Is Iraq's Civilian Death Toll 'Horrible' -- Or Worse?

A report published last week in the British medical journal Lancet which found that more than 600,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq elicited a prompt dismissal from President Bush.

"I don't consider it a credible report," he said. "Neither does General (George) Casey (top U.S. commander in Iraq) and neither do Iraqi officials."

The president isn't the only one who has taken issue with the controversial findings of the study, the work of three epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins University. Iraq Body Count, an antiwar Web site in London that monitors reports of civilian casualties, praised the authors for their research, but suggested the astronomical estimate is hard to swallow.

The study has attracted news coverage around the world, with antiwar commentators touting its findings as "superb science," and Bush allies Tony Blair and John Howard echoing White House dismissals.

The IBC, while critical of the study, took care to emphasize that it does not defend the conduct of the war.

"Totals of the magnitude generated by this study are unnecessary to brand the invasion and occupation of Iraq a human and strategic tragedy," said the IBC researchers.

Estimates at Odds

Gilbert Burnham, lead author of the study, explained the dramatic difference in mortality estimates among researchers as the result of different methodology.

"Our total estimate is much higher than other mortality estimates because we used a population-based, active method for collecting mortality information rather than passive methods that depend on counting bodies or tabulated media reports of violent deaths," he said in a news release about the study. "Though the numbers differ, the trend in increasing numbers of deaths closely follows that measured by the U.S. Defense Department and the Iraq Body Count group."

Researchers working with John Hopkins doctors visited 1,849 households between May and July 2006 and interviewed residents about family deaths among the 12,801 people living in those homes. When they asked for death certificates to verify fatalities, they say they obtained them 92 percent of the time.

The directors of IBC contend that the researchers' findings, if true, imply several realities that are difficult to explain. They say the study implies that:

1. On average, a thousand Iraqis have been violently killed every single day in the first half of 2006, with less than a tenth of them being noticed by any public surveillance mechanisms;

2. Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;

3. Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;

4. Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued;

5. The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year than in earlier years containing the initial massive "Shock and Awe" invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.

In order for all this to be true, the IBC said, one would have to assume massive fraud or incompetence by Iraqi government and health officials and an "abject failutre" of the media, among other things. Without dismissing the report entirely, the IBC qualified its implications as "extreme and improbable."

Defending the Data

But the study has its defenders. Two experts told The Washington Post's David Brown last week that they found the article's methodology to be sound. The British science site, Nature.com (by subscription), also found merit in the study, saying the death toll "withstands scrutiny."

"The numbers do add up," said Daniel Davies, a stockbroker and blogger for the Guardian. He argued that the sample of 1,849 households interviewed by Iraqi doctors working for the JHU research team was as large as that used by political pollsters.

"The question that this study was set up to answer was: as a result of the invasion, have things got better or worse in Iraq? And if they have got worse, have they got a little bit worse or a lot worse... The results speak for themselves," Davies wrote. "In the 18 months before the invasion, the sample reported 82 deaths, two of them from violence. In the 39 months since the invasion, the sample households had seen 547 deaths, 300 of them from violence."

No one disputes that Iraq has grown much more deadly. The question is how much.

A 2004 study by the same authors of the Lancet article estimated 98,000 violent deaths in the first 18 months after the invasion, a figure four times higher than the findings of a much larger survey done at approximately the same time by Norweigan researchers working for the United Nations. That study, the Iraqi Living Conditions Survey, estimated 23,743 civilian deaths in the first 13 months of the conflict.

In a telephone interview, Jon Pedersen, research director for the 2004 study, said several factors probably account for researchers' different findings.

One key issue is how researchers extrapolate from the deaths identified in their field research to a death toll for the whole country. Pedersen noted that the Lancet study is based on a pre-invasion mortality rate of 5.5 deaths per thousand people. The U.N., he said, used the figure of 9 deaths per thousand. Extrapolating from the lower pre-invasion mortality rate would yield a greater increase in post-invasion deaths, he noted. If the higher pre-invasion mortality rate is more accurate, then the deaths attributable to the war would be lower.

Another difficulty, he said, is doing accurate research under dangerous conditions. Pedersen wondered how tightly the study's authors could oversee the interviews as they were conducted throughout Iraq.

The JHU study, he noted, asked Iraqis only about mortality. The U.N. study asked Iraqis about many aspects of their living conditions. Pedersen said his study probably underestimated deaths caused by the war because the interviews did not focus on the issue, while the Lancet article probably overstated them because no other subject was discussed.

Pedersen said he thinks the Lancet numbers are "high, and probably way too high. I would accept something in the vicinity of 100,000 but 600,000 is too much."

"Regardless of the numbers that are possible," he added, "we are seeing a situation that is pretty horrible."

Reaction Roundup

The survey "has at least helped put a face on the type of violence confounding Iraq. Of those surveyed, researchers found 56 per cent of those who died violently were killed by guns. Slightly more than 27 per cent were killed by explosions, including car bombs, and 13 per cent lost their lives because of American air strikes."

-- "Reality check: Iraq's death toll, the numbers debate," CBC, Canada

"Surprise, surprise. Bush and [Australian Prime Minister] Howard ridicule the Johns Hopkins figures though the coalition has tabled none of its own. Joining in Washington's efforts to obfuscate, the Iraqi Government bars the central morgue and health ministry from releasing any details of the mounting toll. The lies and disinformation that got us into the war continue and the Iraqis pay an intolerable price for the wish-fulfilment fantasies of armchair generals and neo-cons."

