The Facts: The Case for War

We've got a huge and nuanced Debate topic this time: the Bush administration's case for war in Iraq. The administration says its critics are "rewriting history" while members of Congress say they were misled into voting for the use of force in Iraq when the intelligence wasn't as solid as the administration claimed. Was it just a case of bad intel, or something more sinister?

Given that I expect little debate here over the holiday -- I figure the big debates on Thanksgiving will be taking place around the table, not here on this blog -- we'll be extending this debate into next week, leaving us plenty of time to try to come to some conclusions about what happened, and where we go from here.

First, here are some documents to give the debate context.

I'd highly suggest everyone go back and read the speech President Bush gave on Oct. 7, 2002 laying out the reasons for war in Iraq. Here's a taste:

Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace, and America's determination to lead the world in confronting that threat.

The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions -- its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.

We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability -- even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America.

Next, check out the Carnegie Endowment's extensive collection of documents and analysis relating to the Iraq intelligence failures. Plenty of useful info there, including this table that takes several "prewar concerns" -- such as "Iraq reconstituted its nuclear program after 1998" -- and gives a brief rundown of the assessments of those claims pre-2002, in the NIE, by the United Nations and by the Administration, plus the findings since the war began and the findings of the Senate's Intelligence Committee Report. It's a four-page, easily digestible chart that's really worth a look. (Note that while the rest of the chart has plenty of "No" and "Maybe" and "Probably Not," the administration's statement for each of the prewar concerns listed was "Yes.")

FactCheck.org looks at the current disagreement over who knew what when, and comes to the conclusion that although intelligence was not manipulated, the administration did leave out important caveats and doubts that made the case against Iraq look a lot less convincing.

The left-leaning Center for American Progress offers some facts to back up its finding that the administration's answer to those claiming they were misled is based on incorrect assertions. For one thing, it notes, Congress was not privy to the same intelligence as the White House. One of many possible examples: The Presidential Daily Briefings -- brought to our national attention by the infamous Aug. 6, 2001 PDB -- were not available to Congress.

Perhaps most startling is the intelligence that the White House itself didn't have. In an op-ed yesterday explaining why he stands by his 2002 vote against the authorization of the use of force in Iraq, Senator Bob Graham (who, at the time of the vote, was the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee) wrote:

At a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Sept. 5, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. An NIE is the product of the entire intelligence community, and its most comprehensive assessment. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared. Invoking our rarely used senatorial authority, I directed the completion of an NIE.

Tenet objected, saying that his people were too committed to other assignments to analyze Saddam Hussein's capabilities and will to use chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons. We insisted, and three weeks later the community produced a classified NIE.

Here is said NIE, titled, "Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction." To have a full appreciation for all the "troubling aspects" Graham (D-Fla.) says it contains, one must read beyond just the executive summary -- something the Washington Post reports "no more than six senators and a handful of House members" actually did. Of course, in order to read all 90-some pages, you'd have to have a Top Secret security clearance -- as the National Security Archive site points out, most of the document has been whited out.

From those few pages that weren't redacted, however, we can see that the NIE was way off base (as was the DCI's October 2002 presentation on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs.) This report, by the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, explains how the NIE got it so wrong. The voluminous Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq can be downloaded here. And the CIA's Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (Sept. 2004) might also be of interest.

The office of Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) provides two and a half pages of prewar statements from administration officials indicating Iraq had connections to al Qaeda, and another two and a half pages of statements from administration officials claiming Iraq had been training al Qaeda in the use of chemical and biological weapons. (These claims, reasserted in Colin Powell's February 2003 address to the United Nations, were based on statements from an al Qaeda detainee -- statements the Defense Intelligence Agency had said were "more likely ... misleading the debriefers.") Levin's office provides declassified information from the Defense Intelligence Agency that indicates the government had serous doubts about the veracity of these claims all along -- doubts that were not made public.

Feel free to add links to any other pertinent documents in the comments. I also welcome your ideas for issues we should cover as we debate the case for war in Iraq.

By Emily Messner |  November 21, 2005; 1:36 PM ET  | Category:  Facts
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Brent Scowcroft talks Turkey; Sibel Edmonds fights fascism


By John Stanton
Online Journal Contributing Writer


Nov 18, 2005, 20:22

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The Sibel Edmonds v. Department of Justice saga continues as the year 2005 draws to a close.

The only breaking news to come from the ongoing drama is the implication, published in Vanity Fair, that Dennis Hastert, speaker of the US House Representatives, was the recipient of campaign contributions and assorted bribes from the Turkish-American community. That another US politician is on the take comes as no surprise. But more on that later.

Sibel's story might have quietly died from the suffocating oppression of the US government had it not been for very recent revelations that the US sanctions and operates interrogation/torture facilities in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's and Vice President Dick Cheney's New Europe (Poland, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, etc.).

While the buzz is all around the Plame-Wilson-Libby-Woodward-Rove- Hadley affair, and the lies that got the US into Iraq, the real news is that military and non-military torture chambers stretching from Mexico to Asia have become standard operating procedure for the US. Further, the response of official Washington to the torture expose was not disgust, but a call to prosecute the whistleblower that leaked the awful news.

Within the remarkable public revelation from the Washington Post and Human Rights Watch, is the imprimatur of Rumsfeld and Cheney -- the two crusty Nixon administration buddies -- and perhaps the most ruthless and dangerous Americans ever to hold office in the corporate/government world. They and their disciples share the view that "conduct unbecoming" does not exist. No law, no boundary, no moral code, no amount of lives or outdated parchments, like the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, will be a barrier as they push forward their foreign and domestic agenda for some of the US population, Turkey and Israel. They hide behind the veil of "the national security of the United States of America" and label Top Secret/Special Compartmentalized Information data that would implicate them, not save a US soldier in a Humvee, or they slap a State's Secret order on the likes of Sibel Edmonds mainly to protect balance sheets and business deals.

Me Ne Frego!

There is a name for this kind of government-corporation and the society it creates and it is fascism, pure and simple. There just isn't any other way to describe people like Rumsfeld or Cheney. To that we must add the name Brent Scowcroft.

According to Wikipedia, fascism's appearance in Italy in the 1920s (rooted in the term fascio from the 1800's) marked a new political and economic system that combined corporatism and nationalism in a state designed to bind all classes together under a capitalist system. Dissent was discouraged, political discourse of the time was highly inflammatory, and the society overly militaristic. Under Mussolini's dictatorship, from 1922-1945, the effectiveness of its parliamentary system was virtually abolished though its forms were publicly preserved. The opposition was ferried to remote islands far from Italy proper where they would be tortured and sometimes killed. Mussolini was an active proponent of preemption. In 1923, he bombed Corfu and later established a puppet regime in Albania (according to the FBI in 2003, the Albanian Mafia is the most feared).

Rumsfeld and Cheney have been able to push their fascist doctrine into mainstream America and into every decision making element in the US government. Their spokesman and head buffoon is George Bush II, who recently stated on his trip to Asia that criticism of his war in Iraq was irresponsible and unpatriotic, and is also on the record saying "we do not torture." One sure sign of fascism is when the president speaks to his minions almost entirely from the safe confines of a US military base. These strangely American fascists have adopted the motto of Mussolini's Black Shirts who were the enforcement arm of his government, "Me Ne Frego," or "I do not give a damn," they'd say as they went about brutalizing dissenters, union bosses, journalists, et al. It's the kind of attitude that produces "freedom is messy," "bring 'em on" and "people are fungible."

Italian Fascism was based on state control of financial/commercial interests and public thought. American Fascism has done the reverse, outsourcing its mandate of protecting and defending the US Constitution and Bill of Rights to corporations and powerful ideological domestic and foreign interests. These groups make the key decisions on US domestic and foreign policy. The actors in the stage production called "the three branches of US government," give the public audience a sense that they are somehow involved in staging the production.

Fascists don't see a distinction between legitimate and semi-legitimate organizations. Front companies, informants, pundits, mafia, consultants, retired generals, drug dealers and junkies, arms traders, spies, assassins, associations, politicians, lobbyists, judges are all just tools to advance the national and foreign interests.

It's this kind of madness that Sibel Edmonds and those like her are fighting against. They are trying to smash the mirrors and blow away the smoke that clouds the minds of so many who refuse to acknowledge that the US is rapidly becoming a reflection of Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italy.

How Wars Are Conducted

A little known news piece by investigative reporter Bill Conroy takes us to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. There we get a glimpse into how US officials conduct themselves in the War on Drugs and, in all likelihood, the War on Terror. According to Conroy, from 2003-2004 12 people were brutally tortured and murdered in what came to be known as the House of Death case.

Agents from the US Department of Homeland Security-Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) were attempting to capture Heriberto Santillan Tabares, apparently a top dog in Vincente Carrillo Fuente's Juarez drug operation. The US agents successfully dropped an informant into Tabares' operation. Problem was that the informant ended up gleefully taking part in the torture and murder of all 12 people. The bigger problem was that the then Attorney General of the United States, John Ashcroft, the head of the DEA, and the US government prosecutor wanted to maintain the informant's undercover status and his fine torture and murder credentials so that they could bag Tabares and, later, other drug dealers. Former DEA agent Sandalio Gonzalez was appalled at this activity and sent an internal letter to Department of Justice officials. Their immediate response was to drum him out of the DEA, according to Conroy.

The head of the DEA said that Gonzalez's action was "inexcusable" and in testimony lets on that incompetence and inter-agency squabbling was the real issue, not the fact that 12 apparently innocent people were murdered with the approval of the US government. Tandy stated that "there was a substantial issue between DEA and ICE over the use of the informant . . . And the jeopardy that DEA agents and others had been placed in as a result of ICE's handling of an informant that the DEA had previously blackballed . . . It was such a sensitive issue that . . . I went personally to brief the attorney general . . ."

This bit of news leads us to Rumsfeld's Death Star in Arlington, Virginia -- the Pentagon -- and there into the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. Known simply as The Policy Organization, it is the former home of the notorious neocon Douglas Feith. But that's not the interesting part. Under organizational titles like Policy, International Security, Homeland Defense, and Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, exist operational elements like Counternarcotics, Detainees, Combating Terrorism, Homeland Security Integration, Stability Operations and the Defense Policy Board. Their leaderships boast Kissinger and Cheney protégés, stridently pro-Israel and Turkey supporters, and a former US Phoenix Project operative.

And this is where the guidelines for the Wars on Terror, Drugs, and Weapons of Mass Destruction are developed and implemented in the field, more than likely by former special operations operatives under contract. The Policy Organization has no problem dealing with psychopathic killers, buying and selling drugs, dropping white phosphorous on women and children, using the global black market to help a "critical" country upgrade its nuclear capability, or selling out the American people for the sake of profit. The lives of 12 or 1.2 million human beings are inconsequential -- nothing more than expendable extras in the big show. "Sensitive" matters must be classified or not discussed at all.

Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman (Cheney's pick) runs The Policy Organization. Not surprisingly, he's the former Ambassador to Turkey.

Gobble, Gobble

"Turkey's long-term commitment to the principles of democracy and their commitment to undertaking the reforms Europe demanded before even the first round of accession negotiations -- have produced economic opportunity, stable political institutions, and the peaceful rule of law. Turkey is proof that our strategy of spreading democracy in the Islamic world can work," said Edelman. Lofty and duplicitous words that are not to be believed. For the real story, listen to Brent Scowcroft. As head of the American Turkish Council, he speaks on behalf of US corporations and the Turkish government.

In September, Scowcroft sent a letter to Hastert that stated, according to the Armenian National Committee of America, "even discussion of the Armenian Genocide on the floor of the US House of Representatives would be counter-productive to the interests of the United States." Indeed, the letter states in no uncertain terms that Turkey is at the "center of American's current and long term interests . . . The genocide resolutions encourage those who would pull Turkey away from the West. The careless use of genocide language provides and [sic] excuse to do so, delivering a direct blow to American interests in the region . . . I strongly urge you to oppose floor deliberation . . . of this highly sensitive issue."

It should be an eye-opener when former US general and presidential advisor -- now the spokesman for US businesses and the Turkish government -- asks the "people's house" to remain silent on a matter, thoroughly documented in American and British newspapers of the day, that involved the systematic slaughter of 1.2 million Armenians. If the issue is that important -- after all, we're not talking about a puny drug war -- then it is likely that Scowcroft told his Turkish Council members to fill the campaign coffers of the speaker, former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and current Majority Leader Roy Blount. And Scowcroft may have suggested to the Turkish government that it contract with former US congressmen Stephen Solarz and Robert Livingston (members of the ATC) to lobby on behalf of the Turkish government in the US House and Senate.

The Turkish newspaper Sabah reported that Hastert was pressured by AIPAC to defeat another House resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide back in the year 2000. Trade associations in Washington, DC, frequently unite on issues and, so it seems, Scowcroft's ATC and AIPAC worked together to get rid of the Armenian matter.

Intrepid reporter Jason Vest writing in the Nation in 2002, noted that Richard Perle and Douglas Feith worked as foreign registered lobbyists for Turkey back in the late 1980s and into the 1990s. They "quietly and deftly kept the {American] arms sluice to Turkey open," said Vest. Feith had hired former executive director of AIPAC, Morris Amitay, to assist in the task. Solarz and Livingston, have picked up where the largely disgraced Perle and Feith left off. One thing is for certain, though; during Feith's reign over The Policy Organization, the ATC and AIPAC had their operatives well placed and, perhaps, under control.

Black Market Bingo

The ATC and the Turkish Consulate in Chicago had been under the watchful eye of the FBI since the late 1990s and one suspects it still is. But that's about it since FBI field agents were told/are told to follow but not arrest suspected Turkish operatives.

The ATC was/is also being monitored by the CIA. For example, Valerie Plame had attended a number of functions at the ATC and took several trips to Turkey. The newspaper Hurriyet confirmed that she was hunting for WMDs, more likely their components, in a country well-known for its expertise in pushing products through the black market. This brings us to some excerpts from the PBS program Frontline:

Oscilloscopes and oscillators manufactured by Tektronix (equipment used to build missiles and nuclear weapons); and triggered spark gaps manufactured by PerkinElmer (small cylindrical devices that can be used to spark nuclear explosions). Asher Karni [Israeli businessman in South Africa] writes Zeki Bilmen [Turkish businessman] of Giza Technologies, a New Jersey-based company that, according to its Web site, provides "procurement services for state of the art electronic, electro-mechanical and mechanical components, systems, and other products related to the Electronics Manufacturing Sector. Karni asks Bilmen for an update on the EG&G order [triggered spark gaps]. Bilmen replies that the Tektronix equipment has arrived in New Jersey, but that he will wait until additional equipment arrives to ship them on, and that EG&G order has been processed. Bilmen adds in a separate email: "One Good News regarding the EG&G order [the triggered spark gaps]. NO EXPORT LICENSE REQUIRED to South Africa. I thought you might want to know.

These excerpts are from transactional emails made between Karni, Bilmen and Humayun Kahn, a Pakistan operative for the Pakistani military. They are meant to illustrate the ease with which these products traverse the globe and that, in all likelihood, are allowed to until a really big fish can be caught. Turkey's role in the illicit nuclear transactions and selling of classified US military data to the highest bidder have been frequently reported. As far back as 1981, the US quietly complained to the Turkish ambassador about the sale of nuclear triggering devices to Pakistan. They would ultimately be used to launch Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Of course there is another country that operates the same way -- Israel.

Shining Beacon of Democracy?

Would it be a surprise that The Policy Organization, the attorney general and assorted US government operatives tracking these activities would turn a blind eye to Turkey and Israel's trade in these types of goods? No. Why? Again, if Turkey and Israel are so "damn" critical to the USA's interests, then they can operate around the globe with impunity, protected by names like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Hastert, Scowcroft, Edelman, Bush and, once upon a time, Doug Feith.

Meanwhile, back in Turkey, the Turkish Press reported in August of 2005 that the military there continues its top officer purges of Islamists, or those with questionable religious connections, from the Army and Navy. That has been done with the approval of Recip Tayip Erdogan who back in 1997 was banned from politics for being overly Islamist. Turkey's atrocious treatment of its Kurdish population and its threat to invade Kurdistan -- now located in Northern Iraq, go unnoticed in the US. Turkey has purchased 30 "Cobra-type" armored vehicles from Otokor, a unit of Koc Holdings, to bolster its fight against a growing domestic Kurdish insurgency. And the Turkish military-industrial complex has expanded by 30 percent since 2004.
John Stanton is a Virginia-based writer specializing in political and national security matters. He is the author of "America 2004: A Power But no Super," and co-author of America's "Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II." Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com.

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Posted by: Che | November 21, 2005 04:13 PM

Knock it off Che. Anyhow, of interest:
A SUMMARY OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S PUSHBACK STRATEGY:

Clearly, the important administration arguments are beginning to coalesce: 1) Criticism of the war is not by itself unpatriotic 2) Similarly, answering anti-war critics is not challenging their patriotism 3) But opportunistic and cynical anti-war critics who are trying to walk back their own votes and level spurious charges at the Administration (they lied to take is into war) are themselves lying 4) These lies are hurting the country and the troops. 5) The burden of proof, in a post 911 world, was on Saddam Hussein to prove he'd disarmed; we could not wait for the threat to become imminent before acting 6) The cause the troops are fighting for is just and right 7) Iraq is moving toward freedom; and things on the ground are improving daily, regardless of what the MSM and prominent Dems would have us believe.

These points, taken together, form an easy, concise, and--most importantly--a factually correct counter-narrative . . . I think the narrative is a good one, but it needs to be repeated as loud and as often as the one the Dems have been peddling.

Posted by: D. | November 21, 2005 04:55 PM

Posted by: D. | November 21, 2005 05:00 PM

I thought FactCheck and some of the other references missed the point - the Senate Intel Report did criticize the amount/quality of intelligence, but what they really slammed was the conclusions reached from the intelligence. Nearly every conclusion in the Senate Intel Report contains the words on the theme of "the claim that Saddam....either overstated or was not supported by the underlying intelligence". IT WASN'T THAT THE INTELLGENCE WAS BAD - ITS THAT THE CONCLUSIONS DRAWN FROM THE INTELLIGENCE WERE BAD!

The table from Carnegie that Emily listed above is truly an excellent graphic of this. The intel didn't change, the conclusions did.

Maybe Bush is telling the truth. Maybe no one told him that our own govt said Libi was probably lying. Maybe no one ever told him that Wilson AND General Fulford AND Ambassador Owens-Kirkpatrick said it wasnt' credible that Saddam got 500 tons of yellowcake. Maybe no one told himi about the letters and calls from the Oak Ridge scientists that the aluminum tubes weren't for nuclear weapons. Maybe no one ever told him that Germany told us not to believe Curveball.

But that raises a whole different set of problems. SOMEBODY made those conclusion. SOMEBODYdata casting doubt on the intel sources was killed SOMEWHERE. SOMEONE made the decision not to kick it upstairs to their superior. What is at issue is how a system of stovepipes and circuits was set up that filtered the intelligence that made it to the top. And THAT hasn't yet been looked into. Bush needs to be careful with this arguement that Congress saw the same intel he did, because that makes one ask "then who set up the stovepipe system and why did it bypass the president?"

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 21, 2005 05:39 PM

Accidentlly hit send while editing that last paragraph. Here it is in sensical form: But that raises a whole different set of problems. SOMEBODY made those conclusions. SOMEBODY decided which data to discard and which data to use in making these conclusions. The data casting doubt on the intel sources was killed SOMEWHERE. SOMEONE made the decision not to kick it upstairs to their superior. I want to know WHO? (I have my suspicions and the last name starts with a B.) And I want to know who that person reported to, and why that person's superior accepted those conclusions without questions.

Its time for an independent investigation. It shouln't be hard to trace the path of the intelligence statements through the various agencies and find out who was deciding what the President and the Congress saw, should it?

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 21, 2005 05:45 PM

...what "four step process"?

look, the debate about who is responsible for Iraq is a red herring. Bush is. Anyone else claiming that they were leading the country in the invasion, in their own defense, for the past how-many years?

The more Democrats argue about *why* they supported the invasion, the more they obfuscate the point about *what* they supported. Why is a secondary problem, the problem now is what the hell are we actually accomplishing in Iraq?

Beyond the question of what have we done to the country?

No answers right at the moment to either of those. There are two clear choices, now: either we stay a while longer, or we go, and if we go, then when do we go.


So this guy has suggested that we go. He came up with a plan. Why is everyone worrying about the timeframe ("immediately"? oh no, we *can't* do that!!!!) instead of worrying about what he is suggesting that we do?

Isn't that exactly what the problem is here, now? "We invade!" but what exactly does this mean? Well, we don't worry about those things son, we shoot first and ask questions later!


We haven't even begun to look at the true problem. Nobody knows what we are doing except the guys in Iraq actually doing something. And they are the only ones, so far, that know when "we" are going to stop doing things in Iraq. And that is because the administration has no concrete timetable, no concrete goals, no concrete standards, for getting our troops out.

And, THAT is whyBush can get away with saying "our troops won't leave while I'm president". Nobody knows exactly what that means. And nobody seems to care.

So is there any misunderstanding about exactly what all that pre-war "intel" actually meant? What a surprise.

We have a nation of people making policy decisions. Not too many people are actually interested in the implementation.

Posted by: Joe Sixpack | November 21, 2005 06:15 PM

"5) The burden of proof, in a post 911 world, was on Saddam Hussein to prove he'd disarmed; we could not wait for the threat to become imminent before acting 6) The cause the troops are fighting for is just and right 7)"

bullshit.

But, keep repeating it. I'm sure you'll get a lot of people to believe it's true.

The argument of invading and occupying another country under the pretext of securing your own defense is only as good as the threat actually posed to your country. That is where the BA is in trouble. Iraq was no threat to us at all, and, if it was, why does he think he can rationally argue for waiting for UN approval to take out the threat?

Still let us assume for the moment that you are correct.

We know there are no WOMD in Iraq.

Hussein is gone.

Why are we still there?

We are there to prop up a pro-US "democracy" designed and implemented by the US.

This has nothing to do with why we went into Iraq in the first place, yes or no?

We can also argue that we are there to counter terrorism in Iraq...although our presence there fuels it, yes or no?.

Many argue that we have accomplished the most that we can, especially in a war run by the current administration, which will neither increase troop presence in Iraq to a level needed to secure the country, or, remove troops to a level necessary to reduce the support for terrorism in Iraq to a level where Iraqi forces can provide for their own security (assuming the factions don't undermine the whole concept).

The issue now is that our troops are there "fighting" and by their presence there, they are making the problem worse, not better. So why do you suggest that they are fighting for a noble cause?

More than slightly disingenuous, I think.

Posted by: Joe Sixpack | November 21, 2005 06:23 PM

D. Your arguement doesn't hold up on several fronts.

5. "We couldn't wait for the threat to become imminent...
We didn't. We did have to do something. We raised our hand back to strike, and Saddam put the inspectors back in, and if you read the report the inspectors gave to the UN, Saddam was cooperating and they weren't finding anything. We bluffed, and he was caving. But under your line of reasoning, we should have invaded North Korea first - we know they've got the weapons, we know they abuse their people and torture and imprison at will, and we know they will sell to anyone.
6. "The cause the troops are fighting for is just and right..." Hmmm. It was OK to invoke the Pope when he said Kerry shouldn't be pro-choice, but he is conveniently forgotten when he declared the Iraq war was an unjust war. What's a good Catholic to do? Afhanistan was just, and world stood with us. Iraq was not just, and we stood nearly alone, with only Great Britian and the coalition of the bribed.
7. "Iraq is moving toward freedom and things on the groud are improving daily..." Data on the availaibility of electricity, clean water, and other issues "on the ground' have shown little or no progress in the past year. Attacks on soldiers and civilians are increasingly deadly. First we were told there were 168,000 Iraqi security forces, but when we hauled their arses before Congress adn put them under oath, the number became one battalion actually operationally capable. Could your kid get away with telling you school "improving daily" when he goes from a D- to a D in a year?

This war was not just, and intelligence was selectively put forth in a way to draw faulty conclusions to sell it. And the second reason - to spread Democracy at the point of a gun. How would we feel if Canada decided to invade us to free us of the tyrant George Bush?

But America probably wouldn't have cared if it had been managed better. We didn't send enough troops, we didn't equip them properly, and we failed to plan on how to manage a country with profound ethnic/religious differences and little cohesive nationalism.

And America probably wouldn't have cared if the selective advancement of facts had stopped once the invasion started.

Now we're screwed. Iraq has indeed become Terror Central. But we no longer trust this incompetent dishonest administration to prosecute a war there. We either need to do a McCain and escalate the war and kill all the terrorists (which, like Vietnam, isn't likely to work, especially since our presence there is fueling a terrorist spawning machine of epic proportions), or a Murtha and push the Iraqi forces out of the nest and hope they stand up on their own (but be prepared to fight them again in Afghanistan where I think they will go when we leave Iraq, albeit diminished by those who will be satisfied when we leave their country). Of course the third option is to win over the hearts and minds of the Arabs and have them protect their fellow Muslims from Muslim killers like Zarqawi. This might go a long way, as an insurgency can't exist witout citizens who protect the insurgents. But we've mismanaged that too, and I don't expect to see pigs flying soon.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 21, 2005 06:28 PM

problem C: the issue of Iraqi sovereignity.

It has become obvious that we are not going to leave until we choose to leave.

This not only provides the terrorists and insurgents with plenty of targets for their anger (and plenty of bad publicity for the United States) it also infuriates the Iraqis who supposedly are against the insurgency, who are grateful that Hussein is gone but who now want us to leave Iraq to the Iraqis. Not to mention the ones who relatives die in the crossfire.

We have a president who won't allow American forces to be "driven out" of Iraq, and, who is going to play Tag with Congress and the American people, about when they are going to come home. At least until his approval ratings get low enough and Congress abandons him and then, "suddenly", we'll have accomplished the mission (before they take it out of his hands).

I predict now you'll see the beginning of the BA against the United States, for that reason. He will begin to blame Congress for "tying his hands", "cut and run" from Iraq himself in order to "save" the troops, and then blame any post-departure failures on those who opposed his Administration.

OR keep our troops there for the sole purpose of being stubborn and THEN blame any failures on the moderates and liberals, for not supporting him.

Posted by: Joe Sixpack | November 21, 2005 06:34 PM

This debate topic is not so nuanced as perhaps others.

We know where the faulty intel came from. The OSP. It is the OSP which has stonewalled and delayed the Senate report on whether the Administration manipulated intel. And it is the OSP which trumped all these Niger Yellowcake theories, Curveball, aluminum tubes, etc. Just look at the Powell U.N. speech. It has OSP fingerprints all over it. The OSP essentially did not like what the State department or the CIA was telling them and decided that single sources of questionable reliability (Chalibi and Libi) were more reliable than the CIA. Surprise surprise, bereft of fact checking lies became intelligence the reality our war was built on.

Oh yeah, who created the OSP? Rumsfeld. Who headed the OSP? Wolfawitz? Second in charge? Feith. Does anyone notice anything odd here? All neocons perhaps? All invovled in that 'congressional report' in 1998? The one calling for war in Iraq?

Probably not a conspiracy as a conspiracy involves lots of actors. More like a cabal.

As for progress in Iraq. . . Yes, the U.S. makes continual progress. However, the utter lack of security and constant infrastructural setbacks pretty much even things out. Nor would I call what we have seen so far democracy in action. The final draft of the constitution wasn't even voted on. That would be like our founding fathers voting on the constitution, then afterward tacking on the bill of rights without telling anyone or voting on the changes, then telling everyone this was the same old constitution without ammendments.

Posted by: Chris | November 21, 2005 08:23 PM

Should I stay or should I go now.
If I stay there will be trouble.
If I go it will be double.

If the plan is to cut and run, there is no time like now. Right now. Call it what you will, a tactical retreat, whatever.

If we stay, well, it will be a long one, and we may well have to invest more troops, not less, in the occupation. Lets look at another historical situation in a country with little adminstrative infrastructure remaining. Jordan. It took the British 30 years to stablize Jordan to the point that Jordan could go it alone. Sort of.

Sure, Iraq has more infrastructure, but we would be fooling ourselves to believe that stabilization will take anything less than 10+ years (as denoted by numerous examples from contemporary history, as well as congressional and military reports).

So, if the plan is to cut out before complete Iraqi stabilization, ie: Before a decade of occupation, then there is little reason not to cut and run now.

Frankly, I don't think the American public has the stomach for 10 years of occupation. Probably we don't even have five. Especially if the economic indicators don't start to go up, instead of down.

So why not leave? Sure, you could argue the Powell, "you break it you buy it", but remainder of the world thinks this war is illegal/immoral anyway. Does the Powell statement hold if the 'purchaser' was a thief bent on carting the vase out of the store without paying?

I don't think the American public, congress, or this administration is going to see this through to the bitter end. So what is the harm in cutting our losses and leaving now? Did Captain hook let the croc have his hand, or did he stick his good one into its mouth to try to get it back?

Posted by: Chris | November 21, 2005 08:36 PM

Staying for 10 years with 130,000 US troops and a few thousand others is not feasible politically. But is that what the Pentagon is planning for? Well, no. The reality is that the National Guard and most of the regular infantry are less effective than the best of the Iraqis. They'll be gone by November if not before. But the core of elite and semi-elite forces should be there, yes, for ten more years: probably supported from offshore rather than from FOB's in Iraq, and probably gone from the radar of the international media. At least that's the Pentagon's plan, I think.

Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 12:40 AM

Was the administration lying, simply distorting the facts, or were they incompetent?
Mr. Cheney?

Posted by: john q. public | November 22, 2005 02:06 AM

After my previous post I came across an AP article about an investigation on Feith. I wonder if Cheney and Rusmfeld will let Feith fall on a knife for them? I agree with Chris - I think we know where the rats are who "twisted" the intel. But I wonder where does Bolton fit into this - I know he's there. And I especially wonder where Bush fits in - did he know or was he a stooge of a Cheney cabal?

John Q. - this hasn't gotten much press but I think it will eventually. The yellowcake forgeries came into the US on or about October 15, 2002, five months before the invasion. A good investigation will easily find we knew they were forged immediately. Immediately.

So here is the issue. Rice was head of the NSA. She had to know about the forgeries. Powell was head of state and he had to know. Surely somebody told the President that the smoking gun documents were on the way from Italy that would prove his desired war was needed. And so surely they had to tell him why he couldn't have the press conference. Yet, for months afterward Bush and Rice evoked "mushroom clouds", and Bush spun hte 16 words, all the while knowing the entire basis of the nuclear intel was BS

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 22, 2005 02:50 AM

IIRC, leading microbiologists immediately dismissed the tractor trailer design Powell presented to the UN as unsuitable for bioweapons production. A lot of the other data presented to the UN were KNOWN to be misleading pre-war. If Cheney talks about revisionism, he has to mean his own. It was not only possible to tell it was practically given that there were no WMDs, anyone actually familiar with relevant disciplines could tell so easily. The Carnegie Endowment table underplays its case when it lists a couple of times for the UN inspections "Not sure". Using modern scientific detection methods, if the weapons had been there, traces would have been detected. You can hide a barrel of chemicals, but you can't hide the molecules that leak from it during use and settle in the wall paint etc. You can hide a vial of bacteria, but you can't hide the genetic material that contaminates the surroundings during large-scale culturing. Anyone who claims that intelligence services across the planet were sure Saddam had weapons of mass destruction is a liar. There is a profound difference between stating "We can't exclude with final certitude that he has them" and "We're sure he has them"

Posted by: Oliver | November 22, 2005 03:28 AM

Patriot1957 wrote:
===========================================
"But that raises a whole different set of problems. SOMEBODY made those conclusion. SOMEBODYdata casting doubt on the intel sources was killed SOMEWHERE. SOMEONE made the decision not to kick it upstairs to their superior. What is at issue is how a system of stovepipes and circuits was set up that filtered the intelligence that made it to the top. And THAT hasn't yet been looked into. Bush needs to be careful with this arguement that Congress saw the same intel he did, because that makes one ask "then who set up the stovepipe system and why did it bypass the president?"
===========================================

Excellent reply, Patriot1957. :)

My questions are: if the Administration was suffering from "linkage blindness" (notorious in intel settings, and police work), or did they purposely push a war as a political payback for some deep pockets (as it seems Iraq and even Katrina is to pay back folks who supported Bush -- especially no-bid contracts)?

It's not that the CIA analysts weren't screaming "NO, NO, NO!!" (they were), it seems higher ups (Bush cronies, on par of the FEMA Brown) did what they could to support Bush's idea that the "Iraq question" be answered. It's turning out that Bush wants only "yes men" to surround him (why he lives in a coccoon from reality), and in doing so, not only is he blind to the reality, his Administration is too.

That's very dangerous. It can destroy not only our credibility worldwide, our very existence!

I sure hope we don't have our own King George III in office (who literally was mad!). :(

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 22, 2005 05:13 AM

All right, the Co. in chief proclaims that after 9/11 this country should be on the offensive against any potential threat. That leaves out N. Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Iran, and natural disasters. So it would definitely appear that by attacking Iraq we have damaged out ability to encounter any threat that may arise. Also the major figures in Iraq who are trying to form a government have called for a timetable for our exit. We can enable these public servants by our exit, as well as the American public. By staying in Iraq we hurt the Iraqis and ourselves.

So we are staying for what reason? Rhetoric. Get a new speechwriter, and solve all our problems, well, it's a little trifling but it's about what's going on.

By gradual steps the Co. in chief can dig himself out of the hole he's in and save a lot of American and Iraqi lives.

Posted by: | November 22, 2005 05:32 AM

What I don't understand and what needs greater scrutiny is

"If the BA identifies the source of faulty intelligence squarely at the CIA doorstep, why did George Tenet receive the Presidental Medal of Freedom?"

Posted by: DaveS | November 22, 2005 06:53 AM

The writer with no name above lists Venezuela as a threat to U.S. national security while deploring the BA trumping up the threat from Iraq. Can you possibly explain how Venezuela is a threat to U.S. security? Or are you nipping the BA Kool Aid still? If anyone is to blame for the mistakes that lead to the war in Iraq, it is the American people and their representatives, who - motivated by fear or vengence - feel justified in vilifying and imposing their will on other nations. Shame on all of you.

Posted by: Mexico | November 22, 2005 07:53 AM

Emily,

No matter what the GOP wants to say or how it wants to say it, this war is George Bush's creation and is not the joint creation of Bush and equally liable Democrats.

The GOP likes to point out that Clinton had the same information that Bush had and believed that Saddam had WMD. The big difference is that Clinton thought the "evidence" was sound enough to continue sanctions; the G.W. Bush White House thought enough of it to invade and now occupy.

For the male-dominated governments of both administrations, the difference is a greater baromeer of wisdom than it is of the size of their testicles.

Even now, after 2,000 U.S. dead, 20,000 U.S. wounded and thousands of deaths of innocent Iraqis, the proponents of this war say we cannot "cut and run" less we appear "weak." To do so shows the world we don't have the balls to finish what we started. What illiteracy of wisdom.

