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November 12, 2005

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David Shuster from MSNBC's Hardball tries once again to brainwash the public into believing the Democrats' talking points about the Bush administration's pre-war claims and actions. The segment tries to rival Michael Moore for Most Misleading Propagand... [Read More]

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» Playing Hardball from SEIXON
David Shuster from MSNBC's Hardball tries once again to brainwash the public into believing the Democrats' talking points about the Bush administration's pre-war claims and actions. The segment tries to rival Michael Moore for Most Misleading Propagand... [Read More]

» Playing Hardball from SEIXON
David Shuster from MSNBC's Hardball tries once again to brainwash the public into believing the Democrats' talking points about the Bush administration's pre-war claims and actions. The segment tries to rival Michael Moore for Most Misleading Propagand... [Read More]

» Playing Hardball from SEIXON
David Shuster from MSNBC's Hardball tries once again to brainwash the public into believing the Democrats' talking points about the Bush administration's pre-war claims and actions. The segment tries to rival Michael Moore for Most Misleading Propagand... [Read More]

Comments

Perfect Sense

Reid: "Lying through your teeth about pre-war WMD intelligence" = "Patriotic American."

TexasToast

And my point is what? Bush did what he believed in, Democrats chose to vote expediently rather than lead, and here we are. Three years later Bush is still doing what he believes in, and Democrats are still looking to evade the Iraq issue.

I wonder how those Democrats would have voted if they had been given all the facts? An "expert" like Pat Roberts says the votes for the force resolution wouln't have been there if the full NIE had been released. I'll not call it a "lie", but what word should one use to describe the "White Paper (redacted NIE)? Leadership?

I agree that my party should have voted No, but I am also in the camp that says we can't cut and run. I would like to see us not repeat this mistake in the future.

ordi

All this looking up our asses is like taking your kids on vacation and they keep asking, ARE WE THERE YET?


And the children holler out
Are we there, are we there, are we there, are we there
We've been in this car too long
And the children never stop
Are we there, are we there, are we there, are we there
Have we reached our destination
We're ready to get out

Raise your hand if your one of those kids. There will be time after we come home from Iraq to gaze up our asses!

Patience is a virtue. Do we have enough?

Song quoted is "Driver 8" Based on the performance by REM
"Are We There Yet?" Parody by Rex Ungericht

Dwilkers

I thought Daschle was a terrible spokesman for the Dems, buy Reid is even worse. He's so whiny and nasal its distracting, his faux outrage is obvious in his body language and overdone gestures. Its almost (but not quite) comical.

I dunno why Dems can't get a normal looking and sounding person with a calm, measured voice to argue their positions in a believable way. Maybe they don't have anyone like that.


and when you drag yourself away from that to focus o

TM

An "expert" like Pat Roberts says the votes for the force resolution wouln't have been there if the full NIE had been released.

I assume he is right, and it is a very troubling admission. (Wait a sec, didn't I lonk to the press conference the day the SSCI report was released? Groan.

I think the case can be made that Bush was perfectly sincere in his judgement, but he didn't exactly bend over backwards to help opponents make their case.

And the loyal opposition didn't oppose. I am going to dig up Ted Kennedy's Oct 2002 sppech against the resolution, and see what he said that failed to persuade John Kerry.

As to Roberts and the intel, the quote:

There is simply no question that mistakes leading up to the war in Iraq rank among the most devastating losses and intelligence failures in the history of the nation. The fact is that the administration, at all levels -- and to some extent us -- used bad information to bolster its case for war. And we in Congress would not have authorized that war -- we would not have authorized that war with 75 votes if we knew what we know now.

Leading up to September 11, our government didn’t connect the dots. In Iraq, we are even more culpable because the dots themselves never existed.

I think we will see he is describing the fundamental CIA failure, not the admin spin put on the CIA intel.

Greg F
An "expert" like Pat Roberts says the votes for the force resolution wouln't have been there if the full NIE had been released.

It was.

Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.

The lawmakers are partly to blame for their ignorance. Congress was entitled to view the 92-page National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq before the October 2002 vote. But, as The Washington Post reported last year, no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary.

kim

What people were hearing from constituents was that they were afraid of Saddam. Gee, I wonder why.

Now that the bogeyman is vanquished, the brave little children come out to dance on his remains.
==================================================

BumperStickerist

John Edwards was part of an NPR segment in 2002 where he discussed the role of the Senate Intelligence Committee vis-a-vis the Executive Branch.

The main topic was the FBI and hijacking, along with some discussion of the Phoenix memo.

Edwards made a point of saying that the PDB provided information to the President so that tactical decisions could be made, while the Senate, though having the same information, was working in more of an oversight capability.

Which is to say, the Senate members of the Intelligence Committee had the exact same intelligence information as the President.

I tried to find the vote record of Senate Dems who served on the Intelligence Committee in 2002 in support of the Iraq War. It didn't leap off the screen after a couple of Google searches and the leaves weren't raking themselves into a pile for the kids to jump into.

Presumably, other Senate Democrats would put some trust in their party colleagues about this.

The 'Full NIE' report is less relevant than what the original NIE report said and whether the Senate Dem MEMBERS OF THAT COMMITTEE agreed with it.


.


kim

Hoo, hoo, hoo. Mine are big enough to do the raking themselves, repeatedly.

You know the Dems have let MSM back themselves into a corner over this. Really, they should be blaming journalists for the delusionary understanding they have of Iraq. Or if their understanding is more acute, then they should blame MSM for putting many Americans off the trail of what's going on over there. It's almost as if the relative warhawks among them are prevented now from really addressing reality over there; they still have to give lip service to 'Bush Lied'. Their phoniness is so transparent.
===========================================

GT

Tom,

The problem Bush has is the mess in Iraq. If things were dandy there, if the situation on the groud were anywhere as rosy as an ever-decreasing number of right-wing bloggers believe it is, we would not be having this debate. That's the reality of politics.

