This Week's Debate: The Case for War

With the couple hundred comments on the last post, my fellow Debaters have set the stage for this week's Debate on the Bush administration's case for war in Iraq. You made many excellent points, and I hope we'll have a chance to address each of them in more detail over the next few days. Today, we'll start off with an overview of the questions that must be answered to get to the bottom of this complicated issue.

First, did the administration know more than it chose to reveal? If officials were holding back information because revealing it would have endangered national security, that would be understandable, but if information was disregarded simply because it didn't bolster their case, that's a pretty egregious lapse.

One possible example of this: In September 2002, the Defense Intelligence Agency produced a report that concluded that while it was thought that Saddam Hussein probably possessed some biological or chemical weapons, "There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons." So following the release of that report (and a similar one two months later) every time top administration officials made statements of certainty that Iraq had WMD -- such as Wolfowitz's December 2, 2002 explanation that the president's "determination to use force if necessary is because of the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," Rumsfeld's Jan. 7, 2003 statement that "There is no doubt in my mind but that they currently have chemical and biological weapons," and Ari Fleischer's assertion two days later that "We know for a fact that there are weapons there" -- they were at the very least omitting key information that would cast doubt on those claims.

A second question: How much of the case for war was based on an exaggeration of the threat? In this September 28 appearance in the Rose Garden, Bush mentioned several Iraq-related concerns we now know were massively overblown, such as "the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order were given." The president repeated this charge in spite of the fact that, as the Post later reported, the United States didn't trust the British source.

The who-knew-what-when question can get pretty murky, but it's clear that members of the administration repeatedly made assertions of certainty that, given the intelligence available to them then, should have included important caveats.

Were such omissions and exaggerations a result of careless or irresponsibility, or were they intentional? Or could it have been a case of widespread self-deception? Editor Adam Garfinkle offers up the latter theory in the autumn issue of The American Interest, suggesting that a kind of groupthink phenomenon was at work.

Garfinkle mentions the Solomon Asch and Gregory Berns experiments on conformity that indicate that when part of a cohesive group, people are fairly well inclined to answer a given problem incorrectly when the rest of the group has also unanimously chosen that wrong answer. He notes that in the lead up to the Iraq War, administration decision makers "increasingly engaged with like-minded others," bringing about "a powerful inferential logic that led many outside observers to suspect" that the Iraq claims were true, which in turn bolstered the government's position. "If lying went on," Garfinkle writes, "it was the sort whereby people deceive themselves."

Was that self-deception at the root of Vice President Cheney's stubborn insistence that Iraq had links to Al Qaeda in spite of an inconvenient lack of evidence? And how, if at all, does the Plame leak figure into it all?

In the White House's draft of the joint resolution for the authorization of force in Iraq, one of the reasons given was a "high risk" that Saddam Hussein would use WMD to attack America or transfer weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. While it would have been fine to say that such a transfer was possible, saying that there was a "high risk" was perhaps not the most honest wording. Hussein knew attacking America would be suicide, and U.S. intelligence suggested that he would be unlikely to help terrorists, given that he saw fundamentalism as a threat to his secular regime.

Of course, the media weren't blameless either. But what exactly was the media's role -- did they help construct the case for war, or did they simply reinforce it? Reporters like Judith Miller of the New York Times relied too heavily on questionable sources (in Miller's case, Ahmed Chalabi appears to have informed -- badly -- much of her reporting on WMD) and arguably didn't ask tough enough questions. On the flip side, perhaps they were asking the tough questions but couldn't see all the classified intelligence, and thus had to take the administration at its word.

The repetition of claims that Iraq had WMD and was cavorting with terrorists laid the foundation for public support for the invasion. Meanwhile, Congress was being pressured for a vote on the resolution shortly before the 2002 midterm elections, leaving anyone critical of the administration's war claims susceptible to accusations of being soft on terrorism -- accusations that would be particularly damaging during a re-election campaign.

Over the coming days, we'll look at the media's role, as well as that of the vice president, president and others in framing the debate on Iraq. We'll examine their various assertions -- some they should have known were shaky at best -- and we'll also look at the warnings that were in the public domain before the war from people like Sen. Bob Graham, the former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman who felt the case for war simply wasn't strong enough.

While most Republicans probably would have stuck with the president regardless, Graham's vote against the Iraq authorization in 2002 suggests that had the administration been more up front about the weaknesses in its case for war, many Democrats might have voted differently. Granted, most members of Congress did not possess the same level of experience dealing with intellgence that Graham did, but perhaps we would not be having this debate right now if the doubts raised by the intelligence community had been given as much attention as the dire warnings. Then again, in the post-9/11 climate of fear and with an election just weeks away, it's entirely possible that the outcome would have been the same no matter what.

Anything else you'd like to talk about, Debaters?

By Emily Messner |  November 28, 2005; 1:32 PM ET  | Category:  This Week's Issue
Previous: The Facts: The Case for War | Next: Nine Arguments for War

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel
http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2005/1122nj1.htm
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks...

WTF?
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030319-1.html
...acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. -Sincerely, GEORGE W. BUSH

Posted by: Brian Fejer | November 28, 2005 03:40 PM

I'm curious as to how the use/misuse of information by the Administration squares with the content of the Downing Street Memo claiming that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" to invade Iraq?

Posted by: PC | November 28, 2005 03:50 PM

Let's not forget the infamous balsa-wood airplanes that were used as an example for how Saddam could load chem/bio weapons onto primitive delivery systems and attack countries much farther away than with conventional missiles. Some of the claims were simply ludicrous!

Posted by: district | November 28, 2005 03:51 PM

Re: role of media in run-up to war

The "high-noon" moment for the debate was
Colin Powell's address to the U.N. I recall very little media scrutiny of what even then seemed unconvincing evidence for WMD. I remember being shocked by the reactions from media commentators that Powell's speech had somehow cemented the argument for war. I wondered if I had seen the same speech.

Posted by: Neil Wallis | November 28, 2005 03:56 PM

The manner of intel's use and misuse, citation or omition, is the system by which the policy was fixed.

The plan for the war was written by Cheney in the early ninties, after Gulf War I. The opportunity was brought up in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the "targets in Iraq are so much better than the targets in Afghanistan" according to Rumsfeld, and Afghanistan-bound Army resources were retargetted for the build up to Iraq from the fall of 2002, according to Army generals.

Posted by: Michael Gorse | November 28, 2005 03:58 PM

The groupthink excuse is not without merit, but it doesn't take much analysis to see that they were exaggerating the threat in order to start the war. First of all, Saddam would need a motive to attack the US. He had a strong motive not to attack the US, namely that he would invoke a US invasion and fall from power. This, I think, is a much stronger motive that any motive he had to attack. That leaves the possibility that he would pass on WMD to others. That argument is perhaps easier to make, because now we are talking about a shadow world where we don't really know who has connections to whom, etc. However, once again, if the truth came out that Saddam was passing WMD to others, US invasion, loss of power, etc. On the whole, I think that it is pretty obvious that Saddam had a good idea about what it was like to get into a war with the US, since he had already been in one. The idea that he would do something that would get him into another war with the US strains credulity.
Has anyone else noticed that the only reason given anymore for staying in Iraq is that it is good for the troops' morale? OK.
peace,
jim

Posted by: jim preston | November 28, 2005 04:00 PM

The case for war was prejudged, predetermined, and railroaded long before the "evidence" for it was confected. While it is useful for the Post to be examining the exact misrepresentations, overstatements, and mendacity with which the Bushies sold the war, it must never be forgotten that the administration did not care what lies it had to tell to get the war started, they were going to get the war started regardless. The two principal lies: Saddam=Al Qaeda (a/k/a Iraq=9/11) and WMD=nuclear weapons. Your summary hardly touches either, and will remain incomplete until it deals with both. Those were the two lies that galvanized American public opinion, which is why the White House continues to repeat them to this day...

Posted by: slangist | November 28, 2005 04:03 PM

It is November 2005. A Senate controlled by the Democrats approved the "war resolution" in the spring of 2002. That was three-and-a-half years ago. Isn't that when, at the latest, we should have debated the issues?

My sense is that three-and-a-half years on we still might not agree on what the issues are or that we should even sit down and try to sort out what they are. Instead, most of what I see is posturing and gotcha politics.

Included in the gotcha politics is (I think) yet more prognosticating on the political demise of the W. Folks have been writing this guy off since he first took on Ann Richards. But, two Presidential elections later, he is still there. But isn't dumping on W and his circle just a distraction from the issues?

Do the issues include questions about weapons proliferation in general? Do they include questions about the role of multi-lateral institutions in addressing weapons proliferation or other problems? Do they include questions about the integrity of multilateral institutions? Should they include questions about (messy) institutional change? And so on.

Three-and-a-half years on, most of the "debate" still seems to miss the forest for the trees.

Posted by: Giuliana | November 28, 2005 04:12 PM

Here we go again with the "Intellegence Failure" excuse. Sept.11 was the result of an intellegence failure, can't catch bin-Laden, intellegence failure. No W.M.D. intellegence failure. And now they get caught lying, well, it was just another intellegence failure. Intellegence failure seems to be a polite term for stupidity. So, are they lying or are they stupid? Stupid like a fox.The true reasons for invading Iraq are the grab for oil and to use it as a base for attacking other countries in the region. The truth is the elephant in the room none will dare acknowlege.

Posted by: Eddie Sharp | November 28, 2005 04:18 PM

Our Air Force had Saddam Hussein in a box. His Air Force could not fly north or south out of the box without being shot down. Saddam did not have long range missiles capability, just how was he a threat the the United States. Maybe he was going to deliver WMDs by United Parcel or FedX.

Posted by: R. Smith | November 28, 2005 04:25 PM

At some point the intelligence failure argument necessarily has to fail. Intelligence failure speaks to the credibility of the person following that intelligence even if they never lied. That still makes the person incompetent.

The American public (apparently) is done listening to these boneheads. Whether he lied or not is relevant to a political debate, of which I have no interest, but irrelevant to a future security debate, which I am very concerned.

Tomorrow George W. Bush received conclusive information from the intelligence community that Nation X has the means and the drive to do harm to Americans on American soil. In order to defend the nation the President must build a case for the invasion of Nation X (probably impractical given that we are deployed elsewhere) to a nation half of which thinks he is a liar and the other half defends him as incompetent instead.

How can we expect this President to possibly make that case legitimately, and more importantly, how can we defend ourselves from Nation X?

This guy has to go because he is either a) a liar or b) dangerously incompetent. Replace him with another Republican for all I care, but we aren't safe with this man in the big white house.

Posted by: Will | November 28, 2005 04:47 PM

Has everybody forgotten that terrorism advisor Richard Clarke and Secretary of the Treasury John O'Neill both wrote that Bush came into office with the intent of invading Iraq?

Do people not know about the White House Iraq Group, or the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon, put there to twist, distort and pervert information to lead us into war?

The invasion of that sovereign nation and its bloody occupation are not just impeachable offenses, they are capital crimes, which require legal redress at both a national and international level.

Posted by: gkam | November 28, 2005 04:56 PM

To Emily: "Anything else you'd like to talk about, Debaters?"

Does yo-yo refer to its up-and-down motion, or is each half called a yo?

Posted by: Turnabout | November 28, 2005 04:58 PM

Whatever happened to Richard Clarke's take on the build up to war? Didn't he claim in his book that the Bush administration was looking for reasons to go into Iraq even before 9/11? Didn't his successor also have a similar claim?

Posted by: J. Adams | November 28, 2005 04:59 PM

The case for war started long before Bush Junior took over in 2001. US news media is just as much responsible in demonizing Saddam's Iraq and thereby hyping the case for attack. In a way, US has been the victim of its own propaganda. Self-serving American politicians beginning with Bush Senior, Clinton and then Bush Junior used Saddam as a convenient scapegoat to promote their own macho credentials before American public and American news media ran away with it. These American politicians-cum-leaders used any misinformation available to misguide the people. And so anti-Saddam mass hysteria was created. It was very easy for people and politicians to support attack on Saddam's Iraq under such circumstances. Who says people can be misled only under Communist or Nationalist dictatorships?

Posted by: suresh sheth | November 28, 2005 05:00 PM

The debate on whether the Bush administration deceived the American people seems to me misplaced.

Only on certain ocassions does intelligence presents us with a smoking gun or other irrefutable evidence. Most of the time it provides analysis and educated guesses based on certain hard data which is presented to the elected authorities in order for them to make policy choices.

In any case, even when the existing intelligence seems to be indisputable, it falls on the elected authorities to decide on the most effective policy to confront the problem.

The most effective policy might have been war (with proper occupation and other contingency plans), to continue to enforce sanctions, offer SH a way out (assylum in some third country that if rejected would have triggered an invasion), etc.

The problem here is that the President already had a policy choice, independently of what the available intelligence actually said. The President had certain preconceptions about the extent of Saddam´s threat and decided to act in consequence with that believe. And, needless to say, the policy he chose was poorly executed.

Therefore, this is not a matter of misleading the American people. It is, simply put, a matter of poor judgment and inconpetence. Period. And is very dangerous to have inept people at the White House

Posted by: VAB | November 28, 2005 05:15 PM

I wasn't in favor of invading Iraq then and I don't like being there now. Yet I can't help but think that the USA must remain until the Iraqis can stand up to the insurgents and establish their own self rule. We won't like it if sometime in the future an Iranian style theocracy emerges, but that decision is not up to us. In addition to Giuliana's reasoned case for asking questions about weapons proliferation and the institutions that are supposed to prevent that, the USA--indeed, the West in general--must work full bore on non fossil fuel energy sources. It's not a question of "alternative" energy, it's a matter of really not having an alternative but to disengage our dependence on oil worldwide.

Posted by: Kevin | November 28, 2005 05:19 PM

Why the fuss over intelligence? Even if all parties had had the same intelligence they still would have voted overwhelmingly to go to authorize military intervention. If a president says there is a threat that requires a military response, who is going to risk voting for inaction? Who is going to question whether the threat is real? Who would want to deny the populace an exciting show on television - the obliteration a very weak military force, especially with such great special effects. Who would want to jeopardize their political prospects close to election? Why would Democrats want to lose more seats? They would have had to do more than just vote for authorization to counter the perception that they are weaker on defense. After all, one of the chief purposes of sable rattling so close to the election was to pick up Republican votes. At that point in time no one in this country cared much about truth or accuracy. If one had concerns, one kept them to oneself, rather than to confront the mob in its prevailing psychological state. Courage of conviction would have been political suicide. Most Democrats willing to vote against the war would have not survived long enough to be able to say 'I told you so'. This was all Rovian calculation, ensuring that if the military action soured, they could always point out that the Democrats had voted for authorization.
This is the way sound judgement will always be defeated until this country has dug itself into a hole too deep to extricate itself.

Posted by: dkliewer | November 28, 2005 05:19 PM

We are in Iraq for all the wrong reasons and we are not going to be able to get out until we just walk out like we did in Viet Nam. Nobody seems to want to address the reality of the economy of Iraq and their ability to field and maintain a fighting force of any significance. The US is unable to make progress against the opposition and we are supposedly the supreme military force on the planet. How is Irag with less than 10 million people, 60%+ unemployment and no economy beyond oil going to field a trained force necessary to step in for the US military? There military capability is going to have to be better than ours, equal or worse will get nowhere. "As the Iragi's step up, we will stand down" is a hopeless strategy.

After over 10 years the South Vietnamese military did not have the ability, the support, the government, the economy or the desire to take over a war nobody understood and in some ways they were better prepared than the Iraqis.

I know this is off the topic, but we are there now and no amount of hindsight is going to change this pitiful fact.

Posted by: Stan | November 28, 2005 05:45 PM

Thanks to Senator Warner speaking on Meet the Press we know that the some Repubicans knew about the plan to invade Iraq. There was no war and the reasons given to the public, UN and the world were planned lies. Bush knew that he had the public by saying he was a man of God and he used that trust and belief to lie. Now Bush/Cheney have to as the persons that are running our govenment when and how to withdraw our troops. Big business/church put Bush in so they are calling the shots. While the other players are pleading guilty to crimes. More and more elected officials, big businessmen and other world leaders had a part and were paid for the US invasion of Iraq. This is the biggest corruption act in the history of american. Nixon would be proud of the students during the years of watergate they learned well. Cheney even had hair then.

Posted by: Jackie Rawlings | November 28, 2005 06:18 PM

There seems to be little debate that at the least the case for war was hyped. Agreed? So then the next question is were we mislead and the next is on purpose or accident. The sense I get is that posters think we were mislead and it wasnt accidental. Anyone have a beef with that?
Maybe now we are getting somewhere...so then the last question (on the case for war) iswhat do we do when we are purposefully mislead into war (well its not realyy war since only congree can declare war and it didnt!!!! Police Action, anyone???? I guess the constitution thing is overated.

So Emily I put this to you, since these posts seem to agree with polling data that we as Americians were purposely mislead into undeclared war, that appears to be extra-constitutional, can we debate what it potends to our malfunctioning democracy (err republic)? In other words is it time to say our systems broken? And if so how to fix it?

Posted by: WOW | November 28, 2005 06:43 PM

While I too have questions about the relevancy of discussing today a case for war Bush made years back, I think it is still relevant because Mr. Bush is still making the same arguments today that he made back then to justify this personal, political war of choice of his creation. Only now he doesn't have the backdrop of 9/11 for people to buy into his fearmongering hysteria. Actually, it's pretty sad to me that Bush failed at preventing 9/11, and has benefitted so much politically from that failure. That he needed so many Americans to die under his watch to give his presidency some relevancy is pathetic. At least Condi Rice is doing a much better job as Secretary of State than she ever did as National Security Advisor. Luckily, Bush learned in his second term what he didn't know in his first: Don't put token figures in national security positions. Condi may have been a great poster child for Bush's compassionate conservative shtick, but she truly sucked when it came to defending our nation's security.
My main problem with Bush's case for war is that very few people are putting two and two together to come to the logical conclusion that Bush Jr had his eyes on Iraq as soon as he became president so as to avenge Bush Sr. Anybody remember how not ousting Saddam the first time around hurt Bush Sr politically? Anybody remember that Saddam attempted to assassinate Bush Sr? Only a Bush would turn his political capital from 9/11 into an excuse to avenge the Bush name and take out Saddam.
To me, the problem is our country being so easily mislead, not Bush misleading us. Of course he's going to be misleading... he's a politician! And yet so many buy into him and other politicians as being 'one of us' and somehow trustworthy. Couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to people like George Bush who dedicate their lives to having and using power. At this point, we seem to simply be debating the specifics of his misrepresentations rather than if he misrepresented.
I also feel this problem goes beyond George Bush, as far as when it comes to the political class manipulating the electorate. For me, the recent occurence of Hurricane Katrina and John Roberts' nomination at the same time was an eye opener on how strong class is as a factor these days in the USA. If you're poor and black, you died in New Orleans. If you're rich and white, you are handed the highest of political positions by other rich white guys (as in Bush nominating Roberts). Bush, Kerry, Gore... all rich white folk prepped from birth to ascend to political positions reserved for them by other rich people who rule our class-based society (which I highly doubt was the Founding Fathers' goal). As long as we American voters let the presidency be a rich man's prize rather than an office of public service, we will continue to have people like George Bush lead our country in whatever direction best serves them. After all, the rich can only relate to being served, not to being servants.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 28, 2005 06:52 PM

Unless I missed it, not a single post in this debate has cited these facts:
Hussein was well known to have a nuclear program in the early 1990s. He never showed when or how he dismantled it. Hussein was well known to have biological and chemical weapons, and, similarly, did not show what he did with them when the UN demanded he do so. The intelligence was skewed--I'll grant that--around an assumption that he was lying--but this was not an unreasonable assumption. (A similar bad track record caused the US to grossly overrate the "missile gap" in the 50s.) Add to that these facts: sanctions were eroding, as other countries (notably Russia and France) struck private deals for oil; the sanctions were also costing thousands of lives every year, as Hussein failed to provide medical supplies allowed under the sanctions regime; the regime continued to torment its people, with the militias of Hussein's sons particularly active. Meanwhile, the US was spending BILLIONS a year protecting the Kurds with the no-fly zone, while failing to protect the rest of the Iraqis. How long would war critics have been willing to see this status quo to go on, until the last Iraqi was strangled by Uday? Or simply expired because nothing was left of the infrastructure? Because that, along with the human capital, was, as we now know, turning to dust under sanctions.

Didn't we Americans have some moral responsibility for the suffering of Iraqis under the combination of UN sanctions and Hussein's regime, whose survival we countenanced after the first Gulf War? Critics of Bush's war must believe the answer is no.

Posted by: David P | November 28, 2005 08:49 PM

Has anyone in the press, looked at the key senatorial elections in 2002 to evaluate the key races won by republicans? It seems likely that Karl Rove must have realized how important it was going to be to insure that the entire Congress was controlled by Congress since it was Sen. Graham from FL, who as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee had had to ask for an NIE in the fall of 2002. This suggests that some felt it was important to minimize any oversite that might come from the opposition party.

Posted by: SR | November 28, 2005 09:01 PM

An underlying issue with the war in its totality is the complete absense of the opportunity cost of this war...which all of our statesmen, pundits, and decision makers are supposed to be sensitive to.

Before Afganistan, literally the world was sympathic and supportive of America. Even after this war which could be justified was won with minimal death and destruction; the world continued to support America. Although even then there was a certain withdrawal by those concerned by the direction of the response and the rethoric by the Bush administartion. By the invasion of Iraq and the complete indifference to the UN and the large coalition of the unwilling; the world turned against the administration. By winning in 20o4, the world turned away from the american people as well.

The crime of this adminstartion is not the illegal and immoral war, but the real opportunity to do something concrete and practical by using the tragedy of 9/11 to promote world peace, disarm the world of nuclear weapons, promote the harmony of nations and their peoples, use the shared grief for religious cooperation, and use the example of American tolerance and high morality to reduce violence, solve some worlds serious medical challenges, etc.

That may have been a once in 1000 generations opportunity wasted for the political ambitions of Rove/Bush and the NeoCon dream of world domination.

Posted by: Leo Myers | November 28, 2005 09:11 PM

Moral responsibility? We entered this war of choice in the spirit of fear, hysteria, and imagined dangers that didn't really exist after all. You make a good point about there being a connection of moral responsibility between us and the Iraqis (what with us backing the sanctions before), but it's a huge stretch to go from that to justifying this war. Do you know how many Iraqis have died because of our invasion of their country? It is hard to give much credence to moral responsibility since we have killed so many Iraqis through collateral damage. And aren't there plenty of other oppressed countries we have a moral responsibility to? I don't see us invading them. Besides, any moral responsibility we have to the Iraqis has not been served well by this irresponsibly conducted war. I still don't get how Bush could botch a war he invested himself in so heavily, but I guess it kind of makes sense when you're dealing with an incompetent who got where he is due to his class status rather than any personal merit. Enough with the Bushes and the Kerrys and the Gores of the world who depend on class rather than ability to get by. If the system wasn't geared so heavily in their favor, they'd be nowhere. As it were, the system is geared solely for them to have political power, and it is the rest of us in America that are on a road to nowhere because of it.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 28, 2005 09:16 PM

I believe the administration lied about and grossly distorted intelligence in order to convince the American people to support the war with IRAQ. Before the campaign of lies began, less than 50% of the American people supported going to war. By the time we went to war, support was over 70%. Below I list what my government told me. None of it was true, and I do not believe that people as smart as the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of Defense did not know that what they were saying was not true:

1. President Bush told me in the most important speech a President gives that IRAQ was acquiring uranium from Africa (disavowed after the war) and was acquiring aluminum tubes as part of a nuclear weapons program (actually they were for a NATO rocket).

2. The Vice President told the Country on Meet The Press that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program (that same day Senator Biden said that the intelligence didn't support the Vice President).

3. The Secretary of Defense said not only did Sadaam have WMD, but that he knew where they were.

4. The Secretary of State said there were 18 biological weapons trucks traveling around Iraq (actually there were 2 hydrogen balloon trucks).

5. The President's National Security Adviser repeated the aluminium tubes claim and along with the rest of the Administration was exploding mushroom clouds all over the Country.

Posted by: Tom | November 28, 2005 09:22 PM

The reasons the president gave us for war were not the real reasons. Bush says, in his defense, that everyone thought WMD existed. So what? What no one seems to bring out is that WMD was not the reason we went to war; it was only the reason we were given. There's a difference. We'll be learning the real reasons for a long time and what we we're going to learn beyond any doubt was that that the reasons were not WMD and Al Queda links.

Posted by: Jack Floyd | November 28, 2005 09:41 PM

"No Link to Al Qaeda??" Well Mr.
Zarqawi was in Iraq for a few years before
911 or 2002 or any other time line you might
have developed. Of course Zarqawi's group
is called "Al Qaeda in Iraq" of late, or maybe all along. The Atta connection was not
confirmed all along and was never used in an
absolute sense. Of course the Atta connection has never been disproved either. like intelligence, it is neither right or wrong, it just is.

