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You have to be pretty highly educated to be this dumb

This morning's Boston Globe has an opinion column by H. D. S. Greenway that discusses the war in Iraq, and cites some rather remarkable historical parallels. Greenway puts together a thorough list of prior wars, ones started under false pretenses. Citing the new book of a historian who seems to have a rather leftist bent, Greenway talks about conflicts as long ago as 1893 where the war was arranged by the alleged "aggrieved" nation, and brings it up to 1954 and Israel's conflict with Egypt.

It's a shame Mr. Greenway seems to have a political version of Alzheimer's, where he can recall long-ago events with crystal clarity, but much more recent events escape him.

The two foundations of his argument are the Downing Street memo and the imminent threat of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. And both are very fragile reeds for him to hang his argument upon.

First up, the Downing Street memo. Its authenticity is still highly questionable, but for the sake of this argument I'll grant it's authentic. It simply doesn't say what people seem to want it to say.

First of all, their obsession with the term "fixed." The term has multiple meanings, and one must look at the context to determine what it means. In the Memo, it's pretty clear to me (and I like to think I have a pretty good mastery of the English language) that in this context, the meaning of "fixed" is "attached" or "focused," and not "rigged."

So, it says that the Bush administration was attached to the idea of removing Saddam. Big whoop. That was the official US government policy, as ratified by Congress and the President in 1998. The great revelation here? That the Bush Administration was continuing the policy authorized by the Clinton Administration, and endorsed by an Act Of Congress.

As far as the "paint a US plane in UN markings" bit, I have nothing to add beyond what I wrote over a month ago. Several commenters with far more experience than I (exactly zero) added quite a bit to the argument, but I stand by my original thoughts: if it was brought up at all, then it was done strictly to eliminate it as a possibility and point out its grotesque stupidity.

As far as Greenway's second point, the "imminent WMD threat" element. This one is one I used to enjoy going after, but I'm starting to burn out on it.

I challenge anyone -- anyone -- to actually go back into official records, statements, transcripts, or other documents and show ONE INSTANCE where Bush or any high-ranking member of his administration actually SAID that Saddam posed an imminent threat to the United States, or conclusively possessed WMDs. I was watching the news closely at the time, and they way I recall it, they repeatedly stressed that Saddam was a MOUNTING threat, but NOT imminent -- the whole idea was to stop him once it was clear that he wanted to pose such a threat, but before he could.

It was, to me, a sound policy: we've spent way too much of our history of waiting and hoping for threats to diminish on their own, and then paying the butcher's bill when we couldn't avoid the conflict. Saddam clearly wanted WMDs and to attack the US, and was taking strides towards being able to do just that; had the Bush administration simply waited until he did attack, then there would be loud cries of condemnation for him not stopping Saddam when it could have been done much more easily -- and I would have been one of them.

And as far as Saddam's WMDs -- we never said he had them, but that he hadn't proven that he didn't. If he was bluffing, hoping to tap-dance around and say he didn't, but hinting that he might, demanding that we simply trust him, that was as good as finding a bunch of nukes, a couple hundred vials of Ebola, and mountains of Sarin shells. I hate to keep repeating myself, but this is such a non-starter -- I took it apart over a year ago, and even then I only did it because I was sick of the intellectual dishonesty behind it.

I really, really hate to use the old saying about how if you repeat a lie often enough, eventually people will believe it's true -- but that seems to be the only rational explanation for Greenway's piece in the Globe. The only question is whether he's so stupid he's bought into the lies, or is he deliberately trying to perpetuate it.

(For the record: I wrote this early this morning, long before Lorie posted this piece. I did NOT crib from her, nor did she crib from me -- just an odd coincidence, or perhaps evidence of how pervasive the false meme is becoming.)

Update: a few weeks ago, I busted a critic of mine for sock-puppetry (posting critical, mutually supporting comments under different names). At the time, I said I did not care for it and would expose it when it happens. In that spirit, I have to disclose that "John Kerry," "Bill Clinton," "Harry Reid," "Al Gore," "Ted Kennedy", and "Jay Rockefeller" are all posting from the same IP, and it is NOT one that traces back to the US Senate. In fact, it actually corresponds with another regular commenter.

At the time I busted "viet vet," another regular detractor, "lee," said that he suspected some of Wizbang's regular supporters might also be sock puppets. I asked him to pass along names, and I would investigate. He accepted that offer, but has yet to send me a single name.


