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June 29, 2005

Comments

Les Nessman

TT:
"We are not going to be able to transform their society into our image without killing most of the population..."

You may be right, but I doubt it; but if the Republicans say that they will be charged with 'racism'. (e.g. 'Oh, TexasToast, you think the little brown ragheads don't deserve democracy, huh? The little ignorant Ay-rabs can't appreciate freedom, huh? Good enough for you but not for them, huh? Racist!!' etc..)

"- or getting the hell out of the way and letting our soft power do the job over time."

If 'getting the hell out of the way' works, it'll only be,among other things, because Saddam, his evil sons, and the Ba'athist thugs have been killed or defeated in battle. -None of which would have happened without this war. So the war was necessary for this scenario to work.


"..particularly if it is obvious that we are also "helping" ourselves to their bank account - the oil."
It's obvious to the Conspiracy Theorists; I don't know who else believes that. If it was all about oiiil, we would have not invaded and just lifted the sanctions. (The same sanctions that were being violated in the worlds biggest scam ever- the Oil for Food Program. Funny how the countries that are giving us the most trouble over Iraq are the same ones who were the biggest scammers with the Oil for Food Program)

Also, how paying fair market value for oil, with the money having a much better chance of getting to more regular Iraqis instead of going to Saddam, is 'helping ourselves to their bank account' is beyond me.

jukeboxgrad

TT said "it is obvious that we are also 'helping' ourselves to their bank account - the oil"

Yes. By the way, some people might find this marginally less obnoxious if the larceny was being done for the benefit of all Americans. Anyone who's bought gasoline lately has an inkling this is not the case. Rather, the larceny is being done by and for the benefit of a very small class of Americans and non-Americans (Saudis, to a great extent) who are laughing all the way to the bank (link, link).

Meanwhile, each of our kids is left with "a 'birth tax' of about $150,000," to a great extent payable to China (link). And somehow folks don't understand that this is a much greater longterm threat to our national security than a bunch of guys with boxcutters, or even a bunch of guys with IEDs.

"soft power"

Yes. The best way to spread democracy is by setting a successful example. Nationbuilding begins at home. Imagine how much better our schools and hospitals would look if we hade 150,000 young people working to rebuild America, instead of breaking and fixing Iraq.

Harry said "though you clearly have every right to believe we made a mistake going into Iraq, many of us, including the president, do not."

Obviously. But just keep in mind you're expressing a minority view ("56 Percent in Survey Say Iraq War Was a Mistake," link).

"we just don’t know whether it was a mistake or not."

It would interest me to know what particular circumstances, or what particular interval, would cause you to reconsider your view.

"I'm missing where you answer the What do we do now? question I posed."

Then scroll up and read it again.

"An assumption again, is that war is good for profits."

The money certain folks are making is not an assumption, it's a fact. Let me know where your problem is with simple concepts like "fact" vs "assumption."

"Again, so what? An assertion that suggests no action to me at least."

If you think that nine billion dollars unaccounted for (link) is a circumstance that "suggests no action," that means I wish I had your bank account. Then again, you have bragged recently about your palatial patio, so maybe that puts things in perspective.

" ... stop building permanent bases. Though, of course the link is from a 15 month old article so I presume we’ve already met that condition."

For someone who complains a lot about someone ostensibly making assumptions, your "presume" right there is a pretty big one.

"what, exactly, constitutes a permanent base"

The links I provided are pretty clear on this. Go do your homework.

"unsubstantiated allegation"

Refer to my earlier comment regarding "assumption" vs. "fact."

"from what I've seen recently of the UN in Africa and elsewhere I'm not inspired by that suggestion"

Let me know how you think they could screw it up any worse than we already did. Also, let me know why you think it's better for Americans to keep dying if there's some possible snowball's chance in hell we could alter that equation (by getting someone else to step in instead).

"Certainly there is little to no enthusiasm in Europe to take over for US troops."

That's because we've so thoroughly snubbed them all and made it clear we want the whole pie (for better and for worse) all to ourselves. This is all potentially reversible. As I said, the first step is acknowledge various errors. You'll be in a better position to catch up with the rest of the analysis once you manage to get over that one small hurdle.

Speaking of Europe, I pointed out earlier that a much overlooked aspect of the underlying reality has to do with oil trading in euros instead of dollars (link). If you pay some attention to this angle it might dawn on you why we have been so motivated to do it ourselves (a mistake, obviously, one of many).

I realize there are a couple of recent messages I'm ignoring. Just for the moment.

Jamie

TexasToast: response duly posted on my blog - thanks.

As to your more recent comments, you say "We are not going to be able to transform their society into our image without killing most of the population - or getting the hell out of the way and letting our soft power do the job over time." Hmm. Wow, that first clause is certainly dynamite. First, our goal is to make Iraqis just like Americans? Second, in order to achieve that "goal" we have to kill more than 50% of the population of Iraq? We have our work cut out for us, obviously... Final clause, get out so our "soft power" can do the job: We've had "soft power" for a good long time now, and funnily enough Saddam Hussein didn't seem too swayed by it over his decades of rule. We've been the biggest oil consumer in the world for a good long time now - the "soft power" that counts being the "soft power" that folds into a wallet - yet Iraq was a basket case under Saddam, albeit "liberal" in the sense that it wasn't fundamentalist-by-fiat.

JBG: I enjoyed your characterization of Bush and his administration as "oversimplifying" matters. I guess it was time to come up with a new way to call the man dumb, since Kerry was apparently just as dumb (and Kennedy is clearly much dumber, for instance). But it seems to me that the oversimplification is on the other side: BushCo (another pithy little number) argues that national security is best served not by stability at any price in the Middle East but by the removal by arms of the region's most egregious (to the West) dictator, which is where the opposition stops. It's not, unfortunately for them, where BushCo stops.

BushCo goes on with: ...and the fostering of democracy in the resulting power vacuum, a vacuum we will maintain so as not to allow a power grab. Democracy well-established in an indubitably Arab (as opposed to Persian, e.g.) country geographically smack in the middle of the region can be "penicillin," especially if it's simultaneously clear that the American .45 is out of the holster at last. The United States regains the respect of thugocracies worldwide, which enables us to return to a wise and much less costly policy of speaking softly but not leaving home without our big stick. Did we have to invade either Lebanon or Syria to get Syria out? Did we have to invade or even perform air strikes against Libya? How about those "elections" in Iran: were our soldiers at the polling places the only reason we knew the fix was in (in contrast to the DSM "fix"), or did actual Iranians get the word out?

BushCo invested our military in Iraq in order to effect great change in a region that, left unaltered, was increasingly a hornet's nest of anti-Western action, not just rhetoric. That investment is already paying dividends. Opposition to BushCo continues to pretend (or maybe they're not pretending) that the regional results of our action in Iraq took BushCo as much by surprise as they themselves were taken. But Bush's speeches have foreshadowed pretty much everything we see there.

Cecil Turner

"I realize there are a couple of recent messages I'm ignoring. Just for the moment."

Speaking for myself, I'd far prefer it if you'd ignore the minor points and stick to whatever you consider the main issues. If you splinter them into 10+ points per comment, it's increasingly difficult to sift through--especially when my tired eyes have to pick out little " marks at the beginning of each transition. At some point I'll have to quit.

Leaving ancillary points dangling is no sin . . . if one of them subsequently becomes important, it can always be readdressed.

BumperStickerist

One thing to keep in mind is that Iraq was under a requirement to disarm, not simply to allow inspections. That's a distinction with a difference.

The UNMOVIC reports show a general unwillingness of Iraq to allow the inspectors free access. If I were to put a very fine point on it, Bush didn't 'lie' during his statement as the UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see. Ergo, no lie - if debating points are what is at stake.

That UN Inspectors slept at a hotel in Baghdad during the months prior to the start of the war in March 2003 is hardly the requirement of the UN / US demands.

As for the question about whether the big trucks with trailers were mobile hydogen makers or BW facilities questions - I am of a rather mundane intellect - I think the lesson learned from the event is "Don't build your non-treaty violating equipment in a way that causes a large, technologically superior force any confusion about its use "

For example, large orange 'H's painted on the top of the trailers might have been a good idea.

Or, at a minimum, after Powell's speech, for somebody in the Iraqi Military or Government or, maybe the officer in charge of having the artillery weather balloons saying, in Arabic - 'What the fuck?!? Those trailers are fucking hydrogen makers for the fucking artillery! What the fuck is that fucking fuck Powell saying those trailers are fucking Biological Warfare equipment.

Habib! Get me a fucking UN inspector over here right the fuck now! -

{expletives included - because, hey, if you've got F-117s, the 101st Airborne, Carrier groups, and the US Army at your doorstep - you'd be a bit anxious to clear things up.}

And, again, the point of the years 1992-2002 was for Iraq to *prove* that it had disarmed. Not simply say 'well, you can't prove anything.'

So, you know what - at the end of the day, Iraq failed to make the case that it had disarmed.

As you read through the newspaper coverage (no links provided - I'm not TM) the accounts are chockablock with the UN team being frustrated or Blixian claims like 'Iraq is being more cooperative now'

More Cooperative?

That would indicate a previous 'less than cooperative' state.

Cecil Turner

"the accounts are chockablock with the UN team being frustrated or Blixian claims like 'Iraq is being more cooperative"

Good point. It's also worth reading those blixian quotes (e.g., "Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field.") in context. The heading for that particular section is "Cooperation on process," and "in this field" refers to "process."

On substance Blix is consistently less than complimentary. In the 27 Jan report he starts by noting:

The substantive cooperation required relates above all to the obligation of Iraq to declare all programmes of weapons of mass destruction . . .
He then discusses “unresolved disarmament issues,” and the response from Baghdad:
Regrettably, the 12,000 page declaration, most of which is a reprint of earlier documents, does not seem to contain any new evidence that would eliminate the questions or reduce their number.
The situation remains essentially unchanged, all the way to invasion. In the March 19th report, where Blix again cites lack of cooperation on substance:
May I add that in my last report I commented on information provided by Iraq on a number of unresolved issues. Since then, Iraq has sent several more letters on such issues. These efforts by Iraq should be acknowledged, but, as I noted in this Council on 7 March the value of the information thus provided must be soberly judged. Our experts have found so far that in substance only limited new information has been provided that will help to resolve remaining questions.
[emphasis added throughout]

jukeboxgrad

Cecil said "Taken in context ... it's fair. In the quote taken in isolation, it's not at all obvious [that 'mobile' was implied]"

I don't disagree. I think we've covered it. I usually try to err in the direction of being clear, at the expense of being concise. In that particular instance I went too far in the other direction.

"you should assume integrity until proven otherwise"

Until now I've resisted the temptation to mention this, but under the circumstances the temptation becomes irresistible.

"[bushoniraq] fail to mention the pertinent CIA reports"

This is quite a stretch on your part. The BushOnIraq site is an understandably and intentionally simplified version of the Waxman report ("Iraq on the Record," pdf). BushOnIraq makes this clear, and prominently features the relevant link on its home page (scroll down to the section "Background").

The Waxman report, in turn, is quite clear about "the pertinent CIA reports." For example, with regard to "BW [biological weapons] agent production is the only consistent, logical purpose for these vehicles," that quote originates here (pdf). Waxman's reference to that CIA paper is quite explicit and direct, including the proper URL (see page 20, footnote 84).

Similarly, you say "Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program." The source of this statement is the NIE. Waxman also discusses this in a complete and fair way, in my opinion (see page 8 and beyond).

In other words, I don't think your claim "fail to mention" is fair. Not every single aspect of a complex situation can be adequately expressed in one sentence or one paragraph. Both BushOnIraq and (in turn) Waxman are very clear about where their information comes from, and provide enough information so a curious reader can easily check things out quite thoroughly. This couldn't be more different than what Bush did.

"they decry failure to cite secondary sources whilst simultaneously ignoring the primary ones"

Waxman is one click away from BushOnIraq, and Waxman clearly provides the exact CIA URL. This is hardly "ignoring."

"I don't see how we can view that as any less distorting and misleading than the President's statements"

As I've explained, a reader visiting BushOnIraq is given easy and sufficiently direct access to a fair range of resources, making available a balanced picture.

Compare this to Bush making the statement "we recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents." Waxman indicates that Bush et al made 34 misleading statements about these trailers.

Waxman points out that "engineers from DIA who examined the trailers concluded that they were most likely used to produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons. A former senior intelligence official reported that 'only one of 15 intelligence analysts assembled from three agencies to discuss the issue in June endorsed the white paper conclusion.'" Was any of this disclosed to the public at the time? I don't think so.

To recap, the BushOnIraq statements are not "distorting and misleading" because all the relevant background material is made readily available. This is in high contrast to what Bush did, which was in fact highly "distorting and misleading," because none of the relevant context (as I cited via Waxman in the preceding paragraph) was available to the public.

If Bush had said "we recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents" and at the same time had released a briefing paper which revealed that "only one of 15 intelligence analysts assembled from three agencies to discuss the issue" supported that particular statement, then you would be in a somewhat better position to claim that he wasn't "distorting and misleading" (although even that would be a stretch). But of course he didn't issue such a briefing paper.

"splinter"

I understand. I'm doing my best.

Harry said "a false statement is not a 'lie' unless there is an intent to deceive behind it."

Fair enough. Keep in mind, however, you are quick to remind us that it's not possible to read someone's mind. Therefore, determining "intent" is not so simple. However, when there's a pattern of a couple of hundred misleading statements (pdf), that doesn't pass the sniff test, in my opinion. Especially when after the fact there is little or no effort to take responsibility for the misleading statements.

"Remember Tenet's 'slam dunk' analysis?"

Naturally. Please explain why he got a medal. This tends to create the impression that he was being rewarded for telling the boss what he knew the boss wanted to hear.

Les said "If it was all about oiiil, we would have not invaded and just lifted the sanctions."

No. That would have led to a situation where Saddam would have been in control of the oil, which means how much to pump, who to sell it to, and at what price (and for what currency). I've offered citations which explain in copious detail how this would be an intolerable situation for traditional oil interests (such as the Bushes, the Sauds, OPEC, and a variety of other very powerful folks).

"paying fair market value for oil"

Really?

Jamie said "national security is best served not by stability at any price in the Middle East but by the removal by arms of the region's most egregious (to the West) dictator"

How quickly things change.

"Bush's speeches have foreshadowed pretty much everything we see there"

You must be thinking of statements such as this: "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended" (5/1/03, link, "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended"). By the way, roughly 90% of our casualties have occurred subsequent to that announcement.

"a hornet's nest of anti-Western action"

Not long ago, Iraq was not "a hornet's nest of anti-Western action." At least according to Bush, since he said (on 3/13/02) "we haven't heard much from [bin Laden] ... I truly am not that concerned about him ... He has no place to train his al Qaeda killers anymore."

Funny thing, now Iraq is most definitely "a hornet's nest of anti-Western action." At least according to the CIA.

"That investment is already paying dividends."

Yes. Dividends (literally) for Bush's corporate pals. Also dividends for our enemies, who are currently taking advantage of an unprecedented recruiting bonanza (exactly the opposite of our recruiting situation). This recruiting is virtually effortless and automatic ("he [a 5-year old] told me he wanted a gun to kill Americans. This is a natural feeling. Nobody wants a stranger in your house or your country" link). Scenes like this also create many happy recruiting moments for OBL et al. Dividends, indeed.

Bumper said "The UNMOVIC reports show a general unwillingness of Iraq to allow the inspectors free access ... the UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see ... That UN Inspectors slept at a hotel in Baghdad during the months prior to the start of the war in March 2003 is hardly the requirement of the UN / US demands."

Really? "Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt. We have further had great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul. Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good. The environment has been workable ... Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas day and New Years day."

What was that about being cooped up in a hotel?

"large orange 'H's painted on the top of the trailers might have been a good idea."

Gosh, why didn't anyone else think of that? I imagine your pals would have considered such a step highly credible and trustworthy. You're joking, right?

Cecil said "lack of cooperation on substance"

Blix makes it clear that this boils down to wanting to see more documents proving stuff was destroyed. This is a reasonable request, and it's also reasonable to understand why collecting documents takes time. It's also reasonable to understand that it's fundamentally hard to prove the absence of something.

Speaking of integrity, you're obviously familiar enough with Blix to understand that Bumper is all wet when he suggests Blix was locked up in a hotel. Funny you didn't bother to mention this.

Anyway, Blix's complaints regarding documents are a far cry from Bush's statement "he wouldn't let them in." I'm still waiting for an explanation of how it's possible to view that as anything other than an outright lie.

Cecil Turner

"In other words, I don't think your claim "fail to mention" is fair. Not every single aspect of a complex situation can be adequately expressed in one sentence or one paragraph."

Bush has exactly the same problem--and in each of those instances was citing the main finding of a relevant US report. In each case, the page elides that simple fact (whether it's available in another part of the report or not). Using exactly the same criteria they apply to Bush, BushonIraq is "misleading."

"If Bush had said "we recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents" and at the same time had released a briefing paper which revealed that "only one of 15 intelligence analysts assembled from three agencies to discuss the issue" supported that particular statement, then you would be in a somewhat better position to claim . . ."

Again, you're ignoring the CIA report, which concluded they were BW labs. Holding up a DIA report that says otherwise (which the President may never have seen, and in any event would certainly have considered less authoritative) and saying he should have quoted from it is unpersuasive. The CIA is [was] responsible for integrating all that intelligence into a usable product for decision-makers precisely to keep them from having to read an unmanageable amount of data. The CIA report in this case is the culprit (if they are in fact for hydrogen production).

"However, when there's a pattern of a couple of hundred misleading statements . . ."

I only read the first page's worth. But if they're any example, the case is weak (since every one on that page is dubious).

jukeboxgrad

"Bush ... in each of those instances was citing the main finding of a relevant US report. In each case, the page elides that simple fact"

Not so. No serious person believes, and BushOnIraq/Waxman does not suggest or imply, that Bush invented all his statements entirely out of whole cloth, i.e., with no justification or documentary backup whatsoever. Of course not. That is not the claim. The claim, which is proven over and over again, is that he consistently presented only a carefully selected portion of a larger picture. Something can be entirely true (in a narrow, legalistic sense, perhaps) while also being far from the entire truth. Of course sometimes he made statements that didn't rise to even that meager level, though (such as "we found the weapons," as I explain below; likewise for "he wouldn't let them in").