The left is trying so hard to take Bush down they have forgot all about the play by play dates Bush set out to form a government in Iraq, and every date has been
met with success, which will include the last date of Dec 15th, up to the end. After
that any ability to withdraw will become apparent. You can call this no plan and a failure, but not me. We the people, have an
objective for the war on terror and creating security for this country President Bush just happens to be President during that portion of our history. No President could possibly be the 'Despot' that the left makes Bush out to be under our system of government. The American people elected him twice. The left just can't handle the truth, so they have attacked the truth.

Posted by: James Crocket | November 28, 2005 09:44 PM

"We the people" don't obsess about the left and constantly have to mention the left in every sentence we make when discussing things politically. Rather, it is right wing lemmings such as yourself who cling so desperately to the left being the causes of all problems.
Truth is, Bush has caused more problems for himself than the left ever has for him. Rather, he should be thankful to the left, because without losers like Gore and Kerry for him to BARELY beat, Bush wouldn't be where he is today. They all happen to benefit from a political system that is geared to let only the rich hold the reins of power in this country; That Bush is slightly less incompetent than the other silver spoon, prep school incompetents that the system includes to the exclusion of others ISN'T saying much. I just wish you Righties would see the light in that the Left is really your partner in crime, no matter how much you buy into your party's leadership that acts like they're such great enemies. History shows that the Right and the Left readily hop into the same bed whenever it serves them so. Sorry to conflict the propoganda you've had spoonfed to you, but that's the simple reality of the matter.
And, by the way, the only people that still buy into the Al Qaeda link to Iraq are partisan fanatics such as yourself. It might have worked for a little bit amid the fear and hysteria of 9/11, but times have changed. Your twice-elected President is only approved of by little more than 1/3rd of the American population currently, and his war is being brought to an end against his wishes. No amount of ranting against the left will change that, no matter how hard you try. And you may find this 2nd term of his benefitting the left much more than the right.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 28, 2005 10:09 PM

Here are my two cents.
The most amazing fact that appears not only on the above written comments, but on practically all of the news about Iraq is that very few and I mean very few of the great mass of Americans have any idea of the history of Iraq.
A place and not a country, with Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites who hate and have hated each other for centuries.
So, old Hussein was going to hand to Osama WMD?
Groupthink Americans, naive, stupid, ignorant, accepted this BS, because Americans will accept any BS.
There ain't no great secret there.
One has to come to such sad conclusion.
To believe then that Hussein had WMD was the ultimate in just dumb and thus it is no coincidance that this stupidity was used rather efectectively by Bush Rove, Cheney, Wolfie, Rummy and the others. got to hand it to them.
They are not stupid.
H.L. Mencken (sp) once said that no one lost any money understimating the taste of the American public.
That should be updated to say that Americans are so stupid that people like Bush and his cronies will always manage to get away with their acts because we are dumb, naive and don't have the courage to say no to the man-in-charge, and when the boss-man says we've got to have a war because Iraq was partially responsible for 9/11, you know what?
We go for it.
I do not want to appear that I am the only smart one here. No, we are all stupid!
Some more than others.
Groupthink does a great job of explaining how a mass of people can act in such manner.
We have a great example of that with the Nazis.
And I fear that we are the succesors of such despicable groupthink.
So, no matter how much debate we want to have and obviously need to have, the bottom line is that we need to admit that the American public is dumb, naive, uninformed, easy to manipulate and willing to be manipulated.
We want to be manipulated!
We are stupid and there ain't no getting around such groupthink fact!
And now we are having such terrible pangs of anxiety because a few of us are saying, let's just the hell out of there!
Oh, no, we need to have an exit strategy.
Biden, Kerry, Bush, Clinton, et al.
Man, what a sorry bunch of idiots we all are.

Posted by: Ed | November 28, 2005 10:21 PM

Well Mr. Crockett you would be wrong on a few items. Yes Zarqawi was in Iraq at that time but was in no contact with the Iraqi government. It has been proved over and over that Hussein did not like Bin Laden and wanted no part of Al Queda. Another thing if you care to remember is that the Reagan administration took Iraq off the terrorist watch list in the early 80's so they could fight Iran. So its not the left that is bringing Bush down, It is partly the Reagan adming (Rummy, Cheney) and his own incompetence.

Posted by: Americanfirst | November 28, 2005 10:43 PM


Wow...29 "Bush lied" comments against 2
"Bush tried" so far. Is this a statistical anomoly or does the Wa Po readership always list a bit to port? Does continually leaning to one side lead to circular discourse? To state with conviction what truly motivated W to invade Iraq is folly. Let`s focus on the present and future...he`s gone after this term anyway. Is democracy a good thing in an Arab country? Probably not if head-chopping islamo-facists have a hand in it. If we are eventually going to capitulate to terrorists, should I invest in the burka industry ?

Posted by: bender | November 28, 2005 10:47 PM

When the Secretary of State has nothing to offer to the world but a bunch of cartoon pictures of alleged WMD laboratories, the weakness of the case is obvious. It was obvious before the invasion and it is even more obvious now that the Bush administration had made up its mind for war and then trumped up the rationale.

But why WMD? Why not spreading democracy, or "fight them there" during the run-up to the attack? Well, as amoral as the current gang in the White House might be, they did not want to appear to be outright war criminals. At least they wanted it to be ambiguous. For the attack to be anything but an act of naked aggression, they needed some kind of excuse with a bit of legal credibility. WMD was in the existing UN resolutions, and so the bogus charge that Iraq was violating UN mandates would have to do.

The most maddening thing nowadays is the administration and its supporters repeating the blatant lie that "everyone thought Saddam had WMD then." What, was I dreaming about the worldwide debate on this very question? Was it an illusion that UN inspectors were on the ground for months, turning up nothing, there until the US ordered them to leave lest they be blown to bits by real weapons of mass destruction?

Emily, this debate is no debate. The debate should be whether Bush should only be forced to resign or hauled before the Hague for a war crimes trial, along with the rest of his cabal.

Posted by: johnuw93 | November 28, 2005 10:54 PM

People cry out for a procedural fix, so this can't happen again.

The problem's in the organizational chart, and it's not changing.

The chain of command puts the Central Intelligence Agency under the President. If the Central Intelligence Agency says something's a distinct possibility, and the President says that very same something's an ironclad certainty, what can we expect our intelligence establishment to do? Leak, and risk prosecution for idealism or spite; stay quiet, and get promoted when the furor dies down.

I don't see any way to prevent this, unless it's the people taking a harder look at the President who describes something as an existential threat, requiring absolute loyalty, unity and hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of no-bid contracts. We will get the government we deserve. Just like now.

Posted by: John Thompson | November 28, 2005 11:13 PM

James Crocket writes:
" "No Link to Al Qaeda??" Well Mr.
Zarqawi was in Iraq for a few years before
911 or 2002 or any other time line you might
have developed."

Ah yes, a favourite theme of the Fox news crowd......

Mr Zarqawi and his terrorist training camp were definitely were in Iraq before the war, but was in Northern Iraq - an area not controlled by Saddam (part of the Northern no-fly zone). Some how that simple little fact always gets dropped everytime the NeoCons bring it up ...

If Mr Zarqawi was such a threat, why was he and his camp not bombed before the war? Maybe Bush didn't want to risk losing one of his excuses.

Posted by: John Morris | November 28, 2005 11:28 PM

>>>>>> It is November 2005. A Senate controlled by the Democrats approved the "war resolution" in the spring of 2002. That was three-and-a-half years ago. Isn't that when, at the latest, we should have debated the issues?

Posted by: Giuliana | Nov 28, 2005 4:12:48 PM <<<<<<

That would have been nice. However, your post ignores the numerous and well-documented cases where the administration kept hidden much if the information that would have allowed for an honest and informed "debate."

Posted by: John Haag | November 28, 2005 11:39 PM

The debate of "who knew what and when" is so incredibly off the mark - like focusing on the mechanical failure in the Challenger disaster rather than the systemic/procedural failures that led to it.

There is little doubt in my mind that the war was one of choice, planned before 9/11, and cynically pitched to the psychologically vulnerable American public in the hysterical aftermath of 9/11.

Recall the Project for the New American Century, advocating regime change going on 10 or more years now (e.g., http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm). Look at the names. Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Woolsey. Look deeper. There is a wealth of material, pre-dating 9/11, making the case, again and again, for war... covering everything from regional stability, to the threat to the world's oil supply, to the suffering of the Iraqi people, to the issue of credibility of America as a super-power (the biggest neo-con bugaboo of them all). The case for war had been on the table for a long time... and no one was biting.

These are valid issues to debate as justifications... maybe I missed it, but that part didn't seem to happen. It was a one dimensional pitch - only by expanding the argument to imply a direct threat to the citizens of the U.S., in the "here and now" of post-9/11, that the case could gain the support of the scared-out-of-their-wits American public.

What I expect of my leaders isn't much: just give it to me straight. If you're all about spreading democracy, tell me about it. If you're about cold geopolitical reality, tell me about it. I may not like it, that's my right. It's also my right to have honest information about what's being done in my name as an American citizen.

And that's not what happened here.

Posted by: Bob | November 28, 2005 11:46 PM

You are right Bob, the PNAC's thesis is the basis for this war. Why didn't Bush and company come clean with this from the beginning? I guess they knew the public would not buy into it. Hence the hype on the fringe issues where the facts were not clear. I wish they would have clearly explained their approach to the American people from the beginning.

I do not disagree with the underlying reasons for war. However, the US was not prepared for this huge task. We needed many more men and women and would had to borrow huge sums of money up front. If these issues were explained to the people, it doubt it would have passed the laugh test.

Unfortunately, the administration decided to plow forward with what they could muster from available resources. I believe many of the problems in the war originated from the poor foundation.

Although it has taken one of a number of turns, some good, many bad, the war is not over yet, and won't be for some time.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 29, 2005 12:59 AM

If the answer is, "Bush misled the people and the Congress regarding the invasion of Iraq" then there are really three questions:

1) How the Devil do we get out of this mess in Iraq?

2) If misleading the people and Congress into a war isn't an impeachable offense, what is?

3) Is Vice President Cheney equally culpable with President Bush?

Posted by: Pablo | November 29, 2005 01:39 AM

"No President could possibly be the 'Despot' that the left makes Bush out to be under our system of government."

Actually, you need to rethink this. While the public was being manipulated by fearmongering, Congress was being manipulated into voting away our civil rights while unprecedented measures were taken like holding votes open for hours while DeLay could twist arms and keep the Repubs in lockstep. The White House had 2 branches firmly in control. But it needed all 3 and couldn't wait for someone else to die. So the House began passing "court stripping' bills that forbid the Supreme Court to rule on them. Mercifully the Senate dared not vote on these last year lest someone notice, and this year people began to see the light before the Senate was willing to take them up.

It would not be the first time that a democracy turned into a dictatorship by "legal" means - passing emergency powers in times of national fear.

It not only could happen here, it was happening here.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 29, 2005 01:40 AM

Emily's First Question: "First, did the administration know more than it chose to reveal? If officials were holding back information because revealing it would have endangered national security, that would be understandable, but if information was disregarded simply because it didn't bolster their case, that's a pretty egregious lapse."

The Left has both the "Bush lied, children died" and "The Jews Subverted Us" arguments. Neither appear tenable. We know that with UN inspectors chucked out by Saddam in 1998 and none back until America massed an invasion force, that intel added to the concerns about WMD, which had already had President Clinton launch major air strikes in 1998 under Operation Desert Fox with Clinton's stated goal of degrading Saddam's WMD capacity. Clearly Clinton, with access to the same intelligence as Bush and PM Blair, believed Saddam had WMD and was seeking more. Bill Perry, Bill Cohen at DOD believed this, so did his NSC Advisor Sandy Berger and Sec of State Albright. In 1998, Clinton also signed the Iraq Liberation Act which called for military and political efforts, working with Iraq factions, to effect regime change. After it went through unanimous consent in the Senate - including "Yeas" from shitbags like Kennedy, Kerry, Reid, and Durbin.

Besides Clinton believing Iraq was a WMD danger, he also thought the UN must act on it's resolutions Saddam was in defiance of, or lose credibility. And the French, Russian, German, UK, Israeli, Turk, Jordanian and Chinese intelligence agencies had all concluded Saddam had WMD, though the nuclear part was a matter of dissent - none doubted he had nerve gas, mustard gas, and anthrax and botulin in quantity.

The "Jews Subverted Us" case is that Doug Feith ran a secret operation serving the VP's Jewish Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, using trusted neocons like Richard Perle and Abram Shulsky. Intelligence was massaged and cooked by the neocons, who made frequent trips to the CIA to "pressure" analysts to give the results wanted. The Heroine Super Secret Agent Plame Affair feeds this conspiracy. But 4 independent investigations find no truth in the "Jews did it". The four are the Robb-Silberman Report, Senate Intelligence Committee Report on WMD Intelligence, The UK's Lord Butler Report, and the Fitzpatrick Investigation.

No evidence exists the Bushies, the Jews, or anyone else manipulated and deceived. Bush appears to have had the same intel as Clinton and some Clinton holdovers, but decided after 9/11 that regime change had added urgency and back in 2002, a little more or less WMD would have hardly mattered in getting 3/4ths of the House and Senate to vote to take Saddam down. Only 6 Senate Democrats even bothered to sign in and look at the classified intel for themselves.

In a sense, it is just Democrat leaders and parts of the MSM engaging in political masturbation to pleasure the America-hating, Bush-hating Moveon.org Lefties - and the "Jews did it" fringe Democratic Lefties including Cindy Sheehan that talk of the Likud Conspiracy to overthrow Iraq hatched in 1996 by Feith, Perle, and Wurmser. Dem politicians are just pandering to their base and because Bush is so inept at defending himself in a timely manner, they get the added benefit of seeing him taking damage from cynical opposition smears - stuff that a more adept President like Clinton or Reagan would have defeated long ago.

Emily's 2nd question is: "How much of the case for war was based on an exaggeration of the threat?"

To get the Senate and House to vote, as they did near-unanimously for Clinton's "Liberation Act" of 1998 (and the Senate WAS unanimous) - Bush had to no more exaggerate than Clinton did, assuming Clinton and Blair and 7 Foreign intel Agencies exaggerated...and no one inc. Clintonistas Perry, Cohen, Berger, Tennet, Albright are saying Bill exaggerated...We already had perfectly legal grounds for casus belli as it was. Saddam was in defiance of UN Security Council Resolutions and every other day he was shooting at and trying to kill our pilots enforcing the No Fly Zone. What the Bushies did that they wish they hadn't was emphasize WMD as the "emotional issue" for not just Americans, but for Russia, France, China, and similar countries in making our case at the UN. WMD went to the front of the "case" because those nations frankly could give a shit if Saddam was butchering his people, shooting at Americans, paying suicide bombers, and providing safe haven to terrorists..

What we didn't expect was Russia not backing us after we said we would get most of their Iraqi IOUs cashed in, and especially the backstabbing whores of France and Germany boning us. Stupid Germany. At least Oil For Food bribes subverted the French, Russians, and most key Arab countries. Germany was a whore too dumb to get paid for Shroeder and Fischer's perfidy.

What else would debaters like to talk about, Emily closes with.

Well, personally, two things. I find the whole issue of intelligence nuances waaaaay Inside the Beltway stuff, especially since none of us are privy to the classified stuff. It was also 3 years ago. Even the people that called FDR a "goddamn liar" about knowing the Japs were up to something, for secretly violating the Neutrality Pact with Germany, covertly aiding the Soviets in 1940-41, and extorting some serious concessions from the Brits in return for Lendlease became tiresome with their "FDR is a liar" campaign - even though they were right.

I would like a discussion on:

1. Congress is talking about re-examining what American citizenship is in light that the 14th Amendment is perhaps being interpreted by Congress far more broadly than intended, conferring instant citizenship onto illegals not under the jurisdiction of American authorities and to people with dual, triple, quadruple citizenship rights involving other countries - bringing up issues of loyalty.

2. Scanlon, Corzine, DeLay, Abramoff, Duke Cunningham, Norquist and the culture of corruption and corporate feeding troughs for the connected. The culture of incompetent or gravy-sucking cronyism and nepotism affecting both parties close associates. It is as bad or worse than it was in 1994. Will it affect the 2006 elections as much as Iraq? It is certainly going to be more important than who knew what 4 years before the 2006 elections..

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 29, 2005 01:52 AM

" the West in general--must work full bore on non fossil fuel energy sources. It's not a question of "alternative" energy, it's a matter of really not having an alternative but to disengage our dependence on oil worldwide."

The president had a bully pulpit after 9-11. If he had set America on a plan for energy independence in 20 years Americans would have embraced it. If he had charged Detroit with making hybrids as good as Prius (60 mpg), and told Americans it was patriotic to buy one, and shifted part of his tax but for the rich onto credits for junking your SUV to buy a hybrid, not only would we be less dependent on foreign oil today, Detroit would be booming (and you know about what's good for GM)...

Instead this president and his friends and family sold us out for some silver pennies, laughing all the way to the bank as cars and houses got larger and mileage standards plummted, and public transportation systems crumbled and our growing need to defend our interests in the Middle East played right into their hands.

Posted by: | November 29, 2005 01:58 AM

What a relief, to see intelligent, insightful analyses of the War in Iraq (first blood part 2)! Whether or not a neo-con cabal hijacked the US gov't and railroaded America into a messy war for still-somewhat-unlcelar premises is less than question, than *how* they did it. The US gov't was built around a tricameral system of checks and balances. Why did this system fail to contain a cynically manipulative push by the executive branch. And how can similarly ethereally justified, fear-based, wars of preemptive patriotic self-defense be avoided in the future?

If you imagine America having had the foresight, in response to 9-11 to pour the resources poured into Iraq over the last few years, in the form of sophisticated weaponry, slick contractors with non-compete contracts, and the blood of earnestly patriotic American soldiers, as well as Iraqi Civilians/Collateral Damage, and had instead chosen to spread that wealth and technology and capability around the world, in the form of campaigns to support education, health, and general quality of life, America would now be considered a beacon of justice, enlightenment, generosity, and compassion.

As it once was. Truly tragic. Whether Bush is evil, or stupid, or a corporate psycopath, or an evangelical maniac, or a puppet of dark forces, or some mixed combination of the above, he has desecrated the principles for which America has proudly stood.

May the American people learn from his presidency, to be more vigilant, against the traitors from within.

Posted by: Kris | November 29, 2005 02:20 AM

Chris Ford,
You have become pathetic.

I suggest you read the Senate Intel Report again - for yourself, not the talking point version.

Here is what you will find - "....(name your favorite claim for war) either overstated or was not supported by the underlying intelligence". Over, and over, and over, and over, like a broken record. The intel wasn't bad. Conclusions were made from it that were not supported by the intelligence.

Bush I knew Saddam had nuclear weapons, but didn't believe an invasion was the right answer. Clinton didn't know, and was too chicken to rattle the sabers enough to get the inspectors back in. Bush II did the right saber rattling and got the inspectors back in. He also learned that 500 tons of yellowcake arugement was BS (and withheld that info from our allies), and that the guy telling us about chemical and biological weapons was a liar, and that the inspectors didn't find anything except some missles that could fly about 20 miles too far, and that we had no more intel that Saddam was an imminent threat than the last 2 presidents did. But he decided that the last 2 presidents were wrong so he made up the reasons to go to war. Then he botched the war and destroyed all our moral credibility in the world and tipped the terrorists that a small number of Davids with IED's could tie up Goliath's army playing "whack a mole", meanwhile enjoying watching our invasion fuel a terrorist spewing machine of epic proportions.

Now you try to tell us that the way to fix our mistake is to "stay the course"? If you believe that let me sell you some oceanfront land I have in Arizona. We can't defeat the terrorists as long as they receive support from the population. They will recieve that support as long they don't have electricity, water, housing, money, food, schools, hospitals, and as long as we are occupying them. Its time for Plan B. But we have an idiot president who seems unable to come up with plan B.

People like this man the way they liked Reagan. They lionized Reagan after he went on TV and said "Well, I guess I did trade arms for hostages after all, but I thought I was doing a good thing". And they'll lionize Bush if he would only hire someone with brains to make a plan B that makes sense and ask us to follow it.

Posted by: | November 29, 2005 02:20 AM

Kris wrote:
May the American people learn from his presidency, to be more vigilant, against the traitors from within.

Thank you Kris.

Bush and Cheney have to go.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 29, 2005 02:25 AM

The 'groupthink' excuse is a diversion. 'Groupthink' and even the excuse of 'oh, the agencies just gave us bad intelligence' just does not stand up. These talking-points don't stand up because of the numerous dissenters who were actively pilloried, slandered and silenced in the lead up to war.
There were a number of intelligence operatives who came out into the public domain. Joe Wilson, Andrew Wilkie, Dr David Kelly (to name three, from the three main protagonists US, UK, Australia). The evidence was weak, and was known to be weak, long before the shooting started. No amount of revisionism can change that fact.
Robin Cook, the UK Foreign Minister who resigned from the Bristish Government so as to avoid being complicit with the rush to war, was one of the few political dissenters. His diaries of the events leading up to the war make for some shocking reading - particularly of the motivation of Blair to join in with the lunacy of Bush.
The lead up to war was a shameful episode in the history of your country and of mine. The claims that "everyone agreed that Saddam had WMD" and that all those who saw the available intelligence were agreed that Saddam had WMD - these claims are just yet another lie.

Posted by: aussieboy | November 29, 2005 02:28 AM

I'm here in Iraq right now, and let me tell you the war you see at home on TV is far different that what I see here. A lot of what is called "insurgent" activity is actually criminal activity, or political parties fighting amongst themselves. Is it dangerous? Heck yeah it is, but it was amazing what I prepared myself for and what I saw.

The rocket and mortar attacks you hear about? I envisioned people running screaming in a Saving Private Ryan type of scene...explosions going off, etc. I slept through the first three that occurred when I got over here. These guys launch one or two unguided projectiles. They usually miss by well over a mile...if they ever hit anything it would be blind luck. If they stay in place to direct fire they get smoked.

They set up one or two rockets, light them off, and run like heck. They land wherever they land, and then they congratulate themselves for striking a blow against the invader. It ticks me off cause I have to get up in the middle of the night and go to the bunkers.

Anyway, anyone ever stop to think that maybe after 9/11 Bush wasn't going to take any chances at all about WMD's? Remember everyone saying how bad it could have been if they had used them instead of planes? It's easy to sit back now and say that Saddam didn't have them, but at the time we did not have that confidence.

Did people hype things up into a worst case scenario? No doubt, but remember, a 9/11 type attack used to be our worst case scenario, and it actually happened. And yes, the large scale conventional attack was considered the most likely worst case, albeit very unlikely...WMD's were a remote possibility, but extrememly unlikely. Afer 9/11, however, no possibility was too remote. Where was the one place in the world that not only had had WMD's, but actually used them on other people? Iraq.

I seem to remember, prior to 9/11, a whole stream of prominent Democrats pontificating about the danger that Saddam's WMD program posed to the US. I would also like to point out, to the UN crowd, a couple of facts that very rarely get mentioned.

Number one, the UN never found any WMD's on its own. We had 4 years (1991-1995) of "intrusive inspections," and the UN was within weeks of certifying Saddam WMD free and ending sanctions. It was only when his son-in-law defected and told us about them that they were found. Saddam kicked all inspectors out in 1998, so was there any reason to doubt he had reconstituted his programs in the intervening five years? Clinton didn't think so.

Why would we think that the UN would do any better this time? Bush didn't think so, and I agreed with him. Also, when Saddam had his last chance to give an accounting, he played games. We never got a straight answer from him in 2002-2003. Remember, he told Joe Wilson that he felt that the threat of WMD's is what saved him in 1991. He basically ran a bluff and got called.

Remember as well, that even though the Duelfer Group didn't find any actual WMD's, they did find ample evidence that Saddam retained the know how, as well as the intention, to restart his programs after sanctions were lifted. No, Saddam was not suicidal, but if he thought he could get away with something he would try it. All it would take is for him to think he could muddy the waters enough that world opinion would not let us strike back, and he would do it in a heartbeat. I truly believe that, with no doubt at all. John Kerry said it best in the debates..."Just because Saddam might hit us in 10 years is no reason to go to war now." Fine and dandy, unless you or your loved ones happened to be in that place. I myself do not want to take that chance.

Also, I would like to point out that the 9/11 Commission didn't say there were no ties between Saddam and AQ, just no "operational ties." Even though he couldn't fly planes in the north, he still controlled things on the ground. I would point out that the "Arabification" of Kurd territory continued right up to the war. If he didn't want someone in the country, they were gone, either dead or out.

He was also the one that paid the Palestinian homicide bombers. Notice how those have dropped way off since he got the boot? Not much of a reason to blow yourself up if your family doesn't make any money off it.

