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June 29, 2005

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» The Bush Speech from MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Not about the speech, but an essential complement: Chrenkoff's latest and always-indispensable Good News From Iraq. Most important: SUPPORT THE TROOPS! Click the graphic! (I just sent a donation to Armed Forces Relief Trust.)... [Read More]

» Just Wow from The nTrain
Tom Maguire links to an adored NYT editorial, which as most house editorials are, is just outright ridikkulous. …Another letter came from an opponent of the invasion who urged the American left to “get over its anger over President Bush&#... [Read More]

» Moe on the speech from StrangeThingsAfoot.com
Instapundit linked to two posts that bear mentioning. Just One Minute says the point is that we are in Iraq, for whatever reason, and we had better focus on the task at hand instead of looking back: Will the Democrats be able to continue looking ... [Read More]

» My Take from Funmurphys: the Blog
My impressions of the President's speech: His speech writers are much better at writing a speech than he is at delivering one. I vacillate on his giving it before a military audience: On the one hand, it smacks of using... [Read More]

» My Take from Funmurphys: the Blog
My impressions of the President's speech: His speech writers are much better at writing a speech than he is at delivering one. I vacillate on his giving it before a military audience: On the one hand, it smacks of using... [Read More]

» Fan Mail from Mark in Mexico
I received a comment to the George Bush speech post from a frequent visitor named "godessaradia". I assume that she is a she, if not then he can inform me. Here is the comment: [Read More]

» Re: Bush Iraq Speech: By The Numbers from tribe.net: justoneminute.typepad.com
http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2005/06/reality_comes_t.html Richard... [Read More]

» Someone thinks that reality has come to the Times from Tannerball
But has it? Read this at Just One Minute and see if you agree. My neighbor, a smart guy-business professor, is convinced that the problem with media bias is derived mostly from marketing, and not necessarily from an overriding political philosophy. [Read More]

» A Comment Worthy Of An Answer from Joust The Facts
I returned home to find that I had received the following comment in response to my post, below, regarding the Democrats' reaction to Pres. Bush's speech last night. [Read More]

» A Comment Worthy Of An Answer from Joust The Facts
I returned home to find that I had received the following comment in response to my post, below, regarding the Democrats' reaction to Pres. Bush's speech last night. [Read More]

» A Comment Worthy Of An Answer from Joust The Facts
I returned home to find that I had received the following comment in response to my post, below, regarding the Democrats' reaction to Pres. Bush's speech last night. [Read More]

» Stretching The Limits Of Believability from The Bernoulli Effect
The desperation of the Dems to find an effective cudgel with which to smite GWB has gone beyond comic into the unbelievable: Democrats are criticizing President Bush for raising the Sept. 11 attacks while he defends his plan to keep... [Read More]

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Comments

creepy dude

"The president, who is going to be in office for another three and a half years,..."

Assumption!

SaveFarris

And a pretty safe one: Even if Democrats run the table in 2006 and win all 33 Senate races, that still only gives them 60-40, and since you need 2/3 to Impeach (not to mention 61 to overcome a filibuster...).

Unless you're referring to a would-be assassin. In that case, I'm sure the Secret Service would like to have a word with you.

TexasToast

ISTM that what folks have done in the past has some bearing on what they might do in the future ....

Look, you're right - we are there and we have to make the best of it, but we need to develop a consensus of larger than 50.000000000001 percent on any given election day for actions like the Iraq adventure. We havent "cleared the swamp" - we seem to have gotten our army stuck in it - till...............

Geek, Esq.

TM:

Why didn't conservatives make a simpler point, and one much less controversial than an amorphous war on a tactic

While containment of Saddam was effective, it also involved unacceptably horrendous costs.

1. The sanctions inflicted horrible damage on Iraq's population while allowing Saddam and his co-conspirators to line their pockets. More Iraqis died from the sanctions than died from the war.

2.Moreover, containment of Saddam indirectly led to 911--it was the US troops in Saudi Arabia that really whipped up bin Laden and his ilk into launching their jihad against us. We simply could not afford to keep American troops in the Mideast indefinitely.

It seems that that argument is much more honest and much more compelling. Why didn't they make it?

SaveFarris

1. The only reason liberals care about people dying under opressive regimes while a Republican is in the White House is for political purposes only. Once a Republican Prez were to act (say in ... Somalia), lib support drops precipitously. If Bush were to use this talking point, the Left would come back with "just drop the sanctions". (See "Cuba, People's Republic of")

2. You think if Bush were to say "We need to find a way to get our troops out of Saudi Arabia", the Left's response would be anything but "HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"?

gt

You can't focus on what to do next if you don't first understand how you got there. I teach this to my 4 year old and one hopes the Bush administration understands it.

Polls do not show a solid majority supporting the war. What polls show is tha Americnas think they were misled, think the war was not worth it but still think we should see it through. That's not the same thing. If there isn't real progress (not speeches, but progress) the number of Americans that want to leave Iraq ASAP will only continue to grow. Although 58% in the WaPo poll say we should keep our forces in Iraq that number was 72% in 2003. 41% think we should withdraw. It won't take much change for a majority to advocate leaving.

This is not about the Democrats or about the media, no matter how much the Right wants to make it so. This is about Bush and his handling of the war.

toM

When are all you staunch brave war supporters going to do more than sit on your asses and enlist?

Your eagerness to have someone else die for your beliefs shows the hypocrisy at the core of your ideology.

creepy dude

Where's your imagination SF?

There's always the Nixon option...

TexasToast

Thinking again about your criticism of “looking back” instead of “looking forward”. Three points.

1. Monday morning quarterbacking is as American as mom, apple pie and Chevrolet. Why, for instance, is it necessary to “look back” to determine if John Kerry actually charged that VC or not? Sauce for the goose…..
2. These folks were so colossally wrong on so many points – WMDs as an imminent threat, the “connection to terrorism”, the idea that terrorism could be defeated by a military occupation that doesn’t last years, and, most importantly, the failure to do any significant planning to use the window of opportunity just after our catastrophic victory. What did we actually do in those first critical months to achieve the admittedly difficult but stated goals of the war? Is the example of our best effort the ideologically pure but practically inept CPA?
3. I just heard two "experts/spin doctors" on Diane Rheem in the car - one saying that we need to stay there to support Iraqi progress to democracy and one saying that that we need to leave to support Iraqi progress to democracy. So – looking forward – it seems our choice is digging in for years of insurgency suppression or getting the hell outta the way. I really don’t see a middle way that has a snowball’s chance.


PS I know that you guys can’t give up on the connection to terrorism. That’s all you have left. Saddam had no more connection to terrorism when we invaded than he did when we were “friends” in the sense that the enemy of my enemy (Iran) is my friend. How, exactly, did 911 make Saddam a threat large enough to call for this kind of effort? Must be tough to give up that old line republican religion of realpolitik.

Grant

Sorry, toM, but contra your desire, we live in a civilian run democracy. We civvies CAN have opinions on matters on which we do not directly participate. Anyways, the military is funded, in part, with my tax dollars.

Would you rather we have some sort of military junta, so everyone's opinions on war wouldn't be "hypocritical"?

RD

This crap about all those supporting the war having to enlist is idiotic. I suppose you wanted Bill Clinton to have Chelsea strapped into a F-117 for Kosovo, or perhaps do a quick Delta Force tour in Somalia? Equally bankrupt intellectually is the notion that only those who have seen combat have the moral authority to commit troops to combat. By that standard, the only leaders in World War II who could have done that were Hitler and Mussolini, with Churchill coming in a distant third.

Drums

I'd like to see an alternative history of the last 3 years in which we did not invade. I think any anti-war argument needs to start there. Wouldn't Saddam Hussein likely be free of sanctions by now due to high oil prices? Wouldn't he have unbelievable amounts of cash and be a little bit angry with the US? Wouldn't his French friends have been rewarded beyond their wildest dreams with new oil and industrial contracts?

SaveFarris

toM,

*Am I also not allowed to have an opinion about cops & firemen since I'm not a member of that fraternity?
*Can I never critique a movie having passed on being a stuntman?
*Am I not allowed to talk about the menu at McDonalds since I am not a cow?
*If I commute, is my opinion on traffic invalidated?

Please toM, tell us what we are and are not allowed to talk about. I thought there was such a thing as the First Amemdment, but apparently toM has other ideas...

Forbes

TM: Responses from these lefty types indicates they still don't get what even the NYTimes will admit to.

Listen to the child-like responses: Impeachment is an answer; Iraq's a quagmire; Iraq sanctions led to 9/11 (Wow, that's novel! Guess you forgot about bin Laden's fatwas in '96 & '98, the African embassy bombings and the USS Cole); Bush is a 4 year old, and foreign policy should be developed in response to public polling; and finally...ta da...the Chickenhawk argument (Let me know when the military starts taking middle aged old farts, and I'll be the first in line, but until then all the military aged males in my family have already served in Iraq).

And Geek, I love your "My hindsight is better than your hindset" argument, straw man "honesty" and all. You can't even respond to the gist of the NYTimes article, or TM's proposition:

"Will the Democrats be able to continue looking forward, and actually contribute to a debate about what to do next? I wonder if they can avoid the temptation of staring in the rear view mirror."

Asked, and answered! Bingo! The response is like Pavlov's dog! The gift that keeps on giving!

Keep it up, these are pursuasive arguments for the DU crowd!

Nahanni

SaveFarris,

You are a poster child for the old adage "It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool then to open it and remove all doubt.".

Please come back when you understand the nature of the subject and can argue your points like an adult instead of a petulant, whinging 13 year old spoiled brat. 'k, thx!

Now go away, you are bothering the grown ups.

POUNCER

"Saddam had no more connection to terrorism when we invaded than he did when we were “friends” in the sense that the enemy of my enemy (Iran) is my friend. "

Well, in the sense that Saddam had FAILED to destabilize our supposed mutual enemy Iran, and had SUCCEEDED in destablizing our not-very-likeable-or-democratic-but-still-fairly-reliable-in-an-"our-S.O.B"-sort-of-fashion friend Kuwait, yeah, I DO think he was correctly perceived as more of a threat post-1991 than prior.

So did the U.K.

So did the U.N.

From 1991 to 2001 the squabbles between two or more groups of people of the same color speaking the same language and nominally worshiping according to the guidance of the same holy book -- all half a world away -- didn't concern many leaders or voters in the United States.

After September 11, 2001, that changed.

Imagine, if you will, that the Pentagon, Flight 93, and the WTC had all been brought down by terrorists from Sierra Leone. Don't you suppose we would now regard Mugabe of Zimbabwe or the Nazi-like National Islamic Front (NIF) of the Sudan in much the way we look as Quaddfy of Libya or the Baathists of Syria and Iraq? The connection has less to do with the particular group and their motivations as to do with who has demonstrated the greatest danger. Islamo-Fascists proved to be the squeaky wheel, and Saddam got himself greased.