Bush took a gamble and, as of right now, is perceived to be losing by a majority of Americans. If he had won, or perceived to have won, no Dem would be talking about intelligence failures. Other than historians no Americans would care we did not find WMDs if Iraq were a peaceful and democratic ally. But as Iraq continues its slow-motion civil war and gets closer and closer to Iran (with Iran seemingly helping both Shiites and Sunnis) Americans think they were misled.

Bush can still turn this around if he manages to find a way to pacify Iraq. Maybe he should use the strategy they used to finally pacify the road to the airport, close it off and fill it with soldiers!

kim

You've been warped by MSM coverage, GT. Sistani and Chalabi have this well in hand. The sane among the Sunni will strike a bargain to buffer the Shia and the Kurds from Syrian idiocy and Wahabbi fundamentalism. The ayatollahs have their own problems without getting too adventurous elsewhere.
=================================================

kim

You see, in it's glory days, al Qaeda was spectacularly creating sky-popping pyrotechnics with magical infidel evaporating instruments. Now, they blow up their paisanos for going to the market. The Arab street notices the difference, even if Juan Cole doesn't.
=======================================

Rick Ballard

Whay Americans think is estabilished biannually on the Tuesday after the first Monday in Novemebr. In 50 weeks we will find out for sure.

As a Republican it is difficult not to feel a sense of contentment when watching Howard Dean, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi insist on the need to look backward. The strategy of "Vote for us, we're dupes you can trust" is rather singular historically but it is factually undeniable. Except for the trust part, of course.

Perhaps we will have better intelligence estimates to work from in the future. We might hope that Porter Goss will be successful in the Herculean task of diverting the Potomac to run through Langley. Who knows, perhaps WMD analysts will no longer be selected from the ranks of "covert" polysci majors. Only time will tell but I really don't have too high a hope. The CIA is State Jr. as far as I can tell and a remodeling of State would entail more pink slips than are allowed by its Byzantine personnel procedures.

The Democrats can be content in the Presidents negative poll results today and the Republicans will be content with the poll results next November. See, both sides can be happy.

kim

GT, was that car with the mad Italian journalist risking running over people as she careened wildly down that road to the airport filled with soldiers?
===============================================

kim

They really are making a spectacle of themselves, the anti-war crowd. What must Iraqis think of them? Well, actually I know, just as I know what our military, active and veteran, think about it.
===============================================

max

Missing from this debate, and I assume largely missing from the previous debate in the 'Bush Comes Out Swinging' thread (which for some reason I can no longer open), is that 9/11 changed the willingness of the President to run risks to Americans' security.

Prior to 9/11, Iraq was correctly percieved as a threat, but it was believed that the threat was (i) largely regional and (ii) containable. After 9/11 it became impossible to believe either of those things with any degree of confidence and the only responsible course of action for the President of the United States (of whatever politcal party) was to somehow neutralize this threat.

After many wasted and futile months of trying to work through the UN, Bush took the only other course available to him - invasion to remove Saddam. If he had gone immediately (i) more WMDs might well have been found (think Syria) and (ii) Saddam and his henchmen would have had much less time to organize the attacks against Coalition forces and Iraqis working to rebuild the abbatoir that Saddam had created.

It also should be emphasized that every attack by the Democrats and their Big Media Quisling allies against President Bush only helps the Baathists and the terrorists in their efforts to win control of Iraq.

And it's the efforts by these 2 groups to undermine what we're doing in Iraq which is the primary reason for the power struggle in Iraq, not pre-war intelligence failures as suggested by this thread.


The Demos at least (Big Media is hopelessly corrupt) should put their country's security ahead of short-term political posturing and come out in support of our efforts in Iraq - the power struggle will end if they do because the Baathists (at least) and possibly the terrorists will realize there's no point in continuing. And if the Baathists don't support the terrorists, their lack of a safe haven in Iraq will pretty much eliminate their ability to destabilze Iraq.

An then the Demos can try to defeat the Repubs on domestic issues, just as they did after Gulf War I.

GT

Kim

If you want to believe Chalabi has this under control it is your right. Sadly Americans don't agree with you which is why Bush is in the mid 30s and is considered to have misled us into war.

What you or I think about Iraq is, frankly, irrelevant. Clearly you are part of the hard core believers. All parties need them.


You need to find a way to convince a majority of Americans.

Rick Ballard

I dunno, Max, I really hope the Dems and the Demsm stay the course. They've made a decision and they should show that they have the backbone to follow it through to the end. Now, most of us don't try and steer by looking in the rearview mirror but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

I wonder if the constant decline in readership/viewership numbers for the Demsm might have a positive correlation with electoral outcomes? It's probably a second level correlation but it might be worth looking into. Donation levels would seem to provide a more effective primary correlation.

GT

Rick,

I think we are still in the piling on stage,the "Let's make clear that Bushis an incompetent and untrustorthy dolt" phase, something a growing number of Americans agree with.

The next phase will focus on Dem's proposals. Polls show Dems are trusted more than the GOP on most major domestic issues and in some cases by large margins. We've already seen how Dems managed to protect SS from the GOP. There will be more on healthcare and many other areas.

Unfortunately for Bush although GDP and productivity are growing, median wage income isn't doing so well. So the Dems have plenty of chances to make themselves heard. The GOP did not launch their Contract with America until a few months before the 94 election.

kim

GT, 70% of Americans have no idea what a success Iraq is.

These will be the good old days whether Condi or Hillary comes next. We have peace(Iraq still has criminals), prosperity, and prospects. You don't know when you got it good.

And I like that 'protecting social security'. Young adults don't interpret social security the way Democrats do. Neither do the Latinae.
================================================

boris

Unfortunately for Bush although GDP and productivity are growing

It is to laugh.

As the troops come back and tell their story, the MSM lies will fail like the TANG memos.

BumperStickerist

The problem Bush has is the mess in Iraq.

Hence the notion, put forward by the Democratics, of Democralypse Now

.

BumperStickerist

The problem Bush has is the mess in Iraq.

Hence the notion, put forward by the Democrats, of Democralypse Now

.