So no one is attempting to "elide" the fact that there were certain reports that backed Bush up. You're also ignoring the plain fact that BushOnIraq/Waxman provide clear references to those reports.

"you're ignoring the CIA report"

BushOnIraq (via Waxman) provides a clear reference to that exact report. You're simply repeating yourself without explaining how this constitutes "ignoring." In other words, you're the one doing all the "ignoring."

Let's review the trailer fiasco (Duelfer's word, not mine; link). In April and May 2003, trailers were found. Bush et al made 34 statements about them, including this one: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." (5/29/03)

This was a day after the release of this CIA report (pdf) which suggested these trailers were BW labs.

(As an aside: even this famous CIA report acknowledged that no actual BW was found. So how is Bush's statement "we found the weapons of mass destruction" anything other than an outright lie? Since when is a tool ostensibly used to build a weapon indistinguishable from the weapon itself? By the way, this precise question is one you've already sidestepped on another thread around these parts. By the way, please note his use of the word "weapon" seems quite deliberate, since he does it three times: "We found the weapons ... we'll find more weapons ... for those who say we haven't found the ... banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.")

By the way, note that he expresses himself with absolute certainty. No words of equivocation, uncertainty or doubt, such as if, maybe, probably, tentatively or likely. No sirree Bob.

But here's what was going on behind the scenes, which we didn't find out until quite a bit later: "By June, though, both the State Department's intelligence branch and senior analysts within the Defense Intelligence Agency had privately challenged the view that the trailers were meant to produce biological weapons, saying that their more likely purpose was to manufacture hydrogen for use in military weather balloons, military and Bush administration officials said later last summer. In a review that the administration has not made public, only one of 15 intelligence analysts assembled from three agencies to discuss the issue in June endorsed the white paper conclusion, a former senior intelligence official said in an interview this week." (link)

Let's give Bush the benefit of the doubt and assume that he really believed what he said on 5/29, and the CIA report was all the information he had at that time (although I think there's ample reason to consider this highly implausible). But very quickly after that, the CIA report was "privately challenged" in a very emphatic way (given that 15 analysts from 3 agencies discussed the matter and 93% of them apparently disagreed with what Bush had very recently said; by the way, imagine the courage it took for these folks to speak up, knowing that they have mortgage payments, and knowing how folks like Bolton handle uppity analysts).

Why was this kept a secret? Why did it take months for this to be known, and even then only via leaks? Why is the review of these 15 analysts still not public (as far as I know)? Given that the CIA report was quickly made public, why wasn't this contrary report also quickly made public? Is this behavior consistent with an administration that wants the public to be fully and honestly informed, or is this behavior consistent with an administration where "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy?"

"Holding up a DIA report that says otherwise ... saying he should have quoted from it is unpersuasive"

An irony of this statement on your part is that, as I've pointed out, this report has still never been released (as far as I know).

"in any event would certainly have considered less authoritative"

The report Bush released carried both CIA and DIA logos (even though we've both been referring to it as a CIA report). The missing report which you claim was "less authoritative" was based on the work of 15 analysts from 3 agencies, who reached an almost unanimous conclusion. On what basis do you claim that this was "less authoritative?" Especially since as far as folks like Kay and Duelfer are concerned, it also turned out to be correct.

"Bush has exactly the same problem [not every single aspect of a complex situation can be adequately expressed in one sentence or one paragraph]"

That, at best, is a partial defense of what he said on 5/29. In no way does it address his failure to come clean subsequent to that time, as I've detailed above.

"if they are in fact for hydrogen production"

Against all odds, hope springs eternal. You seem to still be hanging on. Your "if" is a terrific example of the triumph of faith over reason. That faith is admirable in the world of religion but it has no place in the world of politics, in my opinion.

Trouble is, this report includes a very clear and detailed account from a named Iraqi eyewitness, describing how these trailers were indeed used to make hydrogen.

Then again, if Kay (pdf) wasn't enough for you ("the consensus opinion is that when you look at those two trailers, while [they] had capabilities in many areas, their actual intended use was not for the production of biological weapons.....[they] were actually designed to produce hydrogen for weather balloons, or perhaps to produce rocket fuel"), and if Duelfer wasn't enough for you ("They have absolutely nothing to do with any biological weapons"), I think we have to conclude that either you're more expert and well-informed than they are (combined), or that this belief on your part is simply a matter of religion and trying to discuss it on a factual basis is a waste of time.

Speaking of sidestepping questions, I haven't heard much lately about "he wouldn't let them in."

Cecil Turner

"That is not the claim. The claim, which is proven over and over again, is that he consistently presented only a carefully selected portion of a larger picture."

You keep saying that, but you certainly can't get any of it from that page. The CIA reports aren't mentioned anywhere on it--they present only one (unpersuasive) side of the picture--exactly as you're claiming Bush did.

"This was a day after the release of this CIA report (pdf) which suggested these trailers were BW labs."

Exactly. It's obvious you've never worked on a staff, or you'd understand that executives typically don't even read the main (in this case CIA) reports--they simply don't have time. They read summaries. Even congressmen--considerably less busy--typically don't read full reports (remember the hemming and hawing about whether they read the relatively short NIE?). And when making statements, they rely on "talking point" papers prepared by staff (the standard military rule is a maximum of 4 bullets). Taking the guy to task for failing to mention a tertiary point in a secondary report is silly . . . he almost certainly never saw it. Now if he'd misrepresented CIA reports, you'd have a point--but AFAICT, he didn't (except for the usual Bushisms . . . he's obviously not a gifted speaker).

"I think we have to conclude that either you're more expert and well-informed than they are (combined), or that this belief on your part is simply a matter of religion and trying to discuss it on a factual basis is a waste of time."

I expect I have more experience with artillery than they do (combined) . . . and the hydrogen story doesn't make much sense (except as a cover) just like the CIA report said. And as I stated above, I don't think claiming they're BW labs is on . . . I'm saying I don't know.

"By the way, this precise question is one you've already sidestepped . . ."

JBG try a little experiment. Cut every point into two parts. Repeat in each comment. How many comments do you need to reach one million parts? Answer: 21. If I don't actively trim your points, they quickly become unmanageable. To hear that I'm "AWOL," "sidestepping," or avoiding issues afterward is annoying nonsense. Trim your posts or stop complaining.

Harry Arthur

…just keep in mind you’re expressing a minority view … it would interest me to know what particular circumstances, or what particular interval, would cause you to reconsider your view.

Whether I’m in the majority or the minority in the “latest” opinion poll is quite irrelevant to the question as to whether we made a mistake going into Iraq. The question I posed was whether your assertion that we made a mistake is a reasonable assertion at this point and I simply suggested that it is not, and that it is simply too early to “fess up” to a mistake regardless of the number who agree or disagree with you.

In answer to your follow-on question, my opinion is that it may take as much as several years to a decade or more to understand the full implications of our invasion of Iraq. How long have we now had troops in Bosnia? I do believe, though, as does the president apparently, that Iraq is a potential “tipping point” for the whole Middle East. If it tips one way, democracy may break out everywhere. If it tips the other, it may very well be that chaos and totalitarian Islamofascist regimes may break out everywhere. It is admittedly a major gamble that may or may not pay off. That is why, in my opinion, it is essential to finish the job we’ve started to give the Iraqi people every possible opportunity to succeed at establishing a viable democracy - and the jury simply isn't in on that question just yet.

You suggest that I should scroll up and read it again when I indicated that I was unable to determine your answer to my request for concrete steps that we should take in lieu of our current course of action. Since I’m not the only one who missed your “definitive” answer, perhaps you should try again with short, simple steps that we can comprehend. Thus far I’ve seen plenty of criticism of our course to date but little substantive thought on how to do it any better “now that we’re there,” and even less constructive suggestions of how we might improve our current military and civil operation. As I originally also asked: “Are we going to plow this ground again, and again, and again?” regarding how we got there?

As a side note, I’m thinking maybe you missed my clearly facetious comment about my “palatial estate” (not patio) in an earlier thread where we discussed aviation-related terrorism at excruciating length. I happen to be a normal working guy, so when I made that comment it was intended to be a facetious retort to the current rhetoric emanating from the DNC and Dr. Dean that republicans somehow don’t understand the concept of work. For the record, I live in a small subdivision in the suburbs of Northern Virginia on a 1/3 acre lot in a mid-sized home from which I commute an hour back and forth to work each day in a 10 year old Dodge Neon that is currently without air conditioning. It’s just “stuff” – I would not choose to brag even if the facts were truly “palatial.”

Moving along, I’ll take Cecil’s advice and stick to just a few more questions. The first involves my question to you regarding your definition of “permanent bases.” You did provide a link that I had previously read, but perhaps when I asked for your thoughts on the subject, it would have been nice had you assumed I was actually looking for your opinion, not that of Christine Spolar’s, BG Pollman’s or BG Kimmitt’s in March 2004. I was looking for your concept of a “permanent base” after I suggested to you that “permanent” is a fairly relative term given that we could choose to leave at any time regardless of the construction involved.

In the linked article there was a discussion regarding several types of base construction for US and coalition troops in Iraq. First, we set up about 120 “forward operating bases” for war-fighting operations. We then progressed to “hundreds of expeditionary and temporary bases” for tactical operations. These were designed to last between six months and a year and were improvements over the forward operating bases in that they allowed some amenities for our soldiers. The article you cited regards the construction of 14 “enduring bases,” long-term encampments for the thousands of American troops expected to serve in Iraq for at least two years. These bases were to largely involve the use of previous Iraqi bases, and some airfield and road improvements and were under discussion and construction as preparation for “any eventuality.” There was some hypothetical discussion in the article about moving bases from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere that was the opinion of the officers interviewed for the article but the preponderance of the information I’ve seen subsequently on these “permanent” bases is that it is to be an attempt to consolidate US forces in an increasingly support role somewhat less “in the face of” the Iraqi on the street. As the Iraqi police and defense forces improve their capabilities and assume those roles our forces would be used primarily in a ready reserve supporting role.

As for the UN and Europe, I’ll just disagree. I don’t believe there was ever a chance that we’d have substantial help from Europe. Germany is already involved in Afghanistan; Britain is already involved in Iraq; I don’t see Spain coming back; and Kofi Anon wants France and Canada to help with Haiti, though they might not be “scary” enough for the Haitians. Even given the UN experience in Rwanda, Sudan and elsewhere you opine that I should let you “know how you think they could screw it up any worse than we already did”? I’d suggest that Iraq has been a resounding success compared to anything I’ve seen the UN attempt recently in the peacekeeping arena at least. Your suggestion that I should let you know why I think “it’s better for Americans to keep dying” vice “getting someone else to step in instead” is really nothing more than a false dichotomy, isn’t it?

Finally, I did review the link regarding euros vs dollars and their alleged tie to oil (Revisited – The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq: A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth by William Clark). Interesting site, though I admit I’m not familiar with William Clark and his background. I did find some rather interesting and bizarre conspiracy theories at Rat haus, Santa Cruz, CA, as well as their philosophical outlook. Having attended UCSC in the 60’s, though, I wasn’t much surprised:

Rat haus reality, radical branch is the electronic manifestation of rat haus reality press, dedicated to promulgating and promoting life-nurturing activities and awarenesses regarding this "home" we all share and are all responsible for, not simply for the seventh generation of humankind yet unborn, but for all life germinated and nourished by Gaia.

the human transition from an adolescent, "industrial-mind" value system, based only on asking the question, is it POSSIBLE? to Gaia- sustaining and promoting practices and explorations which must ask the question, is it APPROPRIATE? is the only possible future of human activity on this earth. without taking responsibility for everything we participate in here, we condemn to premature termination the exquisite eons of life exploring itself in this dimension.

Assert: to state positively with great confidence but with no objective proof.

Fact: a thing that has actually happened or that is really true; reality; actuality; truth.

Les Nessman

JBG
re:What would you do now?

Would you increase or decrease the number or U.S. troops in Iraq now?

How many of our troops are there in 6 months?

How many troops are there a year from now? Two years?

jukeboxgrad

Cecil said "you certainly can't get any of it from that page"

I realize you'd like to keep your tunnel-vision focus on that one page of an unofficial summary of the Waxman report, while you studiously avoid acknowledging that the Waxman report itself (which is only two clicks away from "that page") properly cites the CIA report you're so fond of. If you'd like to ignore BushOnIraq, that's fine with me. Now let me know how you deal with the Waxman report (pdf), which is the source of the underlying data used by BushOnIraq.

"Taking the guy to task for failing to mention a tertiary point in a secondary report is silly"

Nice job repeating yourself without addressing my response. This statement on your part is, at best, a partial defense of what Bush said on 5/29. In no way does it address his failure to come clean subsequent to that time, as I've detailed above. Nice job pretending not to notice I already pointed this out.

Speaking of ignoring things, instead of explaining your basis for claiming that a report by 15 analysts from 3 agencies is "less authoritative," you essentially repeat yourself by claiming the findings of this report are "a tertiary point in a secondary report." This technique of yours (repeating, in slightly altered form, a factually-deficient statement rather than backing it up) is quite transparent.

"I expect I have more experience with artillery than they do (combined)"

I'm not sure what to make of that. It would be helpful if you simply said, in a plain and direct manner, whether you consider yourself in a better position to pass judgment on these trailers (perhaps based on your extensive experience with artillery, or based on whatever you think is relevant) than Kay and Duelfer. You seem to be implying that without saying it. Could you be less ambiguous and simply indicate yes or no?

If you're in a position to substantially discredit Kay and/or Duelfer, that would be breaking news, and I'd like to be able to say I heard it here first.

On the other hand, I have a feeling your considerable confidence in your ability to assess these trailers without ever seeing them in-the-flesh (I assume) is a little bit like Frist's video diagnosis of Schiavo.

"the hydrogen story doesn't make much sense (except as a cover)"

Nice job ignoring the named expert eyewitness who explained in a fair amount of technical detail why the hydrogen story made a lot more sense than any other story.

"Trim your posts or stop complaining."

I'm not "complaining." I'm simply pointing out that you consistently avoid answering certain questions (I suppose if I adopted your technique that would be one way of trimming my posts). Here (6/15, 2:57 pm) is an example of how you provided a non-answer to a question I've now asked numerous times, including below.

Let's see if this is short and sweet enough for you. Bush said "we found the weapons of mass destruction." How is that not a lie? (In the non-answer I just mentioned, you pretended Bush was talking about CW, when the context makes clear he was talking about BW.)

Bush said "he wouldn't let them in." How is that not a lie?

jukeboxgrad

Harry said "my opinion is that it may take as much as several years to a decade or more to understand the full implications of our invasion of Iraq"

Thanks for answering my question. I think you're saying we might be there "a decade or more." Here are some more questions, if you care to answer them. Do you think Bush has warned us, clearly enough, that we might be there "a decade or more?" Do you think he should? How do you think the country would respond if he did?

Speaking of questions, I'm still curious about your thoughts regarding Tenet's medal. I have to admit that query is more interesting to me than the status of the A/C in your Neon. Call me eccentric.

"constructive suggestions of how we might improve our current military and civil operation"

For the sake of brevity, just a couple of examples: demonstrate that we're no longer building permanent bases. Terminate our efforts to sell Iraqi assets to non-Iraqi owners.

"'palatial estate' (not patio)"

In the previous thread you mentioned not only your "palatial estate" but also the lovely patio (6/17, 8:55 pm, "I intend to enjoy a beautiful Virginia weekend planting trees on my palatial estate ... I'll go BBQ some nice pork ribs, pop a nice bottle of Cabernet, sit on my patio and enjoy the wonderful life"). You now claim that remark was "clearly facetious." Not "clearly" enough for me, I guess.

So I didn't invent the "patio" part. I also didn't intend to create the impression you ever literally said "palatial patio," and I think that's evident in the fact that I didn't put that phrase in quotes, earlier. I realize this is getting into some pretty serious hair-splitting, but when you say "not patio" I don't like the implication that I made something up.

"I would not choose to brag"

I'm glad we got that part cleared up.

"The article you cited regards the construction of 14 'enduring bases,' long-term encampments for the thousands of American troops expected to serve in Iraq for at least two years."

How interesting that we would be engaged in such an enterprise so soon after we were told the war "could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." (link). Rummy said those words barely a year before the publication of the report we're both citing (3/23/04).

I also find it interesting that just a few days earlier Bush said "Today, more than 200,000 Iraqis, including 78,000 new police, are protecting their fellow citizens." Given such success, why at that very moment would we be investing in numerous bases designed to host us for at least two more years?

Do you find it hard to compehend why certain locals might interpret this as a sign of long-term intentions on our part, about which we're not being particlularly candid?

Of course, it's also interesting to see that number (200,000) shrink by about 30,000 in a year (link). I knew a lot of them were getting killed, but I had no idea the rate was nearly that high.

"I did find some rather interesting and bizarre conspiracy theories at Rat haus"

I realize that trying to vaguely discredit the site where a particular paper happens to be hosted is infinitely easier than saying anything remotely substantive regarding the paper itself.

Les said "What would you do now?"

I have answers to those questions, but I won't be posting them at the moment. The main reason is that I think for the most part the number of questions I'm answering too greatly exceeds the number of my questions which have been ignored. At a certain point I start to lose interest in running that sort of deficit.

More specifically, I addressed some comments of yours, and you ignored what I said, very possibly because it was buried in a long post. If you look for your name (7/2, 3:00 pm) and respond, that would help create the impression that your questions are worth the effort.

Another way to create the impression that your questions are worth the effort would be for you to take a stab at answering some of my questions that have been on the table for a while, before (or at least while) you introduce new questions.

Cecil Turner

"while you studiously avoid acknowledging that the Waxman report itself "

BumperStickerist's original point was on the BushpnIraq site in particular (which you'd linked to earlier). If you're acknowledging it's misleading, I'll happily move on to the Waxman report. If not, I probably won't bother reading it.

"Nice job repeating yourself without addressing my response. This statement on your part is, at best, a partial defense of what Bush said on 5/29."

I am discussing a particular subset of Bush's statements, and whether they're misleading (or BushonIraq is). ISTM that's the main point. If you're admitting they're defensible at the time, we can move on to whether he should have "come clean" later.

"I'm not sure what to make of that. It would be helpful if you simply said, in a plain and direct manner, whether you consider yourself in a better position to pass judgment . . ."