If various dictators in Asia, Africa and South American are clever enough to learn from the example of Iraq and Afghanistan they will urgently attempt to keep their local drug thugs and other dangerous characters from "squeaking" loudly enough to engage the attention of the US. If not, well, the Army seems to be fully engaged but there are lots of nukes aboard ships and planes and maybe the gentle approach -- having been tried and shown wanting in Iraq -- will give way to the more emotionally satisfying "quick fix": "Nuke 'em all, and let God salvage his own."

It suprises me that the political factions of the West most traditionally appalled by the prospect of nuclear war aren't devoutly and publically praying that mere conventional war succeeds.


creepy dude

Look: The Democrats have NO POWER! They're holding hearing in the basements, getting their mics cut off, etc.

I say to my Republican friends: RUN THE COUNTRY!!! (just not into the ground, please).

You wanted it you got it. If all you can do is whine, then step down.

Will Allen

The sanctions regime was going to collapse, because too many actors, some on the U.N. Security Council, wanted the sanctions regime to collapse. Hussein was not going to be contained well into the future. It really came down to whether one wanted the Tikrit Mafia to run Iraq for the next several decades, with all that meant to the rest of the region, which means likely locking in place the system of despotism which has held sway for 70 years. It was that system of despotism which led to 9/11.

This was always a risky venture, in the superficial sense. In the deeper sense, given the rotten nature of the status quo, it wans't all that risky. I would most fault the Bush Administration for failing to explain this well in public, and I think this error stems from a fear of seeming to cold-blooded in explaining the strategic situation.

The most important mineral resource in the world is located in the Persian Gulf, vital to the well-being of nearly every human on earth. Thus, the U.S., as the world's most powerful nation, is inevitably forced to be involved with the extraction of that resource, and as much as other nations may decry U.S. power, they desperately want the U.S. to be involved in that extraction. If the U.S. Navy didn't exist, Japan, Europe, India, China, and other nations would have to invent it.

The model for extraction which has been employed for the past 70 years or so, slavery by proxy, in which we pay tribute to, and protect, despots in return for access to oil, while they tyrannnize the populations which sit atop of the oil, is what led to 9/11. The model, if left intact, will eventually lead to an older model of resource extraction, after the Jihadis become more tactically and technologically proficient, and are thus able to replicate 9/11 on a larger scale.

That older model, which goes back to pre-historic man, is simple mass annhilation of groups which impede extraction of the desired resource. The rest of the world desperately desires the oil in the Persian Gulf every bit as much as Americans do, and, when push comes to shove, they aren't going to be willing to let it stay in the ground, nor are they goung to be willing to have jihadis engage in mass attacks around the globe. The oil is coming out, and the only open question is how many people get slaughtered in the process. If the populations of the Persian Gulf do not achieve self-government, including governing their mineral wealth, and then trade peacably and profitably with the rest of the world, a conflict every bit as bloody, if not bloodier, than WWII looms, except this conflict will be decidedly one sided.

If we leave Iraq without it's population having achieved self-government (and it was always an iffy thing), we'll be back in the region in force within 20 years, perhaps on the sooner end of that scale. When that happens, however, nation-building is not even going to be on the to-do list, at least not until after the region has been turned into a gigantic abattior.

ralph

"You can't focus on what to do next if you don't first understand how you got there. I teach this to my 4 year old and one hopes the Bush administration understands it."

QT, your 4 year old needs to be teaching you. To those of us who believe in taking the war to the terrorists instead of waiting for them here, its abundantly clear how we got there and why. It will never be clear to you as there is none so blind as those who will not see. Furthermore, progress in Iraq will not persuade sceptics should as yourself, as they simply deny it. Nevermind the creation of a democracy, elected government, constitution-in-progress, governmental institutions, support for the government and participation in it for the first time ever by the citizenry, you will measure progress only by the actions of the terrorists. In your "thinking," as long as the terrorists remain committed to their cause of enslavement and terror, we are not making progress and should surrender to them. Thank God our forefathers were not the selfish, faint-hearted type so common today or our democracy would never have materialized or would be long gone.

SaveFarris

The world according to Nahanni:

chickenhawk: adult.
pointing out the logical fallacy of the chickenhawk argument: "petulant, whinging 13 year old spoiled brat".

Thanks!

POUNCER

"You can't focus on what to do next if you don't first understand how you got there."

Your four-year-old never plays blindman's bluff or pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, I take it?

Adults who haven't yet had the pleasure may find the novels of former-jockey Dick Francis instructive. Often the protagonist wakes up finding himself, quite without any understanding of what led to the circumstance, locked in the bilge of a sailboat or handcuffed to the steering wheel of an abandoned car or otherwise confined in a dangerous situation. The plot then slowly reveals (a) how the hero copes, and (b)why the villains have taken such pains. [(A) He patiently and competently persists. (B) They're Evil. ]

Inspirational reading for a rainy day.

creepy dude

Reality comes to the Times. Whatever.

More importantly, Reality is coming to the Bush administration:

From todays WP:

"The Bush administration disclosed yesterday that it had vastly underestimated the number of service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking medical treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and warned that the health care programs will be short at least $2.6 billion next year unless Congress approves additional funds.

Veterans Affairs budget documents projected that 23,553 veterans would return this year from Iraq and Afghanistan and seek medical treatment. However, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson told a Senate committee that the number has been revised upward to 103,000 for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. He said the original estimates were based on outdated assumptions from 2002."

Geek, Esq.

A big problem going forward is that we really never had an honest debate about the Iraq war in this country. On one side, we had the "NO BLOOD FOR OIL/screw the Kurds and Shiites" reactionaries, and on the other we had "MUSHROOM CLOUD! THEY'RE COMING RIGHT FOR US!" hysterical propagandists.

Had we had a real debate on the subject (sorry the blogosphere doesn't count)in this country, perhaps a more forthcoming statement of our objectives there, and a more realistic look at the likely aftermath of invasion, would have occurred.

But, right now we're still struggling between "US OUT OF IRAQ NOW" and "YOU GODDAMN LIBERAL PUSSIES."

Crank

We need a new Godwin's Law to deal with the knee-jerk invasion of lefty trolls to every thread on every conservative blog with the "why don't you enlist" whine. I'm tired of even bothering to link back to the many refutations of this point. Heck, we'll make it Crank's Law if nobody else wants to claim it: every time a left-wing blogger or commenter cries "chickenhawk" or complains about war supporters not fighting the war, the left-winger has lost the argument.

ForNow

Re: the sanctions

Saddam's parades of dead babies are exposed as a cynical charade
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/05/25/wirq25.xml
by Charlotte Edwards, filed May 25, 2003, the Telegraph (UK)

Suffer The Children
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&biw=1150&q=%22Suffer+The+Children%22+%22Andrew+Bolt%22&btnG=Search
by Andrew Bolt, June 16, 2003, Herald Sun (Australia)

Confessions of an Anti-Sanctions Activist
http://www.meforum.org/article/548
by Charles M. Brown, Summer 2003, Middle East Forum

Propagandizing Sanctions
by Matthew McAllester of Newsday, May 24, 2003, Sun Journal via Newsday and other newspapers. This article is unfortunately no longer available gratis (if at all) online, so it's the one which I'll quote, 75 words:
Under the sanctions regime, “we had the ability to get all the drugs we needed,” says Ibn Al-Baladi’s chief resident, Dr. Hussein Shihab. “Instead of that, Saddam Hussein spent all the money on his military force and put all the fault on the U.S.A. Yes, of course the sanctions hurt - but not too much, because we are a rich country and we have the ability to get everything we can by money. But instead, he spent it on his palaces."

Steve White

After some of the juvenile insults in the comments, it's refreshing to see a sober analysis stated by Will Allen.

I hope liberals would acknowledge an essential truth in Allen's statement: all industrialized countries need oil to run, and all developing countries (e.g., China and India) will need oil to develop. Until the day comes when another energy source proves itself both viable and practical, oil, gas, coal and nuclear are what we have. There's no other option. And the Persian Gulf has a lot of oil.

I recall, shortly after 9/11, the liberal argument that we needed to understand the "root causes" of terrorism, particularly in the Middle East. President Bush actually agrees, and notes that a major root cause was 60 years of American/European foreign policy that sought stability in the Middle East by installing thugs in power. They were thugs, but they were our thugs. Democracy was sacrificed as the thugs maintained themselves in power by the means typical and usual for thugs in that part of the world.

GWB has said it clearly: there is no stability wthout democracy. Mr. Allen notes that for the world to continue to run, we need the oil, and so we have a choice: either work to democratize the region (and one part of that is getting rid of genocidal thugs like Saddam) so as to ensure that all people benefit from the extraction of oil, or accept that oil is more important than democracy, in which case repression and perhaps even mass annihilation will be required. Saddam won't be the last monster generated in the second scenario.

I ask liberals: which do you prefer?

It's really that simple.

Ralph notes that part of our strategy is to take the war to the terrorists. That's correct and it's absolutely necessary -- I'd prefer to see the terrorists killed in Fallujah than Chicago. Ralph notes also that progress will be determined by the creation of democracy in the region. I think that's the correct metric.

Liberals and conservatives in America have to be like-minded in the pursuit of democracy, personal liberty, human rights and freedom around the world. We have to agree on the benefits that these ideals bring to the world. Sometimes quiet diplomacy will advance that. Sometimes it will be necessary to whack a genocidal dictator. Whatever it takes.

Because the alternative is, as Mr. Allen pointed out, a giant abattior.

Diggs

Just remember this about the "chickenhawk" defense. If Leftists got their way, and only those of us who are in the military and have been to Iraq, could opine about Iraq, the opinion polls would show that support for the war had miraculously jumped to about 98%.
Of course there are literally hundreds of blogs written by soldiers who have served in OIF. I used to blog on a fairly popular one that supported the war effort, prior to getting stuck behind a mil firewall that only lets me read blogs. The chickenhawk argument didn't come up there, because it was obvious to even the casual reader that I was supporting the war while fighting the war.
If lefties like toM want to give us veterans that much power over their personal lives, the power to control who gets to say what about all things military, then they must be even more idiotic than they sound in these comments sections.
But to ease your mind, toM, this veteran is committed to the idea of, and Constitutionally protected right of, free speech. When was it that you, toM, raised your right hand and promised to protect that right, and all other rights granted under the Constitution, against all enemies, foreign and domestic?
Never? Thought so.
But you are still able to enjoy free speech?
Your welcome.

toM

The point was that the majority of you brave brave war supporters are really a bunch of pussies that want someone else or someone elses children to die for what you believe in.

You lack the courage to stand behind your beliefs. Much like the draft dodging AWOL, intellectually incurious dolt you follow.

TexasToast

How interesting !

Will Allen gives us a Hobbsian world view and says, in short, it really was about oil. [cynical realist] while ForNow gives us the old standby “Saddam was a bad man” argument [bleeding heart romantic]. You guys are on the same side?