Real men can admit mistakes and learn; weak men cannot admit mistakes and remain on the path of fools. It's an epitaph for the George W. Bush administration.

The country has Bush Fatigue. January 2009 cannot arrive fast enough.

Posted by: Bling Bling | November 22, 2005 08:13 AM

The Bush administration took us down the slippery slope of diminishing expectations:
.....Iraq has (present tense) deployable WMD.
..........Iraq didn't have actual deployable weapons but had WMD "programs".
...............Iraq didn't have programs but had the "desire" to have programs.

The claim that the Iraq war is now about freedom is about one thing only-- the attempt to save (Bush's) face and turn a blood-soaked debacle into something noble. It angers me when it is asserted that we are doing this for "freedom" and "the war on terror." The facts speak otherwise:

1. There are no WMD in Iraq. Sanctions and inspections effectively stopped Iraq's WMD production. What they had left was destroyed, or beyond its effective shelf life.
2. There was NO connection between Iraq and Al Qaida; NO connection between Iraq and 9/11.

The war on Iraq has nothing whatsoever to do with the war on terror.

The war has enraged those who were already mad at the US and allowed them to recruit thousands more to their twisted cause. Strange as it sounds, Saddam Hussein kept the terrorists out of Iraq but we let the foreign insurgents in-- by the thousands! The foreign insurgents were not in Iraq before we arrived, they came to Iraq because we were there. Not only that, Iraq has now superseded Afghanistan as the premier training ground for terror. Instead of stabilizing the region, we have left a gaping hole in the region's fabric where a Muslim-style wild west is taking hold.

The prosecution of the war provides evidence that the Bush administration did not believe its own lies. With its proclamation that the Iraq + Al Qaida + WMD connection presented an imminent threat to the United States, one would have thought the first priority of the war would have been to seal the borders and seize the weapons. Instead, the under-manned search for the weapons proceeded on a "when we can get to it" basis. Crucial nuclear sites went un-checked. Iraq's porous borders allowed foreign insurgents to stream across it. Even more disturbing is the prospect that the WMD that the Bush administration declared with certitude existed are now in the hands of the terrorists themselves. The Bush administration has no idea where the weapons are and cannot account for their loss, so the burden of proof is upon Bush to show that the weapons have not fallen into terrorist hands. However, I believe that the Bush administration's utter lack of concern over these astonishing facts suggests they believe the weapons never existed in the first place.

The amazing conclusion is that we are less safe today than before the war started and the Iraqis will never be free until the insurgency ends. Since we are not more free or safe due to the war, what about Iraq's freedom? Well, our nation-- those people who bear the brunt of military action need to weigh the cost of shedding American blood for another nation's freedom. There needs to be public debate, debate in Congress, and the truth be told before the nation goes to war to liberate another nation that is under oppression. American blood should never be shed until we-the-people understand the facts, are convinced it is in our best interest, and are willing to take on the terrible cost. No more bait-and-switch tactics of saying "WMD" one day, then "freedom" the next.

What kind of message to the Iraqi people are we sending when we say they cannot secure their own freedom without our help? They are too feeble or incapable? They are not smart enough? They do not have enough courage? In fact, our continued presence says all those things. The Iraqi nation is an ancient nation-- proud, capable, courageous. Let's treat them with respect and allow them to prove to the world what they are made of.

Fact is, there would not have been sufficient American public support for the Iraq war based on the premise of freeing it from the tyrant Hussein. Tragic as their situation was, Americans would not have thought it enough of a reason to start a war. America is now waking up to the realization that purchasing Iraqi freedom with American blood is not worth the cost. Bush of course knew this and this is why he and his administration lied about the WMD. Now that we've been presented with this fait accompli, Bush is hoping we will go along with it for the long haul. If we stick to his plan (or lack thereof), it is not inconceivable that in the end Bush would have caused the deaths of more Americans than Bin Laden himself. We thought the whole point was to save American lives. Don't the lives of our military members count too? Dead is dead whether by attack on our home soil or by RPG in Iraq. Let's not lose any life needlessly.

While Bush purports to promote a culture of life, he cavalierly uses the world's greatest instrument of death, America's military. This is not a negative characterization but a realistic acknowledgement that the military's primary purpose is to use lethal force to achieve a political objective-- OK in the right circumstances. The problem is that large armies are blunt force instruments. Bush appears to care not one whit about the tens of thousands of Iraqis killed in this effort. Some are military but many are so-called "collateral damage"-- bystanders, non-combatants, those who simply were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Bush simply shrugs off their deaths as necessary to his goals. When war is necessary, America accepts these losses. The Iraq war is unnecessary so these deaths are a scandalous tragedy that dilutes America's moral imperative to act on its own behalf, and fuels the fire of rage against America by radical Islamists.

This war has so far brought us nothing but grief for our military families. While American parents grieve, Bush's own protected children will go on to live long lives of wealth and privilege. It's outrageous but follows a pattern from his own youth. While America's finest went to war in Vietnam, GW Bush became a pilot cradled in the safety of the skies over Texas and Alabama. Had Bush experienced real combat like John Kerry or John McCain, his decisions as Commander-in-Chief might have been different.

President Bush claims the mission is worth the sacrifice. What mission? Who's sacrifice? If the president can change the mission at-will, how can Americans commit to the mission-of-the-week? The mission the Bush administration "sold" us before the war is not the mission we ended up with. If WMD had been found, then yes, the war would have been necessary. President Bush is clearly not going to sacrifice his own children in this effort so here's the litmus test for the average American. If you can look your son or daughter in the eye and believe that, if they were killed in Iraq, their sacrifice would be worth the mission, then you agree with Bush. If you are like me who believes the death of my children are not worth Bush's mission-of-the-week, then stand with me and oppose this war.

Americans are understandably conflicted about ending the war now. They don't want those who have already died to have died in vain but the premise of that feeling is that the mission for which they died is achievable. Tragically, since the mission of the war was to seize the WMD, they have already died in vain. This is Bush's fault, not theirs. They served their country honorably, saluted their Commander-in-Chief and obeyed. They upheld the highest traditions of duty, service and honor. I know this sounds harsh but the sooner we face the truth about this war, the sooner the body count will stop rising. If we don't stop now what do we tell the families of the next 2000war dead? That they died because we were afraid to face the families of the first 2000? This is twisted logic.

Our military forces, mighty as they are, cannot win the battle against the insurgency. There are two reasons for this. First, our military is ill suited for guerrilla warfare. It does great when the tanks are rolling and fighters control the sky, but it is less effective against a foe that blends with the population. This is not disparaging to our forces, but reality. There is another and good reason why Americans are ineffective in this area. We are not ruthless enough. When the ancient Romans conquered a population, they utterly destroyed it and started over. Nazi Germany could take over and subjugate, we cannot. What would it take for a military solution for the insurgency? Seal the borders. Impose Marshall Law. Kill, imprison, and yes, torture large numbers of the population. We would have to be worse than Saddam Hussein to win this militarily. Note that I did not say America cannot win, just that we cannot achieve a military solution to this problem.

The second reason why our military cannot win over the insurgents is that THEY will never stop. First, the foreign insurgents are there because we are there! They have not arrived to defeat Iraq, they have come to defeat America and anything associated with America. The insurgency will not diminish while we have a continued military presence in Iraq. They will continue to arrive in large numbers as long as we are there. If we left, I have no doubt that 95% of the foreign insurgents will leave too. Second, the insurgents have a religious fervor that, in a war of attrition, we can never hope to match. Americans cannot fathom the suicide mentality of radical Islam. This is Vietnam-- on steroids. The insurgents are like the ruthless Vietcong with a suicidal bent. They are not going anywhere in ten months or ten years. Will Bush leave this mess to a future president who, while America is evacuating, will be proclaiming (like at the end of the Vietnam War), "Peace with honor?"

America does not "cut and run." True, but how long do we sustain a course that is wrong? What would cause us to continue a war that we now know was started on a ruse? Pride? Stubbornness? Look, the whole world knows this war is folly. Not even the Canadians backed us. It takes courage to admit one's mistakes. That courage will not take away the sting of embarrassment but it would be a better example to the world about what we are made of than choosing to continue a war that was started in error. Some Americans believe that even though we may have starting the Iraq war in error, we're stuck with it so let's just get the job done. For the reasons I stated above, I believe losing any more American lives to this misguided war is a mistake.

Insurgency aside, there is something deeply awry with the Bush administration's strategic approach to the war on terror and what we are doing in Iraq. We've killed tens of thousands of Iraqis and insurgents, yet the insurgent attacks have increased over time. It appears that while the core Al Qaida organization has weakened, the worldwide anti-west movement has certainly gained ground. The recent bombings in London show that the terrorists, belonging to Al Qaida or not, are able to penetrate defenses and strike western nations. While I have no problem with a surgical operation against targeted concentrations of known terrorists, it has become apparent that there is no long-term military solution to the war on terror. We will never be able to kill terrorists faster than the rate at which they are entering the movement.

Indeed, one may ask if Bush has a long-term strategic plan to wiping out terrorism or does he just plan to keep deploying our military in some sort of force-fed democratic domino approach. Who's next? Iran? Syria? What is sorely lacking is any sign that the Bush administration knows how to stop the influx of people into the terrorist movement. Bush shows no sign that he has any grasp of the issues and therefore, has no viable long-term solution to terrorism.

"The world is better off without Saddam Hussein." With their backs against the wall and the undeniable facts in their faces like an interrogation lamp, this oft-repeated maxim is regarded by Bush apologists to be THE trump card for silencing objection to the war. Never mind that that the world stood in near unanimous opposition against the war with the populations of historically friendly countries demonstrating against it in record numbers. Never mind that Bush is near universally reviled by the populations of even our allies so much that he cannot appear in public anywhere without an accompanied anti-Bush rally.

In fact, Saddam Hussein's removal from power makes no difference to the world. His bark was worse than his bite. His WMD destroyed or atrophied. He could not control the skies over his own country. At the time we invaded Iraq, Hussein was nothing more than one big bluff. He was not a threat to neighboring countries no less the United States. Even the rockets the neocons said he possessed amounted to nothing, lacking the range they were said to possess. It is repeated ad nauseum that Saddam Hussein "used WMD against his own people." True but those same weapons were long gone, his arsenal now only a figment of Bush's imagination.

That the Iraqi people are now better off there can be no denying, however as stated above, the American public never agreed to start a war to remove Hussein on behalf of the Iraqi people. My biggest objection to the statement that we are better off without Hussein is that this is certainly not true for our war dead. They would still be among us if it were not for this needless war.

Bush now claims the entire intelligence community duped him and called a puppet commission to document that assertion. Really? Is it possible that the most powerful and most intelligence-savvy nation on earth went to war based on (pick one) 1) lies or 2) incompetence? If either, then heads must role. What an abdication of office, that after 2000 American dead due to either lies or incompetence that there are no consequences anywhere. No one fired. No one blamed. Bush simply asserts the entire intelligence community was at fault. This self-effacing tactic is done so that no one individual or groups of individuals can be called out and therefore no one in his administration must take responsibility for 2000 American dead and a war that should not have been fought.

It has been asserted that our allies also thought Iraq possessed WMD. The Downing Street memos debunk that myth. What was said publicly by foreign officials did not match what was privately believed. Fact is, no one in high office OF ANY NATION believed the evidence supported pre-emptive war.

It has now been documented that any reasonable analysis of the hard facts of the incoming intelligence would have borne the conclusion that there was no evidence the weapons were there. So we attacked Iraq because Bush had a hunch it possessed WMD, or worse, some kind of personal grudge? When the nation goes to war it must do so based on hard evidence, not guesses. Can there be anything more dangerous than pre-emptive war when the facts are not known? The buck stops in the Oval Office where the lives of our military members depend upon our president making the right choice. Not only was Bush's decision to go to war the wrong choice, the utter lack of WMD evidence means it was an absolutely reckless choice, one that betrayed the trust and confidence of our nation's military forces.

Bush was reelected on the perception that he would be a better defender of America in the light of 9/11. The truth of the matter is that while Bush swaggers about like the John Wayne of American toughness, in reality his administration has been the Peewee Herman of results. While Iraq drains our finances and kills our young, America is distracted from the Bush Administration's dismal post-9/11 performance and the real war on terror. Even though 90% of our efforts have been focused on air security, ordinary Americans wait in long lines at the airport while thousands of undocumented aliens stream across our borders including a recent case of Iraqis infiltrating America through Mexico by way of Brazil. The 9/11 commission's recommendations are largely ignored. Our seaports lack sufficient surveillance and protection. Our critical infrastructure like electric power generation and transmission, and cyberspace networks are unprotected. While we pour billions into the war in Iraq, the real war on terror at home is grossly under funded. If it is only a question of when the next attack will occur and not if, you would not know this from the lack of urgency with which Bush is addressing his supposed number one priority. The shakeup of the intelligence community will do no good since Bush routinely ignores IC reports that do not suit his political strategy or his rosy outlook of the war in Iraq.

Some believe America should give Bush a pass on the Iraq war believing he did his best under difficult circumstances. The president does not get a pass from me. First, you can make mistakes over the budget, over school policy, or over the environment, but mistakes cannot be made when starting a pre-emptive war. Second, the president cannot plead ignorance. It is the job of any chief executive to sort out fact from fiction; to ask the right questions, to be skeptical when the evidence is thin. Bush failed to exercise this most basic element of being a leader. Third, the record shows that Bush never considered the lack of WMD evidence as a detractor because he decided to invade Iraq regardless of the facts, then used the WMD as a ruse to get public support.

Banish any thought of Bush in a meeting with his top advisors, anguishing over the details as his advisors outlined the case for or against the war. As far as we can tell, no such meeting ever took place. Bush decided a priori to attack Iraq and after that decision was made, to build a case for it (house of cards, really) in the public's eye. For these lies alone he does not merit a pass from any American.

While some characterize the "criticism of our president in a time of war" as a despicable thing, I'm reminded of a quote attributed to Mark Twain, "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." With the expected duration of the war on terror to be decades, are these people saying all political dissent is off the table for the foreseeable future? This isn't a debate over political nuances or points made for political gain. To the contrary, the purpose of this discussion is that American lives will be saved. Responsible citizens should not sit idly by while our government sends our military in harm's way for reasons that are known to be a pack of lies. No, any characterization of dissent about the war as unpatriotic is itself nothing more than crass politics in a desperate attempt to use the patriotism of Americans to shield a failed presidency. Now THAT's despicable!

Let's not be naive. Today's politicians have an "end justifies the means" and win-at-all-costs mentality. Political spin in the normal course of politics should be expected but what happened in the months prior to the Iraq war went beyond acceptable politics. Saying that the Bush administration merely "overstated" the strength of the evidence belies the premeditated nature of the deception. The Bush administration's constant stream of misinformation, half-truths, insinuations, and false associations deceived most Americans to the point they believed that Iraq had something to do with 9/11 and the war on terror. The misinformation campaign would have made the editor of Pravda at the height of the Cold War proud. The Bush administration's assault on the truth was waged in order to deliberately deceive the nation to gain public acceptance of a war that it would not have received had the truth been known.

There is, therefore, something to the calls of impeachment. Bush and his administration lied to the people and the Congress. The result was war and over 2000 American deaths. President Clinton was impeached for mere trivialities in comparison to Bush's treachery and deception. No one died as a result of Clinton's actions. As Commander-in-Chief, Bush betrayed his countrymen in arms. He should not finish his second term. Congress should move immediately to impeach Bush.

This is now what America must do:

* Impeach Bush. He has utterly failed in leadership, lied to the people, and disgraced America. His misguided decision to attack the wrong country resulted in many American deaths. America will find a way out of this mess, without Bush.

* As soon as possible withdraw our troops and give Iraq back to the Iraqi people. I have no doubt they will succeed. If at some point in the future Iraq really threatens America, we will then have the moral authority to defend ourselves and allies.

* Refocus on the real war on terror. Finish the work in Afghanistan. Search for OBL. Seek out and destroy terrorists wherever we find them. The Iraqi people will be able to take care of the terrorists in Iraq better than we since they will not have the same constraints as our forces who must stand on their heads lest they offend Islamic sensibilities. Given their past I have no doubt the Iraqis will be more thorough and more ruthless than we could ever be in dealing with the insurgents.

* Seal our own borders including crossings, sea ports, and airports.

* Build defenses around critical infrastructure such as power plants, and water/food supplies.

* Train the country for disaster. Offer free disaster preparation training for governments, businesses, and citizens.

Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 08:21 AM

THREE NUMBERS TO NOTE: 1248, 1346, and 1532
In the escalating debate over the justifications for invading Iraq, perhaps a few numbers can provide useful perspective:
1248: the number of days between the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 12/7/1941 and the surrender of Japan's Axis ally, Nazi Germany, on 5/8/1945, V-E Day.
1346: the number of days between 12/7/1941 and the capitulation of Japan on 8/14/1945, V-J (or V-P) Day.
1532: the number of days between the al Qaeda terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 and today, 11/22/2005.
In less than four years, FDR, his Administration, and the American nation managed to mobilize and then fight and win a global conflict on two fronts against such formidable opponents as Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.
Why have President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, and their Administration flailed so helplessly against al Qaeda's stateless mosquitoes, who seem after 1532 days of the "War on Terror" only to multiply and buzz more loudly?
The reasons are of course many, but here is a prime one: if George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney had been calling the shots in 1941, the U.S. would have diverted its men and material to launch a counterattack against some random country possessing a small army and large oil fields--an Iraq or a Venezuela--rather than against the main enemies, Japan and Germany.
If this Bush Administration had been fighting World War II, the U.S. might still have troops pinned down on the beaches of Normandy and mired in the sands and caves of Iwa Jima--not to mention Iraq or Venezuela--over 60 years later.
By diverting its attention away from al Qaeda and to the invasion of Iraq, a country which had nothing whatsoever to do with the al Qaeda attack of 9/11/2001, has this Bush Administration ensured that U.S. troops will remain mired in the sands of Iraq 60 years from now?
Retired General William E. Odom, President Reagan's Director of the NSA, has described the current Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq as "...the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history." If General Odom's assessment is correct, would not the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq also qualify as one of the "greatest strategic disasters in the history of Man?" Does it not rank right up there with Xerxes' futile effort to conquer Greece, Napoleon's disastrous winter march on Moscow, Hitler's Operation Barbarossa against Russia, Hitler's refusal to withdraw the Sixth Army under General Paulus from Stalingrad, the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, and, yes, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor?
Would it not be better to deploy U.S. forces in a focused and intelligent way in order to make America more secure rather than merely more hated, exposed, and vulnerable?

Posted by: FMArouet21st | November 22, 2005 08:33 AM

RE: intelligence failure/misled. It was obvious in July 02 that this administration put geopolitical objectives above all else in their calculus. The "moral" dimension and imminent danger justifying war were highly overstated (not that Hussein was a good person, he wasn't)and as events played out, these reasons shifted like the sands in Iraq. Senator Byrd had it right "this is not a war of choice,notnecessity." It seems the chickens have come to roost, and many in office bear some responsibilty.

Posted by: David Olson | November 22, 2005 08:45 AM

I blinked in disbelief at the following statement:

"FactCheck.org looks at the current disagreement over who knew what when, and comes to the conclusion that although intelligence was not manipulated, the administration did leave out important caveats and doubts that made the case against Iraq look a lot less convincing."

What? Factcheck says intelligence was not manipulated but the administration did leave out important caveats and doubts?

Please.. How can it be possible that FactCheck doesn't know that leaving out caveats and doubts is rule #1 in purposeful manipulation?

Posted by: Violet Smart | November 22, 2005 08:48 AM

Because in "polite" society you need a "smoking gun" not speculation or ideas. Everyone can suspect the Bush Administration is corrupt, but it'll be but a hill of beans, unless there's evidence (the same level of evidence that eluded Bush and Company on WMD).

That the Democrats now have a backbone, only after Bush's poll ratings have dropped, is just as bad as their 4 year reign of cowardice.

Sad thing is, they're also so stupid to kick a dog silly, to gain a public backlash (as Americans do love an underdog, especially one beat senseless <-- count PETA to come in for the rescue too).

Then folks wonder why Washington IS Washington? It's because most of them are but lilly livered cowards who careless about STATEMANSHIP, but polls.

This is how we get our Vietnams and Iraqs.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 22, 2005 09:43 AM

If I recall at the time, one of the reasons for war was that Iraq hadn't obeyed the UN sanctions for 10 years, the UN wasn't enforcing them, and America was doing what the UN didn't have the cojones to do - remove Saddam.

Kudos to the French. The arrogant truffle eaters were right. Anyone for freedom fries with a side of crow?

What kind of message is Congress sending to the troops? You're in a mess. Keep your head down. The next President will pull you out.

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 10:01 AM

Bush reminds me of a losing football coach. His playbook ain't working. He guaranteed us a Super Bowl season, and now he's 3-7. America hates a loser and is starting to eat him alive.

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 10:13 AM

OK, everyone is mad at the Bush administration, its likely lies to get Congress to authorize an invasion of Iraq, and it very poor management of the war it wanted so badly. But what can anyone do but write into this blog?

VOTE! In 2006 a new non-republican Congress will squeeze Bush like a pimple. Bush will be worse than lame-dick. Its time to replace many members of Congress and put people in there who can run the country until 1/20/09. The vote is really the only real power we all have.

Then maybe Congress would authorize an investigation into the truth which could lead to impeachment. But it won't happen unless the republicans are kicked out of Congress.

Where is Tip O'Neill when you need him?

Posted by: Sully | November 22, 2005 10:22 AM

Kudos to the French? You're kidding me dude (if I may make that assumption!). Personally, don't really care why or how we got into Iraq. Dems and Reps are always gonna feed you lies, thats what politicians do, but there is an opportunity here to transform an entire region. Have some cojones.

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 10:24 AM

To Joe Sixpack: Hussein is gone, why are we still there? My answer is we want to install a satrap who will keep the oil flowing to us (see the Shah of Iran). There's nothing else of value in Iraq.

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 10:26 AM

Tip O'Neill? Egads man, what are you, 80? Thats the one thing the Post is good for, keep a running tab on all you aging hippies! Love or hate Bush, we are there, so lets make the best of it. You can cut and run like you did in Vietnam but we saw how that all worked out.

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 10:29 AM

To D: You think we should've stayed in Vietnam? There's nothing of value in Vietnam. At least in Iraq we're trading blood for oil.

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 10:35 AM

Right...blood for oil. Evil Chimp W. McHalibuton Bu$hitler and his nefarious cabal of neo-cons!

No, shouldn't have stayed in Vietnam, but we shouldn't have pulled the rug out from under the South Vietnamese government as the Dems did in '74 either.

Besides, whats a couple of hundred thousand deaths anyway? Thats amateurish by lefty standards

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 10:45 AM

Take it from someone who sees results everyday - we are winning the war and making great progress. The Bush Administration should be commended, not insulted. Has everyone forgotten about 9/11? Has everyone forgotten that we found Suddam's plans to initiate production of WMAD once he was off the scope? The media has skewed your opinions because all you see are death tolls. Talk to the soldiers. Talk to the Iraqi citizens. Let them tell you about the vast improvements their country has seen since our arrival. Your view from the decadence of American borders is pathetic. Should the United States send a message of incompetence? I just get so angry and frustrated at the public because all they believe is what they hear on TV. As a society, we've already brushed off the worst terrorist attack in our history like it never happened. I'll support any war in the Middle East as long as terrorism sustains the force it has today. Our troops are coming home, but not before we finish what we set out to accomplish in the first place. Wake up you commies, or get the hell out of my country. Our forefathers are turning over in their graves.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 10:48 AM

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid visits the drive-thru at Taco Bell
Reid: "Yes, let me have the Santa Fe gordita, please. Two of them."

Taco Bell drivethru lady: "Chicken?"

Reid:

Reid: "HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY PATRIOTISM!"

Posted by: D | November 22, 2005 10:55 AM

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid visits the drive-thru at Taco Bell
Reid: "Yes, let me have the Santa Fe gordita, please. Two of them."

Taco Bell drivethru lady: "Chicken?"

Reid:

Reid: "HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY PATRIOTISM!"

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 10:57 AM

Oops, my bad! sorry about the double post!

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 10:59 AM

It was, is, and will forever be about the oil. Count on a substantial US military presence until the last drop is gone. The adminstration will avoid like the plague any plan that seeks to bring troops home one day earlier, as the mind-bogglingly prevalent "cut and run" rhetoric and mule-headed "stay the course" strategy demonstrates. Don't be at all surprised when new "intelligence" prompts action in Syria and or Iraq, precluding any move to remove troops from the region. ITS ALL ABOUT THE OIL!

Posted by: Knuckles | November 22, 2005 11:07 AM

To D. and America's Hero: I think the only thing we can salvage in Iraq is our access to the oil. Iraq's not going to be a democracy, the region is collapsing into chaos. Our troops are just shoring up a rotten house. Your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 11:08 AM

Emily, with all due respect to factcheck.org, when they say that "important caveats and objections" were left out of the public debate, and then conclude that intelligence was not manipulated, isn't that engaging in a bit of manipulation in and of itself.

Indeed, factcheck.org begins to sound like Bush and Cheney themselves. It is like saying: "Although the evidence indicates that the prisoner was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, there is no evidence that torture was used."

Look. The right wing propaganda machine has become incomparably expert at this sort of deceptive sophistry. They engage in endless argument over the most subtle nuances literall revising the meaning of words and phrases; they consistently utilize the most refined forms of moral relativism that I have ever seen then complain samctimoniously over the moral relativism of the left; and and they have become the most articulate champions of the art of straining at the tiniest of gnats while swallowing whole camels.

Examples are replete: A classified memo containing the name of Valerie Plame is carried on Air Force One by Colin Powell along with the President, Vice President and several aides on a foreign trip, the first time her name appears anywhere in any government circle. A week later her name shows up in a Robert Novak column indicating she worked for the CIA as a result of Novak being tipped by two senior administration officials. Coincidence they say. There was no intent to harm Ms. Plame as a way of discouraging here husband and others from criticizing the administration's war policies. We are expected to believe that Novak's column was merely to enlighten the public?

The neocons over at the Weekly Standard are blistering in their commentary against Congressman Murtha saying that we can't leave Iraq because things are so bad over there while at the same time arguing out of the other side of their mouth that the media is not reporting accurately how swimmingly things are going over there.

The only question I have is what took you people in the media so long to catch on to all of the sophistry, deceit and outright dishonest on the part of the President and Vice President and their blindly loyal supporters?

Posted by: Jaxas | November 22, 2005 11:13 AM

To give you an idea of just how bad things really are, of just how truly dangerous and unhinged this White House is, the British are soon to release a memo of a conversation Bush had with Tony Blair over the possibility of bombing Al Jazeera. Reportedly Blair was completely taken aback and resisted such an idea in the most strenuous terms.

George W. Bush was never up to this job. There were a great many people in the media and in government who knew that Bush was unfit to command by dint of his temperament, his knowledge, his character and his leadership qualities. In fact, the most hyped aspect about the administration of George W. Bush is this notion of him as a strong leader.

Strength of leadership means more that leading the nation and the world into a set of harebrained schemes based on half baked conspiracy theories cooked up by a bunch of inexperienced neocons in the Project for a New American Century.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 22, 2005 11:24 AM

Bush: How can we pull out of Iraq? On what grounds?
Captain Congress: I'm shocked, shocked to find that that there were no WMDs!
[a croupier hands Congress a pile of defense money]
Croupier: Your war, sir.
Captain Congress: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
[aloud]
Captain Congress: Everybody out of Iraq!

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 11:26 AM

Sure its about the oil. Why not? We need it, they got it. If along the way we manage to introduce a somewhat representational form of government that helps in fomenting some change in the region which in turns helps deflate the appeal of radical Islamism, whats not to like? Politics, life, etc., is all about gambles. I'm sure if Clinton had thought about it, 80% of the posters to this site would be singing his laurels....

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 11:27 AM

So we have the following who lied, so people died:

1. Bill Clinton and all the Republicans and Democrats (all Dems in Senate???) that Saddam was in reckless defiance of UN resolutions, he was shooting at out troops enforcing UN No-Fly zones, and WMD. They all voted for Iraq Regime Change as a national objective of the United States.

2. Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, France, UK, Germany, Russia, through Swiss contacts - Iran, and the USA all got together and conspired together to claim that their intelligence agencies had concluded that Saddam had large stockpiles of Chem and Bio weapons, and was interested in nukes and long-range missiles.

3. 15 Members of the UN Security Council concluded that Saddam was in defiance of 17 past Security Council resolutions, then issued Res 1440 - comply or else. Then came Frances backstabbing along with Russias.

4. Four independent or bipartisan organizations that looked at the issue of Bush, Blair, Clinton "Lying or misleading" came up with no evidence any of the 3 mislead or lied.

The Robb-Siberman report was the most extensive. A link:

http://www.wmd.gov/report/report.html

The Lord Butler Report. A link:

http://www.butlerreview.org.uk/

The July 2004 Select Senate Intelligence Committee Report on WMD Intelligence Failures. A link:

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/iraq.html

The recent Fitzgerald Special Prosecutors Investigation found no criminal evidence of any sort of conspiracy to falsify, squash intelligence data.

The Wall Street Journal on November 3rd summarizes:

• In July 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan 500-page report that found numerous failures of intelligence gathering and analysis. As for the Bush Administration's role, "The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," (our emphasis).

• The Butler Report, published by the British in July 2004, similarly found no evidence of "deliberate distortion," although it too found much to criticize in the quality of prewar intelligence.

• The March 2005 Robb-Silberman report on WMD intelligence was equally categorical, finding "no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. . . .analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments."

• Finally, last Friday, there was Mr. Fitzgerald: "This indictment's not about the propriety of the war, and people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who are--have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel."

In short, everyone who has looked into the question of whether the Bush Administration lied about intelligence, distorted intelligence, or pressured intelligence agencies to produce assessments that would support a supposedly pre-baked decision to invade Iraq has come up with the same answer: No, no, no and no.

A link to the complete WSJ Editorial:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=110007495

I think the liberal Democrats are trying to engineer the same sort of defeat they managed when they cut off military assistance to South Vietnam in 1974, allowing it to fall. What is different this time is that while Bush and his ring of cronies have demonstrated spectacular ineptitude and poor communications abilities at times - this time the American people know that the Iraq outcome directly affects them in security, oil prices, and returning America's reputation to the weak, afraid to take casualties or sacrifice sort of America we had under Jimmy Carter. That we are doing far better than the liberal Democrats acknowledge in casting Iraq as another Vietnam we will hopefully lose soon. The end result from this Big Lie sliming of the troops and the people that stood up and voted to fight to defeat radical Islam after 9/11 is that the liberal Democrats, in a year, will be even more mistrusted in their capacity to defend America from our enemies.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 22, 2005 11:41 AM

To Chris Ford: I agree that Bush and his cronies have demonstrated spectacular ineptitude and poor communications skills (who'd've thunk it). I wouldn't mind if the 2008 election was a referendum on the war, with the Repubs. coming out for "stay the course" and the Dems. coming out for "bring the boys home". Let's vote on it!

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 11:53 AM

Thing is, aside from trying to asuage their left-wing, defeatist base (oh, who also contribute mucho $$$$), the Dems aren't serious about cutting and running from Iraq. Hell, even patron saint Hillary has pretty much said "stay the course". I think the Dems recognize that, aside from appealing to some of their 60's leftovers, most of America views them as being pretty soft on national security issues. Rightly so in my opinion, but then again, just my opinion.

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 12:02 PM

To D: Can we trade Hillary to the Repubs? Say for McCain and a draft pick to be named later?

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 12:10 PM

Knuckles wrote:
===========================================
ITS ALL ABOUT THE OIL!
===========================================

Only if that was the only reason we're in Iraq.

When the Bush Administration kept changing the reasons for getting into Iraq, the more I suspected something wrong was going on (been saying this since 2003, and not some bandwagon jumper who only has a spine when Bush's polls are declining). I told this to fellow conservatives, who kept claiming XYZ and ABC are good enough reasons, but refusing to see -- whatever country you're from, you don't like foreigners dictating policy. That's where we'll sink in Iraq -- not because of some two-bit thugs who'll murder their own mommas; or even sentiment at home about the causalities, it's because we're foreigners in a foreign land, and the people there know we won't be there forever. They know from watching how Afghanistan has to practically beg for money to rebuild what the Taliban and our bombs destroyed.

It's because how we left Afghanistan in shambles (with the Taliban regaining a toehold again), why would any Iraqi feel the US is doing them any favors? We pull out, and a vacuum is created to create yet another Balkans.

All of this was the writing on the wall in 2003, but no partisans felt it was better to go to either extreme instead.

Chris

Posted by: SandyK | November 22, 2005 12:12 PM

Nah, the Democrat party is the best thing to ever happen to the Clinton's, unfortunately for the party, they're gonna ride that pony till she drops. My money's on Condi in '08.

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 12:29 PM

Perhaps you can post the link in FACTS to the purchase of media savvy consultants to generate false intelligence for the Administration's war sales job. These false intelligence 'facts' were used to buttress the carefully parsed statements that "some reports" state.... This was Cheney's modus operandi during the runup to the war. These statements were mostly, uncritically reported on P.1 of the Post and the NYTimes.

The Rolling Stone and the Village Voice both have had very good, and mostly overlooked articles.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/8798997?rnd=1132466667811&has-player=unknown
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0246,urbina,39818,6.html

Posted by: Mike | November 22, 2005 12:53 PM

To America's Hero:

In response to your points on why we should "stay the course" in Iraq:

1."We are winning the war and making great progress" - Is that why the insurgency attacks are only increasing in number and viciousness? If that was the case, then why are we torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay? Surely if we were winning the war, these acts of desperation and cruelty wouldn't be necessary.

2."Has everyone forgotten about 9/11"? - No, we most certainly have not, but the Bush Administration still hasn't made a convincing case to the American public that Saddam Hussein was responsible for it. All his rhetoric about how criticizing the war is unpatriotic is only making things worse for him, because it is only making him look more desperate, and really not distracting Americans from the underlying issues.

3."Has everyone forgotten that we found Suddam's plans to initiate production of WMAD once he was off the scope?" - Oh, so when we were making the case for war, Saddam didn't ACTUALLY have WMD's, contrary to what the BA said? He just had plans that hadn't yet gone into effect? That's just one more piece of proof that Bush lied to us, if it is actually a reliable piece of intelligence, which I have serious cause to question.

4."Should the United States send a message of incompetence?" - Hate to break the news to you, but the US has already accomplished that, in using bad intelligence and flawed reasoning to enter this war, failing to accomplish any of the objectives set out, which was NOT to nation build, but disarm Saddam (read John's post), and then refusing to own up to our mistakes. This war is already lost in the eyes of the world, and in the eyes of the majority of Americans, if Bush's polling numbers are any indicator.