They're intelligence guys, I'm a (former) operator. We look at things differently. I am not convinced they are correct (because of the obvious operational inefficiencies), and so will continue to caveat any statement I make to that effect. It's an attempt at precision.

"I'm not "complaining." I'm simply pointing out that you consistently avoid answering certain questions . . . "

I'm picking what I think are the top three (or so) issues. And yes, I will tend to discard the same type of points as unimportant. If you want to discuss certain specific issues, trim your posts down (to three or so). As long as you're multiplying points in your comments, I have to choose which to discuss. I don't think your subsequent complaints like "sidestepping," or "non-answer[ing]" are legitimate, and will ignore them.

BumperStickerist

JBG -

I'll address the problems with your repetition of the claim that 'Bush lied' when he said that Saddam wouldn't let them in.

It was the quote from BushonIraq. You never actually said why that statement was a lie.

I inferred that it had something to do with Saddam 'letting them in.' Them, being the UN inspectors.

My somewhat QED-ish point was that the physical presence of the inspectors in Iraq was not the only requirement for compliance with the UN resolutions. You'd also note that I never said that UN inspectors were confined to a hotel, simply that they slept there - meaning that they were *in Iraq*, so *yes* Saddam 'let them in' in a ploddingly, debate point, sort of way.

Which is to say, you're wrong, but if you feel better about being right on a minor, irrelevant point - that's okay with me.


Also, as has been pointed out over and over again (and I read through your links, too) Iraq, having lost a war and all, was on the hook to prove it had disarmed.

Twelve years is ample time to get the paperwork in order.

But your question was : how does one go about proving a negative?

Well, if you're an aggressive power in a region who's not intent on maintaining an offensive capability - buy some commericially available video cameras - they were certainly as available as mobile hyrdogen producers -so that could have been a nice start.

Also, allowing inspectors access to sites sometime prior to, say, February 2003 would have been an excellent, even polite way to keep diplomacy, as Clauswitz might say, from progressing by other means.

But that's hindsight.

What's fascinating to me though is the ability that's been displayed by you and others of the 'Bush Lied' crowd to *completely miss the point.* of the articles you cite.

And I mean that in a demonstrable way:

From a report you linked to up above:
-----------------------
Chief U.S. Inspector Says Hussein Sought to Break Sanctions

Washington -- Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was aggressively plotting to subvert U.N. sanctions as part of a plan to produce illicit nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, according to the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq
-------------------------

Well, then - thanks for the link.

Here's another example, I'll start with your introduction:

JBG: Trouble is, this report includes a very clear and detailed account from a named Iraqi eyewitness, describing how these trailers were indeed used to make hydrogen.

Well, okay - we click the link and read our way down the inverted pyramid of the news item.

Before we get to the section detailing the use of the 'inefficient hydrogen making equipment'
we find high up on the article, starting with the first full paragraph, this:

An engineering PhD known for outsized energy and gifts, Tamimi, 47, designed and built a new short-range missile during Iraq's four-year hiatus from United Nations arms inspections. Inspectors who returned in late 2002, enforcing Security Council limits, ruled that the Al Samoud missile's range was not quite short enough. The U.N. team crushed the missiles, bulldozed them into a pit and entombed the wreckage in concrete. In one of three interviews last month, Tamimi said "it was as if they were killing my sons."

But Tamimi had other brainchildren, and these stayed secret. Concealed at some remove from his Karama Co. factory here were concept drawings and computations for a family of much more capable missiles, designed to share parts and features with the openly declared Al Samoud. The largest was meant to fly six times as far.

"This was hidden during the UNMOVIC visits," Tamimi said, referring to inspectors from the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. Over a leisurely meal of lamb and sweet tea, he sketched diagrams. "It was forbidden for us to reveal this information," he said.

okay - Do let's forget about matter of hydrogen production and potential dual use capability and JUST TOPPLE HUSSEIN RIGHT NOW.

Oh, wait, we did.

The article goes on to talk about buying precision guidance from the russians, plans to build missiles with 6x the range, and to do so under the guise of improving the systems for existing missiles.

But, you know - it was Bush doing the lying.

----------------------
Iraq: Right War, Right Time, Right Reasons.
----------------------

jukeboxgrad

Cecil said "BumperStickerist's original point was on the BushpnIraq site [not the Waxman report]"

That site is based directly on the Waxman report, is admittedly, understandably and intentionally a simplified version of the Waxman report and includes a prominent link to the Waxman report on its home page. Aside from the fact that all this is quite obvious, I've also already explained this in some detail.

You seem to be making quite an effort to continue to hide behind this particularly pointless bit of hair-splitting. This speaks for itself.

"If not, I probably won't bother reading it."

What you choose to read, or not, and the reasons behind these decisions, is your business, and your problem, not mine.

Anyway, I'm sure you have no sense of how unintentionally ironic you are when you make a big fuss about BushOnIraq supposedly "ignoring" something, and then in the same breath you declare how determined you are to continue ignoring the main reference BushOnIraq is clearly, obviously and openly based on.

By the way, BushOnIraq could only be considered "misleading" from the perspective of a reader like you, who is oddly determined to ignore the fact that copious explanatory detail is exactly one click away from the BushOnIraq home page. By the way, no one would be complaining about Bush's misleading statements if he had made comparable explanatory detail nearly as available. (In this particular case, as I've explained, important portions of the explanatory detail are _still_ being suppressed, and we only know about it via multiple leaks.) This is the central point, so I'm not at all surprised that you're determined not to address this.

"if you're admitting they're defensible at the time"

Nice job pretending I didn't already state my position on this. I did, as follows: "Let's give Bush the benefit of the doubt and assume that he really believed what he said on 5/29, and the CIA report was all the information he had at that time (although I think there's ample reason to consider this highly implausible)."

"I am not convinced they are correct (because of the obvious operational inefficiencies), and so will continue to caveat any statement I make to that effect."

I'm not interested in parsing this evasive non-answer to what was a simple yes-or-no question.

"As long as you're multiplying points in your comments, I have to choose which to discuss."

Just the latest in your endless assortment of evasions. Since you might already have forgotten what you're evading at the moment, let me remind you: Bush said "we found the weapons of mass destruction." How is that not a lie? Bush said "he wouldn't let them in." How is that not a lie?

Les Nessman

jbg:
"More specifically, I addressed some comments of yours, and you ignored what I said, very possibly because it was buried in a long post. If you look for your name (7/2, 3:00 pm) and respond, that would help create the impression that your questions are worth the effort."

Ok.I looked at 7/2 3:00. Again. Was there a question in there for me? I don't see one.

Why are you running from my question? It's not even from a exceedingly long post. It's very simple really.
Here, I'll repeat it:

'Would you increase or decrease the number or U.S. troops in Iraq now?

How many of our troops are there in 6 months?

How many troops are there a year from now? Two years?'


Guesstimates are fine by me. I don't expect exact answers on this from anyone. If you don't know, that's fine too.


jukeboxgrad

Bumper said "You never actually said why that statement was a lie."

Really? It doesn't get much simpler than this, and I've already explained this. Stating that Saddam "wouldn't let them in" is a lie because Saddam, did, indeed "let them in," and in fact gave them access "to all sites [they] have wanted to inspect." What about these simple English words don't you understand?

"the physical presence of the inspectors in Iraq was not the only requirement for compliance with the UN resolutions."

Bush didn't say "Saddam let them in, but I will now explain all the reasons why that's not good enough." Bush said "he wouldn't let them in." Do you have trouble understanding those two statements are not the same? In other words, your point is true but irrelevant.

"*yes* Saddam 'let them in' in a ploddingly, debate point, sort of way"

This would be fair if all they did was stay in a hotel and not actually inspect anything. But that's not the case. Saddam gave them essentially open access. Nice job pretending I didn't already point this out.

"allowing inspectors access to sites sometime prior to, say, February 2003"

I already cited what Blix said on 1/27/03: "access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect."

Do I actually have to remind you that January is "prior" to February? Do I have to remind you that "access has been provided" indicates clearly that they were not merely sitting in a hotel? I guess I do.

By the way, Bush didn't say "he wouldn't let them in until it was too late." Bush said "he wouldn't let them in."

"Twelve years is ample time to get the paperwork in order."

This is one of many statements you make that do not address the question: how is "he wouldn't let them in" something other than a lie?

"plans to build missiles with 6x the range ... "

This statement and others are designed to make the point that Saddam had various nefarious intentions, plans, wishes and hopes. I don't know any serious person who doubts this. Trouble is, the war hype went far beyond declaring that Saddam hoped or planned to possess WMD. The war hype declared that he had tools to create WMD, and in fact had amassed substantial stockpiles of WMD. This goes far beyond simply proclaiming that he had "plans" or intentions.

You can argue, if you like, that Saddam simply having "plans" was sufficient basis for the war. Trouble is, that's not the bill of goods we were sold. I doubt whether you would bring your repeat business to a used car salesman who pulled this kind of bait-and-switch.

Let me extend that analogy. You go to buy a used car. The salesman tells you he is sure, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the car has a brand-new engine. He has a CIA report "proving" this. This impresses you, so you buy the car. A month later, the car gets wrecked, for reasons no one could control or anticipate. But in the process of disposing of the car you learn that the engine most definitely was not new, despite the assurances you had been given.

Is that where you buy your next car?

The analogy is imperfect for all sorts of reasons, but hopefully you still get the point.

jukeboxgrad

Les said "I looked at 7/2 3:00. Again. Was there a question in there for me? I don't see one."

This is the passage I addressed at you, and I think it merits a response:

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

Les said "If it was all about oiiil, we would have not invaded and just lifted the sanctions."

No. That would have led to a situation where Saddam would have been in control of the oil, which means how much to pump, who to sell it to, and at what price (and for what currency). I've offered citations which explain in copious detail how this would be an intolerable situation for traditional oil interests (such as the Bushes, the Sauds, OPEC, and a variety of other very powerful folks).

"paying fair market value for oil"

Really?

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

"Why are you running from my question?"

I've recently explained why I'm choosing, at the moment, to not answer your question. Is that another passage you have trouble finding?

Les Nessman

jbg
"That would have led to a situation where Saddam would have been in control of the oil, which means how much to pump, who to sell it to, and at what price (and for what currency)."

So it would have been the same way it was over the last 30 years. And the same way it was under the Oil For Food scam. Lifting the sanctions would have opened the market up to parts of the world who weren't scamming the rules, but it would also have removed the (weakly attempted) pressure on Saddam to comply with cease-fire agreements.

""paying fair market value for oil"

Really?"

Ok each time I look it stays the same. Some MSM article about some former gov't employee saying the oil money was mismanaged in a war-torn country trying to rebuild itself. I'm sure that never happened in post-war Germany or Japan or anywhere else. Unimpressive. But enough living in the past; how bout the future or even present?:


Now don't be scared. If you don't know, just say so:

'Would you increase or decrease the number of U.S. troops in Iraq now?

How many of our troops are there in 6 months?

How many troops are there a year from now? Two years?'


Cecil Turner

"That site is based directly on the Waxman report, is admittedly, understandably and intentionally a simplified version of the Waxman report . . ."

You want to take the entire report as a group, citing the overall effect. Gotcha. But there's no way to evaluate them as a whole. I'm taking a sample (the first few statements claimed as misleading on BushonIraq) and evaluating those. Unless you have an alternative, practical method of determining the validity of the claims . . .?

Statement 1 calls the President's recap of the NIE misleading. Statements 2-4 claim the President's being misleading when he cites mobile BW labs in the days after he's given a CIA report entitled: "Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants." I find none of them persuasive. Do you want to defend any of those, or do you claim they're unrepresentative? If not, we're going to have to agree to disagree.

"I'm not interested in parsing this evasive non-answer to what was a simple yes-or-no question."

That question was a false dichotomy--I'm certainly less qualified to evaluate intelligence, and more qualified to evaluate weapons systems--both are pertinent in this case. I'm ignoring the rest of the personal attacks. ISTM the main point is the first one above, and there's little chance of finding common ground. Cheers.

BumperStickerist

unlike Cecil, I think by this point in the conversation about all that are left are personal attacks if done so in an entertaining, bon mot-ty sort of way.

Based on JBG's response, I'm fairly certain that's not going to happen.

Yes, JBG, my reading comprehension of the English language is fine. Thanks very much. If you'd spent as much effort into reading the sources from which you mined the rebuttal to Bush's point, you'd realize that Bush's point was made.

Ergo, no lie.

In fact, using only the information provided in your links, a compelling case for removing Saddam from power was made.

'course, the person reading that material would have to have a functioning ability to place information into context and remember it over time.

I'm okay with the entire 'run up' to the war, Bush's actions in the months leading up to it, the rationales provided are clear, concise, accurate, and supportable, and - yes, no links provided, you already provided them -

so, if you've found this response non-responsive, go back and read through my responses - in which I did respond.

Go figure.

Have a Happy Fourth.

Cheers.

BumperStickerist

btw - apologies for subject/verb disagreement and any disjointed prose in the above. I was being ironical and stuff.

Any who -

the thought occured - the 'inefficient hydrogen production vehicles' that looked a helluva lot like biological warfare gear to the point where the DIA doesn't conclude 'No way in Hell these rigs could make up a batch o'toxin' but rather that such a use was unlikely, that the equipment was used for producing hydrogen to fill weather balloons used during artillery firing.

Artillery.
Firing.

'scuse me. What the Fucque is Iraq doing *practicing* artillery firing, especially the sort of artillery firing that requires the soldiers doing the firing to take into account atmospheric conditions that involve something other than wetting a finger and holding it into the air.

Hmmmmmm????????????

And, at the risk of presenting bona fides, like Cecil, I, too, am a former intel guy - USAF cryptologic linguist who specialized in the communications practices of ground forces in a Soviet-style system.

More to the point on a topic that would be in a different thread, I heard an hour-to-two hour talk back in 1986 the NSA from the top ranking intel guy who was held hostage by the Iranians.

He said "Yes, Reagan arranged the release to take place"

He also said that he personally saw George Bush in Tehran in late 1979 - Bush Sr. was dressed in non-western garb, but the speaker recognized the glasses.

He also said that the Americans ended up playing a lot of cribbage with their captors, and usually, the Americans won.

Fortunately, though, none of that came out at the time.

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

okay, I made those last three things up, but the other stuff is factual. I did work at NSA and served as a cryptologic linguist.

jukeboxgrad

Les said "So it would have been the same way it was over the last 30 years [if there had been no war and instead sanctions were ultimately lifted]"

Thanks for answering.

Uh, no. For one thing, Iraq has probably never been close to its potential for oil output. It certainly hasn't been close to its potential any time recently. So to a great extent this war is about finally realizing that capacity, and deciding who gets to control it.

Another aspect of current reality that is very much not "the same way it was over the last 30 years" is the emergence of very major new oil markets, such as China. This creates the potential for dramatic shifts, where cetain groups will win and other groups will lose.

"it would also have removed the (weakly attempted) pressure on Saddam to comply with cease-fire agreements."

The idea that sanctions would fall and Saddam would eventually rearm as a result was a fair question to contemplate. Trouble is, Bush did not primarily hype the war by raising that question. Bush primarily hyped the war by telling us Saddam had massive WMD stockpiles ready to go at a moment's notice. Big difference.

"some former gov't employee saying the oil money was mismanaged"

You had said (ostensibly describing a favorable aspect of the current situation) "with the money having a much better chance of getting to more regular Iraqis instead of going to Saddam." But your dismissive attitude about the problem I cited seems to indicate you actually don't seem to mind very much if their money is being stolen, as long as it's being done by us, rather than Saddam. I can see why certain Americans would think this is a positive development, but why should "regular Iraqis" feel that way?

By the way, this report has some extra detail on this subject.

"enough living in the past; how bout the future or even present?"

To a great extent, success means getting "regular Iraqis" to trust us. This sort of thing (making lots of their money disappear) doesn't help. Likewise for folks like you having a dismissive attitude about this sort of thing. What would help is showing that we take this sort of thing seriously. I see very little sign of that.

"Now don't be scared"

I can't imagine what it is I've said that would give you impression that I scare easily.

"Would you increase or decrease the number of U.S. troops in Iraq now?"

Above I've described how I think we could correct one of our most basic errors, i.e., failing to enlist support from other countries. As part of this, I would announce a plan to withdraw a certain number of troops monthly (perhaps 2-4,000), with the understanding that other countries (especially Arabs and Europeans) would step up to the plate and replace us. By showing a real commitment to leaving, this means that certain of our critics in other countries would be pressured to put up or shut up, as far as helping out now.

Part of making this work is speaking bluntly about our mistakes, especially as far as alienating and insulting our allies is concerned. This particular aspect of what I would envision is especially at odds with everything we've seen so far from Bush. A little humility would go a long way right now, but unfortunately that word is not part of his vocabulary.

I also like some of the ideas expressed here.

Bumper said "using only the information provided in your links, a compelling case for removing Saddam from power was made."

You've already said this, and I've already reminded you that you are simply changing the subject. Your statement has no bearing on the question I asked: how is ""he wouldn't let them in" not a lie?

Cecil said "You want to take the entire report as a group, citing the overall effect"

That's not at all what I'm saying. I'm saying that if you're going to put a particular item from BushOnIraq under a microscope, it's only fair to take into account the Waxman background (on that particular item) which BushOnIraq makes readily available.

"I'm taking a sample"

To the extent you keep your blinders on and continue to focus narrowly on BushOnIraq, as if Waxman doesn't exist, you'll be able to persist in avoiding dealing with the underlying issues. It's becoming more and more clear that's your goal.

Another pretty good indication of this is your continuing to ignore this very simple question: Bush said "we found the weapons of mass destruction." He also said "he wouldn't let them in." How are these not lies?

Nice job confirming that you have no answers to these questions.

BumperStickerist

actually, I did answer your question about the 'not a lie' part.

But, first, it's worth pointing out that the issue of Bush's claim being 'a lie' has been thoroughly demolished.

The issue is played out in microcosm here:

http://www.leanleft.com/archives/2004/07/12/3156/

So, it's true - there is *nothing* new on teh internets.
_________________________

Enjoy the 4th, JBG - it's made possible by people that don't dwell on the 'gee, Saddam *seemed* like he *might* cooperate with the UN inspectors *this* time around - after all twelfth times a charm!'

Again (for the third time) , if you take into account things like the past tense, Bush didn't lie.