Will

So are we going to create a new British empire to insure control or resources? Isn’t that kinna – like – 19th century? Is “democratization a charade?

ForNow

How about the folks in the soccer stadium in Chili? Why didn’t we go after Pinochet if these were our reasons?

Ted

Steve --

I wonder where the people of Iraq would rather see terrorists killed.

Texas Cannibal?

Folks in a soccer stadium *in Chili?*

I draw the line at cannibalism.

TexasToast

Don't knock it till you try it! Chile is great on everything. Its Texas catsup!

Will Allen

Apparently, Texas, you didn't read my post in it's entirety. What we have been doing for the past eighty years or so ( the seventy years I mentioned earlier was a little off; not subtracting years well today) is merely a variant of the British Empire model. We have been paying off and protecting despots who tyrannize their populations, and in return we gain access to oil. That model was failing since the 70s, and finally failed catastrophically on 9/11. An attempt to keep that model operating will only ensure more catastrophe, finally resulting in world-historical blood-bath.

Given that the oil in the region WILL be extracted, and given that the current model of pseudo-colonialism has failed, there are two remaining options for extracting the oil. Either the blood-bath mentioned above will take place, after which the oil will be extracted amidst the corpses, or the populations of the Persian Guld will become self-governing, including the self-government of their mineral wealth, followed by those populations trading peacably and profitably with the reat of the world.

Those are the options, and all fantasies of near-future global non-dependence on Persian Gulf oil, aside, we best get down to soberly deciding which path is preferred. I, for one, desperately wish to avoid a titanic blood-bath, so I desperately desire to the population of the Persian Gulf become self-governing. Since the model employed for the past 80 years is no longer workable, we are thus left to take large risks in an effort to have the population of the Persian Gulf become self-governing.

Unfortunately, the old status quo had become so rotten, and destructive technology increasingly more ubiquitous, that we don't have the luxury of 80 more years to have things slowly evolve.

James Stephenson

First of all, I like Tom, as a veteran, I agree with Tom. Only veterans can make foreign policy. Plus with my brother in Kuwait now, and another headed for a tour of the Med. I guess I can say whatever the hell I please.

Anyway. Bush could never have come out and said. Look, Saddam is a cancer in region. Much like all of those dictatorships, so what we plan to do is this. We will invade Iraq, knock a tin man off his throne. Then we will let the people of Iraq form a government. Other people in the region will look at Iraq and say why not us. There by knocking more tin men off their throne and bring democracy and government by the people to their countries. This flower, so delicate must be watched carefully. And as a side bar, I will tell those idiots stupid enough to suit up, to come out and meet our military head on.

Lets look at the success of this plan:

Saddam gone, Iraq building a Constitution now.
Qaddafi gives up his nuke program and gives us Info on the Nuke Black Market. Gives us more leverage in Pakistan.
Syria kicked out of Lebanon. Chance for those people to make their own way without outside pressue.
Syria leader Assad in trouble at home.
Iran, The mullahs are getting more pressure from their own people everyday.
Saudi, actually cracking down on their Extremists.
Palistine electing a new Prime Minister.

But if Bush had said this, the hostility from those regimes would have been bad.

Brian O'Connell

Just remember this about the "chickenhawk" defense. If Leftists got their way, and only those of us who are in the military and have been to Iraq, could opine about Iraq, the opinion polls would show that support for the war had miraculously jumped to about 98%.

No, no, no. You completely misunderstand the chickenhawk argument. They're not saying that only those in the military can have an opinion about Iraq. They're saying that only those in the military can be for the war in Iraq. It's perfectly acceptable for non-military people to have an opinion on Iraq if it's the correct opinion.

Once pro-war civilians are out of the debate, the anti-war position would easily surpass, in numbers the pro-war military position.

Crank

Diggs - And may I say, from this war supporter: thanks.

TexasToast

Diggs - And may I say, from this war opponent: thanks.

pittspilot

By that standard, the only leaders in World War II who could have done that were Hitler and Mussolini, with Churchill coming in a distant third.

I don't for a second buy into the chickenhawk argument.

But this is not a good rejoinder. Churchill was well known for his military exploits. He saw combat all over the show, and was in at the front of what was to be the last calvary charge in history.

shawn

Hey toM, When are you going to join me; I am in uniform.

Any time your ready other than to open you trap and spit insults step up.

TexasToast

Seriously Will, we seem to be continuing the policy of psudo-colonialism. Whatever Iraqi government emerges, we can be certain that it will be viewed, rightly or wrongly, as an American puppet placed in the middle of the Persian Gulf oil patch to control the resource. Does anyone seriously think we won’t retain basing rights?

The Iraqis have freedom to make their own decisions – until we say they don’t. Mr Bremer himself drove this truth home explicitly on at least one occasion in public, and I’ll bet the point has been made much more forcefully in private. Why should we think that we will be any more welcome in Iraq (long term) than we are in Saudi?

My point is that it doesn’t seem to me that we are changing the paradigm that you set out that I will agree we have pursued since 1945. We are just changing the window dressing.
The last time we changed a government by force or stealth in the Middle East was Iran in 1956. That came apart 20 odd years later. What realistic hope do we have that Iraq will be substantially different?

We may be killing a lot of weeds now – but I fear we will just encourage the development of herbicide resistant terrorists. Bleak, I know. I hope you are right and I am wrong and this is truly a new thing we are doing – and not the same old song with a new drum riff.

rvastar

"The point was that the majority of you brave brave war supporters are really a bunch of pussies that want someone else or someone elses children to die for what you believe in. You lack the courage to stand behind your beliefs."

What if I replace "supporters" with "opposers"?

You obviously feel that this is an illegal war and that an innocent country was invaded by an imperialistic American military. Why aren't you - as a person of superior conscience, morality, intellect, and courage - on the next flight to Iraq to join up with the "insurgents"? Since, in your mind, the only conscionable way of supporting the war is to actually join the military, travel to Iraq, and fight with the US, it logically follows that the only conscionable way of opposing the war is to actually travel to Iraq, join the "insurgents", and fight against the US. Or is it that you're someone who wants "someone else or someone elses children to die for what you believe in"? I'm sure that Zarqawi and his "children" would love the help. And quite sure that alot of people here would be willing to chip in for your ticket. Let us know.

Nahanni: seems to me that you're the one that doesn't "understand the nature of the subject". SaveFarris' was commenting on toM's implication that if a person isn't willing to join the army and fight in the war in Iraq, a person has no right to support the war in Iraq. Let's take the police example: SaveFarris' implication is that if toM is correct, does that mean that he also shouldn't support the police patrolling the streets of his local community?

Since the Left's "chickenhawk" argument is based on the notion that you shouldn't expect other people to risk their lives doing something dangerous if you're not willing to do it yourself, does that mean that if a murderer kills someone either of you - Nahanni OR toM - loves, you aren't going to expect the police to try to apprehend that murderer? After all, the murderer is obviously dangerous, having killed someone...so instead of expecting police officers to risk their lives in catching them, you're going to join the police force and catch them yourselves. Right?

"Much like the draft dodging AWOL, intellectually incurious dolt you follow"

I'm confused here: do you mean the draft-dodger Clinton or the dolt Kerry? What do they have to do with this?

Sweetie

"A big problem going forward is that we really never had an honest debate about the Iraq war in this country"

No debate!!!!!!! There has been a continuous debate of various degrees of seriousness for THREE YEARS! The left lost the debate as evidenced by the 2004 elections. The debate will continue for another 18 months and the left will have another chance to reverse their situation. Somehow the left claiming they have been silenced strikes me as insufficient to get that job done.

Jamie

creepy, Texas, others:

You want to know why we keep beating our heads against the faux-brick walls of your ideology? (Probably not, but anyway...) A minor component is sheer cussedness, which obviously you possess in at least equal measure or you wouldn't stick around here. The better part is this -

We recognize that Bush's second term is going to end in 2008. We recognize the possibility that a Democrat will win the White House next time around. We recognize that - as with Japan and Germany - we will not be done in the Middle East by that time, and we may have a Democrat CIC. We recognize that the Middle East is The Source, and that realpolitik, in contrast to TT's words far above, is not hard to give up but is deadly in this geopolitical framework - stability for its own sake, "the enemy of my enemy" without regard to the behavior of my non-enemy, is the way to miss HUGE threats to future national security. If we leave Iraq before it's ready to stand on its own, surrounded by non-democracies and pseudo-democracies and itself a novice at self-determination, we:

1. Squander our hard-won credibility - for once in the past fifty or so years, we've so far done what we said we'd do;
2. Condemn one or more ethic minorities in Iraq to the tender mercies of whatever faction manages to grab power there;
3. Orphan democratic movements throughout the region;
4. Lose out on a big chunk of energy portfolio diversification and put ourselves again in the Saudis' hands;
5. Lose an incredibly valuable intel/translator/interlocutor source and an actual Arab ally;
6. and have to do it all again one day.

My God. Do you not get the stakes here? If we had stopped at Afghanistan, even if we'd taken out Bin Laden - do you really think al Zarqawi would have folded his tent? How about Qaddafi? Do you think Saddam would have wiped sweat from his brow in relief, turned from his evil ways, and become a liberal (in the older sense) leader in the region? Is al Qaeda, in your world view, the only terrorist organization operating around the globe, or just the only one worth stopping? Would stopping al Qaeda bring an end to Islamic terrorism? Are you interested in bringing an end to Islamic terrorism?

I for one just hope you can field a candidate in 2008 who is interested, who does recognize threat to Our Way Of Life (not nearly so much the Red-Staters' as the Blue-Staters', mind you) posed by the terrible clash between Western values and hardline fundamentalist Islamic values, and has some history to prove it. Your party's de-facto platform is such that the candidate has to have demonstrated his/her hawkishness (hello Lieberman); a Republican candidate need not necessarily have proven him/herself a hawk because the party platform necessitates it, but a Democratic candidate has to be, well, not Kerry, as long as your party is keeping company with MoveOn.

Geek, Esq.

I said there was no HONEST debate.

Forbes

Ahhh, now Geek's comment makes sense--the Senate and the House were DISHONEST in the debate over the use of force resolutions under the War Powers Act.

That one powerful argument! I'm swayed. Let's start the HONEST debate now. You go first. The rest of us will join in when you get to 2005.

Forbes

Ahhh, now Geek's comment makes sense--the Senate and the House were DISHONEST in the debate over the use of force resolutions under the War Powers Act.

That one powerful argument! I'm swayed. Let's start the HONEST debate now. You start first. The rest of us will join in when you get to 2005.

Forbes

Sorry, I stuttered, and it come out twice.

TexasToast

Jamie
1. Squander our hard-won credibility - for once in the past fifty or so years, we've so far done what we said we'd do;

I didn’t know we said we would invade a country for what non-state actors were doing to us in Africa, Aden and NYC. “If you hit me again Jamie, I’m going to punch out Cecil!”
We picked out Saddam to overthrow for the acts of others? How does punching out the wrong man strengthen our credibility against the perpetrators? The only way it does is to link terrorists to Saddam, which is why it’s the current R talking point.

