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April 07, 2006

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Comments

Cecil Turner

The Times also pounds the table on the aluminum tubes . . .

Yeah, and you gotta love the way they cite the caveat, but leave out the main finding:

Most agencies believe that Saddam's personal interest in and Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge rotors--as well as Iraq's attempts to acquire magnets, high-speed balancing machines, and machine tools--provide compelling evidence that Saddam is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program. (DOE agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.)
In any event, if rebutting one's critics is a crime, all of Washington should be locked up. Hmm, not a bad idea...

Yes, and Wilson wasn't just a "critic." He was actively spreading disinformation about a go-to-war decision, in a fashion guaranteed to resonate in enemy propaganda releases, whilst a shooting war was ongoing. It may be impossible to quantify the effect that this and similar stories have on friendly troops' morale and enemy willingness to fight, but there's little doubt the effect exists. Discrediting Wilson wasn't just "not criminal" . . . it was a duty. Great post.

MayBee

Hmm, we're not afraid of Big Ideas... Well, let's press on

TM, have I ever told you how much I adore your writing?

boris

Isn't it funny that evidence of threat from a dangerous tyrant in time of war has to be beyond reasonable doubt ... but simply asserting the threat exists is an impeachable lie based on the dubious logic that a scintilla of doubt if proof of Saddam's innocence and Bush's crime.

The odious swarm of trolls and moonbats can hardly be blamed for their blinkered beliefs with the execrable Times demented drek printed and distributed country wide.

not the senator

So we find out today that Bush personally authorized leaking sensitive intelligence information for political reasons.

Explain to me again how we can trust that this President has not used his NSA program, that has no oversight, to wiretap Americans for political reasons?

MayBee

Was it not the NY Times that ran 2 election-eve dual-use nuclear weapon materials on the loose in Iraq because Bush didn't protect the stockpiles stories?

So now, we are to believe Iraq had dual use weapons, under IAEA seal, and we must PANIC that they are gone...but those aluminum tubes, they mean nothing and the fact they mean nothing meant Saddam had no nuclear ambitions. Yes? No?

Jim E.

"a fashion guaranteed to resonate in enemy propaganda releases, whilst a shooting war was ongoing. It may be impossible to quantify the effect that this and similar stories have on friendly troops' morale and enemy willingness to fight, but there's little doubt the effect exists."

Same is true of WF Buckley, Zinni, Wilkerson, Tom Clancy, Eaton, Thatcher, and Fukuyama, I presume? All their words are "guarenteed" to resonate with the enemy, right? I realize the comment was primarily meant as an anti-Wilson diatribe, but it is written in such a broad-brush style as to pretty much label any critique of the war as somehow unAmerican. (Then again, Cecil is probably nodding his head at that and thinking there's nothing broad-bush about it, and that critiques shouldn't take place at all.)

Hmmmmm. How about Bush saying "Bring it on"? Unlike the others listed above, there's probably no American the "enemy" listens to more than Bush. That doozy of a line was directly spoken to the enemy troops, unlike pretty much any statement by a mainstream antiwar critic. By the hallowed Cecil Turner standard, Bush's statement was clearly the worst, as he was specifically urging the enemy to fight as hard as possible. Of that, there can be little doubt.

Jake - but not the one

TM, I think you can parse these words two ways

"Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

Your way (as I understand your posts)- high-strengh aluminum tubes. Such tubes have nuclear weapons production as one potential use.

The other way - high-strength aluminum tubes specifically purchased for nuclear weapons production.

Now I don't know which way the President intended. I do think those words could be read either way by honest people.

Jake

max

The NYT - once again showing its Quisling stripes.

The NYT thinks it is (and hopes our enemies recognize it as) a Quisling vis-a-vis the United States, but actually since at least Walter Duranty, it has been ready to betray all mankind other than its preening self for the slightest perceived advantage in any partisan struggle.

boris

read either way by

While the tubes themselves might be used for other purposes, the specs they were built to had only one purpose. Nuclear.

Honest people would be honest about that point.

Wonderland

Tom writes:

"The DOE thought the tubes were "poorly suited" for use in centrifuges; what the President's wordsmiths had written was that the tubes "were suitable" for such use, which was probably true."

Parse away, Tom, but this is an idiotic statement. I mean, this is kind of is-is nonsense that so many of you rightly decried in the '90s. Now, "poorly suited" actually means "suitable." It's no wonder well over half of people think the Administration was dishonest is making its case for war.

You also make a big deal over critics' emphasis on the aluminum tubes issues rather than the 16 words/uranium issue. As if one or the other was a smoking gun of dishonesty. You're missing the meta-criticism here: That the nuclear case against Saddam was always pretty weak; that it was, for many people, the lynchpin in supporting the war (smoking guns and mushroom clouds and all); that the two main pieces of evidence for the program -- Niger uranium and aluminum tubes -- were dubious at best; and that the Administration knew it was dubious, and didn't care. They knew the nuclear case was weak, but parsed and massaged and, yes, misled in order to have the war they wanted. You know perfectly well the impression they meant to create, and it was most certainly not that there were serious doubts about the Saddam's nuclear capabilities.

And, in any event, now that we know how decrepit Saddam's nuclear program really was, isn't all this evidence of gross negligence on the part of the Administration? I mean, due diligence and all. Everything they said about Saddam's nuclear program turned out to be baloney. Shouldn't they have done more fact-finding beforehand, especially given that they KNEW about the evidentiary doubts PRIOR to the war?

And if all this doesn't make you rub your eyes in disbelief, doesn't the fact that after the invasion, they leaked selected portions of the NIE that supported their case, while supressing those that casted doubt, make the original dishonesty and subsequent coverup clear as day?

Daddy

A Mark Twain paraphrase is called for right about here: "It is wrong of the New York Times to have commented on the Fitzgerald Filings without having read some of it."

boris

"poorly suited" actually means "suitable."