"Wake up you commies, or get the hell out of my country." Now what exactly did that little message accomplish, except to highlight your own ignorance in calling every war critic a communist? This country belongs to all of us, not just you, and our forefathers guaranteed our right to protest the actions and decisions of our government. Great men and women have died defending those rights, and I have the deepest respect and admiration for our troops. But I expect accountability from the people who made the decisions to send those troops to their deaths, and I'm not the only one who demands answers. Our forefathers, the writers of the Constitution, demanded those answers as well. That's why free speech is protected here, so that all people can have a voice in their government, especially if that voice is critical. If you don't like that, then I respectfully suggest you go find another country to live in, where people don't have that freedom. But I suspect that doesn't sound like an appealing option because you would probably miss that right once its gone, but think of the aggravation it would save! Then you wouldn't have to listen to all our anti-war protest. As for me, I'd rather listen to millions of hawks like you who claim to defend American rights, then criticize us for exercising them, than give up one inch of that freedom.

Posted by: JK | November 22, 2005 12:55 PM

The American public is ignorant, but not that ignorant, as the polls now confirm. Anyone who sat through the buildup to the Iraq war with their eyes half open know that Bush and cabal did all they could to lie this nation into a war they had wanted all along.

If our nation is to prevent such horrific abuses of power in the future, we must hold to account the few at the highest level of our government who lied this nation into war. They are the ones trying to rewrite and revise history to hide their tyranny. These thugs need to be brought out into broad daylight for a big change and face the scrutiny their boldface brutality warrants.

Posted by: aver | November 22, 2005 12:59 PM

No one ever brings up Bush's pathetic failure to generate an unambiguous U. N. Security Council authorization for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, just a few days before the "summit" meeting in the Canary Islands of Bush, Blair, and the now ousted Premier of Spain.

When the resolution was submitted, all the buzz was about the danger of a French veto or perhaps a Russian one. Bush, DURING THE EVENING NEWS ON NATIONAL TV, stated that the U. S. would push for a definite vote on this new resolution "regardless of the whip count", thus demonstrating his familiarity with Congressional cloakroom jargon and tastelessly transferring it to international diplomacy.

However, when it became apparent that the resolution would not even obtain a simple majority of votes in the Security Council (the "whip count" was about 9-6 against), so that no veto would be required by any permanent member, the resolution was withdrawn and sank like a stone from public consciousness.

This was at a time when Bush-leaguers still described their President as "a man who says what he means and means what he says." Gag me with a spoon!

In the election campaign of 2004, none of the Democrats ever mentioned this issue, nor did any of the minority party candidates.

I attempted to raise the issue by writing letters to the editors of various newspapers including the Washington Post. None was printed, and no response of any kind was forthcoming. Newshounds of the mainstream press were still lapdogs.

Now that the media have undergone a spine transplant, how about highlighting this far from trivial example of deceit and deception?

Posted by: Chas Valentine | November 22, 2005 01:06 PM

Another Vietnam analogy has reoccurred. And not a pretty one for the media.

During the initial phase of the war, embedding reporters with our forces was a big success. The reporters were by and large objective and in agreement that Iraq was a bad actor. But now the troops are very distrustful of any Iraqi, any foreign reporter or reporter from the American MSM that they do not know from past reportage is fair. The initial assumption is they side with the enemy.

When my nephew was in Ramadi with the Army last year, they had a UK reporter embedded for a while and said they pretty quickly concluded she was there to fuck them, and not in a good way. Her reports ignored the positive - and focused on the "fear and misery" of the soldiers "deceived by Bush and corporate interests" (which was good for a day or two yuck..."How's it going??" "Bloody miserable Sargent. Cowering in fear, duped by evil CEOs.") Or reported on the "incidents" - such as fearful trigger-happy Americans had shot up and killed a car full of innocent Iraqis, while ignoring that 3 weeks earlier, a suicide Jihadi driving a car bomb at the same checkpoint had wounded 5 Americans and killed two Iraqis in a stopped car before it at the checkpoint. The general hope was the Lefty Brit would get killed or kidnapped, but she stayed close to HQ.

Another soldier writes he too is distrustful of reporters. In the Washington Times, an ex-Marine relayed some insights from his son, also a Marine, and also stationed in the lovely vicinity of the noble people of Ramadi - opining on weapons effectiveness but also having words about how they feel about embedded reporters:

"According to [name redacted], morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see s*** like "Are we losing in Iraq?" on television and the print media."


http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20051121-093501-9601r.htm

Other interesting tidbits:

1. Some insurgent weapons are highly rated for lethality and effectiveness by US Marines. Bad guy fighting tactics are good, but Americans are better. Conversely, the Marines rate certain American small arms as ill-suited crap.

2. The insurgents that are captured are amazed that the Americans are far tougher and braver than they were told at "Jihad school" and by watching American and other media. They are under the impression Americans are high tech cowards not willing to fight in real danger, but will run rather than face danger & take casualties. Then they meet the actual American Army or Marines.

3. The insurgents & terrorists have no regard for civilian lives and violate all rules of war.

4. They are mostly foreign Jihadis that his unit faces. They have killed and brutally tortured any Sunnis that oppose them and support of them by native Iraq Sunnis is diminishing. Many of the foreign radical Muslims are found heavily doped up upon capture.

5. All Americans, Iraq forces know they will certainly be tortured and killed if caught by the radical Muslims. Unlike the radicals who surrender sometimes in no fear of American treatment, radical Islamists are scared crazy about ending up in Iraqi forces hands. (Another report said capturees laugh at American interrogators and only begin talking when the Iraqi forces arrive to take custody). The Marines all believe surrender to radical Islamists is not an option.

6. Arabs, Sunni and Shia are a mixed bag, some good, some not worth s**t. The Kurds, though are all great.

Funny how the real deja vu to Vietnam is not the media message the reporters and media wish to convey that Iraq is Vietnam - but instead the media are once again evaluated on their apparant loyalty - to by and large be considered to be against the troops, and for the enemy. As for the Jihadi impression of Americans being cowards before they meet our actual troops, it's understandable if they watch our media or listen to the speeches of American Democrats these days.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 22, 2005 01:09 PM

I never said people can't express their views. Go for it! Just sound like more of an idiot if you ask me. If you don't like my views, don't read them.
As for Bush lying to America - I think he might have been misinformed. He took what he thought was the best action.
We are winning the war - you can't debate me on that. I doubt you hold the position I do. I see the numbers and talk with the service men and women. I was in Baghdad for 5 months - from Aug 04 to Jan 05. I was able to see first hand what we've done for those people. The insurgent attacks have only grown more vicious and prevalent because they are getting desperate. The al-Qaeda in Irag is gasping its last breath. All we need now is a little assistance from neighboring countries to finalize the insurgency. Don't get me wrong, there will always be resistance to what we're trying to do over there. But, the scale of it will decline and when the Iraqi people are able to handle it themselves, they will have sole control over their nation.
We are building a relationship that will carry us through the 21st century. It's taken thousands of years for the Muslim world to get where they are today, and it will take many more before they become truly civilized.
I'm sorry you got so offended by me calling you a commie. That's just how I feel. Liberals are destroying our moral fiber and weakening our belief system. I can't even turn on the TV at 4 o'clock in the afternoon without seeing some guys kissing each other, or some simple minded youth displaying the very ideals that will run this nation into the ground. Just like Communism, liberal views look great on paper, but not in practice. Be a realist not an idealist. You'll never survive in this world.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 01:10 PM

Oh yeah about the abuse of prisoners - who gives a s@#%! Just like a libbie to focus on something as trivial as that. These same prisoners dished out their fair share of torture and abuse. Apparently you have forgotten that these same prisoners applauded the death of thousands of Americans. Are you an American?
Who cares if Suddam was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. He was a tyrant and now he shudders in a prison cell. There is no doubt in my mind that we are on the right course and should have been this whole time. Unfortuanately, most people are like you and would rather take the gusto out of our Warfighters than praise our elected leader on having to deal with one of the most tumultuous periods in US History.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 01:28 PM

To Chris Ford: They (the troops) are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see s*** like "Are we losing in Iraq?" on television and the print media."

Aye, that's the rub. Back home we only count American body bags. To the troops it looks like we're winning (20-1), back home it looks like we're losing (0-1). Same coverage happened in Vietnam.

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 01:38 PM

Now that the Iraqi leaders that the Republicans claim we're helping have had enough of the American occupation, should we go? Whose country is it anyway?

Posted by: Ryan | November 22, 2005 01:42 PM

Which is why you see the non-stop coverage about the casualty count (hey, doesn't the Post actually have a running tally of war dead somewhere on its site?), the most recent bombing, etc., etc....why, it almost as if the media WANTED us to lose..huh, imagine that. The bastard children of Goebbels rooting for the other side. Just like Vietnam, exactly. Defeat brought about from within. Tet was a catastrophic failure for the VC but the US media spun it and turned the war. Now they're trying to do the same with Iraq.

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 01:44 PM

To Alex Ham: "All we need now is a little assistance from neighboring countries to finalize the insurgency."

And who's going to give it to us? Iran? Syria? Jordan? There's plenty of incentive for them to keep the insurgency going. We've handed them "Hate the US" on a platter.

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 01:45 PM

To D: "Tet was a catastrophic failure for the VC but the US media spun it and turned the war. Now they're trying to do the same with Iraq."

So would you say that America will start ignoring the media, and we can win in Iraq, or America has bought into the spin and the war had turned?

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 01:49 PM

Please note: If you agree with the following email and feel strongly that Woodward's actions warrant an immediate termination from the washington post as well as agree with the general state of the media, please sign your name at the bottom of the email under the signed section, and forward to as many people as possible and include in the CC field the following emails at the washington post:

advertising@washpost.com, letters@washpost.com, oped@washpost.com, ombudsman@washpost.com, press@washinpost.com, FireWoodward@hotmail.com

Let your voice be heard, this is an action that you can take to voice your dissatisfaction and frustration.

From Deep Throat to Cohort:
The Devolution of the American media

The last straw has just descended. The continued debasing of "journalism" has hit a nadir; a profession which is an integral part of our constitution, our way of life, the very fabric of the American ideal has finally disintegrated. We are left with a press toothless, courage less, and faithless in the pursuit of truth. Bob Woodward, the iconic reporter, has devolved into a willing accomplice of the ruling elite. This truly is a sad day for journalism; a sadder day yet for America.

What was revealed should send shockwaves throughout the world. We have witnessed the unmasking of the conglomerate behind the so-called free press, whose only desire is chasing profits instead of leads. Bob Woodward, evidently selling his soul to gain "access" to the White House, is an active participant in the continuing lie perpetrated on the American people. A man whose very job is to expose lies, has instead been lying to the very public he is supposed to serve. While most reporters and journalists refuse to name sources to better serve the public, Woodward instead tells us that he did not want to tell the truth about who the original source of this leak is in order to protect himself from having to testify in front of a grand jury--courage indeed. Has it come to this, a reporter lying about a source, not to protect the public's right to know, but, rather, to deny it. What a disgrace! My hero exposed for what he is: a lying sycophant more interested in self preservation and the preservation of his access to power. After two years of lying, he finally owns up to his deception and reveals that someone in the White House did in fact speak to him two years ago about the Valerie Plame. He acknowledges this after going on talk shows dismissing the gravity of the case; erstwhile being a willing co-conspirator. How convenient that this "confession" aids an accused criminal, one Louis Libby--does the word aiding and abetting sink in yet?

The truth is that Woodward's actions are symptomatic of the general state of the press. Reporters have morphed into a tool of power instead of speaking truth to it. In the obsession to "make news", reporters jumped in the bed of the very people they are supposed to be keeping honest. Moreover, companies such as the new york times and the washington post have embedded in their employees the notion that breadth of reporting is more important than depth of reporting. In the mad dash to capture market share, the modern day news media has settled on a vision of capturing the most amount of readers while making sure to coddle the ruling elite. Sure they will report of some senator who cheated on his wife, but will ignore the actions of the very institution that senator works in that cheats their constituents. News has turned into a snapshot of events which can capture the most attention, instead of a continuous effort to educate and cultivate an informed public. Obsessed with gaining access to news makers, the news media has transformed into whores of the powerful, turning tricks to get two minutes of pleasure with the very people they are supposed to keep in check. Sound bites that tell us nothing, rhetoric reported as news, truth forsaken for an intangible balance. On a scale of news, truth has no balance and counterbalance; truth stands on its own. Yet the state of today's news media is that of a meek poodle, yelping at its master for a crumb from the table. And they wonder why subscriptions have fallen off, it's because those you serve are seeing more and more that you are Judas to the public. Unable to bear the cross of truth, you instead sell out for the nearest shekel. Reporters who no longer see the profession as a crusade against tyranny, instead you seek it as a way to get your spot on the stage. Journalists who are more eager to stand in front of the microphone instead of behind it, the silent tool of truth transformed into publicity hounds while you try to land on the new york journal best seller list. Think about that next time you are talking to your agent on a new book deal. For those who might have true passion for journalism, ask yourself if you are really doing today what you came into the business to accomplish when you were in college. For those that have always seen journalism as a means of acclaim, I truly hope that the day will come where you are torn down by your own lack of scruples.

All this leads back to Bob Woodward. From this day on, I urge all readers and subscribers of the washington post to cancel their subscription TODAY. It pains me that a great paper like the washington post has been reduced to enabling an admitted liar and in the end justifying his stance. Until Woodward has been summarily dismissed from the washington post payroll, a full accounting given of what he testified about to the grand jury, and a full page apology given to the readers, I will NEVER pick up another washington post newspaper again. I have already cancelled my subscription and urge all other readers to do the same until the washington post have resolved this situation as described above. I urge all readers to cease and desist visiting the washingtopost.com, and I urge all businesses that stand for honor and intergrity to stop selling the paper forthwith until a full accounting is given. There is one weapon that the consumer, vote with your wallet and starve the washington post of its revenue; it seems that is the only way to get a whore's attention.

Posted by: firewoodward@hotmail.com | November 22, 2005 01:53 PM

I don't think the US media enjoys the same prestige it did back in the day, so that while it will continue to influence the debate, it won't be assumed by a majority of people to be an impartial or authoritative source for information about the war. Like it or not, talk radio, the internet, easy and ready access to a variety of information, often from the source itself (there are actually a number of blogs reporting from within Iraq itself)has made the national media just another source, but not the sole source, of information.

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 01:55 PM

To Turnabout: A few months ago I would have agreed with you. Recently however, the people of these countries as well as Sunni Iraqis have become disgusted with the methods by which the insurgency is carrying out its missions. If they were smart, they'd stop all bombings, make us think the tide had turned, wait for us to pull out, then begin their civil war to occupy the country. Lucky for us, they're morons. They have a jaded view of what the American Soldier is made of. When they find out the truth, they digress to tactics equivalent to cowardice. They will fail. It won't be tomorrow, next week, or even next year. But, our victory is inevitable and the biggest mistake we can make is to pull out now. Congress talks of reducing our numbers, while our commanders there on the ground are asking for an increase in the presence of our force. Thank God they aren't the Commander-in-Chief.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 01:58 PM

The Democratic Strategy paid off: support the war AND oppose it, and when the course of the war is finally revealed they can say "see, I told you." John Kerry, we all know, did this really well. He opposed the war during the Democratic primary (because Howard Dean was making ground with the Doves). He was hawkish during the election (I think we all have tried to forget. But now he (no honestly) opposes the war for good and all.

Lets face it. Clinton and nearly fifty Democratic Senators signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 98'. It ENDORSED regime change in Iraq. Unlike the Senators who saw the recent intelligence and squeal "Bush saw more intelligence than we did," Clinton received daily NSA and CIA reports the same as Bush and drew the same conclusions.

Don't get me wrong. I wish we had gotten this right. But it sickens me to see a Congress that deferred its declarative power of war now stomp its feet and say they didn't know the whole story. They didn't mind so much until the popularity of the war began to sour.

The same people now criticizing the Administration for "intentionally misleading" us into war would be fighting to get the credit for the war if the heat wasn't so high right now.

Posted by: Jon M | November 22, 2005 02:09 PM

To Alex Ham: I think the problem with increasing our forces is that we'd have to institute a draft, and Congress doesn't want to go that route, because they sense that Americans aren't enough behind the war. Perhaps the media reflects this?

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 02:13 PM

Not a military guy so take my opinion for what it is. I think increasing forces on the ground is probably a bad idea. Large land forces are good in terms of major military engagements, what we are seeing now is low-level, sporadic hit and run attacks, aimed at demoralizing the population at home. Increasing troop levels doesn't necessarily translate to increasing troop security and actually be counter-productive to what we are trying to achieve. This is not some wide-spread rebellion or some home grown political liberation movement. I think providing specialed forces that train and work side by side with Iraqi forces to root out these "insurgents" (come on, lets just call them death squads) is probably a better approach.

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 02:23 PM

I'd say the media definitely reflects this. It should be no surprise to anyone that the media will do everything they can to make W look bad - even if that means destroying military morale. I wasn't alive during the Vietnam Era, but I've done enough research to know that we are currently heading in a path to make the exact same mistake. We're suppose to learn from our mistakes, not repeat them. Hell forget Vietnam, look at what happened to the Russians in Afghanistan.
One significant difference in this war and Vietnam is that the protestors during Vietnam weren't protesting the war, they were protesting the draft. Kind of makes you wonder what these people are protesting. They're only undercutting our military's ability. The Soldiers don't want you to protest. They want to be there, so stop. They see the difference they are making and get joy from bringing hope to the Iraqi people. We don't have a draft nor no we need one. Our good men and women are re-enlisting after their tours.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 02:29 PM

Here are just a few quick facts from a guy that has actually been in Iraq. There are so many arguments swirling around here it's impossible to pick one out to comment on so I will just throw out some fun facts (not truths which are subject to interpretation). From April-September 2003 I was in Baquba, Iraq. I traveled on a daily basis from around Tikrit in the north to BIAP (Baghdad International Airport) in central Iraq. I saw some crazy stuff but the one reality you have to recognize is the fact that that it is a backward-ass country by any standards that an American can place on a country. The entire country was an ammo dump. I mean that literally. Every school, every hospital, every mosque, and darn near every private home had a weapons stash that makes the Branch Davidian's look tiny. There were crates in Taji (former Special Republican Guard base) clearly marked in English, French, and Arabic (some Russian stuff too if I remember correctly, but I can't find those pictures) that contained surface-to-surface missiles made in 2001 and 2002. Having been in the middle of the Sunni triangle I think I was in a good place to witness the worst aspects of the war at the time. The Iraqis themselves were good people for the most part. While I only got to know a handful well enough to call them friends I got a good feeling from the hundreds of others I came into contact with each week. They were surprisingly more "normal" than the country they were living in. They were highly educated, hard working and forward thinking people on the whole. But, as I said, my experience was limited and there are obviously some evil people there too. There were terrorist camps in Iraq before we invaded. Elements from the 173rd Airborne and 4th Infantry Division were tasked to secure the camps of the MEK, BDR Corp, and another wacko group up by Kirkuk on the Iranian boarder (the name escapes me). These are all groups listed as terrorist organizations by the State Department. And one more tidbit; we were greeted like liberators with flowers and free ice (way better than flowers). In my humble opinion: we are winning decisively in Iraq on every front. You can argue on why we went, was the intelligence cooked, or what does victory mean or look like until you are blue in the face. The fact is that we went because we perceived Saddam as a threat and the elected leadership of this country chose to change the status quo by dealing with him now in a decisive manner instead on putting the potentially horrible consequences off until tomorrow. Some may claim that 2000 dead soldiers, airmen, and marines and another 15000 wounded is a horrible consequence but try to look outside of your particular political spyglass and take it context. We may never know if our actions in Iraq stopped attacks that would have killed more innocent americans. We have the luxury of looking back and questioning our actions when inaction may have produced the same results. Although, Saddam would still be building pleasure palaces and skirting sanctions while his people lived in sub-3rd world conditions. I do know this though: there has not been a terrorist attack on american soil since 9/11 and regardless of what Mike "Cookie Monster" Moore says...there IS a terrorist threat. Sorry, got away from the facts there at the end and showed my colors.

Posted by: Eggshen | November 22, 2005 02:35 PM

To D: You make a good point. This is unlike the wars we fought before the Cold War Era. Increasing troop numbers has just been requested by the Commanders on numerous occasions. A better approach, I believe, would be to increase the quality of the troops and not the quantity. Specialized forces are training Iraqi forces, but it will just take some time because these Iraqi forces lack leadership and discipline. Plus, it's hard to trust them due to cases where members of the insurgency have infiltrated their ranks. How do you hand them a machine gun, then turn your back on them to lead them into a raid? It's very difficult and our troops need our utmost support. Not all this bipartisan bickering and talk of retreat. That will only make them feel like they've wasted their time. The good people like you and I know this is not true and because of the few like us, the troops believe this is not true.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 02:37 PM

Thank you, Eggshen.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 02:40 PM

To Eggshen: When do you think we should leave Iraq?

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 02:44 PM

Thanks Eggshen, good post.

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 02:49 PM

You are most welcome, Alex. Honestly, when I see knuckleheads wasting air by bickering for political points, I just sit back and laugh. I love it. I really do. I highly recommend visiting a country like Iraq (maybe something with less shooting). I came back with an appreciation of things I never though twice about. Three things I smile about everyday. 1) Indoor plumbing. 2) Our grocery stores. 3) Political discourse and freedom of speech. Freedom of responsible speech is for another blog I guess. Be thankful people.

Posted by: Eggshen | November 22, 2005 02:54 PM

Part of the recommendations from John's articulate posting includes:

"As soon as possible withdraw our troops and give Iraq back to the Iraqi people. I have no doubt they will succeed. If at some point in the future Iraq really threatens America, we will then have the moral authority to defend ourselves and allies."

If the US was misled by the Bush administration to oust a legitimate government by force, shouldn't we try to "right our wrongs" by restoring Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party to power?

If a corrupt enemy force seized your kingdom, wouldn't you want your kingdom restored to you rather than your serfs?


As concerns impeachment, it sounds as though John is expecting enough legislative changes in the 2006 elections to bring the Democrats to power, and that, by impeachment, John means that both George W. Bush and Richard Cheney would be impeached. This could make Nancy Pelosi the president. Hmmmm...

Posted by: Dave20640 | November 22, 2005 02:59 PM

Look folks, I was just a Captain with a narrow looking glass way back in 2003. I don't claim to have any "right" answers and I don't claim to have a "morale" box to stand on just because I was there. I think (THINK) and truly believe that we are so close to achieving something so great and unthinkable it's impossible for me to articulate (damn public schooling). The Iraqi army has had its problems for sure. The political machine is grinding away. More and more of the average Iraqi (what the hell does average really mean? I hate that term when I here it on the news) population is shifting support towards the new Iraqi government in opposition to the bad guys that blow weddings up and behead aid workers. I still work in the "field" of military operations and I can tell you that there are so many good things that go unreported that it would fill volumes. When should we leave? As soon as possible and not a minute later. You have to let the Brigade and Division commanders make that call on the ground. Making tactical decisions from DC is a bad idea....ask Prez Johnson.

Posted by: Eggshen | November 22, 2005 03:07 PM

Sorry, Alex Ham,

You get to share this great country of ours, and I stress the ours here, with all of us. Even those who see things differently then you do. So, no I'm not going anywhere. Get use to it. As strongly as you support any war, I'll oppose any I deem imperialistic in nature. And that's how I read this one from day one.

Posted by: one more patriot | November 22, 2005 03:13 PM

Last comment for me here and I'm headed to the barn. Here is what an random Iraqi told me one day while I was waiting to cross a one-lane bridge across the Tigris(he spoke better english than me by the way). He basically told me- "thank you, thank you for saving us. When Shia were being killed by Saddam (he actully used an Aribic term that means jack-ass instead of Saddam) nobody helped us. Jordan did not help us. Syria did not save us. Saudi Arabis, Iran, Palastine, and every "arab" country did nothing. America did something...thank you." I swear on my honor that is a true story and it made the whole trip worth it.

Posted by: Eggshen | November 22, 2005 03:21 PM

To Eggshen: Indoor plumbing, grocery stores, and freedom of speech are three good things to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving Debaters!

Posted by: Turnabout | November 22, 2005 03:23 PM

It is so disappointing that the media and many Democrats place "beating Bush up" above winning the war, the welfare of the troops, and giving the American public an accurate picture of what is going on.

That the troops have gone from accepting the media to hating and distrusting all but a few with solid conservative or military credentials they know will be straight with them - is a condemnation of the media.
Its sort of funny. If we prevail, the liberal Democrats and media are going to look bad and not to be trusted for a long while. If we lose and Iraq goes into civil war and the radical Islamists are emboldened by America's weakness induced by resurgent Lefties here - the terrorist attacks on Americans resume and the media and the liberal Democrats get the blame.

Brilliant strategy.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 22, 2005 03:26 PM

To one more patriot: Well then you're an idiot. Hold on, I take that back. You're misinformed. Imperialistic in nature? Unfortuanately for America, you weren't born in another country and facing oppression on a daily basis. All we're doing is spreading hope and freedom across a country that never experienced it, and most of them love us for that. Compared to Iraqi citizens, we were all born with a silver spoon in our mouths.
You have a right to your opinion - that's what is so great about our nation. However, I feel it is my patriotic duty to help those like you to "see the light." Now that's a war we can't win.
One right you shouldn't have - the right to call yourself a patriot. Apparently you like terrorism.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 03:50 PM

D and Alex Ham. Why haven't you put your money where your mouths are enlisted with a request to be posted to Iraq?

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 22, 2005 04:11 PM

Eggshen wrote:
===========================================
Making tactical decisions from DC is a bad idea....ask Prez Johnson.
===========================================

How about commenting on the tactical decisions made by Rumsfeld on troop deployment sizes? You can't win a war with 1/4 of the troops necessary to EFFECTIVELY gain/guard the ground. That IS a Vietnam repeat, especially in 1969.

BTW, my dad was a combat vet of Korea and Vietnam (got the bronze star and 3 purple hearts, CIB with 2 stars blah, blah, blah), and was at Tet as a PSG (and for 3 months we had no clue he was dead or alive as he had no time for inprocessing, they came and got him right off the tarmac because he was a PSG with infantry experience which they were soooo short of). Last year this Iraq topic came up, and he told us this: "They all lie". From every single combat vet I've known (and I've was born and raised on a military base to boot), none trust their government, period. So tell me how can you have so much faith in your government, when so many who have served in combat don't? Not one of them are cowards, or malcontents they're Lifers who love their country dearly, but don't like the government one bit (maybe because they heard enough lies, and maybe because they had the effects of war not only to others, themselves <-- you'll be surprised how many CVs are alcoholics trying to dull their pain).

I sincerely appreciate your sacrifices and your call for the truth to be known, but at the same time (on this side of this topic), I don't see the gung-ho attitude. Not because we can't win, because the will isn't there (there's no troops to win it, and none will come, because the war is not to be won). You'll see that sometime in the future, capt, and understand that politics is a very dirty business, and it's the grunts who are the last to know (but carry the baggage forever).

Semper Fi!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 22, 2005 04:14 PM

To patriot1957: Here we go, another bastard claiming patriotism. I do my part for the war as a DA Civilian. I served in the Army for 4 years and spent a year in the Balkans. Don't come at me with some weak effort to undermine my statements. Lord knows you aren't joining. I'm doing my part for my country. Are you?

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 04:19 PM

Read back you stupid f*$#! I spent time in Iraq and I'm returning in March. Pisses me off. Making claims about something you know nothing about. Keep getting all your info from the news.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 04:22 PM

"FactCheck.org looks at the current disagreement over who knew what when, and comes to the conclusion that although intelligence was not manipulated, the administration did leave out important caveats and doubts that made the case against Iraq look a lot less convincing."

Excuse me, but leaving out important caveats and doubts seems like a pretty damn good definition of manipulation of intelligence to me. Incidentally, to those of us who haunted the "reality based community blogs" prior to the war, many of the important caveats and doubts were well known, provided by former members of the intelligence community who were passing on info provided by colleagues who were still in the CIA, the INR, etc. Their colleagues were leaking info about the misuse of intelligence, before the war, because they were stunned and disgusted at what the administration was doing to justify the war they so wanted.

During the run-up to the war it was very clear to some of us that the administration was determined to have its war, regardless of the facts. To offer some supporting evidence, let's set aside the intelligence for now, and consider other elements of the march to war.

First, remember Bush's repeated claim that war would be a last reasort and that diplomacy was being used to avoid war? To anyone with half a brain, it was obvious that the only "diplomacy" that the administration was engaged in was of the arm-twisting variety, trying to muscle the security counsel into sanctioning the war.

Second, and this speaks to Cheney's speech yesterday in which he claimed that the administration did not have the burden of proof, when it came to WMD, but rather it was up to Saddam to prove he did not have them, well, remember that Blair had to twist Bush's arm to get him to accept the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq. Recall, also that the inspectors found zilch, zippo, nada, despite being fed intelligence on where to look. But, to Bush and Cheney, this only proved that
Saddam was continuing to deceive and lie. They continued to conjur up mushroom clouds, despite the fact that a nuclear weapons program would require massive research and development facilities.

Also, remember the political climate, which was shaped by Bush and Cheney, who never missed an opportunity to stoke the still smoldering coals of fear ignited at the World Trade Center. Remember the warnings to go out and buy plastic sheeting and duct tape because of a potential chemical attack? Warnings that just happened to coincide with their descriptions of the threat that Saddam's WMD arsenal posed to us?

The administration used that fear as a weapon against any American who questioned the need for war.

Preemptive war based on claims of which the claimant does not have the burden of proof? What an absolutely lovely concept! Washington, Jefferson, et al must be spinning in their graves

Posted by: Steve | November 22, 2005 04:22 PM

To Steve: After reading a comment like yours, I bet they are spinning in their graves. Why does everyone keep talking about our "search for WMAD?" Wake up! See the big picture. Just becasue we didn't find any doesn't mean they were never there. It doesn't mean Saddam wasn't going to develop them. It doesn't mean the Baath Party didn't hate us and want us all dead. We did a great thing by occupying Iraq. We quite possibly saved thousands of innocent American lives (children). Terrorists occupied Iraq before we got there. They're all over the place out there. We must do what we can to ensure that the United States never faces a disaster like 9/11 ever again. Why can't you people see that?

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 04:31 PM

Alex Ham. No, I am too old for the military. But to tell someone who disagrees with you "Apparently you like terrorism" is beneath any soldier who understands what he/she is fighting for.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 22, 2005 04:47 PM

Alex;

I swore I would never post in a discussion like this again, but it's been quite a while, I guess I forgot about the morons who haunt these things. First off, my hairy palmed amigo, was not the topic of this discussion supposed to be whether we were mislead regarding the WMD or not?

Secondly, the war would never have been fought if not for the supposed WMD.

I see the big picture Alex; yes we have a real threat looming over us in the form of radical Islamic jihadis. By the way, they were not in Iraq prior to the war. That's a fact. (Zarqawi was in Kurdish controlled territory.) Terrorists most certainly did not occupy Iraq.

Yes, Saddam was a terrible dictator, he is clearly bound for hell. Yes, the Baath party may well have hated us. However, it is the consensus of much of the intelligence community that the invasion of Iraq has not only increased international terrorism, but it also seriously weakened our effort against those we really should have focused on. Remember al Qaeda?

By the way, before you get on the "I was in Iraq" high horse, my sister was in Baquba for a year, a close friend fought in Falluja, and I was in the Special Forces in Nam, pal. I have a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts, thanks to Charlie.

And don't waste your keystrokes on trying to transmit your unreasonable anger back at me in reply to this post, I'm outta here, I don't care to argue with folks that don't know the facts.

Posted by: Steve | November 22, 2005 04:51 PM

Patriot1957 - You are saying that because I'm not in the military I shouldn't be allowed to comment? Not very sporting of you, now is it?

Posted by: D. | November 22, 2005 04:54 PM

Steve,

There are actually decent Americans who believe it was OK to deceive us into Iraq with the WMD story because spreading Democracy into the Middle East is in our best interests. My brother is one of those people. He is one of the most honest people on the planet, really, and never tolates lies from anyone. Yet he would accept this lie from his government as the kind of lie you tell your kids about "Santa's watching". Yes, he is a hawk through and through who had an appointment to the airforce academy right after Vietnam but failed the physical for a heart valve abnormality and hasn't served in uniform.

He think's I'm naive. He is horrified not by the war but by the inept way it was prosecuted. But he thinks the Egyptians and Jordanians will come to the rescue and get mainstream Muslims to kill support for the terrrorists. I hope he's right on this but fear he's naive. He has a 17 year old son and he believes that his son will not die in Iraq because a)it will be over soon when the Egyptians and Jordanians prop up the backlash against the insurgency, and because his son's chances of dying in a car accident at 17 are higher than that of a soldier in Iraq being blown up by an incendiary device (haven't checked those facts yet).

But never in all our lively political discussions have I been subjected to the kind of deceitful attacks "so then you like terrorism" or (censored) foul attack as Alex Ham has put up on this board.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 22, 2005 04:59 PM

Apparently I've offended some of you and for that I apologize. I get a little lost sometimes in my efforts to convey my beliefs. I went off on a tangent from the original discussion because of what myself and a fellow debater were discussing earlier.
It's just hard for me to understand where many of you are coming from because I support the Warfighter on a daily basis and I use to be one myself. Hopefully one day we can all agree that this wasn't a mistake. Your President doesn't attempt to deceive you or trick you. If he was that kind of person he wouldn't be so adamant about protecting our freedom.
Sorry to everyone. All partisan issues aside, we are all Americans and we need to all be in this together.
Patriot1957, I do know what I am fighting for. I just felt insulted that you would ask why I haven't enlisted and requested Iraq after all I've done for my country.
WMAD or not, we are there and that isn't going to change anytime soon. It's just that you may think you are helping by protesting but you're only doing harm to our men and women overseas, God bless them.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 05:23 PM

By the way, terrorists were present in Iraq before the war. Steve doesn't know what he's talking about on that one. As for the hairy palmed comment - well that's just ridiculous. People shouldn't assume that everyone does what they do.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 05:27 PM

SandyK. Here is my take on "tactical decisions made by Rumsfeld on troop deployment sizes" you comment on. First of all let's review the facts; the major players in planned ground invasion were 3rd Infantry Division (about 18,000 joes), 101st Airborne/Air assault Division (about 15,000 joes), 1st Marine Division (i think about 10,000 jarheads, im not a Marine so im not sure on that one) and the 4th Infantry Division (about 20,000 joes). There was also about 10,000-20,000 more support players from the 1st COSCOM but they don't account for any combat power unless throwing MRE bombs count. The 4th ID was taken out of the planned fight when Turkey would not allow us to attack from their soil. I would take a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess) and say that in order to secure every house, mosque, school, and hospital being used to store munitions it would have taken a force of many hundreds of thousands or more to do what you propose. There was a pre-planned strategy made by the former regime to hide munitions all across the country before we even stepped into Iraq. Even if we could have organized the "million man march" into Iraq the bad guys have been receiving aid and comfort from Syria and Iran from day 1. Mr. Rumsfeld was right, politically incorrect perhaps, but right when he said "you go to war with the army you've got". This isn't Vietnam where the media has a monopoly on the distribution of information and the enemy is receiving massive aid from a rival super-power from across untouchable and un-securable boarders and our military is a non-professional institution. In hind sight I wish the 4th ID could have moved in from the north to cut off the Syrian boarder more quickly (I know a lot about this because that was my unit) and we had 1,000,000 more boots on the ground, but war is imperfect no matter what and soldiers are trained and get paid to improvise. It's incredibly easy to draw fuzzy lines between previous failed wars and Monday morning quarterback decisions that were made at a time where inaction was more perilous than imperfect action. I get pissed off when I hear people make huge generalizations about anything like, "they lie". It is weak argument. Why do people always look at vets with pity and think we were somehow tricked and used, but then ignore our opinions? We understand that we are tools that are to be used to achieve a political end. We are professionals and we all took the oath without coercion or misconception. You say the "will" isn't there to win. I say it is and the overwhelming majority of soldiers and marines in Iraq say so too. You say we can't win. I say we can and will. Victories have already been achieved. Saddam is gone. Is that a bad thing? Iraqis have voted on their own future. Is that bad? No bombs have gone off here since 9/11. Bad too? Lebanon kicked out the ass-hole Syrians. Another tragic event? Libya has renounced WMD. The bad news just keeps coming. We have nearly the entire effort from Al Qaeda aimed at stopping our mission in Iraq. What do you want? World peace and a pony? If anyone is doing the lying and omitting of facts around here I would point to the media and the liberals before I point at this administration. And as wrong as you are about this I will kick anyone's ass that tries to stop you from expressing your opinion and beliefs.

