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Downing Street Memo Dissected

James S. Robbins, senior fellow in national-security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council, takes apart the Downing Street Memo at NRO.

The memo raises three issues dear to the hearts of President Bush's critics - the timing of the decision to go to war with Saddam, the WMD rationale, and the use (read: abuse) of intelligence to create the casus belli. One paragraph in the memo conveniently contains all three:
C [Richard Dearlove, Head of MI-6] reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
He then proceeds to answer the three charges.

One newest morphs of the "timing" argument from the left is that the memo proves that Bush lied to Congress when he sought and received authorization to go to war. To buy into this argument you must suspend all knowledge of the recent history of war in the US, since Presidents rarely bothered with that formality. Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Panama, Grenada, etc. were fought without a Congressional authorization. Congress has consistently abdicated it's responsibilities in this regards (presumably preferring to control longer engagements via budgetary means), and Presidents of both parties have used the CIC role and "police action" justifications all too willingly. As they say, power abhors a vacuum.

The lying to Congress charges ignore the fact that the United States has been, in essence, at war with Iraq since the end of the first Gulf War. Military patrols of the "No Fly Zones" in Iraq had been ongoing for more than a decade with occasional flare-ups. If radar, missile systems, or hostile aircraft were detected they were destroyed. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations would have been derelict in their duties had they not planned for

Can you imagine the howls of the left if Saddam had been assassinated and the country plunged into genocidal civil war? They'd be blaming the President for failing to take action to stop destabilization of the Middle East. Frankly I'd be a little more impressed with the left had that scenario come to pass; at least they'd be staying true to Democrats traditional support for exporting freedom and ending the reign of oppressive, tyrannical despots.

With Sen. John Kerry and Rep. John Conyers (neither a stranger to grandstanding non-sanctioned "inquiries") both working to keep the memo in the news, let me be the first to predict that one (or both) will hold a Winter Soldier-style hearing on the memo.


Previous Wizbang Coverage:

Wizbang Media Alert
No Moonbat Left Behind
Secret Downing Street Memo Fails To Sizzle


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Comments (79)

I can't wait until the Wizb... (Below threshold)
OregonMuse:

I can't wait until the Wizbang lefty commenters get on here trying to explain it away: "But.. but.. but..."


You folks are pretty loose ... (Below threshold)
Sue:

You folks are pretty loose with the facts. You don't deserve the good men and women that we have in harms way ALLEGEDLY protecting us from terrorism.

I heard Mehlman on MTP yesterday and he was orgasmic over the Iraq elections. Well, I was against war, but happy to see the Iraqi people vote - however, I understood that the mandate was to send us on our way.

Your pResident lied, many, many people have died are suffering because of these lies. By making excuses for this cabal, you bear responsibility for this crime as well.

If you and your party like democracy so much, why don't you PROVE IT by allowing Rush Holt's newest verfied voter bill come to the House Floor for debate. ?

This thing's starting to lo... (Below threshold)

This thing's starting to look downright coordinated at the national level. Is that you, Hillary, behind yonder curtain? And here we thought The Big Brass Alliance and After Downing Street were -- as Soros-backed MoveOn pretended to be -- just li'l ole grassroots groups of concerned citizens.

"A deliberate attempt to undermine support for a war they don't like"

The issue cuts to the heart... (Below threshold)
Tony-man:

The issue cuts to the heart of Presidential credibility. What Bush said very unoquivically and specifically is that a decision to go to war was not yet decided, but he would lead the USA into war ONLY as a last resort when all other options are exhausted. I REMEMBER THAT!

This memo contridicts his direct statement. It says the decision by then, was already final, and they'd "fix" the intellegence to fit the plan.

Kevin, whether the USA were 'always' at war with Iraq or not is a matter of opinion, but you cannot argue that IF we were at war all along, Bush has clearly escalated that war.

Why was that nessasary? Did these bombs really need to be dropped when we could've had a cold war instead? Remember the Cold-War? We won.

But instead Bush intentionally CHOSE to escalate the war in a very shady way behind our backs, and now nearly two thousand American lives have been lost along with about 27 thousand Iraqi lives. Did we go there to 'liberate' people right out of their lives?

Was this mess worth the $5.8 Billion a month it's costing us? Is the President's "borrow-and-spend" war plan really WORTH the debt? Is it worth Bush selling off our country to Saudi Arabia and Communist China? Just what do you think the value of our country is? If this sort of thing is acceptable to you, then you must not think our country is worth very much.

Why did we need to "fix the facts to fit the policy?"

The USA wouldn't need to "fix the facts to fit the policy," if the war were truly that much of an unavoidable 'last resort' Bush said it was.

No. If the war were truly an unavoidable last resort, the facts wouldn't have needed to be intntionally 'fixed.' The facts would've been naturally self-evident!!!!

The 145 Thousand signatures of US citizens on the Rep. John Conyers petition to the President to answer the 89 House members letter asking the president to explain the Downing Street Memo, which no one...NO ONE...has challenged the validity of.

And did you know John Bolton got a Brazilian, UN Chemical Weapons inspector FIRED because the inspector wanted to put more Chemical Weapons experts in Iraq? According to the report, Bolton threw a FIT and had the man fired. WHY? Because If there were MORE experts in Iraq, then the discovery that there was nothing there would've been revealed than much faster. Just another example of the 'facts being fixed to fit the policy.'

With all this yakkity-yak about Nixon and Watergate, I have to shout "WHO CARES?!" Have you no EYES to see this sort of thing is far dirtier than Watergate at its worst?

The paragraph starting with... (Below threshold)
Jim:

The paragraph starting with lying to Congress ends in midsentence, you might want to fix that.

[Note: Fixed]

"The President continues to... (Below threshold)
Gerald:

"The President continues to seek a peaceful resolution. War is a last resort." --White House Press Briefing, Scott McClellan, November 12, 2002

"I want you to keep focused on what you are doing here," [...] "This war came to us, not the other way around."--Condoleeza Rice, May 15, 2005

I've not made up our mind about military action. [sic] Hopefully, this can be done peacefully...”--George W. Bush, March 6, 2003, White House Press Conference

“We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force”--George W. Bush, March 8, 2003 Radio Address

One need not be terribly concerned about the exercise of executive authority in the absence of Congressional approval to note that, if the Downing Street Memo is true, than each of the above are lies. Not lies designed to mislead Congress--lies designed to mislead us.

I don't really see any diff... (Below threshold)
McCain:

I don't really see any difference between this memo and what has been said by others. This memo is a British assessment of the situation in Washington. The Brits think the Americans are on a march to war. So? Big freaking deal -- that is the same assessment carried in our own media for months and months preceding the war.

Thanks for the quotes Geral... (Below threshold)
Tony-man:

Thanks for the quotes Gerald.


How about this fun exchange from JAN 6 2003?

- - - - -

Q: British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said earlier today that the way he sees it, war with Iraq is less likely now than it was. Does the White House agree with that assessment?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the President, as he said over the holidays, remains very hopeful that peace can be pursued as a result of some of the decisions Saddam Hussein has yet to make. And this is about disarmament. And that's why the inspectors are there. They're going about their jobs and they're doing their work, and the President continues to hope that war can be averted.

Q So the buildup that we're witnessing now, particularly the departure of the hospital ship Comfort today, is that posturing or is that serious?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think the President has been very serious. And hopefully, Saddam Hussein will get the message that the world community, through the United Nations, has called on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and as the President said, he will either disarm or the United States will lead a coalition to disarm him. That's a serious message. It's not a bluff. And perhaps as a result of it being such a serious message, Saddam Hussein will indeed get that message and disarm peacefully.

- - - - - -

Pfft! They already KNEW since 2002 their PLAN for military action was a GO! They knew they'd be fixing the facts to make it SEEM as if Saddam had not disarmed! They'd EVEN publically said so, previously.

- - - - - -

"Saddam has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbore. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq." - Colin Powell, Feb 2001.

"We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." - Condoleeza Rice, July 2001.

- - - - - -
These people, I tell ya. They have the nerve to call themselves 'conservative' while they blindly force through the most reckless policy decisons you can imagine. And then LIE to our faces about it the whole time.

I mean how OFFENSIVE is that??????

Well the deal is that, whet... (Below threshold)

Well the deal is that, whether or not the public believed him, Bush said flat out that he was _not_ on a march to war: that "all options were on the table", etc., and the memo directly contradicts those statements. The deal is that, from a logical standpoint, that constitutes a lie; a breach of the public trust.

But this is just one aspect of the issues surrounding this memo, which this adminstration, after repeated redresses, still refuses to comment on.

There remains furthermore that recent intelligence made public in Britian, after the memo's release, suggests that the US began military action that was an integral part of the war plan prior to congressional authorization, namely, US and RAF bombing raids and specific targeting and destruction of Iraqi bases. Sections of the document match up with this recently released intelligence. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,2-523-1632566,00.html

Also, as mentioned above, according to John Bolton's former deputy, Bolton had orhcestrated the firing of the head of an arms-control agency (Jose Bustani) because Bustani was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors into Baghdad. The former deputy told the Associated Press that Mr. Bolton did not want that to happen because it might help defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and thereby undermine a U.S. rationale for war. Bolton had no comment. http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000946569

This also matches up with information in the document, specifically in that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy", and that the US, having no legal basis (substantiated rationale) for the war, had deliberately sought to create the impression of one - again, a violation of the public trust.

McCain wrote: I... (Below threshold)
Tony-man:

McCain wrote:

I don't really see any difference between this memo and what has been said by others. This memo is a British assessment of the situation in Washington. The Brits think the Americans are on a march to war. So? Big freaking deal -- that is the same assessment carried in our own media for months and months preceding the war.

The memo is a crucial to understanding that all the while Bush was telling us he was doing everything he could to avert war, and he'd only do it as a last resort, what was really going on in fact...to quote the memo itself is that: "Military Action was seen as inevitable because Bush wanted to remove Saddam throught military action, justified by terrorism and WMD, but the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

THAT WAS NOT THE ASSESSMENT OF THE MEDIA IN 2002. NOWHERE IN THE MEDIA DID THEY SAY..."War is a policy decision! It's inevitable! We will fix the intelligence and facts around our policy decision!"

When you do something...I mean anything...do you make your decision FIRST, and then intentionally manipulate the facts later to justify your decision?

Or do you do the opposite... examine the actual facts first, and then make your decision later, based upon what the actual facts tell you?

If you are wise, you do the latter. Yet Bush did the former... knowingly... and he lied about it the whole time.

If my boss ran his buisness like that I'd QUIT! Because you know that's not the way to operate a business, it's a plan for bankruptcy and disaster! So that's not the sort of American leader I could respect, either.

"This passage needs some cl... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"This passage needs some clarification. Maybe Rycroft or Dearlove could elaborate; by “fixed around” did they mean that intelligence was being falsified or that intelligence and information were being gathered to support the policy? There is nothing wrong with the latter — it is the purpose of the intelligence community to provide the information decision-makers need, and the marshal their resources accordingly."