-- "Blind Eye to Political Genocide," Columnist Philip Adams, The Australian

"The invasion of Iraq has caused immense human loss and tragedy in the Arab country where violence and revenge killings are spiralling out of control with an average of 100 people being killed and 1000 fleeing their homes every day as stated by UN Humanitarian chief, Mr Jan Egeland. President Bush and his administration should realise that truth can't be suppressed and it shall prevail."

-- "Iraq Death Toll After Invasion," The New Nation, Bangladesh

"Faced with these bloody figures, the matter of urgency for those involved in the war is how to curb and halt bloodshed instead of defending and justifying what they are doing in Iraq, as clashes with bloodshed are no games."

-- "Faced with merciless, bloody figures," People's Daily, China

Talk About It

Gilbert Burnham, lead author of the Johns Hopkins University study, joins World Opinion Roundup today at noon ET for a live discussion of his research of Iraqi civilian casualties. Submit your questions now.

By Jefferson Morley |  October 19, 2006; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Mideast
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Comments

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It is quite sickening that we are arguing about specific statistics and numbers of Iraq population being killed or injured. Just common sense shows that that country is suffering. The next question then is what has the US and allies achieved and are things getting any better. Answer: nothing achieved, fake reason for even getting started there and no, instead things are getting worse. So what the "hell" (literately) are we doing there. That is the issue and not if the numbers are accurate. Who knows?

Posted by: Anagadir | October 19, 2006 11:40 AM

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Like millions of others, I've followed our grand adventure into Iraq with slack-jawed wonder. Not only at the horrific violence, but at how we have reacted to it.

The conversation seems never to be about the reality of us invading a country, toppling the government, then failing to secure it. No, there are nuances over whether we actually found WMD, 9-11 connections or whether Iraq is the central front of the war on terror.

Slowly, America is awakening to the awful reality...ever so slowly. Now we're parsing out statistical methodology. Incredible.

I weep for the way history will record this. And I somehow doubt the historians will focus on the nuances offered to justify this debacle.

Hard to believe this was written a little over a year ago and we're still debating the minutia instead of the substance:

...Mr. President, who could blame you if your mind wanders back to that top-gun moment two years ago, or one year ago at your convention when you stood triumphant before delegates drunk on corporate hootch and your hokum and pronounced yourself fit to lead this country for another term.

But so much has gone awry and so much you said that night was so wrong and you knew it. Today, we know it too.

You told us that you "wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country." Today we know that you may wake up thinking about it but you sure don't bother to check the weather forecast before you go to bed.

You told us "the murderous regimes of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are history," but today we know both are back and as deadly as ever. You said that "there's nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat," and today we know that despite the simplicity of that proposition 1,759 more American troops have died since you declared mission accomplished...
from Mission Demolished 9/13/05
http://www.eyewitnessmuse.com/diary.php?p=149


Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | October 19, 2006 11:42 AM

A young Iraqi Woman was gang-raped and murdered by five American soldiers in Iraq. The soldiers also killed her father, mother, and young sister in her family home south of Baghdad.

Read More ...

http://pakistan1947.blogspot.com/2006/09/war-to-colonise-hearts-and-minds_19.html

Posted by: Muhammad Azeem Akhter | October 19, 2006 01:01 PM

Put the Iraqi deaths in perspective. Iraq has approx. 26,000,000 citizens, and America has approx. 300,000,000. Bush admits about 30,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the war, others estimate far more. Applying Bush's figure of 30,000 deaths to a population of 26 million would be equalivant to 345,000 Americans or one hundred times more than 9/11.
For every American soldier killed nearly 7 1/5 are wounded. Applying that ratio of wounded to killed, 224,700 Iraqis have been wounded in the war, which would equate to 2,584,050 Americans wounded.
This should demonstrate to Americans the impact of the war on Iraqis even under Bush's figures.

Posted by: Ronald Clabaugh | October 19, 2006 01:03 PM

_WHAT_ have any Iraqis done to deserve to die at the hands of the United States Military Industrial Complex?


How does having the US Rent-a-Cops, used by the Internationally_Wealthy community, qualify as


being good for the United States?


This is King George lending his knights and military bindings to another country, for favors.


Saudi oil wells are reaching their 50th Yeare Anniversary.......gotta make sure that the sand brothers are covered and that China/India/Pakistan don't get that ME oil!


Gonna make some big Military Industrial Complex $BUCKS$ too........


check out Helen Caldecott: "The New Nuclear Danger, George Bush's Military Industrial Complex" a _must_ reader...


also g o o g l e Negroponte' and Honduras to find out where _your_ terrorists came from.........

put them in jail.

thanks.

Posted by: more to the point... | October 19, 2006 01:03 PM

States and war is always good for the economy.......


where are the United States Middle Class?


and why haven't emergency measures that resulted in the shutdown of services in the states providing of services and education "states are operating in the red," been remedied?


why have emergency measures become permanent measures?


why did the rich guys try to link the estate tax with the minimum wage change


and why are certain politicians calling the estate tax

"the death tax."?


because it's a misleading ad campaign? lead these people home....take them to jail.

Posted by: IF being in Iraq is good for the United | October 19, 2006 01:11 PM

my name is michael schrage and i hold an appointment with mit's security studies program (which is part of mit's center for international studies)..i have published peer review books and articles on the real-world application of statistical models in business...