As opposed to "unsuited".

Aluminum tubes are unsuited to uranium production unless they are carefully constructed, at which point, depending on other factors, they become either "well suited" or "poorly suited".

Maybe Saddam was just testing the ban to see if he could get aluminum tubes built to spec. Mox nix because those specs were not allowed.

Semanticleo

The problem with the NYT is similar to that
of Bush Admin. Credibility so trashed that
most question even the most simple assumptions, such as: 'the sun rises in
the east'.

Cecil Turner

Same is true of WF Buckley, Zinni, Wilkerson, Tom Clancy, Eaton, Thatcher, and Fukuyama, I presume?

Did they make a false claim of US intelligence in order to discredit the Administration in wartime? If so, then it certainly does. (Of course, the relative play they get in the press is the main determinant of harm.)

I realize the comment was primarily meant as an anti-Wilson diatribe, but it is written in such a broad-brush style as to pretty much label any critique of the war as somehow unAmerican.

Again, classifying Wilson's disinformation as mere "critique" is not on.

By the hallowed Cecil Turner standard, Bush's statement was clearly the worst, as he was specifically urging the enemy to fight as hard as possible. Of that, there can be little doubt.

By the clueless Jim E. standard, the Nazis must've been utter dunces at propaganda, because they tended to think the bring it on type stuff fairly effective, along with discredit enemy leader stuff.

Specter

Wonderland,

You know - I just can't seem to reconcile the idea that MSM like the NYT publishes non-truths and you don't take them to task for it. It doesn't make sense. First off - if the President declassified a document - whether it be the whole document or portions of it - it is not a leak. It is a disclosure. There is a huge difference between the two words. Do you think Rocky knows the difference? But I digress.

Secondly they make the claim that Val was tied into the declass/disclosure process, when that was not what was said in Fitz's filing. Yet you seem to believe it even though the actual filing is in the public realm.

And that's why so many people seem to be against Bush in the polls - because people like you and the NYT keep telling them what to believe. You can't have it both ways.

BumperStickerist

Also, regarding Saddam and the aluminum tubes, there's the 'Gee, that's a really bad idea' angle to consider.

Was it a *really* *bad* idea for Saddam to import potential dual-use high tech items like aluminum tubes while under UN sanctions and facing possible Bush-led US military action?

Apparently so.

.

lemondloulou54

Tommy, Get with the program. Libby and his team and you can cry till you are all blue in your faces, but Libby is not charged with leaking the identity of a covert agent. He's charged with lying during the VP investigation to Federal agents and to lying during his grand jury testimony.

In a fist fight between a Wall Street broker's son and a doorman's son, I put my money on the doorman's son, particularly when it's the doorman's son who gets to decide which playground they are going to fight in.

Honestly, Tom, Victoria Toensing is SO O. J. Simpson case. . .Your talking points are getting tedious.

Sue

Mr. E.,

pretty much label any critique of the war as somehow unAmerican

So Wilson's lies were just a critique of the war?

Seixon

For a complete take-down of "uranium tubes in Niger", look no further.

Semanticleo

"The multiplying villainies of nature do swarm upon him." (Macbeth)

Specter

Man the trolls are out from under the bridge early today.


"who's that trip, trip, trapping across my bridge?"

Wonderland

Specter:

"if the President declassified a document - whether it be the whole document or portions of it - it is not a leak. It is a disclosure. There is a huge difference between the two words.

Again, this is legalistic nonsense. I understand that the President didn't break the law, since apparently he can declassify at will. But "disclosure" is when you declassify a document through normal channels, and then disseminate to the press or post it on the White House website. Like what was done later on.

"Leaking" is when you personally authorize a staff member to speak to a favored reporter on double-secret background, in a secret location, using a misleading identifier ("former Hill staffer"). If that's not a "leak," nothing is. And you can't ignore or spin the fact that but for that leak, the leaked information would ahve remained secret until it was released, via normal channels, some weeks later.

I mean, it may present any legal problems for the President, but it reeks of foul play, dishonesty, and hypocrisy.

James Stephenson

"Bring it on," the President spoke those words and bet every enlisted man in the militay said "hell yes."


Jim E thinks that was mistake, Bush was trying to goad the opposition into making a fatal mistake, namely attacking the U.S. Military head on. And in every instance of exchange of fire from the foreign insurgent against American troops has led to a bunch of dead terrorists. Remember that attack of 20+ insurgents on a convoy only to be repelled by 7 American Soldiers led by a Woman. Oh the irony, you have the advantage, superior numbers (in normal fights that equals wins, not only do you lose, you lose to a woman. That must have been tough for the Islamist ego right there. And I imagine that is one of the reasons they stopped bringing it on.

I keep waiting for them to try and stage a Tet Offensive. That will be the end of the Insurgency as we know it.

I say, "Bring it on Insurgency, Like men, bring it on."

Wonderland

I meant, in final sentence above, "...may not present any legal problems..."

Sorry.

MayBee

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/25/international/middleeast/25bomb.html?pagewanted=3&ei=5090&en=3bcf849cf3a68472&ex=1256356800&partner=kmarx> Al Qaqaa

..the Bush administration's claims that Iraq was secretly renewing its pursuit of nuclear arms. He ordered his weapons inspectors to conduct an inventory, and publicly reported their findings to the Security Council on Jan. 9, 2003.

During the following weeks, the I.A.E.A. repeatedly drew public attention to the explosives. In New York on Feb. 14, nine days after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell presented his arms case to the Security Council, Dr. ElBaradei reported that the agency had found no sign of new atom endeavors but "has continued to investigate the relocation and consumption of the high explosive HMX."

A European diplomat reported that Jacques Baute, head of the arms agency's Iraq nuclear inspection team, warned officials at the United States mission in Vienna about the danger of the nuclear sites and materials once under I.A.E.A. supervision, including Al Qaqaa.