TM

The problem Bush has is the mess in Iraq. If things were dandy there, if the situation on the groud were anywhere as rosy as an ever-decreasing number of right-wing bloggers believe it is, we would not be having this debate. That's the reality of politics.

Darn, GT, how did you get a copy of my first draft? Who leaked?!?

I was headed in just that direction when I started this paragraph:

Or more likely, Bush and his team believed, back in early 2003, that the results in Iraq would be quick enough and good enough that the absence of projections, timetables, and budgets would be overlooked.

Wel, I could have been more clear about that, but yes - in early drafts, my point was that absence of planning and poor expectations management can can be trumped by great results. But if the great results don't follow, you have little by way of a safety net, which is Bush's current position.

Get me rewrite!

Dwilkers

"The problem Bush has is the mess in Iraq."

I'd say the problem is more one of perception than reality. That's why Bush coming out Friday and making his case is so important.

We've actually done pretty well in Iraq. They've had an election, passed a consitution and now they're about to have another election. Yes, yes they still have the jihadis, but as time goes on the Iraqis will take over more of the job. Or not, and if they don't, we'll fail, because in the end the Iraqis have to do this if they want it. Either way, I suspect it'll be all but over in the next year or so, and certainly by the end of Bush's term.

TM


I'd say the problem is more one of perception than reality. That's why Bush coming out Friday and making his case is so important.

I completely agree that Bush needs to do a better job making his case.

However, no fair whining about media bias (even though I will) - if Bush undertook this war relying on a fair media to help him maintain public support, he really is a dope.

It's like a football fan saying their team would have won if they had been playing at home - yes, but hadn't you checked the schedule? Surely you noticed when you got off the bus that it was a road game.

boris

The good stories are never about how easy it turned out to be. The good stories are about real challange and triumph of human spirit over adversity.

GT

Well Tom, you may recall I am an ambassador here. I'm supposed to know these things.

I think we are in agreement here. Americans would not care one bit about wmds or wrong intelligence if Iraq were perceived a success. But is clearly is not so they clearly do.

No amount of speeches by Bush wil make any difference. We are way beyond speeches at this point. He needs to change the situation in Iraq.

p.lukasiak

One point that I haven't seen made here...

The White House timed this highly controversial vote for political advantage. The NIE was rushed into production, and released without the normal safeguards that would have ensured that many erroneous and dubious claims were not included -- because Bush wanted the vote held before the election, and the Senate was demanding an NIE.

Even so, the NIE was not released to Congress until after the debate had already begun, and its presentation of the intelligent was far more nuanced than the "White Paper" released by the White House.

Congress was being forced to vote on an issue, then defend that vote. But their hands were tied --- they could NOT discuss any doubt they had based on what was in the NIE because it was classified. Instead, they had to defend their vote based on the twisted and manipulated "facts" presented to the American public in the White Paper.

This was one of the clearest, and most egregious, example of the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes imaginable. People assume that "classified" information SUPPORTS the claims made by the administration -- the argument is "Here are the conclusion, and if you knew what I knew, you wouldn't question them." Instead, what was classified was the information that raised questions about the nature and strength of the intelligence.

TM wants us to believe there was no political manipulation of intelligence information --- but its glaringly obvious that the information presented to the American people right before the election was demonstrably misleading, and evidence that it was misleading remained classified until well after the election.

Sue

I saw this question on another site...if we were exactly where we are in Iraq right now, 2,000+ dead, etc., BUT we had found the WMDs, would Iraq still be considered a mess?

Charlie (Colorado)

As to public expectations, I am sure we can find a few quotes from him suggesting that the road ahead would be difficult. However, did Bush present something like a five year plan for Iraq with best case, worst case, and best guess estimates for the budget impact, level of troop deployment, and level of casualties? Maybe I missed it, or maybe it was under-emphasized.

Or maybe you're just nuts? Are you aware of any time, any where that this kind of information has ben presented? And if he had provided a completely accurate, prescient estimate --- that two years later we would have had only 2000 fatalities, but would have had two free elections and scared Libya into dropping their own WMD programs would you have believed him?

clarice

Despite the rotten media coverage of post-invasion Iraq, the situation gets better every day--it's a an odd time to be making these arguments I think.

Yes, I do think the Administration's weak communications --across the Board--is a continuing problem and it must strengthen them. (I also think McClellan should toughen up at pressers and stop allowing himself to be used as a pinata.)

With the DNC crashing under Dean and the 527 loophole allowing moonbat Hollywood, Soros and Bing to pump millions to their fav candidates and issues, moderate Dems look to me to be in danger of being swamped in the primaries..that is why normally more sane people like Rockefeller are walking out on this limb..Let them take one more step and then saw off the limb..and do it as Iraq emerges strong and free..next year..

The Stupid Party proves itself ...well. stupid...again.

(P.S., were I in the RNC--I'd include statements from Ed Koch , one of the few sentient members of his party on this issue, as much as possible.)

Rick Ballard

GT,

The Dems may very well try and put together a grand plan that will satisfy the defeatist wing, placate the rent seekers, satisfy the unions, scare the geezers and appeal to voters whose primary concern is the fact that while it has never been easier to purchase a home and we have full employment, median income is not rising as fast as it did in the last year of the Clinton bubble (due only to extravagant salaries paid to a minuscule percentage of the population). I'm sure that it is theoretically possible to come up with such a contract.

Who are they going to hire to play the part of commissar Hillary making a secret grab to collectize health care in '93? Because comrade Hillary's actions in '93 are what made the Contract With America successful. Keep watching those Demsm poll numbers though. Don't pay any attention to the state of Democratic party finances at 50 weeks from the election. Especially don't consider the miserable results of Dean's internet fundraising. Count on Soros/Bing/Lewis throwing more money in the till and the Demsm to provide the positive coverage to put the Dems over the top. 'Cause, ya know, there ain't enough dough to buy advertising.