So, he paid money and provided training camps to terrorist groups...sounds suspiciously like a state sponsor of terrorism to me. I would also point out that the Taliban did not tell OBL to launch 9/11, but gave him money and training camps, no "operational ties" there either. If someone has different information about that I would like to hear it, because I have never heard anywhere that the Taliban told OBL to launch any specific attack.

My bottom line is I feel there was more than ample reason to do what we did. Saddam ran this country in the ground, and things are turning the corner over here. Will there be more stops and starts? Yes. Will it be quick and clean? No. Do I recommend we do this anywhere else? No, we do not have enough reason to do so. We still have allies, and they are working with us on Iran and North Korea...the process broke down in the case of Iraq, and there was a very good possibility Saddam could have weaseled through the opening. I don't think that was acceptable.

Posted by: Mike | November 29, 2005 02:46 AM

Why does everyone always assume that the Bush Administration went to Iraq solely for good reasons (bring democracy to Iraq and further afield, get rid of a dictator, his support of terrorists etc) or solely for bad reasons (oil, military industrial complex, revenge for Bush Snr etc).

It is most likely that he went to war for all these reasons - good and bad.

Posted by: aussieboy no. 2 | November 29, 2005 02:48 AM

I think all your stated reasons are good, aussieboy no. 2.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 29, 2005 03:00 AM

Mike said: Anyway, anyone ever stop to think that maybe after 9/11 Bush wasn't going to take any chances at all about WMD's? ...Afer 9/11, however, no possibility was too remote... Do I recommend we do this anywhere else? No, we do not have enough reason to do so. We still have allies, and they are working with us on Iran and North Korea...

Hmm.. You have just justified an attack on North Korea. There's more than a chance they have WMD - heck, we KNOW they do, no possibility they could use them is too remote, and the sanctions and vigilance of our allies failed to prevent them from acquiring nukes or in getting them to enter serious lasting talks. I hear its cold there in the winter. Hope the service has enough cold weather gear for you.


He was also the one that paid the Palestinian homicide bombers. Notice how those have dropped way off since he got the boot? Not much of a reason to blow yourself up if your family doesn't make any money off it.

This kind of ignorance is a shocking example of why we are in such trouble in the Middle East.

Posted by: | November 29, 2005 03:05 AM

What Mike said was true. Saddam was paying families of suicide bombers booty. How quickly some forget, or how some never learn at all.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 29, 2005 03:11 AM

Mike, You are just changing facts to fit what you want. The bottom line is the Republicans helped create Hussein. Didnt Reagan take Iraq off the terrorist list in the early 80's? Didnt Reagan cut and run from the Northern Alliance that we were helping fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Nobody is saying war is like TV. Your president put you there.

Posted by: Americanfirst | November 29, 2005 04:08 AM

Mike - Thanks for your comments, and thanks for serving America in Iraq. Best wishes, hope you stay safe, hope you bag a few, then come back with what you've worked hard for in Iraq a reality thanks to you guys and the Iraqis that are finally standing up...

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 29, 2005 04:22 AM

All you have to do is Google Clinton Iraq 1998 and you can find out who else believed there were wmd in Iraq.

even made an easy picture to click and have it done for you.

http://crazypolitics.blogspot.com

Posted by: Crazy Politico | November 29, 2005 05:02 AM

Mike: "Where was the one place in the world that not only had had WMD's, but actually used them on other people? Iraq."

Gee, didn't the US once nuke two cities?

"Number one, the UN never found any WMD's on its own. We had 4 years (1991-1995) of "intrusive inspections," and the UN was within weeks of certifying Saddam WMD free and ending sanctions. It was only when his son-in-law defected and told us about them that they were found."

Another false fact. In fact it happened a month before he defected. It's the US that never found any WMD on their own.

"Remember as well, that even though the Duelfer Group didn't find any actual WMD's, they did find ample evidence that Saddam retained the know how, as well as the intention, to restart his programs after sanctions were lifted."

In other words they found nothing, but put it in the best light possible by pointing out that Saddam was a mean bad man.

"remember, a 9/11 type attack used to be our worst case scenario, and it actually happened."

We murder an equivalent number of Americans ourselves every two months. A nuclear was and is our worst case scenario. You get nuclear wars by making the world a more dangerous and unstable place. Launching invasions against international law is a good start.

The only reason you're even talking about working with allies over Iran and North Korea is because you know (now) that the Armed Forces simply lack the capacity to invade and take over those countries. And they know it (now) too.

Posted by: Bonehead | November 29, 2005 05:22 AM

Some senators with doubts voted in favor of the resolution to give Bush the authority to go to war because of the fear they would "look soft on terrorism" during the campaign for mid-term election, and some voted "yea" because they felt they had to trust the Commander in Chief to consider all the intelligence wisely on so grave a matter. Here's a third possible reason (or rationalization): At the time, the whole world was hoping Sadam would comply with the UN resolution, and Bush was rattling sabers to pressure Sadam to do so. To add credibility to the threat, Bush needed to turn up an "ace in the hole," namely, the grant from Congress---representing the will of the American people---of the authority to go to war. "After all," a senator could reason, "A refusal to grant the authority to go to war would remove crediblity from military pressure on Sadam to comply. Besides, the Resolution is (was) short of a flat-out declaration of war."

Posted by: Bob Lindsey | November 29, 2005 05:49 AM

There is intelligence and then there is intelligence. The Bush admin was cherry-picking individual reports from the mass amount of intell that was coming out of Iraq sources (like Chalabi) and saying we "have solid evidence". Analysts that properly vetted this information, reported no evidence of WMD or said they could not determine. It is these reports that were withheld by the Bush admin and is why they are guilty of manipulation. This was reported before the war by Sey Hersch in The New Yorker.

Posted by: Dave R | November 29, 2005 06:37 AM

Richard Cohen is right in saying our current problem in Iraq is not the result of a mistake. For me, it is the result of criminal behavior on the part of Bush/Cheney (or Cheney/Bush if you prefer). These two criminals should be impeached.

Posted by: candide | November 29, 2005 07:04 AM

The neocon arguments get weaker and weaker as more is known. But to those of us who followed this story closley, we knew from the book of Richard Clark and the book about Paul O'Neil that the Bush admin was sick on the inside.

The media bull horn of Rush L. and Fox news, as well as placement of right wing pundits on major networks (and even the WSJ editorial page on PBS!) provided the backdrop for the propoganda worthy of George Orwell.

And the Bush admin has wacked away at our instutions which has been evident for some time in the international anger at the USA, but will be with us for years as we do not have the necessary instutions in government, education or the private sector.

Cheney is a WMD for the USA democracy. The significant question in the short run is how the immune system for democarcy can stop this sickness. Yesterday we got a conviction of Randy Cunningham. Justice needs to move more quickly to get these jokers exposed and out of positions of adult authority.

Posted by: Don Utter | November 29, 2005 07:27 AM

I'm a Veteran (Infantry Hospital Corpsman, USMC/USN) and a songwriter opposed to Bush's war. I wrote and recorded "BushWhacked" as a "wake-up" call last week. Please feel free to share my links.

High res. 9.3 MB
http://www.tomsongs.com/images/Bushwhacked_0001.wmv

Low res. 4 MB
http://www.tomsongs.com/images/Bushwhacked.wmv

Posted by: TomSongs | November 29, 2005 07:56 AM

Crazy Politico; your point is that a lot of people, including our former president, thought WMD existed in Iraq. My point is that that doesn't mean that is why we went to war there. It is just the reason that our administration gave us. We need one of the principals involved to tell us the real reasons (unlikely) or some very in-depth investigations.

A possible enlightening line of inquiry that could be undertaken is the 30 boxes of information Saddam gave the U. N. to prove he had no WMD. These documents were written in Arabic and it took our government only a couple of days to summarily dismiss them. They could not have been translated in that length of time. In our rush to war we did not have given them the in-depth analysis they deserved. But, we still could. Where are these documents and why has everyone forgotten about them?

Posted by: Jack Floyd | November 29, 2005 08:50 AM

In reading all the hyperventilating comments about conspiracy and Bush's daddy and the rest of the drivel, one writer, David P, brings up the eroding sanctions. Clearly Saddam's strategy was to string out the inspectors, starve the populace of food and medicine, hustle the UN oil-for-food program for billions, blame the U.S. for sanctions, get Europe and Russia and the Arab world to lobby for the end of sanctions, and restart the WMD programs. In all the 'Bush lied' rantings, one person in a hundred brings up sanctions. Pathetic.

Posted by: Craig Adams | November 29, 2005 08:53 AM

I can't help but think that if the Administration's optimistic assumptions about the conduct of the war--that the Iraquis would welcome us with open arms and help us crush any insurgency so that the rebuilding of Iraq could proceed swiftly, and establish a working democratic government--none of the questioning about the quality and use of intelligence, the presence of WMDs, etc., would be on the table now.

Bernie

Posted by: | November 29, 2005 09:19 AM

So in so many words Mr. C. Adams, Sadaam Hussien bluffed President Bush out of his shoes and made him look like a complete fool in front of the world. So, this would
explain the ever shifting movement of the goalpost by the Bush administration on Iraq, when asked by the public to define a successful plan of specific accomplishment goals and subsequent withdrawal of the U.S. military from the region and turning the reigns of power back to the Iraqi people. After all it is their country and if they care enough about establishing and defending a democratic form of government, then they should fight for it.

Many on the right have argued that the lack of finding "huge caches" of wmd's in Iraq was irrevelant, because a brutal dictator who was a "imminent threat" to the U.S. has been removed. They also argue that it was irrevelant that Hussien wasnt involved in the events of 9-11-01, because we are fighting a "global war on terrorism
against radical al-islam" and that the spread of democracy to the middle east will stop terrorist attacks against the U.S. because democracies dont attack each other historically.

The transparency of these arguments from the right and bush backers have been exposed as a fallacy and a sham. What is really interesting is that it took so long for so many people to realize Karl Rove, Cheney and Bush took them for suckers on Iraq. The republican chickenhawks have come home to roost in the form of the american public turning against the Bush doctrine on War on Terror. The majority of americans are against the Iraq War, want the troops withdrawn and disapprove of how Bush is handling the war and his job.

By he way Mr. Bush there is this guy you never mention named Osama bin Laden. He fronts a group called Al Qaeda. THEY were responsible for 9-11-01 NOT Sadaam Hussien.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 29, 2005 09:22 AM

Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan. So is al Zawahiri. Our troops can't go there.

As far as the rest of the above rant, I rest my case.

Posted by: Craig Adams | November 29, 2005 09:28 AM

I have heard enough. IMPEACH HIM. NOW.

Posted by: Mark Esposito | November 29, 2005 09:32 AM

Mr. C. Adams:

it isnt a rant, just a calm analysis of what i think has happened.

So you admit that Sadaam Hussien "suckered" President Bush on WMD'S & NUKES?

Posted by: Left Angle | November 29, 2005 09:32 AM

Saddam key in early CIA plot

http://www.unknownnews.net/saddam.html
www.takingaim.info/audio
by Richard Sale, United Press Int'l

April 10, 2003

U.S. forces in Baghdad might now be searching high and low for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but in the past Saddam was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism and they used him as their instrument for more than 40 years, according to former U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials.

United Press International has interviewed almost a dozen former U.S. diplomats, British scholars and former U.S. intelligence officials to piece together the following account. The CIA declined to comment on the report.

While many have thought that Saddam first became involved with U.S. intelligence agencies at the start of the September 1980 Iran-Iraq war, his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim.

In July 1958, Qasim had overthrown the Iraqi monarchy in what one former U.S. diplomat, who asked not to be identified, described as "a horrible orgy of bloodshed."

According to current and former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Iraq was then regarded as a key buffer and strategic asset in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. For example, in the mid-1950s, Iraq was quick to join the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact which was to defend the region and whose members included Turkey, Britain, Iran and Pakistan.

Little attention was paid to Qasim's bloody and conspiratorial regime until his sudden decision to withdraw from the pact in 1959, an act that "freaked everybody out" according to a former senior U.S. State Department official.

Washington watched in marked dismay as Qasim began to buy arms from the Soviet Union and put his own domestic communists into ministry positions of "real power," according to this official. The domestic instability of the country prompted CIA Director Allan Dulles to say publicly that Iraq was "the most dangerous spot in the world."

In the mid-1980s, Miles Copeland, a veteran CIA operative, told UPI the CIA had enjoyed "close ties" with Qasim's ruling Baath Party, just as it had close connections with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abd Nassar. In a recent public statement, Roger Morris, a former National Security Council staffer in the 1970s, confirmed this claim, saying that the CIA had chosen the authoritarian and anti-communist Baath Party "as its instrument."

According to another former senior State Department official, Saddam, while only in his early 20s, became a part of a U.S. plot to get rid of Qasim. According to this source, Saddam was installed in an apartment in Baghdad on al-Rashid Street directly opposite Qasim's office in Iraq's Ministry of Defense, to observe Qasim's movements.

Adel Darwish, Middle East expert and author of "Unholy Babylon," said the move was done "with full knowledge of the CIA," and that Saddam's CIA handler was an Iraqi dentist working for CIA and Egyptian intelligence. U.S. officials separately confirmed Darwish's account.

Darwish said that Saddam's paymaster was Capt. Abdel Maquid Farid, the assistant military attaché at the Egyptian Embassy who paid for the apartment from his own personal account. Three former senior U.S. officials have confirmed that this is accurate.

The assassination was set for Oct. 7, 1959, but it was completely botched. Accounts differ. One former CIA official said that the 22-year-old Saddam lost his nerve and began firing too soon, killing Qasim's driver and only wounding Qasim in the shoulder and arm. Darwish told UPI that one of the assassins had bullets that did not fit his gun and that another had a hand grenade that got stuck in the lining of his coat.

"It bordered on farce," a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. But Qasim, hiding on the floor of his car, escaped death, and Saddam, whose calf had been grazed by a fellow would-be assassin, escaped to Tikrit, thanks to CIA and Egyptian intelligence agents, several U.S. government officials said.

Saddam then crossed into Syria and was transferred by Egyptian intelligence agents to Beirut, according to Darwish and former senior CIA officials. While Saddam was in Beirut, the CIA paid for Saddam's apartment and put him through a brief training course, former CIA officials said. The agency then helped him get to Cairo, they said.

One former U.S. government official, who knew Saddam at the time, said that even then Saddam "was known as having no class. He was a thug -- a cutthroat."

In Cairo, Saddam was installed in an apartment in the upper class neighborhood of Dukki and spent his time playing dominos in the Indiana Café, watched over by CIA and Egyptian intelligence operatives, according to Darwish and former U.S. intelligence officials.

One former senior U.S. government official said: "In Cairo, I often went to Groppie Café at Emad Eldine Pasha Street, which was very posh, very upper class. Saddam would not have fit in there. The Indiana was your basic dive."

But during this time Saddam was making frequent visits to the American Embassy where CIA specialists such as Miles Copeland and CIA station chief Jim Eichelberger were in residence and knew Saddam, former U.S. intelligence officials said.

Saddam's U.S. handlers even pushed Saddam to get his Egyptian handlers to raise his monthly allowance, a gesture not appreciated by Egyptian officials since they knew of Saddam's American connection, according to Darwish. His assertion was confirmed by former U.S. diplomat in Egypt at the time.

In February 1963 Qasim was killed in a Baath Party coup. Morris claimed recently that the CIA was behind the coup, which was sanctioned by President John F. Kennedy, but a former very senior CIA official strongly denied this.

"We were absolutely stunned. We had guys running around asking what the hell had happened," this official said.

But the agency quickly moved into action. Noting that the Baath Party was hunting down Iraq's communist, the CIA provided the submachine gun-toting Iraqi National Guardsmen with lists of suspected communists who were then jailed, interrogated, and summarily gunned down, according to former U.S. intelligence officials with intimate knowledge of the executions.

Many suspected communists were killed outright, these sources said. Darwish told UPI that the mass killings, presided over by Saddam, took place at Qasr al-Nehayat, literally, the Palace of the End.

A former senior U.S. State Department official told UPI: "We were frankly glad to be rid of them. You ask that they get a fair trial? You have to get kidding. This was serious business."

A former senior CIA official said: "It was a bit like the mysterious killings of Iran's communists just after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979. All 4,000 of his communists suddenly got killed."

British scholar Con Coughlin, author of "Saddam: King of Terror," quotes Jim Critchfield, then a senior Middle East agency official, as saying the killing of Qasim and the communists was regarded "as a great victory." A former long-time covert U.S. intelligence operative and friend of Critchfield said: "Jim was an old Middle East hand. He wasn't sorry to see the communists go at all. Hey, we were playing for keeps."

Saddam, in the meantime, became head of al-Jihaz a-Khas, the secret intelligence apparatus of the Baath Party.

The CIA/Defense Intelligence Agency relation with Saddam intensified after the start of the Iran-Iraq war in September of 1980. During the war, the CIA regularly sent a team to Saddam to deliver battlefield intelligence obtained from Saudi AWACS surveillance aircraft to aid the effectiveness of Iraq's armed forces, according to a former DIA official, part of a U.S. interagency intelligence group.

This former official said that he personally had signed off on a document that shared U.S. satellite intelligence with both Iraq and Iran in an attempt to produce a military stalemate. "When I signed it, I thought I was losing my mind," the former official told UPI.

A former CIA official said that Saddam had assigned a top team of three senior officers from the Estikhbarat, Iraq's military intelligence, to meet with the Americans.

According to Darwish, the CIA and DIA provided military assistance to Saddam's ferocious February 1988 assault on Iranian positions in the al-Fao peninsula by blinding Iranian radars for three days.

The Saddam-U.S. intelligence alliance of convenience came to an end at 2 a.m. Aug. 2, 1990, when 100,000 Iraqi troops, backed by 300 tanks, invaded its neighbor, Kuwait. America's one-time ally had become its bitterest enemy.

Published by
United Press Int'l

Posted by: Che | November 29, 2005 09:34 AM

I'm sorry I haven't read all the above comments, just wanted to throw in my 2 cents:

The thing is, there were reasons for Dems to not vote for the war resolution; basically, it left too many decision making powers with the pres. I was angry that they did. But I was angrier when Bush abused the war resolution.

The issue back then, and kind of still should be, that we went into this thing unilaterally... Alot of people who were paying attention felt like the biggest problem was that we didn't wait for the international community to get behind us. And now that we see the intelligence was CRAP, it appears that the UN wasn't riding our high horse into Iraq not because they are weasels, or scaredy cats, or ignorant, but because Saddam was no genuine threat and not connected to 9/11. (People knew the latter then; Bush & pals kept aying it, but never once backed it up. This is a good example of where the media should feel bad. This is a pretty basic and simple fact that was incorrect, and any evidence to contrary, when presented, was poor &/or weak)

So Bush rushed it through before the public, or the world, or anyone could get up a head of steam against his message machine (press' fault? perhaps!). The thing is, Dems shouldn't have voted to give them war poers to the pres... but it WAS right after 9/11, and really, the whole country was in shock. But it should be okay to give war powers to a president in a time of potential need... if your president isn't a loon with his own agenda.
Thanks

Posted by: Matt | November 29, 2005 09:39 AM

Ask Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Posted by: Yo-Yo Ma | November 29, 2005 10:02 AM

Ask Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Posted by: Yo-Yo Ma | November 29, 2005 10:02 AM

dear David P.

aren't you forgetting something when you talk about Saddam having a nuclear program in the 1990's ? something like the first Gulf war and the following UN inspections? Aren't you forgetting that these guys spent years and years there dismantling Saddam's nuclear capabilities whatever they were? It seems that in your mind there is a big void between 1990 and 2002, like if Saddam was still allowed to do whatever he wanted, no sanction, no inspection...

And as far as the "moral responsibility", after 15 years isn't it a little late to feel moral responsibility? and if "moral responsibility" is an excuse then what do we do when North Korea says it feels morally responsible to free the South or when China feels morally responsible to invade Taiwan.

And as far as spending billions of dollars protecting the kurds, the US is now spending tens of billions of dollars not to mention hundreds of lives doing a worse job of it.

Posted by: Eric | November 29, 2005 10:14 AM

How many wars you fighting out there, this winter's morning?
Maybe it's always time for another Christmas song.
Old man he's asleep now.
Got appointments to keep now.
Dreaming of his sons and daughters and proving, proving that the blood is strong.

Ian Anderson

Posted by: unbridled | November 29, 2005 10:17 AM

re Mike: "Where was the one place in the world that not only had had WMD's, but actually used them on other people? Iraq."

I think you are conveniently forgetting history when it suits you. If there can be said to be only ONE country that has WMD's and has actually used them, that would be the US.

Posted by: TriciaT | November 29, 2005 10:18 AM

dear Craig Adams:

"Clearly Saddam's strategy was to string out the inspectors, starve the populace of food and medicine, hustle the UN oil-for-food program for billions, blame the U.S. for sanctions, get Europe and Russia and the Arab world to lobby for the end of sanctions, and restart the WMD programs."

Is that all? do you have a crystal ball or were you one of Saddam's advisers?

Let me tell you my strategy: first I'm going to win 50MM$ in the lottery, then I will run for President, then I will be elected, then I will invade the rest of the world and submit it to my power. And then I will be the supreme overlord of the Universe.

You see, there is quite a bit of difference between having a neat strategy and being able to execute it.

Posted by: Eric | November 29, 2005 10:20 AM

Are you or anyone bothered by the fact that little or no attention (that I am aware of) has been paid to the actual time and date that our forces attacked Saddam. Why was the particular time and day chosen? Who signed off? What logistical reasons existed? Was the possibility of a
occupation discussed? Could it be possible that the administation thought their case for war was evaporating?

Posted by: Bob Osterhaus | November 29, 2005 10:27 AM

No surprise the readership of the WP (as another commenter noted) "lists a bit to port" (don't worry, don't worry...no one is questioning your patriotism) but lets be honest here...who really thinks that Bush deliberately lied to get us into Iraq? And now, the bigger picture...who cares? This whole enterprise has been about transforming the social and political landscape of the middle east, creating the foundations for a movement that would enhance the ability for some semblance of representational government to take hold and take the wind out of the real threat to America and the West that is radical Islam. Did you really think we'd find WMD just stacked up in the lobby of Hotel Palestine in downtown Bagdad? No. Did you suspect that Hussein had an eye on (re)starting a WMD program? Bet you did. So we nipped a potential threat in the bud and started a process that may (or may not) transform a region in a manner that will benefit not only the West but the people of the middle east based on cherry picked (but not fabricated) information. I'm not sure what all the outrage is about.

Posted by: D. | November 29, 2005 10:38 AM

The stunning hypocrisy of those who have supported the Iraq war was never more starkly revealed than in their overheated rhetoric concerning Sadaam's pat use of WMD on his enemies. Where was all of this overheated rhetoric back in the 1980s and 1990s when these events actually occurred?

Why in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks did Sadaam's past use of WMD suddenly take on such monumental significance when two republican administrations (Reagan and Bush I) yawned and hohummed at the time Sadaam was actually using those weapons? Indeed, at the very moment Donald Rumsfeld was meeting with Sadaam back in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war, Sadaam was busy using chemical weapons against Iranian villagers. And in the aftermath of the Gulf War, Bush I, Cheney and Colin Powell said nothing when Sadaam exacted revenge against the Kurds by using chemical weapons.

Look. George W. Bush wanted to go to war with Iraq for one reason: to settle a score--a family score. Bush is a thinskinned, vindictive thug who uses the power of the US Military for personal vengeance against the tyrant who authorized a hit on his old man. He didn't give a crap about how many young men and women would have to die for that personal act of vengeance.

Rumsfeld, Cheney and the PNAC ideologues who like to do their warfighting from the confines of plush, comfy offices within their government positions or think tanks, wanted the war for reasons of their own. But Bush wanted the war for miffed little boy reasons. To get even with the bad old man who tried to hurt his daddy.

It is to the misfortune of the American people that they elected this snotty little brat to the most powerful office on the planet--twice.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 29, 2005 10:38 AM

The reason sanctions never worked against Saddam was primarily the USA's declared (and undeclared) policy of regime change. They hardly gave Saddam any reason for compliance. The sanctions and enforcement were all stick and no carrot.

I am absolutely confident that America's interests would have been better served if smarter heads pervailed in Washington....

This war likely occured because the Neocons in Washington were tired of waiting for Saddam to do a Khadafy-Kowtow.

Posted by: John Morris | November 29, 2005 10:43 AM

At the time of the Cuban missile crisis, I can recall the pictures of missiles on the decks of Russian ships heading for Cuba in Life magazine. The collective consensus was, it's time to take action. The missiles were removed without a shot being fired, and we all lived to build even more bombs.

For almost twelve years prior to the second war in Iraq we restricted two thirds of Iraq's air space, enforced by our constant presence in the air with our war planes, radar tracking equipment, and best guess the planes took a few pictures along the way. We used satellite surveillance also to monitor Iraq military movements, etc........so through the whole process of selling war, not one senator, not one congressman, not one newspaper asked the most basic question, show me a picture of a nuclear weapons factory, the we will discuss the most appropriate way to deal we any possible threat.