Posted by: Eggshen | November 22, 2005 05:40 PM

What seems to have been forgotten here is the past conduct of the U.S. government in the Arab lands, i.e. the oil lands. The vicious conduct of our government over the years is now coming home to roost. There have been the most loathsome machinations to suppress those in the Middle East who want the oil wealth to go to the people of the region and not only to the fat cat plutocrats whom the U.S. is propping up.

Does anybody remember the atrocities committed by the Savak, the secret police of the U.S. ally the Shah of Iran? Has everyone forgotten how the Shah tried to crush the nationalists by having the Savak, supported to the hilt and trained by the CIA, torture children in front of their parents? Could it be possible that the natives were riled by such goings-on? Could it be possible that the Ayatolla Khomeini was a response to American-inspired torture and abuse? After Abu Ghraib and the secret CIA prisons, not to mention the other photos that the Department of Defense is covering up, such allegations are not at all far-fetched, I believe.

There is a pattern that is generally followed when American business muscles in on Third World raw materials. First, the companies bribe the local power wielders with the great riches to be gotten if the can keep the nationalists down, in modern parlance "communists" and "terrorists." If it should happen that the nationalists manage to fight the corrupt power structure, then the corporations run to Uncle Sam, crying bitter tears about how the "terrorists" are "impeding progress" and that military help is needed to assist "development" of the client country. The result is often that the U.S. government mounts covert, but sometimes overt, military operations. Whenever the overt route is taken, the proffered reasons are always high-flying rationales such as "democracy," "freedom," and other buzzwords, never less lofty purposes such as grabbing resources. Americans have been conditioned from childhood to believe these self-serving lies, along with "America has the best [insert almost anything here.]" Americans are amazingly ignorant and parochial, but that is competely understandable, because American exceptionalism stands on two thick, fat, elephantine legs: ignorance and parochialism These are indispensable pre-requisites for believing oneself special ...

Posted by: Odysseus160 | November 22, 2005 06:18 PM

"Your President doesn't attempt to deceive you or trick you. If he was that kind of person he wouldn't be so adamant about protecting our freedom."

Sorry, I find this incredulous, for multiple reasons. Here's one of them: The entire nuclear claims were built on a report that Niger sold Saddam 500 tons of yellowcake. Three people investigated this (Fulford, Owens-Kirkpatrick and Wilson) and said it wasn't credible that he got the yellowcake (but did say Saddam sent a trade delegation presumed to be interested in it). Then on or about October 15, 2002 the documents supposedly proving the yellowcake sale were found and sent from Italy through the embassy. Its not credible that Rice and Bush and company weren't told the smoking gun was coming. The documents were laughable forgeries - its not credible they weren't told why they couldn't use them to bolster their case for war. It was more than the seals and the signatures - when they actually looked at the output of the mines they realized it wasn't possible to mine and move that much yellowcake undetected. It corroborated what the 3 on the ground investigators, the story was simply not credible. We failed to share this information with the Brits, who, as we learned after the 16 words, still didn't know we had proof the Niger story wan't credible. Yet, months after this, while we possessed the proof the nuclear claims were not credible, Bush and Rice were still invoking images of "mushroom clouds" and uttering the "16 words".

I can not find a charitable explanation for this other than the one offered by my brother, that they didn't trust us with the truth. And that, dear Alex, is the crux of the problem. We can send soldiers off to die in foreign lands for the American way, but the American way isn't supposed to be a first strike war under false pretenses.

Here's another: Rumsfeld et al spun tales of how we had trained 168,00 Iraqi security forces. Just Google it for the quotes. But when we hauled their arses before Congress and put them under oath the number was suddenly one battalion. There is a charitable explanation for this?

And a third: Are we back to what constitutes deception and trickery? How will you respond when your teenager says he's going to Pat's party and Pat's parents will be home, but you later learn the party was in a hotel room not at Pats home and no adults were there? When you go to punish him he'll vigorously defend the fact that he didn't lie. But he parsed his words in such a way as to create a false impression in your mind. In the run up to war this president carefully parsed 9-11 or the war on terror into every speech on Iraq until 69.4% of Americans reported they believed them to be connected. In fact Bush refused to come right out and said they were not connected until about a year and a half after the invasion when the questions of his honesty began to arise. I can find no charitable explanation other than deceit and trickery.

And the part about the president protecting my freedom? This president has been busy at home getting the House to pass at least 3 court stripping bills this year (and two the year before)- bills that forbid the Supreme Court to rule on them, removing some of the checks and balances the founding fathers saw the need to put on his power. There are some parts of the Patriot Act that redact my civil liberties without a compensatory increase in my safety, and now we are learning these parts are indeed being misused - and the thousand plus page act Act was sprung on Congress only hours before the vote so they didn't have time to read it and only one had the courage to say NO. And while your friends are dying fighting the midrassas the House was voting to allow federally funded preschool Head Start programs to discriminate hiring teachers based on religion. And the attacks of "unpatriotic" or "then you must love terrorists" manipulated otherwise good and decent people into defending torture and abuse unbecoming to this nation and into trying to limit academic freedoms and critical thought. No, this president is NOT the champion of my freedom. My freedom is under attack both from abroad and at home.

I take care of the children from a nearby Army base and I hear it all from the dads when they are home between tours. The place we "cut and run" from is Afghanistan, the Karzai government controls only the major cities there now, and they keep telling me its only a matter of time before it all comes down around our ears there.

We cannot stay this course. We must either escalate a la McCain (which I think will be a futile echo of Vietnam and we all know how that came out), or we must create a graceful way to leave Iraq as soon as possible, - that war was begun in a morally unjust way and our presence there is fueling a terrorist spawning machine of epic proportions (Oh my gosh I just agreed with Bill O'Reilly - is the sky falling?).


Hm, that was a rant. Like my brother and me, I guess we can respectfully disagree and privately think the other hopelessly naive. But its tragic that our soldiers are paying the price for a policy that was either failed at conception or else mismanaged to death.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 22, 2005 06:20 PM

What seems to have been forgotten here is the past conduct of the U.S. government in the Arab lands, i.e. the oil lands. The vicious conduct of our government over the years is now coming home to roost. There have been the most loathsome machinations to suppress those in the Middle East who want the oil wealth to go to the people of the region and not only to the fat cat plutocrats whom the U.S. is propping up.

Does anybody remember the atrocities committed by the Savak, the secret police of the U.S. ally the Shah of Iran? Has everyone forgotten how the Shah tried to crush the nationalists by having the Savak, supported to the hilt and trained by the CIA, torture children in front of their parents? Could it be possible that the natives were riled by such goings-on? Could it be possible that the Ayatolla Khomeini was a response to American-inspired torture and abuse? After Abu Ghraib and the secret CIA prisons, not to mention the abuse and torture photos that the Department of Defense is refusing to release in defiance of a court order, such allegations are not at all far-fetched, I believe.

There is a pattern that is generally followed when American business muscles in on Third World raw materials. First, the companies bribe the local power wielders with the great riches to be gotten if they can keep the nationalists down, in contemporary parlance "communists" and "terrorists." If it should happen that the nationalists manage to fight the corrupt power structure, then the corporations run to Uncle Sam, crying bitter tears about how the "terrorists" are "impeding progress" and that military help is needed to assist "development" of the client country. The result is often that the U.S. government mounts covert, but sometimes overt, military operations. Whenever the overt route is taken, the proffered reasons are always high-flying rationales such as "democracy," "freedom," and other buzzwords, never less lofty purposes such as grabbing resources. Americans have been conditioned from childhood to believe these self-serving lies, along with "America has the best [insert almost anything here.]" Americans are amazingly ignorant and parochial, but that is competely understandable, because American exceptionalism stands on two thick, fat, elephantine legs: ignorance and parochialism These are indispensable pre-requisites for believing oneself special ...

Posted by: Odysseus160 | November 22, 2005 06:24 PM

Oh, one more thing before I go start making pies. (Yes, even apple).

I will support either the McCain "escalation" plan or the Murtha "push the Iraqis out of the nest and stand back to watch them fly" plan so long as they are administered by honest, competent leadership. I don't think either plan will have a great outcome and no matter which we pick we'll wish we tried the other instead. But staying this current course is out of the question. I will send my kids to fix America's mistakes, but I will not sacrifice them on the altar of neocon arrogance.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 22, 2005 06:32 PM

Whether or not the Bush administration manipulated spy intelligence, they definitely manipulated the intelligence of the American people by using the fear and hysteria created by 9/11 to further their political agenda through creating the Iraq War. Let us not forget that this was a war of choice put out by the administration on a political timeline to coincide with the 2002 elections, as well as to set up George Bush for the 2004 election. Politicians manipulated the truth to get what they wanted accomplished, as is their way, so there should be little question that George Bush is not being upfront and straightforward in how intelligence was used or misused in making the case for war. A much more factual and better case AGAINST the war (and why we should begin withdrawal immediately) can be found at www.niemanwatchdog.org in the form of an article called "What's Wrong With Cutting And Running?", written by Lt. General William Odom, a former Reagan NSA (I also recommend that Emily frame a debate around the exceptional arguments being made by Odom).
Bush's speech about the war (that Emily provided a link for) is glaring on what it omits.
Bush omits the fact that invading Iraq and deposing of Saddam would let loose an inevitable civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. That civil war is now under way, and, like all civil wars, must run it's course fully to decide the future of Iraq.
Bush omits the fact that engaging in the war would damage our credibility in the world, and failed to weigh the credibility risks that are associated with starting a war and conducting it badly. This war has hurt our credibility in the world by it being such a debacle, and we can only begin restoring that credibility by bringing the war to an end.
Bush omits the fact that, once the war against Saddam ended, the war would shift into one against an insurgency. In effect, we created the insurgency that is currently in Iraq killing both Iraqi civilians and our American troops. It's existence was inevitable as soon as we invaded.
Bush omits the reality that 'bringing the fight to the terrorists' actually creates a battleground for the terrorists to thrive and further their cause. We have done just that with this war. And what gave us the right to decide Iraq had to be where we'd call the terrorists out at? That was VERY unfair of us to conscript the entire country of Iraq and it's citizens into our war against Al Qaeda.
Bush omits how the war would empower Iran to have more influence over Iraq than it ever had before, and in effect, we have empowered their hostile regime. To set up a completely new, fledgling government right next to an established, more powerful government was utterly foolish. Certainly, Iran is doing all it can now to take advantage of the situation, and they now have unprecedented influence in the region thanks to being able to manipulate the weaker Iraqi government.
Bush omits how we would put at risk the stability of Iraq's bordering countries and the entire Middle East region. Recent terrorist attacks in Jordan are the product of the Iraq War we created. Problem is, we have now already opened Pandora's box there by invading Iraq, and it will have to be seen if the civil war in Iraq spreads out to beyond the country's borders. When we conscripted the Iraqis into our War On Terror, we conscripted their neighbors as well.
Bush omitted that the Iraq War diverted focus away from going after Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden directly. Bin Laden remains free and extremely dangerous, and he may have very well been captured by now if we had taken the effort and energy we put into the Iraq War into the hunt for Osama instead.
Bush omitted that establishing a democracy by inciting this war had a high probability of not working. I think it is very important that we all finally accept what a pipe dream it was to think we can somehow create a democracy just like that (let alone through military conflict), and to think that it would ever be able to stand on it's own. It is painfully obvious now that what ever Iraq becomes, it will NOT be becoming in any way an America-like democracy. I agree with the noble intentions of the war, but now recognize those intentions for what they were: noble, but not feasible. You cannot impose democracy on others; Rather, they must create it for themselves. No matter how noble and well intentioned it may be, a pipe dream is still a pipe dream.
And, finally, Bush omitted that he had personal family reasons for going after Saddam Hussein. His father sufferred politically from not removing Saddam from power the first time around, and there was also an assassination attempt made against his father by Saddam's regime. Only a president with the last name Bush would focus so heavily on Iraq after 9/11. He had it in his sights the moment he was elected (well, not elected but appointed), and he used the War On Terror to avenge the Bush family honor. To not understand this is to not understand human nature. There should be little doubt that Bush manipulated intelligence to get what he wanted done.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 22, 2005 06:36 PM

Odysseus160 hit the nail on the head. 9/11 didn't just happen. It happenned in response to a LONG history of American manipulation and support of brutal regimes in the Middle East.
And yet, so many Americans demonize the terrorists and embrace the War On Terror on jingoistic notions of good versus evil. The Bush administration itself puts forth such a stance. International terrorism is a Frankenstein's monster that we helped create. We need to start less wars of choice, and more policies dismantling the way we have fueled terrorism in the past by not supporting corrupt, brutal regimes. Let's not be too hypocritical by pretending we have always conducted ourselves as the good guys in the Middle East, and that 9/11 wasn't a reaction to our past bad conduct and policies there.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 22, 2005 06:46 PM

Odysseus160 you must be one of those liberal elite academics who fills the head of our students with liberal "free thought" and "critical thinking'. You need to be replaced with someone who will indoctrinate our students with good old fashioned conservative principles like it is unpatriotic to speak your mind unless you agree with the president because our soldiers might be discouraged that people at home still have the right of free speech and the passion about the country to exercise it. Our president cannot accomplish his agenda until liberal academic elites like you are discredited.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 22, 2005 07:12 PM

re: Shah of Iran

As I recall, when the shah of Iran was in power, Iran supplied a very small percentage of the oil coming to the U.S.. Back in the 1960s, I think well over half of the US's oil supply was from domestic sources.

My understanding of the US relationship with Iran in the 1960s was that it was primarily because Iran was a key "geopolitical ally" in the Cold War. I think we often forget Iran shared a fairly strategic border with the former Soviet Union. One might contend that, even without oil, it has a fairly strategic position, geographically (in Cold War terms).

The Cold War was a high priority in national security. For many years, a key strategy for "winning" the Cold War, the US entered into many similar alliances which may seem unsavory, particularly in retrospect.

Certainly, oil became more of an issue as time went on (and Iranian oil fields were developed), but I don't think the original relationships were based on oil. I don't know if the development of the Iranian oil fields made the Palavi regime (more) fearful of Soviet take-over, but it did provide the funds that could allow them to build up a fairly modern military.

It is interesting that, like many other "dynasties," including some France (Louis XVI), Russia (Tsars, Soviets), etc., Iran was toppled from within; not from an attack from outside. At least one of the dynasties that controlled China during the construction of the Great Wall was overthrown from within.

One might suggest that we, in the US have found a more civilized way to do this (elections). Hopefully, it won't get worse than that.

Posted by: Dave20640 | November 22, 2005 07:28 PM

Your President doesn't attempt to deceive you or trick you. If he was that kind of person he wouldn't be so adamant about protecting our freedom.
Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | Nov 22, 2005 5:23:55 PM

If only that were so, Alex. Commendable patriotism on your part, but history shows otherwise when it comes to politicians. And President Bush's recent history is no exception, especially in regard to the case he made for the Iraq War.
Your statement is how an America president SHOULD be, but I'm afraid that is not the current state of affairs when it comes to the politicians we now have in power. It's nice to see that Americans such as yourself have such a high standard, though.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 22, 2005 07:53 PM

Just wanted to say Alex Hamm, you are are an undereducated idiot. Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

Posted by: BT76 | November 22, 2005 08:02 PM

I'm officially done writing here. I feel sorry for all of you. BT76 - I have a Master's Degree in Political Science my friend. What do you have?
How unfortunate the future of our country looks if this is the way most people feel. I could literally cry right now. Do you think your great-grandparents acted this way during the World Wars? If they had, we wouldn't have been victorious. The US hasn't won a war since our society gave in to liberal ways. We care more for our enemy than we do ourselves. The couple blogs before this defending the actions of terrorism and stating we created it make me sick to my stomach. I pray that I've just come in contact with a few individuals representing the minority. If the opposite is true, then all hope is lost.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 22, 2005 08:51 PM

Steve: "my sister was in Baquba for a year, a close friend fought in Falluja, and I was in the Special Forces in Nam, pal. I have a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts, thanks to Charlie."

So you have a sister in a 1 year combat zone assignment in "Bad-Ass" Baquba, and 35-40 years ago you were the typical soldier too, after a few years as ordinary infantry (18-24 months) then re-upping to become a bemedaled Special Forces in Vietnam.

Did your older brother fight in WWII?

______________________________________
The Left wishes to frame it as a matter of the WMD being the only issue, that Bush lied and people died, and if only we had let the Blix & the UN inspectors work......

Some reality. Many people here have never been a decision-maker, using best judgement in the absence of complete information on a competitors plans, leading based on weighing upsides and downsides. So lets look at what we had.

1. 17 UN Security Council Resolutions blown off by Saddam.
2. His forces regularly firing on and attempting to kill US, British, Italian, and even French pilots attempting to enforce the UN-ordered No Fly Zone - attacks which in themselves constitute grounds for declaring war.
3. Saddam completely defiant until the US and the Brits said enough and began moving 250,000 armed forces into the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Then he said he would reconsider letting UN inspectors in, but give them no assistance in complying with past UN resolutions that he give a full account of his WMD program. The only reason Blix got in was because we had a mobilized army parked in 2 countries eager to see them get out, especially Saudi Arabia, plus the 4th ID mobolized and ready to go. The Lefty solution is we would just have 250,000 - 300,000 Forces sitting in sand for 1-2 years Blix said he needed if Saddam wouldn't cooperate but would let inspectors move around.
You just can't have an invasion force sit. We would have had to pull them in a few months, and then there would be no reason for Hussein to keep the UN inspectors in and we would have been back at square one.
4. As mentioned before, on WMD...if Bush lied, Clinton lied, Israel lied, Jordan lied, France lied, and Russia lied. All had strong intelligence that turned out to be Saddam deliberately deceiving his own troops (Rep Guard generals were told confidentially by Saddam that the next division had huge amounts of WMD ready to use.)
5. Abuse of Kurds and Shia continued.
6. Saddam, like the typical hate-America Lefty here, thought 9/11 was just desserts that America had coming to it, and like the Leftys, said so. Not a good thing when the whole world was convinced he had WMD and there had been an anthrax attack and radical Muslims affiliated with Al Qaeda had already been caught in Italy and the UK trying to make basic poisons (ricin) and chemical weapons (phosgene).
7. Nor did Saddam seek to dissuade charges that he had met with Al Qaeda and his financing of terrorists involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict - particularly his rewarding of suicide bombers (50,000 dollars). And offering smaller rewards for those who killed Jews in attacks and lived. The Al Qaeda connection is neither proven nor disproven. It is one area the Bush people are long past due to clarify.
8. Reports from Iraq conveyed that infrastructure was crumbling and the rule of law had broken down into what appeared to be a government of criminal al-Tikritis and other henchmen doing as they pleased, most notoriously Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay.
9. The Iraq regime was implicated in assassination attempts against the Kuwaiti royal family in 1998, and against Bush I 5 years earlier.
10. And evidence that the same people that opposed the war were heavily bribed by Saddam in the Oil for Food program and working diligently to end sanctions so Iraq under the Ba'athists would be the most powerful regional force again.

Now, it wasn't Bush, but a President well known for weighing separate factors and acting prudently in the face of incomplete information ('cept for Monica) that decided in 1998 that the Iraq situation was deteriorating badly and so passed a law with the help of a pile of senior Democrats that it was a strategic goal of America to effect regime change, including the use of force if UN measures failed.

Bill Clinton was what few Lefties are, a man seasoned by executive experience that knows that everyday a good executive as State Governor, a military officer, a NCO in a critical mission, a President, or a business leader MUST act in accordance with best judgement on incomplete information. Clinton knew and when he dithered sometimes his staff was instructed by him to demand a decision deadline from him - that those that wait hoping for an unreasonable length of time that some magic bit of info will come along and make a difficult call into an easy no-brainer rarely last in an executive capacity. Lefties by and large don't understand that because they pick professions where judgement is subjective or the task they do is purely driven by circumstances requiring little abstract reasoning or managerial risk. With Iraq, Clinton said time was not solving matters and the Iraq situation was not getting better and starting to deteriorate - back in 1998..

The 6 Congress folks who took the time to review the intelligence included 2 Democrats and one moderate Republican in a heavy Blue State that initially opposed going into Iraq, who was ex-CIA, and who decided to vote FOR use of force after seeing the intelligence. Only Sen Graham of the 6 opposed going in, and he didn't dispute any of the 10 points above, though he said a few were not "proven beyond all doubt" - his beef was that he wanted Afghanistan rebuilt and Binnie "captured" & facing justice with an ACLU retinue safeguarding Osama's precious rights before we went into Iraq

When Bush got authorization, Bill and Hillary Clinton BOTH said it was necessary. So did Reid and Daschle. So did Jane Harman, Democrat ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee.

Well, the Lefties and Moveon crowd saying "Bush lied, people died" and demanding an immediate pull-out got their wish. Elected Democrats, recognizing "cut and run" could be political suicide if they actually voted for it, bailed. Vote was 403-3 against "cut and run."

Remember, dissent is patriotic. But subversion or spewing lies you don't believe but say purely for partisan attack - and refuse to vote on because you know it is insincere crap is merely immoral Lefty BS undercutting the troops and Commander in Chief in wartime.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 22, 2005 09:03 PM

Alex Ham has a master's degree in political science, and insists that politicians are the most upstanding people ever. Read 'The Prince' by Machiavelli. Or is that not relevant to political science? It is amusing the type of people that crop up here. Sorry to see you go, Alex.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 22, 2005 09:17 PM

Chris Ford, the Don Quixote of the Right. How come everything comes down to 'The Left' with you? Your partisan fanaticism disqualifies your posts as being anything more than the party line which you have fed to you via conservative talk radio and the FOXnews Channel. It'd be nice to hear an original thought from you that isn't just regurgitated right wing hash.
Being an indepent voter myself, I can't relate to your Right vs. Left world. I do know however that you are stuck in it.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 22, 2005 09:30 PM

Former Senator Bob Graham's commentary entitled "Gaps in the WMD Argument", (not sure when it appeared in the Post):
Graham cites chapter and verse from the intelligence he was provided as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.Most telling was his statement that he asked CIA Director Tenet for an NIE ; was told none had been prepared, then requested one. This report which he says "was slanted toward the conclusion that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction..." contained "vigorous dissents" and under questioning, Tenet added that none of the information had been independently verified. At that time, when asked, Tenet produced an unclassified version (for publication) which omitted all the dissent and whether or not Saddam had the will to use them. Taken with Graham's statement from General Franks, that one year before the beginning of the Iraq war, personnel and equipment was being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for an Iraq war, hits the nail on the head.
From a person surely in a position to know, and one whom I have met several times and trust his veracity, this is telling indeed. I hope that some of his commentary will be used in the ongoing debate. (How soon we forget)

Posted by: Bill Arms | November 22, 2005 09:51 PM

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Posted by: vois.com | November 22, 2005 09:51 PM

FNG screamed:
===========================================
"Read back you stupid f*$#! I spent time in Iraq and I'm returning in March. Pisses me off. Making claims about something you know nothing about. Keep getting all your info from the news."
===========================================

Who in the hell are you cussing out? I careless if you served 4 years and went to Iraq, you don't know one thing about leadership (and setting the example), because RESPECT is earned, not given. Just because you may have worn an uniform, it gives you no free ticket in respect (especially with a mouth like that, let alone behavior unbecoming of even a maggot).

Do you hear that, soldier? Or do I have to be that DI that's in your face to make an object lesson about the 11 princples of leadership?

Now straighten up and act like a credit to the uniform. You earn your keep like all of us who came before you.

SandyK
Former Woman Marine (WM) 1981-85

Posted by: SandyK | November 22, 2005 10:01 PM

Eggshen,

The will wasn't there the day they sent in 1/4 of the troops needed to win the war. When they were pulling resources out of Afghanistan to fight Iraq, I knew it was doomed from the start.

What is the ration now 4:1 of the support troops needed to supply ***1*** combat arms trooper (lol, have to thank my brother, he was a Calvary scout with Brave Rifles [3rd ACR])? How much is in the field in Iraq now? Now tell me truthfully -- not this rah, rah BS you know is the public face -- do you have enough troops/equipment/support/logistics that you need to fight?

No.

You're operating on economy mode, from beans to bullets.

An army can't function when it's crippled. Our military is hampered by some civilian nitwits who never saw blood spilled in front of them (or watch a buddies smashed dead by tracks, let alone sniper fire -- which even in peace time my brother faced fighting the mini WWIII along the Chech border <-- the secret war). They have brilliant ideas like communism looks good on paper, but in practice it literally stinks.

I understand full well the capabilities of our armed forces, and I also know the official rah-rah BS. I know you guys can't think of anything but your mission, but if you don't say, "look world, we need more beans and bullets" this house of cards are going to disintergrate from within. You can fool the Errins out there with this rah rah, but not those who know these things (and know military history as well).

Vets and retires know, and when they're grumbling about how Iraq is being handled, something is wrong (and none of them are lilly livered pinkos, they know combat, they know the REAL story from experience -- not much difference fighting a thug in Baghdad, or the jungles of Saipan. They're still thugs and they aim to kill you). They're the ones I'm listening too, not the TV (nice convienant scapegoat), let along PR troopers.

You guys don't have enough to finish the job, and you'll find out it's on purpose too.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 22, 2005 10:24 PM

Armchair generals infest the contemporary Republican membership. They are very militaristically minded. Reading Alex Ham (American Hero!!!???!!! - thats hilarious to anyone not from the US), one would think that all issues have a military solution. They dont. Most issues dont. Violence begets violence. Left to these people America will surley become the totalitarian regime it professes to despise. Nietzsche had a thing or two to say about that.

Posted by: Harkadahl UK | November 23, 2005 05:19 AM

To those who desire to have a fuller view of Bush II's preemptive war against Iraq, this long piece should prove quite instructive.

I will have to read it more carefully myself and digest it as best as I can.

Mariano Patalinjug
Yonkers, New York

Email: MarPatalinjug@aol.com

Posted by: Mar Patalinjug | November 23, 2005 06:08 AM

The case for war was 9/11/2001 & the slaughtered civilians on US soil. The real discussion now should be how to fight the war. However, Democrat Pols & Media including the WP want to use the war as a means for the Democratic Party to regain power. Because they are motivated only by selfishness & have no principles, Democrats don't care how much damage is done to America or its citizens by their sedition.

Posted by: Max Rugemer | November 23, 2005 06:46 AM

I am all for impeachment, but that doesn't really seem like enough. That only deals with the W. Bush problem. Our problems go deeper. No?

Why can't we have a whole new election in 2006 (Nov.). All seats up for grabs. We have a corrupt Congress, White House (Is he ever there?), Defense Department, etc. Impeachment doesn't touch Cheney, Haster, Libby, Delay, Wolfowitz, Adderman, Frist, Bolton.....What would it take to have a total house-cleaning? Can we, the people, force a full election in 2006? And meanwhile put W. in a straight-jacket with masking tape over his mouth? That's not very "torturous".

Posted by: MO | November 23, 2005 06:49 AM

....and as for Chris Ford - all that brainpower, all those long words, all that "research", and for what? Idiocy.
Anyone who finds the Bush world-view credible must also share his intellect. Now that's damning.

Posted by: Harkadahl UK | November 23, 2005 06:50 AM

A little something I was reading this morning:

The top tactical commander in Iraq says an abrupt pullout of U.S. troops would be "destabilizing" and labeled "disturbing" Washington's heated political debate that has some Democrats calling the war unwinnable.

Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who commands the Multinational Corps Iraq, said that 36 Iraqi battalions, about one-third of the total force, are now responsible for their own security sectors and can fight the insurgency. But they are not yet ready to operate totally independent of U.S. supply lines and tactical advice.

Because of that, he said, now is not the time for an American withdrawal.

Notice the adjective "top tactical commander." Anyone think they know how to fight this war better than him? The Democrats need to give it up and stop using our situation in Iraq to win elections. There are lives at stake.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 07:31 AM

Having grown up during the start of the Cold War I got quite used to having propaganda hurled at me constantly, in the news, in school, on the newly exciting t.v. and from elsewhere. I always was suspicious of the imminent Soviet takeover of the world, the virtues of the so-called "free world," the so-called evils of "godless" communism and the virtues of allies only recently involved in Fascism and Nazism.

I was doubtful about the need to defend South Vietnam from the Communists. And I have always been doubtful about getting involved in Iraq.

So I am now amused to see more of my fellow countrymen feeling duped by the government. When will we learn that you cannot trust the government, never under Republican control and frequently even under Democrat control.

Posted by: candide | November 23, 2005 08:30 AM

As an American living the present situation I can only see us getting worse and our great Nation going down the tubes! Our political figures Republicans and Democrats alike seem to ignore the Constitution of the people and for the people. It's become a power and control game with no regard for the people that they are supposed to serve. We pay for everything endlessely. A war not many wanted, lack of jobs, health care, social services, consumer protection and recourses, Veterans appreciation and regulations who seem to cover only the majority of working Americans. No one in Washington ever ask or respond to the people's inquiries, needs or opinions. Democracy, Where is it? The American People are watching, listening and getting fed up. Patriotism, Sacrificing and Working together should include all "Americans" and not have "them" (politicians) and "us" (the majority working and maintaining "them" with their appropriately passed rules and exceptions.
What would Washinton do if: No one joined the military, Americans stopped paying taxes, buy Insurance, gas and started voting with new established parties for the People? The President and his cabinet need to start Democracy at home before preaching it to the world.
Perhaps, it would give food for thought.
Thank you

Posted by: Maura Northup | November 23, 2005 08:34 AM

how sad.

ad hominem attacks degrade the debate -- attacking the messenger instead of the message.

for what?

Posted by: Dave20640 | November 23, 2005 08:42 AM

I've noticed very little substantive debate here from those opposing the war, but rather the usual fare of blaming Democrats and the media. Obviously, people making such attacks are very partisan and support the war because they follow a certain political party line, but it would be nice if they actually focused on the war in and of itself, free of political dogma and biased assumptions.
Truth is, this war was started by both the Republicans and the Democrats, and both have done a lousy job running it, whether it be the Bush administration totally botching it, or the Democrats halfass and silent support for it.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 09:23 AM

When will someone take up Cheney's gauntlet and summarize what's known about the Veep's Office's repeated assaults on CIA, FBI, and any other intelligence gatherers they could think of, to produce the intel. results they wanted? And Cheney talks about reprehensible behavior?

Posted by: valhalla | November 23, 2005 09:25 AM

Its all Texas' fault!

-Bush - Iraq War
-Johnson - Vietnam/Gulf of Tonkin

Time to give Texas back to Mexico...

Posted by: | November 23, 2005 09:26 AM

You can fool the Errins out there with this rah rah, but not those who know these things (and know military history as well).
Posted by: SandyK | Nov 22, 2005 10:24:53 PM

LOL! Sorry if your ego's still bruised after backing down from debating me the last time around, Sandy; I guess cheap shots make you feel better about your cutting & running from me in the torture debate. Glad I caught your cowardly snipe.
The fact of the matter is that I have never posted anything in support of what you claim I have been fooled into. The truth is that I agree with your assessment that the troops need to be better equipped and there need to be more of them over in Iraq. Since that isn't going to happen, let's end the war right now. Oh, wait, the war's beginning to end, if nobody's noticed...

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 09:45 AM

I've noticed very little substantive debate here from those opposing the war, but rather the usual fare of blaming Democrats and the media.
Posted by: ErrinF | Nov 23, 2005 9:23:14 AM

Correction: I meant those SUPPORTING the war were offering very little substance in their debate beyond partisan rhetoric. I think of them as the opposition now that they are in the minority in America. Those opposing the war, such as Lt. General Odom, have been making very substantive arguments for getting out. And, for what it's worth, Odom is a former Reagan national security advisor. That means he's neither Democrat nor media. Sorry for the typo.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 09:55 AM

I am glad that most Americans have reached the stage where they are willing to question the Bush administration on the rational for the Iraq war. But is it safe now to point out the obvious? People are missing a very key point - what was the "real" reason for going to war with Iraq.

America has had a policy of "regime change" for Iraq for many years in advance of the actual war - dating back to the Clinton administration, if not secretly back to the Bush Senior administration. This policy, to steal a phrase from Wolfowitz, was there for "Many reasons". But needless to say, it was deemed neccessary to protect America's interests.

It was clear that the current Bush administration had planned to make good on the policy when it took office, even if it wasn't clear before 9/11, it was crystal clear very soon after. It was pretty clear that the administration was preparing for war with Iraq as early as November, 2001.

But before war with Iraq was possible, it needed to be "sold" to Congress, the American people, and the world. It also needed to be legitimized. WMDs were chosen (for "bureaucratic reasons", according to Paul Wolfowitz)as the marketing device for the war.

But the issue that is unfolding now is how the marketing campaign was built, questioned only because, ironically, there were no WMDs. I have no doubt that everyone in the Bush administration believed Iraq really had WMDs - of that I am convinced so it would be incorrect to say the lied. I choose to believe, like in any advertising campaign, they stretched what they thought was truth as far as they could to make their sales pitch.

I don't believe for a second, however, that WMDs were any more then a small part of the rational for this war. I have no doubt that Bush and his administration felt this war was in America's best interests, but what were those interests and were they worth the cost?

Was the reason to protect Isreal? was it protecting Oil supplies? Was it the belief that bringing democracy to the middle east would end terrorism? Was it to get rid of an unpredictable dictator? Was it to get American troops out of Saudia Arabia (removing one of Osama's beefs about the USA)? Odds are it was all of these reasons and more...