Sure sounds like a winner to me.

kim

GT, you simply don't understand. Iraq is a success, and the Iraqis have made it so. We merely facilitated it.
===============================================

MaidMarion

Re. the pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s WMD, I find it rather amusing that about one week after the Iraq invasion, Joe Wilson still believed CIA’s assessment on Saddam’s chemical and biological weapons. He proclaimed as much during a Council on Foreign Relations meeting on March 25, 2003:

“Just for the record, it's my full expectation that, based on what they have told me, that they will use every weapon in their arsenal and that would include chemical weapons and biological weapons, if they can.”
http://www1.cfr.org/pub5763/judith_kipper_robert_c_orr_thomas_g_mcinerney_thomas_g_rhame_joseph_c_wilson_iv/crossing_the_rubicon_a_status_report_on_operation_iraqi_freedom.php”>Read the transcript here.

GT

Kim,

Nothing like a true believer. Now convince the rest.


Sue,

I suspect if we had found the WMDs we would not be having this debate.


Rick,

We'll see what happens.This past week a liberal Dem won in VA and that's bad news for the GOP as Novak points out.

A minor quibble. You are confusing median with mean. The median wage is not increased if only a small number get a huge rise.

harmon

So, the Democratic Party's position is: "We were brainwashed!"

Sounds familiar...

p.lukasiak

I think we are in agreement here. Americans would not care one bit about wmds or wrong intelligence if Iraq were perceived a success.

this is a key point. Unfortunately, Americans really don't care if they are "lied to" if the outcome is a success. We pretty much accept the fact that some "manipulation" of facts presented will take place, because we understand that other facts that support a conclusion have to remain classified.

But our willingness to accept this manipulation comes with an obligation for the President to ensure that the intelligence, does in fact, justify the manipulation. And the greater the potential risks and costs involved, the more vigorous that effort must be.

Nobody cared that we were "lied to" by Reagan about Grenada, and nobody should care if we were "lied to" by Clinton about his bombing of Iraq. The potential risks and costs were not considerable in those cases.

But invading an occupying a nation of 26 million people on the other side presented considerable risk and costs. TM wants the question of whether anyone predicted the insurgency to be an issue. That isn't the issue --- the issue is did the White House have a realistic comprehensive strategy for post-invasion Iraq? Clearly it didn't--- and the people with the greatest expertise were shut out of post-war planning.

The issue here isn't the manipulation of intelligence -- the issue is the manipulation of intelligence without making absolutely sure that the facts justified the risks.

richard mcenroe

Speaking of Cindy, did the public ever rise up in response to her call for an end to the US occupation of New Orleans?

Rick Ballard — Let's see Hillary run on the economy, with her famous quote about how "you" "have too much money, and we're going to take some from you..." in heavy rotation...

GT

Richard,

Well her husband is perceived to have done a much better job than the GOP running the economy and he clearly did a better job on the fiscal side.

Actually, Dems have a better record than GOPers on almost every aspect of the economy.

clarice

Do you measure success by what a journo, pinned down by fear in the Green zone and relying on Baathist translators and Palestinian stringers tells you? That's your choice.

Frankly, I think the market--the collective wisdom of the investor class-- is a better guide. And if you agree with me, surveys of the Iraqi business community and reports of rising real estate values, paint a far more optimistic picture.

Yesterday I read of plans to create a luxury hotel there and this morning there is this:

_________

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said he is less worried that U.S. policies in Iraq will bring on a civil war there, and pledged anew to contribute $1 billion for rebuilding that war-ravaged country's shattered infrastructure. "My fears are much more eased," Prince Saud al-Faisal said Sunday following meetings with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. http://www.pennlive.com/newsflash/pa/index.ssf?/base/international-27/113189034726060.xml&storylist=pahomepage


Rick Ballard

Clarice,

Why should the RNC expend resources in order to fulfill expectations derived from acceptance of the Demsm narrative template? The RNC is using a different narrative template that places communication efforts in venues outside the Demsm.

The communication efforts in other venues have proven to be successful nationally for the Reps for the past five election cycles. The Demsm pulled out all the stops (remember Evan Thomas' remarks) in '04 and cost Bush about 6% according to the Fair model. That was with an unprecedented effort against a single candidate.

There are 468 seats up for contest in the coming election but there are only about 25-30 that are actually in play. The Demsm will be a factor in very few of them and (this may come as a surprise to the Dems) George Bush is not running in any of them.

While I would like a super majority, I can accept a simple majority and I wouldn't dream of advising the RNC on how to do their work. I like the job the DNC is doing too, I'm very impartial that way.

GT,

Thank you for the correction. It is mean not median.

p.lukasiak

I saw this question on another site...if we were exactly where we are in Iraq right now, 2,000+ dead, etc., BUT we had found the WMDs, would Iraq still be considered a mess?

that's actually an interesting question, sue :)

I think it would still be considered a mess, but there would be somewhat higher public support for the war effort than there is now.

And instead of us talking about the failure/manipulation of the intelligence on the threat represented by Iraq, we'd be talking about why our post-invasion planning was so inadequate.

In other words, we would still be trying to hold Bush accountable for the decisions he made, and the failure that has resulted from those decisions. And that, IMHO, is a very good thing --- it is really the only way that we have of holding a President accountable, and ensuring we don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

Sue

GT,

Why? Why would you think Iraq was a success if we had found WMDs but you don't think it is because we didn't?

TexasToast

Frankly, I think the market--the collective wisdom of the investor class-- is a better guide.

Spoken like a true Republican! :) I seem to remember a tidbit about John D Rockefeller investing money in the market after the great crash. The Depression wiped more than half the Rockefeller fortune.

We have been hearing how rosy things are from certain quarters since "Mission Accomplished". We are still there. The insurgency is stronger, not weaker. I hope Rick is right and we start the "planned draw down" soon. I'll believe it when I see it.

Disgusted

Ah, the benefits of hindsight. The question is if they knew then what they know now would they have DONE anything differently or merely SAID different things?

If the Bush administration had known they wouldn’t find WMD’s would they have acted differently, or simply described the problem in different terms? The same for the Democrats. In reevaluating the past history why do we never hear how WRONG the anti-war critics got the probable consequences of the Iraq invasion? Remember the uprising of the Arab street? Remember the millions of refugees? Etc.