Take the time and trouble to actually, you know, read the stuff you link to. I have. If you didn't before, you will feel *a lot* better about Bush's integral role in freeing the better part of 25,000,000 people in Iraq, helping to protect the lives and safety of the 300,000,000 people in the US and - gee - I dunno - getting that 5th dentist to recommend sugarless gum for his patients that chew gum.

There's 3+ years of "The Bush Doctrine" - moowhoowahhahahahahaha - to go ... that dentist will roll.

Maybe before Syria does

Les Nessman

jbg:
"I would announce a plan to withdraw a certain number of troops monthly (perhaps 2-4,000), with the understanding that other countries (especially Arabs and Europeans) would step up to the plate and replace us."
And the U.N. Don't forget to include U.N. 'troops'.

"By showing a real commitment to leaving, this means that certain of our critics in other countries would be pressured to put up or shut up, as far as helping out now."

So far, they've neither put up nor shut up, so expecting any useful help from them is doubtful.

Really, if this is what you consider a workable, useful step; then I'm flabbergasted. At some point, after the most dangerous work has been done and success is more certain, I'm sure more 'foreign' forces will jump on the bandwagon. By then, 90% of the job will be done.

jukeboxgrad
jukeboxgrad

Bumper said: "I did answer your question about the 'not a lie' part"

Here's a summary of your stunning non-answers:

"it's cooperation born of regret, which doesn't count"

In other words, because Saddam let them in only after we held a gun to his head, it's perfectly OK to state "he wouldn't let them in." An interesting bit of nonsense.

"Again (for the third time) , if you take into account things like the past tense, Bush didn't lie."

You're being a bit cryptic, but I think you're offering something expressed in the thread you cited: "that statement is true depending on the time frame. There were several years in the 90s when he did refuse to allow them in."

This is asinine, and it's just a variation on your earlier argument "it's cooperation born of regret, which doesn't count." In other words, you're claiming there's no difference between saying "he waited too long before finally deciding to let them in" or "there was once a time when he wouldn't let them in" as compared with "he wouldn't let them in." Trouble is, there obviously is a difference.

"The UNMOVIC reports show a general unwillingness of Iraq to allow the inspectors free access."

An interesting theory on your part, except for the fact that Blix in fact said on 1/27/03: "access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect." Blix had other compliance complaints (particularly with regard to expecting Saddam to produce various documents), but these complaints were not a question of letting the inspectors in or providing "free access."

"the UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see."

More nonsense, as I've just demonstrated.

"That UN Inspectors slept at a hotel in Baghdad during the months prior to the start of the war in March 2003 is hardly the requirement of the UN / US demands."

Nice job suggesting that they only "slept at a hotel in Baghdad" and were not performing inspections. Trouble is, they were indeed performing inspections.

"allowing inspectors access to sites sometime prior to, say, February 2003"

Trouble is, the inspectors did indeed have "access to sites sometime prior to, say, February 2003."

So yes, you did "answer" the question, if various forms of nonsense qualify as an "answer."

By the way, in your NSA career as a "cryptologic linguist," was it your practice to make statements that were factually incorrect and then take no responsibility for them after your error was demonstrated? Just curious.

"The issue is played out in microcosm here: http://www.leanleft.com/archives/2004/07/12/3156/"

Thanks for the link. There I found various people indulging in much the same nonsense you've indulged in. One common form of this nonsense is to suggest there's no difference between saying "at the time we ejected the inspectors in order to invade, Saddam had not yet fully complied with all the demands of the inspectors, in particular with regard to producing certain documents," as compared with saying "he wouldn't let them in." The former statement is true. The latter statement is false.

This is explained clearly here.

By the way, thanks to that source (which I hadn't noticed previously), I now see that Bush told this particular lie at least twice. I already mentioned that Bush said "We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in" (7/14/03).

I didn't realize he also said "Saddam Hussein said, I'm not going to expose my weapons, I'm not going to get rid of my -- I'm not going to allow inspectors in, he said" (2/26/04).

Why are you so determined to stand by and salute while the POTUS rewrites history, in plain sight?

You've done so well with this one, why not also tackle "we found the weapons of mass destruction?"

Harry Arthur

Unless I'm mistaken that there are approximately 150,000 troops in Iraq then this is a 38 to 75 month withdrawal plan. I guess we have the answer to why we need 14 permanent bases.

But isn't one of the complaints about the incompetent handling of the war that we have too few troops there now? So I'm assuming that as we withdraw 2-4,000 per month that the replacements will arrive in significantly greater numbers. Hopefully the UN will find some "scary" soldiers to replace US soldiers at least for the first year or so. I think they're currently requesting "scary" US soldiers in Haiti but they are also talking with the French and Canadians so perhaps we could just forget Haiti and send the sufficiently "scary" French and Canadian troops to Iraq. Then the "scary" US troops could just land in Haiti - no need to even go home first.

An afterthought - I wouldn't suggest sending Turkish troops to the Kurdish region. And the Pakistanis are fairly busy in the Afghan boarder area looking for "what's his name" and his buddies. Probably wouldn't be too good an idea to send Iranian or Syrian troops either. The UN does have those fine African troops currently deployed - they'd probably work, but of course the Iraqis would have to keep a closer eye on their daughters.

We could turn the entire political process over to the UN also. They've done so well in Bosnia. Is there a functional government there yet? We've been in Bosnia now, how long? Wasn't it the UN that assured us that elections in Iraq were quite impossible?

My apologies for the hyperbole. At least we're making progress addressing the "OK, now that we're there, what do we do?" question.

Harry Arthur

Harry said "my opinion is that it may take as much as several years to a decade or more to understand the full implications of our invasion of Iraq"

Thanks for answering my question. I think you're saying we might be there "a decade or more." Here are some more questions, if you care to answer them. Do you think Bush has warned us, clearly enough, that we might be there "a decade or more?" Do you think he should? How do you think the country would respond if he did?

No, I'm not saying we might be there a decade or more, I'm saying exactly what I said: it will take that long to "understand the full implications of our invasion." Whether we'll be there for that long or not depends on many factors, some of which we have almost certainly not anticipated to date. That is the nature of the world. Who would have guessed that putting Pershing missles in Europe would have contributed to the downfall of the Soviet Union? I brought up the potential for Iraq to be a "tipping point" that could "infect" the entire Middle East with democracy. We just don't know at this point how things will turn out, ergo, my assertion that we don't yet know whether we've made a mistake by invading Iraq. Absolutely no one knows how long we will be there at this point.

Did Bush inform the American people that this would be a long haul? Yes, he did on numerous occasions. Are the American people ready for a long war in the local Iraqi sense and in the global sense? I don't know. We'll see how things work out. This current poll from just a few days ago indicates:

The survey found that only one in eight Americans currently favors an immediate pullout of U.S. forces, while a solid majority continues to agree with Bush that the United States must remain in Iraq until civil order is restored -- a goal that most of those surveyed acknowledge is, at best, several years away.

Other poll question responses clearly indicate that Bush needs to focus more on informing the public as to why it's important that we prevail in Iraq.

Speaking of questions, I'm still curious about your thoughts regarding Tenet's medal. Tenet made a stupid and incorrect statement to Bush in the lead up to the war, probably because that was the essence of the briefing Tenent received. Bush acted at least in part on that information. Why give Tenant a medal? I don't know and I honestly don't care a whit. Maybe after spending the better part of his adult life in government service Bush thought he deserved one. Who knows? Honestly, your medal question is an example of debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin - interesting discussion if you have nothing better to do, but hardly germane to the "so what do we do now that we're there?" question.

Finally, "I did find some rather interesting and bizarre conspiracy theories at Rat haus"

I realize that trying to vaguely discredit the site where a particular paper happens to be hosted is infinitely easier than saying anything remotely substantive regarding the paper itself. Actually, I wasn't trying to be vague at all. I don't feel any more obligated to reply to "papers" "published" on wacko, New Age, conspiracy theorist sites such as "Rat haus" than to spend hours explaining why Area 51 is not hiding secret alien technology just because of the hundreds of "papers" "published" on the government conspiracy sites. It does matter with whom one associates and it does matter where one "publishes" their "papers". Therefore, can you inform me as to the educational background of Mr. William Clark? Is he an expert in the subjects addressed by his "paper?" Was his "paper" in any way subject to peer review? Absent some knowledge as to the quality of research behind the "paper" and the quality of education and expertise of the author, we're just talking about flinging horse hocky on a wall and hoping some of it sticks. If I come to understand that Mr. William Clark is actually a reputable scholar with some level of expertise in the subject addressed, then I may actually take the time to read his opinion, otherwise, as I said, it's just horse hocky as far as I'm concerned.

Harry Arthur

Speaking of polls, Bush and Iraq, note this intersting discussion over on Patterico: LA TIMES: WE MENTION ONLY THE NEGATIVE POLLS.

Cecil Turner

"That's not at all what I'm saying. I'm saying that if you're going to put a particular item from BushOnIraq under a microscope, it's only fair to take into account the Waxman background (on that particular item) which BushOnIraq makes readily available."

As an answer to the charge that BushonIraq is more misleading than Bush, that is somewhat pertinent. As an answer to why Bush citing a CIA report he'd just received is misleading, it is not. Unless you can show the President read the DIA report (which I sincerely doubt), his recap of the CIA report is reasonable. There's no support I can see for claiming any of those cites are dishonest.

"Bush said "we found the weapons of mass destruction." He also said "he wouldn't let them in." How are these not lies?"

Well, since you trimmed it down to three points (as I asked), I suppose it would be churlish not to respond.

On "WMD": assuming the CIA report had been correct, is "WMD" an unreasonable way of characterizing mobile BW labs? I'm not convinced it is. What if they were providing BW agent to Zarqawi? Is a package of refined anthrax spores a "WMD"? How about if they're dispersed over a US city? I think you could make a convincing argument that in none of those cases would it be a "weapon" of mass destruction, but it was the only real concern. Conversely, if we'd found 50 Scuds with Sarin warheads, they'd meet any reasonable definition of WMD, but would be misleading to cite, since they wouldn't be a threat to the US. I think that's fair usage, especially since he explains in the same breath what he's talking about (mobile BW labs).

On "wouldn't let them in," the quote needs to be taken in context:

The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful.
Again, that seems a fair summary of the post-9/11 negotiations with Iraq. Saddam did, in fact, refuse implementation of UNSC resolution 1284 (several times):
Marking his first high-level discussions with Baghdad since May 2001, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan met with Iraqi representatives March 7 in New York but was unable to persuade them to permit the return of international weapons inspectors.
"Reasonable request" in the statement appears to refer to UNSCR 1441, and Iraq's failure to comply was the final straw. Whether you believe that's a fair characterization or not, it's fairly obvious the President does (and I happen to agree with him).

"Nice job confirming that you have no answers to these questions."

If you left out the ad hominems, your posts would be more concise (and more persuasive).

Les Nessman

jbg:
"In your opinion, what signs should we look for to know that day has come?"

When Iraq has a functioning, lawful government capable of sustaining itself without U.S. troops. I think it's possible to achieve this within the 3 - 6 year troop withdrawal window you propose, though it may take longer. Whether or not Iraq will want all of our troops out by then (I think they will, I hope our troops will be out by then)remains to be seen. (a la Germany, Japan, Korea)We've been in Bosnia for a decade now, so let's give the U.S. a reasonable amount of time in Iraq, too.

All of which is happening under Bush's plan, so I don't see you proposing anything radically different from what's going on now.

jukeboxgrad

Les said "I think it's possible to achieve this within the 3 - 6 year troop withdrawal window you propose"

Thanks for your prompt, clear and sensible answer.

Personally, I think it will take much longer, and it seems Rummy might agree (link).

Aside from that, I think most Americans are not prepared for even an additional 3-6 year commitment, let alone a longer one. Also, I think it's a major problem that Bush is still not willing to plainly say "it could be another 3-6 years, or longer."

"I don't see you proposing anything radically different from what's going on now."

I proposed immediate, regular, monthly withdrawals, along with apologies to our allies to get them to replace us. In my opinion, all this is indeed "radically different from what's going on now." Likewise for what I said about permanent bases.

jukeboxgrad
jukeboxgrad

Cecil said "his recap of the CIA report is reasonable"

Very soon after the CIA report was issued, another report indicated that 14 out of 15 analysts from 3 separate agencies disagreed with the CIA report. Therefore, I find it implausible to suggest that at the time Bush made his statement he had no idea whatsoever of any simmering disagreement or controversy within the IC on this point, especially given the political and strategic gravity of the subject. If he truly had no idea, this is a combination of incompetence and ignorance, especially when you take into account that he expressed himself as if he had no doubt whatsoever. It also suggests an atmosphere of "don't tell me anything I don't want to hear, because if you do I won't be able to claim that I never heard it." And of course that's exactly what you're doing on his behalf, when you make a statement such as "unless you can show the President read the DIA report ... his recap of the CIA report is reasonable."

There's good reason to believe that other people who did this on his behalf (i.e., helped to make sure he wasn't told anything he didn't want to hear, for the reason I just described), were given medals and promotions.

Aside from all that, you are remarkably consistent in your ignoring the broader question, which I'm now asking for at least the third time: even if we assume that Bush misspoke because at the time he just didn't know any better (and I've explained why I consider this implausible), why didn't he come clean in the coming days, weeks and months, when it became more and more obvious that the absolute certainty he expressed was not supported by the vast majority of his experts who had considered the matter? Why, in fact, has the contrary report never been released?

"is 'WMD' an unreasonable way of characterizing mobile BW labs?"

Yes, "WMD" is indeed "an unreasonable way of characterizing mobile BW labs." Here's an example of a "[reasonable] way of characterizing mobile BW labs:" mobile BW labs. A mobile BW lab is not a "weapon of mass destruction." A mobile BW lab is a mobile BW lab. I've explained this many times. Why do you pretend there's no difference between a weapon and a tool that can be used to build a weapon? For the zillionth time: Bush did not hype the war by telling us that Saddam had tools that could be used to build weapons of mass destruction. Bush hyped the war by telling us that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

Bush did this for a reason. He calculated (probably correctly) that the idea of Saddam merely having tools that could be used to build WMD would not be enough to scare us into war. In order to scare us sufficiently, Bush had to make a materially more alarming claim: Saddam did not just have the tools; Saddam had already used the tools to build weapons, which were now tucked under his arm in huge stockpiles.

"What if they were providing BW agent to Zarqawi?"

Your use of terms like "what if" (in this context) tends to create the impression that you have a hard time distinguishing between the hypothetical and the real. Bush hyped the war by making claims (which turned out to be false) regarding the latter, not the former. That is, Bush did not hype the war by saying "what if" Saddam had WMD. Rather, Bush hyped the war by saying Saddam had WMD. Similarly, Bush did not say "_what if_ we found the weapons of mass destruction." Bush said "we found the weapons of mass destruction."

Back to your specific question. Trouble is, we didn't find any "BW agent." Still haven't, as far as I know.

"Is a package of refined anthrax spores a 'WMD'?"

Yes. Trouble is, we didn't find any "refined anthrax spores." Still haven't, as far as I know.

"he explains in the same breath what he's talking about"

No. On the contrary. His full quote gives the distinct impression that he found a BW lab containing actual BW. Note that he said "for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." Why on earth would he mention both "manufacturing devices" as well as "banned weapons," if not to imply that we found both "manufacturing devices" as well as "banned weapons?"

I realize you might point to his "or," in order to claim that he intended for "we found them" to apply only to "manufacturing devices," and not to apply to "banned weapons." This is tortured and convoluted. He gives no clue to suggest that his phrase "we found them" only applies to one part of the preceding clause, and not the other part of it.

By the way, by using both these phrases ("manufacturing devices" as well as "banned weapons") he's tacitly acknowledging what is obvious: they are two different things. Yet this is exactly what you're attempting to deny.

So the trouble is, he only found a trailer that he managed to convince himself (with help from certain underlings) was a BW lab, and it was always clear right from the start that it didn't contain even the slightest trace of any actual BW. He knew this, yet he suggested otherwise. Any reasonable person hearing his statement would have every reason to understand that the trailer contained BW. But it did not, and he knew it did not. Would you buy a used car from someone who communicated in such a slippery manner?

"I think you could make a convincing argument that in none of those cases would it be a 'weapon' of mass destruction."

I have no idea what you're trying to say. This is utter nonsense. "BW agent" can be fairly described as WMD. "Refined anthrax spores" can be fairly described as WMD. "50 Scuds with Sarin warheads" can be fairly described as WMD. An ostensible BW lab that contains no BW whatsoever cannot be fairly described as WMD. It can be fairly described as a BW lab.

"was unable to persuade them to permit the return of international weapons inspectors"

It's true that first he didn't let them in. But then he did. The statement you cite was spoken in April 2002. Trouble is, Bush didn't make his statement in April 2002. And when he made his statement, he didn't say "in April 2002 he wouldn't let them in." He said "he wouldn't let them in."

By the way, the fair test is to imagine what a reasonable but uninformed person would conclude if they only heard what Bush said, and they were not familiar with the facts via other sources (and this also applies to the business above about BW). Imagine if you asked such a person this question: "as far as you know, were there inspectors in Iraq in the period immediately preceding the invasion?" The person would inevitably answer "of course not, there have never been inspectors in Iraq, and especially not at the time prior to the invasion; I know this because Bush plainly said 'he wouldn't let them in,' and that this is why we went to war, and if he had let them in, we would not have gone to war."

That is the plain and obvious interpretation of Bush's words: "we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power."

Note that those words convey a narrative. The first part of the narrative describes early 2002, when indeed "he wouldn't let them in." The third part of the narrative describes March 2003, which is ostensibly when "we decided to remove him from power." Notice the glaring absence of the second part of the story, which describes the period from roughly Nov to Mar, when in fact Saddam did "let them in."

Note the connecting phrase "And, therefore, after a reasonable request." This clearly suggests that what follows this phrase ("we decided to remove him from power") came immediately after what preceded this phrase ("he wouldn't let them in"). In other words, we're being told to ignore what happened in between: he let them in.

It would be hard to find a clearer example of telling a story dishonestly.

In a the following highly ironic way, Bush's story is honest, despite himself. Bush is admitting that the decision to "remove him from power" did indeed immediately follow the time when Saddam "wouldn't let them in." That is, Bush " decided to remove him from power" no later than the middle of 2002. Everything that followed was a charade. Bush is perfectly comfortable leaving out the part about the inspectors actually being there, because to Bush this never meant anything.