But apparently, little was done. A senior Bush administration official said that during the initial race to Baghdad, American forces "went through the bunkers, but saw no materials bearing the I.A.E.A. seal." It is unclear whether troops ever returned.
----
NYTimes says: IAEA warnings and seals important. Nuclear weapons sites important. Dual use nuclear equipment important. Aluminum tubes? Makes the whole nuclear ambitions claim a lie lie lie.

boris

it reeks of foul play, dishonesty, and hypocrisy.

Everything Bush and Cheney does has that effect on moonbats.

Mark Buehner

"So we find out today that Bush personally authorized leaking sensitive intelligence information for political reasons. "

No, its not leaking when it comes from the president. Its declassifying and disclosing and he has that authority. And how do you seperate the political from policy? Wilson began using 'sensitive information' (as you put it) in the NYT in a _political_ effort to derail the war. Bush responded to this because he believed the information he had shouldnt be twisted and lied about by Joe Wilson when the security of the nation was on the line. He had ample legitimate reason.

"Explain to me again how we can trust that this President has not used his NSA program, that has no oversight, to wiretap Americans for political reasons? "

Explain to me how we can trust a president not to use his CIC authority to bomb Toronto or round up some small town in Idaho for genetic research. Its constitutional authority. The president can do a lot worse things then listen to your phone calls if the mood strikes him, but it doesnt keep us up at night.

Sue

If that's not a "leak," nothing is. And you can't ignore or spin the fact that but for that leak, the leaked information would ahve remained secret until it was released, via normal channels, some weeks later.

How does this tie in with Plame?

Foo Bar

One might guess that the wording carefully reflected the dispute

Are you saying that it should have been clear to someone hearing or reading this sentence

Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.
that there was dissent among intelligence agencies about what the tubes were most likely intended for?

"Carefully reflected the dispute"?? How about "carefully constructed to maximize alarmist effect while avoiding outright inconsistency with the NIE"?

maryrose

The deposing of Saddam was justified and necessary. His military was shooting at our planes. Just because the NYT is against President Bush and the Iraq war and obviously doesn't understand when and how it it is necessary to to declassify information {witness the recent NSA leaking kerfuffle} DOES NOT PERMIT them to lie in their reportage on their front page in order tp propagandize against the war and LIE to their readers. THIS IS WHAT IS CALLED YELLOW JOURNALISM.

Specter

Wonderland,

Nice job dogding the issue. Just like all Murtha/kerryites it's cut and run when you are asked a simple question. It is not a leak. Sorry - the President has the authority to declassify. He has the authority to authorize a person to tell the media about it. Not a leak - especially as compared to Rocky and the NSA stuff.

But the question was how can you condone the lying that the NYT does? You scream and yell that Bush lied - and you try to use bogus poll numbers to back that up - poll numbers generated in large part because MSM does not present the truth. What brand of honesty do you actually believe in?

blaster

re: Aluminum tubes

It isn't "just" the President and cherry pickers who think that those aluminum tubes were suitable for use in nuclear programs - that type of aluminum, in ANY form, is a controlled material by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and is BY DEFINITION dual use.

It was a violation of the UN sanctions regime for Iraq to purchase it without an approval process.

They knew that, that is why they purchased it covertly.

Somehow none of that gets into the story. Oh, sure, Iraq claimed it was for some other purpose. After they got caught redhanded subverting the sanctions.

TM

Was it not the NY Times that ran 2 election-eve dual-use nuclear weapon materials on the loose in Iraq because Bush didn't protect the stockpiles stories?

Oh, you have a Dark Heart, remembering their hype of the nuclear threat on election eve. I bet I steal that for an update.

From Jake:

Now I don't know which way the President intended. I do think those words could be read either way by honest people.

Well, fair enough, but... some of the honest people are taking the next step of saying that (a) Bush meant a specific thing, and (b) that specific thing was a lie.

That logical train won't run on time if the underlying sentence is ambiguous.

Now, if critics wn't to whack Bush for being vague, or donfusing, or if they want to explain that they were misled, well, go for it (we always enjoy hearing prominent Dems explaiing their inability to grasp basic points).

But to blame Bush for lying when the meaning is not clear is not accurate.

From Wonderland:

You're missing the meta-criticism here: That the nuclear case against Saddam was always pretty weak; that it was, for many people, the lynchpin in supporting the war (smoking guns and mushroom clouds and all); that the two main pieces of evidence for the program -- Niger uranium and aluminum tubes -- were dubious at best; and that the Administration knew it was dubious, and didn't care.

You seem to be missing the meta-response, which is that, per the NIE, neither the uranium nor the aluminum were central to the evaluation of Saddam as a long term nuclear threat.

If the Adminstration "didn't care" about a couple of illustrative details, it was because they were illustrative, not central.

And as I recall, Duelfer confirmed the obvious about Saddam's long term aspirations (although I also recall nuclear was a gleam in his eye, but bio and chem were more urgent, after he wriggled out from the sanctions).

blaster

Just in case you think its "Bush"-wa - from the NSG guidelines:

2.C. MATERIALS

2.C.1. Aluminium alloys having both of the following characteristics:

a. 'Capable of' an ultimate tensile strength of 460 MPa or more at 293 K (20 °C); and

b. In the form of tubes or cylindrical solid forms (including forgings) with an outside diameter of more than 75 mm.
Technical Note: In Item 2.C.1. the phrase 'capable of' encompasses aluminium alloys before or after heat treatment.

http://www.nuclearsuppliersgroup.org/PDF/infcirc254r6p2-050223.pdf


Without appropriate license, it was already illegal for them to purchase those tubes, whether under sanctions or not.

TM

From FooBar:

"Carefully reflected the dispute"?? How about "carefully constructed to maximize alarmist effect while avoiding outright inconsistency with the NIE"?