...i was stunned by the bloomberg/lancet study's findings - precisely because they were so much at odds with other estimates - and did some due diligence with phd statisticians, bio-statisticians and others...in addition, as one can see by looking at steve moore's wednesday wall street journal op-ed , there have been other quantitiatively savvy commentators of the lancet 'accelerated peer review' study....

my review of the study and comments by both critics and supporters leads to my sad and unhappy conclusion that not only is the study flawed on its own terms - that is, too few cluster points, response rates that defy credulity, oversampling in urban areas and a bizarre unwillingness to recheck the more absurd statistical extrapolations of its 'finding' (the ibc analysis in this regard is particularly incisive) BUT the 'accelerated peer review process' was clearly an outright failure of professionalism and competence...

i can say without hesitation that the errors, oversights and issues raised by this report's 'methodology' - let alone its conclusions - could not and would not survive a doctoral thesis defense at any mit department where i have participated in dissertation defenses...

...to put it another way, this report is not 'superb science' - it is bad science that reflects poorly on its authors and worse still on lancet...one can support the war, one can be opposed to the war - one can feel that more people have died than estimated or fewer people in iraq have died than estimated...however, academics who cloak themselves in the methodologies and metrics of objectivity have an ethical and professional obligation not to pervert their professionalism for political ends...

in this, lancet, the bloomberg school and - yes - mit's center for international studies have failed...shame on them and shame on the media for lacking the wit, brains and due diligence to challenge them

Posted by: michael schrage | October 19, 2006 01:13 PM

Everyone should read the interactive conversation with Dr. Burnham. He answered real questions about the validity of the statistics, rather clearly.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2006/10/18/DI2006101801279.html

Posted by: Eric | October 19, 2006 01:25 PM

not only is the study flawed on its own terms

How?

- that is, too few cluster points,
Ever consider feasibility in a civil war?


response rates that defy credulity,
What, exactly, is "credulity" and how is it a scientific test of anything? You betray your supposed expertise. Immediately.


oversampling in urban areas

You mean, disproportionate to actual Iraqi urban population? #1. Prove it: #2: Feasibility? Civil War? Extreme danger? Come on.


and a bizarre unwillingness to recheck the more absurd statistical extrapolations of its 'finding'

What, in English, are you talking about?

This is just trash talk. Total lack of substance. IBC's critique, though I respect them, was anecdotal and nothing like repudiation.
Your experience on statistics in business schools, in the placidity of Massachusetts, is rather irrelevant to Baghdad.

lame.



Posted by: j | October 19, 2006 01:32 PM

Just got back from reading the live discussion. It was very informative, and another example of how valuable such a forum can be.

Posted by: sm | October 19, 2006 01:47 PM

Just go to http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ and read what Riverbend, posting from Baghdad (as always), had to say yesterday. Or I could quote:

"For American politicians and military personnel, playing dumb and talking about numbers of bodies in morgues and official statistics, etc, seems to be the latest tactic. But as any Iraqi knows, not every death is being reported. As for getting reliable numbers from the Ministry of Health or any other official Iraqi institution, that's about as probable as getting a coherent, grammatically correct sentence from George Bush- especially after the ministry was banned from giving out correct mortality numbers. So far, the only Iraqis I know pretending this number is outrageous are either out-of-touch Iraqis abroad who supported the war, or Iraqis inside of the country who are directly benefiting from the occupation ($) and likely living in the Green Zone.

The chaos and lack of proper facilities is resulting in people being buried without a trip to the morgue or the hospital. During American military attacks on cities like Samarra and Fallujah, victims were buried in their gardens or in mass graves in football fields. Or has that been forgotten already?

We literally do not know a single Iraqi family that has not seen the violent death of a first or second-degree relative these last three years. Abductions, militias, sectarian violence, revenge killings, assassinations, car-bombs, suicide bombers, American military strikes, Iraqi military raids, death squads, extremists, armed robberies, executions, detentions, secret prisons, torture, mysterious weapons - with so many different ways to die, is the number so far fetched?

There are Iraqi women who have not shed their black mourning robes since 2003 because each time the end of the proper mourning period comes around, some other relative dies and the countdown begins once again."

Posted by: RT | October 19, 2006 01:53 PM

The "rebuttal" that j provides is laughable. Just because YOU don't understand what Mr. Schrage is saying doesn't make it hokum. He's right, and if you need a dumbed-down version read Stephen Moore's op-ed from the WSJ. He clearly explains the critical flaw of the JHU study.

And when j asks about "feasibility in a civil war" it sounds to me like he's confirming the critics of the study. You are right, j, it would be difficult to do an accurate cluster sample in a war zone. That's why the Lancet study should not have claimed to have done that. They didn't, and they know it, but they want their results to appear credible, so they deny that they had any problems.

It would seem rather difficult to conduct a population survey study in the middle of a "civil war" and so the most reliable methods for tabulating casualties would be those methods employed by IBC and other media sources. Count the dead in reports from the scene and the hospital.

On another note, the numbers from the Lancet study seem ridiculous on their face. However, their results are questionable for another reason. They tell us that their survey found two violent deaths in the 18 months before the invasion. Was Saddam on a pre-topple vacation in those 18 months? I find it very hard to swallow these numbers, and the comparitive nature of the methodology forces the conclusions to rest on this incredible claim.