2. Condemn one or more ethic minorities in Iraq to the tender mercies of whatever faction manages to grab power there;

This is our job? They have been fighting each other longer than this country has existed. I really don’t think we will “solve” it , or even contain it, unless we maintain a military presence indefinitely. They will have to work it out themselves.

3. Orphan democratic movements throughout the region;

We have adopted them? We are supporting fifth columnists in every Arab country? How would we feel of foreign powers were funding “movements” in this country? Remember the Chinese political fundraising ruckus?

4. Lose out on a big chunk of energy portfolio diversification and put ourselves again in the Saudis' hands;

So you agree it was the oil. We’re the strongest – we’re taking it – right? Law of the jungle. Nasty, brutish and short.

5. Lose an incredibly valuable intel/translator/interlocutor source and an actual Arab ally;

How is a perceived puppet valuable to us in a conflict with our opponents? We’re winning hearts and minds by imposing western values? If “liberals” are traitors for mentioning the word NAZI, how will some Islamic demagogue paint a “free” Iraq?

6. and have to do it all again one day.

Absolutely correct. We will have to do it once a generation – forever.

Diggs

toM says to me, "You lack the courage to stand behind your beliefs. Much like the draft dodging AWOL, intellectually incurious dolt you follow."
At year 20 in the Army, I'm a bit bewildered by that statement. Then again, I'm a bit bewildered by most everything he says.
toM, it's my guess that your sacrifices for the good of mankind, strung together, would equal about the same amount of time Kerry spent in Cambodia.

Harry Arthur

toM, "The point was that the majority of you brave brave war supporters are really a bunch of pussies that want someone else or someone elses children to die for what you believe in."

Another corrageously anonymously posted comment to people about whom you know little if anything and to whom I seriously doubt you would offer the comment in person.

I recommend you stick to speaking for yourself on this particular subject. Personally, I spent 25 years of the most potentially productive years of my life doing EXACTLY as you suggest all over the world. I won't bother explaining the financial, personal and family sacrificies our family made to protect your privilege to offer your venomous and arrogant comments, quite frankly because I don't think you really care. Your objective is to make debating points, isn't it?

Sleep peacefully, there are very brave men and women standing guard on the wall, most of whom hold the "draft dodging, AWOL, intellectually incurrious dolt", popularly elected by the majority of the American people, in very high regard as a leader worthy to be followed.

BTW, just for educational purposes, you and Michael Moore have got it exactly backwards. We don't want ourselves or our children to die for our beliefs. To loosely quote another great American, Gen George Patton, we want those who would do us harm to die for THEIR beliefs. And just in case you're very worried that the enemies of America might be at our borders, there are many of us old retired military types who would not hesitate to bear arms in her defense again should the need arise.

Finally, the whole "chickenhawk" ad hominem argument is pathetic on its face for multiple reasons clearly and succinctly addressed on this and other threads ad nauseum previously. Though arguing along these lines does have a certain flavor of "intellectual incurriousity" about it. Perhaps that is why you are so expert on the subject of "doltedness". Surely one as bright as yourself can do better? Or perhaps you should consider Nahanni's advice.

Diggs

To Crank, and Texas Toast, I appreciate your thanks. We all do.

jukeboxgrad

Someone said "Saudi, actually cracking down on their Extremists."

I guess you must mean this.

Someone else said "Does anyone seriously think we won’t retain basing rights?"

Good point. There are strong indications we're building permanent bases (link, link, link).

"we will just encourage the development of herbicide resistant terrorists."

The CIA has an opinion on that subject.

By the way, the pathetic fiction that we're there fighting terrorism is revealed by simply considering this and this.

Will Allen

Texas, how we are perceived, and how the others perceive the Iraqi government, is of secondary importance. The only thing that matters is how the Iraqi populace views their government. If processes are in place by which the Iraqi populace lends regular, legitimate, consent (as opposed to what occurs in Iran) to their government, including the option of candidates which advocate telling the U.S. to leave, success will be had.

One of the great misconceptions of this conflict is that we have to get people to like us. That doesn't matter. What matters is that the Iraqi people control their country, including their oil. At that point, enlightened self interest kicks in, and they can decide whether it is preferable to have hostile relations with the U.S., or to have a productive trading relationship with the U.S., even though it is not a relationship infused with affection. I suspect the Iraqi are as capable of pursuing their self-interest as capably as any people, IF they can succeed at managing on-going self-government.

Such a government would be hugely destabilizing to the regimes in Saudi Arabia and Iran as well. Hell, just having an oil-rich Arab state dominated by the Shia' is destabilizing. Given the large reactionary elements in the House of Saud, this probably means we will eventually tangle with them on some level as well. When this occurs, it will be far more manageable if Iraq is much closer to fully exploiting it's oil extraction potential.

The largest problem with the war opposition is that they offer no compelling vision of how to move from the failed model that has been in place for about 80 years (it really does pre-date WWII), other than to live in a fantasy land in which the inevitable extraction of Persian Gulf oil is somehow ignored. As stated above, the oil is going to be extracted, and the U.S. is far from the only entity which demands it. The open question is how much blood will be spilled in the process. Those that simply assume away or ignore the issue are, whether deliberately or by default, embracing the old, failed, model of slavery by proxy, and thus going down a path that eventually leads to slaughter on a scale not seen since the middle of the last century.

creepy dude

Take it over to Belmont Club, WA, where they specialize in grandiloquent historical philosophizing which always boils down to "blood must be spilled."

Me, I think we should parachute in a crackerjack squad of psychotherapists.

Will Allen

creepy, thanks for proving my point. You appear to specialize in squeezing your eyes shut, sticking your fingers in your ears, and mumbling to yourself, "I won't think about it... I won't think about it...". Sort of a Scarlett O'Hara for a new century. Congratulations.

TM

From Geek, 8:05 AM

Why didn't conservatives make a simpler point, and one much less controversial than an amorphous war on a tactic

While containment of Saddam was effective, it also involved unacceptably horrendous costs.

1. The sanctions inflicted horrible damage on Iraq's population while allowing Saddam and his co-conspirators to line their pockets. More Iraqis died from the sanctions than died from the war.

2.Moreover, containment of Saddam indirectly led to 911--it was the US troops in Saudi Arabia that really whipped up bin Laden and his ilk into launching their jihad against us. We simply could not afford to keep American troops in the Mideast indefinitely.

It seems that that argument is much more honest and much more compelling. Why didn't they make it?

What we have here is a failure to communicate - those were certainly some of the arguments on offer. In fact, here is how Hillary Clinton summarized the Bush case for war in Oct. 2002 (before rejecting it):

Some people favor attacking Saddam Hussein now, with any allies we can muster, in the belief that one more round of weapons inspections would not produce the required disarmament, and that deposing Saddam would be a positive good for the Iraqi people and would create the possibility of a secular democratic state in the Middle East, one which could perhaps move the entire region toward democratic reform.

Or here is an excerpt from Josh Marshall's discussion of Ken Pollack's "The Threatening Storm", which became *the* book, pre-war:

If deterrence is unlikely to work against Saddam, what about the alternative policy that many critics of regime change advocate: containment? After all, containment has kept Saddam from any major mischief for a decade. Couldn't we just run out the clock and wait for the guy to die? The answer, Pollack argues--again persuasively--is no. To begin with, no American administration ever chose the containment policy. Its pillars--economic sanctions, inspections, no-fly zones and the rest--were hastily assembled in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War with the assumption that Saddam's regime could not last long and would in any case abide by U.N. disarmament resolutions. When it became clear that neither assumption was true, bureaucrats and mid-level political appointees--first under Bush senior and then under Clinton--began cob-bling these pieces together into a policy that would keep Iraq on ice until something better came along. Only nothing ever did. And though containment did keep Saddam in the proverbial box for many years, over time it became a running wound, one that Saddam could tolerate far better than we.

Economic sanctions, the noose around Saddam's throat, have been getting looser for years--in part due to progressive adjustments by the United Nations, in part to the increasingly open flouting of the sanctions by Iraq's neighbors. Every year the burden of sanctions weighs lighter on Saddam--the regime gets to sell more oil for humanitarian and other non-military purposes. As the flow of revenue rises, more can be skimmed off for military objectives. And every year the diplomatic capital we must expend to keep the sanctions in place grows. The Muslim world blames us for the civilian deaths, the images of dying babies--even if these tragedies are mainly due to Saddam's manipulation of sanctions rather than the sanctions themselves. Similarly, we pay a heavy price for the garrisons that we maintain in the region to keep Iraq contained. One needn't be an Osama bin Laden appeaser to recognize that the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia has been a major rallying cry for al Qaeda recruitment. All told, if Saddam's in a box, we're in there with him. Yes, war against Iraq would be violent, destructive, and destabilizing. What supporters of containment often ignore is that their policy has quite similar results--just spread out over time. And for all its geopolitical costs, Pollack argues, containment still probably won't keep Saddam from eventually obtaining nuclear warheads. Which of course brings us back to unworkable deterrence.

M. Simon

The economy is up. Proof? Army enlistments are down.

Now for the bad news.

There will three purple fingers this year. From Iraq.

Bad news for the Dems in opposition.

If Kofi Annan is getting on the train the Dems need to wise up. The last groups getting aboard will be seen as opportunists.

richard mcenroe

Hey there, ToM! Did nine years in the infantry, buck private to XO of a mech company, got riffed, too old to go back (tried).

Didn't see your candyass outside your mama's basement.

ForNow

My post with the articles about the sanctions, was in response to the proposition that "The sanctions inflicted horrible damage on Iraq's population." I should have clarified that that was my point. As for the Saddam-was-a-bad-guy argument, it's not, at least in its usual form, a standalone argument.

ForNow

I finally found where the Matthew McAllester article "Propagandizing Sanctions" can be read. I should have searched for it via a long phrase from its body text rather than via title -- it had been published under various titles such as "Blood of Innocents" and "MDs now blame Saddam, not sanctions, in babies' deaths".
http://www.canadiangrassroots.ca/sections.php?op=viewarticle&artid=3562

Geek, Esq.

TM:

The question is why didn't conservatives/Republicans/the Bushies make that argument. The war was largely justified, ex ante, by Bush's side in terms of Saddam being a threat to the United States and WMD's.

It also would have put the onus back on the Stoppers. If a person was opposed to the sanctions and containment, and they're opposed to regime change, what's their alternative?

In retrospect, it is clear that Saddam was not much of a threat--especially in the WMD department or if compared to North Korea and Iran. So, naturally some folks are going to be suspicious when the people who "knew" that there were WMD's and that Saddam was a threat suddenly say it was all about shagadelic freedom, baby.