LOL. Well, my post was also carefully constructed. I think we are both saying that the speech was written to provide CYA with respect to the intel dispute. I, however, can still hope to cash the big checks as a Rep spinmeister some day.

Your talking points are getting tedious.

But "Bush Lied" will never grow old.

David Cohen

The dispute over the significance of the aluminum tubes was public, and debated publicly, before the war began. In fact, Colin Powell referred specifically to the dispute in his presentation to the Security Council:

He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries, even after inspections resumed.

These tubes are controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group precisely because they can be used as centrifuges for enriching uranium. By now, just about everyone has heard of these tubes, and we all know that there are differences of opinion. There is controversy about what these tubes are for.

Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Other experts, and the Iraqis themselves, argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodies for a conventional weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.

Let me tell you what is not controversial about these tubes.

First, all the experts who have analyzed the tubes in our possession agree that they can be adapted for centrifuge use. Second, Iraq had no business buying them for any purpose. They are banned for Iraq.

I am no expert on centrifuge tubes, but just as an old Army trooper, I can tell you a couple of things: First, it strikes me as quite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets.

Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so.

Second, we actually have examined tubes from several different batches that were seized clandestinely before they reached Baghdad. What we notice in these different batches is a progression to higher and higher levels of specification, including, in the latest batch, an anodized coating on extremely smooth inner and outer surfaces. Why would they continue refining the specifications, go to all that trouble for something that, if it was a rocket, would soon be blown into shrapnel when it went off?

The high tolerance aluminum tubes are only part of the story. We also have intelligence from multiple sources that Iraq is attempting to acquire magnets and high-speed balancing machines; both items can be used in a gas centrifuge program to enrich uranium.

Ignoring for the moment that they were these tubes were banned under the UN sanctions, and assuming that they weren't meant for centrifuges, are we really comforted by the idea of Iraqi multiple rocket launchers?

Jim E.

Cecil,
Your links didn't work for me, so perhaps I'm missing the joke. But did you validate Bush's "Bring it on" statement by appealing to the Nazi party? Is there some relevant corallary to Godwin's law for such an argument? Cuz this is a new one. (And BTW, who is the singular "enemy leader" in our current war? I think the Pentagon would like to know, too.)

James S. wrote: "Jim E thinks that was mistake"

Actually, Ari Fleischer, in his memoir, also acknowledged that Bush stepped into it with that line. So I stand with Ari F on this one! (Excuse me while I get the vomit out of my mouth.)

Let's review: Cecil is using the Nazi party to validate Bush's idiotic statements (unless, again, the non-working links show something contrary to Cecil's words), and James S. is similarly using the Vietnam War (as if that was a successful U.S. war) as a way to bolster what is happening in Iraq. (That James S. would think we won Vietnam is not surprising considering he thinks the enemy in Iraq is no longer bringing it on.)

Well, far be it from me to stand in the way of such, er, unique *cough* pro-Bush sentiment. Carry on.

Semanticleo

TM

Add to the tedium; My BushLove compels me to enable all his behaviors, requiring accountability only of those
who maliciously persecute my childlike President.

boris

(Excuse me while I get the vomit out of my mouth.)

Yes please do, the smell is pretty bad. You might want to wipe it off your keyboard too.

Foo Bar

Well, my post was also carefully constructed.

I disagree. The "One might guess that the wording carefully reflected the dispute..." sentence does not conform to your typically high standards, in my opinion. Which of the Webster's definitions of reflect were you using there? Surely not "mirror" or "show", because the wording did not indicate in any way the existence of a dispute.

boris

indicate in any way the existence of a dispute

There is no dispute that the tubes were suitable and illegal.

Wonderland

Tom writes:

"You seem to be missing the meta-response, which is that, per the NIE, neither the uranium nor the aluminum were central to the evaluation of Saddam as a long term nuclear threat."

Perhaps not. But that's not what we were told. The Administration used the Niger and aluminum tubes anecdotes to create the misimpression that Saddam was a short term nuclear threat -- and that the need to invade was urgent. For Christmas sake, Tom, the smoking gun was going to be a mushroom cloud!

To ignore this "product roll-out" technique is to memory-erase the entire run-up to the war. (Three hyphenated words in one sentence -- I'm on fire.) The Administration successfully convinced most Americans that Saddam was an urgent nuclear threat by peddling anecdotal evidence (Niger, aluminum tubes) that they KNEW to be, at best, questionable. And they presented that questionable evidence in such a way as to make it seem that it was, in fact, unquestionable. It was dishonest.

boris

misimpression that Saddam was a short term nuclear threat

Since I didn't get that misimpression I can call that a lie and accuse you of being a dishonest hypocrite and reeking like a rotten fish.

So there.

j.west

Referring to the “poorly suited” comment concerning the aluminum tubes, perhaps someone in the MSM braintrust could explore the suitability of the other use claimed for the tubes.

Detractors hold up the story that these tubes were meant for reverse engineered Hydra/Medusa rocket motors. These are short range rockets designed for use in helicopters, but conceivably could be used for ground launched Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MRLS). They have a burn time of approximately 1.8 seconds, so the range is severely limited.

Trouble with this theory is that the expected survival time of an Iraqi helicopter (if any existed) in a conflict with the U.S. was less than 1.8 seconds. Used with a ground based MRLS, firing one would lead to a smoke trail that screams “kill me here”. The point being – this was an extremely ineffective weapon for the circumstances.

No one has asked the question: “Why would Saddam violate the sanctions trying to acquire aluminum tubes for an ineffective weapon system when purchasing the complete rocket was fully allowed?”

Even Bush’s most vocal critics who have any understanding of technical aspects of the tubes have not claimed the tubes could not be used for centrifuges. They simply point to the rocket use as the “more likely” end product. I think that even a cursory investigation of the facts would lead to a more reasoned conclusion.