The study is bunk, and the only people who won't accept it are those that "need" evidence to support their "criticism" of the President's Iraq policy.

As others have stated here, you don't need new, outlandish, and possibly faulty evidence to critique this policy. Just open your eyes. Clinging to bad data just undermines your credibility more generally.

Posted by: jrd | October 19, 2006 01:59 PM

Ah, the mischief researchers get themselves into when they engage in games of statistics. A simple historical comparison exercise will allow me to illustrate the absurdity of the British-based Iraq Body Count research group's recent claims of 655,000 Iraqi war dead. If Iraq with its population of 26 million were to incur such a death rate, it would mean that one in every forty Iraqi citizens has already died in this war.
This astonishing rate stands in historical contrast to the 620,000 people who were reported to have died during our own American Civil War. In 1860, however, this country had a population of slightly more than 40 million people. This means that approximately one in every sixty four Americans died in the bloodiest of our wars.
To believe the nonsensical Iraqi war dead claim, a reader has to imagine a death rate that is over one and a half times that which this country suffered in our own American Civil War. If this so called Body Count Research Group truly believes this, they should also be required to show us all where the bodies have now gone.

Posted by: Patrick F. Gould | October 19, 2006 02:01 PM

I'm not a statistician, but I did study statistics in college and after reading the full report on lancet.com it seems pretty clear to even the untrained observer that there are flaws with the methodology. I don't mean to dispute the terrific human cost to this war, and I think we should get out as quickly as we can without provoking even more death. But there are some obvious flaws in the study and I think 600,000 is too high.

One, even though they claim to use 1,849 households, a lot of these were near each other so results would tend to be correlated, and therefore the confidence in the results is undermined. In fact, they only used 47 "clusters" or locations for the study, each cluster consisting of households all living next to each other. Even a non-expert can see that if a few battles or insurgent attacks happened to occur near only two or three of these clusters, the results would be skewed. Basically, 47 "clusters" in high-density urban areas where large battles are often fought seems to be the near equivalent of a sample size of 47.

Second, I would guess that the studies tended to mostly use urban locations. If the study were conducted effectively, this would get them MOST of the way, since something like 70% of Iraqi live in urban locations. But I would guess that the methodology for choosing locations must have also been flawed.

If 92% of respondents had death certificates, my first response as someone conducting a study like this would be to check how those certs are issued. Is there a record of how many certs are issued by the legal authorities? Is there any incentive for Iraqi citizens to "fake" a certificate (not suggesting this is likely, just wondering) for claiming benefits from govt? If there is a record of death certificates, does it square with these findings?

I would urge a second study correcting all of the identifiable flaws and see what the results are. They will be much, much higher than the piddling 30,000 that Bush claims, but not 600,000.

Posted by: Jacob | October 19, 2006 02:09 PM

>The "rebuttal" that j provides is laughable. Just because YOU don't understand what Mr. Schrage is saying doesn't make it hokum. He's right, and if you need a dumbed-down version read Stephen Moore's op-ed from the WSJ. He clearly explains the critical flaw of the JHU study.

I read Stephen Moore's WSJ op-ed. Honest people can differ. But Moore is a Republican.

When Moore or Michael Schrage publish their opinions in a peer-reviewed journal I'll pay attention to them. Until then, the best information is the peer-reviewed study in the Lancet.

If the Bush Administration wanted the truth, they woul have collected statistics. Instead, they prohibited Iraqi hospitals from releasing statistics. So it is hypocritical for them to complain when somebody else compiles statistics. If you don't like the results, get your own data and publish it in a journal as respectable as The Lancet.

(BTW, as a long-time reader of The Lancet, I know that The Lancet was printing letters from Iraqi doctors protesting Saddam's brutality before GWB knew the difference between Iraq and Iran.)

Don't forget that "Republican science" is an oxymoron.

Posted by: Norman | October 19, 2006 02:34 PM

Do you all feel better after all the sanctimonious talk about how bad you feel for the deaths in Iraq? Good. Does that place you in a higher moral ground? Of course not. I've only read hysteria in lieu or reason.

Once Saddam Hussein took power, his removal, like Hitler's or Tojo's, or in the case of the careers of Milosevic, Mao, or Stalin, was always a question of bad (many dying in a war of liberation and subsequent strife) and worse (yearly mass murders unchecked, which in Saddam's case numbered tens of thousands a year). From Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo the U.S. military operates under constant global scrutiny, and when it errs, the world knows instantly -- unlike what the Chinese do in Tibet or the Russians in Chechnya or the French in the Ivory Coast or even the exact circumstances of how a Milosevic drops dead in The Hague.

To continue with your fantasies of self-righteousness, I suggest to start castigating the "empire" for not intervening to save the hundreds of thousands dead in Darfur, the millions starving in North Korea, the other millions killed in Congo, etc.

Any righteous sorrow remaining for the victims of Saddam Hussein?

I didn't think so.

Posted by: Matedecoca | October 19, 2006 02:39 PM

One question...Where are all these bodies then? 600,000+ would mean corpses would be stacked like cord-wood...gimme a break! This report differs by a factor of 10 from other credible reports, and we are supposed to swallow this bunk? How about a little bit of common sense on this one people? How utterly ridiculous!