I say there was no honest debate because neither side was forced to address the real consequences of its proposed approach. The opponents of the war weren't forced to justify continued reliance on a sanctions regime that the most vocal anti-war activists had denounced as a 'genocide.' And it's quite obvious that the question of "what happens after Saddam" wasn't taken as seriously as it should have been by folks like Paul "Iraqi oil will pay for the reconstruction" Wolfowitz. (One shudders at such a financial whiz kid heading up the World Bank)

Jamie

Mr. Geek (I think that's the appropriate address for ", Esq.," and pardon me for not thinking it through before):

Your point is exactly what those on my side of the aisle have been saying since 2003: if not regime change, then what? If you choose to ignore all the non-WMD reasons for war with Iraq, I'd say it's your own business - except that your side keeps insisting that there weren't any such reasons, or (ever-so-slightly more honestly) that, while such reasons were given, Bush "didn't really mean them" or "didn't emphasize them enough." You came away from his policy pronouncements with a single and incomplete message; that is not our problem, except insofar as you keep trying to make it our problem.

The opponents to war, as you say, have yet to propose an alternative that doesn't have all the negative consequences I noted in my earlier long and cranky rant - either to what is being done or to what might have been done. Feel free to start that debate, any old time: the great Middle waited in vain to hear it in 2004, which means to me either that nobody has any other decent ideas, or that the Democratic side's timing is way off. (There's a third, disillusioned and ungenerous explanation: that your side knows perfectly well that we're doing the right thing in Iraq, but doesn't want to be held responsible for the inevitable costs of our right action. I prefer to think that the Democratic party is not that calculating, but I've always been a half-full-glass kind of gal.)

Texas: May I email you my response? I drafted one that turned out reaaaaaaalllly long - not polite to my co-commenters. But I'm very interested in answering your points if you want to continue the discussion. Much abridged: the discussion about whether we should be in Iraq is academic. It can continue into perpetuity, for fun and profit, and may inform future decisions, but it's a done deal. Bush can be relied on to keep on doing what needs to be done, both because he's a second-term president and because that's how he's always been, but a run-of-the-mill Democratic candidate or a Republican poll-lady-of-the-evening (to keep the blog family-friendly) who is afraid of bad press could wipe out all the good we will have done by then, as well as all our atonement for past sins of omission or commission.

Steven J.

Paul Wolfowitz's interview w/ Vanity Fair

"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason. There have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two. The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it. That second issue about links to terrorism is the one about which there's the most disagreement within the bureaucracy."

syn

One day, not too long ago, Texas Toast came riding into town in an LSD-driven, anti-humanity sticker-laden, smog-polluting Magic Bus demanding sane people hop on board.

Listen TexasToast, we don't want to ride with Creepy Dudes in a beaten-up rusted relic from the dead Age of Aquarius heading down the road to nowheresville....get it!

Cecil Turner

"The question is why didn't conservatives/Republicans/the Bushies make that argument."

Speaking only for myself, I wouldn't make that argument because I don't believe in it. (Not that any particular is untrue, but it's not, IMO, a valid reason to put young American servicemen in harm's way.)

"The war was largely justified, ex ante, by Bush's side in terms of Saddam being a threat to the United States and WMD's."

Yep. There were several casus belli (from a legal standpoint, my favorite is the one Kuwait settled on: a continuation of the previous conflict due to Saddam's manifest failures to live up to the cease-fire agreement), but proffering a laundry list is problematic. And if you have to choose one, Wolfowitz makes sense: "we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on."

Paul Arthur

Not to beat on a dead horse, but I too have a question for tom. Tom, what about those of us who are children of those who have served in the military, do we get to have an opinion on the subject? How about those of us with other relatives in the military? My Father is one of those fortunate one's who didn't give his life (in a life/death meaning) for his country, and for that I am grateful and proud to call him Dad. I have an uncle who did though, all so you can continue saying the stupid things you do. So again, do I get an opinion?

BumperStickerist

The BumperStickerist Unified-if-Unsupported-Theory-of-Why-There-Were-No-Stockpiles-of-WMDs-Found-in-Iraq-Despite-Everybody-Thinking-There-Were:

The Iraqi WMD Program Managers Lied.

They lied to their bosses, their bosses lied to Saddam.

Hell, Saddam might have believed he had Hellfire to rain on US troops.

Think about it, we know that Saddam was pouring money into WMD programs research if not the munitions themselves (the intelligence indicates that there were stockpiles, but that intelligence doesn't come from a UN inspector physically taking a baggie of white powder, cutting it with a switchblade, dipping his finger in, touching it to his tongue and saying 'Anthrax!" to his partner, Starsky)

TexasToast

Jamie

If you like - or you can post it on your blog and i'll read it there.

BumperStickerist

The BumperStickerist Unified-if-Unsupported-Theory-of-Why-There-Were-No-Stockpiles-of-WMDs-Found-in-Iraq-Despite-Everybody-Thinking-There-Were:

The Iraqi WMD Program Managers Lied.

They lied to their bosses, their bosses lied to Saddam.

Hell, Saddam might have believed he had Hellfire to rain on US troops.

Think about it, we know that Saddam was pouring money into WMD programs research if not the munitions themselves (the intelligence indicates that there were stockpiles, but that intelligence doesn't come from a first hand report - say, a UN inspector physically taking a baggie of white powder ala a 1970s police show, cutting into the bag with a switchblade, dipping his finger in, touching it to his tongue and saying 'Anthrax!" to his partner, Starsky)

Who's to say that the money was spent, mismanaged and you had years and years of reports saying that those barrels and tanks and shells were DEADLY WEAPONS.

Only to find out that, when they were needed, it was all a sham.

I mean, who would tell Saddam that the $100,000,000 (to pull a figure out of the air) spent on weaponizing Anthrax didn't work. Hell, you'd BUY some weaponized anthrax where you could and fill the out of the way drums and vials with baby powder and send back reports saying that everything was just fine.

And hope that you didn't either have to use the stuff or get caught in the lie.

Get Real

"Saddam's ties to terrorists were well documented". You are kidding, deranged, or delusional

Where would Saddam and Iraq be if we hadn't invaded - Saddam would be sitting on piles of oil money.
Another idiotic statement - why do you think oil prices are so high and unstable now? Invasion of Iraq. Saddam would be where he was 3 years ago - surrounded and contained. A straw man with no real power outside his borders.

Listen folks - ready and study the history of this region. We don't have any idea what the hell we are doing over there. Bush & Co. are totally incompetent and his simplistic belief that this is his God given mission aren't going to work. These folks have been used to wars and fighting for dozens if not hundreds of years. We will give up way before they do, especially when we kill their civilians and defile their religion and culture.

Get off the simplistic notion of spreading democracy - democracy can't be spread - it has to grow from within in order to take root.

Forbes

Your understanding of the history of the region is simplistic, at best, but now that the heel of Saddam's boot is off the throat of the Iraqi people, democracy has a chance to grow from within. Get real, yourself!

Cecil Turner

"Saddam's ties to terrorists were well documented". You are kidding, deranged, or delusional

I guess those checks for suicide bomber families don't count, eh? How about providing safe harbor for "al Qaeda in Iraq" (who apparently shares your view of Iraqi democracy)? It's hard to take that position seriously.

Today's WSJ makes a similar case for the opposition in general:

As best we can tell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's main suggestion Tuesday night was that we spend more on veterans benefits. Former General Wesley Clark--a man who should have something valuable to say on the subject of waging modern war (he wrote a book with that title)--lamented that Iraq has become a recruiting and training ground for terrorists, as if Abu Musab al-Zarqawi only entered his current profession in April 2003.
And sorry BumperStickerist, but that Unified-if-Unsupported-Theory ignores the fact that Iraqi CWs were quite effective years earlier:
In 1984 Iraq became the first nation to use a nerve agent on the battlefield when it deployed Tabun-filled aerial bombs during the Iran-Iraq war. Some 5,500 Iranians were killed by the nerve agent between March 1984 and March 1985. Tabun kills within minutes. Some 16,000 Iranians were reported killed by the toxic blister agent mustard gas between August 1983 and February 1986.

rvastar

"Another idiotic statement - why do you think oil prices are so high and unstable now? Invasion of Iraq."

(sigh)...where to even begin?

To be short and to the point: the "high" price of oil has absolutely nothing to do with Iraq. The high price of oil has to do with 1) the huge demand for oil, especially in China...which is buying up every spare drop on the market as it's energy needs explode year after year, 2) speculative markets...investors are "betting" on oil, no different than the 90's dot.com boom in that it's artificially inflating the price, and 3) the greed of OPEC. What's next from your side?...new evidence that Mr. Invasion of Iraq was the second shooter on the Grassy Knoll?

"Saddam would be where he was 3 years ago - surrounded and contained. A straw man with no real power outside his borders."

Wrong. Where Saddam would be by now is FREE: free of the UN inspections and sanctions...free to continue his financing of terrorist attacks against Israel...free to reconstitute his WMD programs...and free to kill hundreds of thousands more Iraqis while the UN and Europe did nothing but line their pockets on the backs of their suffering.


"Listen folks - ready and study the history of this region."

...........

Yeah?...And?...I can't believe you're not going to give us specifics about what it is that we're "not getting".

"We don't have any idea what the hell we are doing over there. Bush & Co. are totally incompetent and his simplistic belief that this is his God given mission aren't going to work."

Oops...sorry...my bad. There's the specifics.


"These folks have been used to wars and fighting for dozens if not hundreds of years. We will give up way before they do, especially when we kill their civilians and defile their religion and culture."

Here's a little more history for you, Get Real. The US has done a lot more fighting than ANY country or people in that region for the last 200+ years. And the stupid simplicity of your remarks illustrate perfectly the insidious, hidden racism of the Left..."Those crazy Arabs! Don't you know that fighting and killing each other is all they know how to do? Best to just leave 'em alone." Because...you know...it isn't that there's a few thousand fanatics that are crossing the border into Iraq to fight the US, it's all THOSE FOLKS living in the region...hundreds of millions of them. THOSE FOLKS have all been involved in fighting and killing for a few "hundreds of years".


"Get off the simplistic notion of spreading democracy - democracy can't be spread - it has to grow from within in order to take root."

Listen to the sheer stupidity of that statement: democracy can't be spread.

Really? Ever heard of a place called Japan? How about India? How about the continent of Africa?

What do you call what happened earlier this year in Ukraine? Lebanon? Did the thirst for democracy and freedom not "spread" to those brave peoples? And where can the credit be placed for creating the atmosphere that led to the events of the past year:

The UN, the Left's Great and Powerful Oz? Don't even get me started.

Was it lefty-heaven-on-Earth, Europe, that inspired these people to throw of the shackles of corruption, domination, and murder? I really doubt it, since most of them were too busy hiding the bribes they received from Saddam or covering up their illegal weapons sales to him.

Or was it "Bush & Co." as you lefties so sneeringly like to intone?