I'd say Robbins passage needs a little more claification as well. Someone please tell me in what world it is appropriate to decide a course of action and THEN to go out and find the information that supports that course of action? The prupose of the intelligence community is to provide information so that the decisions-makers can make decisions BASED ON the information provided. It is not the purpose of the intelligence community to provide cover, however, dubious, for decisions already made.

Let's say you wanted to do something, say, build a house on a parcel of land at the edge of steep hill. At the outset, you decide that you don't want to build on the flat part but that you want to build on the side of the hill. Now, having decided FIRST to build the house on the side of the hill, you go about gathering up all the geological and engineering information that supports that decision. Then low and behold the hillside collapses and your left standing in a pile of rubble wishing you done your due dilligence to find other opinons and assessments. Because, as it turns out, your engineer was named Curveball and he was telling you everything he knew you wanted to hear because he and his pals had an agenda all their own. You see what happens when you decide on a plan and then gather information and facts around it you begin with an automatic filter on that colors and slants everything you see. Not only is this a bad way to do research (as any historian or highschool freshman can tell you) it makes you vulnerable to those who would manipulate you. Once they know what you want to hear, all they have to do is tell it to you. Of course if something slips thorugh, why just ignore it, becuase it doesn't "support plan." Afterall, that should be the basis for valuing intelligence information right? Whether or not it supports the plan?

Hell, Bush didn't have to manipulate intelligence, he didn't have "to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments" in any ways whatsoever. He just had to ignore what he didn't want to hear.

Which is clearly the case because once the UN inspectors were back in and they started coming up with zero he yanked them out and started his war. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Fanfuckingtastic.

The rest of Robbins piece is the same clap trap Kevin;s been trying to sell for weeks, from suddently deciding that the head of the MI-6 is just some easily excited dimwit who suggests majors decisions be made on the basis of hearsay to arguing that, well, everyone knew we were going to war anyway (even though the president himself said otherwise) or that well we would have found a good reason to go war sooner or later. Please. What a crock.

Nice try Mr Robbins,... (Below threshold)
gordon:

Nice try Mr Robbins,
but taking three paragraphs to say "black is actually white" must have kept you up all night.
"But the intelligence and plans were being fixed around the policy." His attempt to explain this rather blunt statement borders on absolute lunacy.
In fact DSM lends alot more credence to all those stories we heard about OSP, Office of Special Plans that Cheney was hiding away in the bowels of the Pentagon.

There is a lot of work to d... (Below threshold)
tom:

There is a lot of work to do here to bring the falsifications of the Bush administration to light. And it has to happen in the Senate with hearings. It will be interesting to see who steps up.

That said, any argument that suggests Bush and Co. did not "fix" the intelligence must also conceed that officials high up in the administration are incompetent.

Take the alluminum tubes claim. Cheney told us on national televisiion that these tubes were "unequivocal" evidence that Sadaam was "reconstituting his WMD program". Yet numerous people in the administration from Energy Dept. officials to CIA types to foreign intelligence organizationos had been engaged in a heated debate over what these weapons could be used for.

Either Cheney new abou this debate and fabricated or didn't know about the debate, making him incompetent.

Many of seem to over look t... (Below threshold)
wilky:

Many of seem to over look that one paragraph that talks about Saddam using Wmd on the first day, or on Isreal or Kuwait. In your minds that is something that Saddam didn't have.

And a question, when do you think he should have started plans to go to war? I didn't say when should we go. Its two different things.

I have got more left over y... (Below threshold)
gordon:

I have got more left over yellow cake from my daughter's birthday party than Saddam ever did.
Wasn't yellow cake debunked long before Bush used it in SOTU address? Yet more evidence that the admin would use whatever means necessary to push for war.

We need to be taking the of... (Below threshold)
minnie:

We need to be taking the offensive, not driveling out weasel words like Klinton would do. That was just embarassing -- pathetic attempts like this trying to explain away this so-called 'Downing Street Memo' are obviously not going to work. The wording is just too damning. We have to get out in front of this like we did with Rathergate.

Wisely, Rove has had Bush say absolutely nothing, confirm or deny, so we still have plenty of room to maneuver.

I bet if we dig we can find some mistress or gay chat line in this turncoat Dearlove's past, which should discredit the whole thing.

More importantly, I've already started researching the fonts and kerning involved for any leads.

I figure we can link Communist traitor George Galloway (also from the UK!) and his visit to grandstand in the US Congress to the exact same week the MSM 'discovered' the DSM.

And we can always fall back on the 'Kerry voted to authorize the war' spin, that worked pretty well before the election.

Wisely, Rove has had Bush s... (Below threshold)
gordon:

Wisely, Rove has had Bush say absolutely nothing, confirm or deny, so we still have plenty of room to maneuver.

This is not a damning indictment on Rove or Bush but on the MSM.
They have refused to cover this simply because they're scared to ask any hardball questions. In many democratic countries the President would have already been compelled to comment on this, the press would never have let him off. Sad, sad, sad.

Gee..........look at all th... (Below threshold)
sues:

Gee..........look at all the liberals out spewing their trash.

Do you suppose ANY of them read the full article by Robbins before trying to "educate" us?

The only thing they mostly commented on was the "fixing of facts". Oh and their definition of "lie".

Gordon,Do you ever... (Below threshold)
sues:

Gordon,

Do you ever think that the reason the MSM doesn't carry this story to your satisfaction, or the Gannon/Guckert story or any number of stories is because it is just more liberal conspiracy theories, and not real news?

I guess even the MSM has some standards when it comes to the most outlandish of the conspiracy theories.

This post misses the point ... (Below threshold)

This post misses the point of the revelation. The issue is not one of "timing", whatever that means. This issue is that Bush told the American people in the days leading up to the war that he was still making an effort to avoid war. If the policy to that time was to "fix" the intelligence around the war, and the decision to go to war had already been made, then that is a lie. Those who think the war was worth it(for which the numbers decrease steadily)might consider that a white lie, but I think most people would consider that a lie of some significance.

Additionally, I think most reasonable people would say there is a considerable difference between reguarly but relatively minor bombing, and a full-on invasion of another country. Enforcing the no-fly zone is not the same as an actual war.

Suesi consider the g... (Below threshold)
gordon:

Sues
i consider the greatest faux pas of American foreign policy in my lifetime real news. I consider the lives of those dear boys and girls fighting over there real news. If they went to war based on lies and sacrificed their lives Bush is going to have hell to pay.

On a purely linguistic note... (Below threshold)
Russ:

On a purely linguistic note, I (like James Robbins, in the article linked by Kevin) have to wonder about the use of the word "fixed" in the sentence "But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Would a Brit use "fixed" in a sense that means what it might mean to an American - that is, roughly the same as "repaired"? It seems to me that word and therefore that impossible-to-interpret sentence is the cause of all the hullabaloo.

The very first time I saw that sentence, I read it to mean "established" -- but that may be due to my past in the radio direction finding business, where "to fix" means "to establish a location," or just "to locate."

What's that old quote... "two nations divided by a common language," I think.

Mr. Wolf, Bush may very wel... (Below threshold)
wilky:

Mr. Wolf, Bush may very well had been making every effort to avoid war. Still a prudent move would be to get "all the ducks in a row". It is much easier to call off the war than it is to have your bluff called and you got nothing.

Play cards? Your invited to our game any time.

Russ --The meaning... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Russ --

The meaning of the verb fix is practically irrelevant despite the fact that the unsavory meaning of the word is in common usage in Britain. Take for instance this 1999 headline from The Guardian: "There's no need to vote, the fix is in" http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,288491,00.htm

Based on my experience as a journalist, headline writers tend not to use arcane or uncommon words and phrases to put in their headlines.

At any rate, the meaning of the verb isn't the only thing supporting the reading of the sentence you are disputing. As written, the sentence asserts a sense order of events that means the policy came before the intelligence. If Dearlove meant to report something else he would have said that "The policy was being fixed around the intelligence." See the meaning of the verb is pretty much the same but the sentence is less scandalous because the sense order of the nouns (and in this example the actual order) is reversed. Try replacing fixed in the original sentence with other verbs and you'll see it doesn't change the sense order of the nouns, that the policy came before the intelligence. Of course to Robbins, that isn't a big deal. Go figure.

So George Bush was bound an... (Below threshold)

So George Bush was bound and determined to take out Saddam Hussein, and finish the job we should have finished in 1991 . . .

And I should be upset about this . . . why, exactly?

This whole nonsense is like... (Below threshold)
McCain:

This whole nonsense is like backseat drivers complaining that we should have had 6,000 ships at d-day instead of 5,000, and attacked a day earlier. It is, as it always is, the liberals' preoccupation with process over substance, while contorts themselves into amazingly nuanced knots. The successful persecution of the war in Iraq is good for the middle-east and good for humanity. The rights of man are shining brightly. And some here want to quibble about who knew what and when and where and why, as if that really matters.

For those of you lacking mo... (Below threshold)

For those of you lacking moral clarity, lying is wrong.

For those of you lacking knowledge of constitutional law, it's an impeachable offense.

For those of you lacking understanding of the implications and ramifications of a governed populace tolerating willful deception from the executive branch of their goverment, think about it.

Hmmmm.American: "f... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

American: "fix" = change

British: "fix" = place

YAWN.

Hmmm."Would a Brit... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"Would a Brit use "fixed" in a sense that means what it might mean to an American"

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=affix

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=fix

"fix" is a shortened form of "affix".

And yeah this discussion bores the hell out of me. This has all been hashed out repeatedly on just about every other blog.

FIX is the same in Britain ... (Below threshold)
gordon:

FIX is the same in Britain as it is here. No spin here. It's like "lie". That's the same too.

Fixed. As in, put in place ... (Below threshold)
Wendigo:

Fixed. As in, put in place around. What, that's not clear? Policy established before the information it's allegedly based on. The meaning of that sentence is DAMNED OBVIOUS, unless you're dissembling or illiterate.

Spewing trash? Pft. Ad hominem will get you nowhere. Why isn't logic a bit more common in these "arguments"?

I'm interested in the links of hearsay this memo gains every time it's reviewed. Do you guys really think that's the way the English government does business? Passing on "information" from a friend of a friend of a friend or a friend who read it in the New York Times? Right.

And it's doubtful, though Robbins suggests this, that Oil For Food could have been used as a justification for war. A justification for discontinuing Oil for Food, certainly.

This is also a bit sketchy:

Maybe Rycroft or Dearlove could elaborate; by “fixed around” did they mean that intelligence was being falsified or that intelligence and information were being gathered to support the policy? There is nothing wrong with the latter — it is the purpose of the intelligence community to provide the information decision-makers need, and the marshal their resources accordingly.

Cough. If information that reads the other way is disregarded, then there is indeed something wrong with that approach. Or if information that reads the way you want it to that isn't reliable is relied on, say.

Like that Nigeria thing that we passed the buck on.

And the allegations that the president had already decided to go to war and was thus deceiving the American people are personal opinions based on unsubstantiated impressions from unnamed sources.