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Comments (48)

I am getting sick and tired... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:

I am getting sick and tired of the whole WMD bugaboo. You would think that George Bush made up out of whole clothe, the notion of WMD, IRAQ and Saddam Hussein in 2003. You would have to ignore
countless Democrats and Republicans throughout the entire 90's that Saddams possesion of WMD had to be contended with. Also does anyone remeber the northern and southern no-fly zones, when you control another countries air-space and periodically launch missles into a country, you are in a defacto war footing with that country. So it should have suprised noone that after 9/11 that
something would be done in regards to the Iraq situation.

"I challenge anyone -- anyo... (Below threshold)

"I challenge anyone -- anyone -- to actually go back into official records, statements, transcripts, or other documents and show ONE INSTANCE where Bush or any high-ranking member of his administration actually SAID that Saddam posed an imminent threat to the United States, or conclusively possessed WMDs."

Watch it, someone will drag up that statement Rumsfeld made before Congress in which he said "some people say that North Korea is a more imminent threat than Iraq, but I say Iraq is a more imminent threat than North Korea". You'll never be able to convince them that quoting "some people" doesn't mean that Rumsfeld didn't say it or recognize that the relative "more imminent" doesn't mean something really is imminent (e.g., Al Gore's election to the presidency is more imminent than John Kerry's but neither is even remotely imminent).

You will, however, receive several credible quotes where Rumsfeld, Cheney and Rice say definitively that Saddam has chemical and biological weapons (not nukes, all the BS about the mushroom comment aside). Oddly enough, I don't keep links for that kind of quote since I'm more normally challenging people's more agregious false accusations. I have seen and read transcripts where those offical are very direct, though, as well as lots and lots of quotes from Democrats and former weapons inspectors saying exactly they same thing.

As a practiced anglophile, I agree with your read on "fixed", by the way, but you won't find many American English speakers who know what the heck you're talking about or liberals willing to accept regardless.

Ray McGovern believed that ... (Below threshold)

Ray McGovern believed that there some WMDs in Iraq when he wrote, 'With respect to possible Iraqi use of chemical weapons, it has been the judgment of the US intelligence community for over 12 years that the likelihood of such use would greatly increase during an offensive aimed at getting rid of Saddam Hussein.' 7 February 2003 "VIPS MEMORANDUM FOR: The President"

If must have believed it enough to warn about CIA concerns that, 'For now, continued the CIA letter, "Baghdad appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or chemical/biological warfare against the United States."
With his back against the wall, however, "Saddam might decide that the extreme step of assisting Islamist terrorists in conducting a weapons-of-mass-destruction attack against the United States> would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him."'
15 February 2003: VIPS: "CIA says NO. U.S. Intelligence Officers Say Bush Out of His Mind on Iraq War" by Ray McGovern

It seems that Ray McGovern continued to believe that there some WMDs, when two days before the 20-Mar-2003 Iraq invasion, he wrote that .. we believe the Iraqis retain some chemical and biological warfare capability.' March 18, 2003 "Memo to the President: Forgery, Hyperbole, Half-Truth: A Problem"

Perhaps the Boston Globe can ask Ray where are the WMDs ? Bush and Rove didn't twist Ray's arm to write this stuff. Ray and his intelligence buddies believed they were there. Go for it Globe .. who is doing the cooking now ?

Sorry, can't update my prev... (Below threshold)

Sorry, can't update my previous comment. As evidence that someone will be able to show that a high ranking member of the administration said that Saddam definitely had WMDs, consider the following from Colin Powell:

"COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more, and he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction.

"Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical-weapons agent. We have no indication that Saddam Hussein has ever abandoned his nuclear weapons program."


It's a relatively minor point. There are a lot of much more serious and outrageous claims about what the Administration is supposed to have said, of course.

For instance, I don't believe anyone would be able to show an Administration official saying that Iraq was directly connected to 9/11 as so many claim.

I think that everyone is mi... (Below threshold)

I think that everyone is missing the far simpler truth: Bush sold the war based on some pretty reasonable arguments. A large majority of Americans bought his arguments.

The administration did an excellent job of defeating the pathetic Iraqi army and capturing Saddam. And the President's approval was in the stratosphere. Now the President is doing a lousy job on security and nation building, and the President is deeply unpopular.