Oops...almost forgot one. How about Iraq? Where more than 60% of the eligible population voted for a democratic government earlier this year? Do you think the notion of democracy has "spread" to those people?

jukeboxgrad

Cecil said "Iraqi CWs were quite effective years earlier"

Yes they were, and we knew that, but we didn't seem to mind much. My how times change.

"lamented that Iraq has become a recruiting and training ground for terrorists, as if Abu Musab al-Zarqawi only entered his current profession in April 2003."

How interesting that the WSJ would mention Zarqawi, but as far as I can tell has no complaints about how Bush let Zarqawi get away.

Speaking of amnesia, WSJ is suggesting that Iraq has long been "a recruiting and training ground for terrorists," even though Bush himself suggested otherwise. On 3/13/02, Bush said "we haven't heard much from [bin Laden] ... I truly am not that concerned about him ... He has no place to train his al Qaeda killers anymore."

So WSJ is correct that Zarqawi did not enter "his current profession in April 2003." But as Bush correctly pointed out, prior to that time Iraq (at least outside of the enclave where Zarqawi was based, which was outside of Saddam's control) was not a place where Zarqawi (or OBL or anyone else) could act with relative impunity "to train his al Qaeda killers." Thanks to Bush's war, now Iraq is exactly such a place, as the CIA has pointed out.

So Bush's latest rationale for the war is that the war must continue in order to clean up the mess caused by the war. Nice.

By the way, that same day Bush said "if we find a training camp, we'll take care of it." But he didn't.

Jor


In a sign of the continuing partisan division of the nation, more than two-in-five (42%) voters say that, if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment. While half (50%) of respondents do not hold this view, supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country.

What was Clinton's impeachment polling at?

Too hard to resist, via atrios.

James Perrin

So I guess this means that you also agree with the Times that the administration was guilty of incredible hubris, its planning of war was terrible and its conduct of the war inept. If Bush would admit all those truths, then I think Democrats would be happy to focus on the future of Iraq.

jukeboxgrad

"if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq"

What I find interesting about that sentence is the word "if," since we already have polls showing that "half of all Americans ... now say the Bush administration deliberately misled Americans about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction" (link). And that particular poll was done before DSM came out.

Obviously it's time to realize that failure is inevitable and do everything possible to blame it on the left (link). Of course this needs to be done at the exact same time that blame is spread by reminding everyone that Dems also supported the war and made hawkish statements about Saddam (link, link), although sometimes folks like Rove find it convenient to suggest the exact opposite. In other words, the Democrats are at fault because they supported the war (although sometimes we're told they didn't), and also at fault because they don't anymore.

Makes perfect sense, right?

ForNow

I for one never thought that the prospect of finding massive Iraqi WMD stockpiled, suited up, and ready to rumble was necessary in order to justify the Iraq invasion, and I never took the Iraqi WMD issue as boiling down to that.

Harry Arthur

JBG, et al, for sake of argument, let's assume you're correct in your assertions. I don't recall an answer when I asked before, so I'll ask again: So what do we do now?

Pavlov's dog was named 'Democrat'

HA
What do we do now?

What we do now is; when Bush says up, we say down. We do it so often and so stridently, that this is what we become known for. We don't offer an altenative plan.

At least that's what the opposition has done so far, with no signs of changing.

jukeboxgrad

Fornow said "I for one never thought that the prospect of finding massive Iraqi WMD stockpiled, suited up, and ready to rumble was necessary in order to justify the Iraq invasion"

Obviously you're entitled to your opinion. Trouble is, "massive Iraqi WMD stockpiled, suited up, and ready to rumble" was exactly the bill of goods we were sold. In other words, BushCo apparently felt that such claims were indeed "necessary in order to justify the Iraq invasion." This is evident in the fact that so many exaggerated, distorted and misleading claims were made.

Trouble is, bait-and-switch is not an acceptable practice under any circumstances (I doubt that you would tolerate a used-car salesman who operated that way), and it's definitely not an acceptable way of making decisions about war and peace in a nominal democracy.

Harry said "I don't recall an answer when I asked before"

I don't recall you asking, at least not in any thread where I was paying attention. Funny you should mention unanswered questions, though, since you have your own track record on that score (6/18, 10:10 pm, in case you forgot).

"what do we do now"

The first step in correcting a mistake is grasping that you've made one. I think most of us learned this in kindergarten, but this administration hasn't gotten there yet. In my opinion it will be hard for anything very good to happen until this step is taken.

I think another important and difficult step is for there to be more public understanding and discussion of the underlying reasons for the war. In my opinion this has a lot to do with a long-term concern that Saddam had disarmed, sanctions would be lifted, and then Iraqi oil would freely compete with Saudi oil. That is not a happy thought for the Bush-Saud coalition, which obviously endures even though Saudi Arabia is a major backer of terrorism. Also not a happy thought for powerful oil interests that are obviously an integral part of BushCo (link, link).

A major aspect of this has to do with the prospect of oil being traded in euros rather than dollars (link).

War has always been a vehicle for achieving great profits, and it's no accident that our first Harvard-MBA president is taking that principle to new heights. The fact that most mainstream "analysis" of the war completely sidesteps the business factors is astonishing to me.

I think much of the world understands (better than most Americans do) that Bush is not eager to leave, and in fact would like nothing more than to stay as long as possible (ironically, our worst enemies are perfectly happy about that, since we're apparently determined to keep handing them a terrific opportunity for recruiting and training). So a good start would be to stop building permanent bases.

Another good start would be to reverse our efforts to treat Iraqi assets, and the war in general, as an investment and market opportunity for BushCo business interests (link, link, link, link, link).

If we took meaningful steps along these lines it would be possible to have a serious discussion about the US force being replaced by an Arab-European-UN security force. I think the assumption would be that we would keep sending money but stop sending blood.

The idea that purely local forces will be ready to replace us anytime soon is asinine: "examples of cowardice and incompetence abound" (link).

rvastar

To all not-as-smart-as-the-rest-of-the-world-Americans:

I will now give you the Cliff Note's version of JBGs answer to Harry's question "...So what do we do now?"

JBG's answer:

"Europe and the UN will save the day...and corporate America is evil...and no blood for oil...and oh yeah, the US creates the terrorists. And here are some links to other websites that have links to other article that link to other opinion pieces..."

Let's try it again, JBG.

Here are some specific examples of what "BushCo" (as you so affectionately call them) are doing in Iraq to help foster a stable, democratic society:

1) Hunting down and shooting bullets into murderous Islamic fanatics who would cut your mother's head off on television if they had chance.
2) Physically training and equipping Iraqi citizens to protect their society from murderous Islamic fanatics who would rape your mother and then cut her head off on television if they had chance.
3) Providing real-time, physical security for popularly elected Iraqi government officials to protect them from murderous Islamic fanatics who would rape your mother, disembowel her, cut her head off on television, and then dump her body in the streets if they had chance.

I could on but you get the point.

Your turn. All you have to do is answer two questions:

1) What would you like to see as an end result in Iraq?

2) To bring about that envisioned end result, what are your SPECIFIC, ACTIONABLE, MEASURABLE recommendations? YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS...not some think tank's, not some opinion piece writer's...YOURS.

BumperStickerist

This is evident in the fact that so many exaggerated, distorted and misleading claims were made. {link to 'bushoniraq' website

I have a theory, which is closely approaching 'Law' status, that any Bush quote once put into context makes sense. The corollary is that Bush quotes make sense over time. The theory posits that the exaggeration, distortion, and claims that Bush was misleading comes from the bias and perception of the funhouse mirror that are Liberals, Bush Bashers, and such.

BushonIraq gave me a good place to test my theory - choosing a topic at random:

-------------------------------
President George W. Bush on Chemical and Biological Weapons:

"Here's what -- we've discovered a weapons system, biological labs, that Iraq denied she had, and labs that were prohibited under the U.N. resolutions."
Source: President Bush, Russian President Putin Sign Treaty of Moscow, White House (6/1/2003).

---------------------------------
Explanation This statement was misleading because it claimed the purpose of the trailers was to produce biological weapons without disclosing that engineers from the Defense Intelligence Agency who examined the trailers concluded that they were most likely used to produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons.

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

Justoneminute, as some might say - let's take a look at that particular topic. Me and Mr. Google came up with what we thought were the magic three words to bring the information to bear:

http://www.google.com/search?biw=767&hl=en&q=trailers+iraq+biological

and, sure enough, here we go:

Here's the rest of the story, as others might say:

http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraqi_mobile_plants/

Hydrogen Production Cover Story

Senior Iraqi officials of the al-Kindi Research, Testing, Development, and Engineering facility in Mosul were shown pictures of the mobile production trailers, and they claimed that the trailers were used to chemically produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons. Hydrogen production would be a plausible cover story for the mobile production units.

*** The Iraqis have used sophisticated denial and deception methods that include the use of cover stories that are designed to work. Some of the features of the trailer—a gas collection system and the presence of caustic—are consistent with both bioproduction and hydrogen production. ***

The plant's design possibly could be used to produce hydrogen using a chemical reaction, but it would be inefficient. The capacity of this trailer is larger than typical units for hydrogen production for weather balloons. Compact, transportable hydrogen generation systems are commercially available, safe, and reliable.
-----------------------------------------------

The balance of the analysis, done by the CIA, though not the DIA, certainly is open to discussion. But the President is certainly able to use this information in making his decisions.

As a read through on the second article in the Google search would show this:

Headline:
Iraqi Trailers Said to Make Hydrogen, Not Biological Arms

...

The {DIA} team has decided that in their minds, there could be another use, for inefficient hydrogen production, most likely for balloons," a Defense Department official said.

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

Well, okay, since the CIA report cites that commercially available, safe, transportable, and efficient hydrogen production units *could* have been used to fill weather balloons, but weren't, this all makes perfect sense. Those trailers were simply inefficient, despite the technology, ways of putting lighter than air gas into weather balloons. Okey-dokey.

That rationale should apply everywhere. I mean, Saddam *could* have been using long range rockets as an inefficient means of clearing snow ledges of avalanche threats, never mind that there are commerically available, pneumatic devices on the market and, nevermind that there isn't any snow skiing in Iraq... those rockets *could* have been used for such a purpose, so - why even consider the other possible uses of those rockets. Hmmmmm?

So, to me, it seems that BushonIraq likes to distort, mislead, and, obviously, not follow-up their selective quotes.

I'll moveon(dot org) to the next randomly selected quote - or perhaps you'd like to pick one and we could take a look-see.


Cheers

Les Nessman

Wow. As JBG gets more specific about 'what's going on with Iraq', (while not actually giving any useful 'what do we do now' advice), the deeper he goes into Conspiracy Theory land.
I used to read the first 3 or 4 paragraphs of his screeds here (and skip the next 20 paragraphs) and think, "I disagree with him but maybe he brings up points that should be addressed.".