We have in excess of six thousand nuclear warhead ready to go. Why are we the only ones who can be trusted?

Posted by: Dennis Maloney | November 29, 2005 10:44 AM

Old Chimpy W. McBu$h-AbuHalliburton took us to war to settle some family business? Really? I thought it was about the oil. Huh. Guess I'll have to turn in my tinfoil hat.

Posted by: D. | November 29, 2005 10:44 AM

I am not particularly a Bush supporter, but I have never understood the accusation that he lied about Iraq possessing WMDs. Can any of the "Bush lied" people explain WHY he would do such a thing?

Telling a lie means telling something one KNOWS to be false. To say that Bush lied, is to say that he KNEW there were no WMDs in Iraq. If so, then he also knew that after an invasion, no WMDs would be found, and the result would be a huge scandal that would energize his opponents and give them the most damning of all political accusations: lying to the public. And that is precisely what has happened.

It is one thing to tell a lie you think you can get away with; see Nixon, for example. But telling a lie you KNOW will be exposed as a lie? To get us into a war that was controversial from the very beginning? Why on earth would Bush (or any politician) do such a thing? What does he gain from it? How does it benefit Bush? The accusation has never made any sense to me.

I've heard the explanation, "It's all about the oil". But I don't see Bush getting any Iraqi oil, or the United States for that matter. In fact, we know from Economics 101 that, all other things being equal, increasing the supply of oil by allowing Iraq to pump and sell all it can will tend to DECREASE the price of oil. How does that benefit Bush?

I've heard the explanation that Bush wanted to "finish the war for his father" or "redeem his father". That doesn't make sense to me either: telling a lie you KNOW will be exposed as a lie doesn't do anything to help the family name. And no one is going to give you credit for "finishing a war" if you base it on a lie you KNOW will be exposed.

The accusation "Bush lied" just makes no sense to me.

Posted by: Michael Smith | November 29, 2005 10:50 AM

Poor D. doesn't understand what all the fuss is over. There are a lot of people, listing to port and starboard, who are of the same mind. Here's two things to be outraged over: 2,000+ American casualties, ~20,000 Iraqi deaths.

This adminitration is taking on water fast, and all its apologists can do is wonder what the fuss is over. Get in a lifeboat, D.

Posted by: unbridled | November 29, 2005 10:55 AM

"Bush is a thinskinned, vindictive thug who uses the power of the US Military for personal vengeance against the tyrant who authorized a hit on his old man. "

Why would a "thinskinned" man tell a lie he KNOWs will be exposed, thereby opening himself up to massive, global criticism?

And tell me something else. If Bush is such an evil thug, why didn't he smuggle some WMDs into Iraq during the invasion -- and then let them be discovered in the post-war inspection and search, thereby proving his initial case for the war? Wouldn't that make more sense than telling a lie he KNEW would be exposed as a lie -- especially if he is really "thinskinned"?

Posted by: | November 29, 2005 10:57 AM

"...but if information was disregarded simply because it didn't bolster their case, that's a pretty egregious lapse."

To me, it's tip-toeing language like this that makes this problem so difficult to see clearly. If the manager of a McDonald's used meat he knew to be bad, put it in the burgers, and people got sick, he'd go to jail. In the case of an elected representive of the people (please, let's remember that he works for us and not the other way around) apparently using bad intelligence to convince us to launch an invasion we would not otherwise have chosen to undertake, people have died.

That is certainly "egregious" but it is far more than a "lapse." If we can't call a spade a spade, how can we even have a debate over this? Can we at least agree that, if true, we are indeed talking about a crime?

Posted by: Steve, Los Angeles | November 29, 2005 11:00 AM

Think back. Remember. Remember all of the hyped stories--mostly by Judith Miller--concerning Sadaam's growing WMD arsenal? Remember Bob Woodward's patently aburd accounts of "BUSH AT WAR" which fabricated an image of Bush as FDR and Churchill all rolled into one? And remember all of those sickening displays of embedded reporters with all of their "Gee Whiz!" reporting on all of the amazing weapons, tactics and equipment and the phony, made up images of Iraqis pulling down Sadaam's statue (only a few Iraqis were actually engaged in that event as subsequent videotapes have shown)? And remember that hokey stunt with George W. Bush landing on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln , prancing and swaggering about with a coterie of lovesick military officers in his wake?

That is precisely why we are where we are in Iraq. We are as much to blame for it all because of our willingness to be swept away by images, public relations stunts, photo ops, misleading propaganda and the war whoops of chickenhawks who somehow always manage to have "other priorities" when the shooting starts. It is our own peculiarly American weakness for substituting image in place of substance, run amok patriotic fervor in place of sound critical thinking, and emotion in place of reason that allowed an unenlightened, jingo singing incompetent to lead us into tragedy in Iraq.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 29, 2005 11:00 AM

Dennis: don't you think people learn not to leave stuff like nuclear weapons faciltities above ground where they can be seen by our excellent satellites? Surely, Saddam must have learned this after the Osirak experience.

Posted by: Michael Smith | November 29, 2005 11:01 AM

A touch of that baby boomer narcissism, eh unbridled? When it comes to toppling dictators, there's no such thing as an "illegitimate" rationale. In his obstruction of UN weapons inspectors, Saddam certainly acted as if he had WMD and, in his "trade" missions to Niger (principal exports: uranium, goats, cowpeas and onions), as if he were eager to acquire more. There's something to be said for taking a chap at his word.

Posted by: D. | November 29, 2005 11:03 AM

To ErrinF. You have a defensive aire in your comments. The socialism that dominates any position the left takes is
pathetic old news based on nineteenth century Marxist theory that the union and the people will all be so equal that nobody will posssibly have any ambishion or desire to think. Apathy will prevail and
bliss will rain. Haha - Discover Cuba.

The fact is, I am not spoon fed, but quite enlightened - something the left elite
find impossible to acknowledge - probably yourself as well.

If you are so upset with your choices for
leadership blame it on the Right. Good
logic!!

The Bush Administration doesn't reveal it
all because, alas, some things need to be
kept secret for our own good. Imagine That!
With every word from the President is accessible on the internet, or on international CNN - which I listen to as well. Detailed plans or fireside chats would be known to our enemies instantly.
This is not 1944 or even 1991. Some things
are better unsaid and having some faith and
perspective on history and current events should make us all line up behind our country instead of denegrating and slandering it. The Left has no "Optimism"
only doom and gloom even to the point of bashing it's own candidates. On the Right
we believe we will win the day with a smile.

Posted by: James Crocket | November 29, 2005 11:15 AM

D.-

I have over 2000 reasons to be outraged.

I have one good reason not to trust the word of the President, though it's neat the defense you offered is now "He lied. So what?" So what? Seriously?

As I stated earlier this President has a credibility problem. Presidents have to make cases for war to Congress which presumably represents me (to some capacity). Suppose that President Bush IS party to conclusive evidence that a country has the means and the will to do harm on American soil. Can we expect him to make that case to the American public and have them believe him? I doubt it, though you are welcome to explain why he could.

Presidents with credibility problems can't defend the country. This is scary. This is why Presidents shouldn't lie. If there were 1,000 good reasons to go to Iraq (altruism, democracy, stability, the list grows daily) why choose the 1 reason that was demonstrably false? Maybe because the American people aren't as complacent as you.

Who cares? We do and apparently the President knew that. If he thought democracy in Iraq, or stability, or altruism, was so wonderful it would have been front and center in the debate. I was led to believe that if we didn't go to Iraq someone would blow up my all my loved ones with WMDs. This turned out to be false. I would not go to war to democratize Iraq because I just don't care enough about the wellbeing of Iraqis vs. that of Americans.

George Bush either lied or he didn't. If he didn't lie (which is what I personally believe) he is dangerously incompetent. Have a nice day.

Posted by: Will | November 29, 2005 11:16 AM

Michael Smith, you are being far too narrow and technical in your argument over whether Bush lied. I believe Bush "knew" instinctively that Sadaam had WMD.

That is the singular, most vexing problem of dealing with someone like Bush who relies on "faith" and "instinct". When you do that you can lie your fool head off without actually believing you are lying.

Woodward made quite a lot out of Bush making decisions on the basis of instinct. And just yesterday, Seymour Hersh revealed in his discussions with Bush insiders and others who have had to deal with him that after 9-11 he came to this crazy belief that God had personally intervened to put him in office to defeat "terrorism". Truly odd for an Old Testament God who often advocted terrorism on the part of his chosen people to achieve his goals for them.

Thus, with Bush, when things don't turn out as his instinct or his "faith" seemingly dictated to him, what does he do? He lashes out at others. The intelligence agencies failed. His advisors failed. The democrats are playing politics with national security. The American people are "losing their nerve", a constant theme in his speeches.

So Michael, when you look at Bush's motives, you cannot ascribe his words and deeds to someone who is thinking in a rational, reality based way. He may have indeed belived in his bones that Sadaam had those WMD. Thus, any rationale, any scrap of intelliegence--no matter how poorly grounded--became magnified in his mind. The last thing on George W. Bush's mind in 2002 was the thought in 2005, he would turn out to have been completely wrong in his instincts, in his "faith".

Posted by: Jaxas | November 29, 2005 11:17 AM

Don't forget, D., the Bush family business *is* oil. Not that they're competent at it, but oil is their business, father and son. Each of them brought a million dollars to texas and after years of work, emerged a single-digit millionaire. Not much capital appreciation in either of their entreprenurial records.

No, despite the scorn heaped by the American Taliban pseudoChristian neocon right on war opponents, in Iraq Bush gambled (again) and lost (again) and no amount of furore is going to change that.

Facts are intractible. Empires don't win guerrilla wars. Ask the Russians.

In a just world, Bush would be impeached and Cheney tried for treason. Cheney didn't betray us to a foreign enemy, he betrayed our very institutions, and Bush failed to uphold the Constitution by letting Cheney run wild...

Posted by: slangist | November 29, 2005 11:19 AM

Mr. D.

Yes, there is something to be said for taking a chap at his word--and a ton of people did exactly that with Bush. Polls show a majority won't do it again.

Gen-Xer, Boomer, Octagenarian, it's not important--across all demographics Bush has squandered his trust.

But really--I don't see what all the fuss is about.

This is not a drill, D. Go to your lifeboat station NOW!

Posted by: unbridled | November 29, 2005 11:24 AM

It seems rather silly to argue if they "knew" that there were no nuclear WMDs in Iraq... a couple of hours of research on the internet would have thrown that one out the window.

And, while the presence of biological or chemical weapons could not be ruled out, the fact that Saddam had no way of getting them to the USA or Europe was well established.

If I could figure this all out, so could they. And I was far from being alone in figuring this out.

So, if our elected leaders did not know this, then they are stupid. If they did know, then they were liars.

TOOLS OR FOOLS; it matters not. They have got to go.


And, it was the job of our media to educate the public, since most of them are too busy/lazy to do their own research. They failed miserable, and nearly all of them should lose their jobs.

Posted by: Susan | November 29, 2005 11:25 AM

Look. We could argue ad infinitum, ad nauseum, ad flatulencia on whether Bush technically lied to the American people.

All one need do is go back and read the speeches that were being made by Bush, by Cheney, by Condi, by Rumsfeld and by all of their supporters in Congress and within the punditry. What was being painted by all of them in this rush to war, was a lie.

If a prosecutor goes on national television and tells the public that he has sufficient evidence to arrest me on a charge of some kind, and it turns out later that he ignored evidence that exonerated me, even after having put me behind bars, what do we call that? A erongful prosecution. A prosecution based on lies.

The problem here is one of partisan politics. Because Bush is their guy, no matter what evidence is produced that indicates he was playing fast and loose with the facts, they will ignore that and desperately search for some rationale, some excuse that gets him off the hook. The democrats did the same with Clinton. They desperately wanted to find some rationale that excused his obvious lying about an embarrassing sexual encounter with an intern.

The republicans sure as hell didn't let him off the hook. And you can bet the democrats are not going to let Bush off the hook for a lie that has caused the deaths of over 2000 American troops in a war that has nothing to do with the events of 9-11.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 29, 2005 11:40 AM

Finally a conservative I can agree with on Iraq. I cannot believe it...I think I am going to have a coronary event...

From todays Washington Times:

"Exit Strategy"
by Bruce Fein

"The Bush administration trumpets a delusional exit strategy for Iraq: an orderly departure of troops after entrenching a democratic and unified Iraq
capable of suppressing a raging terrorist insugency. That Utopian aim would keep U.S. troops in Iraq with mounting casualties for ages. The least bad earthbound departure plan for the post-Sadaam quagmire would partition Iraq between
Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'tes. Partition would still make Iraq a modest success, whereas
President Bush's "stay the course" mantra promises flaming disaster."

here is the rest of this compelling article. I just cant believe its written by a conservative republican.

www.washtimes.com/commentary/20051128-091730-7298r.htm

Posted by: Left Angle | November 29, 2005 11:45 AM

Jaxus,

I agree with your comments about faith; I am an atheist who holds reason as an absolute -- and I thus detest Bush's religious notions. Bush -- and virtually all of the conservatives -- do not realize that if THEIR faith is valid, then so is everyone else's, including the faith of the hijackers that murdered 3,000 people on 9/11. Indeed, the conservatives are struggling mightly to evade the fact that 9/11 was a faith-based initiative.

With "faith", anything can be "justified", which is one reason so many people have been slaughtered in the name of religion.

However, if this true: "He may have indeed belived in his bones that Sadaam had those WMD.", then we cannot say that Bush lied.

A far more accurate and justified attack is the one you are suggesting about the incompatability of faith and reason -- and how utterly dangerous it is to make any decision based on "faith". I'm totally with you on that one.

Posted by: Michael Smith | November 29, 2005 11:53 AM

One final thought on the subject of what was in Bush's mind in the fall of 2002. Remember, Bush had been riding as high as 80% in public opinion polls. It is that intoxicating fact more than any true revelation from On High that convinced Bush of his own Divinity more than anything else.

This is the fate of all megalomaniacs. Once you become convinced that you are on a Divine Mission, you no longer need to worry about the rules and laws that apply to mortal men.

I believe that Bush actually came to believe all of the faith based hogwash being put out by the religious right concerning his divine mission and his "godliness". I am not one of those to cavalierly compare Bush to Hitler on this megalomania question. But he would not be the first President to come to that belief. Lincoln believed so in a similar manner but he at least embodied the substance and spirit of the concept in a way that allowed him to act in compassionate,constructive ways to satisfy that belief. Can you imagine George W. Bush making a speech that ends with the words "with malice towards none, with charity for all"?

I'm sorry. I can't. Those words would singe his vocal chords like holy water on a vampire.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 29, 2005 11:54 AM

And finally, a liberal Democrat I can actually agree with:

http://www.nysun.com/article/23680

(subscription required)

The reality is that there is no "real" exit strategy planned for Iraq. What will happen will be pretty much what we've done in Europe/NATO...rebuild the area and then stick around and provide logistical support, thereby securing our long term interests (and yes kids, that also includes oil).

Can't get more realpolitik than that I guess. So while we had Clinton doing his whole "Barron and the Milkmaid" routine for eight years and ignoring the rising threat from radical Islam, at least give Bush & Co. credit for implementing a somewhat forewarding thinking strategy for dealing with the region, however flawed the execution of said strategy has been so far.

Oh, btw...Johnny Cash? God. Just my opinion. :)

Posted by: D. | November 29, 2005 12:01 PM

I beg to differ with you, D. My suggestion would be to read the 9/11 Commission Report, only $10 at Barnes & Noble. According to the report, Clinton did not ignore the rising threat from radical Islam. Indeed, just the opposite. The many things he did are too numerous to list here, hence my suggestion to read the book. The reason Clinton does not get a lot of credit for the things he did do is that "terrorism" was not an elevated issue amongst the American people pre-9/11. Honestly, how many of you out there knew of or cared about UBL in 1994 or '95 or'96?

Posted by: Monica | November 29, 2005 01:45 PM

I beg to differ with you, D. My suggestion would be to read the 9/11 Commission Report, only $10 at Barnes & Noble. According to the report, Clinton did not ignore the rising threat from radical Islam. Indeed, just the opposite. The many things he did are too numerous to list here, hence my suggestion to read the book. The reason Clinton does not get a lot of credit for the things he did do is that "terrorism" was not an elevated issue amongst the American people pre-9/11. Honestly, how many of you out there knew of or cared about UBL in 1994 or '95 or'96?

Posted by: Smitty | November 29, 2005 01:46 PM

D:

Why is it that whenever President Bush is criticized on any subject, the knee jerk reaction of repubs/cons is to bring up former President Clinton instead of responding to the subject of the criticism against Bush?

Your slam on Clinton is totally inaccurate and suggest that you blame him for what happened Bush's watch (9-11-01). That is total bs and you know it.

I agree with the conservative Bruce Fein and find his opinion on a exit strategy flies in the face of everything the Bushites are proposing. What your liberal
democrat is saying is pretty much the same thing, so what's your beef with the dems on this?

Posted by: Left Angle | November 29, 2005 01:52 PM

Bush failed entirely as a leader, orchestrating his Administration in eroding the words that provide the framework in which we think. The standards he helped set for us include: elimination of the concept of aggression as a war crime; propounding the contradictory notion that self-government can be imposed through killing, maiming, and mass destruction of property; perversion of the meaning of truth testing; rejecting the obligation of distinguishing worry, speculation, and prediction from fact. He also seemed to disregard history or to regard it as an inconvenience. Who could know of the battles at Lexington and Concord and not predict similar insurgency in Iraq? Is there a culture in which the concept "home" is not sacred?

Posted by: Clemens | November 29, 2005 01:53 PM

Hell, I voted for Clinton twice so I wouldn't characterize my reaction to Bush's failings (and yes, they are numerous, particularly on the domestic front) as some knee jerk response from some dyed in the wool republican but my larger point was to say that while Clinton & Co. persued terrorist activity as more of a law & order type thing (commit the crime, catch and prosecute the criminal), Bushs' approach has been more forward thinking in its nature. Don't just catch and prosecute the criminal but transform the region that is producing said criminals. I think strategically that makes sense. Obviously, its a risk but we have seen what doing nothing other than maintening the status quo in the middle east have given us.

Besides, how else could I have worked in the whole "Baron and the Milmaid" thing? lol.

My beef with the Dems is that I fear they've devolved into the party of "If Bush is for it, we're against it", which may be great for fund raising but disastrous when shaping foreign and domestic policy.

Though this has nothing to do with the topic of the debate so I apologize.

Posted by: D. | November 29, 2005 02:03 PM

Sorry Clemens, I appreciate where you are going with you're post but I have to draw the line at the comparison of Lexington and Concord and the "insurgents" of Iraq. This isn't some popular uprising but a collection of Baathist holdouts and foreign opportunists trying not to "liberate" their country but "enslave" it.

Posted by: D. | November 29, 2005 02:07 PM

I see no problem with Clintons "law & order approach on terrorism. It makes perfect sense to me.

I have big problems with what you call Bush's "forward thinking" approach.

If youre suggesting "pre-emptive military strikes" and "nation building" thru political transformation of regions will
stop terrorist attacks and anti-americanism, I think you are mistaken.
This approach creates more problems than it
solves. witness the current Iraq quagmire.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 29, 2005 02:15 PM

Its a quagmire how again?

Posted by: D. | November 29, 2005 02:23 PM

D: Iraq quagmire?

Read the Bruce Fein article I referenced
above.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 29, 2005 02:42 PM

I've been looking at the news and I have to say that the casualties are really starting to get to me. Victim after hapless victim has fallen to this administration in a conflict that makes no sense. So we have to ask the very important question:

Has the Democrats' War on President Bush turned into a quagmire?

Maybe it's time for them to look at reality of the Senate and, if appropriate, start formulating a comprehensive plan for withdrawal.

Since 2000, how many Democratic Senators have been lost to the RNC re-election war machine? Has it been worth it? How many reporters? Mr. Rather? Ms. Mapes? I don't have the Fake But Accurate data on hand, but I'm sure it's a lot.

Sure, there has been a glimmer of light. A two year investigation about outing a CIA operative turned into an indictment. Because of it, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's Chief of staff, was forced to resign. This set back the Vice President's office for two hours until somebody found the Staples Office Supply Catalog. Then all was well. But shouldn't a two year investigation yield a conviction into the actual real charges?

Sure, the Democrats can try to come up with false numbers of hope:like MOST of the Democratic voters were dead AFTER they voted, but the reality looks them in their grim, non-photoshopped faces. The elections numbers tell the story. The Dems are losing this war and it's only getting worse. They are the Ding Dongs on the Michael Moore Plate Of Life.

Can they beat these brave RNC insurgents? Republicans are people who fight with unconventional tactics. They'll remember Democrat's speeches and quote them when it contradicts the current, and opposite Democrat position. They'll ignore polls and do what they believe. And most importantly, they'll never be convinced that either Communism or Barbra Streisand can be a force for good.

The RNC has a lot of religious zealots. People who won't think twice about storming a clinic and carrying out the unthinkable - letting an innocent fetus suffer a cruel and torturous life - never to die again - except when they're old and gray maybe. How do you fight that enemy? Without using bullets of course because gun control is very important. The answer is : they can't.


Sure the Democrats have their own suicide bombers like Howard Dean - but what they really need is leadership. Hillary Clinton (Motto: I don't have an official opinion yet - but I'm sure I'll denounce it.) is a good candidate but she's trying too hard to look Republican.

Harry Reid? This is a war of subtlety and ideas. He has neither. The Clintons do their dirty deeds in the dark. Not Harry. If Harry had Monica Lewinsky, he would have had her right there at the podium, with a big giant Tip Jar front and center for all his Democratic supporters. Even when he calls a private, closed session, he's determined to tell the whole world about it.

Let's face it. The Dems battle with George Bush has turned into another Vietnam. It's time to give them our support by helping them go home.

Posted by: imao | November 29, 2005 03:06 PM

D: "Bushs' approach has been more forward thinking in its nature. Don't just catch and prosecute the criminal but transform the region that is producing said criminals."

First, the premise that the democratization of the middle east will lead to less terrorism is a dogmatic belief that runs contrary to the facts. Many democracies experience homegrown terrorism (ie the UK).

Second, maybe its not the Middle East that needs the transformation - maybe its the USA's policy to the Middle East in general. That is definitely the view in the region.

I strongly suspect that the Iraq war largely came about because it was easier for the American goverment to change another country then re-examine its only policies......

Posted by: John Morris | November 29, 2005 03:27 PM

The administration seems to be defending its position on the move to war in Iraq on the idea that no one lied, they were just incompetent! If that is what they wish, so be it! Of course either position (clever liars or incompetent fools - or perhaps both) does not say much for the administration, nor for the Congress that blindly followed the President's lead (I suppose one could argue that they were misled, but I cringed when I heard John Kerry say he would have supported the war even if he had known there were no WMD!) Now that we have a tiger by the tail no one really wants to admit that a number of people tried to warn us about that before we committed our troops! But then this is the Middle East and the hatreds that have developed there are not going to be wiped away by even "good-intentioned" American military intervention anyway. Almost any fool could have guessed this- but then.........

I am not arguing that we should have stayed out of Afghanistan- we were obviously defending ourselves there (in fact we should have sent MORE troops), but to pick a fight in an area as volatile as the Middle East is close to insane.

While we are on the subject and since removal of an admittedly evil dictator is now one of the reasons of the day for the war (although more recently it seems to be troop morale - tune in next week for another reason for war!), why are we not attacking other evil or authoritarian regimes around the world? For example the dually elected head (with 88% yet) of the government of Myanmar (Burma) is still under house arrest after 15 years. Have we bombed Rangoon yet? Or do those poor people lack oil? Or perhaps the military junta there has not sufficiently insulted the Bush family yet. We seem to think that sanctions will eventually work there, why would they not have worked in Iraq?

Obviously we can't cut and run from the mess we have made (and what about our support of Saddam earlier), but we should have had a plan to get out! And as soon as we can!

Posted by: Dave | November 29, 2005 03:38 PM

John-

Can't dispute the notion that the US does need to re-examine its policies towards the middle east, we certainly have done a lot of harm not only to the people of the mid east but also to ourselves with our slavish dependency on oil and our willingness to prop up whatever oppressive regime du jour gained power there as long as they promised not to turn off the spigot. The despots grew rich, the people remained poor. No outlet to voice their frustrations at their condition internally, it became easier for the strongment to point to the US and the "Jews" as the source of their peoples condition. Cut a couple of deals with the Wahhabists in your midst and voila, you second biggest export is now militant islam.

I think democratization is a good idea. Open up the society for honest and blunt political discourse and economic experimentation. Give people a stake in their countrys and their own futures and I think you'll see a dramatic shift in the region.

Eliminate terrorists? Nope. Dramatically reduce the appeal of terrorism? I believe yes.

Posted by: D. | November 29, 2005 03:46 PM

Dramatically reduce the appeal of terrorism?