Or on PNAC's website, for some of us. But I guess the Secretary of Defense writing letters to a former president asking for war isn't sufficient justification for assuming this war was a foregone conclusion?

Oh, wait, in the memo. Because every link in the British intelligence chain is apparently retarded?

One can be intellectually h... (Below threshold)

One can be intellectually honest and literate and still see that 'fixed' means 'affixed' and not something like 'the fix is in', which, honestly would sound rather out of place in this memo.

You are simply reading into this memo what you want to see, and frankly only the fringe leftists seem to think this is any kind of smoking gun.

I fail to see why Bush deciding that the war was a 'foregone conclusion' is in any way controversial. The only way it was not going to be a foregone conclusion is if Saddam Hussein jumped out of character and suddenly started displaying any kind of good faith about inspections, sanctions, overflights, or a myriad of other issues, which of course never happened.

Some of you may want to go ... (Below threshold)
Michael L.:

Some of you may want to go back and check minnie’s comment. It’s fascinating.

She starts off by saying:

“We need to be taking the offensive, not driveling out weasel words like Klinton would do.”

This is interesting for several reasons. First, while the anti-war people tend to argue that the war is immoral, unjust, counterproductive, and based on lies, minnie is concerned strictly about spin.

She has no concern, based on what she has written, for what is best for the American people.

Well meaning people can disagree about this war, but minnie is not concerned about what is right. Only about what is effective for her "team."

Also, the usage of “Klinton” marks her as truly a member of the Crazy Right. She uses Klinton the way that the Yippies used to call the US “Amerika.” It connotates fascism.

She goes on too suggest that:

“The wording (of the Downing Street Minutes) is just too damning. We have to get out in front of this like we did with Rathergate.”

Here she is groping towards a strategy. Again, she is not interested in what is right or what is true. It’s all about spin. (And, of course, we know that Rather’s story was correct. Bush was passed into a “champagne unit” in order to avoid combat.)

Here’s the kicker, tho:

“I bet if we dig we can find some mistress or gay chat line in this turncoat Dearlove's past, which should discredit the whole thing.

More importantly, I've already started researching the fonts and kerning involved for any leads.
I figure we can link Communist traitor George Galloway (also from the UK!) and his visit to grandstand in the US Congress to the exact same week the MSM 'discovered' the DSM.

And we can always fall back on the 'Kerry voted to authorize the war' spin, that worked pretty well before the election.”

So, minnie advocates smearing people to distract the story.

She has no concern for the truth.

She has no concern for what is right.

And she represents everything that is loathsome about politics in America.

People are dying, after all.

Minnie sounds more like a s... (Below threshold)

Minnie sounds more like a seminar caller than an actual conservative, if you ask me.

"Military patrols of the "N... (Below threshold)
Katz:

"Military patrols of the "No Fly Zones" in Iraq had been ongoing for more than a decade with occasional flare-ups."

This is a particularly fatuous remark. Were it to be an accurate and relevant statement of the status of US/Iraqi relations in 2002, then the Bush clique's flubbed efforts to achieve a Security Council vote for war on Iraq would have been unnecessary.

Either this assertion is entirely self-serving spin with no truth value at all, or the Bush clique is deeply incompetent.

I wholeheartedly supported ... (Below threshold)
M Paulding:

I wholeheartedly supported the operation in Afghanistan, but Iraq was another matter. It smelled from the outset.

Experts, such as Generals Shinseki and Powell, tried to warn the neo-cons, but they would have none of it. They are now squandering the finest army ever created.

You so-called conservatives can play word games until the cows come home, but there's one fact you can't escape: polls show that the American people are turning against Bush and the Iraq War. Talk your way out of that.

As to Robbins' article, I read it twice and it's still smells like a pile of crap to me.

As for Powell, I once hoped to have the opportunity to vote for the guy. He sold out, and I wouldn't give him the time of day.

I read Robbins' screed twic... (Below threshold)
M Paulding:

I read Robbins' screed twice, and it still smells like a pile of crap to me. It's not worthy of any further comment.

Shinseki and Powell warned Bush. Now, the polls show the American people are turning against him and his war.

Bush and the neo-con crowd squandered the finest army ever created. Now, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton, and the rest of the armchair warriors are moving on to bigger and better things. And the army will be left in Iraq for years, maybe ten, trying to put the place back together again. I didn't say that, by the way, neo-con guru Kristol said that at a conference in Israel a few months ago.

You are simply readin... (Below threshold)
Wendigo:

You are simply reading into this memo what you want to see, and frankly only the fringe leftists seem to think this is any kind of smoking gun.

Bolded portion is exceedingly ironic.

Hussein didn't start this war, Bush did. The question is and has to be whether he was justified in going to war on Hussein's regime, not whether Hussein was an evil son of a bitch.

And the deep affronts to international law aren't so deep that war was inevitable in 2003.

Or in 1998. They were pretty deep in 1988, but we were still sweeping things under the rug for Hussein at the time.

Minnie is a troll, don't fe... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

Minnie is a troll, don't feed it.

I want to come back to two ... (Below threshold)
Tony-man:

I want to come back to two things AM I A PUNDIT NOW wrote which I think deserve a response and clarification.

He didn't get why the war being a 'foregone conclusion' way in any way controversial.

It is because all the while the President was saying his decision was NOT final, in fact it was final. What is that other than an outright lie?

There's a difference between telling people you're preparing IF a pre-emptive war needs to happen, and deciding you're going to FORCE it to happen no matter what anyone says!

AM I A PUNDIT NOW, also wrote: So George Bush was bound and determined to take out Saddam Hussein, and finish the job we should have finished in 1991. And I should be upset about this . . . why, exactly?

Because the president knew he couldn't go against the will of the people. Who wanted to go to war with iraq while Bin Laden was still running free? So he had to manufacture an urgent crisis to trick the people into thinking mushroom clouds were coming if we didn't act NOW! In other words, he expolited fear.

We used to have presidents who told us we had nothing to fear but fear itself. Now we have presidents who expolit fear to get what they want.

Bush couldn't go before the American people...especially conservatives, and just bluntly say what we really wanted. He couldn't go on TV and scream..."I INSIST WE GO TO WAR NOW TO FINISH THE JOB MY FATHER DIDN'T IN IRAQ! IT DOESN'T MATTER IF MY FATHER MADE SADDAM IMPOTENT AND HE'S CONTAINED. IT DOESN'T MATTER IF THE SANCTIONS HE IMPOSED ARE WORKING. I DON'T CARE IF IRAQ IS DISARMED. IF I CLAIM SADDAM HAS WMD IT IS ONLY A SMOKESCREEN ANYWAY. MY CLAIMS OF WMD ARE JUST A PRE-TEXT FOR A DECISION I'VE ALREADY MADE REGARDLESS OF THE FACTS. THE FACTS DON'T MATTER BECAUSE I STILL INSISNT ON WAR IRREGARDLESS! BUT YOU STUPID AMERICANS WON'T LET ME START MY WAR UNLESS YOU THINK SADDAM IS ON THE VERGE OF NUKING YOU. SO I'M WILLING TO LIE TO YOU, AND FRIGHTEN, YOU AND SACRIFICE OUR MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN. I WILL DO AND SAY ANYTHING TO FORCE THIS WAR. THIS DECISION IS FINAL.

Now, Bush couldn't very well say THAT now could he? So he had to act to our faces as if the war was a 'last resort' and not 'his first choice.'

There's big difference between a 'last resort' and a 'foregone conclusion.' There's a HUGE difference between 'all options on the table' and 'inevitable.'

We elect a president who acts on our behalf. We don't elect a dictator who insists we submissivly capitulate to his iron-will. He's supposed to represent what we want not what he wants. He knows it too, so he had to trick us into wanting what he wants. He generated motivation. He made it seem like an urgent crisis was underway and we needed to act fast. How do you feel knowing that it was an intentionally manufactured crisis?

AM I A PUNDIT NOW wrote: The only way it was not going to be a foregone conclusion is if Saddam suddenly started displaying any kind of good faith about inspections, sanctions, overflights, etc., which of course never happened.

My comment about that is the expert inpectors disagreed with you. Hans Blix said Saddam had previously been uncooperative, but once the threat of war was real to him allowed the inspectors unfettered access. So the THREAT was all we needed to do to be safe. We didn't need the war to be safe. And with nearly two thousand military dead, and many more thousand military wounded, going through with the war made everything less-safe for the dead and wounded.

Don't forget that Blix reported they couldn't find anything, and asked for more time on the ground in Iraq to be sure. Blix said he suspected the WMD were ALL USED UP (you know, at one point Saddam had been using them daily) or destroyed in the 1st war.

Now a wise man would defer to the experts, wipe the sweat from his brow and say..."Whew, I'm glad we didn't need to sacrifice any American lives on this...especially with Bin Laden still running wild, and Afghanistan unfinished." But instead Bush acted like a baby deprived of candy!

Bush declared the experts didn't know how to to their jobs, that HE knew better than the experts, and Saddam was hiding the WMD from these stupid people who can't do their jobs, and he ordered them inspectors to get out, so he could proceed with the bombing.

Why? Because he'd already made the decision to go to war whether or not it was necessary. THAT'S WHY! And why should you care? Because the war wasn't necesssary, that's why!

"Conservative" used to mean...ahem... you conserve! You hold back! You proceed with caution. Before you go to war you make sure it's necessary.

You know, even during WWII, conservatives didn't want to be involved in 'Eurpoe's war.' They stopped FDR from getting entering WWII even as Eurpoe was being ovverun! The reasoning was if the USA wasn't directly attacked, our involvement wasn't necessary. It was only Pearl Harbor that changed everything. Poland's invasion, Hungary's invasion, France's invasion, Russia's inavsion, none of that convinced conservatives that we needed to go to war. Because they were...Ta -da da DAH!..."conservative!"

Conservatives need a "Pearl Harbor" to act, and so Bush transformed 9/11 into that Pearl Harbor. It have have been a justification for destroying Bin Laden (which STILL isn't done) but it's not an opportunity to exploit fear to push unecessary wars.

But Bush isn't conservative anyway...he's 'neo-con.' Which I guess means Bush is actually generously Liberal about 'expendible' American lives.

To me, those kids over there are noble heros but to Bush they're cannon fodder. They're tools to use for his baby fit-like whims.

We do not tolerate it, as patriots.

This is from Robbins' NRO ... (Below threshold)
Maargen:

This is from Robbins' NRO article:

"The WMD approach worked exactly as intended. The Downing Street Memo is a very good analytical piece, and demonstrates a sound understanding of Saddam’s emotional state and probable future moves. The cabinet discusses presenting Saddam with an ultimatum to let the U.N. inspectors back in, knowing that this would either settle the question, or lead to recalcitrance and defiance on Saddam’s part, creating circumstances justifying intervention. As a strategic analysis, it is spot on, and it formed the road map for the eventual lead-up to war. Of course Saddam could have simply cooperated with the U.N. and denied the Coalition any pretext for intervening; was it the Coalition’s fault that he reverted to type and disregarded the U.N. resolution?"