My point, however, is that this is debate that never occured. It has robbed us of the truth and prevents us from determining if the war was truly worth the cost.

I am not an anti-war guy, but I was against this specific war from the start simply because I could see the shallowness of its rational as presented. With over 25,000 Iraqi's and 2000 American troops dead based on the decision to start this war, I think that debate is still very relavant.

Posted by: John Morris | November 23, 2005 10:02 AM

P C Gorilla writes: "Notice the adjective 'top tactical commander.' Anyone think they know how to fight this war better than him?"

Gorilla, there's an important difference between tactics and strategy. Thinking tactically is very important, but by itself it can produce bad strategy. And whether to withdraw troops is primarily an issue of strategy, not tactics.

Posted by: Beren | November 23, 2005 10:08 AM

In the old Cecil B. DeMille Biblical epic SAMSON AND DELILAH, Adonijah (the top Philistine general in the oppression of the Hebrews) desperately describes the destruction wrought by one man, Samson, upon his troops and pleads for more troops. Samson--as abundantly described in the Old Testament--was a terrorist. He burned the field and crops of the Philistines. He carried off their women. He broke the bones of their citizens and in the end, brought the civilization of the Philistines down around their heads.

The Philistine Saran--played exquistely by British actor George Sanders--replies to Adonijah: "Like all Generals, when you fail by the sword you ask for more swords." Sending more troops to Iraq will not solve this problem.

In the final analysis, we are not really at war in Iraq. The Armies of Sadaam, such as they were, were defeated in the earliest days of our invasion of that unhappy land. What we have there now is a combination of an insurgency on the part of disaffected Iraqi nationals frustrated over the occupation of their country, and an influx of Islamic terrorists with broader grievances against the West.

The Saran also had wary counselors who urged him to reach an accommodation with Samson. Only when it was too late did he come to the unhappy realization that he was fighting an enemy who could not be defeated by the sword. He paid too much heed to his Adonijahs. Bush should have listened to Powell, not Cheney and Rumsfeld.

History once more is the teacher we will not heed. We are once again repeating the same mistakes all Superpowers are given to make using the oft-proved flawed assumption that military might can succeed in what is clearly a political dispute.

The way out is clear. The problem is that the way out is politically painful because it requires that we eat crow. But that is precisely what mature human beings and mature nations do when it becomes apparent that they were wrong in the first place.

We ultimately will cross that inevitable Rubicon when we reach that point where we can no longer delude ourselves of the fancy of some imagined military victory in the form of parades and world wide celebrations akin to the end of WWII. The end will come when we face up to that sad inevitability that our delusions can no longer be sustained.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 23, 2005 10:19 AM

The strategy of a coward.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 10:22 AM

In the months to come, it will be very apparent that our campaign in Iraq will be successful. Damn, I bet you all would quit a sporting game if you weren't absolutely dominating your opponent. The first sign of any resistance and you all want to run and hide.
We have only lost 2000 people. I know that seems like a lot and 1 is too many, but compared to the amount of losses we took in wars before this is nothing. As our experience there increases, our battle STRATEGIES will improve. Give it time people. I'm sorry your so use to Clinton's "bomb Iraq for one day for no reason" strategy.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 10:29 AM

WHEN IT COMES to the future of Iraq, there is a deep disconnect between those who have firsthand knowledge of the situation -- Iraqis and U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq -- and those whose impressions are shaped by doomsday press coverage and the imperatives of domestic politics.

A large majority of the American public is convinced that the liberation of Iraq was a mistake, while a smaller but growing number thinks that we are losing and that we need to pull out soon. Those sentiments are echoed by finger-in-the-wind politicians, including many -- such as John Kerry, Harry Reid, John Edwards, John Murtha and Bill Clinton -- who supported the invasion.

American soldiers are also much more optimistic than American civilians. The Pew Research Center and the Council on Foreign Relations just released a survey of American elites that found that 64% of military officers are confident that we will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq. The comparable figures for journalists and academics are 33% and 27%, respectively. Even more impressive than the Pew poll is the evidence of how our service members are voting with their feet. Although both the Army and the Marine Corps are having trouble attracting fresh recruits -- no surprise, given the state of public opinion regarding Iraq -- reenlistment rates continue to exceed expectations. Veterans are expressing their confidence in the war effort by signing up to continue fighting.

Posted by: Recovering Democrat | November 23, 2005 10:29 AM

"Happily for Mr Zarqawi, no matter how desperate the head-hackers get, the Western defeatists can always top them. A Democrat Congressman, Jack Murtha, has called for immediate US withdrawal from Iraq. He's a Vietnam veteran, so naturally the media are insisting that his views warrant special deference, military experience in a war America lost being the only military experience the Democrats and the press value these days. Hence, the demand for the President to come up with an "exit strategy".

In war, there are usually only two exit strategies: victory or defeat. The latter's easier. Just say, whoa, we're the world's pre-eminent power but we can't handle an unprecedently low level of casualties, so if you don't mind we'd just as soon get off at the next stop.

Demonstrating the will to lose as clearly as America did in Vietnam wasn't such a smart move, but since the media can't seem to get beyond this ancient jungle war it may be worth underlining the principal difference: Osama is not Ho Chi Minh, and al-Qa'eda are not the Viet Cong. If you exit, they'll follow. And Americans will die - in foreign embassies, barracks, warships, as they did through the Nineties, and eventually on the streets of US cities, too.

As 9/11 fades into the past, that's an increasingly hard argument to make. Taking your ball and going home is a seductive argument in a paradoxical superpower whose inclinations on the Right have a strong isolationist streak and on the Left a strong transnational streak - which is isolationism with a sappy face and biennial black-tie banquets in EU capitals. Transnationalism means poseur solutions - the Kyotification of foreign policy.

So, just as things are looking up on the distant, eastern front, they're wobbling badly on the home front. Anti-Bush Continentals who would welcome a perceived American defeat in Iraq ought to remember the third front in this war: Europe is both a home front and a foreign battleground - as the Dutch have learnt, watching the land of the bicycling Queen transformed into 24-hour armed security for even minor municipal officials. In this war, for Europeans the faraway country of which they know little turns out to be their own. Much as the Guardian and Le Monde would enjoy it, an America that turns its back on the world is the last thing you need."

Posted by: D. | November 23, 2005 10:37 AM

I note with some amusement that some of you out there are a bit careless in your use of the word "coward" to describe those who do not subscribe to your unsophisticated, largely jingoistic views on Iraq.

Look. I spent 33 years in both a military and civilian capacity in the Defense and Aerospace sector. I was an ammo humper in Vietnam (2705th AMW). I was a graduate of the Air War College and have a degree in Political science with a Masters in economics. I served my country with distinction, was honorably discharged with a fair number of medals awards and honoraria, and gave my government over 30 years of service in the defense of our country as an employee of DOD.

One of the enduring lessons I have learned is that those most eager to call someone a coward simply because they do not blindly support a decision to go to war, are generally those people who have never been anywhere close to a battlefield or a combat situation, and who have the most oversimplified notions of what war is all about.

It is instructive here that the most vicious critics of those who call for a new policy or plan on Iraq come from people who have never worn the uniform, from people who have used a variety of deferments and other priviledges to escape combat duty or military service, and from those who spend far too much time listening to the addled hokum they pick up from lardy. loudmouth talk show hosts who like to engage in their warfighting from the cozy confines of their studios.

I have no respect for the views of people who engage in this sort of chesty rhetoric. I often find that it is those very people who have the sort of uncritical mindsets that get us into these no-win situations because they simply do not understand either military or political history as it has developed in America.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 23, 2005 11:00 AM

Sorry Jackass - I mean Jaxas. I just don't see this as a no-win situation. And I don't care about your military experience. Protesting this situation is turning your back on our troops and that makes you the biggest coward of all. You have the wrong view due to your era's incompetence in Vietnam.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 11:16 AM

I could have sworn it was the ones who've never worn a uniform who are calling for a retreat. Like John Kerry. I think we all know what kind of COWARD he is with what he did during Vietnam. The brave men and women in uniform wish to stay the course. Maybe you are the one watching too many talk shows, reading too many papers.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 11:21 AM

PC Gorilla - Jaxas is entitled to his opinion and as we have seen in this thread and others, we can all disagree about this, that or the other without having to denigrate ourselves by launching into personal attacks. Really doesn't contribute much to the conversation now, does it?

Posted by: D. | November 23, 2005 11:21 AM

To D: "Just say, whoa, we're the world's pre-eminent power but we can't handle an unprecedently low level of casualties, so if you don't mind we'd just as soon get off at the next stop."

I think America can handle casualties, but for what purpose? Iraqi democracy? And when do we know when that's accomplished? Bush needs to clarify his vision. It seems we're being led down a road of endless bloodletting with no end in sight. Kind of like a video game - we shootem 20 terrorists and 20 more pop up.

Iraq reminds people of Vietnam, because we are always winning but we never won because there was no goal line.

America is fundamentally isolationist to a degree that Europe cannot be. Why not pull our troops back and let them patrol our borders? There no way Osama could get past them!

It's interesting that with today's technology ex-soldiers can express their war opinions publically. Suppose soldiers at the time of WWII or Vietnam could opine on the conduct of the war. Plenty of botched operations in both wars. Would they also be called cowards?

Posted by: Turnabout | November 23, 2005 12:38 PM

PC Gorilla and others,

The argument isn't that we've taken too many casualties now, and 'gosh, that's frightening', so let's leave now, even though we could win if we stayed. The argument is that despite the good that we're doing in some areas, overall our presence is making a bad situation worse, because as long as the Iraqi government is seen as an American puppet, it will lack legitimacy, and as long as we're seen as foreign occupiers (which, hey, we are), insurgents can portray themselves as patriots defending their country from foreign occupation.

Now, whether that argument is accurate or not is a good subject for debate, both of the underlying facts, and of the reasoning. It comes down to a cool-headed strategic assessment. I'd be interested to know what your take on it was. So far, the arguments you've been knocking down have been straw-man arguments not actually held by most people who think we should leave over the next six months or so.

Please stop calling those who disagree with you 'cowards'. First, there's no way that you could really know the moral character of people you've only just met in an online discussion, and it weakens the credibility of everything else that you say, when we see you asserting things as facts that you couldn't possibly know.

Second, if you think about it, the charge of cowardice doesn't even make logical sense. During Vietnam it might have made some sense, since people who were arguing against the war were people who also could be drafted. But now many of the people arguing against the war are people who don't have to go risk their lives in Iraq even if we do stay there. In this situation a coward could perfectly well either support the war or oppose it without exposing himself to the dangers of warfare. So it makes no sense to claim cowardice as a motive for people's opposition to the war. What coward (to be blunt about it) is afraid that someone _else_ might die?

Posted by: Beren | November 23, 2005 12:39 PM

Guess I'm not entitled to MY opinion because I'm not a bleeding-heart liberal. Did I personally attack him? Indirectly, he called ME a coward. Then jingoistic and said he has no respect for my opinion.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 12:41 PM

Harkadahl writes: "....and as for Chris Ford - all that brainpower, all those long words, all that "research", and for what? Idiocy.
Anyone who finds the Bush world-view credible must also share his intellect. Now that's damning. Posted by: Harkadahl UK | Nov 23, 2005 6:50:33 AM"

The problem with folks like Hakadahl is that they have steadily lost political power as the Soviets ebbed and waned then collapsed, the media such as the old Dons of the BBC began being confronted in their Lefty dominance by other media not so aligned to Oxford and public school elitism(same is happening in the USA as the Leftists running major media like the networks, LA Times, NYTimes have seen their readership and viewership numbers plummet. And, as classic Lefties like Galloway and John Kerry are exposed as posturing frauds. However, there will always be a place for the Left - because the Left is needed for healthy class debate and curbing the excesses and corruption of the owner/investor class. Frankly, America needs more of it as our own class war between the have everything and then some, the have enough but being jeopardized by globalization and the simple have nots is ongoing - but the fatcats in America rule and hog the public funds feeding trough... But the Left is bankrupt of viable ideas in world politics, especially in Europe where reliance is on a dysfunctional UN and a powerless system of "feel good" International Law and misc. NGO sponsored resolutions that mainly strive to say "How Noble and Pure We Activists Are!!" Especially, in matters of national security and ability to run a modern national economy well - the Left simply isn't trusted.

In reality, the worldview of folks like Bush, Blair, Howard prevails because THEY get elected...while the Left runs around screaming WHAT IDIOTS the masses are, for doing so.

Enjoy the twilight of your dreams, Harkadahl. It darkens with each suicide bomber. Meanwhile you can best sit back and call all the people with the power and vote actively reshaping world events "idiots" if that makes you feel better in your helplessness.

I have provided on this page 4 formal inquiries with links on the issue of malfeasance in going to war against Iraq. None has been found.

I have provided 10 reasons, 9 besides the flawed WMD argument, why war with Iraq was called for. 5 of those arguments, like shooting at pilots enforcing the no-fly zone, are legal casus belli onto themselves.

There are many critiques to be made of the post-war in how we let an insurgency develop, the lack of troops on the border, the dearth of knowledge on tribal politics and connections, the fools of the neocon camp that just tried plugging in bits of American society and law on the assumption they would automatically work in Iraq. Most of all, our failure to have language and translation schools in Arabic, Farsi, Pashtun, Urdu, Indonesian, and Chinese running as a matter of national security - or use the existing hundreds of thousands of US/UK citizens fluent in those tongues in the war of ideas between the modern world and radical Islam.

But everyone has criticisms, from Lefty poofters carping in comfort in Leeds to the Marine writing that the .223 SAW his squad has is a piece of shit and the Iraqis have better squad light machine guns.

The results so far are the allied soldiers have killed over 90,000 bad guys, inc the invasion, while losing around 2,000. We have also captured 70,000. We have taken 15,000 casualties other than dead, many are torn up pretty good, but the radical Muslim enemy has taken many more and a good deal of them are incapacitated for life because their medical care and rehab is minimal. Along the way, including the invasion, the US is blamed for 6,000 deaths of innocent Iraqis. Few were intentional targeting of civilians. Collatoral damage, firefights with Muslim Jihadis hiding behind civilians, taking out a carload of Iraqi civilians that refuse to stop at a checkpoint as my Army nephew has done - basically because the Jihadis endanger all civilians at such checkpoints because they pose as civilians as they try driving cars close enough to put stopped Iraqi motorists, Iraqi gov't forces, and our guys in lethal blast radius. As opposed to our 6,000 civilian death toll, the Jihadis have killed between 60,000 and 70,000 innocent civilians since war's end, almost all quite deliberately. They have really lost it in the last year by even killing and torturing to death the Sunnis that once welcomed them in and now Sunnis are beginning to fight them. And leave the discussion of what the al-Tikritis and other followers of Saddam did in the past and were likely to do to Shia, Kurds, and even Sunnis that crossed them.

Beyond the "cannon fodder" stats, the mainstream media has so focused on the negative that other measures of progress in Iraq have not recieved full due. But they are happening. The Iraq economy is finally revving up. Elections are successful. Kurdish areas are doing great. Shia areas are seeing new prosperity and stability as they grapple with how Islamic and how close they will be to Iran in the future. The radical Islamists and their inhuman tactics have been on display and appear to be rejected more and more by Arabs in Iraq, Jordan, and elsewhere in the Ummah. The 1990s seige of terror in Algeria didn't help them in their cause, and it looks like what they are doing in Iraq is bearing the same fruit.

JOHN MORRIS asked good questions. We have a long T-Day weekend (for the UK folks, thats a holiday excuse made partially out a myth we crafted in the 19th Century that the Pilgrims had a feast for showing their gratitude for leaving England and surviving in the New World). So if time permits, travel goes as planned, I can get back to his questions with an interpretation on "why".

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 23, 2005 12:43 PM

Does the PC in PC Gorilla stand for 'Projective Coward'? Wow.
I'm tired of right wing nuts like him who are little more than lemmings that would follow George Bush off the highest of cliffs. This war is indefensible at this point, so he has to resort to flinging out charges of cowardice, much like they tried to do with Congressman Murtha. Last refuge of a scoundrel...
PC Gorilla must call himself that because he apes the reactionary rhetoric of conservative talk radio and FOXnews blowhards. Gorilla? Sounds more like a chicken hawk.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 12:45 PM

I could care less if you people find me credible. Is anything we say here going to be used? We aren't advisors to the Government (thank God). The creators of our fine nation knew the commoners weren't capable of making important decisions. For example, the electoral college.
So coward is the wrong word to use to describe the folks who want to RETREAT. What would be better? I'm thinking of 2 five-letter synonyms for coward, but neither would be appropriate unless I were face to face with one of you.
My take on what needs to be done - double the amount of troops, and quit caring about "humane treatment" of the DEMONS who want to see the destruction of our nation. Why do we even have prisons? If they all knew they were going to be killed upon capture, the insurgency wouldn't be so strong. They aren't that brave. They're not blowing themselves up. They get weak-minded followers and women and children to do that for them.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 12:53 PM

If we're winning, why are they still blowing us up?

Posted by: Turnabout | November 23, 2005 12:55 PM

I think that, in our heated discussion and opinions, that we're missing the point here. The topic of this debate is The Case for War. It may be true that the current progress of the war is very different from what is seen in the MSM, because I don't think any of us is naive enough to believe that the media is wholly altruistic. They do indeed have their own agenda, as the Libby scandal so clearly illustrates. But that's a topic for another debate. We are talking about the case that the Bush Admin. presented to us in order to sell us on the war. And, as ErrinF points out, I don't think anyone here has really presented a lucid, convincing case that the administration was telling us the truth. I think that's because no one really denies that Bush lied us into this war.

Perhaps troops are wondering why war opponents keep on harping on about the WMD. We keep on harping on about it because that is the reason that Bush gave us for engaging in this costly war. If there were better reasons for going to war, like getting rid of Saddam, then he should have JUST SAID THAT. Perhaps that would have failed to drum up support, but we're never going to know now, will we? And if I am to follow that argument, that spreading freedom is in and of itself a worthy goal, then why don't we have troops in North Korea? Or Iran? These are all countries with very well documented corrupt regimes that torture their own people, and pose just as much of a security risk as Iraq did prior to the war, if not more so.

The very fact the we are not in those countries says that there were ulterior motives in going to war with Iraq. The debate on this war has become very partisan and political because the war itself was partisan and political. We didn't really go in there for the altruistic purposes that Bush loves to bring up every time he makes a speech. How to get out of there is a topic for another debate. There are good arguments for each side, and I for one am interested in hearing them.

Posted by: JK | November 23, 2005 12:57 PM

ErrinF - your comment doesn't even deserve a reply. Put a tampon in it!!!

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 01:00 PM

ErrinF, why are you getting your panties in such a twist? Some of us believe that the war is bust and we should cut and run, others (like me) believe that we are actually going to succeed. That doesn't mean we are all some FOX News (and what is it with you and FOX, anyway?) programmed Bush-bots who believe everything they hear out of the administration. There are right-wing nuts and far Left moonbats in every crowd but I hardly think that neither the former nor later are monolithic in their opinions about the war.

Posted by: D. | November 23, 2005 01:02 PM

JK - the day will come for those other countries you just mentioned. Jeez, could you imagine the backlash from the left if we were fighting on 5 or 6 fronts right now. They aren't concerned with spreading freedom because they don't know what it's like to live without it.
Everyone is so concerned whether Bush lied. If he did, he did. That's in the past now. Everyone's focus should be on the situation at hand.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 01:05 PM

To PC Gorilla: Since Bush lied, should he be impeached?

Posted by: Turnabout | November 23, 2005 01:11 PM

Bush narrowly won election last year, and lost the popular vote the first time around when he questionably became president due to the intervention of the Supreme Court. His current approval rating is around 35%. Many predictions are being made that the Democrats will probably benefit greatly from the upcoming 2006 election. The vast majority of Americans are moderate and centrist, unlike you who were obviously 'raised Right' and live in a partisan dreamworld. There is no basis for what you contend, rather it is you talking to yourself about an imaginary world where the Right will always rule. Keep on dreaming.
As for the 10 points you've made for the war, they were all about Saddam Hussein. There is no question that Saddam was a bad person worthy of punishment, but you are completely avoiding the whole Pandora's box that was opened by pre-emptively invading and occupying Iraq as part of a nation-building experiment. You have made very little argument for the war besides indicting Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 01:18 PM

PC Gorilla - If you had read my post carefully, you would understand that although the left doesn't care about spreading freedom, neither does the right. If they did, we would be in those countries I mentioned. That is my point.

Also, you don't seem to grasp the concept that Bush's lying to us IS important, and has a direct effect on the progress of the war. You make the point that support of our troops is critical to success. If it wasn't, you wouldn't be telling us that all our ranting and raving is hurting us, not helping. Well, its kind of difficult for us to support a war if our government made one case to us, that case is proved false, and then absolutely refuses to own up to their mistakes, slings mud at war critics, and generally tries to distract Americans from the real issues, like the fact that he lied . Of course, that's what won him elections (although the jury is still out on whether he actually won them), so I can see why he just reverts to that behavior.

Maybe the reasons why we got here in the first place aren't important to you, but they're important to me and to a lot of people. And, once upon a time, lying was important to Bush, because in 2000 he made a big case about how he would "restore honesty and integrity to the White House". So it just strikes me as supremely hypocritical that he could say that, and then turn around and tell the biggest lie that any American president in recent history has ever told.

Posted by: JK | November 23, 2005 01:27 PM

I'm pretty sure he won the elections - he is the President.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 01:37 PM

D, you are not painting a fair picture when you equate being for a withdrawal with being for cutting and running. You can try to cast it as that, but there is much more to the situation.
I never equated everybody who defends the war as being a right wing nut. I was just griping a bit about some of the Bushbots around here, such as PC Gorilla who freely flings out the charge of 'coward' to any who disagree with him. My complaint with FOXnews and conservative talk radio is that they are little more than propoganda machines full of bluster and affected blowhards talking to an audience of people that just want to be told what they want to hear. Ultimately, I think they will prove counterproductive to the conservative movement. In the meantime, too many of us have to deal with the extremist lemmings said propoganda programs create, lemmings like PC Gorilla who actually thinks we're fighting demons. Such jingoism has no place in effectively waging a war on terror, and is wasting a lot of time and space here at 'The Debate'.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 01:40 PM

Yeah Bush lied. And FDR knew about Pearl Harbor. And that mine that blew a hole in the USS Maine back in 1898? Planted by the Pinkerton detectives. The intelligence was there, Congress had access to it, other governments had pretty much come to the same conclusion, even the Clinton Administration thought Saddam was pursuing WMD's. The administration may have been sloppy with their single-minded approach to WMD, but I don't think they purposefully lied. Again, my opinion.

Posted by: D. | November 23, 2005 01:40 PM

No doubt George Bush is the President of the United States, PC. I never claimed otherwise. My point to Chris Ford was that Bush's election was hardly a mandate for conservatism. As we can tell from his current standing with the American public.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 01:43 PM

JK - Thanks for bringing us back to topic. What you write is very insightful and well put, especially when you say, "The debate on this war has become very partisan and political because the war itself was partisan and political."

This illustrates an important fact that I think Cheney, Rove & Co. forgot. The way you make a case for war becomes (if the war happens) a part of the war itself, and mistakes made then can continue to have an impact throughout. The administration seems to have thought that if it could just get the war started, by ramming it through Congress, by extremely aggressive marketing, by false and misleading public statements, by painting those who disagreed as unpatriotic, by ignoring the advice and objections of career specialists at the CIA, DoD and State, if they could just get it started, everything would fall into line. And it did. For a while. But the administration created lots of enemies, and stored up the potential for a constant stream of damaging revelations later on down the line.

Posted by: Beren | November 23, 2005 01:48 PM

Why isn't the press giving us any info on what Hans Blix and other UN officals involved in the pre-invasion inspections had to say. I seem to remember that their on the ground intel directly contradicted most of the intelligence being spewed forth by the administration. I personally this info as much more reliable since it was up to date and came directly from the field from an unbiased source, not from old satellite imagery and exiles. Investigative reporters are playing unwitting assistants to the administration by leaving this info out. Tellingly, in an NPR interview with Diane Rheim a few months after the invasion, administration confidant James Woolsey claimed to be completely unaware the inspection process has erstarted prior to the invasion. It is just plain scary if he didn't know the inspections had restarted and irresponsible if he chose not to remember in order to bolster the administrations standing.

VR
DF

Posted by: DF | November 23, 2005 02:00 PM

While I feel President Bush manipulated the case for war, putting forth his arguments while downplaying the risks, I have reservations about saying he lied. Now, I in no way consider him an honest person (there's a small cottage industry of books dedicated to his propensity for dishonesty), but do we have actual proof that he lied this time around? Being that we're all innocent until proven guilty, I'd like to see an actual specific charge as to what justifies saying Bush lied. Thanks.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 02:02 PM

You all love saying my name huh? I'm I getting to you?
All BS aside, we need to take it back to the days when the parties worked together during times of crisis. Nobody's perfect, but I feel the Democrats are using this turmoil to make a move for political position.
Politicians as a whole are corrupt. History has proven this. You pick the better of 2 evils and you go with it.
ErrinF - only a left-wing fool such as yourself wouldn't agree to categorize terrorists as DEMONS. Have you lost anyone special to you in a terrorist attack. Probably not, or else you'd have a different opinion on what exactly they are and not be defending their actions.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 02:11 PM

I should have been more specific and said 'knowingly lied' in regards to Bush and his case for war. We already know he lied in that he said there would be WMD in Iraq and there wasn't, but that doesn't mean he knowingly lied. He most likely thought there were indeed WMDs there.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 02:11 PM

ErrinF - only a left-wing fool such as yourself wouldn't agree to categorize terrorists as DEMONS. Have you lost anyone special to you in a terrorist attack. Probably not, or else you'd have a different opinion on what exactly they are and not be defending their actions.
Posted by: PC Gorilla | Nov 23, 2005 2:11:29 PM

Just because I am annoyed by right wing wackos like you does not mean I am left wing. I am independent, though the left is starting to look appealling in comparison to you.
Defend the terrorists actions? Never did that! You just equate it that way because you are full of fear and hysteria from the events of 9/11. Sorry if you've had your little mind blown, but the truth of the matter is that the terrorists are not demons. They are human beings. Know your enemy if you want to defeat them. I am not arguing for the terrorists; I am arguing for having a cool head and being rational in this War On Terror. Your OVERreaction to things plays right into the terrorists' hands, so one might say that it is you that are helping the terrorists more by thinking of them as demons than I am by recognizing them for what they actually are: humans. Your jingoism accomplishes nothing and is bereft of real world meaning. Wake the hell up and stop being so overblown about our current enemies if you really want to defeat them. Try to evolve, Gorilla.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 02:22 PM

Intelligence gathering is a very tricky endeavor, for every one report you get confirming your suspicions, there's likely to be about a dozen stating the opposite. Some are through the fault of the intelligence gathering process, some are deliberate plants of "disinformation" by your opponent, some can be chalked up to incompetance or gullibity, the possibilities are endless. The President, any president, is put in the awkward position of having to make a decision (hey, thats what he gets paid for) sometimes on the basis of incomplete information and gut reaction. I don't envy his job but I can't come to convince myself that this administration deliberately cooked up a reason for war. Reducing the debate to "Bush Lied, People Died" or "my Country, Right or Wrong" jingoism does a disservice to our country as a whole.

Yes, conservative radio and Fox News has its share of carnival barkers, as does NPR and CNN (oh hell, ever listen to "Democracy Now" on WPFW or WBAL? Egads, bloody Stalinists), the key I think is to listen and read both sides and take neither as gospel.

Posted by: | November 23, 2005 02:26 PM

Sorry, last post was mine!

Posted by: D. | November 23, 2005 02:30 PM

Maybe I am overreacting. Some people never got that chance. People like my cousin and my uncle who died in the World Trade Center. Watch your mouth you piece of you know what! I hope you burn in hell! You might like being there with all the DEMONS. Maybe when you grow up and finish college and shake off that liberal education you're receiving, you'll open your eyes.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 02:33 PM

Hitler's primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it. - OSS report page 51 [2]

The phrase "Big Lie" was used (on page 51) in a report prepared during the war by the Unites States Office of Strategic Services in describing Hitler's psychological profile [1]

Posted by: unbridled | November 23, 2005 02:40 PM

ErrinF, I suspect you may be right in that Bush may not have knowingly lied. Perhaps he really did believe that Saddam had WMD's. If that is the case, then I say that he still messed up because a crucial pice of evidence that they were relying on (the yellowcake from Niger) was an obvious forgery. People both within our intelligence community and in other countries figured out in a matter of minutes that it was a forgery. The President must take responsibility for his statements. He has an obligation to ensure that the facts he bases his decisions on are accurate and correct. He utterly failed in this regard, and he should accept blame for it.

PC, for once I agree with you. Democrats are using this to make a move for political position. But that's par for the course in politics. It is rare indeed when a politician takes a major controversy and actually proposes a viable alternative.

In short, I think its time that both the President and Congress own up to the fact that they've made mistakes. That would go a long way towards creating some kind of rapport with the American people. From there we could discuss in what direction we should take.

Posted by: JK | November 23, 2005 02:42 PM

I thank Ms. Messner for her compilation of evidence of systematic threat inflation employed to grease the skids to war.
"Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace, and America's determination to lead the world in confronting that threat."
Who can read this now and not think it Orwellian? It's a lot like the attacks from the Poles Hitler offered to justify his invasion in September 1939. (Yes, I know Hitler was orders of magnitude worse than Bush. And it's quite true Hitler's lies were in this instance longer on specifics.)

Posted by: kutuzov | November 23, 2005 02:43 PM

I for one agree with Con. Murtha's proposal for a timeline withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. It believe it should take no less than 12 to 18 months, with a small force left there for mostly observation.

The time for giving Mr. Bush open ended carte blance on the Iraq war is over. He has failed to articulate a clear cut plan of exactly what he wants to accomplish there and a timeline for exactly how long he thinks it will take. In the meantime
U.S. soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians
are being killed daily by the insurgents at alarming rate.

Republicans want to call & characterize timed withdrawl as "cut and run/surrender" and call people who advocate such as "cowards". To me this is just downright silly and shows their increasingly defensiveness as the american public, by majority, are turning against President Bush and the Republicans on this misguided war.

Republicans need to face facts of reality that:

No huge caches of WMD'S have been found in Iraq.

Sadaam Hussien was no "imminent threat" to the U.S.

Sadaam Hussien wasnt not involved in the attacks on the U.S. on 9-11-01.

The U.S. is not "safer" because of the removal of Sadaam Hussien.

U.S. borders remain open to legal and illegal immigrants who no one really knows their motivations and intent once they are inside the country.

The FBI and CIA have testified that "terrorist cells" are already encounsed in the domestic U.S.

Osama bin Laden/Al Qaeda have reorganized and are wreaking havoc upon western interest abroad.

Eventually Al Qaeda is going to attack the U.S. domestically again and absolutely nothing going on in Iraq good or bad will prevent that from happening.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 23, 2005 02:49 PM

Ya sure?

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 02:51 PM

I should burn in hell because I think demonizing our enemy will be counterproductive to the War On Terror? There is no maybe when it comes to you and overreaction, PC Gorilla.
It was humans that killed humans on 9/11. That's the reality. An effective war against terrorists needs to be based in reality. Then again, it sounds like you're fighting some sort of holy war fueled by vengeful anger, not a war on terror.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 02:55 PM

Look, most Americans are not hard right or left. Most of us are trying to raise kids, re-raise elderly parents, and live the American dream.

An we're pissed. Really pissed. Because our leaders have put us between a rock and a hard place.

Yes, something had to be done about Saddam. And the strategy of saber rattling backed up with stationing troops outside his borders was putting the walls back up on the box Bush I put him and and Clinton had let deteriorate.

But then the leaders of this adminstration (who may or may not actually include the president) were afraid the war they wanted could not stand on its own merits, so they used 9-11 to fearmonger and lie to sell it.

They cut and ran from Afghanistan to send troops to Iraq, and soon we will all see the dirty little secret that now the Karzai government controls only the major cities and the Taliban has taken back the rest. We could have stayed and stabilized the country. Now the resurgent Taliban is entrenched for battle and won't be caught off guard with a shock and awe campaign - we're either going to have to declare victory and get out and let Karzai deal with the true people who harbored BinLaden (sound familiar), or entrench in a Soviet style campaign there for 20 years until we pull out precipitiously and let the Taliban have it.

They diminished the credibility of the US in the world, particularly the Muslim world, and squandered anti-terrorist sentiment so that now half of Arabs say it is OK to kill Americans. They showed the world that a few Davids with incendiery slingshots could pretty much tie the mighty Goliath into knots. They created a terrorist spawning machine of epic proportions and actually made hatred of the US worse. They allowed threats far more pressing to fester in North Korea or Iran.

And now we're told that we must stay in this war that we began unjustly with lies or we will look weak or let the terrorists win? I say God Damn them all, and I'm not prone to cursing.

Tell me, did we give a damn about Rwanda? If Saddam's regime had been in Uganda would we have given a flying you know what? Have we intervened in Myanmar while people are tortured and murdered by the government? NO! You are all correct that we had vital interests in the area and the neocons believed invading Iraq was the way to protect those interests so they covertly to accomplish their agenda. Where was the national debate? Where was the debate even in closed session of Congress? It was not there.

On 9-11 we learned the high price of our dependency on foreign oil. What did our government do about it? Did our president think up the slogan "when you ride alone you ride with Osama?". Hardly, his friends make fun of the person who did. Did he charge Detroit with building hybrids as good as a Pruis (that gets 60 mpg)and use his post 9-11 capital to instruct Americans it would patriotic to buy them? Did he use part of his tax cut plans to bribe citizens to junk their SUV's to buy the hybrids, instead of giving his rich friends a break to buy another Hummer? Imagine if every commuter car in America got 50 mpg within a few years! Did he use his post 9-11 capital to get Americans to buy into funding a "Manhattan II" think tank project to rush the development of alternative energy strategies? No, he sat back and counted his silver pennies as cars got bigger, houses got bigger, mileage standards plummeted and his friends basked in record profits (well, he also touted "hydrogen" technology that at current research funding might (yes might, maybe) pay off in a few decades.

We're pissed. We got maneuvered into a war under false pretenses, and that war diminished the just war in Afghanistan and made our terrorism problem worse as well as ruined our reputation on the world and showed the limits of our military power. And we're mismanaging it too. And now we are supposed to support staying in an unjust war that was grossly mismanaged or be accused of doing a "cut and run"? We're not buying it.