Jill

Get your heads out of the sand! What this proves is what war opponents have been saying since before the start of the war---the administration manipulated and cherry-picked the intelligence in order to make a case to go to war. Stupidity and fear go only so far and those who continue to believe this administration are hurting America.

TM

Foo Bar - re my "carefully constructed" post - I opened my defense of the President's speech with this:

That is the sort of caveatted, carefully phrased statement that ought to infuriate any of the President's critics who trouble themselves to read it.

And later I referred to the President's wordsmiths, and the need to parse his speech. Did you really not pick up on my meaning, which was that the White House was aware of and danced around this dispute?

I guess you are claiming that "reflect" ought to mean something like "deliver both sides". What I meant, and I am pretty sure it was obvious in context, was that the careful phrasing reflected a desire to be cute with their presentation.

Rick Ballard

"I think that even a cursory investigation of the facts would lead to a more reasoned conclusion."

But that conclusion would be contra-Saddam - the current NYT/Lefty conflation is pro-Saddam. No left thinking Saddam apologist has any utility for reason to begin with.

Surely, you can agree that the pro-Saddam position is inherently more just than the contra-Saddam position. If you can't you haven't been joining in the 2 minute daily Bushhate exercises as you should. Your block commissar will be calling on you shortly.

David Cohen

The short-term v. long-term dispute was over 18 months v. 4 years. Hmm, 4 years from 2002. Yeah, no sense worrying about that.

[Preemptive flamer response: Yes, I realize that 4 years turned out to be woefully pessimistic. But the general intelligence failure over Iraq's WMDs is a different issue from claimed misuse of the intelligence we had. Learning that our intelligence was bad, of course, increases the case for war retrospectively.]

Semanticleo

"Did you really not pick up on my meaning, which was that the White House was aware of and danced around this dispute?"

Perhaps if you were as unequivocal as Glenn Reynolds you wouldn't need suspenders AND
a belt to hold up your trousers.

j.west

Rick,

A “block commissar” would be a welcome substitute for the angry hoards I’ve faced at the “Left Coaster” in arguing the minutia of these tubes.

The sycophants following the incredibly prolific (and anal) Eriposte don’t take kindly to disagreement or any introduction of logic.

cboldt

All the leak discussion is interesting as all getout - very enjoyable, and I think important politically.


But the thrust of Fitz's filing is simply to assert that Libby doesn't need the evidence he seeks in discovery, because this isn't a leak case, it's a false statements - perjury - obstruction case, drawn to the state of Libby's mind when he spoke with investigators, and when he testified before the GJ.


I believe that Libby gets a come-back to this filing before Judge Walton rules on the 3rd Motion to Compel Production.

Rick Ballard

I wonder why we're not hearing the "Saddam had no contacts with terrorists line lately"? Not much about the Baath Socialist Party being secular in nature and thus naturally in opposition to the muhajideen either. Strange, that.

Nash

TM, I agree that you are not afraid of big ideas, but there is one big idea you always, every single time, seem to fear.

First of all, I think you do a good job of pointing out the logical misstatements and misreadings of the President's various utterances by many in the press and by evil leftists as well. I do not think it possible that any man, let alone the President, could avoid making some verbal slip-ups on important facts etc., but you have continued to effectively paint a convincing picture that President Bush has been generally quite deliberate in his choice of words and that those in the press and the evil leftists are misstating, whether intentionally or not, what he has said. That's just a general observation about the President's statements and your continued (and I feel appropriate) defense of him against specific attacks based on false or misleading readings of what he has actually said.

Ay, but there's the rub, too. There is a elephant-sized Big Idea that your micro-management of the wrong-wordedness of those who quote, discuss, and judge the President consistently elides: The shortest anecdote I can use to describe it is "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."

Certainly you see the pattern that most of those who complain about his statements see: that the fact that so many of Mr. Bush's various statements must be subjected to such a cautious, legalistic parsing to discover their One True Meaning gives reason to become suspicious of everything he says. The fact that TM must so consistently step in to point out that a clause-by-clause reading of the President's actual words don't support this or that accusation lead many to assume that the artfulness of the truth he tells is the lie itself. Is that so impossible to see as a basis for how people have been reacting to him?

Cecil Turner

But did you validate Bush's "Bring it on" statement by appealing to the Nazi party?

I can't think of a better example of master propagandists (with some of the most effective propaganda in history). We suck at propaganda now, but back when we did it, we used similar stuff as well. "Bring it on" didn't hurt the war effort.

(And BTW, who is the singular "enemy leader" in our current war? I think the Pentagon would like to know, too.)

When discussing enemy propaganda, the "enemy leader" is President Bush. (And the link was to a Nazi poster making very similar points about FDR . . . I can't figure out why it doesn't work).

Seixon

As I said in my piece on the Murray Waas article, the president wisely stayed away from speaking about intended use, and spoke instead about capability of use.

Maybe someone will find a document among those thousands being unearthed that tells exactly what these tubes were for.

Either way, it doesn't matter. Waas is lying. The New York Times is lying. They're just mad that the president and his cabinet outsmarted them all.

Specter

And since the release of the documents captured in Iraq the discussion has moved from "no WMDs" to "tubes". Typical Murtha Doctrine lefties....Cut and run - especially if we are asked for proof.

Cecil Turner

The fact that TM must so consistently step in to point out that a clause-by-clause reading of the President's actual words don't support this or that accusation lead many to assume that the artfulness of the truth he tells is the lie itself.

Oh nonsense. The reason we're going clause-by-clause is because the accusations are down in the tertiary-level minority opinion caveats. The main question is whether or not intel claimed Saddam had WMD, and here are the main points of the report:

  • Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding, its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.
  • We are not detecting portions of these weapons programs.
  • Iraq possesses proscribed chemical and biological weapons and missiles.
  • Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grad fissile material.
I'm not sure why we're rooting around in the aluminum tubes and Nigerien uranium, but it sure isn't the main event.