Posted by: Cary Martyn | October 19, 2006 02:42 PM

There is a major flaw in the Bush administration's criticisms of this study's results. When neither the Pentagon nor any other US Government representative does not, as a policy, track Iraqi deaths that are related to this war, on what basis can the Administration then say someone else's results are not credible? You have no data of your own to point to. Additionally, the comparison of the Iraqi death rate with that of the Civil War, as a proportion of the total population, is also problematic. The means by which many people have been killed in Iraq, especially suicide bombings, have the ability to kill a lot of people at one time. It makes no sense to me to compare the Iraqi death rate to a war that occurred almost 150 years ago, and used relatively less lethal weaponry.

Posted by: TWash | October 19, 2006 02:49 PM

The methodology of the study is so discredited that the CDC mentions the same methodology (cluster sampling) a whopping 242 times. The CDC shows cluster sampling as THE method of analyizing mass casualties in an example calling for study submissions and the CDC offers a 9-part tutorial on how to use cluster sampling in public health methodology. The US Senate unamimously passed S.2125 which contained a Congressional finding citing a cluster sampling study conducted in Congo by the Johns Hopkins School of Bloomberg School of Public Health. Why is the same methodology that's good enough for co-sponsors of S.2125 Sens. Sam Brownback and James Inhofe not good enough when talking about Iraq?


S.2125 Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s109-2125

CDC Cluster Sampling tutorial
http://www.cdc.gov/descd/MiniModules/pps/page01.htm

CDC Study example, Mass Casualites: Rapid community needs assessment using modified cluster sampling methods
http://www.bt.cdc.gov/masscasualties/research/community.asp

Posted by: joejoejoe | October 19, 2006 02:54 PM

As we see on Television, the number of Iraqis dying on a daily basis are horrific. You are not going to get any firm numbers until this conflict is over, so you have to live with statistical estimates. We know that too many have died, and that is obvious.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | October 19, 2006 03:18 PM

"A young Iraqi Woman was gang-raped and murdered by five American soldiers in Iraq. The soldiers also killed her father, mother, and young sister in her family home south of Baghdad."

Yes, and we're putting them on trial, and will imprison their sorry butts if they're guilty. We do police our own - why can't the Islamic world do the same with their nutcases?

Posted by: | October 19, 2006 03:36 PM

joe

No one is criticizing using cluster sampling. People are criticizing the entirely inadequate number of clusters used by the study in question. They took 42 locations and from that tiny number extrapolated a national death toll. That is simply completely rediculous. They also failed to obtain any demographic data from their respondants making it impossible to compare the results to the last good census. We have no idea if the people they sampled are in anyway representative of the Iraqi population.

TWash
The Bush administartion or anyone else for that matter can compare the results of this study to others that have used sound methodology.

No one that is saying this study is most likely bunk is trying to diminsh the value of life. That said there is a big difference between 60,000 and 600,000.

I think the Civil War example was great. If those weapons are too primitive for some how about something more recent?
Iraq lost less then 400,000 people to Iran in a total of eight years of modern warfare with civilian centers being targeted. How unorganized, sporadic conflict for three years could trump eight years of nationally organized determined killing by over 50% is beyond me.


Posted by: | October 19, 2006 05:35 PM

Come on folks, only a couple dozen civilians have died in Iraq so far - TODAY.

Put your heads back in the sand. The people of Iraq are better off now that we've given them democracy.

Posted by: Bubba | October 19, 2006 05:37 PM

Listen, as a tree-hugging upmember of the liberal elite, even I find these numbers staggering and hard to believe. I sincerely doubt that that many civilians have been killed, but not having been there, and walked the country I certainly can't say. What I will say is that Iraqi's are reporting about 100 violent deaths a day, which works out to 36,500 per year at that rate. In Vietnam we lost 25,000 soldier over the course of 8 to 10 years. That means that Iraq is losing a Vietnam war's worth of citizens every 8 1/2 months! Extrapolated for 3 years, that tops 100,000!! The Bush administration has said they believe it's closer to 30,000....which number is right? WHO CARES!! They all died for a power-hungry man's arrogance and deceipt! No matter what you do this year, just vote against everyone who has supported this debacle in Iraq so far! This government has allowed us to get distracted from our real enemies, Osama and the Taliban, to chase down a petty tyrant in Saddam. Am I sad he's gone? Does he deserve to return to power? NO! But this has cost far more in lives and international respect and trust than it was worth. Not only was it misguided from the start (I just wish the Dems had had the guts to challenge it, but with a Repub majority, all the positions of power on the congressional committees were held by Repubs as well, which means the Dems were allowed to see very little, and didn't have the stones to challenge this debacle!) but the plan to get out (there WAS a plan to get out, right?!) went out the window at day one....from 'This will be over in a matter of weeks, six months tops' and "The Iraqi's will be able to pay for their own reconstruction!" to the "Death throes of the insurgency" that have been going on for 2 1/2 years....Sending in underarmored equipment and soldiers has been a disgrace. The DISinformation is saddening at best, disgusting at it's worst.

When dealing with a sovereign nation, and the survival of it's indigenous population after we invade, it may behoove us to act in a more responsible and respectable fashion in the future, after all, While I won't have to explain Clinton to my kids, I WILL have to explain why we did this....Clinton will be an embarrassing footnote, this will be an embarrassing chapter!