If the Administration did not accurately predict the severity of the post-invasion insurgency, nevertheless many of their optimistic predictions have been realized. Wouldn’t it be more productive to make a more balanced assessment: What went right, hopeful signs for the future, etc. Versus what went wrong, problems that need more work, a different approach, etc.

Or is that kind of a mature, serious analysis beyond the capability of our leaders?

While I fiercely support freedom of speech and debate I see no reason why redicule can’t be employed to encourage greater civility in politics. I would like to see a contest on some blog for an annual SILLY AWARD to be given to the national official who makes the most UNSERIOUS, VILE and CONSEQUENCIAL public statement. My own personal nominee for this honor is Senator Durbin’s comparison of the Gitmo detention camp with Nazi concentration camps, Soviet gulag, and Pol Pot massacres!!!! Breathtaking.


GT

Sue,

I don't know if it would be viewed as a complete success but at least nobody would say they were misled. The reasons given for war would be proven true and many Americans would think, I believe, that it was worth going after Saddam since he had WMDs. We'd probably be debating the aftermath but I think there would be more suport both among Americans and the world at large.

clarice

Rick, that's an interesting point. It may well be that it would be a waste of time to try to get thru the MSM screen and the RNC has found another way to reach voters...still, when I look at Bush legislative iniatives which I favor--ANWR, social security reform, etc..I think better narratives in the MSM wouldn't hurt.

But that's just me..(Good thing I'm not in the WH press office. I'd probably deck Terry Moran and let the WaPo know that Woodward's and Sue Schnieder's are the only calls to the WH from that paper which will not be sent to the custodial office.)

p.lukasiak

There are 468 seats up for contest in the coming election but there are only about 25-30 that are actually in play.

Rick...

isn't this a "conventional wisdom" estimate that does not take into account the changing public perception of the Parties?

I honestly don't know how many seats are "in play" at the moment, but I'd suggest that there has been a shift in terms of which seats are in play. Right now, I think that those seats held by Democrats that were just outside of being considered 'safe' are now pretty much safe, and those seats held by the GOP that barely met the "minimum standard" for a "safe seat" are now "in play."

Voters do tend to "punish" the congressional delegation of the party in the White House when they are not happy with the President -- and the vast majority of GOP congresscritters have done everything in power to associate themselves with Bush over the last two election cycles, so I'm not sure how effective efforts to distance themselves from him will be. (It didn't work for Al Gore, that's for sure :) )

max

"... if Bush undertook this war relying on a fair media to help him maintain public support, he really is a dope." - TM

So you agree that to expect honesty from the msm is hopeless??

In fairness to President Bush, I think he was entitled, given the stakes post 9/11, to expect the media to be honest, albiet biased; i.e. that they would emphasis the negative, but not lie. Instead however, the msm, true to historic form, has promoted liars like Joe Wilson and allowed (encouraged) the Demos' revisionist history vis-a-vis the decision to go to war.

Can you imagine how much off better this country and the world would be if the msm were honest?

Sue

P. Luk,

Therein lies the difference between you and I. The fact that we didn't find stockpiles of WMDs did not change my mind about our need to deal with Saddam. I supported the removal of Saddam, by any means necessary, pre-invasion and post-invasion. Was I under the impression that removing Saddam would immediately stop terrorism? No. It would seem some of you were either clueless to a problem that had been allowed to fester and gather for decades. Terrorism did not begin with the Bush presidency and it will not end with the Bush presidency. The sooner some of you come to that realization, the better off we will all be.

clarice

Disgusted--excellent point..Only Mark Steyn regularly rolls out for our review the media quagmire of false predictions on the Afghan and Iraq wars--and everytime he does, I laugh out loud..

kim

p.l., I'm happy to see you hold Bush accountable for what has happened in Iraq. Historians will, too. As do all those millions of Iraqis in their purple fingered majesty.
=================================================

Syl

TM

In Iraq, we are even more culpable because the dots themselves never existed.

I think this is wrong. The dots weren't only about current WMD. The dots included Saddam's behavior, his history, his support for terrorism, his stated desires, his violation of the ceasefire agreement, his refusal to come clean about his wmd, his treatment of his own people, his use of wmd in the past against both his own people and the Iranians.

Considering all that, whether he had actual stockpiles of wmd and a current nuclear program in progress is rather moot.

Sue

GT,

What if we had found chemical and/or biological but not nuclear? And we were at the same place? Worth it? Not misled? Debating the occupation not the invasion?

davebo

Geez, do you folks even realize how idiotic you sound whining about the "MSM"?

Do you truly believe that 70% of Americans are going to just decide that "everything is peachy if you ignore the news"?

And folks thought Nixon was paranoid!

kim

With blogs, Max, information flow has become freed again, after the MSM diversion. It's like dykes built despite impossible engineering. It's impossible to hide the truth forever.
===========================================

GT

Sue,

I don't know where you draw the line. Surely had we found some WMDs it would have helped garner support and the more we found the more support for the initial decision, I think.

You think that even without WMDs the war makes sense. But it seems most Americans disagree which is why support for Bush and the war has dropped so much.

Blaming the media or the Dems, while it may make the true believers feel better is not much of a strategy and won't change people's perceptions.

p.lukasiak

In reevaluating the past history why do we never hear how WRONG the anti-war critics got the probable consequences of the Iraq invasion? Remember the uprising of the Arab street? Remember the millions of refugees? Etc.

I was one of those lefties who was wrong about the immediate aftermath of the war. That's because I accepted the "conventional wisdom" that underlined the military planning for the invasion, i.e. that there would be little resistance in the South, and that Saddam would make a "last stand" in Baghdad, and that there would be a fairly protracted, and very bloody, siege of the city. (I thought the possibility of the uprising of the "Arab street" would be a result of the siege, and not the invasion per se.)

But Saddam fooled all of us, didn't he? Of course, it wasn't my job to determine if the military and post-invasion planning was adequate, and considered all of the possibilities. That was Bush's job. And he screwed it up.