Jake - but not the one

boris, this statement is in error:

"While the tubes themselves might be used for other purposes, the specs they were built to had only one purpose. Nuclear."

Here is a link Iraq’s Aluminum Tubes: Separating Fact from Fiction - pdf to a good pieces on the tubes. Clearly, the tubes, with substantial modification, could have been used for a poor centrifuge. Also true is that the tubes were identical to tubes already in Iraq's possion and used for rockets.

Jake

Rick Ballard

For those interested in what Cecil was pointing too earlier - go here and select gi2.jpg. There are other leaflets available in the directory - it might even be a sort of primer that the Times uses in training their people.

M. Simon

What you want is a high tensile strength steel that can be coated with teflon.

That kind of steel is called maraging steel. You can look it up. It has quite a few uses besides centrifuges.

Aluminum is a poor substitute because of its low tensile strength.

Ideal material would be a fiberglass type rotor with carbon fiber replacing the fiberglass. Again coat the whole thing with teflon.

topsecretk9

I'm just in awe so many want to retro-protect Saddam's weaponry and justify why he'd have aluminum tubes or get nuc fuel. One might just get the impression Saddam was just a super guy.

boris

were identical to tubes already in Iraq's possion and used for rockets

Long on hearsay and short on technology.

The tubes were illegal because the specs they were built to went beyond use for rockets and made them suitable for uranium enrichment.

The specs were nuclear only specs. Doesn't matter what someone says they were going to be used for. We don't have many reliable mind readers working for the CIA.

Jim E.

I can only imagine the crap I'd have pounded on me for weeks if I'd said what Cecil said about Bush. Cecil compared an aspect of Bush *favorably* to the freakin' Naziis.

I do not associate myself with Cecil's statements in this regard as I feel Bush's "bring it on" statement was an off-the-cuff gaffe, not a planned, polished, or effective piece of propoganda. (Bush's mushroom cloud talk and artful CYA Iraqi-linkages to 9/11, in contrast, *were* planned, polished, and effective propoganda.) Further, I think this association of Bush with the Naziis is unfair to Bush.

And, Cecil, how in the world do you know that "Bring it on" did not hurt the war effort? How can you know Bush's encouragement of the insurgency did NOT hurt, but that Wilson's words DID hurt the war effort? I find your all-knowingness about what the Iraqi enemy (as well as American soldier) does and doesn't take to heart quite fascinating. Do tell.

Jake - but not the one

TM, in another speech by Bush, he was not so careful in his choice of words regarding the use of the aluminum tubes. This is from his speech to UN in Sep of 2002.

"Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon."

President's Remarks at the United Nations General Assembly

I think when you read these words, you don't get any sense of alternatives.

Jake

daruskii

Jake, I agree with you.
Boris, also see Walter Pincus article of 8/10/03
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A39500-2003Aug9

which disputes your claim that, "While the tubes themselves might be used for other purposes, the specs they were built to had only one purpose. Nuclear"

Semanticleo

"but it sure isn't the main event."

Right on. Main event; Iran

And if this were a boxing match the US
would be in their corner waiting for
the preliminary to end, and simultaneously
preparing for the big match, the one we
really might need preemptively.

Now that we have a fiscal cut over both
eyes with uncontrolled bleeding, a
military punch that is weakened by
the 10th round, and the homeland pep
squad losing it's patience with the
legion of incompetents in command, we
are faced with a lilliputian foe that
could challenge us with one blow to the
shins. That is the crime that is most
egregious. The squandering of national
treasure and lives. And for what purpose?

Ah yes. Democracy. The latest and most
sentimental of the mission creep that
is this war. Keep making excuses for
these guys. That's a tedium we will
never tire of.

Specter

Jake,

Guess you missed blaster's posts at 7:22 AM and 7:27 AM above:

7:22 AM post:
re: Aluminum tubes

It isn't "just" the President and cherry pickers who think that those aluminum tubes were suitable for use in nuclear programs - that type of aluminum, in ANY form, is a controlled material by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and is BY DEFINITION dual use.

It was a violation of the UN sanctions regime for Iraq to purchase it without an approval process.

They knew that, that is why they purchased it covertly.

Somehow none of that gets into the story. Oh, sure, Iraq claimed it was for some other purpose. After they got caught redhanded subverting the sanctions.

7:27 AM Post:
Just in case you think its "Bush"-wa - from the NSG guidelines:

2.C. MATERIALS

2.C.1. Aluminium alloys having both of the following characteristics:

a. 'Capable of' an ultimate tensile strength of 460 MPa or more at 293 K (20 °C); and

b. In the form of tubes or cylindrical solid forms (including forgings) with an outside diameter of more than 75 mm.
Technical Note: In Item 2.C.1. the phrase 'capable of' encompasses aluminium alloys before or after heat treatment.

http://www.nuclearsuppliersgroup.org/PDF/infcirc254r6p2-050223.pdf

Without appropriate license, it was already illegal for them to purchase those tubes, whether under sanctions or not.

So now you are an expert on tubes?

Patton

Gee, Jake...that quote looks almost exactly the same as this from the NIE:

"""Most agencies believe that Saddam's personal interest in and Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge rotors-as well as Iraq's attempts to acquire magnets, high-speed balancing machines, and machine tools-provide compelling evidence that Saddam is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program. (DOE agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.)"""


Now because you probably have no clue. the DCI heads all intelligence and makes the final decision based on all input what to put into the NIE. This means that everyone else in the community agreed.

Jim E.

Somewhat off-topic: there's a rumor that Libby was spotted in the White House mess on March 30. If true, isn't that strange?