Jay and others have all sorts of excellent, principled arguments for the administration and the war. Others have some equally excellent and principled arguments against it. But the fact of the matter is that Americans care about results. If Bush hadn't of screwed up the post-war, 65% of the country wouldn't care if Bush said Saddam had (or probably had, or would soon build) WMD. But Bush did screw up the post-war, and isn't doing such a good job on the domestic front either (Katrina, Medicare Rx, deficit, your choice of social issues), and now people across the political spectrum are finding reasons to hate him.

If Bush wants to be popular again, he must alter events for the better. If he fails to do that, Iraq will continue to be a debacle and he will go down as a failed President. As my brother the combat medic told me on his return from Fallujah, "I supported it - I volunteered - I just didn't realize they were going to screw it up so badly. I hope they find a way to fix it, but I don't see how they can."

Re WMDS - I remember listen... (Below threshold)

Re WMDS - I remember listening to news reports during the battle, and hearing how they'd come across arms depots with, along with everything else, barrels of 'chemical agents' that later turned out to be insecticide.

Insecticide? WTF? Who keeps that next to bombs and bullets? Was there such a camel spider problem they regularly sprayed down the desert?

Could it be we actually DID find a lot of WMDs, but for whatever reason it was decided to keep quiet about it? (Maybe to stave off a rush by Syria to glom onto the stuff before it could be destroyed by Coalition forces?)

Which also makes me wonder - have we quietly built any chem-weapon capable incinerators in Iraq ?

Funny, SomeGuy, I recall Bu... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Funny, SomeGuy, I recall Bush's popularity spiked right after 9/11, and started going down as soon as we went into Afghanistan, steadily declining since then. In fact, I don't recall there EVER being a lot of public support for the war in Iraq.

Oh, and Iraq now has a democratically-elected, internationally-recognized government, SomeGuy. And about 100 or so Taliban and/or Al Qaeda got themselves blowed up in Afghanistan this week trying to kill a bunch of civilians. Funny you missed those news stories...


JayYou wrote: ... (Below threshold)


You wrote: "I challenge anyone -- anyone -- to actually go back into official records, statements, transcripts, or other documents and show ONE INSTANCE where Bush or any high-ranking member of his administration actually SAID that Saddam posed an imminent threat to the United States, or conclusively possessed WMDs."

Should you go to: www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=24970
you will find, among others,

"What we must not do in the face of this mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or to willful blindness."
• Vice President Dick Cheney, 8/29/02

""Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent - that Saddam is at least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain. And we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons."
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/18/02

"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02

"This man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined."
• President Bush, 9/26/02

"The Iraqi regime is a threat to any American. ... Iraq is a threat, a real threat."
• President Bush, 1/3/03

These are just a few of the many quotes you'll find at the above site. So, are we to quibble over the literal usage of imminent?

I, like you. am not a master of usage, but I think anyone w/ an IQ above room temp would draw an inference of "imminent" from these quotes among the tons of quotes recorded on the above site.

BTW- I am not quite skilled enough to be certain that the url above is hot; sorry if you have to copy & paste.

JLawson:Since we h... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:


Since we have been talking about WMD's and Iraq for the better part of 14 years, and every intelligence agency said he possesed WMD's, there can be only a few conclusions about Saddams WMD.
1) He never had them and it was all a bluff, that
every intelligence agency fell for.
2) He had them but were secreted out of the country before the war, and the various intelligence agencies around the world failed to notice this.
3) He had them but were secreted out of the country before the war, and the various intelligence agencies around the world know where
they are but because it might create an international incident, probably with Syria and or Russia.
4) We actually found WMD but they were simply reclasified.

And on your point, why the heck were we finding
depot after depot with insecticeds in heavily fortefied bunkers with empty artillery shells.

Hmm, insecticde and artillery shells, why would anyone store those two components together???

The <a href="http://www.cia... (Below threshold)

The Duelfer Report is the definitive analysis of Iraq's WMD programs.

Key Findings
Saddam Husayn so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted.

Saddam totally dominated the Regime's strategic decision making. He initiated most of the strategic thinking upon which decisions were made, whether in matters of war and peace (such as invading Kuwait), maintaining WMD as a national strategic goal, or on how Iraq was to position itself in the international community. Loyal dissent was discouraged and constructive variations to the implementation of his wishes on strategic issues were rare. Saddam was the Regime in a strategic sense and his intent became Iraq's strategic policy.