Question D, have incidents of terror DECREASED or INCREASED since the beginning of the war in Iraq?

Posted by: Will | November 29, 2005 03:56 PM

As Bush flounders, will his eyes get closer together?

Posted by: Turnabout | November 29, 2005 03:59 PM

Talking long-term here Will. Down the road, 10-15 years hence provided the experiment works. Right now the fight is still going on, these aren't a bunch of disgruntled postal clerks here but a well financed international network of dedicated fighters. Dropping a bomb on a gaggle of them is a temporary measure. Changing the culture that produces them is the long-term fix.

Posted by: D. | November 29, 2005 04:01 PM

D: "I think democratization is a good idea."

Democracy is a means to end, that being good government. Democracy in the Middle East is probably a good thing, even if it means that putting the likes of Hamas in power. Nothing beats a (ie islamic) revolution better then a dose of reality (read: being a government having to deliver).

But that said, America's foreign policy is what driving much of the rage in the middle east. Even if that statement is overrated, it is the belief.

Glossy PR campaigns, bombing TV news offices, and an American invasion of Iraq have not improved the US image in the region one little bit. Tells me the problem is not just how the US is being sold, but the product itself...

Rather then rolling over Iraq to reduce terrorism, the country would have been better off solving the Palestine/Isreal issue. Thats been an an open sore and source of tension for over 40 years.

Posted by: John Morris | November 29, 2005 04:38 PM

Facts, according to generally accepted information published in the media:
1. The 911 attacks were carried out by Al-Qaida/Bin Laden.
2. Al-Qaida/Bin Laden was primarily based in Afghanistan.
3. A Coalition was readily formed whose forces invaded Afghanistan quickly drove the Taliban from power and drove Al-Qaida into hiding. Many senior Al-Qaida and Taliban leaders remain in hiding.
4. Shortly after 911 CIA told senior BA officials via the PDB that there was "scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda."
5. The PNAC membership, including more than a few who became senior Bush Administration (BA) officials, on May 29,1998, publicly advocated that: "We should establish and maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the Gulf - and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power."
6. From item 1, it follows that the BA was predisposed to invade Iraq, depose Saddam and establish a "strong military presence" there, given a suitable justification.
7. The June 2004, the 9/11 commission reported: "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."
8. In 2001-2002 most intelligence analysts judged that Iraq had probably begun to reconstitute its WMD programs--the conclusion was based less hard information, than on Saddam's previous history and his denial of access to UN inspectors from 1998 onward.
9. According to information in the redacted October 2002 NIE, the intelligence agencies concluded that Saddam would give his supposed WMDs to Al Qaida only as a last act of desperation / vengeance if his regime were in extremis. The report specifically expresses "Low Confidence" that Saddam would share CBW weapons with Al Qaida. (pp 8 & 9)
10. BA officials and spokesmen began an orchestrated, rhetorical campaign, citing the 911 attacks, Al Qaida, and Iraq in the same sentences, generally taking care not to actually claim that Saddam was responsible for 911, but repetitively using linguistic images fashioned to lead the listener to draw that conclusion. Frequent statements conjured visions of Iraqi WMDs in the hands of terrorists. For months these lines were repeated daily dozens of times on TV news. Surveys indicated that eventually more than 70% of Americans believed that Saddam was responsible for 911.
11. None-the-less, for reasons of their own, the BA set out on a course to invade Iraq. U.S. forces and resources were redeployed from Afghanistan where they were effectively targeting the our terrorist enemies, to the Gulf where they could target a weak, crippled, but still struggling, nasty guy, Saddam, leaving bin Laden free rein to maneuver.
12. Many reasons and arguments have been advanced as to the real reasons for the invasion of Iraq. I have my own suspicions, (historically, politicians are rarely voted out of office during a war) but only the BA knows for sure.
13. However, the most effective talking point in selling the war to the American people was the fear-provoking argument that if we didn't take out Saddam, he would hand over WMDs to Al-Qaida to use here in the States. This, according to the NIE cited above, was the opposite of what the intelligence agencies were telling the BA. Although there were numerous other examples of BA mendacity, I see this is the single most dishonorable misdirection of the whole sordid affair, and is, I believe, the hinge-point of our misadventure in the Mesopotamia.

Posted by: Pensive Pete | November 29, 2005 04:58 PM

Craig Adams wrote:
"Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan. So is al Zawahiri. Our troops can't go there...

In all the 'Bush lied' rantings, one person in a hundred brings up sanctions."

OK Craig. Let's give credit where credit is due. Bush's war whoops and saber rattling were a good thing. He got Saddam's attention and put him back in his box with weapons inspectors. Had he been a political genius he would have gotten the other major western countries to pretend they were in with us even if privately they wouldn't commit to war. So his talk was good and as a nation we had to be prepared to take the next step if he called our bluff.

But when the inspectors were back in and Saddam was back in his box he trumped up reasons to invade anyway. Fake reasons. Reasons that have destroyed our credibility with the world.

And the second part - where our troops can't go. It is patently hypocritical to say we had to invade Iraq to fight the war on terror, to say knowing Saddam was there and wanted to hurt us and had already hurt others was too big a risk, that the possibility he might acquire nuclear weapons was too big a risk,etc etc and then turn around and say our troops can't go into Pakistan after the true leaders of al Qaeda, after the man who did hurt others and us and would be a truly imminent risk if he acquired nuclear weapons. Now maybe for political reasons it isn't wise to go into Pakistan right now, but face it, it wasn't politically wise to go into Iraq either. You can't have it both ways - you can't say it was our responsibility to fight terrorists in Iraq but its not our responsibility to fight the real terrorists in Pakistan.


Two more comments I find interesting: What is really interesting is that it took so long for so many people to realize Karl Rove, Cheney and Bush took them for suckers on Iraq......We are as much to blame for it all because of our willingness to be swept away by images, public relations stunts, photo ops, misleading propaganda.

I say Amen. All the info that the adminstration was lying was all there long before the last election. All the info that we were actually making terrorism worse was all there before the last election. People didn't want to see it. They felt safer with their shock and awe. Now that they've learned and the world has seen that it only took a few Davids with IED's to put Goliath into a quagmire, they're starting to pay attention to what was there all along.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 29, 2005 05:01 PM

The dreaded "quagmire" word has been invoked! Quick! Run Away, Run Away!

Oh will no one save us from these ageing hippies!

Posted by: RD | November 29, 2005 05:16 PM

D-

Even if we are talking long term here I see long term security problems stemming from Iraq.

1) It is not guaranteed that the kind of democracy that implants itself in Iraq will be the kind of democracy makes us safer. At the risk of overusing dramatic comparisons, Hitler was elected democratically. There is little valuable about a religious theocracy even if it is voted into power democratically, which appears to be what is shaping up in Iraq. If we want to look at what influence other theocracies have had on terrorism we need only to look to those theocracies; most of the 9/11 hijackers were products of Saudi Arabia. And we are allies with them. Funny-esque.

2) We have now participated in the training and recruitment of an entire generation of future terrorists in Iraq. Where there was no viable battlefield for young jihadists to practice their trade prior to 2003, now they have received 2 (and growing) years of experience in running clandestine secluded terrorist cells under occupation. They have garnered practical skills at weapons making, the transference of information, chains of command, basic military skills, mobilization, recruitment, and logistics among other things. The enemy we fight tomorrow will be the resultant biproduct of the enemy we fight today, albeit even more experienced.

3) Because the reality of the situation is that the reason given for war in Iraq turned out to be false, our President has no international and falling domestic credibility. In so far as this credibility is necessary to create arguments for going to war or taking action in the best security interests of the United States of America, and in so far as this President cannot make those arguments anymore because of the war in Iraq, the war in Iraq represents at least a 3 year (tenure of the administration) security issue. Supposing that the President received evidence that a country had the means and the will to do the United States harm on American soil, and needed to deploy troops to meet that threat, he probably could not garner the domestic support necessary to engage that threat (let alone the international support). That is a very grave security concern.

I appreciate the fact that you debate this in a civil manner. You show at least a respect for dissenting views which is necessary to further reasonable discussion. Thanks again.

Posted by: Will | November 29, 2005 05:20 PM

Michael Smith, think through it a bit more: "He may have indeed belived in his bones that Sadaam had those WMD.", then we cannot say that Bush lied.

1. In December 2002 Tenet laid out the case for war for Bush. According to Woodward, Bush said "Is that it, is that all you've got?" His bones must have been real convinced...not. But it gets better.
2. In late 2001/early 2002 the CIA and Cheney heard that Saddam bought 500 tons of yellowcake from Niger. Three people went to investigate (Wilson was one of the three) - all 3 said it wasn't credible, yet Bush continued to put the claim in his speeches when the CIA didn't make him take it out.

On October 15, 2002 the Ambassador in Rome called with the smoking gun! The bill of sale for the 500 tons had been found and sent to State. Do you think it credible that Bush wouldn't have been told the smoking gun was on the way? If not, why not? Was he not in charge? Why wasn't there a mother of all news conferences? Why weren't they leaked to the press?
3. Now, the BA claims it took them 5 months to declare the documents forgeries. This is completely incredible as it took the IAEA 2 hours to figure it out and 3 weeks to put out a complete and documented formal report about it (before we invaded, mind you). But there's more.
4. What we learned from the documents was that the idea of the sale itself wasn't credible. Once you examined mine capacity it wasn't credible that that much yellowcake was mined under the nose of the IAEA and the French - so, we smeared the IAEA and the French!
5. So, in summary by the end of October 2002 we knew the yellowcake claims were bogus. Now, how did they explain to Bush why he could't hold a press conference? He had to have been told the basis of the nuclear claims had been debunked, or more horrible than the idea that he lied is that he was irrelevant and was just bypassed with this info.
6. If Bush was ignorant of the yellowcake debunking, why did he change his claims to Saddam "sought" uranium, the only and sole claim that we could prove. Saddam did send a trade delegation to Niger in 1999 to talk about trade that presumably was hinting for yellowcake - but were spurned.
7. Why did Bush say "British sources" in the 16 words? Because he knew we had debunked the nuclear intel but since we hadn't shared the yellowcake forgeries with our allies the Brits, their intel was conveniently outdated. If he had said his claims were based on US intel someone at CIA would have leaked the forgeries.
8. So, Bush took true words, Saddam sought yellowcake, and then spun them into a false impression of "mushroom clouds" so that people believed Saddam was weeks or months from a nuclear bomb. Like when your teen says he's going to Pat's party and Pat's parents will be home, and you later accuse him of lying when you find out Pats party was in a rented hotel room with no adults because the parents were....at home, right where he said they'd be. He's going to say he never lied, every word he told you was true - it was your fault for not asking him the right questions. Are you going to let him off the hook because, technically, he didn't lie to you? He used true words to spin a false impression.

So, dear Michael, either Bush knew we had learned it not credible that Saddam got yellowcake and he chose to spin true words about "sought" into a false impression of "mushroom clouds", or more ominously, Bush was deliberately kept in the dark. And that is too scary to go there.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 29, 2005 05:44 PM

Jaxas writes his psychobabble theory:

"Michael Smith, you are being far too narrow and technical in your argument over whether Bush lied. I believe Bush "knew" instinctively that Sadaam had WMD.
That is the singular, most vexing problem of dealing with someone like Bush who relies on "faith" and "instinct". When you do that you can lie your fool head off without actually believing you are lying."

Some points:

1. You can call it "instinct" or coming from Bush's faith - but what you are really saying is Bush came to a judgement that Saddam had WMD. If it was just Bush, you might have something....but...

a. Russia, Israel, France, the UK, China, Germany, and surrounding Arab nation intelligence services all "believed" - from faith, instinct, judgement on available evidence - that Saddam had WMD.

b. Clinton and his executive leadership believed Saddam had WMD. He launched extensive bombing of Iraq (Desert Fox) and supported sanctions - both to degrade Saddams capacity to use his WMD stockpiles on neighbors and his ability to make more.

c. The usual partisan Lefty shitbags in the Congress believed Saddam had WMD when Clinton was President, believed it when Bush pushed the war in 2002, and of course no longer believe it now that Bush is unpopular and say they were right, but deceived, even though none but Jane Harmon, Biden looked at the actual classified evidence in detail and 4 other dems gave it cursory looks.

d. The military believed he had the stuff. Embedded reporters in the invasion all said every soldier they encountered expected they would be hit with WMD, and their fear was real. Body bags for up to 30,000 casualties were stocked.

2. It is a big issue on the Democratic Left, "Bush lied, children died" - but it doesn't migrate to mainstream America anymore than the history showed the public reacted to the "FDR lied!" charges the Right Wing made in early 1942.

a. Think the "Bush lied!" and "who knew what when?" biz is going to be more potent with time? Think the LBJ plot to kill JFK in Dallas, "Who Lost China", "Who did Hillary hire to kill Vince Foster?" "Whitewater!!" and similar BS that lost it's potency over time.

b. All independent groups looking at this have shown no effort by Bill Clinton, Bush, and PM Blair to deceive on the issue of Iraq.

3. The conduct of the War is a legitimate issue. Not even solid conservatives are happy with aspects of how Bush and pals have managed this. But most of these are mistakes of the past - understaffing troops, no post-war plan, badly underestimating the insurgency, the neocon illusionists vs. the realists, disbanding the Army. But that is the past...And ignores some realities that make the war so far substantially in America's interest.

a. Every Muslim country knows from what we did in Iraq that we can go in to their country with precision weapons and the world's only real battle-hardened high-tech military and dust them as bad as we did Iraq...as a punitive attack, not a nation-building occupation where assymetrical war gives back advantages to low-tech bad guys. A few weeks, a few months, and we could end Syria as a modern nation and have most of the leaders captured or killed. Same with Iran. Or Yemen. That in itself makes a powerful deterrent if the country gets sucked up into a direct standoff with America, as Saddam stupidly did. What we did in Iraq was kid's gloves precision warfare. We now have the ability to wreck an enemy country's infrastructure doing to a precarious existence at an individual level without usine nukes.

b. We ending the Libyan nuke prgram and more importantly, ended the covert AQ Khan network exporting nuclear know-how to radical Islamists.

c. The war has made radical Islamists hate us more. BFD. The Confederate South hated the Yankees more in 1865 than they did in 1861. The Germans and Japs hated us more in 1944 than in 1940. The Vietnamese the same in that war. But the hatred went away. If you can't be loved, it is far better to be feared by an enemy than held in contempt as being weak and vulnerable to attack. So many in the world may hate us, but do not wish to provoke us so much they end up like the Taliban or Iraq's Ba'athists. Which is fine - I don't care what a feyyahadin in Jordan thinks as long as he knows that attacking infidels will bring a world of hurt on he and his own..

d. We may still get a functional democracy movement coming out of what we did in Iraq. In a war of ideas, the Muslims choice between the modern world and radical Islam is now defined as choosing the latter may very well bring American weaponry raining down and their troops kicking down your door and rifling through your two wive's underwear.

4. Democrats are crawling out on a limb.

a. The Leftist Democrats don't give a shit for the troops, but find bawling crocodile tears about "the two thousand" dead useful to their media allies and base. But 2,000 is a very low number in wars of consequence - and appearing craven about taking casualties, thinking that casualties ovveride all other issues of security - makes such Democrats look weak and ready to quit or surrender when the crap hits the fan.

b. Liberal Democrats now ready to cut and run now - and turn Iraq into a Vietnam-like defeat to salve their masochistic traits will look very untrustworthy if conditions in Iraq improve. Those on the Left that argue mistakes such as Abu Ghraib and failure to seal the Border earlier - morally obligate us years later
to declare ourselves defeated and leave with a string of apologies - those Lefties are beyond stupid.

c. Those Leftist moveon.org types that say America must listen to and obey the All-Wise World Leader, Kofi Himself, and bow to the moral superiority of the UN are looking pretty weak and stupid as we slowly uncover that the UN is a miasma of Euroweenie and 3rd world corruption that we, the Japanese, and the Anglosphere foot over half the bill for, but which regularly acts against our interests. Liberal Dems must have a better foreign policy than demanding America genuflect to a corrupt African petty bureaucrat and his sticky-fingered son Kojo...You can't get elected and be trusted to lead if all you stand for is doing what the UN functionaries tell you to do.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 29, 2005 05:52 PM

Recent polls shows that a majority of Americans feel that Bush deceived them into this war. While Chris Ford rants away in his own little partisan world, he is blind to the real world wherein the majority of Americans, not 'the Left', are now the force behind ending this war and bringing the troops home, primarily because they feel they were lied into this war in the first place.
Chris Ford is indicative of the jingoistic contingent within the US that got us into this mess in the first place. No discussion can be held with the likes of his element (and he is nothing special, merely a dittohead aping the talk radio/FOXnews psuedo-culture of propoganda) that do not include exaggerration and misrepresentation, not to mention a general state of hysteria trumping rationality. That Bush and Cheney have cultivated such a system of twisted sophistry is part of what has poisoned their own terms in office. The manipulations of the past are finally catching up to Bush and his blindly partisan followers, and no amount of ranting, raving, and misrepresentation is going to reverse their decline in power and prestige within the American community.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 29, 2005 06:31 PM

Chris Ford:

"The Leftist Democrats don't give a shit for the troops"

How dare you. Just because we're not wililng to sacrifice our kids on the altar of neocon arrogance doesn't mean we're not willing to do so in a just war. You should be ashamed. We do not support sending our troops to war under false pretenses. We do not support sending our troops without proper equipment. We do not support our troops playing whack a mole with targets on their backs in a poorly prosecuted war.

We want a plan to prosecute this war that makes sense, based on truth and not lies, based on competence not on arrogance. If we don't get one we want our troops out of harm's way. Really, how dare you.

There are places of genuine debate here. But we can't have geniune debate with talking points instead of facts.

"a. Russia, Israel, France,... "believed" - that Saddam had WMD"

Quote by Putin: "Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners yet. This fact has also been supported by the information sent by the CIA to the US Congress." However, Putin did support continuing inspections to verify.

French Intelligencer report "According to secret agents at the DGSE, Saddam's Iraq does not represent any kind of nuclear threat at this time...It [the French assessment] contradicts the CIA's analysis...". and while Chirac was on record saying there were "probably " WMD that we needed to get inspectors back in to destroy, his tone changed too as things like the yellowcake forgeries etc came to light. To wit, all of the major countries thought Saddam was hiding something, but none of the major countries except Britain, yes, these same countries who had already suffered terrorist attacks and knew and understood them in a way hte US did not, believed invasion was the right thing to do once the inspectors were in and getting cooperation.

ANd the "Clinton and Bush I etc all believed thing"... They were wise enough not to launch a half assed invasion, weren't they?


"All independent groups looking at this have shown no effort by Bill Clinton, Bush, and PM Blair to deceive on the issue of Iraq."
Oh, come on. Why would you sully your ideas with out and out mistruths? You'll destroy your credibility, if you have any left. You know the big 3 were not charged with looking at intent. But, the Senate Intel report is pretty damning when it says "...(insert war justification of choice) either overstated or was not supported by the underlying intelligence" Yes, the BA made intelligence conclusions that were not supported by the intelligence.

Your reliance on American shock and awe flies in the face of history and reason. No modern superpower has ever won an insurgency solely through military might. It is a disrespect to our soldiers to ignore such history and fail to plan for it. The militant Islamists may be very willing to martyr 6,000 innocent civilians to American bombs (as died in the shock and awe over Baghdad) for the pleasure of letting us disarm the standing government and enabling civil war, giving them a leg up into improving their stronghold in these countries when we fail to reconstruct the countries properly. You talk about taking out the Taliban, but I've got bad news for you. We cut and ran from Afghanistan to launch this unjust half assed war in Iraq, and now the Taliban controls most of hte country outside the major cities again. And this time they're armed for battle. How many more of our kids are going to have to die now to fix that?

People who are well fed, well housed, well educated, and who are allowed to practice their religion freely and have a stake in their government don't support insurgencies. We have a choice, reconstruct Iraq NOW, or get the hell out. Any other choice is a slap in the face to our soldiers.

Posted by: | November 29, 2005 07:07 PM

I presume the anonymous post of 7:07:01 is yet more Errin.

Some more points:

1. Errin wins few points for debating when she projects that anyone that disagrees with her Leftist opinions is a mind-dead tool of talk radio or FOX. Nor does Errin win any points for honesty when she denies she is a Leftist while doing the usual Lefty spew about rich white Republican and Democrats holding her Franz Fanonish suffering masses back from getting their share of power and wealth. Typical Marxist gruel - though Errin poses as a "libertarian progressive" - an ideologically incoherent stance as no libertarian is much interested in State-forced reallocation of power and wealth, and "progressive" is just code for post-modern Marxism.

2. How DARE you right back. Lefties have little interest in the troops other than using their deaths or coffins as props to push their own anti-America agenda. How DARE you petition the court for 1st Amendment "rights" to get coffins of fallen soldiers put in the background so as to make your anti-war speeches more poignant. How DARE you build a anti-war memorial of the "helpless children and victims" of Bush's evil war without getting permission from the actual parents to use their dead son's name in an anti-war prop or to infantilize such brave men as "children". How DARE you try blocking recruiters and giving soldiers a hard time about their service by calling them "dupes" of Bush-Hitler, Halliburton, etc while loudly proclaiming your love "For the Troops". How DARE Lefties presume to speak for the soldiers given few Lefties know one or have a soldier in the family - but not hesitant at all to call "Mike" a soldier writing from Iraq "ignorant". How DARE you use your little magical number celebrations...1,000 dead, 2,000 dead...as having some cosmically important significance as "unacceptable levels" (America???) can't bear to suffer the PAIN of loss,..... Not when normal Americans are in contact with returning troops who tell a far more positive story and say the losses are worth it, especially the wounded being interviewed, who by significant preponderance - believe nothing the hate-America Left puts out. We won't let the Left slime the soldiers or infantilize them or rip victory and pride away from them like the Left suceeded in doing in Vietnam. If you DARE trying to slime another generation of soldiers, we soldiers and Vets know history too, and you will never have your second Vietnam triumph at our expense..

PS - Like Mother Sheehan's new prop? They built her a 2nd "Casey" headstone so she can weep and wail over it and get a little more exploitation out of his death for her Lefty and Jew-hating causes.

3. You conflate doubts of nuclear WMD programs held by Russia into doubt of ANY WMD. The CIA reported both the French and Russian agencies maintained that Saddam almost certainly had chem WMD, probably still had some biologicals as Saddam kicked inspectors out and refused to account for 6,000 liters of wet anthrax agent.

4. Again, no independent review of the WMD failure said the Jews lied, the French lied, the Brits lied, Clinton lied, or Bush lied.

5. You are clearly not military. Occupation is quite different than strategic warfare. What the Muslims saw us do in the prep for invasion and the actual mech forces America put in puckered every Arab officer's ass. If we want to, if we get sick of another Muslim nation sponsoring terrorism, we can rapidly establish air superiority, take the inhibitions down - and destroy every target permitted by Hague and Geneva of military value, bring in Mech forces backed by C E^4 21st century battlefield intel and mop up most of what is left of the enemy Army and leadership, and not bother to occupy what is left. Why stick around to be picked off by guerillas? We could just leave that next country with dead bad guys all over the place, no working ports, railroads, airports, airplanes left. No electricity, transportation nodes, bridges, tunnels left. No telecomms. No TV or radio transmission facilities left standing. No Navy, no military armor, no air force left. And say "We'll be back" if they get in bed with the radical Islamists again. The mere thought of doing it that way curdles the average Kumbaya Lefty's stomach, but that is how powerful countries have historically maintained their "Dont-Ever-Fuck-With-Us" security. That is the stick part of our war of ideas with radical Islam, which also has to have a carrot. But it is salutory that we can destroy and not bother to rebuild and put them back in relative 8th Century helplessness if the carrot is spit back at us and more Americans are mass butchered by the Islamoids. They know and we know what we did in Iraq was far more restrained than what we are capable of doing and still comply with the Rules of War.

6. "People who are well fed, well housed, well educated, and who are allowed to practice their religion freely and have a stake in their government don't support insurgencies."

Except for the Muslim traitors within in countries like America, the UK, France who hate their native infidel country and join terrorist groups to harm their fellow citizens. Or, well fed, well-housed, well educated and able to practice their religion freely in Muslim countries folks -like Bin Laden, Mohammed Atta, middle to upperclass Palestinian suicide bombers, and all the exceptionally well rewarded, high standard of living Iraqi Sunnis that joined the insurgency because they can't stand the idea that Shia and Kurds may gain power, wealth, education, and privileges that only the Sunni once had.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 29, 2005 08:57 PM

LOL, Chris Ford! Thanks for proving all of my observations about your posts being full of exaggerations, misrepresentations, irrationality, and hysteria. I'll add to that list that you are overly assumptive. You assume I posted anonymous when I didn't; Never have, never will. I'm glad to attach my name to any post that exposes a kook like you as the waste of time you are here on 'The Debate'. Although I guess you do serve a purpose as a cautionary note against the poisonous extremism we have here in our country.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 29, 2005 10:03 PM

Here's an article from The Onion called "I'm Very Interested In Hearing Some Half-Baked Theories". It wasn't written at all pertaining to how Bush made his case for war, but I've posted it here because I feel it is apropos to both the kind of arguments Bush made for his war in Iraq and the type of people that bought into it hook, line, and sinker. 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

Posted by: ErrinF | November 29, 2005 10:24 PM

It's kind of strange, after having preached during the run-up to war that Iraq couldn't be a threat to our security (after all, the Iraqi army couldn't beat a bunch of bare-footed Iranian teenagers with sharp sticks), to witness the Bush loyalists continue to support this criminal of a "president" while all of the evidence has piled up against him and his co-conspirators.