But when he finally starts to get down to it, it's all EvilBushHalliburtSaudi, Inc.

Cecil Turner

"The balance of the analysis, done by the CIA, though not the DIA, certainly is open to discussion. But the President is certainly able to use this information in making his decisions."

The CIA did claim the trailers were probably mobile weapons labs, but that's dubious. Duelfer was adamant:

ISG judges that its Iraqi makers almost certainly designed and built the equipment exclusively for the generation of hydrogen.
I think that may be a bit of an overstatement, since mobile hydrogen production doesn't make a lot of military sense. But then, neither does mobile BW production. In any event, claiming they're BW labs is probably not on.

However, your basic point is correct, since that's probably not what the President referred to in that statement, but the labs discovered by ISG after the invasion:

  • There is information that suggests that up to 5 IIS laboratories operated in the greater Baghdad area at various times up until OIF.

  • ISG found a possible DGS laboratory in Baghdad that contained a variety of chemicals but no laboratory equipment. Residents in the building alleged that the laboratory was a biological one. The investigating team found several DGS administrative documents, some of which were from employees requesting approval for danger pay for their hazardous work with biological and radioactive materials.

  • Information collected at the time of OIF led to the discovery of assorted laboratory equipment purportedly used by a suspect BW scientist at a Mosque in Baghdad.

  • A clandestine laboratory was identified by an ISG team at the Baghdad Central Public Health Laboratory in the summer of 2003. According to an employee of the laboratory, the IIS operated a laboratory at that location for several years. In advance of a 1998 UNSCOM inspection, secret documents were removed and stored at the Director’s house. In December of 2002, the laboratory was emptied of all equipment and documents.

  • A former IIS chemist indicates this five-story building and adjacent warehouse complex comprises the M16 training center at Djerf-al-Nadaf, SE of Baghdad. A former member of the NMD reported this site as one of the three IIS locations with equipment and activities intentionally not declared to the UN. Neither UNSCOM nor UNMOVIC were aware of their existence and had not visited these facilities. He believes the building contained a biological laboratory for unspecified work. Site exploitation revealed a modern building that probably housed both offices and at least one laboratory on the first floor. The building was completely looted, with very few remnants of equipment, materials, or documents. Neighbors indicated that the IIS removed everything from the site just before the war.

Forbes

The reason the topic on this thread is so boring, IMO, is that the anti-war left argues that there is some other course of action, or explanation of events--in their view--that is preferable--again, in their view--to that chosen by the (insert expletive) Bush Administration, and god damnit, they know they are right!

The "reality" based community seems intent on arguing past events to make a debating point about the current situation. Here's a news flash: a sovereign Iraqi government is holding Saddam Hussein in jail, awaiting a trial for crimes committed against the Iraqi people. The US, in various ways, is aiding the democratically elected Iraq government, and its people, to recover from 30+ years of despotic tyranny.

Challenge: With your insight, provide a description--that no Democrat in the House or Senate has been able to articulate--of an alternative, forward course action with regard to US involvement in Iraq.

While I can't speak for anyone else, I won't debate detailed responses that are specific to this challenge--such responses will stand on their merits.

Cheers.

TexasToast

1) What would you like to see as an end result in Iraq?

a) A functioning Iraqi society without an indefinitely continued American military (or other)presence, in whatever form that takes as decided by them, not us.
b) America as an honest broker between the factions and not an actor in internal Iraqi politics.
c) An acceptance by us that there are, indeed, factions that are deeply rooted (Kurds, Sunnis, Shia’), and that these folks think of themselves first as Kurds, Sunni, of Shia’ and only secondarily, if at all, as “Iraqis”.
d) An acceptance by us that our values are not universally accepted or universally applicable to different cultures with different first principles.
e) A reconstituted all-volunteer American military without the necessity of “stop-loss”.
f) An ending to the misallocation of American blood and treasure in search of “… a preposterous Light Unto the Muslim Nations in the Land Between the Two Rivers” which, IMHO, will do nothing to mitigate the menace of international terrorism.
g) Stop being the “poster child” for terrorist recruiting.


2) To bring about that envisioned end result, what are your SPECIFIC, ACTIONABLE, MEASURABLE recommendations? YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS...not some think tank's, not some opinion piece writer's...YOURS.


a) Forget about a permanent American presence.
b) Restore the oil fields to production without tying Iraq’s hands as to its allocation.
c) Allow the country to partition on ethnic lines if that is the only way to avoid the tyranny of a very thin majority or a very well placed minority.
d) Prove, by leaving, that we mean what we said and we are not and were not doing this for our own self-interest.
e) Stop being a punching bag.

BumperStickerist

Well, that's an excellent point, Cecil.

It's akin to the whole "Bush's sixteen words" debacle where the rebuttal had nothing to do with the assertion. Bush's words were:

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

Which lead to an unusual prominence of Niger and Yellow Cake and some guy named Joe Wilson, iirc - who's married to Barbara Feldman, iirc again.

But somehow, I think Africa is larger than Niger. And, somehow, I think Joe Wilson isn't part of the British Government - though there's no telling just how many of layers upon layers upon layers of undercover are possible. Perhaps, Wilson's wife was just a diversion and Wilson actually works for MI6.

Condi Rice provided a summary rationale for War in July 2003

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/07/13/cnna.wolf.rice

-----
The president of the United States did not go to war because of the question of whether or not Saddam Hussein sought the uranium in Africa.

He took the American people and American forces to war because this was a bloody tyrant,

who for 12 years had defied the international community,

who had weapons of mass destruction,

who had used them in the past,

who was threatening his neighbors,

and who threatened our efforts to make the Middle East a place in which you would have stability and therefore not people with ideologies of hatred driving airplanes into the World Trade Center.

That's why we went to war.
------------------------

Well, okay then, that jibes with my memory.

Now that Rice has put forth the President's rationale for war, made on TV, in passing .... to a guy named "Wolf".... the parsing can begin.

Of course, there's what Bush actually said regarding the rationale for war, it's contained in the speech he made.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030319-17.html
----------------------

Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.

We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.
----------------------------------

Sounds about right.

Harry Arthur

Funny you should mention unanswered questions, though, since you have your own track record on that score (6/18, 10:10 pm, in case you forgot).

Sure JBG, we argued for about a week about whether terrorists had ever used planes as weapons and discovered not that we simply disagreed on the facts and their meaning in any reasonable real-world context, but that because we interpreted the facts differently that I had no integrity. Of course everyone who disagreed with your interpretation of the facts in every topic discussed was treated to the same arrogant condescension. At some point it seemed to me that further interaction with you was at best fruitless, if not pointless, so I quit.

I don't recall you asking, at least not in any thread where I was paying attention.

Here's what I said in my very first interaction with you (on the link you just provided) after reading your extensive posts for the better part of three days:

JBG - so boringly predictable - you do love to hear yourself talk. So what's the solution now that we're there? Or do we want to plow this ground again, and again, and again, etc? (6/15; 9:18 a.m. "in case you forgot")

At least I now understand why I didn't get an answer then - you weren't paying attention. Nice touch. I guess it puts my comment about loving to hear yourself talk in context, doesn't it? As avastar and others have observed, it doesn't seem you've really answered the question here either, perhaps for similar reasons.

TT, it may surprise you to hear that I'm in general agreement on several of your points, specifically a, b, c (sort of) and d and secondly, a, b, and d (when ?). These points seem very reasonable, though I think you might admit that on at least some level, you're also not in disagreement with our current policy, at least as I understand it. On the others, our point of divergence is that I honestly don't agree with your base assumptions or assertions, howerver, we could certainly use them as starting points in further discussion.

Forbes

Yeah, TT, I'll chime in with HA: While I don't agree with some base assumptions, I would generally agree in a broad way with most of your points--and that they are roughly in agreement with the existing policy (differing by degrees of emphasis--whether you care to admit, or not--and is also beside the point).

And in an unintended way (I think), you've responded my above post, so, thanks. Happy 4th!

jukeboxgrad

rvastar, your rant about rape etc is too substance-free to warrant much of a comment. If you think I should take you seriously you could start by explaining how building permanent bases is a good way to convince Iraq and the world that we really want to leave as soon as possible.

"corporate America is evil"

Not exactly. Corporate America is doing exactly what it's structured to do. Trouble is, corporate America and the federal government have become too nearly indistinguishable.

Bumper said "it seems that BushonIraq likes to distort, mislead"

You've failed to demonstrate that. Bush said "we've discovered a weapons system, biological labs" as if this was a clear, incontrovertible fact. The truth is that there was considerable disagreement within our government on that point. Nothing in your convoluted "analysis" changes this. Wherever there was uncertainty, they went out of their way to act is if the uncertainty just didn't exist. In other words, "they put exclamation marks where there had been question marks" (Blix).

Cecil said "that's probably not what the President referred to in that statement"

Really? Here's something Bush said: "We recently found two _mobile_ biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents" (emphasis added). So your latest attempt at misdirection doesn't hold up.

By the way, it would interest me to see your analysis of this: on 7/14/03 Bush said "we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in." Let us know how you spin that as something other than a lie.

Harry, I guess I missed your earlier question. Anyway, nice job (along with with various other folks) dismissing the answers I've given here. I realize that's a lot easier than trying to make a substantive response.

Cecil Turner

"Really? Here's something Bush said: "We recently found two _mobile_ biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents" (emphasis added)."

He mentioned "mobile" in that statement, not in the one cited. (You know, the one actually quoted by BumperStickerist: "Here's what -- we've discovered a weapons system, biological labs, that Iraq denied she had, and labs that were prohibited under the U.N. resolutions.")

However, you're probably right on the basic point, I didn't notice it was stuck between the two "mobile labs" statements . . . and we had some indications of the hidden labs before June, but Kay didn't (publicly) report them until October. The President was probably referring to the then-recent CIA report that "confirmed" them as mobile weapons labs (probably erroneously).

"So your latest attempt at misdirection doesn't hold up."

Was that really necessary? If a pleasant discussion is your goal, it seems a bit counterproductive.

BumperStickeist

Well, more to the point, my Theory is that Bush makes sense and does so over time. Let's take a look at the example you toss up:

By the way, it would interest me to see your analysis of this: on 7/14/03 Bush said "we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in." Let us know how you spin that as something other than a lie

m'okay - here's the full quote:

[Bush] My larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in.

And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.

I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful.

All of which is, per my recollection, true.

Look, there may be some namby-pambyistic argument out there one that would point to Saddam agreeing to let the inspectors in with no conditions, but failing to include a key condition, namely: *once the US had significant troops next door in Kuwait*

But that type of cooperation is the that comes when Dad stops saying "If you don't knock it off back there, I'm going to pull over" and actually pulls off onto the shoulder of the road and starts slowing down. It's cooperation born of regret, which doesn't count.

Saddam guessed wrong.

Bush meant and means what he says.