What's really odd about this is that Robbins states that Saddam's cooperation with the U.N. would have denied the "Coalition" any pretext for intervening. True. The problem is Saddam DID cooperate.

What exactly does Robbins mean by "disregarded the U.N. resolution"??

U.N. inspectors where in Iraq from November of 2002 until Bush announced the war in March 2003.

From Hans Blix's Security Council update, January 2003:
"It has regard to the procedures, mechanisms, infrastructure and practical arrangements to pursue inspections and seek verifiable disarmament. While inspection is not built on the premise of confidence but may lead to confidence if it is successful, there must nevertheless be a measure of mutual confidence from the very beginning in running the operation of inspection.

Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt. We have further had great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul. Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good. The environment has been workable.

Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas day and New Years day. These inspections have been conducted in the same manner as all other inspections. We seek to be both effective and correct.
-snip-
In the past two months, UNMOVIC has built-up its capabilities in Iraq from nothing to 260 staff members from 60 countries. This includes approximately 100 UNMOVIC inspectors, 60 air operations staff, as well as security personnel, communications, translation and interpretation staff, medical support, and other services at our Baghdad office and Mosul field office. All serve the United Nations and report to no one else. Furthermore, our roster of inspectors will continue to grow as our training programme continues — even at this moment we have a training course in session in Vienna. At the end of that course, we shall have a roster of about 350 qualified experts from which to draw inspectors."

Does Robbins not know this? Or does he just have the same disregard for truth and lack of integrity as the administration he so desperately wants to excuse?

It was precisely because Bush was bent on war that we went to war with "the army [we] have". After over 3 months of inspectors not finding WMD, Bush couldn't afford to have Saddam declared disarmed by the U.N. He had to get his war in before the inspectors could finish their job peacefully.

Bush, his administration, and their apologists have a lot of lives to answer for.


Hmmmm"Intelligence... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Hmmmm

"Intelligence and facts are being affixed to the policy."

Interesting. This sentence still means that the policy came first then the intelligence and facts were gathered up afterwards. In plain English: "Let's have a war, now go out and affix some bells and whistles to the policy."

Again, if the British meant something else they would have written it another way, that is: "The policy is being fixed/affixed/set in stone/put into place/fastened/glued/nailed/disassembled around the intelligence and facts."

It's tough when you have to try to take down a whole language to be right, but hey, keep at it guys. One day you will triumph over your arch-enemies meaning and truth.

Oh, and Ed: fix and fishticks don't mean the same thing either. What's your point?

Are you one of those who be... (Below threshold)
Eagle:

Are you one of those who believe that the Downing Street minutes mean nothing, that the Brits are a questionable source, and that the "leftish conspiracists" have gone haywire with this whole issue? Then surely you would wholeheartedly endorse a full non-partisan, independent investigation to put this thing to bed, right? Has this happened? No. So far, the White House has only said that they disagree with statements "made about" these official top-secret minutes, but never discredited the facts contained within them. That's some fancy political dancing if ever I saw it.

If your son or daughter or friend or neighbor was killed in the line of duty, and then found out that this might not be a war of "last resort" as claimed by your president, but one of "political convienience" and greed, wouldn't you want to get to the bottom of this? Shouldn't someone be held responsible for their death? Or, should we just let it slide by and wait for your next child to be killed in yet another illegal war?

"full non-partisan, indepen... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

"full non-partisan, independent investigation "...

If you think there is such a thing then you are insane. Not in this climate, not with this issue, not in your lifetime.

Want to know the truth? Th... (Below threshold)
fool on the swill:

Want to know the truth? The cognitive disconnect in our culture won't allow it. If there is time left to sort things out, it would be a better waste of time for all in the political spectrum to do some homework on just how long the curtain has been pulled, rather than revel in the cleverer than thou my candidate has it going on over your lying sack o'manure claptrap that passes for informed debate on both sides of the argument. Wake up left and right. There is no government. There is only distraction.

If the war in Iraq has flogged any dead horse, it is that the invasion was about anything but the constantly changing reasons presented to the sheople. If the fact that all commercial media is owned by six people flogged any dead horse, it is that you will get nothing resembling information out of them; and it is neither liberal or conservative in bias, it is a press of the elite and they hold neither philosophy in high regard.

For any who think that their respective party affiliation will secure their respective interests, you need stop living in lala land and do something to educate yourselves. What we now have is no less dangerous and viciously bent on it's own agenda, which has little if anything to do with its public presence, than any of the systems that we came through history deriding. Sorry to spoil your fun persons, but take your pick, fascism / communism / socialism / capitalism etc., are all constructs with identical goals: distraction.

So what are they trying to hide? UFO's? New World Orders? Utopian Ideals? Illuminati? Get a grip. Francis Fukuyama had one thing right, history is dead. Unfortunately he got the century and social structure wrong. Ever get the feeling in your gut that no matter how old you are or how good a job you get, that things really are no different than the High School scene chock full of bickering and pettiness you so looked forward to leaving behind?

As long as each of us continues to allow the re-fabrication of the mendacity that has defined all of civilization's history, and probably a goodly part of what we were between barely upright and there, the conversation will look pretty much as it does here and elsewhere. Sad really. For all our inflated self importance garnered through the advances of technology, not to mention the point in history where understanding our situation should be the easiest to achieve, we still fall lock step into the lullaby.

You know of what I speak. You feel it in your every waking moment. It intrudes on your shuffle to the coffee. It casts shadows across your livelihood, and the trappings of material obligations. It permeates even the incredible din of infotainment. So do yourselves a favor, break the stupor of the herd animals you have been bred and conditioned to be, and start living up to the potential of the gray matter that was put between your temples.

Who knows, you might like what you've been missing!

-da fool

wow you americans are stupi... (Below threshold)
Bill Stevenson:

wow you americans are stupid.
no matter what the evidence, you'll have these right wing freaks explain away verifyable facts, and you'll believe it.

where are the weapons? why isn't oil from iraq paying for this war? why does everyone in the rest of the world hate you?

just keep waving your flags and driving your hummers. that'll make you feel better.

All this crap is nothing ne... (Below threshold)
whocares:

All this crap is nothing new for this prick of a president. It's the Bush administration's policy to fix the facts around their desired outcome for pretty much everything. For the last two elections, Bush has made it apparent that he wants to be president, and all of you lucky repubs who had the luxury of not having to wait hours in line, having your car ticketed and towed, etc.. were happy at how Georgiepoo weasled his way into a guaranteed win. When GW needed to allow a little cake and sodomy to back up his millitary might, you guys lauded good ole Alberto Gonzales to weasle some way to get it done disregarding all else. No child left behind? Pay people to produce propoganda instead of debate. You guys love it. Environmental and economic issues, give said faux investigation agencey to produce the #'s and info they want or else. Swell. Why can't you people come clean that you love this self-destructive behaviour just as much as you love booze, MTV, and T and A? You guys lowered the bar when first off, making it an issue that Clinton was getting some loving on the side and attacking Democrats for using the fillibuster that repubs sure did wave like an American flag was pres, and you completely destroyed whatever facade of moral values we had by starting an unjust war and adding insult to injury by being indiscriminate in who we allowed to perform torure and who we tortured. Say what you want about the MSM and how liberals are scum muckering traitors, but compared to how fucked up you have been with liberals, it's no surprise to me that liberals are now attacking your hypocritical sex lives and reasons to go to war and all that jazz.

The authors contributing to... (Below threshold)
Jason:

The authors contributing to this site are layering lies over lies with a frightfuly deft hand. Remember, by covering for criminals one becomes complicit in the crime, and therefore, also guilty. And what an insult to the American People! Do you think we are all that dumb?

Wow, whocares, admit it, yo... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

Wow, whocares, admit it, you typed all that up without taking a single breath, didn't you? But, you forgot to mention the Evil Trilogy of the ranting drooling moonbats: Enron, Cheney, and Haliburton.

You did it for me so I don'... (Below threshold)

You did it for me so I don't have to moron.

Oops, I changed my name, so... (Below threshold)
whocares:

Oops, I changed my name, so that none of you a-holes should have the benefit of checking out my site, I guess I should pay more attention next time before posting.

Wow, the moonbats really ca... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Wow, the moonbats really came out for this thread!!!! I don't think I've ever read more intellectually dishonest tripe in my life.

People, Bush won, more people voted for him. There was no fraud, the fix wasn't in. I'd get into all the BS you guys are typing here, but it's just not worth the effort. But keep it up, you wear that moonbat label well!

I got news for you - Presid... (Below threshold)

I got news for you - President Bush did not need to hold a plebisicite to decide to go to war. He did not need to go to the American people to ask for permission.

Nor did he need to go to Congress to get a vote for war. We didn't need one to fight in Korea, we didn't need on to fight in Vietnam.

So all this talk about how it was a 'forgone conclusion' just means nothing.

And unless you can somehow read George Bush's mind, you cannot say that he was going to have this war no matter what. Again, if Saddam Hussein had suddenly allowed unfettered access (and he did not, Blix is a blithering idiot and thought that only have two minders per inspector was 'progress') or had released his WMD programs as Libya did, the war would not have happened.

So unless you are some kind of mind reader, this argument utterly fails.

Aside from the assidious na... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Aside from the assidious name calling, America bashing and otherwise juvenile liberal taunts, at least one liberal (Maargen) attempts to make a valid argument by quoting actual material, though the Blix reports he cites often talk more of logistics and operations versus verifying weapons stockpiles. Oh sure, Hussein's regime was cooperating with set-up and so on (why wouldn't they?), but the actual accounting for of weapons was proving to be a far more burdensome task as Blix himself said on March 7, 2003:

On Interviewing subjects:

"In the last month, Iraq has provided us with names of many persons who may be relevant sources of information, in particular persons who took part in various places of the unilateral destruction of biological and chemical weapons and proscribed missiles in 1991.

This provision of names prompts two reflections. The first is that with such detailed information existing regarding those who took part in the unilateral destruction, surely there must also remain records regarding the quantities and other data concerning the various items destroyed.

The second reflection is that, with relevant witnesses available, it becomes even more important to be able to conduct interviews in modes and locations which allow us to be confident that the testimony given is given without outside influence.

While the Iraqi side seems to have encouraged interviewees not to request the presence of Iraqi officials, local minders or the taping of the interviews, conditions ensuring the absence of undue influences are difficult to attain inside Iraq. Interviews outside the country might provide such assurance. It is our intention to request such interviews shortly."

Even with the Al Samoud missles, Iraq was already clearly in violation of Resolution 1441. Not to mention, Resolution 467, Iraq's original ceasefire agreement.

More Blix:

"One can hardly avoid the impression that after a period of somewhat reluctant cooperation, there's been an acceleration of initiatives from the Iraqi side since the end of January. This is welcome. But the value of these measures must be soberly judged by how many question marks they actually succeed in straightening out.

This is not yet clear.