Saddam's primary goal from 1991 to 2003 was to have UN sanctions lifted, while maintaining the security of the Regime. He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections--to gain support for lifting sanctions--with his intention to preserve Iraq's intellectual capital for WMD with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face. Indeed, this remained the goal to the end of the Regime, as the starting of any WMD program, conspicuous or otherwise, risked undoing the progress achieved in eroding sanctions and jeopardizing a political end to the embargo and international monitoring.

The introduction of the Oil-For-Food program (OFF) in late 1996 was a key turning point for the Regime. OFF rescued Baghdad's economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions. The Regime quickly came to see that OFF could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development.

By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999.

Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq's WMD capability--which was essentially destroyed in 1991--after sanctions were removed and Iraq's economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability--in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks--but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.

Iran was the pre-eminent motivator of this policy. All senior level Iraqi officials considered Iran to be Iraq's principal enemy in the region. The wish to balance Israel and acquire status and influence in the Arab world were also considerations, but secondary.

Iraq Survey Group (ISG) judges that events in the 1980s and early 1990s shaped Saddam's belief in the value of WMD. In Saddam's view, WMD helped to save the Regime multiple times. He believed that during the Iran-Iraq war chemical weapons had halted Iranian ground offensives and that ballistic missile attacks on Tehran had broken its political will. Similarly, during Desert Storm, Saddam believed WMD had deterred Coalition Forces from pressing their attack beyond the goal of freeing Kuwait. WMD had even played a role in crushing the Shi'a revolt in the south following the 1991 cease-fire.

The former Regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions. Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam. Instead, his lieutenants understood WMD revival was his goal from their long association with Saddam and his infrequent, but firm, verbal comments and directions to them.

I wish people wouldn't allo... (Below threshold)

I wish people wouldn't allow themselves to be distracted by all the "Bush lied about WMD" hype. That isn't the reason we went in. It was and still is extremely simple:

Saddam was preventing inspections to proceed according to UN resolution. Saddam could have, up until the inspectors left, said "Okay, go ahead, check whatever you want and talk to whomever you want." and he would still be in power and we would have not invaded. All he had to do was come clean with the inspectors, we would have found no WMD, he would still be running his brutal little dictatorship and sanctions would be gone by now.

He played a game of brinksmanship and he went over that brink. The rest of the noise from the left is mostly smoke to get people off the real subject.

Crosspatch:period,... (Below threshold)


period, dot, bingo!!!

"Without question, we need ... (Below threshold)
John Kerry:

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real .."
November 9, 1997

"If Saddam rejects peace an... (Below threshold)
Bill Clinton:

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
February 17, 1998

"What is my position on Ira... (Below threshold)
Harry Reid:

"What is my position on Iraq? Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator who presents a serious threat to international peace and security. Under Saddam's rule, Iraq has engaged in far-reaching human rights abuses, been a state sponsor of terrorism, and has long sought to obtain and develop weapons of mass destruction."
November 2005

We need national resolve an... (Below threshold)
Al Gore:

We need national resolve and unity, not weakness and division when we're involved, engaged in an action against someone like Saddam Hussein, who is trying to get weapons of mass destruction and threaten his neighbors...[I]f you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He's already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons; he poison gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunctions about killing lots and lots of people."
December 16, 1998

"We have known for many yea... (Below threshold)
Ted Kennedy:

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
September 27, 2002

Crosspatch & RadicalCentris... (Below threshold)

Crosspatch & RadicalCentrist

WOW in a nutshell

So why don't you two volunteer to go to the 2455 American families & tell them that The Chimp got their loved ones killed because Saddam lost a game of "Chicken" to The Chimp?

The President has rightly c... (Below threshold)
Jay Rockefeller:

The President has rightly called Saddam Hussein's efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction a grave and gathering threat to Americans. The global community has tried but failed to address that threat over the past decade. I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks -- and we should not minimize the risks -- we must authorize the President to take the necessary steps to deal with that threat.
October 10, 2002

Baathist papers confirm Hus... (Below threshold)

Baathist papers confirm Hussein's terrorist ties

Scripps Howard News Service

STANFORD, Calif. -- With conservative congressional majorities at risk in next November's elections, President Bush repeatedly should remind everyone that a key reason coalition troops invaded Iraq was to padlock Saddam Hussein's Wal-Mart for terrorists. The administration finally is releasing intelligence documents captured in Baghdad. Bush should use them to detail how Hussein indeed was entwined with terrorists in general and al Qaeda in particular.