Sue

In 2002, right after the elections that swept the democrats completely from power, the left went into what we did wrong mode. The conclusion? They weren't critical enough of Bush. Not the message was wrong. The ideas were wrong. The 'we dont' even have a plan' was wrong. They were not critical enough of Bush. From that day forward, democrats have continued to ignore that they have no ideas, no plan, no 'constructive' criticism. They have marched, lock-step, towards one direction. Criticism of Bush. It seems to be working. I suspect, though, that democrats played their hand too soon.

Clarice

davebo..it's not an exaggeration. The economy is doing very well--despite 9/11 and the hurricanes and the burst IT bubbles--and yet unremitting false reporting has affected American perceptions. Surveys keep showing Americans think the economy is not doing well altho most Americans think they are doing just fine..Of course, that's the fault of Rep politicians as well..They should be attacking the lies in every speech they make on the hustings..

Syl

re the CIA missing the extent of the insurgency

I think Max makes an excellent point concerning this (quoted in a sec) and if you combine that with Rockefeller's statement (pointed out in the previous thread) that Saddam's regime was essentially Stalinist and we couldn't penetrate to get the real skinny, one realizes that the extent of the insurgency could not be completely anticipated.

Not that we would be totally blind to it, but we would have had no specific warning about the extent and depth of it, who was involved, etc., prior to invasion.

Max:

After many wasted and futile months of trying to work through the UN, Bush took the only other course available to him - invasion to remove Saddam. If he had gone immediately (i) more WMDs might well have been found (think Syria) and (ii) Saddam and his henchmen would have had much less time to organize the attacks against Coalition forces and Iraqis working to rebuild the abbatoir that Saddam had created.
GT

Clarice,

The reason Americans think the economy is not doing so well is because for many it isn't. GDP growth is great but if that doesn't translate into more jobs or higher wages the average American won't care. That's why they are so sour on this ecnomy and why so many think we are actually in recession when the economy is growing pretty fast.

kim

Many people, who have absorbed MSM uncritically, and remember fearing WMD, but not Saddam, and who also have not been exposed to the Duelfer Report and to the writing of Claudia Rosett, may think the war has not been worth the effort. They are simply wrong, and can be persuaded by the truth as it becomes available to them. You call me a true believer; I merely believe the truth.
====================================================

Sue

GT,

I don't draw the line. The line was drawn by radical Islam and they crossed it. You think Saddam was going to limit his support of terrorists to Palestinian suicide bombers? You think he wouldn't have looked at bin Laden's success on 9/11 and rethought his support for an organization that hurt America? You think he kept his scientists, his knowledge, his ability to obtain WMDs to deter Iran? Maybe, but how long after the sanctions were lifted would that have turned towards the US? And an organization capable and willing to carry out what he himself wished to do?

You are the one that needs to decide just how willing you were to trust Saddam to do the right thing. And it would seem your line was not very far in front of you.

GT

Sue,

This is not about me. YOu may notice that I have not said at any time what I think. Rather it's what Americans think.

You believe that Saddam had to be taken out even without WMDs. Right now a majority of Americans disagree with you.

Kim,

Well now you just need to convince the rest.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

The "better narrative" would not make it through the Demsm filters. It's like the polling being purchased by the Demsm. The samples and questions are loaded to get the answers that reinforce the Demsm narrative. Neutral polling is only done beginning at 10 days from the election in order to support the aftermath stories regarding "sudden late surge". Right now Rasmussen is doing the only polling worth looking at - and I haven't looked closely at his for months. I wish he would put up his methodology, although I understand why he doesn't.

PL,

Punish the Congresscritters has only worked once in the past twenty years or so and that was due to Hillary's boneheaded move in scaring the geezers about health care. It reinforced suspicions that the person sold as being a DLC centrist might be something else entirely (the gay soldier move in the first week didn't help). So the electorate took away his majority so he couldn't play with any more collectivist toys. Bubba then ran for center and never budged from it. He had real talent as a personal politician and was an absolute disaster for his party.

The '06 election is likely to be the most boring since '86. The difference will be that Bush will be actively campaigning while Reagan did not. I think Bush wants to close with a pickup. There is no reason to imagine that he will not.

clarice

We're wandering a bit off topic but the most detailed analysis I've seen indicates the poverty level is skewed by the influx of illegals--that almost everyone who has been here for a while is doing quite well.

It helps that market entry to new business is so easy; that more and more Americans are their own bosses (see Virginia Postrel), interest rates are low and real estate values increasing;free trade and that new methods of retailing (see, evil WalMart and online marketing) have succeeded in keeping consumer prices inflation rates down.

Newspapers, textile, domestic clothing and auto manufacturers are in trouble and middle management is in a squeeze, but overall Americans are doing well.

Sue

GT,

You are now going to claim you feel otherwise? You are merely pointing out to us "it's what Americans think". LOL You feel the same way or you wouldn't be arguing the point. If your line is so limited, don't back down now.

GT

Clarice,

I know you believe americnas are doing well. But they disagree. Which is why almost 70% are dissatisied with how things are going in the country.

Syl

TT

The insurgency is stronger, not weaker.

You have absolutely nothing to support that assertion.

GT

Sue,

I didn't say I felt otherwise. I pointed out I am talking about what Americans believe.

Syl

GT

You keep dancing around in your tortured answers to Sue's question: if wmd had been found would you still believe Iraq is a mess now?

You haven't answered that.

Oh, and when you say: but I think there would be more suport both among Americans and the world at large.

No WMD was a big deal to the 'world at large' in 2003. Today, they don't give sh*t. That's past history and they're looking at the effects of the invasion, not its genesis.

Sue

GT,

Just to be accurate and all, you should re-phrase your post to say the polls say a majority of Americans. I believe I am an American and I don't feel that way. However, the polls also said Kerry was going to win in '04. I wouldn't hang my hat on polls so much and I certainly wouldn't hang my hat on Bush imploding in order to retake Washington.

p.lukasiak

It would seem some of you were either clueless to a problem that had been allowed to fester and gather for decades.