Against this background, the question is now asked whether Iraq has cooperated, "immediately, unconditionally and actively," with UNMOVIC, as is required under Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1441. The answers can be seen from the factor descriptions that I have provided."....

And here, Blix goes on a fence-sitting venture, neither totally agreeing or totally denying Iraq's cooperation with inspections and verifying weapons. Not untypical of Blix, by any means.

Morever, the United States and our allies were provided the authority under international law (UN Resoltion 467) to force Iraq to cooperate, which it failed to do on countless and repeated times. Hence, all the "bomb and run" military actions during the 90s under the Clinton Administration.

I think a lot of folks are just plain old mad that GW said "that's enough of this nonsense "bomb and run" policy, particularly after 9/11." In short, it was a failed international policy from the get-go; GW had the smarts, daring and wherewithall to correct it.

Oh, and "fixed around a pol... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Oh, and "fixed around a policy"? Anybody with any working sense of politics knows this to mean that facts are being gathered to support a policy. A not unheard of policy by any stretch of the imagination.

Oh, one last thing: I guess this refutes the notion that Bush and Blair "didn't have a plan" when it came to this war. Feckless critics.

I find it revolting how eas... (Below threshold)
tmcmains:

I find it revolting how easily some people are willing to send our men and women to war -- and an unjustified one at that (I have no qualms with Afghanistan). Perhaps you or your loved ones should try paying for this war with THEIR lives.
Nah, just smack a ribbon magnet on your SUV and you're good to go.

Reply to AM I A PUNDIT NOW:... (Below threshold)
Tony-man:

Reply to AM I A PUNDIT NOW:

If you really think Bush did not need to go to the American people to ask for 'permission' then you have no idea how politics works. As I said before, we elect Presidents here, not 'Der Furher.'

You are correct when you say Bush did not need to go to Congress to get a vote for war. So why did he? Didn't you EVER ask yourself that? WHY? Why did Bush go to Congress when he didn't have to? It's because he already knew his war project was unjustified, that's why. He had to get Congress's hands dirty too. So he could forvermore say..."It wasn't just MY decision, the Congress also voted for the war!" BINGO!

Cunning, no?

We won Korea so that "police action" was a moot point to the American people. No one cares about pointing the finger of blame over wars we win. Johnson paid the price for Vietnam, when it was clear we were losing. He did not seek, nor would he accept his party's nomination for a second term. You see? That's what happens to Presidents who screw up. Look at what happened to Nixon. Watergate was directly connected to Vietnam you know. It was always more that G. Gordon Liddy, the whole scam took place to try and prevent the so-called "White House Horror stories" connected to war mishandling from coming out. Do some research into this and you'll see.

So the 'forgone conclusion' indeed means big stuff. If a president intentionally sent men off to die in a war that he knew should've and could've been avoided. What Downing Street sats is Bush KNEW it, but went ahead anyhow.

We don't need to read George Bush's mind to find out. We simply need to see that the stuff layed out in the Downing Street Memo coraborates Woodward's book, and O'Niell's book, which suggested the same conclusion. When multiple evidence all match up, it reveals Bush's intent. Why? Because it fell in line with his policy decisions. So what more to you need? Do you require Bush's verbal confession?

Look, Saddam DID allow unfettered access! Blix said so and BLIX was the one on the ground in Iraq, not BUSH. Blix had the first-hand knowledge, not Bush sitting thousands of miles away over in The White House. So who's the real idiot? How can Bush tell you you don't know how to do your job if he's never done your job? If he isn't even anywhere NEAR where your working?

THERE WAS NO WMD.

Saddam couldn't 'release his WMD programs as Libya did,' because Saddam had NONE to release!
His contained, sanction-ridden country was a joke! That's why we ripped through and demolished it so quickly and Bush stood in front of a Mission Accomplished banner and declared major combat had ended.

And yet more Americans have died in Iraq AFTER Bush declared major combat ended than died during the initial operation. And they continue to die.

So we don't need to be mind readers to put a puzzle together and get the picture.

Tony-man:It was th... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Tony-man:

It was the responsibility of Iraq to prove without doubt and to the ultimate satisfaction of the UN that it had dismantled its WMD programs. Iraq could provide NO evidence to clear itself. The burden of proof rested on Saddam and his merry band of henchmen, not George Bush, Tony Blair, Chirac, Kofi or anyone else. And Saddam couldn't do it.

Furthermore, we could not possibly have known about Saddam's deception program without removing the barriers (i.e., the Iraq Intelligence Service and their influence over Iraqi scientists) to the information necessary to cooroborate Saddam's claims of no WMD. And it's just a flat out lie to say that Iraq gave the UN "unfettered access" to sites when Blix clearly stated (as I cited earlier) that Iraq had not. (It also appears in other Blix reports as well. More importantly, Blix was regarding by most politicos and intelligence folks to be rather incompetent. Duelfer should have been the man from the beginning.)

But to say "if I had known then what I know now" is simply preposterous. There's nothing even close to suggesting Hussein had satisfactorily dismantled his weapons programs. It's like saying Socrates should have known the world was round. There was just no evidence to support it.

Bush went to Congress becau... (Below threshold)

Bush went to Congress because he knew the war was unjustified??

Huh??

That is one of the oddest claims I have ever heard.

Look, to believe what you are saying, Bush would have had to have reviewed all the intelligence that came his way, and there was tons of it pointing to a WMD program in Iraq from intelligence services all around the world, and somehow know with divine clarity that it wasn't true.

John Kerry saw this intelligence, and voted for the war. Bill Clinton helped put this intelligence together and stated that removing Saddam was necessary.

And I hate to tell you, but war with Iraq was inevitable in any event. Saddam had two psychotic sons that were going to take over when he died. And what, were we just going to have sanctions and overflights with Iraq from now until eternity?

Face it, you simply didn't like the fact that we went to war, and you are trying to spin and rewrite history to suit your tastes.

You might think the war was unnecessary, but that is nothing more than your preference. Most of American disagreed with you when they voted for Bush.

And yes, the President does not need to consult the american public when he goes to war. It would probably be wise for him to do so, but there is no Constitutional requirement for him to do so. If the american people object, they can vote him out of office.

But guess what? He won election AGAIN.

Why don't you guys just give it a rest? You are not going to get your little inquiry or your dear little impeachment here.

"Oh, one last thing: I gues... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"Oh, one last thing: I guess this refutes the notion that Bush and Blair "didn't have a plan" when it came to this war."

I don't think anyone has ever accussed Bush of not having a war plan. It was the reconstruction plan that they pulled out of their asses after the looting started. Critics then accussed Bush of having no plan for post-invasion Iraq and low and behold what do we see in the British minutes:

" The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

No discussion of the aftermath? I never would have guessed.

'Oh, and "fixed around a po... (Below threshold)
frameone:

'Oh, and "fixed around a policy"? Anybody with any working sense of politics knows this to mean that facts are being gathered to support a policy. A not unheard of policy by any stretch of the imagination."

Not unheard but not exactly a good way to about policy formulation don't you think? Decieding what you want to do then finding all the facts that support your decision? Don't you think one should start with the facts first? I believe it's called objectivity.

Peter wrote:> > ><br... (Below threshold)

Peter wrote:
> > >
It was the responsibility of Iraq to prove without doubt and to the ultimate satisfaction of the UN that it had dismantled its WMD programs. Iraq could provide NO evidence to clear itself. The burden of proof rested on Saddam and his merry band of henchmen, not George Bush, Tony Blair, Chirac, Kofi or anyone else. And Saddam couldn't do it.

Let me ask you this: if someone comes to my house and says, "prove you don't have a gun," and I let them in and they can't find any guns, but they say, "We know you had one ten years ago! Where the hell is it?" And I say, "It's gone, dude. I threw it into the river." And they say, "Prove it or we'll kill you!" Then I'm a dead man.

Look bro -- there is no fucking way Saddam's regime could "prove" they DIDN'T have something. Or did you sleep through sophomore-year logic class in college?

To me, the only justifiable reason to go to war, as we did, would be if we had proof that they DID have WMDs. To follow your logic, the cops should go around shooting anyone they THINK has a gun. I should blow up my neighbors' house because, well, there was a meth lab there five years ago, and even though they did let me check the basement and it's gone, THEY CAN'T PROVE WHERE IT WENT! MAYBE IT'S IN THE ATTIC!

Republicans are so retarded! DO you realize that the cost of this war is far greater than any consequence that could have arisen from the use of WMDs by Iraq against the USA? Do you really think they could have caused as much economic and human damage to this country even if they HAD WMDs and had tried to use them against us, as we have caused by going through with this hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars war???

9/11 was pretty bad but the damage caused by the WTC getting blown up, and the Pentagon getting hit, was NOTHING compared to the economic impact of fighting this preposterous excuse for a war and giving democracy to the last country on earth that it would be easy to give it to or that really wanted it to begin with. I'm sorry but I don't believe so much in the generic "all humans inherently yearn for freedom because God made us that way and it's the USA's job to go out and give it to everybody like Santa Clause" bullshit. Yeah, I can see the merit of peacefully promoting democracy in those countries that really request it of us, and requiring democracy and free practices in countries we give aid to, and I can see the merit in installing democracies in countries that by sheer necessity we are forced to go to war with because they attack us first (like Japan in WWII). However I cannot see the merit of invading hostile nations on false pretences (or at the very least, extremely trumped up and highly questionabe pretenses) and then later trying to justify it as if, hey, the whole time, all along we were just trying to "spread freedom." What a crock of shit!

9/11 happened because we've been doing this shit there for a long time. I mean how did Saddam get all his WMDs in the first place? Didn't we provide them with most of that technology to begin with in the 80s? And now we were like, where are all those WMDs we gave you -- tell us or we'll invade?

If Republicans ever pull their collective heads out of their evil asses long enough not to smell their own shit and think it's someone else's, then maybe we can have 50 years of peace and concentrate on getting crack off the streets of our own country. Concentrate on paying teachers a fair wage like they get in Germany and Japan. Concentrate on getting rid of meth. Concentrate on getting healthcare to all the millions in our own country who lack it (like me!!! and I work a full-time job!!! and make student loan payments!!!). What the hell is wrong with you?

And the worst part is you think you're a bunch of Christians!! LOL! What kind of Christian supports war? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Oh wait and you're anti-abortion, even though abortion isn't mentioned ANYWHERE in the Bible? Sorry don't get me started.

-JSG

So 'spreading freedom' is j... (Below threshold)

So 'spreading freedom' is just an afterthought by the Bush administration?

Why was the whole damn thing called Operation Iraqi Freedom then?

And I am atheist for your information, pro-choice too.

Hate to puncture your assumptions.

Am I A Pundit Now? wrote:<b... (Below threshold)

Am I A Pundit Now? wrote:
> > >
So 'spreading freedom' is just an afterthought by the Bush administration?

Why was the whole damn thing called Operation Iraqi Freedom then?

