playing politics. I'm more inclined to go with what Tim said.

Why Bush would say what he did or do what he did, I have no idea. But I'm not about to put stock in anything the MSM puts out, or anyone else who wants to push whatever agenda they have to push.

You say "anyone with common sense" knows there were WMD.

"Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons."
[snip]
"The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq."

"The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again."
[snip]
"In light of this experience, and in the absence of full cooperation by Iraq, it must regrettably be recorded again that the commission is not able to conduct the work mandated to it by the Security Council with respect to Iraq's prohibited weapons program."

In short, the inspectors are saying that even if they could stay in Iraq, their work would be a sham.

Saddam's deception has defeated their effectiveness. Instead of the inspectors disarming Saddam, Saddam has disarmed the inspectors."
[snip]
"I have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq."
[snip]
"If we had delayed for even a matter of days, we would have given Saddam more time to disperse his forces and protect his weapons."
[snip]
"So we will pursue a long-term strategy to contain Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction"
[snip]
"The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.

The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.

The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm's way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq's military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties."

Does that sound like someone who didn't believe Iraq had WMD?

cranky old fart said...

"What I consider bizarre, is one who believes Bush lied when he claimed there were WMD in Iraq, and also believes Bush lied when he claimed there were no WMD in Iraq"

You gotta read more carefully lobo. I never said I believed "Bush lied when he claimed there were no WMD in Iraq".

You're the one that imples that by saying there were WMD while Bush maintains the opposite.

"In short, the inspectors are saying that even if they could stay in Iraq, their work would be a sham."

I believe you are giving Bush quotes in support of this, no? The inspectors said different, no?

Look, I know what Bush said. I'm sure he believed what he said. I've never said he lied about his belief in WMDs. You can check.

He trumped up thin evidence, bullied the intelligence community, discarded what didn't fit his beliefs (sound familiar), but he didn't outright lie.

The "lie" was that he needed to invade because of WMD. WMD was just the excuse. He wanted to believe WMD were there because he wanted to invade, so he took a leap of faith (sound familiar) and believed it.
His dishonesty was that he scared the public with his mushroom clouds, instead of forthrightly coming to the American people with his grand democratization of the middle east vision. That's why we really went in. But Bush knew he couldn't sell that. So he sold WMD.

And that was dishonest. A "lie" if you prefer.

loboinok said...

The "lie" was that he needed to invade because of WMD. WMD was just the excuse. He wanted to believe WMD were there because he wanted to invade, so he took a leap of faith (sound familiar) and believed it.
His dishonesty was that he scared the public with his mushroom clouds, instead of forthrightly coming to the American people with his grand democratization of the middle east vision. That's why we really went in. But Bush knew he couldn't sell that. So he sold WMD.


President explains Iraq strike

cranky old fart said...

"They [air strikes] are designed to degrade Saddam's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors."

And, indeed, no WMD were to be found, years later.

Another Clinton success story.

Thanks!

But you really don't address what you quoted from my comment.

The invasion, and how it was sold.

loboinok said...

I haven't forgotten about you cranky.

I haven't decided as yet, whether or not you are worth the effort I will expend to basically end up where we started.