By the way, aside from wondering if you would let a used-car salesman talk to you this way, I also wonder if you let your kids talk to you this way. Imagine the following exchange:

Cecil notices that Junior's room is messy. Cecil wants Junior to clean it up. Cecil tells Junior to clean it up. Cecil leaves town for a while, and upon returning, notices that Junior's room is still messy.

Cecil: "I told you to clean your room."

Junior: "I did clean my room."

Cecil: "That's nonsense, your room is a mess."

Junior: "But it's true, I did clean my room."

Cecil: "How can you say that? Why are you lying to me?"

Junior: "Because I _once_ did clean my room, about six months ago."

Cecil: "But you didn't say 'I _once_ cleaned my room.' You said 'I cleaned my room.' Who taught you that two statements like that, which clearly have different meanings, can be used interchangeably? Who taught you it's OK to trick people this way?"

Junior: "The POTUS did, with your help. I heard the president say 'he wouldn't let them in,' even though informed people know Saddam did indeed let them in. And I read your post on justoneminute where you claimed this was OK because it was _once_ true that Saddam didn't let them in, so it was OK for Bush to say 'he wouldn't let them in,' even though this was no longer true.

Obviously you think there's no difference between saying 'he wouldn't let them in' as compared with saying 'he _once_ wouldn't let them in.' Therefore I've concluded there's no difference between saying 'I cleaned my room' as compared with saying 'I _once_ cleaned my room.'"

Cecil: "Junior, I can now rest assured that someday you will be a fine Republican, and perhaps even president."

Since that was so much fun, here's the "we found the weapons" version:

Cecil: "Junior, please run down to the store and buy me a rifle. Time to take care of the varmints ruining our vegetable garden."

Junior: "Sure, dad."

Junior soon returns with a lathe.

Cecil: "Junior, I asked for a rifle. That's a lathe. Who taught you that there's no difference between a weapon and a tool that can be used to build a weapon?"

Junior: "The POTUS did, with your help ..."

More, since I'm on a roll. I see Cecil walking down the street with 20 bucks in his hand. Next day I go talk to Cecil's friends and tell them Cecil smokes crack. Cecil's upset so he comes to see me.

Cecil: "Where did you get the idea I smoke crack?"

jbg: "I saw you walking down the street with 20 bucks."

Cecil: "Yeah, so?"

jbg: "You could have been planning to use that to go buy some crack."

Cecil: "That's true, but who gave you the idea that it's OK to proclaim that I have item X, when in fact I only have item Y which could potentially be used as a way to obtain item X?"

jbg: "The POTUS did, with your help ..."

And one more quick one that's kind of nerdy and timely. I inspect Cecil's computer and find a copy of a BitTorrent client program (a technology which has both legitimate as well as illegitimate applications). That's all I find. I proceed to go tell his friends that Cecil has stolen music and movies on his computer. Why? Because Cecil has indicated he thinks there's no material difference between being in possession of a tool that can be used to create a certain result, as compared with being in possession of that actual result.

"if you left out the ad hominems"

Any pejorative I offer is one you've worked hard to earn, and I go out of my way to show proof. When you take the trouble to prove otherwise, I apologize promptly (and you're well-aware of this). Otherwise, I don't.

Cecil Turner

"Any pejorative I offer is one you've worked hard to earn . . ."

Whatever. Look, if you're convinced I'm a serial distorter, then there's really no reason to converse. If you're just looking for debating points, it's dishonest. In either event, I don't see a reason to continue.

How about I refrain from using your name, referring to your posts, or addressing things to you, and you extend similar courtesy to me? Sound fair?

Les Nessman

jbg
"Personally, I think it will take much longer, and it seems Rummy might agree (link)."
Well, I've always thought so too, so we may as well call a spade a spade and all agree that we will be there longer than 6 years.

"Aside from that, I think most Americans are not prepared for even an additional 3-6 year commitment, let alone a longer one."

I think we are. (again, a la Germany, Japan, Korea, Bosnia)

"Also, I think it's a major problem that Bush is still not willing to plainly say "it could be another 3-6 years, or longer."

Huh? I've always gotten the impression from this administration that it would take close to a decade, maybe more. In fact, I think everybody knew this, even if they won't admit it.

"I proposed immediate, regular, monthly withdrawals, along with apologies to our allies to get them to replace us. In my opinion, all this is indeed "radically different from what's going on now." Likewise for what I said about permanent bases."

There will be regular, monthly withdrawals. It will probably not be immediately, since no 'allies' are willing and/or able to take our place. We will not be apologizing, nor should we. Our 'permanent' bases will be abandoned by us when we leave, in a decade(?) or so.

Really, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about how different your ideas are from what Bush is doing.


Harry Arthur

My first inclination was to waste the better part of several hours with a reply but I think I've shoveled through enough of your barnyard material for the remainder of my life at least, so ... whatever.

jukeboxgrad

Les said "I've always gotten the impression from this administration that it would take close to a decade, maybe more."

(Instead of asking you to scroll up and dig through a long post, I'll repeat myself.)

Rummy said the war "could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months" (link). Cheney said "we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months" (link). Wolfowitz said "The notion that it would take several hundred thousand American troops just seems outlandish" (link). More of this sort of thing, including some very interesting (interesting because they're so wrong) projections regarding the dollar cost of the war, can be found here.

In other words, I can't imagine how you got the impression you got. Let me know if you can find the place where Bush said "I know my top folks have said it will take weeks or months, but I want you to know they're wrong; you should actually expect it to take close to a decade, maybe more."

By the way, how do you reconcile "mission accomplished" with the idea of "close to a decade, maybe more?"

"There will be regular, monthly withdrawals. It will probably not be immediately, since no 'allies' are willing and/or able to take our place."

In my opinion, this is a chicken-and-egg sort of thing, and I think it would be smart for us to make the first unilateral step. This is an important area where what I'm suggesting is indeed radically different than anything Bush is doing, or is likely to do.

"We will not be apologizing, nor should we."

I respect your opinion on this, but obviously I feel differently. This is probably not the moment for me to go into detail about why I think apologies are warranted.

"I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about how different your ideas are from what Bush is doing."

Just my position on the issue of apologies is enough to indicate that my ideas are quite different "from what Bush is doing."

jukeboxgrad

Cecil, 6/14, 10:57 pm: "sorry JBG, but this barrage of nonsense isn't interesting. Cheers."

(Even though Cecil had suggested he was done, he was not. He addressed me in three more messages. Then the following.)

Cecil, 6/15, 3:21 pm: "I'm really not interested in participating."

Cecil, 6/15, 5:52 pm: "if the point was to wear me out, it worked. Cheers."

Cecil, 6/16, 5:44 pm: "I shouldn't do this"

(Even though Cecil had suggested he was done, he was not. He addressed me in nine more messages in the earlier thread, and then eight more messages in the later thread. Then the following.)

Cecil, 7/4 6:59 pm: "I don't see a reason to continue."

As I said once before, promises, promises. You've succeeded only in showing that there is one final defense you consistently turn to when you realize you have placed yourself up a creek without a paddle. You've also made it obvious that you manage to return to that place on a regular basis.

Finally, and ironically, you've made it clear that even in the act of invoking this defense you can't manage to do it without making statements that turn out to be unreliable.

"How about I refrain from using your name, referring to your posts, or addressing things to you"

What you do here is your business, not mine. It's not as if anyone has been holding a gun to your head (which sort of reminds me of the way Bush pretended Saddam was holding a gun to our heads, although this obviously turned out not to be the case).

"you extend similar courtesy to me"

If your concept of me extending "courtesy" to you is that you can count on me to sit on my hands while you spout nonsense, you're expecting too much.

"Sound fair?"

No.

By the way, a certain fondly-remembered Democratic president once had a famous sign on his desk that said something about the concept of ultimate executive accountability, a concept Bush has assiduously trashed.

I'm thinking of that president because your latest little tantrum reminds me of another famous saying closely associated with that president, although the saying apparently originated with a friend of his, Harry Vaughan, quoted in Time on 4/28/52 (although another account attributes the remark to Buck Purcell, another friend of the president).

That saying is my unsolicited advice to you.

jukeboxgrad

Something I meant to mention a few minutes ago.

Cecil said "If you're just looking for debating points"

You're making an incorrect guess regarding what this is about for me, so let me clear up your confusion. This is about wanting my children to inherit a country where the concept of honest leadership is taken seriously.

That doesn't mean a country where leaders never lie. That's too much to expect, because they're only human, just like the rest of us. However, it does mean a country where folks do more than just yawn and blink when their leaders lie.

Cecil Turner

"your latest little tantrum reminds me"

Whatever. I'm really not interested in sifting through any more insults. Continue if you insist. Cheers.

Les Nessman

jbg:
"In other words, I can't imagine how you got the impression you got. Let me know if you can find the place where Bush said "I know my top folks have said it will take weeks or months, but I want you to know they're wrong; you should actually expect it to take close to a decade, maybe more.""

The war phase was over quickly, as we thought it would, despite the warnings from some that Saddam would use chemical wmds, Baghdad would be another Stalingrad, the desert heat would cripple us, etc.. . The more difficult phase, the rebuilding phase, is what would take years to accomplish. Really, if anyone is acting surprised by this rebuilding timeframe, then I think it's just that: acting.
I can't imagine that anyone DIDN'T get that impression.

"By the way, how do you reconcile "mission accomplished" with the idea of "close to a decade, maybe more?""

A banner on an aircraft carrier that said 'mission accomplished' because the carrier group was heading home after it, you know, accomplished it's mission. Frankly, it's just this sort of hoary story that some Dems keep bringing up that is hurting them politically. They may think they are winning some rhetorical contest, and maybe they are, but the overall impression to too many Americans is that of smart-aleck nitpicking. The politicians who engage in this are seen as unserious.

"Just my position on the issue of apologies is enough to indicate that my ideas are quite different "from what Bush is doing.""

The apology thing is a small, but important issue. That plus some disagreement over foreign troop involvement timeframes still does not impress me as very different from what Bush is doing.

TexasToast

A banner on an aircraft carrier that said 'mission accomplished' because the carrier group was heading home after it, you know, accomplished it's mission.

Sorry Les - the BS alert went off. It was a political photo op that backfired. Its interesting that you call criticism of this vital operation "unserious" when you really can't be serious in suggesting that "mission accomplished" wasn't the intended poltical message in GWB's
"mission accomplished" carrier operation - particularly when he used the words "mission accomplished" in the speech on the carrier. I don't think the President makes it a habit of welcoming home carriers by landing on them.

TM

If your concept of me extending "courtesy" to you is that you can count on me to sit on my hands while you spout nonsense, you're expecting too much.

My impression, jukebox, is that you are losing your audience. And my general impression is that folks with something to say don't need to scream or resort to insults.

I understand there are folks locked in on the idea that everyone who disagrees with them is a liar (cf Krugman), but (again, my guess) is that such an assumption leads to rhetoric better suited to rallying the base than winning converts.

You draw more flies with honey, as someone said, although they failed to explain why I might want to draw flies.

jukeboxgrad

Les said: "the war phase was over quickly ... the rebuilding phase, is what would take years to accomplish"

With all due respect, this is nothing but pointless semantics, about as helpful as claiming the Korean War was not a war, but merely a "police action." When Cheney said "weeks rather than months," no one interpreted that to mean "this very brief 'war phase'' will be followed by an extended 'rebuilding phase' that will be at least ten times as deadly to us." (How could it be, since he said we would be "greeted as liberators?")

Can you honestly say that's how you interpreted Cheney's words, at the time? Can you point me to any righty commentator at the time, who interpreted him that way? By the way, I don't mean weasel words such as 'it might be a long struggle.' I mean someone that had the courage to mention specific numbers, such as 'rebuilding Iraq might cost us ten times as many lives as winning the war did.'

Do you really think Congress would have supported the invasion as strongly as it did (if at all), if such results (almost 2000 US dead, thousands more maimed, with no end in sight) had been honestly, clearly and specifically contemplated?

By the way, since you're suggesting that Cheney's "weeks rather than months" was not a dishonest and/or incompetent statement, what do you make of an administration spokesman claiming that "the American part of this [rebuilding Iraq] will be 1.7 billion?" That number is obviously off by a factor of at least 100. Is the need to adjust the budget by a factor of 100 times something else you "can't imagine that anyone DIDN'T get?"

(By the way, this transcript can be found here. Our government used to host this transcript, but now instead it presents a mealy-mouthed explanation of why that page had to be scrubbed.)

"because the carrier group was heading home after it, you know, accomplished it's mission"

Good luck trying to convince anyone that Bush wasn't very happy to have that stage prop available, at just the ideal camera angle, to hammer home his message: "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended." This on a day when "it appeared that every detail of the day's events had been carefully planned." Also, nice job not mentioning that "though the banner was the Navy's idea, the White House actually made it" (link). Of course, Bush didn't mind making a slippery statement suggesting otherwise: "I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way."

TT said: "I don't think the President makes it a habit of welcoming home carriers by landing on them."

Exactly. Every detail was stage-managed. He arrived "in the co-pilot's seat of a Navy S-3B Viking after making two flybys of the carrier ... The exterior of the four-seat S-3B Viking was marked with 'Navy 1' and 'George W. Bush Commander in Chief.'" And of course he was dressed in his natty flyboy-with-a-codpiece outfit.

Finally Scottie had to admit "We took care of the production of it ... We have people to do those things." He added "but the Navy actually put it up" as if the fact that Bush himself didn't personally hang the thing up somehow obscures the fact that his fingerprints were all over it.

(By the way, that day was not the only example of the war being managed as if it were a theatrical production. And here's the wide-angle view of that event, a view that you didn't get to see on CNN. That darn liberal media.)

Incidentally, I really didn't intend to trigger a discussion about the banner. I said "mission accomplished" simply as a shorthand way to refer to the overall event: "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended." You claim everyone has always known that "The more difficult phase, the rebuilding phase, is what would take years to accomplish." Are you claiming that everyone has always known that "the rebuilding phase" would look a whole lot like "combat operations," even though Bush had declared these over?

jukeboxgrad

TM said: "you are losing your audience"

English translation: "certain folks around these parts do eventually realize that they're better off shutting up once it's been made clear that their bogus facts are just that." In other words, they reach the point of heeding the words of Samuel Johnson: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one's mouth and remove all doubt." This is something you yourself did here, when you failed to follow up on a challenge you issued (at 3/3/05, 4:44 pm). No surprise, since I proved the challenge was hollow.

By the way (regarding "losing your audience"), let me know how many of your threads are still alive six days after your start them, and/or attract well over a hundred comments (not counting mine).

"my general impression is that folks with something to say don't need to scream or resort to insults"

If you want to show where I said something (insult or otherwise) that wasn't grounded in facts I presented, be my guest. My track record shows that I apologize promptly under those conditions.

By the way, I think it would take some hair-splitting on your part to argue that certain words of yours ("now that you have discovered 'Google', maybe you won't go off half-cocked next time by recycling old Barbra Streisand-style hysteria ... I am quite comfortable characterizing your posts as "hysterical", and demonstrating a certain Barbra Streisand quailty." [link]) are anything other than gratuitous insults which I showed were not grounded in fact.

So I think the record shows that you and I are both willing to insult, the difference being that I restrain myself until I'm in a position to prove why the insult has been well-earned.

"folks locked in on the idea that everyone who disagrees with them is a liar"

I think the record also shows (since I've made a variety of different statements to a variety of different people) that I don't insult people who merely disagree with me. I insult people who work hard to earn insults.

By the way, speaking of "folks locked in on the idea that everyone who disagrees with them is a liar," this brings to mind how folks like Rove are doing something I consider much worse: promoting the idea that everyone who disagrees with them is a traitor.

"You draw more flies with honey, as someone said, although they failed to explain why I might want to draw flies."

I never said you didn't have a decent sense of humor.

Les Nessman

TT
Better recalibrate your BS detector then.

The carrier group's mission WAS accomplished. If you have a problem with that, take it up with those who served in that group. Was it used as a photo-op, too? Yes.

Remember, our involvement in Iraq is divided into two parts: the war phase and the rebuilding phase. We won the war phase handily (mission accomplished); next came them decade(s?)long rebuilding phase.

Again, some people seem to want to keep going over this. Go for it. But you should know that politically, a lot of voters see this repetition as backwards-looking and childish.

People are more interested in 'What do we do now?'.
Having seen some ideas for the future from people who constantly harp on Bush, I remain deeply unimpressed.

Les Nessman

That famous picture of the sailor kissing the woman in Times Square on V-E Day... did that occur on the day when Germany surrendered or much later after Europe was rebuilt? How dare they celebrate prematurely!

TexasToast

There have been more casualties in what you term "the rebuilding phase" than in the "war phase" by orders of magnitude. Do the widows, parents, and children care whether their loved ones died in "the Iraq War" or "the Iraq Rebuilding"? I rather doubt it.

It’s a false parsing. My BS detector seems to be working just fine.

The "mission" is not yet accomplished, we were not welcomed as liberators, and, in light of the earlier "sunny talk" from this administration as exemplified by the “mission accomplished” carrier landing, I have real trouble believing them when they tell us the insurgency is in "...the last throes." They have “misundestimated” the costs, both in dollars and in lives, from the git-go – and they are still doing it.

Where do we go from here? We start by addressing where we are – not where we really really really want to be. Clapping real hard may make Tinkerbell come back – but “sunny talk” that refuses to recognize facts – which we have seen time and again – does not give us the real facts with which to answer that question


Harry Arthur

TT, I'm sure we could debate the meaning of the "Mission Accomplished" banner, to what it applied, whether it was accurate and whether it was appropriate. Certainly we could discuss whether it was politically smart. I don't know if you've read Gen Tommy Franks' book but I believe he takes credit for the banner and the comments he suggested Bush make in the hope that it would encourage more participation in the rebuilding phase of the invasion by non-coalition nations.

I'm not suggesting this as a Bush apologist - defending his decisions is his job. I'm just suggesting that, at least as Tommy Franks is concerned, there is a rather innocent rational behind the banner.

Secondly, I know that Bush loves the military and appreciates their sacrifices. I would suggest that though landing on carriers is not at all common for the Cdr in Chief, it certainly is a unique way to make it clear to the military that you appreciate their efforts. As a retired military guy myself, I can tell you that those gestures mean a great deal, especially when you've spent months away from home in harm's way. The Thanksgiving trip to Bagdad falls into the same thought process as far as I'm concerned.