I mean they justified the war to congress and thru the UN by saying it was about WMDs. If they went and said "Look we want to 'free' the Iraqi people by occupying their country indefinitely and killing 25,000 or more of innocent civilians and 1500+ of our own guys at a cost of $5.8 billion / month," I don't think we would have been so keen on the idea. No, instead they said "Iraq has WMDs and it is an imminent threat" which was TOTAL B.S.

Look I'm all for Iraqi freedom, don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of my own freedoms and I hope others in other places can have that same opportunity. And I realize that this sometimes costs human lives and sometimes comes about due to outside military influences (or inside ones). God knows the Iraqis will have a sweet taste of freedom in their mouths when we finally leave them the hell alone. Then they will discover how crappy a capitalist society based on a pseudo-representative but mainly corporate-run government really is, but probably be glad because it's still better than a brutal dictator.

That said I don't think what we did was the right way to do it. I think it could also have been accomplished through much more graceful and honorable means, much in the same way that the Berlin wall fell and the USSR dissolved. Not that the Cold War was a marching procession of saints. But you just get the impression that Bush wanted to do his daddy proud and go back to Iraq and get ol' Saddam. I'm from Texas, I know how these hunting-and-ranching gool-ol'-boy types think. Taking your high powered rifle out and killing something "to get the job done" and "to do what is necessary" certainly seems attractive. Then there is the get lots of money for my rich oil company friends angle.

Don't try and sit there and tell me there wasn't one big circle-jerk of a bidding war over the lucrative Iraq reconstruction contracts dominated mainly by a company formerly led by Dick Cheney. Please. And the gas pipeline in Afhanistan. And the opium fields too (didn't you know that Skull and Bones [the Yale secret society to which Bush belongs] began as a bunch of yahoos moving opium on the high sees under the Jolly Roger)? Oh it's just a coincidence though!

> > >
And I am atheist for your information, pro-choice too.

Hate to puncture your assumptions.

I'm glad you're pro-choice. You're right, I was over-generalizing about Republicans... I just get so worked up over the actions of this administration and yet how they still retain so much public support.

As for atheism, I was one too for a long time. So why do you support these guys that are wasting so much money on this war while our schools suck, we have high crime rates, our health care system is far less than perfect, meth is spreading everywhere, the average intelligence of a local TV news station director is 75, and we care more about Michael Jackson than the fact that our country is run by a bunch of war criminals?

QQ

In reference to the notion ... (Below threshold)

In reference to the notion that this war was about freedom for the Iraqi's am I the only one on the planet that distinctly remembers that the status of Saddam Hussein as leader of the Iraqi people was the only negotiable issue on the table in the run-up to war? Bush said repeatedly that if Saddam "disarmed", then the US would not invade presumably to allow Hussein to rape and slaughter his people without any interference from the US.

So to be very clear, the status of Saddam Hussein as leader of the Iraqi people was the only negotiable issue on the table in the run up to war. It was not even a secondary reason to invade since Bush said over and over again that Hussein had to disarm to prevent the attack and remain in power.

Freedom for the Iraqi people was never anything more then a side benefit if the invasion were to take place.

Response to: jsgilbert... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Response to: jsgilbert

"Look bro -- there is no fucking way Saddam's regime could "prove" they DIDN'T have something. Or did you sleep through sophomore-year logic class in college?"

No, but I did sleep through my liberal logic class. Seriously, do you even know anything about international agencies verifying weapons programs? It's really quite simple: After its defeat in the first Gulf War, Iraq was required under international law to provide a complete list of weapons—including conventional, CW, BW and nuclear. Yes, much of it was destroyed by UN inspectors, nobody claims it wasn't. However, there were still large, unaccounted for stockpiles of CW and BW on these lists that Iraq claimed it had, yet inspectors could not account for.

Then the inspectors were removed from Iraq by Clinton in November 1998 because Iraq was NOT cooperating to the satisfaction of the UN, the US and the Coalition. Thus, targets in Iraq were bombed in December 1998. Inspectors never returned until December 2002.

In short, a madman was left to his own devices.

I feel like a broken record in saying this, but you bet your bottom dollar Iraq had to prove it didn't have weapons; it's clearly stated in Resolution 1441. Here it is for your reading pleasure:

"Deploring the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991), of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a range greater than one hundred and fifty kilometres, and of all holdings of such weapons, their components and production facilities and locations, as well as all other nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to nuclear-weapons-usable material.."

Iraq never complied to anyone's satisfaction, including the hapless Hans Blix.

Furthermore, indeed Iraq had to provide documentation regarding the destruction of the unaccounted for CW, BW and missles. They could not do this. Their excuse? They didn't document it. Odd, since Iraqis are notorious for their meticulous nature. Nope, just plain old "we don't have them." They wasn't (and shouldn't) be acceptable.

Importantly, using your "prove-you-don't-have-a-gun" example is an argumentative red herring; on the same par with "well, Kim Jong is a bad man, why don't we attack North Korea?" These are patently absurb comparisons and have no place in any real rational or honest discourse.

You also wrote: "...this war is far greater than any consequence that could have arisen from the use of WMDs by Iraq against the USA?" So the potential of millions of people dying, not to mention the economic impact (my rough recollection is well over $100 billion, and that includes bailing out the airline industry which I completely disagree with), not to mention enabling terrorists to openly interact with a nation hostile to its neighbors and the United States is acceptable to you? Now that IS the very definition of retarded.

If you all you can rely on is cheap rhetoric, red herrings, almost zero facts, inaccurate accounts of history and gross generalization (i.e., all Republicans must be Christians), perhaps you should take that open and tolerant mind of yours and attempt to truly educate it.

Key paragraph from Resoluti... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Key paragraph from Resolution 1441. Note the reference to Resolution 687; it's often referred to in 1441. Iraq had been in violation of 687 for nearly 12 years.

"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

          1.       Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq’s failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);.."

And so I'm not accused of a... (Below threshold)
Peter:

And so I'm not accused of avoiding the issue: Sure, we did help out Saddam in the 80s versus our then and still enemy Iran. And yes, we did provide him some knowledge of weaponry. It's therefore logical to say that if we did do this (and we did) then shouldn't WE be the ones to take care of the problem when it gets out of hand, too? You bet it is.

The same can be said for bin Laden. Yes, I would say we have to be careful of our allianaces—I couldn't agree with that more. But it's falicious and also far too easy and conveinent to say "if I had then what I know now" and use that as a basis for an argument or to excuse bin Laden's or Saddam's more recent actions.

That logic simple isn't reasonable, rational and is more morally bankrupt.

P.S. Pardon the typos!... (Below threshold)
Peter:

P.S. Pardon the typos!

Peter, your post was troubl... (Below threshold)
Maargen:

Peter, your post was troubling at first, but then I got the joke - you're spoofing the intellectual dishonesty, sanctimonious posturing and contusions of logic exhibited by many Bush apologists. You really got me there for a second - you caricature was so dead on! Bravo!

Your spoof did include one element that I often encounter in Bushies that I would like to address, though:

"Aside from the assidious name calling, America bashing and otherwise juvenile liberal taunts, at least one liberal (Maargen) attempts to make a valid argument by quoting actual material, though the Blix reports he cites often talk more of logistics and the Blix reports he cites often talk more of logistics and operations versus verifying weapons stockpiles."

Here you refer to me as a liberal. Bushies seem to think that only liberals object to wars of aggression, fiscal irresponsibility, incompetent military planning, expansion of federal government, and huge increases in government spending. This is so untrue - these are issues that Republicans and Conservatives have always been concerned about. What I don't understand is why so many Conservatives and Christians abandon their principles to support George Bush, who betrays all that the flag and that Christ ever stood for.

Read any edition of the American Conservative (raise your hands how many who think this is a liberal magazine?) and you'll see that there are many Conservatives who are able to put country above party. One article, by Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the conservative Cato Institute and a former assistant to President Reagan, is titled "the Pinocchio Presidency" and says:

"The Bush administration lied America into war, and the damage to our credibility will be long-lasting and grave. Admitting the truth would help repair the harm." (The American Conservative, April 2004)

Bushies' automatic assumption that criticism of George Bush equals liberalism is so simplistic.

The argument that "we didn't know then what we know now "is based either on ignorance or dishonesty, since we DID know in 1983 that Saddam was using chemical weapons in Iraq. When the UN Security Council wrote a statement condemning this, the U.S. was the ONLY nation that refused to sign (maybe because Rumsfeld and friends were the ones selling the stuff to Iraq to begin with).

To say that we're justified since Saddam killed Iraqis is to suppose that Iraqis prefer to be killed by Americans than by Saddam, a contention which I find absurd.

Besides, is it our job now to police the world? Not according to someone the Bushies seem to respect:
"I don't want to try to put our troops in all places at all times. I don't want to be the world's policeman, I want to be the world's peacemaker ...."
--George Bush, October 3, 2000
The First Gore-Bush Presidential Debate

Is it our job to force democracy on Iraqis, or kill 'em trying?
"I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation-building...
I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I'm missing something here. I mean, we're going to have kind of a nation building core from America? Absolutely not....
I just don't think it's the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you."

----George Bush, October 11, 2000
The Second Gore-Bush Presidential Debate

I agreed with George Bush when he said the above. When everything he does contradicts what he said, I naturally disagree with him, unlike Bushies, who change all their "principles" to suit George Bush.

Bushies seem to think all the good guys have an "R" behind their name, and anyone marked with a "D" is a bad guy. I wish we could all dump the partisanship and focus on what's best for the country.

On the off chance your posts were actually meant seriously Peter, I suggest you read the views of Conservatives who support thier country above all else at Republicans for Humility.com

If you'd like to be clearer on the history between the U.S. and Iraq, check out: Arming Iraq: A Chronology of U.S. Involvement

If you want to keep talking with no actual information whatsoever, carry on.

Reply to: MaargenF... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Reply to: Maargen

First, yes, I should apologize for indirectly referring to you as a "liberal". (I honestly hesitated to write it but ultimately left it in for a reason I can't remember.) It's a gross generalization that that I made (I guess it's the former Democrat in me that likes to label and degrade people even though I know it's wrong and hypocritical).

My apologies, however, end right there. Never at any time was I intending to be funny. (I do appreciate your sardonic response, it was not lost on me.)

I contend that you use an argumentative tactic popular among (how shall I put this?) those on the left and (sometimes, like Zell Miller's speech during the 2004 GOP convention) the right use. And that is to use people within one's party who are against a particular policy as if to say "See? See, people in your own party disagree with you!" Ultimately, that's a weak argument because naturally not everyone in your party agrees with any said policy—be it war, a tax or whatever—and it doesn't make them right, either. And even then, when you quote them or cite their views, it's only when it's convenient and supports your argument.

You employ the same tactic when it comes to using quotes from Bush regarding nation-building during the 2000 election. Are you trying to say that the President (or any official for that matter) can't change their mind on a particular issue? The momentous events of 9/11 were certainly cause for many people to change their minds on many subjects, with nation-building being one of those issues. Recall, too, that the country was at peace (even though bin Laden had declared war on us back in 1998, we just weren't listening), so nation-building certainly seemed like something that we shouldn't be doing.