Posted by: cleverlyc | October 19, 2006 07:00 PM

what difference does it make how many Iraqi are dead?


did they do something wrong.


answer the fricking question.


what did Iraq do that we are over there shooting people?


answer the fricking QUESTION!!!!!


you gutless wonders of invention.


false flag attack, fabricated connection!


shut the eff up, you cowards.

Posted by: hello morons... | October 19, 2006 07:58 PM

Maybe all of you slobs ought to go over to Iraq and volunteer to fight for the terrorist or go over and help those people out of the stone age. If I had a gun pointed at my head (WMDs) and a guy (Sadaam) said he was going to pull the rigger I would kill him BEFORE he pulled the trigger! Whatwould you do? Shut up and go help them out one way or another.

Posted by: Proud of My Country | October 19, 2006 10:26 PM

are you?


you are a liar.


There were no WMD, and Saddam was in EMBARGO.


do you know what that means you cocker spaniel?


Sadddam was a sucker, that got sucker punched..........he got to be the _bad_guy_ so that the United States Elitists could go in and corner the market on oil..........

there's no other reason to be there, unless you're a blooming idiot......or getting paid to post blarney..........

Noriega and Saddam both screamed the same thing as they were being taken down................"we had a deal, why's he doing this to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


or don't you pay attention?


there is no Iraq, WTC, terrorist link.

there is a direct link to terrorists from the CIA to Negroponte' and Honduras....


g o o g l e HONDURAS and NEGROPONTE' if you want to know who the real terroristas are.........

and they're not in the middle east, regardless of what you've been sold....


who trained the al queerdas in Afghanistan?

if anyone did, who flew the planes into the WTC? look it up on wikipedia......saudis

Posted by: what kind of idiot | October 19, 2006 10:40 PM

"all you slobs,"


would eat you for breakfast.

Posted by: maybe | October 19, 2006 10:43 PM

I find it amazing that there's so much effort put into picking apart the Lancet's methodology when the military's counting, and the Iraqi government's counting, are never criticised despite being an obvious tissue of lies.

The numbers of bodies found are reported every morning by the police, who are up to their necks in the death squads. Who's to say they aren't just piling most of them into mass graves? Saddam did.

The monthly casualties are reported by the Iraqi Health Ministry, which is run by Sadrist militiamen whom the US accuses of being heavily implicated in death squads.

There are Health Ministry death squads operating within the hospitals themselves, according to this newspaper.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/29/AR2006082901680.html

Yet the Health Ministry's figures are supposedly more credible than the Lancet and Johns Hopkins, says the US government.

We're told to trust their count. According to the latest UN Report, the Iraqi Health Ministry reported zero casualties in Anbar province in July. One of the most violent provinces in the country, where numerous media reports of fatal incidents come out every day. How credible is that?
http://www.uniraq.org/documents/HR%20Report%20July%20August%202006%20EN.pdf

Posted by: OD | October 19, 2006 11:12 PM

Or the US military, which was caught cooking the books on Baghdad casualty figures in August? When the morgue released nearly triple the figure touted by commanders, their spokesman Lt Col Barry Johnson had to admit that the US had only been counting "individuals targeted as a result of sectarian-related violence, to include executions," and had excluded "other violent acts such as car bombs and mortars."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/07/AR2006090700768_pf.html

What's more, it was the US military that defined, according to its own hidden criteria, which killings it classed as "sectarian".

Despite being caught lying, the US military sneakily continued to claim it had halved deaths in Baghdad on its website.

How did authorities react to this embarrassing episode? Promise to provide actual numbers? Promise to count all violent deaths?

Nope. They banned the Baghdad morgue from releasing any more figures to the press. All future reporting will be done only through government channels, they say. And they built two satellite morgues, ensuring that no one institution would have a clear total of deaths in Baghdad.

At least this time, they didn't drive the morgue's director out of the country with death threats, like they did to the previous director, Dr Faik Amin Bakr.

Strangely, I've never heard anyone in the western press criticise THAT rather unusual approach to death reporting methodology.

Posted by: OD | October 19, 2006 11:15 PM

Is this true?
"

May 2000, Dick Cheney said he was the best guy to be George Bush's Vice-President. Over the past 6 years, we've gone down a long, rather dark path toward creating a totalitarian fascist country. Look up the definition of those words in the dictionary if you don't believe me! We've watched the steady erosion of our civil rights, destruction of the middle class, the consolidation of the free press media into 5 companies, exported our manufacturing base, eliminated jobs, removed our right to declare bankruptcy, enhanced eminent domain to take away property rights, broken our union working force, invaded a sovereign nation, removed habeas corpus from the constitution for our citizens as well as for all of those "unlawful enemy combatants", permitted torture in our name and spent our two treasures of citizen's blood and money to control and occupy the fifth largest oil field in the world.