These papers appear on the Army Foreign Military Studies Office's Web site. (fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/products-docex.htm). The administration should promote a simple URL (e.g. iraqdocuments.gov) so readers easily can examine Hussein's terror ties.

According to a March 23 ABC News analysis of several records, "an official representative of Saddam Hussein's government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995, after receiving approval from Saddam Hussein." Bin Laden requested that Baghdad broadcast into Saudi Arabia sermons by radical Saudi mullah Suleiman al Ouda. He also proposed, as one file says, "carrying out joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia.

The memo states that Hussein was briefed on the March 4, 1995, meeting and notes that after bin Laden decamped Sudan for Afghanistan, "The relationship with him is still through the Sudanese. We're currently working on activating this relationship through a new channel in light of his current location."

Hussein approved bin Laden's requested broadcasts. As for "joint operations against foreign forces," ABC adds that "eight months after the meeting _ on November 13, 1995 _ terrorists attacked Saudi National Guard Headquarters in Riyadh, killing five U.S. military advisers. The militants later confessed on Saudi TV to having been trained by Osama bin Laden."

In the April 3 Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes cites a U.S. government "Summary of Evidence" on an Iraqi at Guantanamo. "From 1987 to 1989, the detainee served as an infantryman in the Iraqi Army," the document states. "The detainee was a member of al Qaeda," it adds. "In August 1998, the detainee traveled to Pakistan with a member of Iraqi Intelligence for the purpose of blowing up the Pakistan, United States and British embassies with chemical mortars."

In a March 27 cover story, Hayes dissects an eight-page fax from Iraq's then-ambassador to Manila, Salah Samarmad, to Baghdad's Foreign Ministry. The June 6, 2001, communique reveals Baathist financing of Abu Sayyaf, al Qaeda's Philippine branch. That May 27, these terrorists abducted 20 tourists, including three Americans, on the resort island of Palawan. They soon beheaded Californian Guillermo Sobrero.

"The kidnappers were formerly (from the previous year) receiving money and purchasing combat weapons," Samarmad wrote headquarters. "From now on we (IIS) are not giving them this opportunity and are not on speaking terms with them," he added, mentioning the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

As former Clinton foreign policy advisor Laurie Mylroie wrote April 2 on OpinionJournal.com, an order from Saddam Hussein dated Jan. 18, 1993, reads: "Hunt Americans on Arab territory, particularly in Somalia." That Oct. 3, terrorists staged the "Blackhawk Down" attack in Mogadishu, Somalia, killing 18 U.S. soldiers and wounding 73.

The Iraqi Perspective Project, led by retired Army Lt. Col. Kevin Woods, reviewed an Oct. 7, 2000, document. It indicates that the Fedayeen Saddam operated paramilitary training camps that hosted "Arab volunteers from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, 'the Gulf,' and Syria" who were "sacrificing for the cause."

Lebanese-born Joseph Shahda translated for FreeRepublic.com a March 11, 2001, top-secret letter addressed "To all the Units" from Air Brigadier General Abdel Magid Hammot Ali and Air Colonel Mohamad Majed Mohamadi. The subject is "Volunteer for Suicide Mission." It reads, "We ask to provide ... (Command of Ali Military) Division with the names of those who desire to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests."

The May-June 2006 Foreign Affairs cites a May 25, 1999, text titled "Fedayeen Saddam Instructions" in which Uday Hussein, the tyrant's older son, orders "special operations, assassinations, and bombings, for the centers and traitor symbols in London, Iran and the self-ruled areas" (Kurdistan). As the authors observe, "Preparations for 'Blessed July,' a regime-directed wave of 'martyrdom' operations against targets in the West, were well under way at the time of the coalition invasion."

President Bush repeatedly should remind everyone that coalition forces liberated Iraq on April 9, 2003, less than three months before "Blessed July."

Jayre your implici... (Below threshold)


re your implicit challenge on the other thread in regard to The Downing Street memos....

I am aware, that in UK usage, the term " to fix around" can have more than one meaning in their parlance. As you said, some logic & interpretation has to be used in making an assessment.

To quote from the UK Guardian article about the U-2, "Mr Bush told Mr Blair that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that it thought of "flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours". Mr Bush added: "If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]".

This cannot be so easily dispelled as tried in your original essay. It does not necessarily imply that the Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries would have to be able to ID the U-2 before firing, but rather that there was the anticipation that it might be fired upon, thus creating an incident where Bush Co. could report an unprovoked attack on a UN aircraft to Gulf-of-Tonkinize Iraq as a pretext for sanctioned invasion.