I can, however, also appreciate that you might hold the contrary opinion that this was a chance to show off politically in a flight suit. That's fair enough to me.

Personally, I assume honorable intentions absent significant evidence to the contrary. It worked for me during the Clinton presidency when many on my side of the spectrum were talking about "wagging the dog" and I believe it works for me now.

Just my thoughts for what they're worth.

Harry Arthur

Actually, many of us "shut up" when we decide it's no longer worth the effort to respond to obtuse "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" arguments presented by insulting, obnoxious, arrogant twits.

Cousin Dave

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

The Democrats' problems, unfortunately, run a lot deeper than that. The basic problem is, if you reject the reality of both the past and the present, your view of the future is sure to be garbled. In the Dems' world, everything that the rest of us have observed (some with our own eyes) over the past several decades simply didn't happen. In their world, John Kerry is President today; Al Gore was our last President and simply chose not to run again, for reasons that us sheeple aren't nuanced enough to understand. 9/11 didn't happen, or if it did, it was totally our fault. Islam is a totally peaceful religion and there is no such thing as Islamic terrorists. Saddam Hussein is a kindly and benevolant world leader who remains firmly in charge of Iraq, or would if we would stop meddling there. We have lost the Iraq war, just as surely as we lost the Gulf war in 1992, and every other military conflict that we've been involved in since WWII. Rwanda didn't happen, and Pol Pot never existed. And porkchop bushes and fritter trees grow wild all over the world and provide more than enough food for everyone without any need for cultivation or trade, or they would if only we hadn't selfishly destroyed their genetic makeup by launching that Jupiter probe in 1990.

The real problem is, the current Democratic party can't take security seriously because it can't take anything seriously.

Cousin Dave

Where do we go from here? We start by addressing where we are – not where we really really really want to be.

So where are we? You go first. How seriously you take the issue will be judged, in part, by how many times you use the word "quagmire".

jukeboxgrad

TM

One more thing. I think it would be a long message, even for me, if I decided to browse your comments area to create a digest of insults tossed at the left, with you standing by with arms folded. Here's an example I'll throw out because it's both recent and vivid: "Just you and Jor and Jukeboxgrade in one big circle jerk." (I won't insult you by pretending you need a link from me in order to find it. Incidentally, it's in a thread where I haven't even posted.)

So your radar for insults seems somewhat unidirectional, which creates the impression that your little sermonette on civility is just more of your characteristic partisanship.

LES

Les said: "The carrier group's mission WAS accomplished."

I'm sure in recent years (or decades) lots of other carrier groups accomplished their missions. I wonder how typical it is for the homebound ritual to include such a large, impressive banner, created at taxpayer expense (or funded by non-taxpayer sources, for that matter). It would be interesting if someone could present an example of another such banner created under circumstances that didn't also happen to be a major presidential photo-op. Especially in the absence of such an example, it's hard to think of this banner as anything other than a presidential prop, just like the carrier itself was a giant prop.

"next came them decade(s?)long rebuilding phase."

Nice job ignoring my challenge to demonstrate any indication that we were conditioned to expect a "decade(s?)long rebuilding phase" that would consume thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

"did that occur on the day when Germany surrendered or much later after Europe was rebuilt"

If you could show that we invested ten times as many lives in the latter (rebuilding Europe) as we did in the former (getting Germany to surrender), maybe you'd have some kind of point. You can't, so you don't.

HARRY

Harry said: "I'm sure we could debate the meaning of the 'Mission Accomplished' banner"

Forget the frigging banner. Focus on the name of the event: "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended" (link). Simple question: is it your impression that "Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended?"

"in the hope that it would encourage more participation in the rebuilding phase of the invasion by non-coalition nations."

Well the stunt was highly successful, then. Actually, it was ignorant of him to think that by putting a rosy face on a non-rosy situation that anyone would be impressed aside from a core of true believers (such as the chorus that hangs out here).

"I know that Bush loves the military"

I guess that's why he made such an effort to be in the thick of it roughly 35 years ago. Actually, I think he just likes the clothes, and doesn't give a darn about any constitutional issues that are raised. It also seems clear that he "loves the military" in this sense: "One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief" (link).

"this was a chance to show off politically in a flight suit"

I appreciate your candor in acknowledging this possibility.

"I assume honorable intentions absent significant evidence to the contrary"

I think that's an excellent principle. In Bush's case, his military photo-op stunts (e.g., "mission acomplished," toppling the Saddam statue) take on somewhat of a new meaning in the light of things we learned later, such as his attempts to manipulate the media via folks like Armstrong Williams and Jeff Gannon.

"insulting, obnoxious, arrogant twits"

Nice to see you responding to the encouragement (albeit from the dubious likes of Cecil and TM) that it's good to focus on facts rather than insults.

COUSIN DAVE

CD said: "how many times you use the word 'quagmire'"

I think it was Cheney who suggested it was a good idea to look up "throes" in the dictionary. So here's quagmire: "an awkward, complicated, or dangerous situation from which it is difficult to escape."

Awkward. Check (sort of an understatement).

Complicated. Check.

Dangerous. Check.

Difficult to escape. Check. (In particular, that seems to describe the personal experience of Lance Cpl. Marty G. Mortenson, who, on his way to his third tour, said "I have a feeling I'm not going to come home." He was right.)

Someone let me know what it is about the word "quagmire" that doesn't fit this situation to a T.

jukeboxgrad

OK, I tried to close that tag. Didn't work. Here's another try.

Harry Arthur

While we have our dictionaries out ...

Insult: To speak to or treat insolently or contemptuously; to make an attack upon; to behave arrogantly.

Obnoxious: Highly offensive or disagreeable.

Arrogant: Over convinced of one's own importance; marked by or arising from haughty self-emportance.

Obtuse: Not sharp: blunt; slow or dull in comprehension or discernment.

Condescension: Patronizing behavior.

Twit: A reproach, gibe, or taunt; a silly or foolish person.

"Nanny-nanny-boo-boo" argument: Debating technique involving the use of multiple citations often linked to each other; demanding a response to each regardless of the quality of the research or the qualifications of the author; ad hominem and dismissive responses to genuine disagreements or the failure to respond to every single point no matter how tangential to the topic; also characterized by the ability to read minds and motives all based on the primary assumption: bushhitlerevilhalliburtonincompetant. Often confused for the "throw the horse hocky against the barn and see how much sticks" debating technique.

"Fact" or fiction? Care to take a vote? If the shoe fits ...

Harry Arthur

Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.


In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment -- yet, it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other, made this day possible. Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free.


In the first Gulf War we killed more soldiers in training in the Desert Shield leadup phase of the war than in the entire Desert Storm combat operation. To them and their parents it didn't matter and it doesn't matter now what the phase of the war is. In that, TT, you are correct.

I submit that the primary meaningful question before us now is: "Where do we go from here?" And the second most important question in my mind is: "How do we best honor the sacrifices of these brave men and women who have given us their all?"

jukeboxgrad

"To speak to or treat insolently or contemptuously"

I guess you must mean something like the very first words you ever said to me around these parts: "JBG - so boringly predictable" (link)

"characterized by the ability to read minds and motives"

I guess you must mean something like this: "you do love to hear yourself talk" (ibid).

"Over convinced of one's own importance; marked by or arising from haughty self-emportance."

I guess you must mean something like this: "I intend to enjoy a beautiful Virginia weekend planting trees on my palatial estate" (ibid).

Mr. Freud, meet Mr. Projection.

"the use of multiple citations"

I realize you would never be accused of doing such a thing. As for me, guilty as charged.

Imagine that! The nerve! The troublemaker actually backs up his assertions with facts, as compared with the hollow rhetoric that some pass off as discourse, around these parts! How disagreeable! How subversive! How radical! How ungentlemanly! How boorish!

"_Major_ combat operations in Iraq have ended"

Nice job not noticing that the word you emphasized didn't seem necessary to even mention when our government applied a name to the event: "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended" (link).

By the way, how odd that the "major" portion of combat operations generated only about 10% of the casualties, to date. Kind of reverses the normal meaning of "major" vs minor, I suppose.

"In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."

Too bad we still haven't managed to "prevail" over a measly 10 mile stretch of road connecting downtown to the airport. One would think that would be one of the first places we would "prevail" over.

Speaking of how thoroughly we "prevail," there are places where recently "insurgents raised the flag of al Qaeda in Iraq over key buildings, including mosques and government offices" (link).

Speaking of how thoroughly we "prevail," early this year the head of Iraqi intelligence estimated that "the resistance is bigger than the US military in Iraq" (link).

I guess all this is just more signs of how we need to adopt new definitions for words like "major" and "prevail." Not to mention "last throes."

"Iraq is free"

The Iraqi 5-year old cited here ("he wanted a gun to kill Americans") begs to differ.

"How do we best honor the sacrifices of these brave men and women who have given us their all?"

A good start would be to make a commitment to stop lying to their parents, and to make amends for the lies already told.

Les Nessman

TT:
" Do the widows, parents, and children care whether their loved ones died in "the Iraq War" or "the Iraq Rebuilding"? I rather doubt it."

Uh, so do I.

And I've never suggested otherwise.

And neither has anyone else.

So why on earth would you bring that up? Are you implying someone has the opposite view? It's a stupid non sequitur.

"There have been more casualties in what you term "the rebuilding phase" than in the "war phase" by orders of magnitude."

Might that have something to do with the incredibly low number of casualties we incurred during the war phase? If you start with a low number, you can get to 'orders of magnitude more' much faster. If we suffered the number of casualties predicted by many in the run-up to the war, we wouldn't be at 'orders of magnitude more' in the rebuilding phase. Thankfully, we didn't lose the thousands predicted in the war.


Les Nessman

jbg:
"I wonder how typical it is for the homebound ritual to include such a large, impressive banner, created at taxpayer expense (or funded by non-taxpayer sources, for that matter). It would be interesting if someone could present an example of another such banner created under circumstances that didn't also happen to be a major presidential photo-op."

The CnC, the President of the United States of America is landing on an aircraft carrier immediately after it completes it's combat mission; that's a big deal to these guys. A banner is put up. (At taxpayer expense! and/or non-taxpayer expense! Heavens!) When the Prez swings by your carrier, during wartime, with a military that generally likes him; then you put away the paper plates and use the good china. You make a bigger deal than your normal day-to-day procedure. Is that so hard to understand?
Did the admin treat it as a photo-op also? Yes.


"Nice job ignoring my challenge to demonstrate any indication that we were conditioned to expect a "decade(s?)long rebuilding phase""

I told you it was my impression that the rebuilding would be harder and take much longer than the war. I think everyone knew that, and knows that. Frankly, it's just common sense. I'm not going on some quotidian Google search to demonstrate to you what the rest of the world already knew.

jukeboxgrad

Oh yeah, missed this before.

Harry had said: "the use of multiple citations ... regardless of ... the qualifications of the author"

Concerned about this, I decided to take a look at who I've actually been citing. I noticed that a very substantial portion of my citations are to statements by Bush and his gang. So you're absolutely correct to suggest that I have a tendency to use sources that are not trustworthy. It would be unfair for me to fail to point out how right you are, even though it's despite yourself.

Les said: "If we suffered the number of casualties predicted by many in the run-up to the war, we wouldn't be at 'orders of magnitude more' in the rebuilding phase."

That's true, but this again is just a misplaced focus on meaningless semantics. In other words, let's say there had been several thousand casualties in the period preceding our government saying "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended." Let's say the casualty count since then had been as it is, roughly 1500. It would still be very fair to ask "how is it that we have lost so many after the ostensible end of 'combat operations.'"

In other words, you're objecting to the question being asked in terms of "10 times more." Fine. The question can still be asked, in a form that presumably you consider fairer: why 1500 casualties in a period when ostensibly "Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended?"

The answer is very simple and obvious: that hubristic declaration was simply premature and wrong. It was just a big dumb mistake, just like "bring 'em on" was a big, dumb mistake (try to imagine a real CinC like Eisenhower explicitly encouraging enemy forces to attack US troops). Combat operations in Iraq have clearly not ended. And for those who are stuck on the word "major," it's also clear that even _major_ combat operations in Iraq have clearly not ended. This recent headline ("U.S. launches major combat operation") is a helpful example.

Those who say (paraphrase) "this isn't war, this is just rebuilding" are simply practicing a form of denial (not unlike what folks do when they have an illness they can't accept). For example, it would be interesting if someone could show that while helping rebuild Germany or Japan we suffered 70 attacks per day, on average (link). I doubt it.

"The CnC, the President of the United States of America is landing on an aircraft carrier immediately after it completes it's combat mission"

The fuss about this has a lot to do with the fact that he's someone with no combat experience (it appears he thought that avoiding combat was "a smart thing to do") who nevertheless seems to like to play dressup, in a fairly unprecedented manner.

"At taxpayer expense!"

The fuss about this has a lot to do with the fact that Bush is pretty shameless in the way he uses public resources for political purposes (link, link).

"Did the admin treat it as a photo-op also?"

Your "also" suggests that the photo-op aspect was an afterthought, and he was mainly there to "support the troops." One reason this perspective doesn't fly is the amazing fact that he's never been to a funeral for one of his troops, as far as I know. I can't imagine any reason for this except for the idea that he thinks it would make for bad PR (link). This tends to create the impression that the guiding principle isn't "how can I help the troops," but rather "what's going to look good on the evening news."

Speaking of "support the troops," there are ample indications that this is an afterthought for him (link).

"I'm not going on some quotidian Google search"

"Quotidian" means "routine." I'm really quite puzzled by what you're getting at. Do you mean it's quite easy to find this proof (that is, proof that "everyone knew" to expect a "decade(s?)long rebuilding phase")? Not easy enough for me, I guess.

By the way, fairly decisive proof to the contrary is that our government at one point stated "the American part of this [rebuilding Iraq] will be 1.7 billion." It's hard to imagine how this statement is consistent with the idea that "everyone knew" to expect a "decade(s?)long rebuilding phase." Everyone except our government, I guess.

Sure would be nice if that hanging italics tag got magically fixed somehow.

Jami

if most of your trackbacks are from wingnuts, you've done something wrong.

you've done two things. first, dems have been all over this smarter exit strategy like ducks on junebugs for months now. but you just helped the cons tell the story like, "the dems are finally getting it!" good job.

second, why would you presume how anyone would vote? before bush's stupid little 9-11 mantra (er, speech) on TV, john kerry wrote an op-ed IN THE NEW YORK TIMES requesting that bush lay out specifics.

bush may think about iraq "every day," but only two republicans have joined the majority of democrats in thinking about how to win.

i hope you don't always play the fool for the republicans.

BumperStickerist

Well - two days of camping by the beach makes for a refreshing change of pace.

Let's see how the Law is going:

JBG:
By the way, fairly decisive proof to the contrary is that our government at one point stated "the American part of this [rebuilding Iraq] will be 1.7 billion." It's hard to imagine how this statement is consistent with the idea that "everyone knew" to expect a "decade(s?)long rebuilding phase." Everyone except our government, I guess.

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

I'll address any question about cherry-picking the quote, but basically, it's the last one made by JBG -
and, yet again, the full quote gives Bush the better of the exchange:

----------------------
Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges, Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada, and Iraqi oil revenues, eventually in several years, when it's up and running and there's a new government that's been democratically elected, will finish the job with their own revenues.

They're going to get in $20 billion a year in oil revenues. But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this.
------------------

'course that was in April 2003.

Skimming through, I would note that the USA Today does not run its headlines past the Army for approval. If the USA Today wants to call what the Marines did 'Major Combat Operations' then they're using a rather small scale for comparision.

Also, the military tends to refer to the size of the operation by the scale of the force involved, not by the number of casualites.

Les Nessman

BStick:
'eventually in several years, when it's up and running and there's a new government that's been democratically elected,'

Well, OBVIOUSLY, when he said 'several years', he really meant 'a few weeks' or 'a couple of months'.

Any fool can see that. When you say 'years', you really mean 'weeks'.

It's coded language, you see. (wink, wink)

Harry Arthur

I believe I have one "no" vote to my question.

BStick (thanks Les, I like that abreviation vs the more obvious one I refuse to use), be careful with your description of the beach. Hopefully it wasn't "palatial" or you'll hear about it for the entire multi-decade rebuilding phase that Bush cleverly concealed from us when he originally lied to us about the war. I don't suppose that ever considering the context of any statement matters - nah!

Personally, if I still looked as good in a flight suit as Bush does, I'd probably dig around in the basement for an old one to wear to work.

Almost forgot - "yawn" ... "wink"

Got to go. There's just nothing like cruising around in my limo looking for poor children so I can jump out and literally take the food right out of their little mouths. The look on their face is just, well - "priceless."

BumperStickerist

well, JBG has proven adept at telling us what Bush *really* means ...

Using the LIFO method, the next statement up for consideration is the one about funding for the VA. Well - it's addressed and the reason given seems pedestrian enough - the VA's budgeting process used an historical rolling average.

And in an interesting turn, JBG manages to define 'ample' as 'one cite' before going on to define 'quotidian' as 'routine'

afaik, the data used in budgeting had not yet included 2003 numbers, so, hence, the shortfall. This falls far short of "Bush Lied, People Died' in my view.

If I had to lay blame, heck - let's go with Gore. As Veep, Gore reinvented government, that would include budgeting methodology.

So, again, on the merits of what is presented, Bush comes out more favorable.

Third up - Bush Not Attending Funerals of Soldiers Killed. JBG presumes this is for PR reasons alone.

Well - Dana Milbank has some thoughts:

from WaPo
Arlington's rows of grief expand
Fallen soldiers get quiet ceremonies

Dana Milbank
Washington Post
Jun. 18, 2005 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - President Bush was in Minnesota on Friday talking about Medicare. The House was debating United Nations dues. And at Arlington National Cemetery, Army Spc. Louis Niedermeier of Largo, Fla., was being placed in Section 60, Grave 8188.

Sixteen days earlier in Ramadi, Iraq, according to his family, Niedermeier, a scout who pointed lasers to guide missiles to targets, was shot in the head by a sniper as he stepped from a Humvee. He was 20 years old.

Niedermeier, one of more than 1,700 Americans who have died in Iraq, is the 144th to be laid to rest at Arlington. Arlington, just two miles from the White House, buries the Iraq dead at the rate of one or two a week.