The boys in charge have dispatched the Ike Strike Force, as in Eisenhower Carrier group of the Navy, to sail for Iran's coast. The Ike Strike Force arrives off the coast of Iran around October 21-22, 2006. I have a feeling we are going to be invading Iran over the next couple of weeks. Or there will be a "triggering" incident so we CAN invade Iran over the next two weeks.
"

Posted by: Is this true? | October 20, 2006 01:23 AM

Hey stupid,
There is no question that Saddam Hussein HAD what we classify as "weapons of mass destruction". Between August of 1983 and March of 1988 there is clear-cut, undeniable, documented proof that no less than 10 times he used them in anger. Seven of those times they were used exclusively against the Iranians, who Iraq had invaded on September 22, 1980 after a long series of bitter border disputes. It is estimated that of the over 1.5 million Iranian casualties suffered during that eight year war of attrition, over 120,000 of the soldiers and civilians were targeted exclusively by Iraqi WMDs, with reports that upwards of 30,000 of them died from the effects of the chemical agents they were exposed to under orders of Saddam.
Two of the other three confirmed incidents involving Saddam's use of WMDs occurred in 1983, and both involved his own northern Kurdish civilian populations falling victim to them. In August of that year, Hussein's first recorded use of chemical weapons occurred, when he used them to attack Iranians who had entered the Iraqi garrison town of Hajj Umran, completely aware that it was full of Iraqi Kurds as well. While his first attempt at using these weapons resulted in fewer than 100 casualties, his second attempt a few months later, again aimed at Iranian soldiers and his own Kurdish civilians alike in the occupied northern Iraqi town of Panjwin, was significantly more successful. That attack killed at least 3,000 people (both Iranian soldiers and Iraqi civilians alike), and like the one before it, utilized mustard gas.
The final confirmed chemical weapons attack by Saddam occurred on March 16th, 1988, and yet again was directed at both Iranian soldiers and Iraqi Kurds, this time in the town of Halabja, Iraq. The aftermath of this attack was well-captured by foreign journalists and broadcast to a shocked world, with imagery of dead mothers still clutching their children and laying contorted where they fell in rigor, failing to escape the chemical fog that overwhelmed them and brought them down. Estimates go as high as 5,000 deaths from that one attack, with upwards of 75% of the casualties being Kurdish women and children (the men were, after all, off fighting the war). Known today as "Bloody Friday" throughout the Kurdish community the world over today, this attack cemented Saddam in the worlds eyes as being one of the most ruthless tyrants on the planet, but it also unfortunately proved to Iraq's leader just how effective these WMDs could be in taming both the battlefield and a rowdy civilian population.
Between 1986 and 1989, Saddam launched his "al-Anfal" campaign specifically directed against the Kurds that occupied the north of Iraq by throwing everything in his arsenal, WMDs included obviously, against them. The campaign was essentially run by a man named Ali Hasan al-Majid, better known to us in the West as "Chemical Ali", and I can guarantee you he is a man who did not earn that nickname because he always had the best drugs back in high school either.
Saddam cleared "Chemical Ali" (who was his Defense Minister and first cousin), to use not just mustard gas, but a whole cocktail of horrors, including the nerve agents Sarin, Tabun, and VX, as well as the blood agent Hydrogen Cyanide against the Kurdish population, and use them he did. VX in particular is the ugliest of the ugly, and it is widely recognized as one of the most dangerous chemicals ever created. As little as 10mg is enough to kill when the poison, the consistency of motor oil, is sprayed as a liquid or vaporized through evaporation and then gets absorbed into the body through the eyes and skin. Depending on the level of exposure, the effects of VX may take as long as an hour, or as short as 20 or 30 seconds to set in, but if you haven't had a shot of atropine immediately after exposure, you will be wanting another kind of shot shortly: a gunshot to the head in order to end the misery that is surely going to result in a hideous death as the weapons effects cause your body's entire nervous system to misfire and shut down.
While it is difficult to differentiate the exact numbers of Kurdish Iraqis killed by nerve agents and all the other chemicals in those attacks the Iraqi military launched over that 4 year period versus those killed by the conventional weapons they also had thrown at them, what is certain is that of the 182,000 Kurdish Iraqi's killed by their own military during that campaign, many thousands died as a result of being subjected to those WMDs.
While Saddam's WMDs helped significantly in staving off Iranian military forces and proved devastatingly persuasive at ending the Kurdish uprising, their effectiveness on the battlefield and as a terror weapon had a far more pronounced effect on Saddam Hussein's psyche. Keep in mind that throughout his rule, aside from a few defectors, very little was known about Saddam's true mindset. The CIA and every other Intel agency on Earth had psychological profilers working around the clock for over a decade, analyzing his actions in an attempt to identify the method to his madness. Following the invasion in 2003, it became apparent very quickly that those intelligence agencies, both foreign and domestic, had completely misread Saddam on several vital points, but they did nail certain, more obvious personality traits as well.
Many people have read, or at least heard about, the over 500 page "9/11 Commission Report" released in July 2004. That document, issued following an exhaustive in-depth analysis of the events leading up to, including, and after the September 11th attacks themselves, provides an excellent history of the event. While that comprehensive report should be required reading for every American in my opinion, there is another document that received far less press upon its release only two months later, but after reading it you may very well change your mind if you felt that Saddam Hussein was not a threat that needed to be eliminated. I am talking about the September 30th, 2004 "Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMD." Perhaps if the government had of chosen a more palatable name, it would have received more attention.
The "Comprehensive Report" was compiled from both data intelligence collected, as well as exhaustive interrogations following the liberation of Iraq of captured or surrendering senior Baath Party officials, high and mid-ranking Republican Guard military personnel, Iraqi scientists, and of course HVT (High Value Target) #1, Saddam Hussein himself.
The report contains an in-depth analysis of Iraq's WMD policies right from the mouth of many of those involved with it, and the methodological breakdown details what amounts to an in-depth psychological profile of Saddam Hussein as a leader, outlining his mindset throughout his regime right up to its fall in 2003. Reading this document provides an incredible view of the world through the eyes of Saddam Hussein, and as distorted and sociopathic as that view is, it gives a candid insight into what made this monster tick.
The big question is, where did all the WMD's go? There is no documentation supporting that they were destroyed. ANSWER: They went to Syria, into the hands of another psychotic madman - Assad.