The other Guardian stories on the DSM's easily allow for drawing the inference that "fixing the intelligence" was not the British use of "fix" but rather the apparent meaning of "rig." The fig leaf of usage in the UK regarding "fix" just doesn't fly in the context of all the DSM's.

Jay,Here's a nifty... (Below threshold)


Here's a nifty chart of Bush's approval rating:


You'll notice three large spikes: As you observed, immediately after 9/11 was the biggest one. But there was also a big spike into the 70's range just before and during the Iraq war. This implies that there was a great deal of public support for a successful war, though I'd certainly accept the argument that the build-up to the war was divisive, and the country rallied to the President once war was imminent. But however you wish to parse public support before the Iraq war, Bush sold the war to enough people to get approval for it through Congress by comfortable margins and with bi-partisan support. Bush's approval declined as the post-war set in, then spiked again into the high 50's when Saddam was captured and it looked like we were winning again.

Now, after over a year of botched reconstruction, Bush's approval rating is in the 30's. I would argue that having a democratically-elected, internationally-recognized government in Iraq and a moderately good situation in Afghanistan is pretty meaningless to the American people as long as American soldiers are being blown up and American tax payers are spending over $5.6 billion per month overseas. Americans usually care about results, not process.

You make some great arguments. But my prediction is that if Bush can stabilize the Iraqi economy and security situation, he will be popular again. If he fails to do so, no amount of progress on other fronts or issues will matter, and history will conveniently find the arguments that seem to suit what happened in retrospect regardless of what you, the President, or anyone else actually says right now.

mak44:You are bein... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:


You are being an ass.

The overall point is this, there was consensus
within America, and without, that Saddam Hussein had
WMD, had openly defied countless UN resolutions to
disarm and verify his disarmorment and that he was a danger to not only his own people, but the entire middle east. The attempted assasination of Bush 43 in Kuwait by Iragi agents should have triggered hostilities with Iraq, the periodic targeting of coalition forces
patrolling the no-fly zones should have triggered hostilities, Iraq never fully living up to the terms of the Gulf War I cease-fire should have triggered hostilities. And after 9/11 there was a descion made, that we were going to finally deal with Iraq, as crosspatch rightly said he played games with the wrong administration and payed the price. When wars are faught soldiers die, and we salute their honor, courage and service to our country.

I doubt the U2 comment becu... (Below threshold)

I doubt the U2 comment becuase it would have been redundant. We had 12 years of Saddam's forces targeting, "painting" and firing upon UN aircraft all during operation Southern Watch. If that wasn't justification enough then what one more U2 flight do?

make44: "This cannot be so ... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

make44: "This cannot be so easily dispelled as tried in your original essay.'

Sure it can. The whole thing is damned silly. How so? Consider:

(1) The UN doesn't have and has never had any U-2 planes under its command. A U-2 painted in UN markings would be immediately spotted by any knowledgable observer as a bogey. In fact, it would so obviously be bogus that it would take about five minutes for the news to be all over the blogosphere.

(2) Iraq's ancient ack-ack guns couldn't get anywhere near a U-2. Those planes fly high. A U-2 pilot would just laugh at them. Actually, the Iraqi batteries would probably not ever fire on a U-2 because they wouldn't see it in the first place.

(3) Quoting the Guardian is about as convincing as quoting Jayson Blair. The Guardian is basically a publication of fabulists. Nothing it prints can be regarded as journalism. It's like the Sun without the Page 2 girls.

Faith+1So you doub... (Below threshold)


So you doubt what doesn't square w/ your "reality?"

That's why the flat-earthers never sailed beyond sight of the North Star, so the Earth remained flat.

Be glad that your forebears crawled out of their cave; otherwise that's probably where you'd be living.

Wow, what a hyperbolic coun... (Below threshold)

Wow, what a hyperbolic counter argument mak44. But try to address my point. See, I was one of those F-16 pilots who, on two occasions during my service was "painted" by Iraq radar while flying a UN mission. That's my "reality". Why would the US need to "fake" such an encounter. We already had 12 years of such things happening.

So, yes, based on my "reality" of actually having been in theater, seen Iraq forces up close and personal in the violating of UN sanctions, I find the idea of the US suddenly thinking to "fake" the story to be ridiculous.

I'm not the one living in a flat Earth...go ahead and keep living in your "reality"...

Actually, Saddam was firing... (Below threshold)

Actually, Saddam was firing upon US and British aircraft.