I want an apology, and I want the SOB who put us in this position impeached and his little lap dog Bush too. Then I want a leader in who'll give it to me straight. I want a leader who undestands that the lessons of history show that you cannot win against an insurgency so long as the insurgents enjoy aid and comfort from the citizens of that country - so get it right either winning the hearts and minds over or make a new plan. I want a leader who understands its time for us to find creative ways to decrease our interests in the region. I want a leader.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 23, 2005 02:55 PM

PC Gorrila:

you live in a contrived brainwashed Bush/Rove/RNC world that is more concerned with maintaining political power than dealing with "reality".

they count on people like you to spread their nonsensical propaganda..

the man behind the curtain has been exposed..(BUSH)

The american people are seeing Bush for what he is and it is showing in the polls.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 23, 2005 02:58 PM

At least I'm fighting a war. What YOU want to do fuels terrorism. Let's just go ahead and open ourselves up for another one like we did under Clinton.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 03:00 PM

That is a very ignorant statement.

America has always had its enemies.
They have always been around, maybe you just didnt notice. Are you saying they all showed up under Clinton?

youre buying into more bush bs by saying that criticizing his Iraq policy "emboldens" the enemy. Tell that to the 2000 plus dead u.s. soldiers and thousands of innocent iraqi's killed.
the insurgents are already "emboldened.

Once the U.S. leaves be it now or whenever the bushites wants. Iraq is going to dissolce into a civil war. so take your pick do you want it now or later. I prefer sooner because it will save U.S. soldiers lives.

If the Iraqis care so much about freedom and democracy, them let THEM fight for it.
It is THEIR COUNTRY AFTER ALL.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 23, 2005 03:09 PM

9/11 happenned under Bush, not Clinton. You're twisted, PC Gorilla. Way to cut & run. Not that you ever debated much.
Intelligently fighting the enemy does not fuel terrorism at all. Spazzing the hell out like you are does because you empower them too much and respond too drastically.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 03:27 PM

Like most Americans I'm a practical person. If you make an investment and it doens't pan out you take your losses, write them off your taxes and move on. That may appear callous to those who lost their lives but staying for more deaths won't make their sacrifice better. Iraq is a mess. We invaded for reasons that turned out not to be true. We fouled up the occupation by not sending enough troops and disbanding the Iraqi army. Now we're putting the Iraqi house in as much order as we can before we leave but we have to face reality. It will never be a democracy like ours due to cultural and historic differences. It will probably degenerate into a cival war when we leave but that is up to the Iraqi's. We have no say in it and should not stay mearly to avoid it. The justification for this war now resides in the outcome. By definitiont that makes the war unjust. We should start leaving and hold our leaders accountable for their actions. Good intentions should cut them no slack. They fouled this up but good.

Posted by: kchses | November 23, 2005 04:48 PM

The crux of the debate comes to this: when is a preemtive war justified? Would it have been just to attack the Taliban in Afganistan well before 9/11 in order to prevent it? If so, then WMD is irrelevant to the case for Iraq or any other war.

Militarily speaking, 9/11 proved that terrorists themselves are a sort of small scale WMD. There is no effective military defense against their "first strike" and the resulting (relatively) massive loss of life, even when they are limited to convential bombs. Liberals trumpet the "Better Intelligence" solution for terror the same way the conservatives touted the "SDI/Star Wars" solution to WMDs. Both will be of so limited actual practical success militarily speaking as to be irrelevant to the debate.

Now, with WMDs at least we had a workable political solution - the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction. Effective deterrance meant preemption was thus not necessary. The problem with terror networks as an enemy is that they make it too hard to define what gets mutually destroyed. With MAD not workable, what is left?

Moralizing aside, as a practical matter we're left with either "pre-emptive war" and a certain frequency of attacking what will turn out to be non-threats or "better intelligence" and a certain frequency of our own mass destruction.

I'm not sure it is moral to say "better to err on the side of them than us" but it's sure tough to argue with.

Posted by: vimrich | November 23, 2005 08:45 PM

A lot of good information being submitted, but the bottom line is that the decision to invade Iraq goes back to before 9/11. In fact, 9/11 was the catalyst some were looking for to invade. The Project for the New American Century clearly shows that many persons now involved with the Bush Administration were hell bent on attacking Iraq. Here are a few names: Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes,
Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle,
Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad,
I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz,
Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman,
Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen,
Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber,
George Weigel, Paul Wolfowitz.

All of these persons signed the PNAC's Statement of Principle back in 1997 and supported invading Iraq. Note that Lewis Libby is included in this group. Reading this document and related documents on the following site clearly shows how the American public was duped by a bunch of neo-cons:
www.newamericancentury.org/index.html.

One document, "Rebuilding American Defenses" is quite similar to George W. Bush's own "manifesto." Even William Kristol (Weekly Standard) signed off on "Rebuilding America's Defenses." This is why he is so supportive of this war now, and Scooter Libby is a lot more powerful than some people think.

Posted by: S. A. Stokes | November 23, 2005 08:46 PM

Some general comments:

1. Iraq war about oil: Nope. Iraqi crude is too high in sulfer for import into the U.S. Nor would invading increase supply enough to counter Chinese demand (the real reason prices are increasing so quickly). Was oil a significant variable? Yes. Was it decisive? Probably not.

2. Eggshen is still active duty military (or so he/she purports). Active duty personal can get in deep doo-doo for speaking ill of senior officers or civilian officials. Most stay silent. As in, 10 shots of gin and a crowbar to speak about Iraq or this administration. I could be wrong, but when someone risks their career for a few political points, I begin to wonder if they are really risking their career at all (eg: psy ops or CI), if they simply don't care about their career, or if they really don't have a career.

3. The "army we got" had more than enough troops to employ the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force to take and hold Iraq. Political decisions were made for ideological reasons. Judging from the aftermath, those appear to have been poor decisions.

4. Roses and Ice? Has somone forgotten about the hail of bullets? Or the IED's? I certainly wouldn't want to be welcomed in that manner.

5. The situation on the ground in Iraq is a +/- story. The situation is great in the north, ok in the south, and deplorable in the center. Some projects are up and running. Some in development. Others terminated, and some actively sabotaged. However, since the main population centers are in the center, and Kirkut and Mosul keep showing ominous signs, it is hard to believe the rosy picture sported on some postings within this string. In general, if you do not control the capital, you cannot claim success.

6. Why can't some people raise up the courage to cut and run? Iraq would fall to pieces? Duh. It is going to fall to pieces anyway. Two of the three major groups are pushing for a federalism so loose it reminds one of the Palestinian-Israeli "nation" from 1929-1946 or the Jordanian-Palestinian national plan of 1973.

7. If you are out fishing and you catch a trolling gorilla, throw it back. Trying to reason with a gorilla is pointless, and it annoys the gorilla.

Posted by: Chris | November 23, 2005 09:20 PM

8. I keep seeing this idea that we should only trust the 'experts' or those with experience in the military, intel, politics, or Iraq. This isn't what democracy and free speach are all about. If some of you really feel this way, then perhaps we should set up Plato's utopian republic, the one which rules for those who have not seen the light (the masses). Plato, and other Greek philosophers had low opinions of democracy, calling it one step above chaos.

Many doubt that our rulers would ever be these utopian philosophers; they would make mistakes. Plato's republic without the enlightend rulers becomes an authoritarian oligarchy. Our founding fathers specifically designed our democracy to reign in the power of a few to command the masses. I find it disturbing that some of you advocate taking the first steps down the short road to dictatorship by vesting authority in the rule of a few 'experts' (experts who seem to have gotten us into one heck of a mess).

Posted by: Chris | November 23, 2005 09:28 PM

JOHN MORRIS writes:

"I don't believe for a second, however, that WMDs were any more then a small part of the rational for this war. I have no doubt that Bush and his administration felt this war was in America's best interests, but what were those interests and were they worth the cost?"

If you go back a bit on this thread, I listed 10 factors that weighed in favor of war. Bush felt no differently than President Clinton or PM Blair, or 3/4 of the American House and Senate, for that matter.

"Was the reason to protect Isreal? was it protecting Oil supplies? Was it the belief that bringing democracy to the middle east would end terrorism? Was it to get rid of an unpredictable dictator? Was it to get American troops out of Saudia Arabia (removing one of Osama's beefs about the USA)? Odds are it was all of these reasons and more..."

1. Of course Israel was a huge factor. It was why a pile of Jewish lefties that never saw a defense bill they could vote for went with this. If you look back, in 1996, some of the same neocons that curried favor with Dubya were working for the Likudniks and came up with "Clean Break", a long term strategy that had Israel's first goal being taking out Iraq - preferably with someone else's lives and treasure. This was echoed in 1998 with PNAC. The matter of Israel being the greatest immediate beneficiary was oddly missing from the Congressional debate on going into Iraq. Or perhaps not so oddly as it is a subject most politicians wish to avoid. Michael Kinsley, himself a Jew, noted this in a Slate essay where he said anything and everything was being dredged up as reasons for and against hitting Saddam but for the large elephant in the room no one took notice of - Israel.

2. Of course oil is important. It's not "All About the Oil" anymore than Jefferson going after the Barbary Pirates was "All About the Shipper's Profits" or WWII was "All About Access to Markets" - but a factor. Without oil, we go into economic Depression. For 30 years America has done little to shift fuels, so we have a crippling dependency on oil, as most modern nations lacking domestic production do.

3. Belief that the magic of democracy would work started with the silly neocons and the Stepford wife saying the women of Afghanistan would be voting themselves out of burquas once liberated. At best, Iraqi democracy will be better than the Iranian version, but likely not as good as Turkey's or Russias.

4. Getting the US troops out of Saudi Arabia was a huge, huge reason. We had been warned for a decade that aside from licking Israel's boots and giving them what they wanted, the next immediate cause of upset was large numbers of American infidels protecting the world's oil supply but having to do so from the Land of the Two Holiest Mosques.

Whatever the sythesis of all the reasons is, properly weighted, the debate is as sterile as the one they tried out as WWII started that "FDR lied, children died". According to that conspiracy, which was about FDR lying to people about Lend-Lease, secret technology transfers from the UK to US, flagrant violation of the Neutrality Pact by covertly attacking ships of the German Reich for 8 months prior to Dec 11th, 1941, his conomic embargo of Japan cited as casus belli by Japan under Int'l Law (due to Jap atrocities FDR knew about), and of course "FDR knew about the Jap attack coming on Pearl Harbor". Most of those charges are true. But the country was in no mood to dwell on the build-up to WWII and US culpability and "who knew what when" inside the DC Beltway games , because it was all a little late for that. The war was on.

The same with Iraq. Declaring America should work to be defeated now and seriously damage it's interests and the interests of Muslim moderates and the interests of many, many nations as some sort of penance for "Bush-Hitler lied, brown babies died" or similar Lefty nursery rhyme rubbish is beyond stupid. It is suicidal self-spite.

We are in. The war is on. The war must
not end on terms severely damaging to the long term interests of America and allied nations. If we do bail, and the result is a catastrophic civil war within Iraq, radical Muslims emboldened in other countries like Saudi Arabia and the oil wealth ends up in Islamoid control, or the terrorists are convinced we have lost our will and kill many more thousands of Americans - and though the US can recover from it - adding onto the cut and run from Vietnam - the liberal Left Democrats will have the same bright political future as the Whigs, the KKK, or the American Communist Party - as never trusted again to have power in this country. Conversely, if we stay, we can see some real "management" changes happening in the "tax cuts for the wealthy, spend and spend and fight war on the cheap" bunch


"My point, however, is that this is debate that never occured. It has robbed us of the truth and prevents us from determining if the war was truly worth the cost."

This debate went on for a whole year. Longer luxury of debate than any other war we have been in. In that year, only two Democrats bothered digging deep into the intelligence, and matters such as Israel were shied away from by both Parties. In that year, we saw not only the pacifists saying nothing is ever worth dying for shamed by the bravery of our soldiers but we also so Cheney and the neocons raise all sorts of arguments and judgements that proved flat wrong. And now we see many Democrats pretending they never said the things they said in that 1 year of debate. Folks like Smarmy Chuck Schumer, Reid, Wexler, Harkin, Waxman and especially the two-faced piece of shit that is John Kerry.

"I am not an anti-war guy, but I was against this specific war from the start simply because I could see the shallowness of its rational as presented"

Refer back to the 10 reasons WHY - that I gave earlier, and add the good reasons you gave yourself. There was no shallowness. Or you wouldn't have yourself given additional rationale..

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 23, 2005 10:23 PM

Chris:

1. "Iraq war about oil: Nope. Iraqi crude is too high in sulfer for import into the U.S."

WTF are you talking about??????? Iraq crude is medium sweet (medium density volatiles, medium sulphur). Every drop they can produce is sold. High sulphur high bitumen Venezuelan oil is our major import. You can see the piles of sulphur refined out down in Texas and Louisiana where the Venezuelan tankers unload. And oil was important enough for Wolfowitz to give his idiotic spin that oil price drops and increased production (NOT! X 2) by liberated happy Iraqis would pay for the cost of Liberation/Occupation. However, you are right that the transfer of most consumer manufacturing to China by the Bush globalists has not only given China so many WalMart dollars that they have in 8 years put America 300 billion in debt to them in taxpayer IOUs, built a modern military, given them a 9% annual GNP growth rate, but made China the consumer of 8 times the oil they used 10 years ago and half the world's cement and steel production...

2. "I begin to wonder if they are really risking their career at all (eg: psy ops or CI), if they simply don't care about their career, or if they really don't have a career."

The military is open to talking - leaving aside the "political" senior officers and Pentagon civvie Spinmeisters. Open as long as they think the reporter is not some Leftist or Democrat out to fuck them. And blogs are great in allowing troops at all levels to speak anonymously as well as get into the fun game to ferret out the usual Lefties posing as military to give their sedition "creds".

3. "Roses and Ice? Has somone forgotten about the hail of bullets? Or the IED's? I certainly wouldn't want to be welcomed in that manner."

The IEDs came later. From critical mistakes the US made post-war, from PC blocking us from dealing effectively with insurgents, from Saddam actually having planned the insurgency as the US dithered in debate in the fall and spring, and from Al Qaeda coming in. The troops were welcomed with roses and ice. The Sunni Arab terror started up 6 months after liberation with the US cluelessly standing around following neocon grand plans with their thumbs up their asses. The only thing that has saved us so far is the ability of the Army and Marines to deal with the burning sack of shit Cheney, Rummy, and the neos and Tommy Franks left on their doorstep.

4. "In general, if you do not control the capital, you cannot claim success."

The capital always falls last. Ask the folks in Berlin, Pneom Penh, Saigon.

5. "Why can't some people raise up the courage to cut and run?"

Thats a question best asked of the French, assuming you are just serious about being yellow being courageous. Or ask the Democrats that forced a cut and run from Vietnam after Watergate. Teddy is still in office. Ask him where he found the courage to give S Vietnam the shaft, or the courage he has now. Could it be Chivas Regal?

6. "I keep seeing this idea that we should only trust the 'experts' or those with experience in the military, intel, politics, or Iraq. This isn't what democracy and free speach are all about."

The saying goes that no one advances far in politics by underestimating the stupidity of the American voter. 80% of American voters can't find Algeria on a map. Almost 30% of American women, in studies using actors of diametrically different physical looks and political platforms sided with the male that had the best face and great hair, no matter what they said. And a significant fraction of both male and female voters also prefer the taller person, even in tests where the taller actor is scripted to talk like an idiot.

So going with experts isn't a bad idea, given how far behind we are the European and Asian public school levels. And have an underclass of cretins few modern nations are burdened with...Except we are also one country where the media hates saying this or that is the consensus viewpoint of expert opinion. They profit more from "conflicting experts" and seek them out - just like trial lawyers trying to get rich can always find a credentialled "expert" willing to whore in court for high fees.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 23, 2005 11:29 PM

Ford,

"The debate" certainly went on for a year. HOwever, all evidence indicates that "the decision" was made well before "the debate" even got started.

As for the costs of continuing on now, there have been several good articles for leaving and staying. Some of the best note that typcially the longer an occupier occupies the worse the eventual civil war becomes (though the examples given all ignore the colonial legacy, which prove a far different point).

On that different point. . . Do you believe that the U.S. voters will allow this war effort to continue through the 20-40 years that French and British colonialists took to create permanent Middle East states, if not governments?

I could buy five to seven years. Perhaps If Mcain were elected. Perhaps he could keep it going for another four years. But beyond that? Can anyone seriously see this war effort continuing for three to five more presidential terms?

If you allow me those five years, how much progress do you think we can manage? The U.S. can likely significantly increase the capacity of the Iraqi army. However, simply increasing the coercive capacity of an army is little guarantee, that is, after all, how the Ba'ath seized and solidified power in the first place.

What we need to do to alleviate the potentiality for civil and regional war is:

1. reduce the social and tribal cleavages between sectarian and ethnic groups.

2. Increase public confidence in the government. This dovetails with #1 in that if the populace remains divided, there is little potential for trust.

3. Increase the median citizens average salary to $4,000 per year. Ideally, the magic democracy number seems to be $8,000, but four may well have to do.

4. Create enough electrical, water, and sewage infrastructure to allow at least 12 hours of consistent service to urban Iraqis.

5. Security, security, security. Mobs can still assassinate key government officials almost at will. They are never caught (this feeds back to #1 and #2). Also, a capable army does not necessarily translate into security, especially if that army is divided itself along ethnic or sectarian lines and/or is involved in a civil war (for example, note the Jordanian civil war wherein Palestinian forces sometimes defected to the other side).

After three years, have we made progress? Definitely. Iraqis in Baghdad can now expect 4-6 hours of power a day instead of 2. Median incomes are up among some groups, but well short of targeted goals. Military recruitment is increasing, though often by accepting ethnic/sectarian militias enmasse or re-recruiting Sunni officers (ie: lots of cleavages). Infrastructure development remains weak due to sabotage, corruption, and contractors refusal to work.

However, in the absolute most important field, reducing sectarian and ethnic divide, the situation has become worse. Far worse. Instead of looking to a united Iraq, Shi'ites have opted for loose federalism with a Shi'ite mini-state similar to the emerging Kurdistan. The Sunnis are out in the cold. Literally.

Can any of these goals be met in five years? Perhaps the military. For the rest, it would take a miracle (or a military dictatorship which would only require a military and could beat the others out of a population).

Posted by: Chris | November 23, 2005 11:55 PM

Mr Morris sums it up best form me:

"I don't believe for a second, however, that WMDs were any more then a small part of the rational for this war. I have no doubt that Bush and his administration felt this war was in America's best interests, but what were those interests and were they worth the cost?

Was the reason to protect Isreal? was it protecting Oil supplies? Was it the belief that bringing democracy to the middle east would end terrorism? Was it to get rid of an unpredictable dictator? Was it to get American troops out of Saudia Arabia (removing one of Osama's beefs about the USA)? Odds are it was all of these reasons and more..."

All good reasons for a case for war, especially when considered in combination.

However, I think the best case for war is to keep the oil flowing from there. To keep us comfortable on cold days, allow us to rapidly get us back and forth from various destinations, deliver our goods, and so on. If it for sale, we will buy it. It's a business thing. But is has gone sour.

Unfortunately, those who use oil as an economic weapon, as a means to become filthy rich without any desire to invest thier wealth for the future of their societies, and who allow fundamentalism to flourish out of fear for their own hides, have created this nutty and endless cycle.

Which brings me to another reason for war. Stop this crazy train.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 24, 2005 01:43 AM

I meant to add I hope every American, even the lefties, a good Thanksgiving.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 24, 2005 01:46 AM

Americans should have read foreign papers like the Guardian and listened to foreign diplomats. And there was the one senator from WestVirginia who said it all at the right moment. Nobody wanted to listen. Everybody believed the Bush clique's lies. He was reelected. Unbelievable.

Posted by: Erich Heini | November 24, 2005 02:44 AM

Funny how in Chris Ford's world, all military members are staunch Republican Conservatives. Not so in my corner of the Air Force. Granted, a majority are, but there is a significant portion of us who are *gasp* liberals!

Posted by: Kevin | November 24, 2005 07:21 AM

Did Bush deliberately lie? Didn't he call the inspectors out of Iraq before they completed what seemed to be becoming a "no show" of WMD's? That action doesn't indicate a search for "truth". He knew yellowcake was not a real issue (hence Plame incident), yet continued to tout it. He continues to link 9/11 with Iraq, which has been proved a lie. The way he crafted his accusations shows an awareness of mis-information. He is a liar.

Also, I was wondering if the format of this debate could be changed so the writer is identified first. That would save me a lot of time. I could then fast forward past PC Gorilla.

Posted by: MO | November 24, 2005 07:26 AM

Ms. Messner: Thank you so much for your careful review and dissection. Your work does an enormous favor for America.

Posted by: Stephen | November 24, 2005 09:30 AM

The type of argument used by PC Gorilla is what is wrong with America. It is one of the reasons that so many people across the world have formed anti-American attitudes.

I have always thought America was something more than just this terrifying military superpower. I had always thought that what made us exceptional was our committment to the principles of fair play, compassion and a "decent respect for the opinions of mankind". As such, I had always thought that to be an American conferred upon us a special responsibility to be a moral beacon to the rest of the world, an illustration of what a good citizen is.

When the Founding Fathers used the phrase, "...a decent respect for the opinions of mankind...", I am quite certain they were thinking of the reasoned, civil debate over the larger questions of human existence that grew out of the Great Enlightenment. When they institutionalized this notion of respect for the opinions of others in the Bill of Rights, I am quite certain they recognized that the freedom to express opinions publicly conferred a responsibility as well to do so in a civil, respectable manner.

Calling people cowards simply because they express a view in opposition to your own is hardly conducive to that sort of civil, respectable debate that our Founder's envisioned. There are a great many ways to lose our cherished liberties. Not least among them their use in a destructive pedestrian way. When we debauch such a grand freedom in this way, we render it not worth having.

To my countrymen in this era of bad feelings, I bid you a Happy Thanksgiving Day whatever opinions you choose to express and in whatever manner you choose to express them.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 24, 2005 09:38 AM

All of America's wars, Vietnam no less than WWII, have been utterly righteous wars -- the current war in Iraq no less so than any of the others. Regime change in Iraq had been the policy of America at least from President Bush pere. Under Saddam, Iraq was a gathering threat to America which threat included the nightmare scenereo of Saddam providing terrorists with WMD with which to attack our homeland. That in and of itself was ample justification our our preventative war. And, of course, the benefits of the war will be many and varied, if but only if we stay the course. Already one benefit has become clear: we are fighting the terrorists "over there" and not here at home, as we no doubt would have been had we not liberated Iraq. So what if there are a few more terrorists as a result of our liberation of Iraq; point is, they are travelling to Iraq to fight us not to America. And we will kill them all in time, or enough of them to win, at any rate. Additionally, we are establishing a beachhead of liberty in the terrorist heartland. A democratic Iraq can be counted on not to fund, encourage, cause or increase terrorism or the terrorist threat against us and our allies; and it also challenges the terrorist conceit that Islam is somehow incompatable with democracy and individual political freedom. For all this and more, President Bush is a giant striding through history; carping, whining and nipping at his feet are his contemporary critics, the Lilliputian liberals and their allies, all with their own extraneous agendas, e.g., preserving abortion on demand and special right for POPs (practitioners of homosexual perversion), and etc., etc. History shall vindicate President Bush and excoriate his critics.

Posted by: David Brockett | November 24, 2005 10:58 AM

Iraq,in and of itself, had to go. The capitalist Christians and Jews despised it because it was an obstacle along the path to economic development of the region's resources and its proximity to other, and the fundamentalist Islamists despised it because it was an obstacle to furthering their attainment of influence over the people.

Thus, Iraq was as a man in the sea, surrounded by sharks as the ship of the captain and his good men sailed by.

The shark had the man, clear up to his torso in its mouth when the men grasped his upper body and became determined to save him, because, after all, the head was the most important part.

After hours of struggle, both the shark and the men got what they came for, even as the man was torn in half.

The shark fed heartily and moved on to its next meal. The men shouted and congratulated each other for saving the man from the belly of the beast.

As for the man, his fate was sealed long before the shark bit and men arrived.

His mistake was to merely be in the sea amid sharks and good men, both proclaiming the right to act and making everyone else apologists for their actions.

He had no regrets about falling victim to the shark, for the shark had been around for millenia and was just a part of the balance, nor did he have animosity toward the good men that tried to save him, e'en as he was torn in half, they had their noble reasons.

And so the only way he could be saved was to be killed.

As Mr. Vonnegut wrote: "So it goes."

At least for as long as sharks and good men remain on this Earth.

Posted by: dc in FL | November 24, 2005 11:05 AM

Chris,

You write, "I keep seeing this idea that we should only trust the 'experts' or those with experience in the military, intel, politics, or Iraq. This isn't what democracy and free speech are all about."

You raise a very important point, but I think you blur a distinction that needs to be maintained.

The problem with a Platonic Republic of the sort that you mention is not that the experts are _heard_, when speaking about their own fields. It is that they make the final decisions as well.

There are two extremes that must be avoided. The first is a system in which the experts make all the decisions; as you say, that destroys democracy (which was, of course, Plato's intent). But the other extreme (equally dangerous) is a system in which no one pays any attention to experts in relevant fields. A system in which the mistaken conclusion is drawn that, because we all get an equal voice, therefore we're all equally knowledgeable, whether the issue be the law, medicine, plumbing, the production of chemical weapons, international politics, etc. (Arguably, it was the fact that Athens had embraced the second extreme that made Plato, in reaction, embrace the first.)

The truth is, if this administration had actually listened to experts in relevant fields, it either would not have invaded Iraq, or, if it had, it would have done much better planning beforehand. _None_ of the problems that we now face in Iraq was unforeseen by people who knew about the Middle East.

And no matter what the administration did, if the general public had been better informed by experts in the relevant fields, through the media, the administration would have had to make a real, reasoned case for war, instead of engaging in the sorts of hysterics, equivocation, and non sequiturs that it did.

A group of experts shouldn't make the decisions in a democracy, but they do have a vital role, which is to inform the general public about the decisions the public makes. If I don't get to vote, I have no voice, but I also have no real voice if I'm forced to vote on something without the information I need to make an informed judgement.

Thanks for raising the issue.

Posted by: Beren | November 24, 2005 11:38 AM

Chris Ford,

You write, "The capital always falls last. Ask the folks in Berlin, Pneom Penh, Saigon."

Are you sure this is a case that you want to make? Saigon was last to fall to....well, the insurgents, wasn't it? The corollary, then, would be that in central Iraq, Baghdad would be the last bit we'd hold onto. I don't think that really strengthens your argument.

Berlin's not a good example because there you're talking about a conventional war, and in the conventional war, Baghdad 'fell' ages ago. But in a war against insurgents, you generally _do_ control the capital till the very end, and if at any point you can't _even_ control the capital, it's a very bad sign for your ultimate prospects. For example, Karzai has control in Kabul, even though there are many parts of Afghanistan where he's not in control. But if Karzai looked like he was even losing control of the capital, what sort of a sign would that be?

You're quite right that 'the capital falls last'. But that's _bad_ news for us, not good.

Posted by: Beren | November 24, 2005 11:52 AM

Chris writes:

"Do you believe that the U.S. voters will allow this war effort to continue through the 20-40 years that French and British colonialists took to create permanent Middle East states, if not governments?"

It took the Brits and French only 3 years (1919-1922) to finish hashing out what Empire got what, what the final boundaries would be, how much the Zionists got rewarded for their money loans in WWI, and how much the Arabs promised self-rule got backstabbed. After that, both the French and Brits made money off their territories. The only major pain in the ass was the constant fighting between Zionists and Arabs over who controlled what land in Palestine. The rest of the region was pretty stable until Arab nationalism rose in the 50s.

Quiute different than the 220 billion the US has blown and all the pressing priorities of the US foregone so oil can flow securely to China and France at no cost to our strategic rivals - and a bunch of Arab ingrates (not the Kurds!) can taste "freedom". The Brits were smarter than us.

A great resource is Yale University Library's Avalon Project which collects the primary treaties and source documents of the ME. A link:

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/mideast.htm

If you go past the ME to the "Great Game" played with mainly by the UK and Russia around Iran and Afghanistan, that went on for almost a century, mostly in the 19th century, and ended when the Bosheviks seized power.

MO - "He knew yellowcake was not a real issue (hence Plame incident), yet continued to tout it. He continues to link 9/11 with Iraq, which has been proved a lie."

The problem with believing a Leftist nursery ryhme "Bush lied, people died" is that it is about as true as the other simplistic slogans of the Left.

The Brits stand by their intelligence that Iraq was making inquiries on nuke stuff and missile technology. The Lord Butler Report linked earlier on this thread independently says the Brits believed their intel and that yes, the Iraqis WERE making inquiries.

If Plames privacy was so precious, she should not have had recommended a vain, narcissistic husband active in Democratic politics for a mission he was not qualified for by expertise (Wilson knew nothing of WMD technology) nor let him launch major media political attacks when he got back that surely would have led to her backdoor no matter who was in office. Both reporters and Administration at any time in our history would have pondered who was behind an opposite party hack with no intelligence bona fides being dispatched on a "mysterious mission" by spooks then allowed to came back and launch surrepticious and open attacks on the opposite party in power. Imagine this breakfast table conversation: "Gee, honey, what are you doing?" "My leaks to major TV shows didn't stir things up enough, so I'm writing a NYTimes piece that will be read globally, then I become a DNC foreign policy advisor!" "Oh, that's all. Well, no one is going to bother looking up I sponsored you for that trip and so endanger my status as America's greatest super duper secret agent." "No, but if they did, we'll be famous and in Vanity Fair. It's not like they'd dare like the liberal media did revealing names in the 70s and getting agents killed, or the Times outing the whole CIA covert plane network and 20 names of agents....if anyone leaked your name the media would be Outraged and Shocked that a Precious National Super Duper asset working a desk job was ruined!"

What we do know is that Saddam was waiting for sanctions and inspections to end, something the Left was hard at work on "For the Sake of the Children!!". And Russia, China, a pack of Arabs, and France were working on for the Oil for Food kickbacks "For the Sake of the Money!!". So while he waited, after getting caught hiding WMD by his wayward sons in law in 1995, then destroying what he had so he could get rid of the worst sanctions - Saddam defied the WMD resolutions by covertly working on long-range missiles and having dual use chemical plants modernized....waiting. The Bushies are horrible communicators and have not made a great case about this, or what the interviews with top generals and scientists were told about "being back in the strategic arms business as soon as sanctions end".

Kevin - "Funny how in Chris Ford's world, all military members are staunch Republican Conservatives. Not so in my corner of the Air Force. Granted, a majority are, but there is a significant portion of us who are *gasp* liberals!"

I believe I said most military are conservative. Though a significant part of the minority pool is Democrat by tradition, their sentiments on foreign policy at least, align with conservatives, the longer they are in. And for sure, few in the military care about "precious terrorist civil liberties" the Left obsesses about. Especially the Air Force. Our mass killers. Who drop the bombs that ensure that whole regiments Jihadis have the right to silence and remain silent forevermore. One B-1 bomber is credited with killing almost 600 Islamoids on a single run - Jihadis who were not given the opportunity to consult with ACLU lawyers and establish their criminal guilt or their innocence in consulation with ACLU lawyers in their position outside Herat. Oh, the humanity!! (thinking of AF liberals weeping.....)

Jaxas - "When they institutionalized this notion of respect for the opinions of others in the Bill of Rights, I am quite certain they recognized that the freedom to express opinions publicly conferred a responsibility as well to do so in a civil, respectable manner. Calling people cowards simply because they express a view in opposition to your own is hardly conducive to that sort of civil, respectable debate...."

No where in the Constitution is their language about a duty to RESPECT the opinions of others. Only to have the freedom to assemble for redress of grievances, petition, freedom of the press. Not RESPECT whatever comes out of someone else's mouth. And that freedom has always been reasonably limited so one Right, exercised absolutely without discretion and without consideration of the harm it may cause to security or liberty, does not destroy the rights of other Americans.

That is why we have sedition laws. Why public servants take an oath not to support those who support the violent overthrow of the Constitution or the elected Government of the US and it's laws. Why military takes an oath to defend the USA against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Why it goes beyond falsely shouting fire in a theater, inciting riot and other free speech threats to public safety. Why we have wartime censorship and why seditious press has been locked up at times (Civil War, WWI), and why sedition was used as recently as the 1980s to prosecute Puerto Rican terorists for inciting others to violent acts.

Nothing like a weather delay on Thanksgiving and miserable conditions to generate free time to create speculations and pontifications.

Happy Thansgiving, All!

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 24, 2005 11:55 AM

My point in saying that the Iraq war was deemed in America's best interest was to make a very fine distinction. It was not to protect America, but to protect American interests in the Middle east. (Isreal, Oil, etc).

Disregarding the debunked excuses for starting the war in the first place, fighting this war meant:

1) America is saying its "interests" trump the interests of the people actually living in the region.

2) America is saying it will start a war when it feels its interested "might" be threatened. This may be fine for American's, but that is not a justified reason under the UN charter (for all you may hate the UN, it is a treaty the US wants all other countries to live by) - thus making it illegal. This would put America in the same boat as Iraq, when it felt it was in its best economic interest to invade Kuwait.

3) By working to actively take out an Arab foe of Isreal, it is intervening militarily in the Palistinian/Isreali conflict. (Not a way to win more friends in the Arab community). A better policy would be to follow that of Europe, taking a Nuetral (rather then an Emotional) stance to the land debate and find a Fair and Just solution for both sides. America's continued lopsided policy has allowed Isreal to keep expanding its territory and kept this struggle as an open wound for the past decades. 9/11 should be reminder enough that fixing the Isreal/Palestine dispute, on the fast track, is a must for America's national security.

4) Spreading democracy is not a fix to terrorism. That is a dogmatic belief that has no basis in fact. The London and Oklahoma bombings are perfect examples of why its not a fix. (home grown terrorists in a democracy). Starting a war for this reason puts Bush in the same category as Karl Marx. Democracy is a means to an end (good government), not an end in itself (there are a lot of bad democratic goverments out there).

5) Getting out of Saudia Arabia. Being in Saudia Arabia was all about intimidating the Iraqi regime. There were many ways out of there short of war.

6) The USA getting oil from Iraq really doesn't matter. Whats important is the World getting more oil from Iraq. Creating a bigger supply, keeps the price of oil low and prevents shortages. If the USA did more to create a viable energy strategy, it could shield/de-risk itself from the problems in the Middle-East.

I'm sure many of you would like to debate these points, but again I return to one of my previous points .... The whole WMD debacle is a red-herring that has prevented the true debate from taking place.

Posted by: John Morris | November 24, 2005 12:36 PM

Iraq was never about oil.
But it was about petro-dollars.

Since the end of the Bretton-Woods system, the dollar has been the reserve currency of the world. This means that America has only to print dollars (or treasury bonds) for other countries to buy them.

Other countries need dollars in order to :
1. Buy oil and other commodities with fewer worries about price fluctuations
2. To manage their forex relationship with the dollar
3. To give credibility to their reserve bank
4. ...

In January 2000, the EURO came into being. This meant that for the first time since since the second world war, another currency could rival the dollar (The EU is stable and rich...)