Either you misintrepreted my point or I didn't state it clearly enough, but regarding "we didn't know then what we know now " is in reference to the once-believed stockpile of WMD thought to be had by Iraq (by numerous intelligence agencies, including those of the French, Germans, Russians, Chinese, the UN, and not just the CIA or British intelligence) and those that only after the invasion of Iraq that metted out not to be the case. (I elaborated on this more in previous post today.)

I also address a previous blogger and his same argument of how the US supported Saddam in the 80s during the Iran/Iraq war. So please that for my response.

As for facts, I've been judicious in citing resolutions and accurately quoting material. To say I have "no actual information whatsover" is patently false.

Peter wrote: > > ><b... (Below threshold)

Peter wrote:
> > >
After its defeat in the first Gulf War, Iraq was required under international law to provide a complete list of weapons—including conventional, CW, BW and nuclear. Yes, much of it was destroyed by UN inspectors, nobody claims it wasn't. However, there were still large, unaccounted for stockpiles of CW and BW on these lists that Iraq claimed it had, yet inspectors could not account for.

I think it is important to realize the sheer size, scale, and complexity of what we are talking about here: "a complete list of weapons." I could hardly produce a complete list of everything in my own house, let alone a list of everything I've owned in the past 10 years and what happened to all of it. Things get lost, things get thrown away, with no record. Especially given that we know a lot of Saddam's operations were conducted in secrecy, it only stands to reason that there would not be documentation for a lot of stuff.

I never remember any part of any UN resolution ever saying something like, "If you do not document every thing that you dispose of then we will invade your country and throw you out of power, hunt down and kill your family," etc.

Because it looks like to me that we knew he had no WMDs to speak of really, and he had no capacity to make any WMDs. We just used a series of minor violations over a period of years to build up fear that there was a huge, major violation lurking in there somewhere, when every piece of evidence we had (except the false reports from some raving lunatic as reported thru German intellignce) pointed against that.

To be fair, it is clear that there were secretive things going on and there were items that were in violation of 1441 and other UN resolutions which we have discovered since the end of the war. Nobody, not me, not anyone is claiming Saddam was a good guy, that he was a very international-law-abiding type of fellow. We know what he was up to -- why, we even sold him most of his WMD gear and taught him how to use them against Iran.

But that is a far cry from anything that would make him a direct and imminent threat to the USA justifying a war on the scale of which we have undertaken. As far as I'm concerned, why not use another 10 years of sanctions and increased monitoring? We have no evidence that Saddam was in cohorts with terrorists who planned to attack us.

9/11 was completely unrelated to anything other than our own intelligence agencies' failure to do their own job, and all this "how the world changed after 9/11" stuff is a crock of shit intended just to help justify what the hawks in Washington and the military-industrialists like Cheney already wanted to do. For all I know, they let 9/11 happen intentionally so that they could proceed with all these plans. Now, that is a "moonbat liberal crackpot" thing to say, and I do not sincerely believe it, but my point is simply that the reaction to 9/11 has been worse for America than 9/11 itself was. The terrorists should be happy because they've caused more cultural and social damage to our country by picking this fight with us than was caused with the actual attack itself. They've proved to their own people that they were right about us in how we have reacted by throwing notions of justice to the wind and proceeding full force by torturing people, disappearing people into military prisons, bombing the shit out of major cities full of innocent people, conducting brutal curfews in places like Fallujah where innocent people had their heads blown off for going out into the street to try and rescue their own wounded friends, etc.

Yet Republicans will stand there and say, "oh but war is just a dirty thing, those are necessary evils to achieve our goals." Well not only are some Republicans not Christian, but I would argue that NO Republican is really a Christian, no matter what they tell themselves. Or else if they think they are, then which Christ do they believe in? Certainly not the one who said "Put down your sword" and "Turn the other cheek."

I would like to have seen our government "turn the other cheek" after 9/11 and say to the terrorists: "come and attack us again, you will see that we will not be goaded into a war that will only prove you right." I would like to have seen them take up the Taliban's offer to transfer Bin Laden to a third-party neutral country and have him tried in international court. Then the world would love America instead of hate us, because they would see us as a nation of justice and honor, not a nation of cowards who bomb cities full of innocent people and commit atrocities that are just as bad as anything the terrorists have done to us.

Yes, the Afghan war was a PR nightmare, an injust and brutal action that failed in its primary purpose. And while if we had complied with the Taliban to transfer Bin Laden to a neutral third-party nation for trial, we would have succeeded in our primary purpose: to bring to justice those who were responsible for 9/11. But all these fools who think the world changed after 9/11 -- it only changed for them. For me the world is still the same: justice, mercy, and honor are still the true path. To love thine enemy is still the true path.

But for these fools for whom the world has changed, for them there is no longer any sense of justice, honor, or mercy. There is only a sense of compromising those things as a means to an end, and feeling justified in that compromise because "the enemy did it to us first." Of course if you ask the enemy, they will tell you that we did it to them first, and their action was only revenge.

I asked an Iraqi just days after the start of the war, on an IRC channel, "What does Jihad mean? It is a foreign concept to me." His reply was: "Fuck with me, I fuck with you." And we have been fucking with the middle east for a long, long, long time.

Bush has taken the stance, not of, "turn the other cheek," but rather, "If they can't beat you, make them join you." Make them into a democratic society, and they will no longer hate you. Spread democracy and it will snuff out the roots of terrorism. That is an interesting notion, but it is not the self-evident truth that Bush makes it out to be. It is not necessarily true that spreading democracy in the Middle East will diminish terrorism. Why would it? Did it diminish domestic terrorism in the USA or prevent our own civil war?

> > >
Importantly, using your "prove-you-don't-have-a-gun" example is an argumentative red herring; on the same par with "well, Kim Jong is a bad man, why don't we attack North Korea?" These are patently absurb comparisons and have no place in any real rational or honest discourse.

Well I don't know why it is a red herring. It is precisely what we did over there: we told them to prove they didn't have something, and when the couldn't, we invaded. It's that simple. Why is that a red herring? I know it is a simplistic statement, but it seems accurate to me.

I think the most important thing you can do is look and see who has profited from 9/11 and the Iraq war the most. Who benefited the most from 9/11? Bush. Who profited most from the Iraq war? Bush and Cheney's friends. Iraq hurt Bush almost enough to make him lose the election, but not quite. It was a close one, worth the risk for Bush if he lost because the contracts would still be given to his pals.

The real cost of 9/11 was taken out on the families and the NYPD and FDNY. It was taken out on the companies directly hit and on the taxpayers and the airline industry. Bush's approval however went through the roof, and the RNC was a big 9/11 circle-jerk. Even the Democrats fell into the 9/11 trap not realizing that they couldn't take away Bush's 9/11 support by having Kerry parrot the security rhetoric. The Democrats are a joke anyway, don't get me started. At least the Republicans are organized and have Karl Rove.

Do the American people win? Not on any count. We're not any safer now than we were before -- now much more of the world hates us. We have a lot more enemies and we weren't succesful in finding and securing whatever weapons Saddam supposedly had. In fact we failed so badly that much of the nuclear material he had stockpiled was stolen. Much of the dual-use equipment was moved out of the country. We don't know where most of it went or who has it now. Of course that's convenient for those who want to continue the "war on terrorism" forever...

JSG

JSG:Nonsense. A re... (Below threshold)
Peter:

JSG:

Nonsense. A response filled with complete and utter nonsense. Wild-hair accusations of profiteering made without evidence. More cheap, baseless rhetoric. Feckless attempts to dismiss known and documented facts—included the Kay, Duelfer, 9/11 reports, nearly countless from the UN. An obvious lack of understanding as to what a red herring is in the course of an argument. And, perhaps worst of all, you're obvious anti-war (any war, to be precise) zealot until, conveinently at the end of your diatribe, you try to present yourself as being bi-partisan. It's a cheap, pathetic and circuitous stance that I no longer have time for.

Peter, you say that calling... (Below threshold)
Maargen:

Peter, you say that calling me a liberal "is a gross generalization that that I made (I guess it's the former Democrat in me that likes to label and degrade people even though I know it's wrong and hypocritical)."

I myself don't see anything wrong with labels, if used generally, and if the user doesn't let everything associated with the label lead to assumptions about a particular person's point of view, which should be individualistic. As for the degrading part, are you implying that calling someone a "liberal" is degrading? Why? I've been called "conservative" by liberals for my views on abortion, and "liberal" by conservatives for my views on the war and it's fiscal impact. I don't consider either to be any kind of slur. (I know that you did not actually say that you meant the 'liberal' label to be degrading)

I know what you mean about the "they agree with me" argument. Conservatives seem gleeful about circulating quotes from Democrats saying that Saddam is dangerous and needs to be disarmed, as if this makes some kind of point. My objective in bringing up other conservatives isn't to validate my viewpoint in any way: it was to counter your automatic assumption that if I disagree with this war, I must be a liberal. As I said, I found that assumption to be simplistic.

You go on to say:

"You employ the same tactic when it comes to using quotes from Bush regarding nation-building during the 2000 election. Are you trying to say that the President (or any official for that matter) can't change their mind on a particular issue? The momentous events of 9/11 were certainly cause for many people to change their minds on many subjects, with nation-building being one of those issues. Recall, too, that the country was at peace (even though bin Laden had declared war on us back in 1998, we just weren't listening), so nation-building certainly seemed like something that we shouldn't be doing."

Yes, we were at peace when Bush said he was against nation building. What you're saying is that it's reasonable to be against nation building when we're at peace, but that nation building is a great hobby to take up when we are supposed to be fighting an enemy who attacked us. When our army is sitting around with not much to do, nation building is bad. But when we have been attacked, hey - let's go do some nation-building, diverting our resources and our troops from those who attacked us, with the result that 3.5 years later, our attacker is STILL AT LARGE!! AND has more support than ever before - that's some brilliant thinking!

Oh, I'm sure you'll find a way to contort logic and facts to explain this to yourself. Excuse my assumption, but I suspect that you do so only because the President is a Republican. If he was a Democrat, you'd probably not bother to try to prove that black is white. I can tell you this: if the President were a Democrat I'd be saying the same exact thing I am now - I don't appreciate being lied to and manipulated by ANYONE.


JSGILBERT: I don't agree with your statement that no Republicans are Christians for the same reason I gave Peter: not all Republicans agree with this administration. However, for those who do support Bush, you are so right! None of their policies have anything to do with Christian doctrine! I refer to them as KKKristians, since they're reminiscent of those "Sons of the South" who do the most heinous things under the symbol of the cross. People like them are the reason Mahatma Gahndi once said: "I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ." I always considered myself a Christian, but now I'd MUH rather be called a liberal! The best that I can say for my church is that it remains silent on political issues. I think real Christians should speak up more and take Christ's image out of the snakepit it's been thrown into.

You're right about the terrorists winning, too. They attacked our way of life on one day. The Bush administration has been doing it for them every day since.