The UN doesn't have any military aircraft, PERIOD.

Just HOW stupid do people have to be to think there was some plot to fake an aircraft that the UN doesn't even possess?

As elaborate frauds go, that wouldn't fool anyone but the leftist morons who made it up.

Another point about paintin... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Another point about painting a U2.. At the altitude the U2 operates at, WHO IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO SEE THE PAINT JOB?

Hmmmm.I think I'll... (Below threshold)


I think I'll have to rely on the wisdom of Pikachu:


Pika pika.

Pika pika pikachu!

Translated: Doesn't everyone look at aircraft flying at 100,000 ft?

Well, sure I do, but I can'... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Well, sure I do, but I can't see em, even with my Winchester 45x spotting scope.


SomeGuyInDC said:<blockquot... (Below threshold)

SomeGuyInDC said:

Now, after over a year of botched reconstruction, Bush's approval rating is in the 30's. I would argue that having a democratically-elected, internationally-recognized government in Iraq and a moderately good situation in Afghanistan is pretty meaningless to the American people as long as American soldiers are being blown up and American tax payers are spending over $5.6 billion per month overseas. Americans usually care about results, not process.

The process is pretty important, though. While you call the reconstruction efforts "botched", there is no template for getting these types of things right. The administration warned reconstruction would be a "long, hard slog" and it has been completely correct in that assessment.

If the administration didn't foresee low approval ratings at this point in the process, they are far more naive than any group of politicians aught to be. Nation-building is supposed to be hard, and requires a tremendous amount of political as well as national will. It is normal for Americans to take a short-term, "what have you done for me lately" view. Just ask the Japanese automobile makers - they have successfully exploited this attitude to the point of bankrupting their US competition.

In sum, your point is moot. There are no surprises here to anyone with a brain. America may not love Bush at the moment, but changing that is just $1.80 gasoline away. In other words, you gotta dance with who brung ya, even if they step on your toes and call you clumsy.

Jay, What is your email add... (Below threshold)

Jay, What is your email address? I haven't been able to locate it on the site.

Adjoran<br ... (Below threshold)


You wrote: "Just HOW stupid do people have to be to think there was some plot to fake an aircraft that the UN doesn't even possess?"

For the answer to that question, just follow this link:


I admit I was the ... (Below threshold)

I admit I was the doofus who posted as the Pols. I apologize and ask for forgiveness. I was not intending to be a sock puppet. I was merely replaying the various pols in their own words and got carried away. I didn't think anyone would really think that John Kerry, Al Gore etc would be seriously posting.

But truely it was my mistake and a dumb one at that.

Tyranosaurus Rex or was it ... (Below threshold)

Tyranosaurus Rex or was it Truzenzuzex

You wrote: "Nation-building is supposed to be hard, and requires a tremendous amount of political as well as national will."

But wasn't it The Chimp himself who disdained "nation-building" and promised not to do so in the 2000 debates?

Eric, no offense taken. I d... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Eric, no offense taken. I didn't take your attempt seriously -- I just hijacked it as an attempt to give lee a bit of ribbing. And if anyone actually thought you were any of those pols, they're dumber than the folks I was discussing in this whole topic.

lee, my e-mail address is all over the place. Just send it to TempoMan49 (at) yahoo.com or -- here's th really radical one -- jaytea (at) wizbangblog.com.

Might not get to it too quickly, though, as I'm heading out soon.


mak44 claimed:B... (Below threshold)

mak44 claimed:

But wasn't it The Chimp himself who disdained "nation-building" and promised not to do so in the 2000 debates?

Well, lets Google up the Wayback Machine, shall we Sherman?

MODERATOR: Well, let's stay on the subject for a moment. New question related to this. I figured this out; in the last 20 years there have been eight major actions that involved the introduction of U.S. ground, air or naval forces. Let me name them. Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo. If you had been president for any of those interventions, would any of those interventions not have happened?

... [Gore's drivel]

BUSH: Make a couple comments.

MODERATOR: Sure, absolutely, sure. Somalia.

BUSH: Started off as a humanitarian mission and it changed into a nation-building mission, and that's where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price. And so I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation-building. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. I think our troops ought to be used to help overthrow the dictator when it's in our best interests. But in this case it was a nation-building exercise, and same with Haiti. I wouldn't have supported either.

MODERATOR: What about Lebanon?

BUSH: Yes.


BUSH: Yes.