Reminds me of the Nixon loyalists. If I remember correctly (and I am sure I do), it was very difficult to find anyone who had voted for Nixon after the proof of the crimes of Watergate came out. Seems the rightists on this blog are fewer in number every day. We should take a hint from deep throat and "follow the money."

Yes they knew more than they told us, and yes they exaggerated the evidence - all of the evidence. They have damaged my country and my constitution.

War crimes trials are in order. We would enhance our dignity greatly by refusing to harbor these criminals: Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rice, and the cronies that conspired with them.

I am still proud to be an American - real Americans believe in justice and the rule of law.

Posted by: smafdy | November 29, 2005 10:40 PM

Debating about whether Bush lied about WMD is besides the point. WMD was a marketing ploy that virtually everyone bought. Think about the term WMD. I can see why nuclear weapons are considered WMD. But why are chemical and biological weapons referred to as WMD? Chemical weapons were used in WWI and not to much effect. During WWII no one used Chemical weapons, not even Hitler or Stalin because they're not that effective. Saddam used them against Iran, but still couldn't beat them. Biological weapons sound scary but they are not that efficient. They used to be called unconventional weapons, but I guess that term is not as scary. No one really thought Saddam had nuclear weapons, so where was the imminent threat?

There is no question that Bush & co. misled the public. Even if Saddam had chemical and biological weapons, he did not pose an imminent threat to AMerica's security.

Posted by: Lance | November 29, 2005 11:03 PM

" ... officials were holding back information because revealing it would have endangered national security."

Not national security, but endangered going to war.
Bush went from Iraq being a direct threat to us to being a gathering threat. There's a great difference in the immediacy of his statements. He aligned Hussein with 9/11 when we all know Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. All this to inspire anger and fear and the need for war. As much as Bush has been portrayed as not-too-bright, he and Cheney and the rest of that rat pack are smart people. They knew exactly what they were doing and were masters of manipulation. This was the Spanish-American War all over again. (At least, we won that one.)
I don't think however anyone in this administration realizes or cares about how much damage they've done to the reputation of the United States and to whatever stability there was in the Middle East. Everything has blown up in their faces and yet they still contine to hold on to the myth that democracy in Iraq is just around the corner (while underground are secret prisoner holding areas where torture rules every day).
Bush continues to say we're not leaving Iraq until victory is gained. God help us. Victory? Is that a chicken in every pot? A Chevy in every garage? A head bandage for every Iraqi on the governing council?
Bush is following not in his father's footsteps but in Nixon's dark misteps. During the round of presidential balls following the day Nixon took his second oath of office, someone asked, 'what do you think Nixon will say the first day in office?
Everyone's under arrest" was the answer.'
When Bush took his first oath of office a friend of mine said, "this man will get us into a war." Oh, did he ever!

Posted by: Steamboater | November 30, 2005 12:36 AM

" ... Bushs' approach has been more forward thinking in its nature. Don't just catch and prosecute the criminal but transform the region ... "

We are not and should not be in the business of nation building or as in the case of Iraq, nation destruction. Bush's approach to transforming the region was so progressive that we went to war without any idea of how to get out of it, without any plans for fighting a guerrilla war and without even enough Arabic/English translators to direct our troops to the nearest oasis. We supplied the troops with insufficiently armored Humvees that even now put them at great risk, we never planned for the looting of museums and other cultural institutions and worst of all, Bush went at this with very slight knowledge of the three ethnic groups in Iraq.
Bush has succeeded in transforming the region all right; Iran has become a suburb of southern Iraq, Syria a friend and supporter of insurgents spilling into Iraq from that country, the Saudies--nervous wrecks and terrified of a coup d'etat (what comes after the Saudies could be a worse nightmare for us), the Israelies with guns cocked and threatened by Iran with who- knows-what, Jordan a target for terrorism, and Iraq a haven for the terrorists Bush brought into that country with his war. A good many of the so-called insurgents are Iraqies themselves, and Iraq is more unstable now then anyone would have believed it could be. What an amazing transformation.

Posted by: Steamboater | November 30, 2005 01:05 AM

Lance, it is clear you have no clue of what WMD are, what they can do, so some facts:

1. Clinton's DOD Secretary Cohen made his famous presentation to Congress with a 5 lb sack of sugar in 1999. He stated that just 5 lbs of anthrax would kill or sicken 1/4th of the population of Washington DC and take years to decontaminate from. Saddam had 6,000 liters of wet Anthrax unaccounted for. The 2001 Anthrax attacks paralyzed a good part of the East Coast Postal system and cost 1.3 billion dollars - all for an amount of anthrax spores weighing 1/10 of an ounce. Several Islamoids with a few pounds of spores roaming cities, airports and malls - then the spread by unwitting people of spores into schools and tens of thousands of homes and businesses could kill several hundred thousand, even up to a million or so Americans and far exceed the costs of 9/11 by shutting down critical cities and transportation networks.

2. Other biologicals, which Saddam DIDN'T have such as variola and engineered plague, which Islamoids are interested in, are estimated to be able to kill between 30 and 120 million if they spread enough to become an out of control pandemic.

3. When Nixon unilaterally abandoned bioweapons then chemical weapons, he said that bioweapons were scarier and less able to control than nukes - but America's nuclear deterrent was deadly enough, formidable enough to be the only strategic response we would need to either chem or biowar. That is still America's strategic doctrine.

4. In the Gulf War, Saddam was reminded that use of "special weapons" on Coalition forces might result in America using "special weapons" - of which we only had nukes - in retaliation.

5. "But why are chemical and biological weapons referred to as WMD? Chemical weapons were used in WWI and not to much effect. During WWII no one used Chemical weapons, not even Hitler or Stalin because they're not that effective."

Chemical weapons, the first gen stuff, was used to horrific lethal effect in WWI. In WWII, the Japs used it on Chinese villages for extermination projects. Hitler had a primitive nerve gas, but even Hitler thought gas too horrible to use. The modern war gases, mainly VR and VX are 5,000 to 11,000 times more deadly per unit mass than the WWI products. And so effective that the US and Soviet Union once stocked thousands of tons in arsenals all through Europe, Asia, and in their home countries for use in the next great war. Egypt used nerve gas to great effect in Yemen in the 50's. Then quit using it. Saddam used WWI-style mustard gas and a crude nerve gas against Iranians in open desert, where it wasn't catastophically effective since Iranians had protective gear. But still killed between 30,000 and 50,000 Iranian soldiers. Against unprotected civilian populations in the Kurdish north, it was hideously effective.

__________________________

The likely American response to radical Islamists using nerve gas against our civilian population would be to trigger a State of National Emergency. And war against whatever nation gave them the WMD. Our response to a large scale anthrax attack or the introduction of a lethal plague causing several hundred thousand deaths on up would be National Emergency, suspension of habeas corpus and selected other Constitutional rights while the threat was dealt with and eliminated, and a major reprisal war against a nation we found gave the Islamoids the biowar agent - including possible use of nuclear devices on targets.

A nuclear attack would be met in kind, certainly. And almost certainly we would respond to an Islamic man-made plague epidemic with nukes targeting their population centers.

So don't think that nerve gas or bilogicals aren't "real" WMD, Lance. They are, and the US response allows use of nukes to eliminate such an enemy if our civilian populations are targeted, and allows consideration of nukes if troops are attacked in the field by either form of WMD.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 30, 2005 01:27 AM

Lance wrote:
"Debating about whether Bush lied about WMD is besides the point. WMD was a marketing ploy that virtually everyone bought."

You hit the nail home with your statement. Your statement implying that Chemical and Biological weapons not really being WMD's is largley why I didn't buy the Bush administration arguements at the time. Anyone who knows anything about the history of warfare or strategic studies knows they were pulling the wool over people's eyes.

Challenging the use of the WMD term should have occured in the media at the time, but still hasn't even happened to this day. Only when this occurs will the true extent of the deceptive sales pitch for this war become widely evident.

Posted by: John Morris | November 30, 2005 08:06 AM

Chris Ford wrote:
"Saddam used WWI-style mustard gas and a crude nerve gas against Iranians in open desert, where it wasn't catastophically effective since Iranians had protective gear. But still killed between 30,000 and 50,000 Iranian soldiers."

And the other 250,000-270,000 Iranians killed in that war were killed by High Explosives and bullets.

Bottom line is that Chemical weapons were not banned because they are such nasty weapons. They were banned because they were nasty weapons that are not all that effective. Like any tactical weapon, they are usefull in certain situations, such as trench warfare (the Iran/Iraq war involved trenches). Trenches protect against High Explosive attacks, but chemical's can sink into trenches. In the open air, chemical's are far less effective because of wind effects - you might end up just killing your own troops instead of the enemy.

Chris Ford wrote:
"The modern war gases, mainly VR and VX are 5,000 to 11,000 times more deadly per unit mass than the WWI products."

On this one, your using similar arguements to the anti-nuke protesters of the 80's. Remember the old saying that "there are enough nukes to kill everyone in the world 100 times over?". Sure, if you manage to tightly pack everyone into ground zero. After hearing these arguements from the left wing for so many years, it was pretty funny hearing it from the right wing during the Iraq debate.

Lethality has nothing to do with how many people your gas is going to kill, just how effective and compact it is. You can now use a small shell instead of a large one. You still need pretty ideal conditions to kill more people...

Posted by: John Morris | November 30, 2005 08:31 AM

Ptriot1957:

Even if we accept your scenario regarding the Niger-yellowcake situation, it does not answer the basic question of WHY anyone would tell a lie KNOWING it would be exposed. No one has offered a credible explanation of what Bush gains from such an action.

The question remains even if we accept the notion that he merely used "true words to spin a false impression"; what does he gain from doing this? Why would any politician do such a thing when they gain nothing from it? I note that none of the "Bush lied" people here have provided a reasonable answer to this.

Perhaps the anti-Bush people can explain something else that makes no sense to me: There was clearly sufficient information to convince Clinton and Congress that Iraq was a threat, long before Bush and Cheney showed up. Congress passed and Clinton signed into law a bill calling for regime change in Iraq. Clinton lobbed cruise missiles into Iraq on more than one occasion. There is a long list of statements by Clinton and other Democrats declaring Iraq to be a threat to world peace -- statements made LONG BEFORE BUSH CAME ALONG.

If Clinton and the Democrats were correct about Iraq being a threat THEN, but Bush was wrong about Iraq being a threat in 2002, WHAT CHANGED? What transformed Iraq from threat to non-threat? We know now that Iraq was getting around the sanctions with the oil-for-food scam, so there is no reason now to believe that Iraq was getting weaker. So what basis is there for believing that Iraq went from threat to non-threat? That doesn't make sense to me.

Nor does it make sense to believe that ALL of the intelligence on Iraq was VALID, UNANIMOUS, UNCONTESTED, and PERFECT while Clinton was in office, thus justifying all of the claims and actions taken by Clinton & the Democrats in Congress against Iraq -- yet, when Bush took office the intelligence on Iraq suddenly became mixed, unreliable, unconfirmed and inconclusive, meaning Bush had no reason to consider Iraq and threat and should have simply ignored it. Does anyone here truly think that makes sense?

Did both Iraq and the entire intelligence apparatus of America change when Clinton left office and Bush came in? Or, did we simply change from a Democratic president to a Republican president? What does common sense tell you?

I don't believe Bush lied, because I don't see that HE gained anything from the invasion of Iraq except an enormous firestorm of criticism. I think a more likely scenario is that he truly considered Hussein a POSSIBLE threat and did not want to wait and see what happened. That is what I heard Bush say; not that the threat was "imminent", but "gathering".

I will conclude by asking one more question: Must intelligence about a threatening regime be PERFECT and UNANIMOUS before we respond to the threat? If the answer is yes, we will never respond. Even if a gun-toting man points that gun at your head, there will be those who argue that we don't really know if he is a threat because we don't know if the gun is loaded. If we have to satisfy such people before defending ourselves against threatening regimes, I fear we are doomed.

And if a President, who kills the gun-toter before the gun-toter can pull the trigger, is to be crucified when it turns out that the gun was not loaded, then don't expect any President to protect you in the future. You have just declared to the world that until the bullet actually enters your brain, America will do nothing.

Posted by: Michael Smith | November 30, 2005 09:15 AM

Chris Ford, there is a fatal flaw in your logic that if Bush was acting on instinct then so was everyone else in the rest of the world who were making the same case that Sadaam had WMD. That error in logic is that the others--including Bill Clinton--never acted on that instinct.

That is the problem when you are making a case for war. You can say anything about your enemy. As I pen this our leaders are making a case against China based not on hard intelligence but on their instincts, their imperfect knowledge of the culture, their "faith" if you will. Yet, at the moment none of them are advocating a war with China. Why?

Look. You are never going to change my mind--nor for that matter a majority of the public's mind--about Bush. He staked his reputation on this war. He and his supporters stood up and made categorical statements on the Iraq threat for the express intention of gathering public support for a war with that country. When those categorical statements turned out to be false, the public turned on Bush.

It does no good for you to rehash what Clinton and the rest of the world said about Sadaam having WMD. They did not act on that belief, that faith, that instinct, because they simply were not sure.

Well, Bush was sure. And he told us unequivocally. And he acted on that certainty, he turned out to be wrong, and now he's paying for it. All of the hoo-hah speeches to a bunch of gung ho military officers with deranged notions of what it means to be a man isn't going to change it. And blaming everyone else on the planet isn't going to help either. It just shows the public that this President has a problem with being held accountable for his mistakes.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 30, 2005 10:26 AM

Michael Smith:

You ask what could Bush have gained by misleading the U.S. into the Iraqi War.
I would say the answers to that are pretty simple: political capital to put democrats on the defensive on national security which lead to his re-election. It worked brilliantly. Karl Rove stated after 9-11 that this event was something that the republicans, in particular President Bush could exploit for political advantage and that is exactly what they did.

The Republicans demogogued national security issues and the Iraqi War, making anyone who dared criticize or question President Bush to be a "unamerican traitor who aids and abetts the enemy". To this day they are still doing it. Witness what happened to Con. Murtha, a decorated war hero, when he had the audacity to suggest a "immediate pullout" of U.S. forces from Iraq after stating the war was unwinnable. He was was lambasted by the right as being a coward.

I think it is very disengenuous that every time criticism of President Bush is made, that inevitably, in a knee jerk reaction,
Bush supporters always bring up the name of former President Clinton and what he was doing during his term, rather than answer the criticism directed at President Bush. What Clinton did during his term in office is irrevelant to what Bush is doing in his. In other words, Clinton is not responsible for Bush's actions in office.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 30, 2005 10:35 AM

Look. Here's where we are: Bush would not be putting forth his "Strategy for Victory" this morning if things were going well. If Iraq was a success story, if his approval numbers were in the 50s or 60s, if the polls reflected public confidence in his policy, he would be talking about other things. He would probably be hammering Congress to come up with private accounts for Social Security.

What Bush is doing this morning is damage control. What Bush is doing this morning is public relations. It is nothing more than a hurry-up effort to give the public something that gives the appearance of motion and change when in fact nothing is moving or changing.

Sy Hersh had Bush nailed. So did Ron Susskind. Bush does not take well to being confronted with a reality that he cannot spin, manioulate or conflate. He is not all that different from all of those evangelical saps out there who are still clinging desperately to old Biblical notions of Creation in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are wedded to a fairy tale based on, well...faith and instinct.

I imagine Bush sitting in his office, hands clasped firmly over his ears, eyes closed, fervently chanting over and over to himself those little bits of errant nonsense based on his religious faith, that cannot square with the reality that is taking place all around him.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 30, 2005 10:40 AM

Michael Smith, people like you astonish me with your gasping and heaving about the "threat". Somehow, I never quite got the idea that this fifth rate military power, this runt of a nation, this third world country of largely poor Islamic peasants, had anywhere close to the gun to our head that you so exaggeratingly claim.

Events tend to confirm my position on this rather than your nutty notions that Sadaam was on our doorstep ready at the moment to launch killer cultists into our peaceful society. It did not take long for our military to dispatch what was left of Sadaam's army. He was never anywhere close to the threat not only to us but even to his closest neighbors that the Bush-Cheneyadministration so deceitfully claimed.

Alas, it turns out that the far more dangerous element to us was the potential for an Iranian styple theocracy in Iraq forever hostile to our interests in that region, which is precisely the most likely outcome of this miserably failed experiment.

Like so many of Bush's lovesick sycophants, your devotion to him blinds you to the beyond obvious realities of his failures not only with his Iraq policies but with his anti-worker, anti-middle class domestic policies as well.

Bush's poll numbers will not change appreciably until he sets about to change his policies, not the public's opinion of him.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 30, 2005 10:59 AM


I imagine Bush sitting in his office, hands clasped firmly over his ears, eyes closed, fervently chanting over and over to himself those little bits of errant nonsense based on his religious faith, that cannot square with the reality that is taking place all around him.

Posted by: Jaxas

Jaxass,
A bit of projection on your part? ( Minus a higher power than yourself, of course.)

Posted by: bender | November 30, 2005 10:59 AM

Jaxas:
you know what i really think happened?

Bush likes to present himself as this macho-cowboy thug-bully. So when the U.S. was attacked on 9-11-01, he had to do
"something" to show how "tough" he was.

So like most bullies, Bush picked the weakest opponent he possibly could find, (since he couldnt find Osama bin Laden), built him up to be a absolute ogre. Then he easily defeats him and Bush can then puff up his chest his macho-he man credentials verified.

To his supporters Bush is now:

"A man of action and a strong leader in the War on Terror. He has grown into one of our greatest presidents."

This is as we have come to know a cruel joke Bush is playing on his supporters.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 30, 2005 11:14 AM

There is much truth in what yu say left angle. Consider the fact that one of Bush's mainstay constituencies are angry white males who tend to react territorially, particularly when their "manliness" appears to be challenged.

Look. Bush does like to pick his fights with weaker challengers. Iraq was a decidedly weaker enemy than it was during the Gulf War. And remember, even in that conflictk, Iraq proved not to be worthy as an adversary. Any victory Bush claims in this effort is going to be laughed at by the entire world.

It is instructive that the right likes to paint this effort in WWII terms with Bush being laughably compared to Winston Churchill. Really! Can you imagine Churchill ever uttering the following: "We need more power to power the power to the power poles."?

Posted by: Jaxas | November 30, 2005 11:24 AM

Sorry you feel that way bendover. In any case, projection is just another word for empathy. Maybe if Bush engaged in a bit of projection he might come to a clearer understanding of the complexity of the world around him.

I get a picture of Bush as a man who has a sort of trapdoor of a mind that shuts down on any sort of activity that requires him to contemplate the possibility that he could be wrong. It is known that he is an avid listener to Rush Limbaugh who has a similar personality. I hold both men in a measure of contempt because they both come off a s rather snotty little brats who are accustomed to being doted upon and having their every inane, vapid utterance treated as though it were wisdom from On High. It is rather revealing that the fat, sour Limbaugh often characterizes his talents as being "on loan from God".

I suggest that any God who would choose either Bush or Limbaugh as a vessel for their wisdom should have their Divine credentials seriously reviewed by whatever Board of Divinities reviews such matters.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 30, 2005 11:47 AM

jaxas:

What really rankled me was during the run up to the Prez election 2004, Repub Chickenhawks like Bush-Cheney who never fought in a war were trying to portray
Sen. Kerry as some kind of limp-wristed wimp. I couldnt believe Kerry let them get away with that bs.

And youre correct Bush is a bully who picks weaker opponents to verify his macho-man white angry male credentials..Whats funny is you dont hear him talking about invading North Korea. lol

If you like mixing it up with repubs/conservatives may i suggest a website to you called:

Polipundit.com

if you put it in google search you should be able to access their site from there..belive me, there are a lot of staunch young conservatives over there who actually believe and support the propaganda of Bush, Inc. check it out.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 30, 2005 11:50 AM

Will someone please give Bush a blow job so we can impeach him!

Posted by: crusader bunnypants | November 30, 2005 11:58 AM

Will someone please give Bush a blow job so we can impeach him!

Posted by: crusader bunnypants | Nov 30, 2005 11:58:04 AM

Lmao!! Jaxass, "bendover" was funny too. I`m glad you`re maintaining a sense of humor. But regarding the utterances of brats being held in high regard, so what? Most of us in America are centrist, and think the neocons and moonbats are equally absurd. The reason the country is split down the middle at election time is because we`re forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. It cracks me up to read posters` declarations that Bush`s intentions/actions were all noble and correct, or patently evil and wrong. It has all the self-righteous dignity of monkeys in a zoo throwing turds at eachother.

Posted by: bender | November 30, 2005 12:42 PM

I guess it really will take another attack to make you guys realize the hideous strength behing the jihad.

Bio-weapons can most definitely be made into WMDs, as Chris Ford correctly pointed out. Come to the Brentwood Post Office here in DC, in my freakin neighborhood, and tell the dead employees families that it is not effective. It took over a year to clean that place up.

Geezus, you guys are too much. I am no big Bush supporter, but I am damn glad you aren't in control of these matters.

I also agree that nukes should be available for responding to any such attack. MAD all over again, but with differet players. This phenomena kept the US and USSR from annihilating each other and the rest of the globe. It fkn works!

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 30, 2005 01:25 PM

"Macho-man, thug-bully-cowboy, manliness", what informed conversation regarding the disposition of our troops over there. What a contribution. So much of this conversation is driven by blind, virulent Bush hatred. Can any of you realize that not all of us are Bush sycophants, or even Bush voters? That maybe we take the Islamofascist threat seriously, that we think our military is doing a hell of a job, and at the same time think that Bush is an inarticulate leader with a preposterous domestic agenda?

Constant accusation and conspiracy mongering does nothing to solve the problem: what is the best way to kill off a nihilistic, suicidal, stateless worldwide jihadist army? There? Here? Negotiate? Dismantle the Patriot Act and hope we can all just 'get along'?

What is your plan to win? Pretend it's all Bush's fault and Ayman al Zawahiri will become a benevolent Islamic scholar if only the Democrats get back in?

Posted by: Jersey Independent | November 30, 2005 01:34 PM

Jersey Independent:

Who was it that uttered:

"Osama Bin Laden? I want him Dead or Alive"

or the more infamous challenge to the Insurgents:

"Bring It On"!!!

Or just this morning:

"America will never run in the face of car bombers or assasins as long as I am president."

Macho-man,thug-bully cowboy manliness? you got em all rolled in the person who made these utterances. I didnt make this stuff up.

Furthermore, I dont hate Bush. I just think he is highly incompetent and makes
bad decisions that cause more problems than
they solve. On top of that his arrogance and false pride wont allow him to admit
that he makes mistakes. Mistakes that are causing U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians their lives in Iraq.

I dont see it as a win or loss in Iraq.
The reasons Bush invaded Iraq in the first place have largely been disproven. He has created a mess over there and somebody has to clean it up.

Whats my suggestion to the Iraqi problem?

I fully concur with conservative writer
Bruce Fein. Here is a quote from his recent article:

"Exit Strategy"
by Bruce Fein

"The Bush administration trumpets a delusional exit strategy: an orderly departure of troops after entrenching a democratic and unified Iraq capable of supressing a raging insurgency. That uptopian aim would keep U.S. soldiers in Iraq with mounting casualitiesfor ages. The least bad earbound departure plan for the post-Sadaam quagmire would partions Iraq between Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'ites,
Partition would stil make the Iraqi war a modest sucess, whereas President Bush's "stay the course" mantra promises
flaming disaster".

www.washtimes.com/commentary/20051128-091730-7298r.htm

Posted by: Left Angle | November 30, 2005 02:02 PM

A few random thoughts:

- There are always unintended consequences. Some good; many not-so-good. Things done in the name of fighting the Cold War have led to unintended consequences in the mid-east and southeast asia (and probably other places around the world). Things done in the name of Fighting Terrorism have had, and will have their unintended consequences. Things done in the name of Peace have had, and will have, their unintended consequences. In hindsight is easy to fault someone else for creating unintended consequences. It is much harder to anticipate every consequence that will happen.

Few people have the luxury of having the time to study every angle of every option. (Information (and misinformation) is expanding on the internet exponentially.)