In November 1999, Saddam Hussein demanded that the UN pay for Iraqi oil (under the oil-for-food program) not in dollars but in euros as of 1st January 2000. This made a lot of people very unhappy (people such as neocons...)

In 2002 Iran changed its central bank reserves from almost entirely dollars to 60% Euros and the rest being a basket of currencies

In April 2002 in Oviedo in Spain, OPEC discussed "The Choice of Currency for the Denomination of the Oil Bill" which concluded that it was only a matter of time before petro-euros came into being.

Then Venezuela AND saudi arabia started talking about Euros and that, imho, is when
the BA started freaking out.

*Their* mission was accomplished though - in 2004, Saudi Arabia (with a large american army camped out nearby) decided not to switch to Euros...

Met me know if you want links to this info.

Posted by: murf41 | November 24, 2005 05:00 PM

Chris Ford writes:

"Saddam defied the WMD resolutions by covertly working on long-range missiles and having dual use chemical plants modernized....waiting. The Bushies are horrible communicators and have not made a great case about this, or what the interviews with top generals and scientists were told about being back in the strategic arms business as soon as sanctions end"

We will never know what a "santions end" would look-like, if it would ever occur. Undoubtably, there would likely have been a significant loosening, but I seriously doubt access to significnat weapons systems and yellow-cake imports would have been re-instated for some time.

Without yellow-cake or other nuclear technology, Iraq would not be in the Nuclear bomb business. Getting into the strategic arms business (because it never was in it) would never be allowed.

Iraq was never in the long range missile business (ie ICBM). He was found to have some short range missiles that we labeled violations (they went 6 miles further then they should. Iraq said its because the UN team was testing them without the weight of the warhead). A drawing showing a medium range missile made up of multiple smaller missile engines was found, but that was deemed more a fanciful dream by an engineer then it was reality. Iraq used to have medium range missiles (Scuds+their customized varients) and could likely get back in that business again. But those missiles were at best usefull for taking potshots at people (Isreal comes to mind). Might make people very mad, but hardly a huge threat to regional security.

Its very likely Saddam would get back into the Chemical weapons business. That said, the threat of chemical weapons has been completely overblown. These weapons are banned by treaty not because they are such nasty weapons, but because they are nasty weapons that aren't horribly effective to the outcome of a battle. (did they help the Kaiser win WW-I? Did they help Saddam win against Iran?). Chemical weapons were used by Iraq for the same reason that they were used in WW-I. Regular High Explosive weapons have little effect on dug-in troops, such as those in trenches during the Iraq/Iran war (yes, it was trench warfare). Gas is heavier then air and will sink down into the trenches - any escaping troops can then be killed with HE (sort of like the American Shake and Bake strategy in the news last week). Chemical weapons are not strategic weapons, they are purely tactical. And btw, terrorists do not need to be provided with chemical weapons, most people forget the Al Queda has already demponstrated its ability to make its own (captured video of dog dying from poison gas in Afghanistan). The technology to make these weapons is over 90 years old now and the forumula is likely on the Internet.

Regardless of if Iraq had chemical weapons and medium range missiles or not, it really posed little significant threat to its neighbors. It had few tanks and almost no airforce left, so it wasn't marching into any of its neighbors anytime soon. It could take potshots with missiles, but those are easily traceable. I seriously doubt Iraq would have wanted to put up with the inevitable consequences.

Posted by: | November 24, 2005 06:09 PM

Every word our president uttered(highly scripted) since his presidency, is quite the opposite to his actions, amazingly enough there are citizens who buy into that, I don't get it.

Posted by: antibush | November 24, 2005 08:12 PM

Misled or Stupid?
The US invasion of Iraq took place on 19th March 2003. At the time I was vehemently opposed to the invasion. In the 2½ years since the I have not wavered in my opposition.

Recently I criticised Evangelical leaders in America for their unthinking support of the war. A good friend of mine - a supporter of the invasion at the time who has not changed his mind - has questioned whether I have been unfair in my assessment of these evangelical leaders. After all, his argument goes, weren't they simply acting on the evidence that they had at the time? The evidence, of course, was the October 2002 CIA report into Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction.

At the time I remember looking at virtually every piece of evidence that had been presented by both Bush and Blair. Nothing - nothing - convinced me that there were WMDs. This lack of evidence was the reason why so many nations refused to endorse the invasion when it was discussed at the UN.

So what were the claims that were made in the lead-up to the invasion - these claims that I so willingly dismissed?

11 September 2001 - A pathetic CIA

I'll start with the CIA. 9/11 was a total embarrassment for America's intelligence agencies - especially the CIA, whose area of responsibility involves threats from international terrorists. You must understand that the CIA failed dismally in my books. It would therefore seem probable that the CIA would attempt to make themselves look better by somehow "discovering" information that helped to justify an invasion. Given the CIA's dark role over many decades in staging coups in foreign nations, it would seem in the CIA's own interest to placate and please a very angry and very popular president.

So for me, nothing that came from the CIA was trustworthy. And that includes the October 2002 report that apparently convinced so many Americans. I will admit, however, that my doubts over CIA intelligence grew as the war drew nearer as I discovered many other problems.

20 July 2002 - Former Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter publically doubts Iraq's threat of WMDs.

Scott Ritter isn't the world's most favourite former weapons inspector. From what I can tell, he's made some injudicious comments in the past. However, we must remember that this guy was in Iraq in the late 90s and he was involved in finding evidence of WMDs. Ritter, in a 2002 article in the Boston Globe, says:

While we were never able to provide 100 percent certainty regarding the disposition of Iraq's proscribed weaponry, we did ascertain a 90-95 percent level of verified disarmament. This figure takes into account the destruction or dismantling of every major factory associated with prohibited weapons manufacture, all significant items of production equipment, and the majority of the weapons and agent produced by Iraq.


Ritter's article does not say "Iraq did not have WMDs". It says "Iraq is not a threat to America". His wrote about this eight months before America invaded. Whatever you may personally feel about Ritter, his 2002 Boston Globe Article was proven totally correct.

24 September 2002 - The September Dossier

From the Wikipedia article:

The September Dossier is the name given to a document published by the United Kingdom Labour government on 24 September 2002. The paper, entitled Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government, was part of a campaign by the government to bolster support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Its release date was brought forward due to increasing pressure from the media, and in the face of fierce criticism of the claim that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs).

The much-anticipated document was based on reports made by the Joint Intelligence Committee, part of the British Intelligence 'machinery'. Most of the evidence was uncredited in order to protect sources. On publication, serious press comment was generally critical of the dossier for tameness and for the seeming lack of any genuinely new evidence. Those politically opposed to military action against Iraq generally agreed that the dossier was unremarkable, with Menzies Campbell observing in the House of Commons that:

"We can also agree that Saddam Hussein most certainly has chemical and biological weapons and is working towards a nuclear capability. The dossier contains confirmation of information that we either knew or most certainly should have been willing to assume."


The September Dossier is important because it is linked to the claims made by George Bush that Iraq was attempting to source Uranium from Niger - the so called "16 words" - and Tony Blair's claim that Saddam could unleash WMDs on Britain in 45 minutes. The Dossier is also important because it also involved a controversy at the BBC where a journalist (Andrew Gilligan) had reported that the dossier had been "sexed up" to make it look worse than it actually was. David Kelly, a British WMD inspector and expert on Chemical Weapons, was found to have directed some information to the BBC. Kelly later committed suicide.

The September Dossier is notable because it failed to provide any real evidence that Iraq was an imminent threat. Moreover, hindsight has proven that both Bush's "16 words" and Blair's "45 minutes" could not have been reliably based upon the Dossier's contents.

20 January 2003 - France announces that "military intervention would be the worst possible solution"

Everybody hates the French - despite the fact that they fully supported the US-led war in Afghanistan in 2001 and participated directly in the 1993 Gulf War. The fact that one of America's allies came out so publically against such a war is notable. EIther the French are Cheese-eating surrender monkeys (a racial epithet thrown at them around this time - along with the "Freedom Fries" controversy) or America was rushing in where angels fear to tread. At the time I felt that France's stance was important.

22 January 2003 - France and Germany oppose Iraq War

Again, two major European nations officially declare that the invasion of Iraq was simply not on. This is not a situation where some pissant third world dictatorship is trying to look good by verbally disagreeing with America - these are two major Western nations with cultural and military links to the US. These are allies - fellow members of NATO - telling America that any invasion is wrong.

22 January 2003 - Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that "Russia deems that there is no evidence that would justify a war in Iraq."

Normally anything from Russia should be taken with a grain of salt - especially during the Soviet era. However, relations between Russia and America have generally been warm since communism collapsed. Russia had nothing to gain by defying America's position on this.

28 January 2003 - Bush's yellowcake forgery

Bush said the famous 16 words at the State of The Union Address : "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." So Saddam was building Nukes, yes? This claim by Bush eventually led to the Plame Affair, where senior Bush officials ran a smear campaign against Joseph Wilson, an expert who publically disagreed with Bush's comments.

What is notable about the Yellowcake Forgery is that the documents were handed over to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for their own analysis. On 7 March 2003, the IAEA publically announced that the documents were fake. In fact, if you read the Wikipedia article about the Yellowcake Forgery, you'll read that the IAEA detected the forgeries fairly early on - so badly had they been written. Further investigation since then has revealed a web of lies and deceit by various government agencies, both in America and, strangely enough, Italy.

So one important plank in the war against Iraq had been revealed to be a complete forgery - and all this before the war began.

3 February 2003 - The Dodgy Dossier

Another British dossier that, when released, appeared to back up the claims of the September Dossier and provided evidence that showed that Iraq was an imminent threat. At least, that's what it was intended to be. Fairly soon after the dossier was released, British TV station Channel 4 revealed that the Dossier had, in fact, been plagiarised from three different sources. Rather than being an "official" government report, it was a hodge-podge of three separate articles that could be found easily on the internet. Even spelling mistakes had been copied over.

So, here we all were, on the brink of invading Iraq, and the British government releases a dossier that had clearly been the result of someone "cutting and pasting" in Microsoft Word information that was already available, and from sources that were not exactly reliable when it came to military intelligence.

It was around this point that I had simply had enough. Why couldn't anyone see what I was seeing? Why were people supporting an imminent invasion when all the evidence pointed towards a forgery on behalf of The White House and 10 Downing Street?

5 February 2003 - Colin Powell loses what little reputation he had left

Colin Powell's career will be forever bookended by two humiliating reports. The first was his "investigation" into the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam war in 1968, which found that no such event took place (it was subsequently revealed that it did). The second was his performance in front of the United Nations, using satellite and spy plane photos to argue that Iraq was making WMDs. This performance was reminiscent of Adlai Stevenson in front of the UN during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 - except that it was a complete sham.

No one left the UN building convinced. Powell produced fuzzy out-of-focus photos of trucks and buildings and tyre-tracks in an effort to show mobile chemical weapon laboratories. The evidence appeared very dodgy, and very, very circumstantial. Subsequent comments from UN inspectors showed that they were images of water tanks, cement trucks or other such nondescript things.

8 February 2003 - Hans Blix accuses British and American Governments of overstating the threat from Iraq

Blix himself was the head UN weapons inspector. While he and his fellow inspectors were running around around trying to find WMDs, American cartoonists lampooned their attempts as futile. The inspectors were seen as bumbling idiots while omniscient Saddam kept them from his obvious stash of WMDs.

Let me make it clear: Blix and his fellow inspectors were experts. For Blix to accuse America for overstating Iraq's threat meant that, as an expert and as a person IN Iraq, he was putting his own professional expertise on the line.

14 February 2003 - Hans Blix announces that Iraqis have been co-operating with the inspectors. No WMDs have been found.

When Blix made this announcement, he did point out that the Iraqis were hardly falling over themselves to help. Nevertheless, he did point out that they had complied with everything that had been asked of them.

7 March 2003 - Mohamed ElBaradei announces that there was no evidence of Iraq restarting a nuclear weapons program.

Just two weeks to go and ElBaradei announces that the smoking gun could never have been Condoleeza Rice's mushroom cloud. Hey, it's hard to hide nuclear weapons. Things have to be specially built and radiation tends to leak out. But ElBaradei and his team heard no strange noises from their geiger counters.

If this were a court of law, what would the evidence so far have been treated. Was it possible that Iraq had WMDs? Of course it was possible. Nevertheless it was the clear opinion of experts that, if weapons did exist, they could not be found. Donald Rumsfeld, in a turn of phrase that can only be described as cynical and Machiavellian, once declared "Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence". Sorry, but this doesn't sit well with me. In this line of thinking, it was Iraq's responsibility to prove themselves innocent rather than America's responsibility to prove them guilty. Could Iraq prove that they were innocent? Of course not. Even the neutral weapons inspectors knew that it was possible, though unlikely, that Iraq had WMDs. But possibility is not the point - the point is whether it could be proved "beyond reasonable doubt" that Iraq had WMDs. From all the evidence that I had viewed thus far, there was absolutely no certainty at all. At the time I honestly believed that Iraq had no WMDs.

11 March 2003 - Andrew Wilkie, an Australian intelligence official working with the Office of National Assessments, resigns.

This was the icing on the cake for me here in Australia. Wilkie, a government intelligence official, resigned because he could no longer work for a government that was ignoring the evidence. This was a career soldier with a solid and reputable record, who left a well-paid and highly respectable job because his conscience got the better of him.

Wilkie was convinced that Iraq did not pose a threat to America, Britain or to us in Australia. He staked his job on this issue. He was proven right.

19 March 2003 - Invasion begins

19 March 2003 - Robin Cook resigns from Tony Blair's cabinet in protest against the war.

Robin Cook was one of British Labour's better known cabinet ministers. On the day of the invasion he very publically and angrily stood up in Parliament and announced his resignation from the Labour Party. As a higher-up member of Tony Blair's cabinet, he was privvy to quite a lot of intelligence that passed through the higher echelons of the British Government. He resigned because he, too, felt that Iraq posed no threat and that the war was unjust. Cook could have lost a lot politically by making this stance, but made his decision because, sometimes, people do make decisions based upon their beliefs and values. Sadly, Cook died before being truly vindicated for his actions.

14 October 2005 - Paul Krugman praise Howard Dean for his anti-war stance.

I wasn't aware of Howard Dean's anti-war stance before the 2003 invasion. However, Paul Krugman, a commentator from the New York Times, recently said this about Howard Dean:

Read the speeches Howard Dean gave before the Iraq war, and compare them with Colin Powell's pro-war presentation to the U.N. Knowing what we know now, it's clear that one man was judicious and realistic, while the other was spinning crazy conspiracy theories. But somehow their labels got switched in the way they were presented to the public by the news media.


So why wasn't Dean listened to by most Americans? And why was Powell so respected? Although the MSM (Mainstream media) are to blame, so is the rest of America (and Britain, and Australia) for not questioning the spurious and sensationalist reports that it was reading. The evidence was there, and those who should have been objective and sober were being reactionary and populist.


From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

Posted by: One Salient Oversight | November 25, 2005 12:25 AM

To ErrinF about PC Gorilla

Never enter in a dialogue with an idiot.
You have to descend to his level and he is going to win by experience.

Posted by: Skita | November 25, 2005 08:06 AM

Another, often forgoten, document that war supporters hate to find in their path is CNN Christiane Amanpour's interview of Prez Chirac a few days before the start of war (March 17th 2003):

AMANPOUR: "Do you believe that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction; for instance, chemical or biological weapons?"

CHIRAC: "Well, I don't know. I have no evidence to support that. But what we can say today, listening to what [International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed] ElBaradei is saying and his expert team, it seems that there are no nuclear weapons or no nuclear programs that would lead to the construction of nuclear weapons. That is something that the inspectors seem to be sure of.

As for weapons of mass destruction, bacteriological, biological, chemical, we don't know. And that is precisely what the inspectors' mandate is all about. They have to go with their work to find these weapon if there are any and then destroy them. And the inspectors are telling us that they can do that work. So when at one point or another they tell us that they can't or can't anymore go on doing so, then we will have to consider other options, including war. But it just isn't the case today.

So rushing into war, rushing into battle today is clearly disproportionate and inadequate given our goals. As I said, that goal is to disarm Iraq, and everybody agrees on that."


There is no doubt in my mind that the Bush administration (not the CIA) heavily discussed the French analysis with the French themselves. And so there is no doubt, realizing today how clairvoyant Chirac's analysis was then, that Bush and Co. should have been destabilized by what was said or presented.

Instead of exercizing basic caution, the Bush administration elected to go ahead with its war plan, while orchestrating simultaneously with the support of all its friends, an anti-French campaing of a magnitude not seen in the US for decades. Why was there such a rage against an ally telling you to open your eyes? Was truth getting in the way of something?

History with tell if Prez Bush lied to himself or lied directly to its fellow citizens.
In the end, it does not matter. A President lying to himself is a President lying to his country. He as no business sitting in the Oval Office.
He and Cheney should appologize to all the families of the poor victims (in America and Irak) who have fallen as a consequence of this foolish enterprise.

Posted by: PS | November 25, 2005 10:12 AM

Chris Ford, you have an uncanny knack for straining at gnats. As to my commentary on the Founding Fathers' sentiments regarding the holding of a "decent respect for the opinions of mankind", I said that the sentiment was institutionalized in the Bill of Rights. I made no mention of a specific wording to be included because that would smack of a form of authoritarianism of which our Founders would be completely appalled.

It is one of the great boons to western civilization that our courts have recognized and kept alive that sentiment as well. Some of our most preciously held rights and freedoms have come about not because of what the Constitution specifically spells out, but rather what the sentiment behind what is spelled out implies. For a goodly amount of time, citizens believed that the Bill Of Rights applied only to white propertied males. It did not take long for more enlightened citizens and their representatives to glean the proper sentiment behind what the Founders meant by the phrase "all men" in the Declaration of Independence.

Anyone who reads the histories of our Founding and reads the Constitution and walks away thinking that the Founding Fathers did not dream of a system where the opinions of others are listened to with respect and that the opinions offered are done so in an equally respectful way, has missed the central meaning of what they believed.

Yet, you seem to be making the case that our Founding Fathers dreamed of a future where opinions would be voiced in a disrespectful manner and that respect for the free and unfettered exchange of views was not something they valued.
If you really believe that, then you are far from what it means to be an American.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 25, 2005 10:43 AM

Thanks for the comment, Skita. Too much of my time has been wasted here at 'The Debate' on people that don't actually debate beyond attacking opponents. At least in PC Gorilla's case, confronting him revealed his extremism and prompted him to leave. From now on, I'll continue to take on people like him that are way out and wrong, but I won't get wrapped up in engaging them much, as they are usually a lost cause.
As it were, I've already made all my arguments against the Case For War. I look forward to the next Debate topic, which I hope will be about ending the war, since this one was about the war's questionable beginnings.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 25, 2005 12:37 PM

As usual, Jaxas, you write a compelling post. Chris Ford obviously cares more about Bill O'Reilly than the Bill O' Rights.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 25, 2005 12:42 PM


I read what was Posted here by: D. on Nov 21, 2005>

D wrote:
"THINGS ON THE GROUND ARE IMPROVING DAILY**" and

"These points, taken together, form an easy, concise, and--most importantly--a factually correct counter-narrative . . . I think the narrative is a good one, but it needs to be repeated as loud and as often as one the Dems have been peddling."
...............................................................
...............................................................
Actually, D, I don't think Americans care who (Dems or Repubs) tells the truth right now, we simply want truthful facts about the PRESENT MILITARYbSITUATION from our government**. There is no need to figure out who is "lying", only a need to decide where to go from here with the Iraq situation.

Senator Murtha is concerned about NOW as are many parents and relatives of Americn troops in Iraq !! That WMD weren't found, is political water under the bridge***. Saddam Hussein is political water under the bridge***.

The fact that our American presence in Iraq continues to fan the flames of an increasing terrorist insurgency, namely, urban guerilla warfare, needs to be reassessed. The insurgency is an obviously expected result of destabilizing the political culture of country (Hussein
regime) by our invasion and ongoing occupation.

Vietnam was fought on the ground as jungle guerilla warfare, Iraq is being increasingly destablized by the population-center based guerilla attacks, obviously instigated from insurgent terrorist leadership from outside Iraq.

If America steps out of the insurgency firing line by withdrawl, the Iraqi people will have to fight this out themselves. If facism resurfaces because Iraqis fall into a civil war and cannot control their own society, so be it.

Perhaps then, internationally, other countries will step up to the line and UN forces will be activated and at physically militarily box Iraq in from the outside. Control of the insurgency cannot be successful from the inside out unless the people themselves do it.

Iraq's future should not be resting on the lives of American soldiers, British soldiers, and a couple of other small nations.

Control of the oil fields is obviously in our National interest and international interest of other countries and oil companies, however, the Iraqis need to run their own country****. I don't think controlling the oil fields is worth American soldiers dying. Americans have
many options of alternative energy sources and technologies.
.......................................................................
.......................................................................
D wrote further: (asterisks my insertion, to correspond with my post points above)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
"Knock it off Che. Anyhow, of interest:
A SUMMARY OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S PUSHBACK STRATEGY:

Clearly, the important administration arguments are beginning to coalesce:

**1) Criticism of the war is not by itself unpatriotic

**2) Similarly, answering anti-war critics is not challenging their patriotism

**3) But opportunistic and cynical anti-war critics who are trying to walk back their own votes and level spurious charges at the Administration (they lied to take is into war) are themselves lying

**4) These lies are hurting the country and the troops.

***5) The burden of proof, in a post 911 world, was on Saddam Hussein to prove he'd
disarmed; we could not wait for the threat to become imminent before acting

****6) The cause the troops are fighting for is just and right

****7) Iraq is moving toward freedom; and THINGS ON THE GROUND ARE IMPROVING DAILY,
regardless of what the MSM and prominent Dems would have us believe."
.....................................................................
.....................................................................

D, as a baby boomer myself, I don't give a hoot about American partisan politics (as
politicians at the national level feed similar money troughs), I prefer to rely on current facts from those "IN THE KNOW" of ongoing military intelligence (be they Dem or Repub in Congress) than a lay assessment that "things are improving on the ground in Iraq":

>>> http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/pa12_murtha/pr051117iraq.html

Senator Murtha, For Immediate Release
November 17, 2005:
excerpts:
"Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify. Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been
seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue.

There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths."

"I just recently VISITED Anbar Province Iraq in order to ASSESS the conditions ON the GROUND".

"Last May 2005, as part of the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill, the House included the Moran Amendment, which was accepted in Conference, and which required the Secretary of Defense to submit quarterly reports to Congress in order to more accurately measure stability and security in Iraq. We have now received two reports."

"I am disturbed by the findings in key indicator areas. Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation."

"Only $9 billion of the $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent."

"Unemployment remains at about 60 percent."

"Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water
projects has been spent."

"And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year."

"Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically."

"Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled."

"An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in GLOBAL terrorism."

"I said over a year ago,
and now the military
and the ADMINISTRATION AGREES,

Iraq can not be won "militarily."

"I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and

Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress."

"Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency."

"They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence."

"U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists."

"I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentivized to take control."

"A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the
presence of coalition troops, and about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified."

"I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis."

"I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy."


"All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United States occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a "free" Iraq." >>>

.................................................
..................................................

"Defense hawk Dicks says he now sees war as a mistake"
Friday, November 25, 2005
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002645321_normdicks25m.html
excerpts:

"The insurgency has gotten worse and worse," he (Dicks) said. "That's where Murtha's rationale is pretty strong -- we're talking a lot of casualties with no success in sight. The American people obviously know that this war is a mistake."

Dicks, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, says he's particularly angry about the intelligence that supported going to war.

Without the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), he said, he would "absolutely not" have voted for the war.

The Bush administration has accused some members of Congress of rewriting history by claiming the president misled Americans about the reasons for going to war. Congress, the administration says, saw the same intelligence and agreed Iraq was a threat.

But Dicks says the intelligence was "doctored." And he says the White House didn't plan for and deploy enough troops for the growing insurgency.

"A lot of us relied on [former CIA director] George Tenet. We had many meetings with the White House and CIA, and they did not tell us there was a dispute between the CIA, Commerce or the Pentagon on the WMDs," he said.

He and Murtha tended to give the military, the CIA and the White House the benefit of the doubt, Dicks says. But he now says he and his colleagues should have pressed much harder for answers.

In October 2002, Dicks made an impassioned speech during the House debate over whether to authorize the president to send troops to Iraq without waiting for the United Nations to act.

"Based on the briefings I have had, and based on the information provided by our
intelligence agencies to members of Congress, I now believe there is credible evidence that

Saddam Hussein has developed sophisticated chemical and biological weapons, and that he may be close to developing a nuclear weapon," Dicks said at the time.

..........................................................
..........................................................

The facts/truth will and is coming home with the troops. They probably will influence the next election, and become the future Murtha's and McCain's our later generations of Americans will rely on before going to war.

Posted by: paq | November 25, 2005 02:00 PM

The following joke article from The Onion reminds me of the type of case Bush & Co made for their war. While it's not specifically about the Iraq war, it is about people buying into things without giving much credence to facts and reality. It's called "I'm Very Interested In Hearing Some Half-Baked Theories". Enjoy!:

As an ill-informed pseudo-intellectual with a particular interest in the unverifiable, I'm always on the lookout for some partially thought out misinformation. So, if you have an uninformed solution to a dilemma that doesn't actually exist, don't bother double-checking your information. I'm all ears.
However, I must warn you: If you want to convince me of anything, you better be prepared to back up your claims with rumor, circumstantial evidence, or hard-to-make-out photographic proof. I may also need friend-of-a-friend corroboration or several signed testimonials all written in the same unmistakably spidery handwriting. I'm a quasi-critical-thinker. Things have to add up more or less in my head before I let myself be taken in by some baloney story.
Take Atlantis, for example. When I first heard about this lost civilization, I was suspicious to say the least. But then someone made a good point: Prove that it didn't exist. I was hard-pressed to find a comeback to that.
But if Atlantis really did exist, then where did it go? It couldn't have just disappeared without an unreasonable explanation. I was about to give up on the whole matter when suddenly it hit me: It probably washed away, and it's too deep underwater for scientists to find it. All it takes is a little supposition mixed with critical theorizing and you can easily stumble on a tenuous half-truth that really makes you think.
Over time, I've also learned that slapdash research is key before jumping to any conclusion. While I've always postulated the existence of gnomes, it wasn't until I researched the topic on AskJeeves.com that I realized it's a well-documented medical condition.
As important as research is, it's all about common sense in the end. If you can't cool your apartment by leaving the refrigerator open, how's it keeping all that produce fresh? Think about it. If you can't really read the world's great works of literature in only five minutes using a system peddled on TV, how do you explain that gentleman on the infomercial who aces those tests? Would extraterrestrials travel millions of light years just to abduct a non-trustworthy human for their series of intrusive tests? Yes.
And there's a reason liars like James Randi have never been anally probed.
Now, if you have a half-baked theory that you'd like to disclose, please be so kind as to skirt around the issue. I'll only listen to your elaborate webs of presumption and hearsay if you promise to veer unexpectedly and pointlessly off course at every opportunity. Prose density is part of what makes a half-baked theory fascinating.
Only last week, my friend Janet gave me a book that teaches how, through a diet of salmon and romaine lettuce, you can shave 20 years off your appearance. However, before we got to the hard-core salmon-and-lettuce, face-lifting theory, I was taken through a series of anecdotes, solicited testimonials, and long-winded circular logic proving the author's qualifications by citing the medical establishment's fear of his simple brilliance. It was an eye-opener.
I encourage people endowed with a gift for half-baked theories to inform as many unsuspecting strangers as possible. That's how I'm most interested in being exposed to shaky new ideas. At the bus station, on the street corners, wherever strikes your fancy. If you don't have the courage to approach people in this way, I recommend a stiff drink or a lifetime of crippling mental illness.
Only then will we continue to safeguard the free exchange of erroneous fallacy so vital to maintaining a freethinking, uneducated society. Thank you.
-TheOnion.com

What's sad is that it's no joke that a good percentage of people actually do think this way, and it's obvious that that's who the Bush administration was targetting in their bogus case for war.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 25, 2005 04:42 PM

I'm tired of these responses, such as the above joke, which do not address the issues at hand. These kind of respones that make fun of the thoughts and beliefs of others without providing any constructive criticism are pointless.

If you and others like you have a better way, please provide it. At least someone opposed to war either in this or the last debate asserted that they were prepared to deal, every day, with the prospect of bombings in the US. While I cannot accept such a reality, I respect such an answer.

Most, but not all of the others, because of their absolute hate the Repuclicans in power, fail to address any of the complex problems we are actually forced to live with. You guys suck.

Over Thanksgiving dinner, I asked a dear friend of ours, who actually works with these things, what he would do. He expressed hopelessness in the situation, and that, at best, we should surround the Kurds with a protective force and let everyone else kill each other.

Right or wrong, at least he had a plan.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 26, 2005 12:36 AM

An open letter to the President of the United States,
The battle enjoined by U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan was and is a noble cause. An organized group of dedicated individuals were, and still are, planning attacks against the United States. Such activity has to be combated. Every politician who takes an oath swears to uphold and defend this country. It is my contention that treason was committed when U.S. Forces were diverted away from their pursuit of Al Quieda. What sickens me is that the traitors yet walk the halls of my White House; for I am an American and an ex-Marine, and I thank my God that there exists a forum in my country that allows me to point out the criminals and demand that justice be served!
I realize that I charge high-crimes, and open myself to charges of both slander and libel. These are charges I will happily answer to if I have made false allegations against my neighbor, but as of now the First Amendment yet applies--allow me to state my case Mr. Bush.
Allow me to start with an analogy, a parable if you will. Imagine an incident where several gunmen have begun to randomly shoot at will at any individual they happen to encounter. This could be anywhere in the country. Columbine, post office, the latest episode being a mall in the state of Washington. These people, the moment they begin to depress the trigger, become a clear and present danger. They are actively engaged in wounding and killing innocent citizens. The police respond as quickly as is humanly possible. They surround the shootists with overwhelming force and create a situation where the suspects are not in custody, but are certainly contained, being held at bay. The suspects during this action of course are not cooperating. They continue to fight to the best of their ability but find they have very few options and have been isolated from the public at-large. They no longer have the opportunity to engage un-armed civilians and are quickly facing a situation where they have but one of two options--surrender or die.
It is at this very moment that the police chief summons the officer in charge and explains to him that there exists a possible threat that is even greater than this armed outbreak of lawlessness. The Chief explains to the Captain that an individual who has been under constant surveillance, an individual who possesses a lengthy criminal record is suspected, with a high degree of certainty mind you, of posing an even greater threat to the public at-large. The Chief informs the Captain that the majority of officers involved with the current barricade have to be reassigned to this case. The Captain implores the Chief to reconsider. He currently has his suspects, known killers who are still engaged in criminal behavior, surrounded and is about to either kill or capture them. He cannot believe that there could be even a greater threat to the public safety, but the Chief holds firm and redeploys the Captain as well as his men to the new threat. The killers get away and proceed to continue their reign of terror.
Now if this incident, as described, were to occur in New York City, you can only begin to consider the ramifications. Let's not even touch upon the civil liability the city would incur with every death following the retreat of the police from the stand-off. Nor do I wish to dwell on the political liability such an incident would bestow upon the mayor, his entire administration, the police department itself along with it's chief. Unless the individual they were re-assigned to actually had explosives, wired, ready to be detonated, thumb having already depressed the dead-man switch; there is no possible way that the department would even hope to avoid charges of criminal negligence. For without the evidence of there being an even greater danger, a clearly present danger that was so much greater than an armed band of mass murderers, there would be no defense.
Now, hopefully the above scenario has begun to establish in your mind the gravity of the crime committed.
I am familiar with reports citing Richard A. Clarke and Paul H. O'Neill detailing that the invasion of Iraq was a consideration of your administration before 9/11 sir, and I wish to commend your staff. Mr. Rumsfeld's "light, lightning attack strategy" was brilliant. It truly did live up to the moniker "shock and awe". The results over the first twelve months certainly were well beyond satisfactory and certainly explain the arrogance with which your staff approached the operation. I certainly understand that no one should enter into the Office of the Presidency without some goals. There has to be a plan, and "Plan A", as I have seen it referred to in a book by a Mr. Packer, was a good plan. I do not begrudge you even following an aggressive policy--Saddam wasn't a nice guy, Iraq was being held together by a traditional strong-armed dictator instead of some damn extremist zealot, the possibility for establishing a much more receptive government was very high, and it was working. What happened sir is that right before the implementation of your (or somebody in your office--buck stops at your desk though) grand plan, there was an emergency (you don't seem to handle emergencies well, just a note sir).
As stated above, I have no wish to question you having an agenda, or working to effect that policy; nor did you even initially mishandle the first emergency to assail your presidency sir. I saw you stand beside Bob Beckworth in my and every other American's adopted city and re-shake the g-- dammed pillars of heaven in a speech of defiance that made me damn glad to be an American. You steered some honest vengeance right into the land where Russians fear to tread and started delivering some good ole' fashion American justice. You remember that sort of justice don't cha sir? Remember--equal justice for all?
I know you had faith in the American way that day, I know you did. And I know you know how absolutely crystal clear and how damn near omnipresent the danger was that day--I was with you, we were all with you--then you left.
Bottom line, the Al Quieda organization demanded then and still requires today that Osama bin Laden's head be put on a pike. I realize that's medieval--but I don't make the rules in that part of the world--just ask the Honorable Mr. John Murtha, he possesses some organizational memory of what it takes to patrol around the shores of Tripoli. Certainly Osama's death is going to result in a martyr cult, but the resulting organization will be much less effective. I would like to take part in the now academic argument that discusses how much smaller this cult would be had such a pike been positioned since 2003--you on the other hand Dubya, you need to have a discussion with the Honorable Mr. Murtha about the perils and pitfalls of leaving a damn cripple on your back trail.
Yes, "Plan A" was one hell of a plan, and I am unwilling to engage in a discussion concerning the overall merits of it. At some point sir, it was your job to tell the cabal that the plan had to wait. That revealing the identity of a CIA agent who had experience in the area where combat operations were undergoing and were about to begin was counterproductive. And that, most importantly, connecting Saddam to Osama was a fucking lie and would not be tolerated. I fully understand that if you had sent 100,000 troops into Tora Bora, and encircled that area 10 or 12 deep with Marines, you would have caught bin Laden; of course that would have also pushed the time-table for Grand Plan A into an election year and you would have had to have some faith with the American public--I'm certain Mr. bin Laden is grateful you aided his organization in this way.
You, George W. Bush, broke your sworn patriotic duty to preserve and protect this country when you turned your back on the obviously clear and present danger to conform your policy to a political time-table. That decision led you to put agents of this country at risk and engage in torture in an attempt to clean up your left behind mess--as well as aid the leader of the Al Quieda criminal enterprise in living to fight another day. The Honorable Mr. Clinton had sex with one staff member and the graft ridden Republican Congress considered impeachment--how many Americans have you left FUBAR sir?
Your legacy should be that you are the first American President ever actually impeached sir, being remembered as such is a fitting penalty. While you may not fully comprehend the historical significance of this, you should attempt to get back on speaking terms with your father--I'm sure the Honorable George H. Bush, veteran, will be able to explain it to you. Not that I don't trust you sir, but you have to be impeached before the members of your administration (Cheney is the Ace of Spades in this treacherous deck) as well as numerous members of Congress start going to jail--there can be no pardons. You are surrounded by traitors who have unlawfully taken the lives of U.S. Service Men and Women due to their dismissal of a clear and present danger, and there can be no country club in their future. When the majority of your staff are finally made comfortable in a penitentiary like Leavenworth, a huge step will have been taken towards making this a country that genuinely respects--thus is entitled to represent--Equal Justice for All.
Respectfully submitted,
Francis Jens Erickson

891 Montauk Hwy
Montauk NY 11954

Posted by: Francis Jens Erickson | November 26, 2005 12:55 AM

The absolute moral bankruptcy of the Bush-Cheney administration was never more glaringly illustrated than in their present reaction to a consistent lessening of the public trust in both men as evidenced in public opinion polls.