Sue, we weren't "clueless" -- we just saw the problem differently from you.

When it comes right down to it, 9-11 was no more than a handful of religious nutcases armed with pocketknives who exploited gaping holes in our "homeland security" that should not have existed. Its not like we didn't know that passenger jets could be hijacked -- it happened often enough a couple of decades ago. We, AS A NATION, let our guard down.

And the fact is that the Bush administration ignored serious warnings that an attack was being planned, and that it could well involve hijacking aircraft. To me, one of the most shocking things I heard was when Condi Rice said that no imagined such an attack was possible while at the same time acknowledging that the administration had been warned about the threat of hijacking.

Nothwitstanding the fact that "flying jets into buildings" was far from "unimaginable", WHAT THE HELL was the White House thinking, KNOWING that there was a strong possibility that planes could be hijacked PERIOD, and not treating THAT as a serious threat? Basically, the White House's excuse was "if we'd suspected that they were going to fly planes into buildings, we would have acted more agressively." Apparently, the threat of hijacking was NOT sufficient to get them to act more agressively.

In many ways, 9-11 REDUCED the threat from al-Qaeda, because the rest of the world became much more willing to act agressively against them in concert with the USA. Clinton had reached an agreement with the elected government of Pakistan to allow US troops to enter Afghanistan through that country in order to kill/capture bin Laden, and take out the training camps. When Musharraf overthrew the government, he denied that permission --- but suddenly, after 9-11, he was far more willing to co-operate with the USA.

Prior to 9-11, the US options for dealing with al Qaeda were significantly proscribed by other very real considerations in international relations. Saudi Arabia was not co-operative at all, yet that nation was the epicenter of funding for al-Qaeda. What were we supposed to do? Overthrow the royal family? We were (and still are) dependent upon them for oil -- not to mention the fact that "containing Saddam" was being done from US bases in Saudi Arabia.

Rick Ballard

GT,

And Democrat's net Cash On Hand is lower now under Dean than it was under McAuliffe four years ago because all those disaffected Americans are putting their money where their mouth is right? The fact that Dean is spending like a drunken sailor on fund raising efforts is an indication of success?

Bush is raising Dem money like Hillary raised Rep money in '94? This is the reality community?

GT

Yes Sue, I mean a majority of Americans.

Sadly the polls did not show Kerry winning. Only a couple did and for a short time and I so wanted to believe them but the overwhelming majority showed Bush winning.

GT

Rick,

I don't particularly care how much the DNC gets. Both Dean and then Kerry showed Dems can raise the money when the time comes. The RNC has always out spent the DNC. It's how it works.

Sue

P. Luk,

Once again you are using a PDB that said nothing more than what had been repeated for decades, hijackings did not mean suicide misions in the traditional sense, to bash Bush. While completely ignoring he probably had a multitude of similar PDBs that dealt with Iraq. You want to bash him with a PDB that supports your Bush is a moron allegation, while never considering what he saw in those other PDBs that dealt with Iraq. Which merely supports my theory that either way, nothing Bush does will ever be good enough for you.

Harry Arthur

GT, This past week a liberal Dem won in VA and that's bad news for the GOP as Novak points out. You may be correct in your general assertion that there is bad news ahead for the GOP but your take on VA politics isn't.

This past week the voters of VA elected Mark Warner to his second term. You see, we have a one term governor in VA and electing Tim Kaine was the only way possible to give Warner a second term. Yes, Jerry Kilgore ran a horrible campaign but Mark Warner has something like a 70% approval rating. He and Tim Kaine governed as moderate, fiscal conservatives (relatively) and campaigned on that theme. A theme that Kilgore found impossible to refute. I agree that Tim Kaine is a self-admitted liberal but that's not how he governed and that's not how he campaigned.

We also reelected a Republican legislature, with very few exceptions, related to issues other than the typical liberal vs conservative, e.g., traffic and urban sprawl. And we elected a Republican Lt. Governor and a Republican AG, so it's not quite as simple as you might think in Virginia, and I suspect in the rest of the republic either.

Republicans, to continue to be successful in future elections, will have to get back to basic conservative principles in governing that contributed to their successes in the 90s.

Syl

GT

Surely had we found some WMDs it would have helped garner support and the more we found the more support for the initial decision, I think.

The problem is what else we found post-invasion has been ignored. The Duelfer report was only interesting to the MSM and the Dems in showing proof that no WMD were found.

That Saddam had his programs ready to begin anew at a moment's notice was ignored.

The UN corruption and bribery scandals that were undermining the sanctions was ignored.

That Duelfer concluded that Saddam was even more dangerous than we had presumed was ignored.

In fact everything except wmd was ignored.

Rick Ballard

GT,

The comparision was not between Dems and Reps, it's between the genius who led the Dem's to their sterling performances in '00 and '02 and '04 and the current genius who will achieve similiar success in '06.

Hang on to those Demsm polls though. Steering the ship by the weathervane of polling has put the Dems where they are today and I'm certain that it will keep them there. Why change?

Tulsan

The Democrats do not have a clear unified policy on Iraq. The Administration has a clear direction but no timetable. The Democrats hope that it will all be over before they need to articulate a definitive policy. Maybe they can skate through the 2006 mid-terms without a policy, but they will need one by 2008 unless everything goes well in Iraq between now and then.

Syl

IMHO GT is demonstrating his true beliefs in statements such as this:

Blaming the media or the Dems, while it may make the true believers feel better is not much of a strategy and won't change people's perceptions.

It doesn't matter what the 'truth' is, all that matters is that Dems and the MSM can make the public believe what they want them to believe, even if it's only half-truths, or even lies, it doesn't matter and is fine with him.

GT's exuberance over recent polls points out clearly that he believes deception is just hunky dory when it suits him. Because it doesn't matter at all what is really happening in Iraq, he's against the war, and therefore lying to the American public is justified.

TexasToast

Syl

Insurgency weakening?

30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003.

Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).

US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.

Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.

Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.

Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.