Sue

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2006/04/hopelessy_compr.html#comment-15932065>Rick

I could take that same document and change the names and you would think I took it off the front pages of the NYTs. Weird.

Sue

Sue

Mr. E.,

Only to people with BDS.

Sue

"The quickest way to end a war is to lose it."

I see several are ready to end it.

Patton

I can just imagine what Jake would say of
Bush had decided to invade Afghanistan prior to Sept 11th because some Arab terrorist was going to destroy the World Trade Center, kill thousands of people and cost our economy a Trillion dollars.

Jake would be screaming that a bunch of guys running around in caves can't possibly be a threat to New York. He'd be saying they don't even have missiles, they don't have the technology, etc. etc.


Of course after it happened the left claims Bush should have stopped it by ESP.

cathyf
I think you can parse these words two ways

"Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

Your way (as I understand your posts)- high-strengh aluminum tubes. Such tubes have nuclear weapons production as one potential use.

The other way - high-strength aluminum tubes specifically purchased for nuclear weapons production.

Now I don't know which way the President intended. I do think those words could be read either way by honest people.

Sure, and either way you parse this intermediate conclusion, the ultimate conclusion "Saddam Hussein is an unacceptable danger to the security of the United States" remains exactly the same reasonable conclusion. At least to honest people.

cathy :-)

boris

So now you are an expert on tubes?

Jake is the expert on fake.

Once you can fake expertise you got it made.

Cecil Turner

I find your all-knowingness about what the Iraqi enemy (as well as American soldier) does and doesn't take to heart quite fascinating. Do tell.

I find your contrary all-knowingness even more fascinating, since it appears to fly in the face of historical examples. ("Ooooh, but you used a Nazi example!") Whatever, dude.

boris

Time to trot out Jake's horse again.

Patton

I can see Hans Bliz, Al Baradei and Jake all standing in front of a cave declaring they have inspected all of Osama Bin Ladens facilities and have found no capabilities to attack New York or Washington DC.

But the again, it happened didn't it Jake?

Jake - but not the one

I believe the article is quite clear that the tubes were sought illegally. I have no reason to believe differently.

Jake

Rick Ballard

Sue,

It's not weird at all. When the Times isn't derivative of Der Sturmer it just shifts templates to Pravda or Isvestia. Different peas, same pod.

The Unbeliever

Perhaps I'm just being naive, but it seems to me the whole aluminum tubes question has a very easy answer. Borrowed from Colin Powell's speech above:

Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Other experts, and the Iraqis themselves, argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodies for a conventional weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.

...it strikes me as quite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets. Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so.

Well, as I'm sure everyone knows by this point, we've got quite a few troops over in Iraq right now. So: have they actually found any MRLS systems created out of these tubes? I mean, the Iraqis and the "Bush Lied" crowd seem pretty adamant that the tubes had other, non-nuclear uses. Have we found anything constructed out of these tubes, which Sadaam went through such great lengths to acquire?

Powell also says:

Second, we actually have examined tubes from several different batches that were seized clandestinely before they reached Baghdad. What we notice in these different batches is a progression to higher and higher levels of specification, including, in the latest batch, an anodized coating on extremely smooth inner and outer surfaces. Why would they continue refining the specifications, go to all that trouble for something that, if it was a rocket, would soon be blown into shrapnel when it went off?

Has this statement yet been contradicted? Has anyone explained why the Iraqis were ramping up specs, or found any rocket launchers created from any batch of tubes? I mean, if Sadaam thought it was important enough to have these tubes that he'd risk international retaliation to buy them, that must've been one super critical rocket launcher that he wanted... so where is it?

Sue

Rick,

To hear about it is one thing. To see it is another.

JJ

I occasionally enjoy reading the Times Editorial Blog Page.

It makes the extreme Kosites look level-headed, and not prone to quick-snap, knee-jerk conclusions.

TM

Jake - good pick-up on the UN speech from Sept 2002.

I haven't checked, but... IIRC, Waas said the key one page PDB highlighting the tube controversy was presented in September 2002.

SO, which came first, the UN speech or the PDB?

By January 2003, I think the careful phrasing of the SOTU reflected the existence of a controversy.

Additional: A google search at WhiteHouse.gov on [Bush aluminum tubes] might be informative. I get 35 hits, including the UN Speech, press briefing... oh, boy.

M. Simon

Wiki has a nice bit on maraging steel:

Maraging steel is also an item of great interest to those responsible for national security. Maraging steel is used in creating centrifuges for uranium processing due to its extremely high strength and balance. Very few other materials will work for this task, and maraging steel’s other uses are very specialized. Therefore, rogue nations importing maraging steel often find themselves receiving a great deal of international attention.

Wiki on maraging

Foo Bar

TM,

Did you really not pick up on my meaning, which was that the White House was aware of and danced around this dispute?

OK, having reread the post I can see that this is what you meant. I think what you wanted to say in that sentence was "the wording reflects the care with which speechwriters...", etc. Here is why I misinterepreted your meaning:

1) You used the past tense, "reflected", rather than "reflects". If you're talking about what the wording tells us, as historians, about the concerns of the speechwriters at the time, then it (the wording, which persists today as historical record) continues to do so- we're analyzing it now. The only way "reflected" would be more appropriate than "reflects" given your intended meaning is if e.g. as of '04 or '05 the best interpretation of the historical record indicated the desire to dance around the dispute, but in light of new, recently discovered evidence that's no longer the best interpretation (and that's not what you mean, I'm sure). So the past tense made me think you were talking about the communicating that was being done by the words at the time the speech was delivered.

2) "carefully reflected" suggests agency, i.e. that a person and not a thing is doing the reflecting, which lead me to read it as the speechwriters intentionally reflecting (i.e., communicating to the public in '03) via the conduit of the wording, rather than the wording as inanimate historical record. The wording as inanimate historical record may tell us something, but it can't be careful in doing so. Given your meaning, the only way "carefully reflected" is more appropriate than "reflects the care" is if you're saying the speechwriters had dual audiences, the second audience being historians years later, and that the speechwriters consciously wanted us as historians to realize that they wanted to dance around the dispute, and I don't think you meant that, either.