Instead of reading the message behind the polls and changing policy accordingly, what do they do? They launch into a massive PR effort designed to change public opinion. It never seems to occur to them that the public has soured on the war for good reason. For them, everything is about spin. Instead of looking at the events on the ground in Iraq--the reality based view of a growing insurgency fueled by anti-American hatreds growing out of the appalling revelations about how enemy combatants are treated and by the perception that American troops are occupiers of Arab and Islamic lands--they prefer their miserably failed, faith based view that somehow, by some miracle or by some Divine intervention, it is all going to magically turn around and they will be vindicated as great wartime leaders.

Alas, it seems that what this administration is really good at is the making of a silk purse out of a sow's ear. They have succeeded in warping and bending reality into what they would like it to be so many times in the past, they automatically assume it will work for them again.

This, it seems to me, is a writ larg indicator of the contempt in which they hold the American people.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 26, 2005 09:50 AM

In view of Rep. Murtha's call for a withdrawal from Iraq, and the chorus of yeas and boos from both sides, I thought I'd share a piece I wrote 14 months ago - Sept 2004. More writings at my blog - breakfastwithbwana.blogspot.com.

cheerz...


Breakfast with Bwana

September 21, 2004

To Everything There Is A Season -- Time To Declare Defeat:

In Lovedale, there is a school that was once known as The Major
General Sir Henry Lawrence Royal Memorial Military School. It is now
knows as The Lawrence School. The School's motto is "Never Give
In." Lovedale is a tiny little hill station at an elevation of
7,000+ feet MSL, between Ooty and Coonor. In some ways, the change
of name was a declaration of defeat, it was a "giving in" of sorts.
The move was perhaps an accommodation to a new sense of brevity (not
one of my problems!) but more likely, was a reflection of a
politically correct approach in a newly independent nation whose
government had effectively "nationalized" the institution while
retaining its character as a public school. "Public" school in the
Indian (and British) context means a snooty "private" school. It
probably wouldn't have done at all to have a "Royal" school in a
newly independent nation. As y'all might have guessed, I didn't go
to school in Crawford -- I went to Lovedale. In the parlance of my
schoolmates, I am an Old Lawrencian, an "OL," a member of the "OLA"
(Old Lawrencians Association).

Putting aside the inevitable disclaimers about Alzheimer's and
arthritis that the term "Old Lawrencian" prompts, I have always been
intrigued by the school's motto "Never Give In" because, from the get
go, I thought it foolish.

Our President seems to be suffering a case of terminal Never Give In,
or, more likely, of Never Let Go.

For months, I have watched, as you all have, the unfolding horror in
Iraq and wondered just what do we think we are doing. Then it hit
me ... we really are not doing what we think.

For a moment, I'd like to look at the problem of Iraq from outside
the box of partisan politics, putting aside the question whether the
President misled the nation about weapons of mass destruction, or had
other hidden agendas, and putting aside the question whether we
should have been in Iraq in the first place.

The fact is, we are in Iraq. But the fact is that we should not be
in Iraq in our present capacity which is a sort of police presence
without police powers, a sort of military occupation without martial
law, and a sort of friendly invader without friends.

After the initial bombardment of Iraq designed to "soften" any
resistance, it was no surprise that the US and British forces had an
easy entree into Iraq. For a moment, despite some recusance, it
appeared that the Iraqi people did welcome the overthrow of Saddam
Hussein, or at least the toppling of his statue. I think our mistake
was to treat the Iraqi joy at being rid of Saddam Hussein as the
equivalent of joy at the prospect of having the US maintain a
presence as an occupying force.

I think it is probably reasonable that we tried to be an army of
occupation with the lofty goal of rebuilding the infrastructure and
setting the stage for democratic elections. Yet, on second thought,
it is clear that one of the purposes of our occupation was to prevent
the Shiite majority from gaining control and forming a fundamentalist
Islamic state. There is also no question that we sought to preserve
the territory of Iraq without having considered seriously how the
Kurds, Sunnis and Shia would get along without a supervening
dictatorial structure that was intolerant of autonomous leanings.
Although there are rumblings of a solution with three separate
autonomous regions, we have clearly not resolved how these three
factions will form a nation state of their own volition.

The eruption of violence -- disdainfully characterized by the
spinmeisters of the Administration as an "insurgency" has made the
rebuilding of the country's infrastructure a distant hope and
obviously cast doubt on the viability of even staging an election,
never mind having the election be an accepted declaration of the will
of the Iraqi people. President Bush even went so far as to suggest
that our initial overwhelming success allowed the insurgents to melt
into the populace, regroup, and come back at us. The Administration
has also suggested that the insurgents are outsiders sponsored by Al
Qaeda. Here's what President Bush said in an interview given to Time
Magazine:"Had we to do it over again, we would look at the
consequences of catastrophic success, being so successful so fast
that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped
and lived to fight another day."

"OK." Yes, I understand. It's perfectly clear. You don't get it?
You don't say.

It is clear to me that we have no prospect of control over the
insurgents given our extant view of how much military force we are
willing to deploy. Part of the reason may be that while most Iraqis
may not support the "insurgents," they certainly get some perverse
sense of satisfaction in tweaking the nose of the American military.
This all leads me to express what, at least to me, has been an
obvious point -- the American system of governance, with its checks
and balances for a free people, is not the kind of system that works
with a people not yet free and not cognizant of the value of checks
and balances. That will all come, we hope, in due time. Meanwhile,
there is, in my view, little hope that the US military can control
the violence without becoming a repressive, brutal and ruthless
occupation force. Not only is there no will in the US leadership to
have the military assume such a role, it is not in the psyche of this
nation. It just simply cannot happen that we will use military force
to impose martial law type of control. Moreover, we may not have the
forces to commit to such a course.

There is, however, in Iraq, as there was in Iran, a force that can
impose control and eliminate the violence overnight. That force is
the authority of the clergy. Oh yes, I know that everyone will
immediately shrink back in horror and say that we cannot let the
mullahs and the ayatollahs take control. Yes, we can. Let us go
back to our initial goals: a. get rid of Saddam Hussein, b. rebuild
the infrastructure, c. set the stage for a democracy while not
permitting a democratic choice to be a fundamentalist Islamic
Republic. Well, we have accomplished a, and cannot do any more of b,
until we have some sort of stage that is stable. I think that if the
military were to withdraw and we were to cease all work on rebuilding
the infrastructure until there is stability, the clergy would fill
the vacuum and bring about a sense of order. Our message would be
simple: 1. we will not work on rebuilding the country if our
soldiers and workers are being attacked, and 2. while we are ceding
control to the clergy, we stand by at the ready to take action if
there is any attempt to create a dictatorial fundamentalist Islamic
state.

This plan would get us out of the business of being a police force
without police powers, remove us as an occupying force, and give the
people a stake in promoting stability and tranquility without which
we cannot rebuild their country and its infrastructure. Without a
defined enemy -- the American soldier -- to attack, the insurgents
must attack fellow Iraqis or cease their destructive actions. It
seems to me that if the Islamic clergy can rally the populace to put
a stop to the violence, it will be stopped. There is little chance
that the clergy will exert such influence on behalf of American
occupation forces, but to protect the Iraqi people .... well, that's
a different story.

The problem is that President Bush likely won't do this and Senator
Kerry has not thought of it.

It's time to give in and declare defeat in respect to a portion of
the task we should never have undertaken. We should simply admit
that we have no business being a local police force and have no
ability to force the populace to cooperate with us in preventing more
attacks.

Do you all think it's hopeless? Well, don't give up just yet. There
is hope. As Sir Henry Lawrence said: "Never Give In."

Cheerz.....Bwana

Posted by: Bwana a/k/a Anil | November 26, 2005 12:20 PM

Johnnyg: You wrote that no one has posted here "a better way".............:

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | Nov 26, 2005 12:36:01 AM

"If you and others like you have a better way, please provide it. At least someone opposed to war either in this or the last debate asserted that they were prepared to deal, every day, with the prospect of bombings in the US. While I cannot accept such a reality, I respect such an answer."


"Over Thanksgiving dinner, I asked a dear friend of ours, who actually works with these things, what he would do. He expressed hopelessness in the situation, and that, at best, we should surround the Kurds with a protective force and let everyone else kill each other"
...............................................................
...............................................................
You must have missed what I wrote just yesterday at this blog:

in short>
Posted by: paq | Nov 25, 2005 2:00:44 PM


"If America steps out of the insurgency firing line by withdrawl, the Iraqi people will have to fight this out themselves. If facism resurfaces because Iraqis fall into a civil war and cannot control their own society, so be it".

"Perhaps then, internationally, other countries will step up to the line and UN forces will be activated and at (least) physically militarily box Iraq in from the outside. Control of the insurgency cannot be successful from the inside out unless the people themselves do it."

Posted by: paq | November 26, 2005 03:55 PM

I'm sorry I missed your response paq. From the signs of things to come (e.g., the recent discovery of torture of Iraqis by Iraqis), things aren't looking good within such a scenario, but it is true that they must step up to the plate sooner or later and take control.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 26, 2005 05:11 PM

Immediate withdrawal from Iraq: best-case scenario is civil war; worst-case scenario would be turning the world's 2nd largest oil reserves over to terrorists. Apparently there are many on one side who do not see anything wrong with either of these scenarios, luckily there are some on another side who actually consider the consequences of immediate withdrawal. The many who care not about the future of this country or the world try to shout down those who wish to make some sense out the situation or use faulty logic to try to dissect and discredit the words of any supporter, but never will they offer a bit of evidence that their way will bring the best results-- if they even have a prescription other than leave right now. As we have witnessed, the terrorists care not if we remain in Iraq--even if we exit today their war will continue with us until all of us are dead. This is their world view. The moment we give up is the moment we can expect even more death and destruction to follow, and it will not be contained to only Iraq or the Middle East. This plague will follow us until we are no more or it is no more. Everyone knows this is true yet we do not hear it enough, and all the radicals, pacifists, protectionists and sympathizers will--if they get their way and the worst comes to pass--wish we had heard it more...

Posted by: unifiedpapertheory | November 26, 2005 07:10 PM

You are preaching to the choir unifiedpapertheory. I don't think any reasonable person here believes the US can "immediately" withdraw. However, we do eventually have to hand it over to them. It might be that a planned withdrawal plan now is something that would jolt them into the reality of that they share responsibility for their country and each other.

I think there was case for war in Iraq in 2003 (regardless of the case presented by President Bush), just as there had been more than ten years earlier. The rise of the terrorist part in this mix has made the situation more than we can handle, that is, what today's Americans' patience can handle.

Out of all this mess, I hope we learn something. First, we must beef up numbers in the military. Second, we should be prepared for worst-case scenarios both at the time of battle and thereafter. An overwhelming force present from beginning to end. Simply hoping for a best outcome is no way to approach taking over a country full of institutionally dysfunctional people who hate each other. (It seems to me that the Kurds are the only ones with any common sense. It would be difficult to forgive the US if we abandon them.)

If we Americans are not prepared to make such sacrifices, we are doomed to repeat this. Also, if we simply withdraw, you are correct that this plague will follow us forever. This prospect is unacceptable. What should the US do now?

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 26, 2005 07:57 PM


unifiedpapertheory | Nov 26, 2005 7:10:40 PM wrote:

"Immediate withdrawal from Iraq:
best-case scenario is civil war;"

I, paq, wrote: "If America steps out of the insurgency firing line by withdrawl, the Iraqi people will have to fight this out themselves. If facism resurfaces because Iraqis fall into a civil war and cannot control their own society, so be it.

Perhaps then, internationally, other countries will step up to the line and UN forces will be activated and at physically militarily box Iraq in from the outside. Control of the insurgency cannot be successful from the inside out unless the people themselves do it.

Iraq's future should not be resting on the lives of American soldiers, British soldiers, and a couple of other small nations."
..........................................................
..........................................................
>> unifiedpapertheory wrote:

"worst-case scenario would be turning the world's 2nd largest oil reserves over to terrorists."

I wrote: "Control of the oil fields is obviously in our National interest and international interest of other countries and oil companies, however, the Iraqis need to run their own country. I don't think controlling the oil fields is worth American soldiers dying. Americans have many options of alternative energy sources."
.........................................................
.........................................................................

unifiedpapertheory wrote:
"Apparently there are many on one side who do not see anything wrong with either of these scenarios, luckily there are some on another side who actually consider the consequences of immediate withdrawal."

"The many who care not about the future of this country or the world try to shout down those who wish to make some sense out the situation or use faulty logic to try to dissect and discredit the words of any supporter, but never will they offer a bit of evidence that their way will bring the best results-- if they even have a prescription other than leave right now."
.............................................................
> My opinion, is that I think the American consensus question is how & when to leave.

unifiedpapertheory wrote:
As we have witnessed, the terrorists care not if we remain in Iraq--even if we exit today their war will continue with us until all of us are dead. This is their world view.

"The moment we give up is the moment we can expect even more death and destruction to follow, and it will not be contained to only Iraq or the Middle East. This plague will follow us until we are no more or it is no more. Everyone knows this is true yet we do not hear it enough, and all the radicals, pacifists, protectionists and sympathizers will--if they get their way and the worst comes to pass--wish we had heard it more..."

>. unified, I think your point is well taken, that in dealing with Iraq, and the extremist insurgent leadership from without instigating the terror within (and elsewhere), needs to be diplomatically spotlighted by the US as an International problem and needs a global approach. We do not have enough young American males to draft into the US military, to fight this fundamentalist terrorist movement in Iqaq forever, or globally, either.

The time is ripe right now, to have an Iraq pull-out plan devised, and thereby it will force other nations to sit up, take notice, and step up and form a true coalition globally to deal with it, as no country is immune.

Part of what was Posted by: Bwana a/k/a Anil | on Nov 26, 2005 12:20:27 PM I do think has some merit, as relates to clergy having more influence to re-stabilize Iraq than the US has, in actuality, as much as America likes to promote democracy around the world, for everything there is a season, and before you spread the seed of the crop (democracy), first you must make the earth fertile (sometimes this takes years), Bwana wrote:

"This plan would get us out of the business of being a police force
without police powers, remove us as an occupying force, and give the
people a stake in promoting stability and tranquility without which
we cannot rebuild their country and its infrastructure. Without a defined enemy -- the American soldier -- to attack, the insurgents must attack fellow Iraqis or cease their destructive actions. It
seems to me that if the Islamic clergy can rally the populace to put a stop to the violence, it will be stopped. There is little chance
that the clergy will exert such influence on behalf of American occupation forces, but to protect the Iraqi people .... well, that's a different story."

"It is clear to me that we have no prospect of control over the
insurgents given our extant view of how much military force we are willing to deploy. Part of the reason may be that while most Iraqis may not support the "insurgents," they certainly get some perverse sense of satisfaction in tweaking the nose of the American military.
This all leads me to express what, at least to me, has been an obvious point -- the American system of governance, with its checks and balances for a free people, is not the kind of system that works
with a people not yet free and not cognizant of the value of checks and balances. That will all come, we hope, in due time. Meanwhile, there is, in my view, little hope that the US military can control the violence without becoming a repressive, brutal and ruthless
occupation force. Not only is there no will in the US leadership to have the military assume such a role, it is not in the psyche of this nation. It just simply cannot happen that we will use military force to impose martial law type of control. Moreover, we may not have the
forces to commit to such a course."
...........................................
...............................................
So, there is some thinking going on here at this blog, some of us are not interested in arguing political partisanship, and see, our political parties are not part of the solution, this is a global problem, and a local Iraqi national problem. The fact Congress even had a vote, shows,at least Congress is starting to catch up with the American populace, in recognizing, the Iraq situation, cannot be solved eternally/primarily by the US militarily.

Let the dialogue continue on all levels.

Posted by: paq | November 27, 2005 06:53 PM

Here's a non partisan question:

a. How many insurgencies have been defeated by military might alone in the past 100 years?

b. How many insurgencies have been defeated by a combination of military peacekeeping and economic/political reform in the past 100 years? Hint: Why did Northern Ireland cool off?

Insurgencies require a number of things to survive: support in the population, money, and organization. Yes, there will always be nuts trying to start up insurgencies, for political or religious reasons even in our own country. But they require popular support to be sustained. People who are well fed, have plenty of electricity and water and clean housing and living wage jobs, feel they have some stake in their government and are allowed to openly and peacefully practice their religion rarely sustain insurgencies.

How do you beat them? Send in enough soldiers to keep the peace while you win over the hearts and minds of the people - like jobs, food, electricity, clean water, and a real stake in the government.

Here's my analysis as a moderate: So far as I can see we've failed on all fronts on this effort in Iraq.

If we want to fight anti US sentiment in Iraq and the Middle East we first have to understand it. But we can't because we've made introspection "unpatriotic" or "weak". So, our kids die and our oil supply and therefore entire economy remain in jeopardy supporting a faile policy.

Of course, we could take another tack entirely instead of militarizing the Middle East. Mobilize all our national resources into a "Manhattan II" style project with an eye to decrease our dependency on foreign oil by 20% over 5 years, 40% over 10 years and to have an alternate energy and domestic oil based economy in 20 years. Can't be done? The technology needed to complete the Human Genome Project didn't exist when they began the project - they decided to sink enough resources into it that they could invent the technology as they went - they finished ahead of schedule. The technology to send men to the moon didn't exist when Kennedy charged the US to do so in 10 years. But we put enough resources into it to get it done (and got velcro as a spinoff too). If Bush had used his post 9-11 political capital to charge Detroit with making a hybrid rated for 60 mpg, charged Americans with being patriotic enough to buy one, and charged Congress to re-evaluate his tax cuts to give a generous credit to people who junk their SUV's to buy a hybrid, imagine how much foreign oil would have been saved just by triping or quadrupling gas mileage (oh, and Detroit would be booming, not laying off 30,000 workers). Just imagine how our role in the Middle East would change if we were energy independent. And it would be chock full of other national security benefits as well, like protecting us from encroachment of our natural resource needs by China.

But its a dream. When our past presidents charged us to remake science and technology to meet political goals, those presidents and their friends and family didn't have their fortunes invested in the status quo, did they?

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 27, 2005 09:11 PM

Frances Erikson: "It is my contention that treason was committed when U.S. Forces were diverted away from their pursuit of Al Quieda"
Thank you thank you thank you. The resurgence if the Taliban in Afghanistan is a dirty little secret that is going to be a rude awakening for us soon. Why does it not bother the avid militarists on this post that we cut and ran from Afghanistan?

Chris Ford wrote:
"The Brits stand by their intelligence that Iraq was making inquiries on nuke stuff and missile technology. The Lord Butler Report linked earlier on this thread independently says the Brits believed their intel and that yes, the Iraqis WERE making inquiries."

Oh Chris Ford, you appear to be a well read person, so your motivations are suspect when you try to peddle this BS. If you read the Butler report surely you must have read the part that says the US failed to tell the Brits that we had found and debunked the claims that Saddam had obtained 500 tons of yellowcake. We knew it was a lie that Saddam got yellowcake since October 15, 2002. Yes, three and a half months before the "16 words", we figured out that not only were the documents forgeries, but that the idea of them made the claims not credible - if you looked at the mine output it just wasn't possible to hide the mining of that much yellowcake. It simply wasn't credible to believe Saddam was getting yellowcake.

Now what is interesting is the way the US rhetoric changed after we found the documents. Suddenly the claim changed from "got" to "sought' uranium, but now "sought" was paired with images of "mushroom clouds". So, like linking 9-11 and Iraq in the same sentence at the start of every speech, a false impression was created without false words being uttered. Its the trademark of this administration. But why did we have to say British intelligence - what did they have that was different from what we had? NOTHING! But what they didn't know was that we had debunked what they were trying to verify. If he had used claims that OUR intelligence believed this, people in the CIA would have leaked the forgeries.

What's so intriguing is that these same people doing or defending this would punish their kids for lying for doing the same thing - using true words to make a false impression - Parent - "You have to do your homework before going out". Teen - "I did every single math problem, wrote my english compostion and even did a social studies project that isn't due till next week, so there". Parent "OK, then be home by 10" What the teen didn't say - "but I didn't do my French or Chemistry homework". So, when the teen says "I never lied, everything I told you was true", do you really think those Righty parents are going to let the kid off teh hook because he didn't utter false words?

I am so tired of hearing about "faulty intelligence". There was nothing faulty about the intelligence. It was the conclusions that were faulty. The intelligence that Bush I had and Clinton had didn't differ that much - its just the conclusions made from it were that we didn't really know what Saddam was up to. Suddenly, however, with the same data we were sure that "Saddam has reconstituted his nuclear program" or "the aluminum tubes have no other use" etc etc etc.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 28, 2005 02:03 AM

Damn, that Onion article must have hit a sore spot, johnnyg. Sorry if the truth hurts, but the fact of the matter is that the Onion article I posted, albeit a joke, is reflective of how Bush made his case for the Iraq war. That people such as yourself buy into such tactics is the problem, not me pointing out that fact. That you felt such an article was aimed at you was very telling; It obviously had some merit of truth, as I was only asserting that it reflected on Bush's case for war. You're the one who felt it applied to you.
What I'm tired of is all the pathetic arguments being made for the war by lackluster debaters here. For instance, the poster who stated that immediate withdrawal from Iraq would lead to civil war in the best case, and terrorists taking over the oil fields in the worst case. In case you haven't noticed, civil war has already begun in Iraq, Shiite vs. Sunni; Such a civil war will proceed with or without us occupying the country. Also, the terrorists are there to go after US forces, not the oil. If the US forces are gone, the terrorists will have no claim to staying in Iraq, and the Iraqi people will oust them from their country as yet another foreign occupier rather than hand their oil fields over to them.
So, once again, I come to the point where my posting of an Onion article was apt. The people currently arguing for continued occupation of Iraq are continuing to rely on half-truths and illogical assumptions rather than any valid, real world facts. No wonder they are in the minority here in America. They can argue against withdrawal all they like; Fact of the matter is that it has already begun in the hearts and minds of the American people, and it is only a matter of time before the physical removal of US troops from Iraq begins. It is no longer a case of If we withdraw, but rather WHEN we withdraw. That's the reality of the situation; Stick to all the half-truths and misrepresentations you like... reality trumps each and every one of them. It's just sid that The Onion is more reflective about reality than some of these pro-war types.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 28, 2005 02:53 PM

Since it's my birthday, I'll let you slide errin, and I will lay this on you:

My Virginia buddy:
If you consider that there have been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000. The rate in Washington D.C. (among others) is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in our Nation's Capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington D.C.

My reply:
I'll fight to the bitter end with clubs and broken bottles! We must democratize Wash. DC. A good start would be representation for the citizens! One must watch out that power does not fall into the hands of the "Reverends."

Posted by: | November 28, 2005 04:23 PM

That was me, johhnyg in NE DC

Posted by: | November 28, 2005 04:24 PM

Was that an Onion article you just posted, johnny? Thanks for letting me slide... last thing I want you to do is to actually address my arguments. Actually, I prefer no response from you at all, to be honest. Until you start making sense, that is.
That DC analogy you just made was startling in it's unimportance. Mind telling me how many improvised explosive devices are going off in DC? Or how many billions we've spent to occupy DC? Better yet, why don't you count all the dead Iraqis into your equation rather than just dead American soldiers? How many Iraqis have died in DC in the last couple years? Compare that to how many have died in Iraq.
Even in your weak analogy you rely too heavily on half-truths and misrepresentations. Maybe you should start writing for the Onion. Certainly, your last post is good for a laugh or two.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 28, 2005 05:18 PM

I'm late getting to this discussion, but for anyone who scrolls down, I have a link of the relevant statements the President made with regard to an al Qaida-Iraq link.

http://hoglow.blogspot.com/2005/11/bush-lies-brief-history-of-al-qaida.html

It's not fully exhaustive: on a stump swing in late 2002, Bush made a number of carbon copy speeches, the text of which I omitted (you'll see if you follow the link). All quotes are taken directly from whitehouse.gov.

I doubt the two camps will ever agree on what exactly Bush was trying to argue when he made the link, but to suggest, as Chris Wallace did on Fox News Sunday, that Bush never said they were linked is pure hogwash. More than a year after the invasion, Bush himself said: "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

Posted by: Jeff | November 28, 2005 05:21 PM

Boy you are too much. I know the numbers/analogy is full of distortion. It was a joke for God's sake.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 28, 2005 05:22 PM

Relax, johnny. My Onion article was also a joke, but you responded to that seriously. I responded in kind to yours.
Anyway, this current interaction with you seems to have nothing to do with discussing the topic at hand. Forget I ever responded to you, as that was a mistake. I should have just humored you on your birthday rather than being confrontational.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 28, 2005 06:07 PM

My goodness. This endless discourse reminds me of nothing so much as a well-padded fellow endlessly contemplating his navel.

I opposed this war well before it became one. I did not believe the intelligence. Really ... these are the same guys who took out the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, the drug plant in the Sudan, just to name a couple of relatively recent misjudgments. Let us not forget that wacky former UNSCOM inspector who gave the Iraqi's fits in the first round of inspections but who was now (2002) running around saying they no longer had WMD. I forget his name (Scott something I think), but he is the one that Joe Biden got upset with for "talking above his pay grade"; an elitist kind of slur I really didn't expect out of Joe.

Then there is the Al Qaida/Prague/Baghdad connection that wasn't. It was obvious nonsense at the time, and hasn't changed since. Anybody even vaguely informed knew that Hussein and UBL were inherently at fundamental odds for reasons having nothing to do with the gringos in any way.

This was, and was transparently seen as, marketing ... the sales pitch for a decision which, if not technically taken already, was certainly intended.

The sales pitch was largely irrelevant to my opposition to this war. I opposed it because I saw no justifiable cause of action. As an American, I recoil from the notion that this nation would take up arms to suppress an imagined future external threat. The notion of a "pre-emptive war" is an invitation to anarchy. I am not against war per se. The Taliban got just what they had coming to them, and so too the Germans and the Japanese a half century ago. No. Had Clinton invaded over the plot to kill Bush 1, I could have supported it. Had he invaded in support of the inspectors in that particular crisis, I could have supported it. But for "Regime Change", at this point in 2002? This is imperialism pure and simple.

I found it interesting then that the only real substantive debate was within the Republican family. General Scowcroft took serious public issue with this enterprise. So too did Senators Hagel and Lugar. Even Kissenger waffled around until he was quietly kicked in the butt. Most of the Democrats confined themselves to reading the polls ... I say most because the much maligned Howard Dean was not among these. Indeed, to this day, he maintains the clearest, well reasoned, principled, and most articulate counter position on this particular issue. Had he won the nomination, I would have voted for him, but alas, I was presented with a thoroughly unpalatable choice. The Democrats are even more infected with the notion that winning trumps principles than the Republicans, so they lose.

The debate over the baking temperature of the intelligence pie is not what the world thinks important. Just suppose we had actually found those imagined chemical and biological stockpiles. Would that then be a sufficient cause for the action we took? What principles, what standards, what precedents, guide us here? Isn't it odd that the only consistent public yammering on these comes from, of all people, Pat Buchanan? The world at large can remain tolerant of a single super-power only so long as that power is not seen as a potential threat, is seen to be self-disciplined. Our adventure in Iraq has clearly eroded the world's faith in our level of self-discipline, of wisdom.

An American decision to employ force of arms against another nation faces several thresholds:
1. Is it consistent with our principles?
2. Is it in our national interest?
3. Is it necessary?
4. Will we win?

It does not suffice to answer only number four in the affirmative.

We made a mistake ... not just Bush, the legislature did, the nation did, the media did, the body politic did. Pointing fingers at this date will not undo it. It is, as is said in the dismal art of economics, "sunk cost". In the prescient analogy of General Powell, we dropped the damn pot and now we own it. The important debate in front of us is how we actually cobble the damn thing back together and slink back home, hopefully a little wiser.

Give Congressman Murtha credit for putting that matter on the table, for making that debate politically important, for his heartfelt honesty. At some point we must confront the fact that the path we have chosen puts the cobbling process into the hands of the Iraqi political process; something over which we have little control and are not very well informed; so much for our self-important media. Our imperial impulse to impose our democratic principles does have a certain downside to it. This endless debate over the cooking of intelligence does nothing to relieve us of our present cobbling problem. The truth is that either the Iraqis are going to find a way or they aren't, and we probably won't have even a glimmer of a real outcome for another six months or so. This is the very situation we insisted on, the messy consequences of the imposition of self-determination on a society with no experience of it. Having created this mess, we are duty bound to clean it up. I remain unpersuaded that this administration has an adequate handle on that chore but it is the only game in town. The current crop of Democrats remains singularly barren of better ideas. What course do you take when all you are given are "Stay the Course!" and "Don't Stay the Course!".

I will hope that the Iraqi's rise to the occasion, for their own sake. I will hope that the ideologues in the administration are sufficiently chastened not to look at any gift horses from the Iraqi's in the mouth. If they want a theocracy they should be able to have one. I will hope that libertarian conservatives and fiscal conservatives will reclaim the term "conservative" from the religious hijackers. I will hope that Howard Dean is successful in somehow developing a coherent and credible alternative; no signs of it yet. I will hope that Jim Lehrer never retires and outlives me. Losing Mr. McNeal was terrible enough. I will hope that Iraq stabilizes next year because, like it or not, this nation will not likely have the stomach to stay on otherwise.

Posted by: Tom Simpson | November 28, 2005 08:17 PM

Bob Woodward was the one best positioned person in the world to help us find out the real reasons for this war. Had he chosen to he could have repeated his Watergate tour de force. But, instead he chose to cozy up and buddy up, gain access, write a favorable book or two, and continue making his zillions. Too bad but we'll just have to find out the real reasons in other ways and from other people.

Posted by: Jack Floyd | November 29, 2005 05:59 AM

I'm not defending Bob Woodward's silence on the Valerie Plame case, but I don't buy the argument that he was cozying up to the administration. I read "Plan of Attack" and it was one of the most frightening books I read because it made quite plain to me that Bush encouraged a plan of attack and put absolutely no resources into planning for diplomatic alternatives. To me, the book only further exposed Bush's close-minded approach to governing and his unwillingness to deeply investigate and consider alternative courses of action.

Posted by: Pam Leitterman | November 29, 2005 10:19 AM

Bush and his War:
1) He neglected the security of American people, our troops in favor of monetary gains, political opportunism.
2) He did this with deceit and fooled us and rest of the world bringing down our image, thwarting our own security in longer run.
3) He delivered what he was expected to from day one. A not so smart (for lack of unharmful phrase) President. Puppet of big interests and a pillar for virtual BUSH dynasty has sold our nation for personal and politcal gains which would lead us to bear dear consequences of his actions. A corrupt legacy, total neglect towards American people their social, financial and overall security.
4) He has set a fearful trend of using religion like lot of 3rd world countries and Islamic countries (THAT WE NEVER FAIL TO CONDEMN). This polarization of the country would mark the fall of our great country if we the citizen do not see what is happening.
5) Authorative, idealogical has been his hall mark, he is abusing democratic powers to encroach upon human rights, rights to speak and even threatening the democratic process. Does he even know what is a difference between a democracy and theocracy?
6) If we see what is happening around the world in France, and just what happened in Canada, I am surprised how such a corrupt, moral less and a spine less leader can survive so long. Well the answer is so simple "Sell fear in the name of Religion". He has ignited this fire but it would be very hard to contain it once it raises its dirty head. People have not seen enough what a politician can do when he has such a weapon to use.
7) He is responsible for bring us to this day where American dream is more distant than ever. The gap between haves and have nots are wider than ever, being an American citizen one of the richest nation in the world does not feel rich any more. And this would change so fast before any one would realize that how did we get poor all of a sudden. (Katrina response and after math looked like we are watching an African documentary, did'nt it?)
8) What goes up comes down and if this is our downfall Bush will be remembered in the history for bringing it upon us.

God really has to be on our side to save us. Rise all Americans for the virture of Liberty, Democracy and Human rights are being crucified by the very same people who are trying to sell it.

Posted by: James Erving | November 29, 2005 11:51 AM

Whatever the merits of the intelligence information regarding Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, one thing is crystal clear: President Bush timed this war, in a politically partisan move, to secure Republican advantage during the Congressional midterm elections of 2002. That will forever remain unforgiveable. As Lincoln said, if every drop of blood ripped by the lash must be met with one drawn by the sword, that is what it is.

Posted by: mark eggleston | November 29, 2005 12:16 PM

Hear, hear, James Erving! I'd add that one of the reasons Bush has survived so long is because, thanks to the corrupt two-party system, he's never had any real competition, just fellow silver spoon doorknobs like Al Gore and John Kerry who are such losers that they couldn't even beat somebody as lame as George Dubya. All that is blamed on Bush can also be blamed on the current two-party system that allowed such a person to obtain the Presidency of the United States. It seems to be a battleground of which inept leader can best serve the interests of the rich, not a fair arena for the best of us to rise to the top. And look at where we are because of it.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 29, 2005 10:14 PM

The so-called Case for War had been for a good many of us, though a minority, a collection of hastilly conceived assertions without any evidence of the imminent threat the administration alluded to by way of innuendo. Simply put, the threat from Iraq was far from imminent.

With the benefit of hindsight, over the past two and a half years, it is now clear that the war has been ill conceived and poorly executed. The facts are there for all to see and the facts go well beyond the regretable loss of life, only to compound it. The war has yet to fully show all its consequences.

So what are we to debate? Wheather it was a just war? A necessary war? A well planned war?

Look no further than the president's speech at Annapolis, November 30, 2005.
Who writes his speeches, for God's sake. The strategy is still to distort and exaggerate. Here is a quote from the transcript, provided by CNN on line today:

"Victory will come when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation."

Still the tired claim, that Iraq is a safe haven for terrorists to plot" NEW ATTACKS ON OUR NATION."
And so much for the war strategy. He might as well had said: Ad kalendas Graecas.

So what are we debating? That the war was started on less than factual truth?
Just look at the continuum of its justification.

Posted by: | December 1, 2005 08:24 PM

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