But the nation's leaders are missing these somber and patriotic pageants. Members of Congress rarely attend. Top Pentagon officials do so only occasionally. And President Bush has yet to bury a fallen warrior.

Niedermeier was an enlisted man. He was just a kid who worked at Best Buy and joined the military because of the Sept. 11 attacks, so he did not qualify for the military band and horse-drawn caisson that officers get. But even his modest ceremony merited six military pall bearers, a seven-member drill team, a bugler and an army chaplain.

"Today, we lay to rest another patriot," Chaplain Kenneth Kerr told mourners. "Our nation owes him a debt of gratitude."

On bended knee, Gen. Michael Combest handed a folded flag to the grieving mother, Denise Hoy. She accepted his Bronze Star, his Purple Heart and his Good Conduct Medal. After the rounds were fired and taps played, she turned, sobbing, to speak. "I am so proud of my son," she said.

Aides say Bush has not attended a military funeral because he does not wish to favor one ultimate sacrifice over another. They point out that he meets frequently with wounded troops and relatives of the dead and he has remembered fallen soldiers on Memorial Day and similar observances. "Their funerals are a time for their family and friends to mourn and remember their loved one in a private way," said Scott McClellan, White House press secretary.

This is a departure from past presidents' practices. President Carter attended ceremonies for troops killed in the failed hostage rescue mission in Iran. President Reagan attended a service for Marines killed in Beirut. President Clinton went to Andrews Air Force Base to see the coffins of Americans killed in a 1998 terrorist attack in Nairobi.

Note: only an idiot or a WaPo columnist would be dense enough to equate attendance of funerals resulting from single events to those that result from combat operations during war. Bush's reasons should, I think, be taken at face value inasmuch as those reasons are consistent with a basic sense of humanity.

Bush's absence from funerals has kept them off the front pages, one of several administration policies that have minimized Americans' exposure to the costs of war. The Pentagon has cracked down on allowing photographs of flag-draped caskets as they arrive at military bases. And, late last year, the administration began enforcing restrictions that keep photographers and reporters 50 yards from services.

There is still no memorial for the Iraq dead, but their rows in Section 60 show the signs of fresh grief and recent death. Thirteen graves are too new to have tombstones yet; green metal markers with photos of the fallen suffice. Four graves have been filled so recently that they do not even have sod yet, just newly packed earth.

The Iraq dead, mixed with some of the 16 killed in Afghanistan, take up three rows in the cemetery and have begun to fill a fourth. The Iraq rows (a few soldiers from other wars are intermingled) begin with an Army Ranger killed March 11, 2003, and show the extraordinary diversity of the military: There are standard crosses, Methodist crosses, Stars of David for the Jews, the Mormon Angel Moroni, the Muslim crescent and star, and symbols of Asian faiths. One grave is adorned with baby photos of the deceased. Other, larger stones mark the mixed remains of troops killed in helicopter crashes and the like.
---------------------------

Dana really needs to raise his head and take a good look around Arlington National Cemetery.

Any loss of life is a tragedy for the families, but there are far fewer families that are suffering than anybody dared hope.

And Bush is not responsible for what the newspapers put on the front pages of their papers.

Milbank could very easily walk in and demand that his employer put the details of military funerals above the fold.

Harry Arthur

Of course if Bush did attend the funerals he would be criticized for making it a photo op. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

jukeboxgrad
BumperStickerist

There's very much a 'serve and volley' feature at this point in the thread.

JBG -

the information about the rolling average came from the guy who's in charge of the VA during testimony before Congress. I heard it on NPR and relayed it as part of the general discussion.

So, keeping in mind the general nature of comment thread and the fact that the pastiche (a word that occurs non-quotidianly) of links you toss up manage to avoid any sort of chronologic sense.

btw- in no particular order -

January does occur before February. 2003 occurs before 2004 which happened prior to 2005. Today is yesterday's tomorrow, and all that.

Obviously you're not going to change your opinion regarding Chimpy McHitlerburton. You've invested heavily in your viewpoint and skill at bringing up points which manage to directly contradict the point you're trying to make.

Which is okay, I mentioned way back up amid the piles of messes back there that you're trying to score debaters points rather than anything of substance.

A quick example is that you consider 1,000 troops involved in a military operation 'major' as do several reputable journalists, including journalists from Fox.

Okay, so what?

Prior to Bush's carrier landing (requested by General Franks, btw - Franks's statement came during an interview on NPR back in 2004.) There were considerably MORE than 1,000 troops engaged in combat operations. Also, there were groups of more than 1,000 troops engaged against specific targets at any one time. So, by comparision, saying 'this 1,000 troop engagement is major, given the size of most of the other operations that have taken place over the past year' you might have something.

Put into context, however, there is no doubt that Bush wss correct regarding his statement that 'Major Combat Operations' being over.

I know, I know - website page renaming/consipiracy et cetera.

Let's take a look at your handling of the Funeral Attendance, shall we?

Your cite is to a History Network link that talks about President's who've attended military funerals

The list starts wih Abraham Lincoln - okay, that's a bad sign right there, but Tom doesn't have the comment space to get into comparisions to Civil War stuff with Iraq.

The list then skips lightly over Cal Coolidge and his attendance (WWI not being Big Enough to rate a mention) and a close reading of FDR's entry shows that FDR did not attend any military funerals. FDR gave radio addresses.

Well, now, per your cite, Democrats are 0-fer-World Wars. for Funeral Attendance.

But, that's a while ago. LBJ is next - no mention of Eisenhower or whether Ike attended the funerals of Korean vets - a quick quotidian check of google shows no listing for eisenhower's schedule including attending funerals.

But LBJ attended two funerals. Hey! Two! That's not 'none' - unless it's WMD in which case you're not satisfied with 'other than none' being 'less than, say, 10,000' - but LBJ is reported to have attended 2 funerals out of the 33,000+ deaths that occured on his watch - (wait for it ... here's the link: http://thewall-usa.com/stats/ }

One, a Major General - that's a high ranking officer, there JBG, one who commands many groups of 1,000 troops.

The other soldier who's funeral LBJ was the son of a White House Reporter ...

hmmmmm, having read your previous comments I'm led to question this - a human Bushian concern or an Evil urRovian corrupt manipulation of public sentiment to ensure good press coverage on the part of LBJ?

Hmmmmm, I'm having some wine, I'll let you decide.

Moving on ... we know that Nixon is a lying pig eyed sack of crap, so it's no wonder that he didn't attend the funerals of the soldiers that died on his watch.

Now we get to recent events - no mention of Ford, but Carter attended the funerals of the guys that got killed when their helicopter crashed on the way to rescue the hostages during a mission Carter personally authorized.

m'okay - I see a bit of a distinction there from Bush's situation. But, okay Carter did show up at the funeral.

Reagan attended a funeral for the Marines in Lebannon that died during the barracks bombing. Okay, I see a distinction between that terrorist event and the casualties that result from an ongoing campaign.

The same holds true with HW Bush and Clinton.

Though, through the magic of quote mining I can show that Clinton didn't attend the funeral of any - well, either - of the soldiers who died as a results of Clinton's unprecedented Go-it-Alone-But-With-Others strategy with Kosovo - his quote:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/europe/jan-june99/clinton_6-11.html

Clinton: We did lose two fine Army airmen in training.

Clinton then goes on to talk about the question of US ground troops in Kosovo - which, as has been previously pointed out by me - though without a link to a map for your benefit - Kosovo is physically connected to Europe

Go to Austria, turn right after the Adriatic. Look for Smoke.

It took them: Four.Years.To.Mobilize.

Forgive me for being less than swooning about Europe's ability to do much, if anything, about much of anything.

However, Clinton did attend the funerals of sailors killed on the USS Cole, which - again - is an event rather than a campaign.

No mention is made whether Clinton attended the funeral of David Koresh (egregious change of topic, that)

So, there you have it -

Bush, obviously, Sucks.

As for your concerns that Bush's statements about Inspectors being In Iraq - go back and read what Bush actually said -

the past perfect tense ... ergo

Bush didn'tlie.

For an idiot, he sure is Chimpy ...

Chimpy like a Fox.

Harry Arthur

BStick, I don't want to put thoughts in your mind or words in your mouth but I'm sensing that if you were a voting person you would vote "yes".

Actually I do kind of like the idea of putting thoughts into others' minds. Hmmmm. Not as enjoyable as having a glass of wine, however, so ...

Harry Arthur

"I guess you must mean something like this: "you do love to hear yourself talk". No need to read any minds with that one - you have managed to prove it to a level of certainty in this thread alone.

"'To speak to or treat insolently or contemptuously' I guess you must mean something like the very first words you ever said to me around these parts: 'JBG - so boringly predictable'" Must not have been myself that day. Usually my insults are much more entertaining. Also since proven to a level of certainty.

"I guess you must mean something like this: 'I intend to enjoy a beautiful Virginia weekend planting trees on my palatial estate'" This is the best you can do to illustrate my arrogance? I must be slipping - arrogance usually comes so much easier for me. Your failure to detect the intended humor makes me wonder if you shouldn't have your blood pressure checked. "Palatial estate?" Pulleees.

"Imagine that! The nerve! The troublemaker actually backs up his assertions with facts, as compared with the hollow rhetoric that some pass off as discourse, around these parts! How disagreeable! How subversive! How radical! How ungentlemanly! How boorish!" How funny. I retract my comment about lacking humor. Actually, most of the time you back up your assertions with ... other assertions ... and assumptions ... cross linked with multiple sorces quoting each other and mixed with heaping tablespoons of circular arguments, straw men, non sequiturs and red herrings. Come to think of it, I guess I'm describing "boringly predictable" after all.

And, no I'm not going to provide hundreds of links to examples - just scroll up the page and read them yourself. Just a character flaw on my part I guess.

More horse hocky?

jukeboxgrad

"There's very much a 'serve and volley' feature at this point in the thread."

No, I think it's more like "watch Bumper try to get both feet into his mouth at the same time."

"I heard it on NPR"

Nice job failing to offer either a specific citation or an explanation of how the magical mantra "rolling average" ostensibly explains away the problem of Bush failing to set aside enough money to take care of vets, even through Dems repeatedly warned him to do so.

"January does occur before February."

You're aware of that now that I reminded you. Trouble is, you suggested (7/3, 6:37 am) that Saddam failed to "[allow] inspectors access to sites sometime prior to, say, February 2003."

For some reason it was necessary for me to remind you (7/3, 7:59 am) what Blix said on 1/27/03: "access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect." Funny thing is I had already mentioned this quote (7/2, 3:00 pm) well before you made your idiotic statement (7/3, 6:37 am) about "prior to, say, February 2003." In other words, you can't get your facts straight even right after they've just been spoon-fed to you.

And you think you can run away from this clear record you've left behind by making completely nonsensical and ungrounded statements such as "[the] links you toss up manage to avoid any sort of chronologic sense." I won't even try to guess what that's supposed to mean because I think you have no idea yourself.

By the way, a key difference between a child and an adult is that the latter takes responsibility for his mistakes. I realize there's no age threshold here, so I need to take into account the possibility that your behavior is entirely age-appropriate. Bush doesn't have that excuse.

"Obviously you're not going to change your opinion regarding Chimpy McHitlerburton"

I change my opinions as soon as I see facts indicating that I should. Let me know when you're in a position to present such facts.

"[your] skill at bringing up points which manage to directly contradict the point you're trying to make."

And I did this where? I notice the impressive number of examples you offer: zero.

"you've invested heavily in your viewpoint ... you're trying to score debaters points"

Watch out for Harry: he might remind you it's not nice to be a mind-reader. Although he doesn't mind being one himself from time-to-time.

By the way, what I'm "invested heavily" in is basing my "viewpoints" on facts. That's why I indicate where my facts come from. I notice you can't be bothered to do much of that.

"Bush's carrier landing [was] requested by General Franks"

So what? When the shit hits the fan, Bush likes to say "don't blame me; I only think/say/do what my hired help tells me to." Kind of the opposite of the buck stops here. And of course these are exactly the hired hands who get medals and promotions. Funny how it works that way.

By the way, it does not appear that Franks "requested" a "carrier landing" (in other words, this statement on your part seems to be more of the typical smoke that fills the air around these parts most of the time; let me know if you can demonstrate otherwise). As far as I can tell, the statement by Franks is that he merely suggested some kind of "announcement" (link). Franks seems to specifically disavow being involved in the various staged elements of Bush's stunt.

Even this statement by Franks regarding an "announcement" looks to me like a soldier falling on his sword after-the-fact, to protect his boss.

"Prior to Bush's carrier landing ... There were considerably MORE than 1,000 troops engaged in combat operations"

True. That means it would have been accurate for Bush to state "the combat operations coming up, that will last for years, will be major, although less major than some of what we've seen recently." That does not mean it was accurate for our government to say, as it did, "Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended." It wasn't even accurate to state _major_ combat operations have ended. That statement is not the equivalent of "what's coming up is less major than what came before."

Another accurate statement by Bush might have been "major combat operations have ended, with the exception of various major combat operations you'll be reading about in places like Fox News over the next few years." Trouble is, that's not what Bush said.

"Bush wss correct regarding his statement that 'Major Combat Operations' being over."

You've failed to explain why something that Fox considers a "major combat operation" is not something you consider a "major combat operation." Pointing out that some earlier combat operations were even more major does not represent such an explanation. In the absence of that explanation, I can only imagine that you have a peculiar definition of the word "correct."

"Your cite is to a History Network link that talks about President's who've attended military funerals"

Your extended "analysis" doesn't say anything I didn't already acknowledge: some did, some didn't. Bush doesn't, but he should, given his apparent eagerness to be seen as "a war president" (link).

"Bush's statements about Inspectors being In Iraq ... past perfect tense"

You have an adorable MO: instead of dealing in facts, you come up with mystical, pointless mantras like "rolling average" and "past perfect tense."

For one thing, "past perfect tense" has nothing to do with what Bush said ("he wouldn't let them in"). That sentence is not in past perfect tense. Here's an example of a sentence in past perfect tense: "he _hadn't_ let them in" (link).

More importantly, even if that's what Bush had said, it would have been just as misleading.

Nice job proving, yet again, that you have no idea what you're talking about.

At 7/4, 5:48 pm, I provided numerous examples to show that this "past tense" defense is pure crap. Nice job not even attempting to address any of the examples I described.

By the way, aren't you going to try to explain "we found the weapons of mass destruction?" Why stop now when you're doing so well.

"he sure is Chimpy ... Chimpy like a Fox."

If what you're trying to say is that he's an exceedingly clever "disassembler," I couldn't agree more.

Les Nessman

I notice JBG is routinely Quotidian in his methods: bash Bush on everything.

If the Dem leadership continues with an all-negative demeanor, then they will continue to lose ground with Americans; even against a flawed Repub party.

Are the previous two paragraphs related? Maybe.

Harry Arthur

Interesting Weekly Standard article by Fred Barnes on this very subject.

BumperStickerist

Given the high levels of self-esteem displayed by JBG and the utter lack of anything on which to base that self-esteem, I'm left to conclude that JBG is a product of the public school system.

{yes, that's a roundabout ad hominem}

Here's the Franks interview - right where I said it'd be -
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=3815718 --

the summary is from the Bush-hating communists at NPR. What Franks actually says differs from the characterization give.

You seem to be a bit colorblind in this regard - the facts cited not supporting the conclusions drawn - so I'd thought I point that out.

I'm nice like that.

Anyway - give a listen. At no point during the interview can you hear a sword being fallen on - Franks being, you know, retired and everthing.

iirc, aiud (and I usually do) Franks gave a couple of very good explanations of why the timing of the war was important and also managed to answer questions about dividing attention between Iraq and Afghanistan.

But, you know, give it a listen - pull out one or part of one quote that supports your point, ignore the rest. That would be your MO

My MO has the redeeming quality of being 'adorable', yours does not. 'Implacable', comes to mind, followed closely by 'prosaic'.

and, frankly, given the rhetorical display you provide here, I could not care less about your slew of objections to the syntactical "He should have said" choices made by Bush.

Apparently, you favor a President who speaks in a Kerryesque concatenation of clauses and qualifiers.

Well, tough darts.

Bush won.

Twice.

Also, there's some question about your ability to read and/or think about material in context. As an example -
Anybody who would link to the Russert interview with Bush where Bush talks about being a 'war president' and conclude that Bush was 'eager' (in either sense) is not of the reality-based, let alone among the realists.

It's a rare air you're breathing there, JBG.

Enjoy it.

Cheers.


ps. no, I did not address each of the 117 points you raised previously.

I demonstrated to an adult's level of satisfaction that your quotes cited don't support the conclusions drawn.

So, no, there's not going to be a reciprocal fisking - which sounds dirtier than it is.

pps. Your fantasy with regard to 'past tense' and inspectors is, again, completely off-the-mark.

It's not that I'm ignoring it, it's just not worth going around and around again. Bush didn't lie.

ppps. The further and further we go along with this, the angrier and angrier I get. Not at you, at Bush.

That UN-appeasing m-therf-cker should have invaded Iraq a full year earlier.

Thanks for helping me, and everyone else who's read this far, realize this.

Bush: The Model of Restraint

pppps. I'll just go ahead and preemptively acknowledge all the child-based 'take responsibility' stuff in advance. If it makes you feel good for saying it, well - that would be the point now.

Wouldn't it?

Paul Arthur

jbg - you really crack me up. just remember though...brevity is the soul of wit.

jukeboxgrad

I think I'll take another stab at closing that dangling tag.

jukeboxgrad

Oh well, didn't work.

LES

Les said: "routinely Quotidian"

I think that's redundantly redundant. By the way, you still haven't explained why you introduced that word to begin with. The way you used it was confusing, at best. Were you thinking of a different word?

"bash Bush on everything."

Uh, no. Just where he deserves to be bashed. There's more than enough, just sticking to that.

"Dem leadership continues with an all-negative demeanor"

Some people think rebuilding America should be a higher priority (for Americans, at least) than rebuilding Iraq. If you disagree (because I guess you think that's "negative"), then maybe you should be there, not here.

HARRY

Harry mentioned Fred Barnes, who thinks the Republicans are "a party that's muscular on national security"

Some people realize that letting folks like OBL and Zarqawi get away is not exacly being "muscular" (link, link, link).