M. Simon

So any one know if Sadam was importing carbon fiber roving and winding machines?

TM

Bush's Cincinnati speech, Oct 2002:

The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" -- his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

Ari Emphatic, Dec 2002:

MR. FLEISCHER: I'm aware of the report that CNN aired ont his topic and I will say this is something that the President has said publicly, that Iraq did, in fact, seek to buy these tubes for the purpose of producing, not as Iraq now claims conventional forces, but for the purpose of trying to produce nuclear weapons.

... Q One more quick one if I can. Can you help us at all understand why the administration is so certain Iraq wanted to buy these tubes for nuclear weapons, not as the Iraqis are apparently saying now, for conventional rockets?

MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not a technical expert, John, but I think if you talk to the people who are versed in the exact methodology for the production of nuclear weapons, what you will find is there are different issues involving the size of the various aluminum tubes that is an indication of the type of weaponry in which they are seeking to develop.

Hmm, I'll let someone else explain that one.

Here is Ari Emphatic again, Jan 30 2003:

Q Ari, the President mentioned something that was mentioned earlier, the aluminum tubes as part of the list of evidence that the U.S. thinks that Saddam Hussein has got weapons of mass destruction. But the IAEA and other world officials -- Mohammed ElBaradei, actually, specifically said that it's just not there, that is not what that it's intended to be used for in Iraq, that it's really just conventional. Isn't there a concern that when the President and the White House make statements like that it's going to undermine your overall argument of this Mt. Everest of evidence that you say exists?

MR. FLEISCHER: No. And I'll give you three reasons why, in the President's judgment. Number one, Mohammed ElBaradei and the IAEA said that the importations of these tubes is illegal and violates the policies that Iraq committed itself to, regardless of what the IAEA has so far judged them to be. They said Iraq's actions in importing them are, in and of themselves, a violation. That should be a cause for concern, number one, about whether Iraq is disarming.

Number two, on the tubes, the IAEA has said that their investigation remains open. They have not reached final conclusions about this. On that point, therefore, to point three, there are continuing discussions with the IAEA in which information is being shared about this information. The preponderance of evidence is that Iraq attempted to procure high-strength aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment. We stand by that statement.

Our technical analysis at the extremely tight manufacturing tolerances and high-strength materials indicates the tubes far exceed any specifications required for non-nuclear capabilities. Iraq attempted to procure the tubes covertly. The cost of the tubes is far greater than what one would pay for if the tubes were just to be used for artillery. Iraq has devoted substantial efforts to concealing its nuclear program in the past. It's not surprising that it would attempt to mislead the inspectors on this issue and the inspectors have left it open because they want to continue to hear from us and to work on this before final conclusions are reached. The President stands by every word he said.

And here is an undated (?!) White House report on Iraq:

Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb. In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes which officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium.

Hmmph - *that* went well.

Moving on - the WH report notes this:

A new report released on September 9, 2002 from the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

That could be interesting. IIRC, it is a Brit group once praised by Paul Krugman.

Cecil Turner

Hmm, I'll let someone else explain that one.

Better not to try, I think. Ari probably shoulda stopped at "I'm not a technical expert."

Davebo
it is clear that Ms. Plame's status was classified, but does the Times actually know that she was "covert"

Wow Tom!

You must have a dramamine IV going to spin like this without getting dizzy!

Get back to me when you've settled on a definition of "is" and decided whether or not a hummer is really sex ok?

Jake - but not the one

TM, I pointed out the UN speech for two reasons, only one of which stated. The other was that when taken together, the Presidents words take on a less nuanced meaning. With no explicit statement by the President discounting the validity of the intel, the Sep 30 words don't contradict the earlier UN speech and can be read as a simple reiteration.

And while I appreciate your acknowledgement regarding finding the UN words, I can claim nothing other than searching for information on the tubes while I had your post in mind and then coming across an excerpt of the UN speech. IOW, a strictly fortuitous event.

Jake

Specter

Davebo,

There is a big difference between the two words. We'll let you figger that out by yourself because it has been covered here before.

Jake,

From the speech TM quoted:

Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

The part that says "which are used to..." is probably referring to the gas centrifuges.

j.west

Just so everyone knows what we’re talking about, here’s a picture of the Hydra:

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/hydra-70.htm

These rockets are made by a number of companies in a dozen countries. They are cheap and were perfectly legal for Saddam to purchase.

Instead, Saddam chose to defy U.N. sanctions and risk invasion to clandestinely buy the tubes used for the motor portion in order to make the rockets internally.

Uh, yeah….. I believe that.

Nash
As I said in my piece on the Murray Waas article, the president wisely stayed away from speaking about intended use, and spoke instead about capability of use.

Maybe someone will find a document among those thousands being unearthed that tells exactly what these tubes were for.

Either way, it doesn't matter. Waas is lying. The New York Times is lying. They're just mad that the president and his cabinet outsmarted them all.

Posted by: Seixon | April 07, 2006 at 08:13 AM

Could not have asked for a better demonstration of my point. It's not about communicating with the American people, it's about appearing to communicate while actually misleading them and then being proud at getting away with it, because it all depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

QED

Specter

Nash,

And the MSM and especially the NYT are innocent then? Their not proud of their lies and miscommunication? Their misleading headlines and opening paragraphs?

Specter

oops...their = they're in the previous post.

Specter

I'm losing it...gotta finish all this tax stuff before I go mad....

first their = they're second is ok.

topsecretk9

Clarice and Larry

If you are out there, you will appreciate this...some liberals not happy with Wilson's hate baiting from his Florida speech

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