US Casualties

Jan-05 107
Feb-05 58
Mar-05 36
Apr-05 52
May-05 80
Jun-05 78
Jul-05 54
Aug-05 85
Sep-05 49
Oct-05 96
Nov-05 36
Total 2065

Its not exactly a declining trend line.
What more proof does one need?


Sue

The 9/11 commission said the attacks were originally planned for late spring or early summer '01 but were postponed. I wonder what the talking point would be had they happened as originally scheduled? With no August PDB to hang their hat on?

Richard Aubrey

It strikes me that, going on forty years ago, the anti-war folks hated LBJ and Nixon because they continued the war.

Now, the order is different. Many of the anti-war types seem to hate the war because they already hated Bush.

In both cases, the anti-war types lied and lied and lied, which is to be expected.

In both cases, for the most part, the anti-war folks don't particularly want the war to end, they want the US (and/or Bush) to lose.

I have no idea why the anti-war folks think the rest of us believe them.

ami

I have no idea why the anti-war folks think the rest of us believe them.

ah richard! good to see you here -- a place where off topic posts are not only not discouraged, they are practically the lifeblood of this blog! :)

davebo

"That Duelfer concluded that Saddam was even more dangerous than we had presumed was ignored."

Yes it has.

Mainly because the vast majority of Americans found the concept that Saddam was even more dangerous without the weapons some thought he possessed to be incredibly ludicrous.

And that anyone that, clinging to some straw of hope, buys into that concept is a freaking moron.

Syl

TT

You are ignoring the fact that insurgent casualties have decreased. Al Qaeda has been using bigger bombs that kill more people.

You are also ignoring the fact that the insurgency is active in only 2 provinces now.

You are also ignoring the fact that the insurgents decided to vote (even though against) in the last election and fought off al Qaeda types by securing their own polling places.

You are ignoring the fact that in Ramadi, as we speak, insurgents are battling al Qaeda.

In other words the insurgency is dying down. It's not ended, but it is weaker now.

davebo

"You are also ignoring the fact that the insurgency is active in only 2 provinces now."

Hard to ingore actual facts, as opposed to facts we'd like to be true.

Baghdad is one province where the insurgents are certainly active.

As is Al Basrah, Al Karbala, Diyala, Salah ad Din and Wasit.

Just how many Americans per quarter need to die in a province to qualify it as containing an active insurgency?

Syl

davebo

because the vast majority of Americans found the concept that Saddam was even more dangerous without the weapons some thought he possessed to be incredibly ludicrous.

Only if you believe the Dem and MSM spin that Bush claimed Iraq was an imminent threat.

The American people rejected that spin in Nov '04 making the majority of voters freaking morons. Yeah sure.


davebo

Sorry Syl,

But when it comes to spin the dreaded MSM has nothing on you guys. Two provinces my ass.

Nov. 04 has come and passed.

Rick Ballard

"I have no idea why the anti-war folks think the rest of us believe them."

They pretty much answered that one when they declared themselves the "reality based" community. The hard line defeatists do not represent more than about 15% of the population. If it were possible to do a historical retrospective running through American history since its inception I imagine that a similiar percentage of the deluded would be found at any given time.

There will always be an element within the population which lives in a disparate reality that conforms to a rigid narrative framework that does not allow for reasoned dissent. Sometimes that element is noisier than at other times but it is always there.

We're going to be sweeping up the refuse spilled in carting Hegelian historicism to the ash can of history for quite some time. If the shattering of the USSR didn't put it to bed, I doubt that the coming collapse of the EU and the exposure of the rottenness at the core of the UN will either.

I understand that people live relatively normal lives after being infected with herpes. Perhaps thinking of it in those terms would be helpful.

Syl

davebo

You are under the impression that the Iraqi insurgency and al Qaeda activity are the same thing. The fighting in Anbar is not against the Iraqi insurgency, but against the foreign fighters, for example.


davebo

"The fighting in Anbar is not against the Iraqi insurgency, but against the foreign fighters, for example."

Like I said, you guys have a flair for making up crap out of whole cloth.

14 KIA in Anbar province this month alone. And you're saying they're all from foreign fighters?

Any evidence, even a sliver, to back up such a claim?

No insurgents in Fallujah? Please.

Steve J.

Left unexplained - how the Democrats unrelenting focus on the use of pre-war intelligence is going to substitute for a plan to resolve the situation in Iraq.

First you have to get rid of the people in the Executive Branch who lied us into the war.

All of them.

boris

911 started the war.

Occam's Beard

Sue raised an interesting question above, regarding attitudes toward the war in Iraq if WMDs had been found.

Let me raise the converse question: what would attitudes be on the Left if President Bush hadn't invaded Iraq ("let the inspectors do their work," etc.) and then we'd been attacked with WMDs? (Think just a garden variety chemical weapon at the Super Bowl - trivial to do. As a chemist, I could do it personally.)

Would they now be giving the President a skip because he was working through the UN and the inspectors, giving peace (and the terrorists) a chance, or would they be howling for his head on a pike?

The answer makes clear that the Left fundamentally despises President Bush, quite independent of what he actually does or doesn't do. In fact, if he'd followed the above scenario and there hadn't been a WMD attack, I strongly suspect they'd be accusing him of dereliction of duty for leaving Saddam in place (or perhaps they'd be apoplectic about something else). It's difficult to imagine how Bush might placate them.

SteveMG

What would attitudes be on the Left if President Bush hadn't invaded Iraq ("let the inspectors do their work," etc.) and then we'd been attacked with WMDs?

In the aftermath of 9/11, he would have been impeached.

Similarly, had he invaded Afghanistan on 9/10 and taken drastic action domestically to round up al-Qaeda agents many on the left would have accused him of "fixing intelligence" to get us into war. They would have examined the intelligence on al-Qaeda operations here and would have jumped on the dissenting views to prove that Bush ignored contradictory conclusions.

But to be honest, that's the price he has to pay for being President. When things go well, he gets the credit; when they go wrong, he gets the blame.

Whether it's warranted or not.

SMG

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