BUSH: Yes. Some of them I've got a conflict of interest on, if you know what I mean.

So what say you now? Is this what you are talking about? Because I see a big difference between what you suggested he said, and what he really said.

Cousin DaveYou wro... (Below threshold)

Cousin Dave

You wrote: "(3) Quoting the Guardian is about as convincing as quoting Jayson Blair. The Guardian is basically a publication of fabulists. Nothing it prints can be regarded as journalism. It's like the Sun without the Page 2 girls."

Clearly, any source that challenges your "the world is flat" thesis is just another garbage rag.

No wonder you Pavlovian Puppies have never learned anything apart from salivating at the ringing of a bell.

If you don't like the messenger, kill him. It's amazing that folks of your ilk ever evolved enough to walk upright!

Truzenzuzex Humor... (Below threshold)


Humor me; what's the difference? And before you answer what you think it was, check out this link to be sure that you want to ascribe wharever that difference is to The Chimp:


mak44:Clearly, ... (Below threshold)


Clearly, any source that challenges your "the world is flat" thesis is just another garbage rag.

Hey mak, two words:

Washington Times

I can see you are shaking, now, just take it easy... We don't want any bleeding from the ears.. no mak... please, don't...


Somebody call an ambulance!

Dont even bother Truzenzuze... (Below threshold)

Dont even bother Truzenzuzex Maks skull is everybit as thick as a Cro-magnons.

Well, mak, here it is:... (Below threshold)

Well, mak, here it is:

I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. I think our troops ought to be used to help overthrow the dictator when it's in our best interests.

Get it now? Maybe? No?

Oh, and, I really don't do Comedy Central. I am an illegal insectoid alien. I don't have a sense of humor.

virgo: Dont eve... (Below threshold)


Dont even bother Truzenzuzex Maks skull is everybit as thick as a Cro-magnons.

Oh, so he was the guy in that commercial I saw!

Mak, how was that roast duck, anyway? Mango salsa - sounds yummy...

16 Mar 2003 Vice Pre... (Below threshold)

16 Mar 2003
Vice President Dick Cheney tells Meet the Press: "Let's talk about the nuclear proposition for a minute. We know that based on intelligence, that he has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He's had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."

30 Mar 2003
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells This Week with George Stephanopoulos: "the area... that coalition forces control... happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

31 Mar 2003
In a speech, Senate majority leader Bill Frist declares: "We simply cannot live in fear of a ruthless dictator, aggressor and terrorist such as Saddam Hussein, who possesses the world's most deadly weapons."

10 Apr 2003
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer declares: "We have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found."

28 May 2003
Paul Wolfowitz declares: "For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue -- weapons of mass destruction -- because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."

10 Sep 2003
In a speech to the National Press Club, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declares: "I said, 'We know they're in that area.' I should have said, 'I believe they're in that area.' Our intelligence tells us they're in that area, and that was our best judgment." [see previous quote above, March 30, 2003]

**Complicating matters somewhat was David Kay's interim report on the Iraqi WMD hunt. Regarding the threat of chemical weapons, the Iraq Survey Group reluctantly admitted:
Information found to date suggests that Iraq's large-scale capability to develop, produce and fill new CW munitions was reduced -- if not entirely destroyed -- during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of UN sanctions and UN inspections.

Despite evidence of Saddam's continued ambition to acquire nuclear weapons, to date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material.

And then David Kay suddenly resigned his post as head of the Iraq Survey Group and promptly told everyone within earshot that Saddam neither had any of those horrible WMDs, nor could he have ever developed any. Needless to say, this outcome posed a problem for the Bush administration.

I challenge anyone -- anyon... (Below threshold)

I challenge anyone -- anyone -- to actually go back into official records, statements, transcripts, or other documents and show ONE INSTANCE where Bush or any high-ranking member of his administration actually SAID that Saddam posed an imminent threat to the United States, or conclusively possessed WMDs.

Hmmm.Is this nonse... (Below threshold)


Is this nonsense going to come back up every six months from now until doomsday?

Uh, Jim, knowingly or unkno... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Uh, Jim, knowingly or unknowingly, you proved Jay's point. I'm sure he appreciates it.

P.S. The rather cute David Kay, er, quote at the end of your "evidence" is just plain hapless hearsay crap. No fact, no quote, just hearsay. Besides, even it was a real quote it wouldn't differ one iota from his "we we're all wrong" SIC testimony This adds nothing to the conversation.






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