As for your desire to see a performance of 'Bush Agonistes' at the podium debating the relative merits of the arguments for and against the intel used to make the decision during the speech itself ... sorry, Bush doesn't do that. That sort of 'one the one hand this, on the other hand that, on the third hand over there.' approach to communicating with the public may work for Kerry.

Well, no - that didn't work for Kerry.

Nevermind.

But, my contention, subject to the judgment of others is that Bush's full quote is rather more favorable to Bush than your selective use of one part.

Cheers.

Les Nessman

Texas Toast:

SPECIFIC, ACTIONABLE, MEASURABLE recommendations:

"a) Forget about a permanent American presence."

-Agreed. Hey, this may be easier than I thought. Though getting ALL the troops out will take a while.

"b) Restore the oil fields to production without tying Iraq’s hands as to its allocation." -O.K.

"c) Allow the country to partition on ethnic lines if that is the only way to avoid the tyranny of a very thin majority or a very well placed minority." -Hmm. Well, if you say so; but this may keep our troops there indefinitely, a la Bosnia only more intense.

"d) Prove, by leaving, that we mean what we said and we are not and were not doing this for our own self-interest." - No. Part of doing this IS in our own self-interest. A BIG part. And I see no reason to be ashamed of that fact.

"e) Stop being a punching bag." -Um, O.K. Agreed.

Well, if those are your SPECIFIC, ACTIONABLE, MEASURABLE counter-proposals to what Bush is doing in Iraq, then I must say that they are pretty weak and won't get us very far in helping them become a non-terrorist-aiding-and-abetting, democratic non-Hell-hole.

I appreciate your honest, wrong answers over smug, non-answers though.

Thanks for your comments.

jukeboxgrad

Cecil said "he mentioned 'mobile' in that statement, not in the one cited."

I'm aware of that, and I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. But I think it's pretty fair to assume that "mobile" was implied. You offered some data to back this up. Also, it seems contemporary reports made the same assumption (example, see paragraphs 9 and 10).

"you're probably right on the basic point"

I appreciate that you're candid enough to to admit this, and it's only fair for me to acknowledge that my reference to "misdirection" was overkill. I should have just said you made a mistake.

Anyway, if anyone has anything further to say to advance the claim that the Waxman report (link) "likes to distort, mislead," as Bumper said, that would interest me. I think the attempts so far have fallen short.

Bumper said "Bush's full quote is rather more favorable to Bush"

You've failed to explain why, and the business about "significant troops next door in Kuwait" doesn't explain away the lie. Bush didn't say "Saddam only let the inspectors in after we held a gun to his head, and this is cooperation born of regret, which doesn't count, and doesn't that prove what an awful fellow he is." Bush said "he wouldn't let them in." That's simply a lie. Saddam did "let them in." Nothing you said changes this or explains this away.

By the way, Bush wasn't alone. Sen. Roberts told essentially the same lie: "if in fact he didn't have them, why on earth didn't he let the U.N. inspectors in and avoid the war?" (link)

I think it's reasonable to assume that there are a non-trivial number of people who, as a result of these lies, have held the belief and still hold the belief that UN inspectors were not in Iraq just prior to the time we threw them out in order to begin the war.

The fact that so many people are willing to do nothing but yawn and blink (including and especially that darn liberal media) when these kinds of shenanigans go on is astonishing to me.

"debating the relative merits of the arguments for and against the intel"

You've hit the nail right on the head, in a way. Bush (and a lot of his supporters) likes simple answers, even if they're wrong. (Einstein said everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. I think it was Mencken who said for every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.)

By the way, Bush didn't just go too far in the direction of oversimplification. He consistently leaned in the direction of oversimplifications that suited his political agenda. This is where something that might be innocent (making things simple so people can understand) starts to look like something not innocent (distorting reality in order to fool people and manipulate events).

By the way, expecting our president to tell the truth is hardly the equivalent of asking for "a performance of 'Bush Agonistes.'" If the intelligence findings are weak, vague and contradictory (as indeed they were), tell us so. Americans are smart enough to understand that sometimes difficult decisions need to be made in the face of uncertainty. But Bush wasn't willing to trust this (and us), and instead took every opportunity to minimize or erase the uncertainty. That's wrong, and there's no excuse for it.

One more thing. A while back someone mentioned the word "conspiracy," in response to my observations regarding how things like war, money and oil actually have a certain tendency to be interconnected (as if there's anything unnatural or surprising about this). "Conspiracy" is the wrong word, because it implies secrecy. Most everything I alluded to is going on in plain sight. That's not bizarre (there's nothing new about certain people coming up with clever schemes to steal public money). What's bizarre is that so many people are so easily blinded by flag-waving and bible-thumping that they don't notice that their pockets (and their kids' and grandkids' pockets) are being picked, on such a grand scale. For example, something fairly innovative and historic is happening when we hear about hundreds of tons of cash that we can't account for (link, pdf), carried away in duffel bags and pickup trucks.

TexasToast

Les

We can't "help" people who don’t want to be "helped" - particularly if it is obvious that we are also "helping" ourselves to their bank account - the oil. We are not going to be able to transform their society into our image without killing most of the population - or getting the hell out of the way and letting our soft power do the job over time. IMHO, we are cutting off our nose to spite our face by alienating an entire generation of Arab youth that is likely to be highly influenced by our values because of our dominance of international culture. If we would just be patient - and not create new enemies - we can win this thing. Our tactics are, at best, counterproductive.

PS WKRP is one of the top 5 sitcoms EVER!

Harry Arthur

Anyway, nice job (along with various other folks) dismissing the answers I've given here. I realize that's a lot easier than trying to make a substantive response.

Sorry, JBG, I didn't realize your response provided substantive answers to my question which was: What do we do now? so I neglected to respond. However, I'll jump in here with my version of a substantive response.

1. First assertion: The first step in correcting a mistake is grasping that you've made one. Though you clearly have every right to believe we made a mistake going into Iraq, many of us, including the president, do not. I'd suggest your reasoning here is circular. At the very least it's based solely on opinion. We'll have to wait for some history longer than a few years to be able to judge whether your assumption is correct. Presently, I’d submit that we just don’t know whether it was a mistake or not.

2. Second assertion: We need more public understanding and discussion of the underlying reasons for the war. Again, your conclusion turns on your assumption, namely that we haven't argued the issue sufficiently yet. Maybe, maybe not. Your primary reasoning seems to be in my opinion ... Honestly, though, I'm missing where you answer the What do we do now? question I posed. But really, so what? I’d submit that more talking is not what’s needed in Iraq if we’re still dwelling on the past. My question, again, was What do we do now? And your answer is to argue about mobile weapons labs and whether we had sufficient reason to go to war.

3. Your third point: An assumption again, is that war is good for profits. Again, so what? An assertion that suggests no action to me at least.

4. Fourth point: I think much of the world understands (better than most Americans do) that Bush is not eager to leave, and in fact would like nothing more than to stay as long as possible … An assertion and an assumption that much of the world can read Bush’s mind. Not a logical point and not exactly a recommendation of something we should do. You did indicate that a good start would be to stop building permanent bases. Though, of course the link is from a 15 month old article so I presume we’ve already met that condition. And what, exactly, constitutes a permanent base? Just so I’ll understand, of course. Have we actually purchased buildings and land that we can’t sell, and can’t abandon, rendering them somehow permanent? Sort of like riding on the MTA – we can’t get off because we don’t have the fare? I live in a "permanent" home but could move to a better neighborhood tomorrow if I choose.

5. Fifth point: Reverse our efforts to treat Iraqi assets and the war in general as an investment. Another unsubstantiated allegation that presumes to know the mind of the president. Though I honestly don't understand your broader point here if there is one.

6. Final point: More discussion would cause the UN, Europeans and unspecified Arab countries to take over the security requirements. At best this is an assumption unsupported by any real-world events to date. Furthermore, from what I've seen recently of the UN in Africa and elsewhere I'm not inspired by that suggestion. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/29/AR2005062902918.html>Here’s the latest on UN peacekeeping in Haiti, for example:

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the United States this week to consider sending troops to Haiti to support a U.N. peacekeeping mission beset by mounting armed challenges to its authority, according to senior U.N. officials. ... He expressed hope that the United States would participate in a planned U.N. rapid reaction force, authorized by the Security Council earlier this month, that would have the firepower to intimidate armed gangs threatening the country's fragile political transition. Officials said that similar requests are being considered for other countries, including Canada and France. "We want scarier troops," one senior U.N. official said.
Annan told Rice that the Haitians "respect the U.S. military," according to a senior U.N. diplomat familiar with the closed-door meeting. Annan added that the United Nations may make a formal request for troops later, the diplomat said.

If UN troops aren’t scary enough for the Haitians, I’ll bet they’d REALLY impress the jihadists in Iraq. What a great idea! Certainly there is little to no enthusiasm in Europe to take over for US troops. France? Germany? Spain? This is really your only semi-tangible suggestion for concrete action and I don't believe it comes anywhere near either reality or passing the common sense test at least at this point.

Cecil Turner

"But I think it's pretty fair to assume that "mobile" was implied."

Taken in context with the other quotes (and especially if you check the dates and match it to the CIA report on mobile labs), it's fair. In the quote taken in isolation, it's not at all obvious. It's less obvious if one remembers the subsequent discovery of labs in Baghdad, especially since the date that was initially reported to the President isn't public record.

"I appreciate that you're candid enough to to admit this, and it's only fair for me to acknowledge that my reference to "misdirection" was overkill. I should have just said you made a mistake."

More to the point, you should assume integrity until proven otherwise (even to the point of less plausible explanations). And as a preemptive note, the conversation is fragmenting again, and I will tend to pick the top two or three points and discuss those only . . . it's for convenience, not a moral failing.

"Anyway, if anyone has anything further to say to advance the claim that the Waxman report (link) "likes to distort, mislead," as Bumper said, that would interest me. I think the attempts so far have fallen short."

The BushonIraq site claims the President's failure to mention some reports (e.g., DIA saying mobile labs were for hydrogen, and UN inspectors not finding signs that Saddam was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program) makes his statements misleading. Meanwhile, they fail to mention the pertinent CIA reports (the President's primary source) which state explicitly:

I don't see how we can view that as any less distorting and misleading than the President's statements, especially since they decry failure to cite secondary sources whilst simultaneously ignoring the primary ones.

BTW, BumperStickerist, I owe you an apology for correcting you incorrectly (and should've noted that above). It appears to be a CIA/DIA disagreement, just like you said.

Harry Arthur

I believe we need to remind ourselves from time to time that a false statement is not a "lie" unless there is an intent to deceive behind it. I agreed with Cecil's point several threads ago that you should assume integrity until proven otherwise (even to the point of less plausible explanations). I would also suggest that opponents of the war have been far too eager to assume that intentional deception occured, vice the clear fact that the president got some very bad information and worse advice on occasion based upon which he took action that he believed essential to our national security. Remember Tenet's "slam dunk" analysis?

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