- Am I the only one who thinks that what is happening in the West Bank is completely independent of other things that have happened in the Mid-East -- Iraq, Libya, Lebanon? Or is it just because Arafat died?


- 42,000 deaths/year - traffic fatalities in the US, about half where alcohol was a significant factor


- $50billion/yr - what Americans spend on the "gaming industry" (gambling)

Posted by: Dave20640 | November 30, 2005 02:11 PM

Thanks for the heads up on the Fein column. A strategy that acknowledges that the pipe dream of democracy in an Arab state is wishful thinking, and moving on. I totally agree. My point was, all the histrionics re:Bush just divert the conversation away from real solutions over to name-calling and amateurish psychobabble. Bush and the neos gambled that democracy could be established in Iraq as a beachhead in transforming the Middle East. They lost the bet. Enough said. Find a way out. Partition plays a big role in a realistic assessment.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | November 30, 2005 02:25 PM

Jersey Independent:

I think that both of the parties have politicized the Iraqi War and are using it for partisan political gain. That goes with the turf. What is amazing to me is that the republicans expect democrats to give bush a free ride after they damn near turned former prez clinton into the devin incarnate? sorry I dont think so..lol

I think that the Bruce Fein article cuts thru a lot of the bs propaganda coming from the right on "staying the course" in Iraq and sets up some very pragamatic remedies on how to exit with a modicum of success and dignity.

Bottomline, I beleive that if Iraqis feel so strongly that they want their country to be a democracy, then they should stand up and fight for it.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 30, 2005 02:38 PM

Jersey Independent -

'Fraid you're right. Take a position in the middle, on this Forum and like johnnyg in NE DC you are accused of being a mindless automnon under the Control of Karl Rove. By people that see Bush as a bigger enemy than radical Islam.

The far Left scares me in they have no plan other than defeating Bush through demonizing him (which didn't work in 2000, 2004), giving terrorists more "civil liberties" if caught, defeating the "fascist" Patriot Act, and holding hands and singing Kumbaya. And as long as they control the Democratic Party while our country and civilization is threatened by Islamoids, it's hard to see voting for Democrats except those like Mark Warner and Joe Lieberman who buck them. Hillary is trying not to appear to be in bed with the Lefties, but I still have my doubts about her as a wartime leader.

I vote for the candidate, not the Party.

There are lots of reasons to dislike much of what the Republicans do, same for Pelosi, Kery, Schumer and the San Francisco-NYC Axis of the Democratic Party. Bush is hardly a good President in foreign policy, and worse at domestic matters. He is near Jimmy Carter's level...

But what bothers me is the anti-military bent of Lefty Democrats and their determination to turn Iraq into a major defeat for the US and give added legal protections to the unlawful combatants that seek to kill us infidels.

As a Vet, still in contact with soldiers I once knew who stayed in, I am in similar contact with their disgust over the Democratic portrayal of troops as stupid children doing no good who must be "rescued" by more intelligent Democrats from their overseas folly. Soldiers who think their sacrifice is being politically exploited by Democrats and their allies in the traditional media to advance an anti-military, anti-war agenda with their 1,000 dead, 2,000 dead faux mournathons which are really eagerly anticipated milestones the Left sees getting political capital from. They root for more American deaths and American setbacks overseas. They seek to enoble our enemy or portray them as hapless victims only getting "madder" at us if we confront and combat them.

I just can't see voting for a Democrat allied to these people, no matter how good their other ideas are and how retro the Republicans appear and how much they are in bed with their own unsavory elements - the Religious Right and the fatcat kleptocrats..As unsavory as some on the Republican side are, they are not the anti-American, borderline traitors now infesting the Democrats.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 30, 2005 03:05 PM

Given the long-term, Stalinist state under Saddam, the unnatural formation of the country itself after WW1, and the preponderence of tribal culture and conflicting Islamic religions, it is really a long shot that democracy, especially a Western-style democracy, will take hold. If only there was some oil in the Sunni sector partition would be, in Tenet's infamous words, a 'slam dunk'. Certainly the Kurds are ready to go, have been for a long time. Shia a more difficult story with the Iran influence looming as a threat to independence. Ironically, Sunnis have most to gain from nationalist agenda, as opposed to partition, and are the least agreeable to a democratic state.

Also, don't confuse Bush with our military guys. It is amazing what they pull off in these grim situations they find themselves; their commitment to the 'mission' is totally understandable and admirable. (For a great read on current military, check out "Imperial Grunts" by Robert Kaplan, an associate editor at the Atlantic.) Don't ever confuse the grunts with the policy - it happened in the Vietnam years with the antiwar crowd (I was in that crowd, I saw it happen) and was hugely unfair to those guys coming home, disgraceful, a big part of the continental divide that splits the country today. That is why we need a successful, dignified exit strategy - for their sake, not Bush's.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | November 30, 2005 03:17 PM

Chris, one point I agree with: a lot of the Dems have put themselves in a position where they benefit most when things go bad for Bush, and, therefore, by extension, our military guys.

Bush was a bungling, one-term president until 9/11. We weren't in Iraq or Afghanistan. That didn't stop these psychopaths from killing 350 cops and firefighters and thousands of civilians. No matter which party is in power the enemy remains the same. The Dems have the Bush critique down pat; now, what are they going to do to hunt down and kill these bastards?

Posted by: Jersey Independent | November 30, 2005 03:46 PM

An article I just read:

Politics is politics and ratings are ratings. But at what point does the non-stop antiwar Iraq rhetoric by many Democrats and many in the media cross the line and morph into outright falsehoods, personal vendettas against the president, and become utterly demoralizing to our troops on the ground in Iraq? I would submit that that line was deliberately and gleefully crossed quite a while ago.

Why? If you are a liberal in the Democratic Party or in the media, there are several reasons why you would twist the facts, try to rewrite history and privately state that "the end justifies the means." First, and maybe still most importantly, for many on the left, they have never considered George W. Bush a legitimate president. They have an irrational hatred for him and wrongfully feel, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that Mr. Bush somehow stole the 2000 election.

Second, many don't really care if the Bush administration is right or wrong about Iraq. Because of the constant, pointed and shaded attacks against this president and "his" war, they see his presidency as a wounded animal looking for a place to hide and heal. Because there are important elections coming up in 2006 and 2008, they have no intention of giving up the chase. They mean to kill the animal before it recovers and can fight back. Lastly, and most troubling, is that many liberals in the Democratic Party or the media have an ingrained contempt for our military and the role it must play in the world.

What is most disturbing in this game by the Democrats to cripple this presidency and enhance their chances in the 2006 and 2008 elections is the suspect role some in the media are willing and most anxious to play.

Politics is politics and it's no surprise that some Democrats are shading the truth to influence the American people. Some Republicans are no better and, as we get closer to the elections, they will shame themselves and our party as well. But in the meantime, journalists are paid to be unbiased reporters of fact. Not to carry water for the Democrats or to insert their own personal bias.

Not only do they incessantly pound the American people with negative story after negative story on the war in Iraq, but when their unfair coverage reaches a crescendo, they themselves "poll" the American people to ask them if they support Mr. Bush and "his" war in Iraq.

They do this and conveniently forget some of that history that they and some of the Democrats are trying to rewrite. History, for instance, that states that in 1998, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Iraq Liberation Act, an act that stated, "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." In December 1998, after ordering military action in response to Saddam Hussein's decision to expel the U.N. weapon inspectors, Mr. Clinton said, "Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference; he has used them... The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again."

Leaving the words of Mr. Clinton aside, many in the media seem to have completely or deliberately forgotten about U.N. Resolution 1441 -- a resolution that was unanimously passed by the Security Council and ordered Saddam Hussein to make a "full accounting of his WMD program and to cooperate with inspectors." Further, the resolution warned that there would be no more tolerance for concealment or obstruction -- something David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group, found Saddam was doing on a regular basis.

OK, if some in the media will turn their backs on this verifiable history, then I have no doubt that they will also seek to squash or ignore the testimony of those who would remind the American people of the valid reasons for going to war in Iraq -- even testimony by Democrats.

How many in the media who oppose this war will report the words of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, when, in speaking recently in opposition to a date certain for withdrawal, said: "It is no surprise to my colleagues that I strongly supported the war in Iraq... we had in our national interest to remove Saddam Hussein from power... He was a ticking time bomb that if we did not remove him, I am convinced would have blown up, metaphorically speaking, in America's face... The international intelligence community believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

Politics is politics, ratings are ratings, but lies are lies. While some Democrats may twist the truth to win the upcoming elections, the media has a solemn obligation to report the facts. And it is on that score that some have failed themselves, our nation, our troops, and the people of Iraq.

Damn. That about sums it all up. The Left is a bunch of mongrels who ignore the fact that they should just stay out of it. Our troops WANT TO GET THE JOB DONE. They will. Still angry over an election and now using the war to win seats. Pathetic.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | November 30, 2005 03:49 PM

!POLICE STATE ALERT!
www.unknownnews.net
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info/audio

Miami Police announce "in your face" random ID checks, police state tactics

Associated Press

Nov. 28, 2005

Miami police have announced
Filed under:
The war on freedom
that they will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and
other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people

File photo, from Miami Police riots
at the 2003 FTAA convention.
to be vigilant.

Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.

"This is an in-your-face type of strategy. It's letting the terrorists know we are out there," Fernandez said.

The operations will keep terrorists off guard, Fernandez said. He said al-Qaida and other terrorist groups plot attacks by putting places under surveillance and watching for flaws and patterns in security.

Police Chief John Timoney said there was no specific, credible threat of an imminent terror attack in Miami. But he said the city has repeatedly been mentioned in intelligence reports as a potential target.

Timoney also noted that 14 of the 19 hijackers who took part in the Sept. 11 attacks lived in South Florida at various times and that other alleged terror cells have operated in the area.

Both uniformed and plainclothes police will ride buses and trains, while others will conduct longer-term surveillance operations.

"People are definitely going to notice it," Fernandez said. "We want that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don't want people to feel their rights are being threatened. We need them to be our eyes and ears."

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said the Miami initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people's rights are not violated.

"What we're dealing with is officers on street patrol, which is more effective and more consistent with the Constitution," Simon said. "We'll have to see how it is implemented."

Mary Ann Viverette, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said the Miami program is similar to those used for years during the holiday season to deter criminals at busy places such as shopping malls.

"You want to make your presence known and that's a great way to do it," said Viverette, police chief in Gaithersburg, Maryland. "We want people to feel they can go about their normal course of business, but we want them to be aware."

Posted by: Che | November 30, 2005 03:54 PM

Enough with hiding behind accusations against 'the Left'. The Republicans have the House, Senate, and Presidency, and they've screwed things up with the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina, to name a few. The Right has had a carte blanche for the last few years thanks to the fear and hysteria caused by 9/11, and all they've done is run this nation into the ground, while the Left passively played along. The Right and The Left are BOTH the problem; Sooner or later, America needs to step into the 21st century politically, and not be so mired in the antequated notion of Right vs. Left. Not that that will stop certain reactionaries from incessantly depending on such.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 30, 2005 04:22 PM

Chris Ford:

As a liberal democrat, I find your comments about democrats to be downright ludicrous and false.

Exactly where are you getting the information that everyone that had a dissenting opinion and is opposed to the Iraqi War is a "traitorous, anti-american
who aids and abetts the enemy and hurts the
morale of the troops"? Where are you getting the information that everyone who supports the war is a "noble patriot" from the republican party?

That is utter nonsensical right wing repub/con propaganda used to smear their critics, undermine their credibilty in and effort to stifle dissenting opinions.
I think you are very confused because as far as I am concerned:

being anti-bush is being pro-american.

Posted by: Left Angle | November 30, 2005 04:25 PM

There are lots of people bemoaning the fact that we are in Iraq. They feel we should never have gone there in the first place. No weapons of mass destruction were found, the nuclear threat was overblown, and we have unleashed a fundamentalist jihad, de-stabilizing the country. All of this is true. However, the thinking that we shouldn't have invaded is misguided. You have to ask yourself, is there any condition that would exist that would satisfy a minimum threshold for military action? I contend that we would have had to invade Iraq and overthrow the Hussein regime eventually anyway. The question should have been, did we need to invade when we did? Were we willing to allow Saddam and his sons to continue to brutalize the country? Were we willing to condemn another generation of Iraqis to rape, killing, and real torture? Were we willing to allow Hussein to manipulate the United Nations and get richer through the failed oil for food program? Were we willing to allow Hussein to remain a destabilizing force in the middle east? Were we willing to wait until there was undeniable evidence of WMDs (like a mushroom cloud in the desert)? My contention is there was no better time to act than the present.

The basic facts remain the same. Hussein did use WMDs against the Iranians in the 70's. He did use WMDs against the Kurds in the 80's. He was found to have large stockpiles of WMDs after the first gulf war. After initially throwing out the U.N. weapons inspectors, he gave no evidence that the stockpiles were eliminated. Even if they were truly gone, we know he had the ability to manufacture WMDs and the will to use them.

Another fact remains. The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq. There have been positive consequences from our involvement. There will continue to be positive consequences for Iraq and for the entire region.

The final fact remains. We are there now. Let's make the best of a difficult situation and finish the job. The U.S. is proactively trying to create the conditions to make the world a safer place. We are taking a big risk. Unfortunately, the risk is the lives of the brave young men and women in the military. The reward hasn't been fully realized yet. History will tell us if it was all worth the risk.

Posted by: jp | November 30, 2005 04:32 PM

Michael Smith -

Not much time today, but here's a single shot.

Why would Bush lie if he knew he might get caught? Well, let's see:
1. There was a good chance he wouldn't get caught so long as he kept the public so fearful they wouldn't ask questions and as long as the war went well. ANd it was working - All this info was out there before the last election but was generally ignored until the fear of Osama got trumped by fear of Katrina and the war didn't go so well.
2. The lies got him exactly what he wanted - enough support to get us into the war and two years to spare. He obviously thought that would be enough time to accomplish his goals in Iraq or that it would be too late by the time people caught on.
3. He didn't think that in the long run people would hold a grudge so long as the war was successful.
4. He didn't have a grasp on the level of incompetence in his adminisration.
5. It was worth the risk of getting caught to get the war going. So what if he got caught? By the time it happened we'd be hip deep in a war that could be defended by accusation that we couldn't
"cut and run", and neither he nor Cheney would be facing another election anyway.
6. He knew the American people are stupid and easily led. I mean, a recent survey reported half of them think the sun orbits the earth. It wasnt' hard to convince them their biggest problem was gay marriage and evolution and call them unpatriotic for questioning a war president. I'm sure the lies didn't seem like so big of a risk.

Lies got him exactly what he wanted with almost no consequences - he got his war that we now can't get out of gracefully, and he's not facing another election anyway. Why wouldn't he lie to get what he wants? Oh, yea, that character thing might have stopped him, but character is so overrated nowdays - just mention God a few times and you'll look fine.

Regarding the what changed question? Go back and re-read the Senate Intel report again. There's a mantra there, over and over "...(insert favorite pro war claim here) either overstated or was not supported by the underlying intelligence". The intelligence DIDN'T change, it was the CONCLUSIONS drawn from the intel that changed.

Bush I and Clinton postured a lot, but you didn't see either of them launching half assed invasions of Iraq, did you? Sometimes actions speak louder than words. And one thing you may have forgotten is that the Clinton resolution supported only encouraging Iraqis to overthrow Saddam - it particularly forbade the US to get directly involved in regime change. So, comparing Bush I and Clinton to Bush II is comparing people who saw the intel and said Saddam is a bad man lets put him in a box and concentrate on North Korea, with the man who used the same intelligence to say Saddam is coming to get us lets conduct an illegal invasion and let North Korea fester.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 30, 2005 04:57 PM

Oh, one parting shot JP

Your job in the west wing is waiting for you. You just wrote the perfect justification for invading North Korea. Where were you when the neocons needed you four years ago when they were writing about the axis of evil?

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 30, 2005 05:01 PM

Another fact remains. The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq. There have been positive consequences from our involvement. There will continue to be positive consequences for Iraq and for the entire region.
Posted by: jp | Nov 30, 2005 4:32:32 PM

That's not fact at all; That's an opinion. There have been negative consequences as well as positive. Majority of Americans feel it's been more negative than positive. And you are taking a leep of faith when you say things will continue into a positive course, again not stating fact at all.
Also, you charge that attacking Saddam was inevitable. Was it also inevitable for Bush to use the issue politically during the 2002 elections? For all of the talk against a timetable for withdrawal, people forget that the timetable for attack was planned on a political timetable to help the Republicans in 2002 and 2004. Thanks to the fear and hysteria from 9/11, not to mention a very weak opposition party, the strategy worked. George Bush gained from well-timed use of his politic war of choice, only now that house of cards is starting to finally fall.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 30, 2005 05:23 PM


ErrinF - you mention that you were saddened that Bush was unable to prevent 9/11. Are you suggesting the government could/should have done something differently? Something preemptively?

Many people have suggested that we should have done something differently to prevent 9/11. If I recall correctly, the call to investigate pre-9/11 was very strong around the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. People were unsatisfied with letting the Administration conduct its own investigation and demanded an independent investigation, which eventually led to the 9/11 commission in late 2002.

What would your feelings have been if we hadn't gone to war with Iraq, but they later attacked us (independent of Al Qaeda)? Just because Iraq was not implicated in the 9/11 attack did not necessarily mean they would have not attacked the U.S.. If an attack had happened, and an examination of the pre-attack intelligence had indicated that an attack was unlikely, I doubt that Americans (particularly the opposition party) would just throw up their hands and say, "oh well, another intelligence community failure."

I don't mean to say that the US should attack anyone it suspects of wanting to attack it. I'm trying to say that I don't think you can have it both ways.

Posted by: Dave20640 | November 30, 2005 05:28 PM

If Bu$Hitler is really a dumbass, then what does that make all us progressyves who can't even get our own war criminal John Kerry elected with a thirty percent spending advantage in the last election? Thank you George Soros and progressyve 527s for trying!

That's why I prefer to view McChimpy as a cunning viper, a spawn of Satan, and evil genius on the order of Dr. Evil, the anti-Christ himself.

I came to this conclusion only because I faithfully wear my tinfoil hat which protects me from the Rovian Mind Control Rays that have unfortunately afflicted some of my fellow progressyves who still think Shrubya's a dunce.

Posted by: NE Prog | November 30, 2005 05:31 PM

Alex Ham, all you do is create straw men when you argue here. You're hardly America's hero at all, but rather a blind follower. The President is a servant of the people; We can critique him all we like. You'd treat him like a king and never hold him accountable for anything. Some American you are.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 30, 2005 05:33 PM

ErrinF - you mention that you were saddened that Bush was unable to prevent 9/11. Are you suggesting the government could/should have done something differently? Something preemptively?
Posted by: Dave20640 | Nov 30, 2005 5:28:56 PM

Hello?? It's the President's job to overlook national security and to provide for the American defense. That a major national security breach like 9/11 happenned under Bush's watch is something he is accountable for. I'm suggesting the government could have done it's job right and prevented 9/11. Is that so tough to grasp? That 9/11 happenned means that they didn't do their job. I am not in the slightest suggesting going on the offense with pre-emptive action. Rather, I am suggesting that it was a defense problem that allowed 9/11 to happen, and we need to patch up that defense rather than go running off on a War On Terror that the politicians are STILL using to cover their asses from having 9/11 happen under their watch.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 30, 2005 05:41 PM

Left Angle - The fact remains that the Democrats have become infested with hate-America Lefties who see America's defeat in Iraq, if they can stage it through turning mainstream America against the struggle with radical Islam - as a political victory for them. The fact remains that amidst your liberal Democrats, you have people that cheer American deaths as advancing their cause, borderline or overt traitors.

If you are truly a patriotic liberal Democrat, it is incumbent on you to cleanse your own ranks of traitors, borderline traitors, and simple hate-America Lefties that lack the guts traitors have. The Republicans did a pretty good job of cleansing their ranks of David Duke racists and John Bircher's in the late 80's, early 90's.

Now is your time to denounce Marxist Marcusians like ErrinF if you are actually serious that the average liberal Democrat doesn't cheer soldiers deaths and setbacks as needed to defeat the lying Bush-Hitler.

Posted by: | November 30, 2005 07:07 PM

7:07:13 post was mine.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 30, 2005 07:11 PM

If you think that the previous post was exaggerated and extreme, just check out "United for Peace and Justice", the organizers and permit-holders for most of the big-city anti-war marches. Just Google that group and see who their constituent groups are. There well may be a lot of well-meaning, somewhat naive liberal Democrats, but make no mistake, there is a hard-core anti-American wing to the anti-war crowd, going back to the sixties. He is not exaggerating.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | November 30, 2005 08:33 PM

Hey JohnnyG, You're right on both counts: the disrespect unleashed in the sixties was an abomination, a product of the self-indulgent, self-righteous Boomers, lots of vulgar one-liners. And the naked chicks were great.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | November 30, 2005 08:45 PM

Way to make a straw man argument there, RD. Seriously, that's all these reactionary drones seem to be able to do these days is rely heavily on straw men, usually aimed at exagerating the menace of imagined Leftists. One only has to take a look at the majority of Chris Ford's statements to find a virtual field of straw men. I mean, I don't even know what the hell an Marxist Mancusian is, and that is what he contends I am!
Seriously, too many in the ranks of these right wing crackpots cannot debate STRICTLY on merit and logic, so delusional are they in their extremism that they can't help but to distort and mispresent. Such is the way of the simple minded conformist that lacks the intelligence to form their own views.

Posted by: ErrinF | December 1, 2005 12:14 AM

LOL how johnnyg's iron fist starts rattling when he feels authority is being unduly disrespected. Pessimism with politicians is natural and widespread among Americans of all political persuasions. Deal with it, dude. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | December 1, 2005 12:17 AM

Naked hate-America Leftie chicks wading in the Reflecting Pool are OK unless they are whale-sized, saggy relics of the hippie era. Same with the PETA babes going naked for a stupid cause.

Babes w/o brains provide eye candy amusement! Then they grow up, hopefully. Even the morons.

Just like in the hippie Era, where eager Columbia and Brandeis gals begged to get skewered by a gang of Black Panthers. Then grew up and married some East Side dweeb shyster who had no clue of the Lefty Hottie's past, now have a regular meal ticket now that Daddy is retired, and a white picket fence house in the suburbs complete with cute doggies. The morons that didn't grow up have broken noses, three mulatto kids in jail, and still bind up their gray hair in a 1971 leather clasp made by "Yogi Tyrone World-Love" especially for them.

PETA femme morons beware.

Love dogs, avoid male relationships, and Rex the Wonder Dog will be your only companion as you come back from Lefty activist meetings once your 4th decade arrives. And your PETA colleagues will ask you to refrain from "no fur" rallies about the same time as your flabby, sagging self doesn't "Mesh with PETA's message".

Posted by: Chris Ford | December 1, 2005 12:55 AM

ErrinF - If you profess ignorance as a socialist, of Herbert Marcus, and who he was, I accept your ignorance..

Posted by: Chris Ford | December 1, 2005 01:00 AM

In your delusional mind, Chris Ford, you think I'm a socialist, but I'm not. I truly have no idea who this Herbert Marcus is, just like you have no clue what my real political views are. Rather, you believe me to actually be the Leftist straw man you make me out to be. It's all in your mind, Chris. What you say bears little relevence in the real world.

Posted by: ErrinF | December 1, 2005 01:38 AM

It is true, the quality of the protest babes has eroded very badly over the years, but they were pretty good looking back then at the height of the Veitnam reistance. That was the first time I ever saw a grown girl naked. In fact, my Catholic school buddy and I went to those protests just for this reason. It was one of those "Thank you God" moments.

I think there is a corrrelation to be made in this, and the effect the ones protesting now have on this war, "world bank," "global economy," and most definitely, PETA issues. YUK!

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | December 1, 2005 01:59 AM

Come on people! Why debate over who in government knew what or exagerated which reason... everyone should know by now that the Iraq war is totally fake. The U.S. governemnt, influenced by big business, is interested in Iraq and the Middle East for one reason, and one reason only. They want access to the oil reserves, period. And they will lie, cheat, and kill to get it.

Face reality people! Pull your heads out of your rear-ends...

Posted by: A. Reader | December 1, 2005 02:40 AM

Every blogger should read the very first post on this issue of Emily's post. It pretty much documents the administration's blood lust for an Iraq war.

We're stuck there, at great human and economic expense. We are not going to exit under this administration, which cannot seem to make adjustments and is not confident enough to admit errors. The public admission of error is such a politically effective tool, but this Bush Administration is either too ignorant to know it or too weak to use it.

The President, as has been documented, does not like dissenting opinion, which is ironic, given his white-knuckle, desparate grasp of the flag and democracy to justify his decision to invade what was then an impotent and small-armed Iraqi nation. Further evidence of his self-imposed isolation is the fact that the President has given one news conference in the past six months. His only speeches and appearances come on military bases or Republican fundraisers. Nary a dissenting opinion to be found.