Maargen:My comment... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Maargen:

My comments regarding nation building are absolutely reasonable and logical, both in peace time and post-war periods. By your logic, you seem to think that if we attack a country/people and after we've killed all the bad guys that, hey, helping them rebuild is their problem now. (Oh, and wouldn't that have old anti-war folks in a tizzy! "We can't finish the job." "We just bombed a country and left." Blah, blah, blah. You can almost see the headlines spilling across the NY Times, the SF Chronicle, the Nation local weekly rags and on and on!) And now, because we are trying to help two countries get back on their, the Lefties (I guess I have clearance to label now) get their panties in a bunch when actually want to finish the job, all the while fighting streams of Islamo-fascists, Saddam's Baathist buddies flooding in from Syria and the blood-thirsty minions of Iran's emans. And you know what? We've still managed to help set up 2 governments, and help them get a start. It has only been 2-3 years since the end of the Iraq and the Afghanistan. Do you know how long Germany and Japan took to rebuild? Even longer, close to 5+ years! Moreover, nation building is a relatively new, modern concept, introduced in the last century. The fact that we do it at all (beating an enemy and then trying to help them rebuild) is an amazing leap forward.

Ultimately, you still don't answer my question: Why can't the President change his mind? Because you don't agree with it? Would you rather he be stagnant and unwavering?

As for me contorting "logic and facts to explain this to yourself", I've done nothing of the sort when it comes to capturing bin Laden and al Zawahri (Zarqawi, too!). I would contend that our military has a lot better idea of the resources, troops and machinery they need to capture these lunatics than either you or me. Is it frustrating they're not captured or dead yet? Of course! That's should be glaring obvious to any sane human being. But finding several men among hundreds of millions people, across hundreds of thousands of miles of incredibly difficult terrain is incredibly hard. Would more troops help? Maybe.

Furthermore, I think you rely on the logic and assumption that if and when we do catch OBL and Zawahri, that the war on terrorism (a name which should be more accurately called the War on Islamo-Fascism) will somehow be over and done with. Not even close. You think this one guy is running the whole show? What about the theocracies (Iran), dictatorships (Syria), thugocracies (the former Taliban) and monarchies (Saudi Arabia) and perpetuate hatred—say it with me, hatred—of the West, promote anti-Semitism, surpress their people and hoard the billions of dollars coming into their countries from the West from their own countrymen? Why are they less responsible than the West for the current war? This current political and societal climate has to change in the Middle East. And Iraq just may be the place where it starts.

Lastly, please stop attacking me as a Christian. As a Catholic, it deeply troubles me to know that people are dying; it goes against my core beliefs. I pray every night for the innocents and soldiers killed. But I am also OK with this contradiction. In my view, we could longer afford to "turn the other cheek" because it's obvious to me that the Islmao-fascists wish to cut off the very head upon which that cheek sits. You can call it hypocrisy if you wish, but I would contend that the hypocrisy you accuse me of, that you too are equally guilty when you self-righteously (a very unChrist-like quality) refer to Christians that follow Bush as being "KKKhristians". It's a sick, disgusting and vulgar reference. You seem to be intelligent enough to notice this and remove it from your description.

But let's get back to the real point: The memo. And I'll refer to Robbins' excellent piece for my final thought, that this "...memo simply contains the impressions of an aide of the impressions of British-cabinet officials of the impressions of unnamed people they spoke to in the United States about what they thought the president was thinking."

If that's your smoking gun, then you've got a gun with some pretty weak bullets in it. It's pretty unimpressive to say the least.

Get over it, you left-wing ... (Below threshold)
Rich:

Get over it, you left-wing socialist wackos! Saddam had to go. If the administration bent the truth, so what? We must pacify the middle east and spread democracy, only then will we know peace. If you have an itch, do you scratch it? Let the world know peace. The United States is the only nation in the world with the balls to do it under Republican leadership.

Peter, understanding your t... (Below threshold)

Peter, understanding your thinking is beyond me. You contort logic to an extent that no one could possibly address all the misunderstandings and mistakes in your posts. I'll only try to address one here:

You say:
Lastly, please stop attacking me as a Christian. As a Catholic, it deeply troubles me to know that people are dying; it goes against my core beliefs. I pray every night for the innocents and soldiers killed. But I am also OK with this contradiction. In my view, we could longer afford to "turn the other cheek" because it's obvious to me that the Islmao-fascists wish to cut off the very head upon which that cheek sits. You can call it hypocrisy if you wish, but I would contend that the hypocrisy you accuse me of, that you too are equally guilty when you self-righteously (a very unChrist-like quality) refer to Christians that follow Bush as being "KKKhristians". It's a sick, disgusting and vulgar reference. You seem to be intelligent enough to notice this and remove it from your description.

Peter, what kind of logic is this?? How the HECK could I be attacking you as a Christian when I had no idea what your religious beliefs are (if you mentioned them before I did not read that post. I still can't fine where you talked about your religion), and I was not even addressing you in my paragraph about KKKristians, which I would have thought that my putting the name of another poster in boldface before my comments would have made clear?? You can object or comment on anything in my post of course, but I see no reason to accuse me of attacking YOUR religious beliefs!

As a Christian myself, I know very well what Jesus would say about war, about putting the comforts of the rich above the needs of the poor, about our treatment of our Mexican neighbors who come here looking for a better life, about our treatment of our enemies, NONE of which are in agreement with the general Conservative views on these subjects. I am not advocating we base our laws on the Bible: neither our laws on immigration NOR sexuality. The comments you object to in my posts are not directed to real Christians, but to the hypocritical ones, who pretend to believe in Christ, but betray all he stood for - just like the KKK. If you think my comments are un-Christian, then you need to reread your New Testament and see how Christ himself dealt with hypocrites!

For a humorous treatment of what I mean, check out "Vote 'No' on Christ" It's a spoof on how Jesus would be received by KKKristian Conservatives if he came back today. My favorite line is "The reckless liberalism of Jesus Christ cannot be allowed to take hold of the Christian values this great country has fought so hard to preserve."

Peter, you confuse the War in Iraq with the War on Terror too much for me to discuss this here. Our comments have been WAAAAY off topic, anyway. If you want to respond to me, please use my email link.

As for Robbins quote, if he doesn't know what minutes of a meeting are, then that's his ignorance. I do know what the minutes of a meeting represent, which aren't simply "impressions" as Robbins pretends to think, but a record of the conversation that took place at the meeting. After the meeting, the minutes were circulated to the attendees for their verification and for their records. If the report cantained errors, they should make sure that it be corrected. I also know that there is nothing wrong in the American public (you keep implying that only lefties are concerned with the honesty of our elected officials. Many Conservatives have values, too, you know. It seems to be Bush supporters that change their principles whenever the wind changes direction) asking for 1) this memo to be verified, and if it is 2) why we were LIED to (seems that Bushies redefine words to suit themselves, as well. Too bad so many Americans have a greater understanding of English than does the President.)

LIE:
1 a : an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive b : an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker
(from Merriam-Webster)

I'm sure it's just a matter of time before Bushies rewrite the dictionary to remove definitions that they don't like.

MaargenI agree, we... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Maargen

I agree, we've gotten way off subject when it comes to the religious part of your reply, but that's a subject for another place and time.

Back to the "smoking gun" memo.

Again, let's, um, fixate ourselves to the word "fixed" since lefties/antiwar-ites/Bush-haters/sockeye salmon/and whoever else is in a tizzy over this memo all seem to be focusing on. (Yes, this is about semantics since it is a key word.)

"Fixed," in proper political context, is meant to represent facts that are being placed around policies in order to support them. A not-so-unusual political practice by any stretch. (I think I've said this before, but it's being ignored or found unacceptable for some inexplicable reason.) As it turns out, Rycroft uses the word "fixed" quite often in his memos (see the homepage of this blog for an example).

Also, current political situations, legal matters and military options were certainly discussed, as should be done. Is it not fair to say that we knew Hussein would not cooperate fully and to plan for that contingency? Absolutely, given his history and schizo, it nature was to be expected. Furthermore, just because war planning occurs does not mean action will be taken. No where in there does it say this. Again, it merely discuss alternatives for dealing with the situation. And that's foresight, not duplicitous and conscious lying.

When I first read this memo (long before Robbins' article I might add), the second paragraph struck me as being extraordinarily conveinent in supporting the ant-war movement's case. The language is highly dubious and suspicious in that regard. Morever, how does a memo that states "This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents." appear in a major newspaper? Is there a British version of Deep Throat? If so, I'd like to hear from him. Or, at the very least, hear Rycroft explain what he means by "fixed". We're all due that.

Even if Bush and Blair don't deny the memo, what does it prove? That they were war planning? OK, so what's your point? As I've said repeatedly, "what ifs" should be discussed. The logistics of plannning any succesful invasion on this order are immense and take a tremendous amount of time. And given what I said above, knowing Hussein's past actions, anyone paying attention for the past (then) 12 years knew that the SOB was going to stall and fillibuster the UN inspectors. So all options were on the table, including military and legal.

Furthermore, the memo does not prove Bush or Blair knew Hussein didn't have WMD. It says that it was less than that of North Korea, Libya and Iran, sure. But both the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Butler reports "clear" Bush and Blair of "trumping up" Iraq's WMD capability. Hell, the Intel community was solely to blame for the "mischaracterization of the intelligence" on WMD. Both reports are available doing a simple Google search.

Lastly and briefly, I confuse nothing when it comes to the War on Islamo-Fascism and the War in the Iraq; yes, to some degree they are separate, but they are also equal as well. (Please see/read the 9/11 Commission Report and read Stephen Hayes' book "The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein has Endangered America' for evidence of the terrorism connection. And please don't drop the "no formal collaborative relationship" quote on me from the 9/11 report because it maybe one of the most obtuse and contradictory statements made in the report. What did we expect to see? Pictures of Saddam and bin Laden signing papers at Euro Disney? Come on now.)

I think the Left and Right are at an impasse when it comes to Bush. Lefties (mostly) think he lied. Fine, say the Righties (mostly), prove it. Lefties offer up their proof, which hasn't amounted to much, even with this memo. The Righties counter that proof with their proof, which I find to be more fact based and given more context than most of what Lefties have presented (a lot quoting out of context, providing suspicious little in the way actual numbers when needed, few solutions, tons of hot rhetoric and lots of suspicious memos). So, in my opinion, if the Lefties want to have an impeachment of Bush and use this memo as a key piece of evidence, they're going to get thrown right out of court. And I include the public court of opinion on that, too.

Maargen:I forgot. ... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Maargen:

I forgot. If this as you say "a record of the conversation that took place at the meeting" then where are the direction attributions to speakers? Where are the quotes? They are not there because these are the key points of the meeting as interpreted by Rycroft. Therefore, it's not at all inaccurate to call them "impressions". Sure, the other men signed off on them and I sincerely doubt they thought anything about the word "fixed" meaning anything more than "set" given the context of the memo.

I'm looking for the conspiracy and can't find it. Again, where's the fire in all this?




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