Many of those same people also realize that something funny is happening when troops end up relying on getting equipment through donations ("My partner and I have shelled out thousands on gear and we are still in need....," link). And yes, we're still relying on "hillbilly armor."

At least Bush is "muscular," though.

BUMPER

Bumper said: "Here's the Franks interview"

Thanks for the link. This machine is multi-media impaired at the moment, so I won't be listening. I'll take your word for it that in this interview Franks takes responsibility for the whole thing, even though in the Koppel interview I cited Franks suggested otherwise. It wouldn't be the first time one of Bush's pals contradicted himself.

Aside from all that, nice job not bothering to address the broader point: Franks worked for Bush, not the other way around. That means it's Bush's responsibility to decide whether or not to take Franks' advice. That quaint obsolete notion: the buck stops here.

"a sword being fallen on - Franks being, you know, retired and everthing"

I guess you are naive enough to think the cronyism and back-scratching stops just because he's not in uniform anymore. On the contrary.

"pull out one or part of one quote that supports your point, ignore the rest."

I'm impressed by the number of quotes you've pulled out to support your point: zero.

"your slew of objections to the syntactical ... choices made by Bush"

It's not a question of "syntactical choices." It's a question of telling the truth.

"Apparently, you favor a President who speaks in a Kerryesque concatenation of clauses and qualifiers."

No. I favor a president who tells the truth.

Hmm, let's see. Bush said "he wouldn't let them in." The truthful statement would have been "he let them in." I guess that's what you call "a Kerryesque concatenation of clauses and qualifiers."

Let's continue. Bush said "we found the weapons of mass destruction." The truthful statement would have been "we didn't find the weapons of mass destruction." I guess that's what you call "a Kerryesque concatenation of clauses and qualifiers."

Let's continue. Bush said "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." The truthful statement would have been "major combat operations in Iraq have not ended." I guess that's what you call "a Kerryesque concatenation of clauses and qualifiers."

Anyway, given that you don't have enough integity to take responsibility for your own lies (one example of several: "the UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see," 7/2, 10:14 am), it's no surprise that you hand a free pass to Bush. Birds of a feather.

"Anybody who would link to the Russert interview with Bush where Bush talks about being a 'war president' and conclude that Bush was 'eager'"

I wasn't basing my conclusion on that interview alone. There's also this: "One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief." I had already mentioned that a while back. Then again, I realize there are lots of things you don't notice, and lots of unwarranted assumptions you make.

"I did not address each of the 117 points you raised previously"

You're giving yourself way too much credit. You didn't address any of them, including and especially the ones regarding your own lies.

"I demonstrated ... that your quotes cited don't support the conclusions drawn."

Really? And you did this where?

PAUL

Paul said: "you really crack me up"

Don't choke on a pretzel (link).

"brevity is the soul of wit."

Believe me, I know. Nobody's perfect.

Twain supposedly said this: "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."

jukeboxgrad

In my recent travels in BushWorld, I've picked up some tips on how speak the language. I might as well pass them along.

Statement in BushSpeak: "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended."

Translated into English: "The next few years will be rough. We'll suffer scores of daily attacks, and sustain thousands of casualties. We'll conduct major combat operations. However, those combat operations which took place in the past have ended."

Statement in BushSpeak: "We found the weapons of mass destruction."

Translated into English: "We found a couple of trailers. They contain no WMD of any kind, not even a trace. The vast majority of our experts believe the trailers are not WMD-related. However, one ambitious guy in the CIA was willing to write a scary report for me, so we're going to do our best to make a mountain out of a molehill. After all, we're in a bind and have virtually nothing else to work with."

Statement in BushSpeak: "He wouldn't let them in."

Translated into English: "Saddam did finally let the inspectors in. Not only that, he gave them complete access to run around wherever and whenever they wanted. In other words, our strategy to "wrongfoot" him was a complete failure. No problem, though. We're just going to pretend it never happened. Folks like Sen. Roberts have signed on to help."

BumperStickerist

You really, really, *really* need to go back and read that paragraph from which your 'he wouldn't let them in' statement comes.

You might also wish to scroll to the top of the document, consider the context, the format, and such.

Or, heck, just roll around in the 'Bush Lied' stuff you seem to favor.

And, yes, I gave examples of your conclusions differing from the facts presented.

And, no, none of my statements are 'lies'.

btw - your statement 'Saddam did finally let them in' in the translation shows you have some minor understanding of the situation.

Keep up the effort.

Thank you for visiting BushWorld, where the sky is blue, the sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and the colors of the rainbow are in ROYGBIV order, the way God intended.

cheers

Paul Arthur

Ok, I've read through quite a few of the posts here (not all of them since I'm at work and lack the time required to do so) and I've drawn a few conclusions.

The argument seems to be about whether we were right to go to war with Iraq.

-Those who oppose the war seem to think that the only reason that we went to war was because of WMD. This is not the case; there were several reasons with WMD being a fairly large one. On WMD; it’s not logical to conclude that because we can’t seem to find any now that they never existed. We know they existed since he’s used them in the past. The U.N. wrote resolutions ad nauseum to Saddam saying to fully disclose the destruction of his WMD and that failing to comply would result in military action. For those who think the U.N. is this amazing thing I have a question, at what point were we supposed to back that up? Or is the U.N. a meaningless body that writes empty resolutions and backs them up with…nothing?

-Here’s an interesting result of the war in Iraq, the torture and rape rooms are closed!!!!! This brutal regime would do things to its own people that cause one to remember Nazi Germany. Perhaps if we had stepped into WWII a little earlier millions of Jews wouldn’t have died. But wait, we’re not allowed to force our views on anyone else are we?

-And now my final conclusion…this argument is meaningless. The simple fact is that now we are at war. What do we do? Do we allow the terrorists to win and embolden them to continue their Jihad by leaving? Or do we stay the course and defeat them?

Les Nessman

jbg:
"By the way, you still haven't explained why you introduced that word to begin with. The way you used it was confusing, at best."

I'm not sure where you're going with this 'routinely quotidian' routine. Please expound.

jukeboxgrad
BumperStickerist

jbg -

I stopped reading your reply once you demonstrated you lack the initiative to determine a context which, for the sake of clarity, was a quick summation in response to a question that Bush made in June 2003 at a photo op with Anan regarding Liberia.

Information, btw, contained in the heading of the document you linked, which reads:

President Reaffirms Strong Position on Liberia

Remarks by the President and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in Photo Opportunity

The Oval Office

I'm pleased that you've *pounced* on this particular example of Bush, during a Q&A after a photo op with Kofi Annan regarding Liberia in June 2003 as having Deep Meaning and Significance regarding Bush.

I, otoh, simply look at this as desperation on your part.

And I have deep reservations that Bush would have been lifted to heroic status by 'the Left' were he to require a 'loaded gun' in the form of Major Combat Units Deployed to Kuwait to be held to Saddam.

I think in this case, past performance can be a guarantee of future comments, and I'll just conclude that you'll link to something you don't quite understand and use that information in a way that is, at best, idiosyncratic.

Sorry for not obliging you with linksapalooza in the latter comments in thread. I know that, for some, links are important.

jukeboxgrad

Bumper said: "President Reaffirms Strong Position on Liberia"

Now you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel, even for you. I never heard that one before. I have to give you credit for being original.

I think you're saying that because the White House web site titled this photo-op "President Reaffirms Strong Position on Liberia," that Bush isn't responsible for the remarks he made that day on the subject of Iraq. (And that for me to hold him responsible is to "pounce" on him.) Never mind that he mentioned "Liberia" twice, and he mentioned "Iraq" nine times. Never mind that at least half Bush's paragraphs (based on the way the White House organized the transcript) were about Iraq, not Liberia.

"I'm pleased that you've *pounced* on this particular example"

Since you have a hard time paying attention, let me remind you that I didn't "pounce" on only "this particular example." I've cited another example of him doing essentially the same thing, and in this example, his Iraq remarks are part of his prepared statement, not part of an answer to a question (link). I also cited an example of a Republican senator doing essentially the same thing (link).

You probably have some equally imaginative excuses for why these other examples don't count.

By the way, if your point is that Dubya can't reliably concentrate on more than one thing at a time, then it's his responsiblity to say so and decline to answer questions if he can't remember what Rove or Cheney told him to say. Incidentally, I don't look at this that way; my guess is that his remarks, which suggest inspections never happened, were quite deliberate and conscious.

"I have deep reservations that Bush would have been lifted to heroic status by 'the Left'"

I realize that rewriting history is a way of life for you. So nice job forgetting that prewar, support for Bush and for the war was high (among the public and in Congress). So despite Rove's recent attempt to suggest otherwise, many on the "the Left" were standing behind Bush in his effort to hold a gun to Saddam's head.

Speaking of imaginative excuses, we're still waiting for you to explain why you said "UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see" (7/2, 10:14 am), given that Blix said "access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect" (link).

Now I think I understand what happened. You must have been distracted, thinking about Liberia.

Les Nessman

jbg:
"I'm still wondering what on earth you were trying to say."

You're being impenetrable. Care to flesh out exactly what you mean?

jukeboxgrad

Les said "Care to flesh out exactly what you mean?"

Here's something you said a while back: "it was my impression that the rebuilding would be harder and take much longer than the war. I think everyone knew that, and knows that. Frankly, it's just common sense. I'm not going on some quotidian Google search to demonstrate to you what the rest of the world already knew."

If one calls the current phase "rebuilding" (I think a more honest word would be "war"), it's clear that "the rebuilding" is "harder" than "the war" in the sense of being more deadly. I think you're claiming "everyone knew that" it would be this way, that we would go through a "rebuilding" phase that would be more deadly to us than the war.

I don't know what you mean by "quotidian," in this context. Do you mean that it's easy to find proof for your assertion? Not easy enough for me.

I don't think anyone is particularly surprised, or upset, that rebuilding is slow. I think the problem is that so many of us (not to mention them) are getting killed. This is a key distinction (a rebuilding that's merely slow, as compared with a rebuilding that is both slow and deadly).

I've essentially said all this before (e.g., 7/5, 10:09 pm), at least once. Let me know if you think I'm still being "impenetrable."

BumperStickerist

jbg -

were you to read the reports you link to, you'd understand the wrongness of your position.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Hans Blix - March, 2003!

..., these initiatives 3-4 months into the new resolution cannot be said to constitute "immediate" cooperation. Nor do they necessarily cover all areas of relevance

Game over!
Cry 'Havoc!'

et cetera.

But, enjoy that big bowl of nits you've picked.

In light of recent events this topic has run its course - it did about two days ago ... so, to recap:

Bush - Model of Restraint with Regard to Iraq

Bush Didn't Lie

and, so as not to burst your bubble -

USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

Cheers.

Les Nessman

jbg:
"Let me know if you think I'm still being "impenetrable.""
I think you are, thogh maybe you are not. Please explain.

jukeboxgrad

BUMPER

"were you to read the reports you link to" and then quotes Blix saying "these initiatives 3-4 months into the new resolution cannot be said to constitute 'immediate' cooperation. Nor do they necessarily cover all areas of relevance"

First of all, that report (the one you just quoted from) is not one that I had ever previously linked to. Just another example of how you have trouble keeping your facts straight.

More importantly, I've already addressed this. Were you to read my earlier posts (e.g., 7/2, 3:00 pm), you would know this. I never claimed that Saddam's cooperation was perfect. In particular, Blix complained that he wanted to see more documents proving stuff was destroyed (and this is the essence of Blix's complaint you just cited, regarding "these initiatives"). Nevertheless, it's true that Saddam "let them in," and it's true that "access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect."

In other words, Bush's statement "he wouldn't let them in" is still a lie, and your statement "UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see" is also still a lie, notwithstanding your attempt to cherry-pick and distort a quote from Blix's 3/7/03 report.

By the way, this report repeats what Blix said at the end of January, that access to sites was good: "In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties." In other words, this report you cite directly contradicts your claim that "UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see."

The report you cite also says "One can hardly avoid the impression that, after a period of somewhat reluctant cooperation, there has been an acceleration of initiatives from the Iraqi side since the end of January." That's why time was running out for Bush.

"enjoy that big bowl of nits you've picked"

Bush saying "he wouldn't let them in" when the fact is he did let them in, is far from a nit.

Likewise for you claiming "UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see" when the fact is "access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect."

Then again, you've made abundantly clear that for you, telling the truth is a "nit."

LES

"Please explain."

You asserted "everyone knew" that "the rebuilding would be harder and take much longer than the war." Please show proof.

I can't make it any simpler than that.

BumperStickerist

Well, given the level of parsing you've thrown into the mix, your one cite supports *both* my statements:

By the way, this report
repeats what Blix said at the end of January, that access to sites was good: "In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties." In other words, this report you cite directly contradicts your claim that "UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see."

ergo - Bush's statement is a statement of fact. Yours is one of eisegesis

The issue isn't whether 'The UN inspectors were eventually let in'.

I was about to say 'go back and reread what you linked to.'

I think, in the issue of accuracy, the thing to do would be to go and ask you to read them.

Cheers.

Harry Arthur

You asserted "everyone knew" that "the rebuilding would be harder and take much longer than the war." Please show proof.

Yeah, Les, prove it! I suppose you could do this by producing signed, notarized statements from "everyone", indicating that they did, in fact know or seriously suspect that rebuilding would be hard, even harder than the war ... or perhaps you could just appeal to common sense ... naah.

Basically, you just need to learn the "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" technique. Only then will you be truly able to snatch the pebble from the master's hand ...

BumperStickerist

That the rebuilding process would take longer than say, a couple of weeks seemed clear enough during the {air quote} headlong dash into war {air quote}

- but, hey, here's what Bush had to say in October of 2002

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021007-8.html

It's Mein Kampf-ian in its "Oh, damn, he really meant it"-ness. But Bush is Good and Hitler was Evil ... at least in Bushworld.

Bush's remarks in October were followed by this in March, 2003 from the Azores - which is still pre-War:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030316-3.html

During which both Blair and Bush get into the post-regime change stuff, including the role of the UN.

Bush remains the model of consistent, thoughtful reasoning coupled and the 'gee, he meant it' hindsight continues. Blair sums up the issues rather nicely.

And both of those speeches were followed by that flight deck speech:

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/05/01/bush.transcript/

During which Bush said, after changing his flightsuit and removing the foil-wrapped zucchini from his trousers -

We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.

We are helping to rebuild Iraq where the dictator built palaces for himself instead of hospitals and schools.

And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by and for the Iraqi people.

The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done and then we will leave and we will leave behind a free Iraq.

followed several months later with that same dull, persistent Bush-like thought:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/10/20031028-2.html

. After decades of oppression and brutality in Iraq and Afghanistan, reconstruction is difficult, and freedom still has its enemies in both of those countries. These terrorists are targeting the very success and freedom we're providing to the Iraqi people. Their desperate attacks on innocent civilians will not intimidate us, or the brave Iraqis and Afghans who are joining in their own defense and who are moving toward self-government.

So - yeah - it wasn't exactly a mystery - other than to nattering nabobs of "Bush is a pathological liar intent on lining the pockets of his Corporate Masters" - {apologies to the ghost of Spiro Agnew}

But, hey, after 8 years of Clinton, it's no wonder that a president who said what he meant came as a surprise.


jukeboxgrad

BUMPER

Just a quick review, since it seems hard for you to focus.

Bush said "he wouldn't let them in" (link).

You said "UN Inspectors were not allowed 'in' to certain buildings or areas they'd asked to see" (7/2, 10:14 am).

Blix said "access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect" (link).

It doesn't take any "parsing" or "eisegesis" [sic] to see that only one of those three people is speaking the plain truth.

By the way, thanks for all those citations to various Bush speeches. Unfortunately, they don't even come close to addressing the question. The question was, who warned us, before the war (or even after the war, for that matter), that reconstruction would be deadlier than the war itself?

The two prewar speeches you cited say virtually nothing about reconstruction (they consist mostly of scary statements about Saddam). This is the only statement I could find: "If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors."

How does that amount to a warning that reconstruction will be deadlier than the war itself?

The two postwar speeches you cite basically say, in many different forms, "Iraq is a dangerous place." There is nothing even remotely specific, regarding time, dollars or lives, as far as I can tell. How does that amount to a warning that reconstruction will be deadlier than the war itself?

HARRY

"signed, notarized statements from 'everyone'"

That would obviously be an absurd request. However, I don't think it's absurd to ask for at least a single example of a righty official or commentator who warned (or suggested or speculated or imagined or surmised) that rebuilding Iraq would cost us substantially more lives than winning the war. If I understand Les correctly, he's claiming "everyone knew that." If I understand you correctly, you're claiming this is just a matter of "common sense." The funny thing, then, is how I can't manage to find a single example of such a statement. How odd that the number of people who knew was "everyone" and the number of people who happened to mention it was (apparently) zero. Quite a gap there.

"nanny-nanny-boo-boo"

What you call "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" some of us call backing up one's assertions with facts. By now you've made it very clear that this is a foreign concept to you.

Harry Arthur

The best thing I can say about this thread is all the new, large, multisyllabic words I've learned, ... not to mention all those new concepts with which I was previously unacquainted.

Wow!

BumperStickerist

hmmm, the goal posts now get up and move from 'rebuilding' to 'cost more lives' and 'deadlier'.

And, for the non ... well .. dense... the rhetoric used by the administration in the speeches clearly indicates that the rebuilding of Iraq would not be 'easy' or without casualties.

btw - it's a peculiar McNamara-esque mindset that would dwell on issues of bodycount. Especially in comparing those that died in 'major combat operations' over the course of a month and a half and an rebuilding that has taken over two years and using that as some sort of benchmark. Peculiar.

and, again, read the speeches -

Bush did not lie with regard to Saddam and the inspectors. Nor did I. For reasons I have already given in this comment thread.

But, I'm sure it's me who has the lack of insight.

btw - "eisegesis" [sic] [[sic]]is a perfectly cromulent word.

In your case, apt.

Cheers.

Harry Arthur

BStick, of course we all "lied." In the Michael-Moore-universe, any statement not interpreted in the context of certain preconceived notions, is a "lie." I'd provide dozens of links, but I think you're familiar with the concept as I described it earlier (NNBB) or (TtHHAtBaSHMS).

I'll have to go to the library and look in one of those really large dictionaries for your latest. I take it that eisegesis is an antonym for exegesis?

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