President Bush 41 and President Clinton were wise to know that the weight of the intelligence coming out of Iraq justified sanctions, but not war. Bush 43, exposed only to opinon he wanted to hear, acted on intelligence that discarded sanctions and made war. Since that time, Bush 43 has insisted that we continue to spend, fight and die to justify American decision and American prestige. He can tell himself that and a contemporary American public that, but history knows what's behind the curtain. In the eyes of history, his judgement will be laid bare. His human props and not-so-sublimal slogans look silly today when compared with the steady drip of American and Iraqi deaths.

The President was still running on Nov. 30, 2005. However, G.W. Bush will not be able to hide from history. Our nation is paying the price.

Posted by: Bling Bling | December 1, 2005 05:31 AM

ErrinF - Just a couple things. One - I never claimed to be a hero. I'm not Alexander Hamilton. It's just a name.
Two - How in the hell can you blame 9/11 on President Bush? He had been in office less than 8 months. If any Administration is to blame it would be Clinton's. He is the one who cut our defense and intelligence spending. He is the one who had Osama bin Laden captured and released him because he was "not a threat."

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | December 1, 2005 08:24 AM

What was simmering for months has finally boiled over. A national discussion that should have taken place BEFORE the war is belatedly being bantered about in homes, offices, and the media. What's changed?

I think that the benefit of the doubt is no longer being extended to the Bush administration by the public, the media, and both major political parties. A steady erosion of trust has been underway for some time. Numerous serious presidential failures highlight this lost of trust:

* The failure to find WMD in Iraq and then never admit being wrong.
* The failure to speak the truth about the reasons for going to war. The Bush administration's steady stream of prewar hype, false associations, misleading statements, and deliberate slanting of the true intelligence picture is, in its totality, tantamount to lies.
* Proclaiming the Iraq war was a "last resort" to the public AFTER the decision to go to war was already made.
* Proclaiming a last appeal to the UN to avoid a war when, in fact, Bush purposefully worded the UN resolution to provoke a hostile Iraqi response.
* The failure to have ANY strategy in Iraq other than, "stay the course", whatever that means.
* The failure to protect our intelligence community by not holding the leaker of Valerie Plame's identity accountable.
* The failure to protect America in a post 9/11 world as spectacularly showcased by Katrina.
* The failure to take action on most recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
* The failure to protect American liberties by insisting on the right of the president to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil without being charged.
* The failure to protect all life by publicly promoting the use of torture.

The Iraq war was started by a war of words waged against the American public by President Bush and his administration. The weakness of Bush's decision to invade Iraq is demonstrated by his administration's mania about "selling" the war to the public.

Think about this for a minute. Shouldn't the reason to start a war be painfully obvious? People are going to die on the battlefield in large numbers. Civil infrastructure will be destroyed. Political fabric will be torn. How is it that in 2003, there are idiots like Bush who STILL do not understand that we kill in war ONLY when there is no other option. There have been precious few times in modern history that this condition was true, and Iraq was not one of them. But back to the "selling" of the war...

If the government has to "sell" a war, shouldn't that send red flags up everywhere? America should not have to be "talked into" a war. The level of sacrifice that will be endured demands that we all know, deep down, that this has to be done; there is no other way. War means committing our lives or the lives of our children to a cause that MUST be fought.

More ominously, Bush's overzealous sales plan went awry. Knowing that the facts would not stand on their own, the Bush sales team vociferously attacked anyone who dared to challenge their viewpoint giving birth to PlameGate. The irony of the Bush administration's actions here are staggering. Bush's sales team actually attacked the very thing America needed the most-- on the ground intelligence regarding WMD! In a strange twist of the doublespeak and stupidity of the Bush whitehouse, while blaiming intelligence "failures" for the start of the war, Bush's team not only exposed a covert CIA agent, but Plame's specialty was the covert collection of WMD information. I can think of no other explanation other than an administration that is out-of-control and blinded by their own pathological desire to control their world, even to the destruction of America's most needed assets in the "war on terror."

We now know that the "selling" of the Iraq war to the American public involved the deliberate distortion of the interpretation of the hard facts of the incoming intelligence. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice WITH FORETHOUGHT cherry picked those "facts" and those conclusions they wanted to present to us. It is for this kind of deception that when taking the witness stand during a trial the witness takes an oath to "tell the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth."

As chief executive of our nation, Bush is a complete failure. I know that I personally don't have what it takes to be president. That said, I cannot imagine being president in a war cabinet meeting without a modicum of skepticism as intelligence information that is at the core of a decision to start a war is being presented. I would want to know How, What, Where, Why. Show me pictures, play interrogation tapes, tell me the science behind every analytical conclusion that might be used to justify the war. If the buck stops with me, then I MUST be convinced what I am about to do is right. By all accounts, Bush did not do this. He made the decision to invade Iraq, then cherry picked those unsubstantiated intelligence conclusions to back support his earlier decision and then made it appear as though those conclusions were the basis of his decision. Bush's deception was total and despicable.

If I am a voice in the wilderness calling for Bush to resign or be impeached I do not care. I know the Republicans control Congress. Still, there is value in a citizen calling for action to express his or her opinion on weighty matters before the nation. I call once again for Bush to resign or be impeached. He is not fit to be president.

Posted by: John | December 1, 2005 08:45 AM

Like many others I was originally in favor of the war. Unlike those who apparently believe, "my party, right or wrong", my position (NOT my memory!) changed when we did not find the WMD. What I remember is the constant stream of administration officials, including Bush, who drummed out the dangers of Iraq + Al Qaida + WMD. From these sources I concluded like so many other Americans that this combination could not be tolerated.

Frankly, I don't care what the talking heads were saying then. Only ONE head mattered-- GW Bush. There's lots of talk in DC where people float ideas to gather reactions and feedback. This honing of ideas and concepts is valid and should continue, but 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.

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. Was Bush shielded by Tenet's advice? Hardly. If Bush was duped by Tenet, then shame on him. If he wasn't duped by Tenet, then double shame on him. Either way, Bush failed miserably. 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 and most damming, 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. Further, even AFTER it became public knowledge (Bush, of course, knew all along) Iraq did not have WMD, Bush gave Tenet a medal for public service (actually, it was a medal for loyalty AND silence)! This act of contempt for the public demonstrated that Bush did not consider the topic of WMD to be of any concern.


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.

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 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.

No leader should get away with starting a war, then saying, "Oops! We were wrong, there really weren't any WMD. Oops! Iraq really didn't have any connection to Al Qaida or 9/11." WE ARE NOT GOING TO FORGET THAT BUSH LIED TO START A NEEDLESS WAR. This issue was NOT closed in the last election and will never be closed until Bush resigns or is impeached and convicted. With over 2000 American war dead and tens of thousands of Iraqi war dead, this war is a national disgrace and Bush has brought disgrace to America.

Posted by: John | December 1, 2005 09:03 AM

Like many others I was originally in favor of the war. Unlike those who apparently believe, "my party, right or wrong", my position (NOT my memory!) changed when we did not find the WMD. What I remember is the constant stream of administration officials, including Bush, who drummed out the dangers of Iraq + Al Qaida + WMD. From these sources I concluded like so many other Americans that this combination could not be tolerated.

Frankly, I don't care what the talking heads were saying then. Only ONE head mattered-- GW Bush. There's lots of talk in DC where people float ideas to gather reactions and feedback. This honing of ideas and concepts is valid and should continue, but 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.

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. Was Bush shielded by Tenet's advice? Hardly. If Bush was duped by Tenet, then shame on him. If he wasn't duped by Tenet, then double shame on him. Either way, Bush failed miserably. 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 and most damming, 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. Further, even AFTER it became public knowledge (Bush, of course, knew all along) Iraq did not have WMD, Bush gave Tenet a medal for public service (actually, it was a medal for loyalty AND silence)! This act of contempt for the public demonstrated that Bush did not consider the topic of WMD to be of any concern.


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.

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 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.

No leader should get away with starting a war, then saying, "Oops! We were wrong, there really weren't any WMD. Oops! Iraq really didn't have any connection to Al Qaida or 9/11." WE ARE NOT GOING TO FORGET THAT BUSH LIED TO START A NEEDLESS WAR. This issue was NOT closed in the last election and will never be closed until Bush resigns or is impeached and convicted. With over 2000 American war dead and tens of thousands of Iraqi war dead, this war is a national disgrace and Bush has brought disgrace to America.

Posted by: John | December 1, 2005 09:03 AM

Sorry for the double post. I received an error on the first try and tried again...then found the first attempt had succeeded.

Posted by: John | December 1, 2005 09:05 AM

One thing that I think needs to be debated is President Bush's leadership style in all of this. He has been called "detached" and "uninterested" in the details of governing or even what he has to delegate (his so-called "CEO style"). For example, during the Katrina crisis there were reports that, because he watches no TV news and doesn't read newspapers, but instead relies exclusively on reports from his staff, he remained ignorent of events for several days.

Perhaps the same can be said for his decisions - or those made by others for which he is ultimately responsible - leading up to the Irak War. I wonder if he was so ignorent of the details (either willfully or by sheer self-indulgence) that the questions of what he really knew and when and how that was used are simply IRRELEVANT in his case.

This may sound disrespectful, but I think we really have to wonder if our president has a clue. If he doesn't, which it appears is taboo to openly question in the media, we are all in more trouble than we care to admit.

Posted by: robcrawford | December 1, 2005 10:56 AM

"Why would Bush lie if he knew he might get caught? Well, let's see:
1. There was a good chance he wouldn't get caught so long as he kept the public so fearful they wouldn't ask questions and as long as the war went well. ANd it was working - All this info was out there before the last election but was generally ignored until the fear of Osama got trumped by fear of Katrina and the war didn't go so well."

That doesn't seem credible to me. The hunt for WMDs in Iraq began the first moment we set foot in country. A horde (something like 600, as I recall) of reporters went in with troops, many explicitly to find or not find the WMDs. How could anyone think the "lie" would not be uncovered; it was bound to be uncovered.


"2. The lies got him exactly what he wanted - enough support to get us into the war and two years to spare. He obviously thought that would be enough time to accomplish his goals in Iraq or that it would be too late by the time people caught on."

What goals in Iraq? What is Bush gaining from the war? I see only negatives for Bush from this war -- and the negatives began even before the invasion. There were massive demonstrations in the streets against Bush and the war before it ever got started.

As for support, the only thing I heard during the entire 2004 election campaign was criticism of Bush over the war; he was blasted for it by his critics daily. The war was their biggest, best and favorite line of attack. Where is the evidence that anybody voted for Bush BECAUSE he lied about the WMDs? That whole notion seems ridiculous to me.

"3. He didn't think that in the long run people would hold a grudge so long as the war was successful."

Most of the national media and a large percentage of Democrats have hated Bush from the moment he was elected; they have been gunning for him from the first day he took office. Does anyone really think they would have let him get away with a blatant lie?

"4. He didn't have a grasp on the level of incompetence in his adminisration."

What does this have to do with the question of why he would tell a lie knowing he would get caught?

"5. It was worth the risk of getting caught to get the war going. So what if he got caught? By the time it happened we'd be hip deep in a war that could be defended by accusation that we couldn't
"cut and run", and neither he nor Cheney would be facing another election anyway."

It was worth it? You still haven't told me how Bush is gaining from this war.

"6. He knew the American people are stupid and easily led. I mean, a recent survey reported half of them think the sun orbits the earth. It wasnt' hard to convince them their biggest problem was gay marriage and evolution and call them unpatriotic for questioning a war president. I'm sure the lies didn't seem like so big of a risk."

But if this were true, if the American people were really this stupid, he would not be in the trouble he is today, would he?

"Lies got him exactly what he wanted with almost no consequences - he got his war that we now can't get out of gracefully, and he's not facing another election anyway."

But why did he want this war? How is he benefiting from this war? How does it benefit Bush for us to be in a war we "can't get or of gracefully"?

Bush's approval rating were at something like 70% before he started the campaign to convince us to go into Iraq; he did not need any additional support. At that point, he was a shoe-in for re-election. Why put all that at risk by lying us into another war with a lie that was sure to be exposed? It seems to me he had nowhere to go but DOWN.

"Regarding the what changed question? Go back and re-read the Senate Intel report again. There's a mantra there, over and over "...(insert favorite pro war claim here) either overstated or was not supported by the underlying intelligence". The intelligence DIDN'T change, it was the CONCLUSIONS drawn from the intel that changed."

Okay, then, if the intelligence didn't change, only the interpretation of it changed, why did all the Democrats that backed the war change their interpretation of the intelligence? Because they were afraid of being called cowards and unpatriotic? That is a possibility, I suppose, but is it not also possible that they agreed with Bush that after 9/11, we could no longer take the risk that the earlier interpretation of the intelligence was wrong?


"Bush I and Clinton postured a lot, but you didn't see either of them launching half assed invasions of Iraq, did you? Sometimes actions speak louder than words. And one thing you may have forgotten is that the Clinton resolution supported only encouraging Iraqis to overthrow Saddam - it particularly forbade the US to get directly involved in regime change. So, comparing Bush I and Clinton to Bush II is comparing people who saw the intel and said Saddam is a bad man lets put him in a box and concentrate on North Korea, with the man who used the same intelligence to say Saddam is coming to get us lets conduct an illegal invasion and let North Korea fester."

I'm equally critical of the fact that we have done nothing about North Korea, although I would add that if "concentrating on North Korea" means offering them bribes to discontinue their nuclear program, bribes that they accept while CONTINUING their nucleaar program, then I think we need a better way to "concentrate on North Korea".

However, what do you think about the fact that Saddam was working to get around the sanctions so he could restart his WMD program. I believe there is pretty solid evidence of that. Had we not invaded, what do you think would have happened there? Eventually, Saddam would have passed on and his two sons, who by all accounts are even more insane than their father, would have assumed power. What do you think would have happened then?

Posted by: Michael Smith | December 1, 2005 11:16 AM

ErrinF - I think W has been accused of overlooking National Security; I'm sure you meant "overseeing."

While I agree that one of the President's responsibilities is to oversee National Security, I would offer three comments:

a) pre-9/11, National Security was not the priority it was after 9/11. There were (and still are) many other issues that merit Executive Branch attention. I suspect that, had Al Gore been in White House, the same thing could have happened. The first attack against the World Trade Center was in 1993, early in the Clinton administration. I don't think Al Qaeda cared about US partisan politics.

b) My understanding of the findings of the Independent 9/11 Commission is that the U.S. had a lot of information that might have help prevent (or forestall) 9/11, but it was like trying to put together puzzle pieces for one puzzle when the pieces from 100 puzzles were mixed together and there were many possible pictures.

c) I think the subway bombings in London indicate that Al Qaeda is able to recruit people whose backgrounds are innocuous enough that they would elude defensive counter-terrorism efforts. So, even if the US had been able to apprehend Mohammed Atta, and other 9/11 participants prior to 9/11, I question whether they could have entirely prevented a 9/11 incident. I think it would take a police state with powers more severe than the Patriot Act to have prevented a 9/11-type attack.

Posted by: Dave20640 | December 1, 2005 01:07 PM

To all you Bush apologists out there, I never said he was to blame for 9/11. Terrorists were to blame for 9/11. I'm saying the President should still be held accountable for failing to prevent 9/11. Richard Clarke gave Condi Rice and the administration plenty of warning, and they dropped the ball on taking the threat seriously. Many innocent people died under their watch.
Make all the excuses you like for Bush's national security failings; They were part of the equation that is 9/11. For some of us, the buck stops at the President, and we don't make apologies for politicians who err in their duties. Especially when those errors lead to the death of Americans. I guess you'll start making excuses for the Katrina incident as well...

Posted by: ErrinF | December 1, 2005 01:28 PM

No Errin, I think we all agree that no one, as well as any system, is perfect. Was FDR a scumbag because there were indications of a surprise attack at Pearle Harbor before it occurred?

To attack and brand President Bush as an incompetent boob, liar etc. is uncalled for. The constructive thing to do would be addressing problems with solutions, and to petition your congressman like a good citizen in this democracy. It is easy to criticize, but much harder to constructively criticize.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | December 1, 2005 03:52 PM


What we need are less MOR-ONS like Bush and his cronies and more LESS-ONS like Murtha!

Posted by: Ed | December 1, 2005 05:43 PM

Hello? Since when was I saying Bush was incompetent, a liar, or a scumbag in regards to 9/11? I just said he erred in his sworn duties. The national defense IS one of his Presidential duties, you know. Bottom line: It is better to hold politicians accountable than to not hold them accountable. You who makes excuses for them are doing yourself a disservice.
Sure, nothing's perfect and mistakes happen, but that doesn't mean that you just automatically excuse mistakes! Instead, you take corrective action (i.e. accountability) to prevent such mistakes from happening again. What I'm calling for is simple common sense. No apologies.

Posted by: ErrinF | December 2, 2005 01:42 AM

I'd bet anything the previous poster would be among the first to denounce the Patriot Act or profiling at airports or any other means to go after jihadists inside this country. Not to mention if Bush had gone after the Taliban and the Qaeda training camps militarily prior to 9/11. Hell, we're still letting these people waltz into the country. It's not as if the Dems would take a harder stance than Bush, now or then.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | December 2, 2005 05:04 PM

Michael Smith,

You ask some good questions about why Bush would be willing to get caught (eventually) in his distortion of intelligence, in his 'selling' of the war to the public. Over and over, you ask, "What has Bush gained from this war?" Cui bono? It's a good question, but I think there's something else you need to take into account: the administration really does seem to have believed that the invasion was going to result in the quick, easy victory that Rummy & Co. claimed before the war. And if things had gone that way, Bush would have benefited greatly.

To be honest, if the invasion had resulted in a quick, easy victory, a quick reconstruction, a prosperous, stable, democratic (and US-friendly) Iraq, it's unlikely that very many people here would have cared that the administration stretched its evidence in making a case for war. The general attitude would probably have been, "Who cares, since it turned out so well for us?" I think that _that's_ what the administration was banking on. If the invasion was going to be so successful, all they really needed to do was to present a temproarily persuasive case (and intimidate or discredit any who raised questions) for long enough to get the war started - once the war was done, it wouldn't matter whether they had distorted intelligence or silenced career experts' objections, because, in the public eye, the war would have been the right thing to do (given its great success), even if the wrong reasons had been given for it. So I don't think they really thought that their claims would be held up to such scrutiny for years afterwards.

Though I think they lied, or at least grossly misrepresented the truth, about other things, I think that when they said the war would be easy and we'd be greeted as liberators, etc., etc. they really were sincere. Stupid, but sincere. They have to have been, because if they had realized that the invasion was going to turn out as it has, I don't think Rove would have let it happen. And if Bush had really realized the damage that the invasion would do to him, I doubt he would have gone along with it. Of course, one could always claim that Bush's advisors were just keeping him in the dark, and that they really knew the invasion would result in a long and uncertain occupation. But I don't buy that either, because this long and bloody occupation has interfered with their own goals as well, and therefore has been a bad thing even for them (aside, perhaps, for Cheney and Halliburton - but for the standard neo-con, this has been a debacle). If they really had understood what a mess Iraq might be, they would have come up with a real plan for the aftermath of the war - after all, it was in their own interests to make sure the invasion was a success.

Of course, I'm not letting them off the hook just because they were sincere when they said the invasion would be easy. For one thing, they still did lie about many other things. And also, though they didn't realize the invasion would be such a mess, they _should_ have realized it, because nearly every career analyst of the Middle East realized it before the war began. Nothing that has gone wrong in Iraq since the invasion was unpredicted by people in the CIA or at State. But Cheney and his coterie had such scorn for these experts that they completely ignored them. So though I'd say the administration was sincere about the ease of the invasion, I'd also say they were criminally negligent.

At any rate, once you realize that the administration thought the invasion would be easy and would quickly lead to a new Iraq that Americans would be happy about, it makes more sense that they distorted the intelligence. They thought that by now, no one would care how we got into Iraq.

Posted by: Beren | December 2, 2005 05:23 PM

You can see how that sincerity might have come about - after all, we did dethrone a Stalinist monster and his demonic sons. They gave the Iraqis way too much credit that they would take advantage of that removal and become a country. Instead, like Yugoslavia after Tito, they reverted to ethnic and tribal identities, with a strong dose of nihilistic Islamist fury added to the mix. No question this scenario was predicted by some at State and CIA.

The cost of that misjudgment and subsequent mismanagement, coupled with a belligerent refusal to alter tax policy, thus shamefully pushing the cost of this debacle onto our children, should be reason enough for the undoing of this presidency and its backers in 2006 and '08. It's not necessary to debate endlessly whether they deliberately lied; the fact that we're still there, trying to shore up some fantastical democracy in this country, whose duplicitous leaders show their appreciation of the billions and the lost lives by giving tacit approval to 'resistance' at the Arab Summit last week, speaks for itself.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | December 2, 2005 07:01 PM


As a dutch man, living in Switzerland, knowing people well in NL, B, CH, BRD, A and F, I'd like to say how in Europe the g e n e r a l feeling about the start of the Iraq war was.

The Bush administration tried (during the whole period) to convince the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. That goal wasn't reached in Europe. Most of the people weren't convinced, only a part of the european goverments were (again partly) convinced.

A war scenario looked close, everyone was afraid for war, but then the Bush administration brought in the UN - and the Iraq allowed the inspections. Pffff, that was a close call. Happily they found a diplomatic solution: the USA gave the problem in the hands of the inspectors - war is unlikely again.

Before the inspections were finished, the president of the USA gave the order to go to war.

Posted by: rockmysoul67 | December 3, 2005 09:00 AM

The issue with Iraq has more to do with the continued threat to the United States which dated back years.

It is no secret that Sadaam was waging a terrorist war against US and other countries for years during the supposed "containment".

David Harrison claims in the ''Telegraph'' to have found secret documents that purport to show Russian President [[Putin]] offering the use of assassins to Saddam's Iraqi regime to kill Western targets on [[November 27]] [[2000]]. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/04/13/wrus13.xml] No other reporter had either confirmed or denied this account since 2003.

The Wallstreet Journal in [[September]] [[2002]] called for a government investigation of possible Iraqi link to the Oklahoma City bombing.[http://www.intelmessages.org/Messages/National_Security/wwwboard/messages/1624.html]

[[October]] 12, [[2002]] - CNSNews coorespondent Jeff Johnson reports US Senator Spector wants a probe for OKC City Bombing link to Iraq after receiving 22 sworn affidavits by Oklahoma residents identifying 8 Middle Eastern men, including a former Iraqi Republican Guard (Hussain Al-Hussaini) from Oklahoma City television reporter Jayna Davis. [http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/10/11/145841.shtml] Jayna Davis had performed investigative reporting on the links between OKC bombing and Iraq

[http://www.okcbombing.org/News%20Articles/america_act_selfdefense.htm] as well OKC bombing to Al-Qaeda. [http://www.jaynadavis.com/story090502-wsj1.html]

Abdul Rahman Yasin, a suspect detained shortly after the 1993 US World Trade Center Bombing attacks, fled upon release into Iraq. Shortly after release, the FBI had discovered evidence linking him to the creation of the bomb. He is on the FBI's 22 most wanted fugative list. After the invasion, Iraqi government official documents translated from Arabic to English described Sadaam's regime provided monthly payments to Yasin while in residing in the United States. Yasin is still at large. [http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-09-17-iraq-wtc_x.htm]

John Lumpkin, Assiciated Press Writer, consolidates statements made by Vice President Cheney concerning the 1993 WTC bombing and Iraq. Cheney indicated Sadaam's Iraqi government claimed to have FBI Fugative Yasin, alleged participant in the mixing of the chemicals making the bomb used in the 1993 WTC attack, in an Iraqi prison. During negotiations in the weeks prior the invasion of Iraq, Sadaam refused to extradite him. [http://www.okcbombing.org/News%20Articles/america_act_selfdefense.htm]

Evidence found in Terrorist Training Camps in Iraq after the invasion was used to stop the attempted assasination of the Pakistani ambassador in New York with a shoulder fired rocket.[http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,124658,00.html]

U.S. government officials have claimed that after the invasion, Yemen and Jordan stopped Iraqi terroristic attacks against Western targets in those nations. U.S. intelligence also warned 10 other countries that small groups of Iraqi intelligence agents may be readying similar attacks. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53096-2004Jun18.html]

It is also well known that Iraq had been supplying funds to terrorist organizations throughout the middle-east and sponsoring other terrorist organization meetings within their borders.

When the United States had been attacked during 9-11, it was clearly decided that allowing states which advocated terrorist attacks against civilian populations would not longer be tolerated since it poses a risk to the United States. This is what the US law required:
http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hjres114.pdf
This is what the Bush Administration agreed with:
http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/03/19/sprj.irq.letter/index.html

This whole discussion concerning WMD is academic, useless, and a mere deflection concerning the real reasons which were directly spoken by the President to the world during his State of the Union address.

Posted by: SomeBasicEvidence | January 30, 2006 09:49 AM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




 
 

© 2006 The Washington Post Company