Posted by: Cary Martynuik | October 20, 2006 07:15 AM

It's horrible to the extent that by being dead they no longer have the potential to buy things they don't need with money they don't have and thereby assist the living with propping up the global economy.

Posted by: Reynolds | October 20, 2006 07:50 AM

"what kind of idiot"

Thanks. Could not have sad it any better!

Posted by: slob | October 20, 2006 08:04 AM

Still waiting for a wave of Liberals leaving MY country and helping out those poor people. Maybe those 1,000 dead people a day are being shoveled into mas graves and some guy is standing there just using a "Ditto" machine cranking off those death certs with a line of grieving widows stretching for miles and nobody sees it?!?!?!?!? yeah thats it thats ow these researches got their 98% percent of death certificates, they were waiting there at the front of the line!

AND, all 800,000 of the wounded Iraqis just have really good first aid kits at home so none of them needed to seek medical attention. I am sure those first aid kits were issued by the U.S. too.

Remember your duty as liberals is to head over to Iraq and be human shields to help the terrorist out, or maybe just to help sneak them across our mexican border!

Posted by: Proud of My Country | October 20, 2006 09:32 AM

"Between August of 1983 and March of 1988 there is clear-cut, undeniable, documented proof that no less than 10 times he used them in anger."

Yeah, and Caspar Weinberger said, "We're not sure it was Saddam who gassed those Kurds, cause that's not the gas we gave him."

He may have used it, but if not for US, he would not have had an opportunity.

Posted by: | October 20, 2006 01:35 PM

Proud of My Country - No one beleived all those people were being killed in Germany during the 40's either.

OOPS.

BTW - I don't think that any Liberals live in your country. What country is it anyway? LALA Land?

Posted by: | October 20, 2006 01:40 PM

Hey Proud of My Country.

Can't help wondering about your morals?

I guess one day when YOU step in front of your "maker" and summarize your deeds you must think it's GWB twin with the US flag in the back.

Hope you are not too surprised when it's not.

Sure that time will come. Without the terrorist you think we sneak our mexican border.


LOOSER!

Posted by: TK | October 20, 2006 02:06 PM

Cary Martynuik

Grabbing for some straw? Arn't you! Keep grabbing.

Let me know when you found the WMDs.

Posted by: Ben | October 20, 2006 02:14 PM

Proud of your country -
"Remember your duty as liberals is to head over to Iraq and be human shields to help the terrorist out, or maybe just to help sneak them across our mexican border!" - POMC

We're here in America fighting terrorists and fascists. First the Republicans in Congress, then the Presidency. Then we're coming for uneducated, racist morons like you!

Posted by: | October 20, 2006 02:23 PM

We're more likely to find BLT's in Iraq than we are to find WMD's. And it's a Muslim country!

Posted by: | October 20, 2006 02:48 PM

Uneducated? I have three different degrees? You have? I just know that all I have to do is say one little thing and you tolern't peepul will start ranting and raving about how intolerunt we's publikins is. Isn't it odd how the liberals just can't stand it when somebody has a different view, what was it you said about the Nazi mentality? Everybody knew that Jews were being killed, nobody wanted to believe it.

Do you morons even know that the Islamic "religion" demands that the whole world be Muslim or ruled by Muslims? Your right we have nothing to worry about. Do you even know about the Muslim invasion and occupation of Europe? The Christians went on the crusades to take the "Holyland" muslims went on their crusade to conquer or destroy christians. Your right again we are very safe in this world.

As for the oil issue why don't you liberal idiots stop burning SUVs and let me drive a car that will kill the other guy and keep my family safe. Why don't you narrow minded idiots let us drill for oil in Alaska and where ever else we have it, since the footprint for a well is down to just about 1 acre of ground.

Another thing Golbal warming is a natural cycle and you idiots blame the US for everything. We emit less "Greenhouse" gas then just about any other nation on earth.

Intelegent responses only please

Posted by: Proud of My Country | October 20, 2006 04:47 PM

Ben - nice response. Really classy! That is what is to be expected from someone who is afraid to - or more accurately, is ignorant of - the facts. Funny how you never challenged my statements on the evidence presented, which is typical with those who like to pretend they understand the nuance and subtly of an issue as hyper-complex as the war on terror, but in reality would rather whine and cry than actually doing some homework first. As a terrorism analyst for a major NGO global think-tank who has spent almost a full decade specifically studying the mindset and threat potential of fundamentalist Islam, your pathetic unsupported retort is sadly most typical with what I have to deal with on a daily basis. Facts and evidence is all that SHOULD matter to people when attempting to analyze any issue that carries the complexity such as this topic does, but sadly, many like you would rather deal in hyperbolic rhetoric. Stay "in the box" little boy, because you are clearly up WAY past your bedtime if you think you have the slightest chance on Allah's green Earth of ever impressing me with your cretinous whining. With that being said, I NEVER claimed that the primary reason that the US invaded Iraq in 2003 was to find WMDs. That excuse was simply the palatable "master key" required to open the door and garner support to do so from the myopic ignorant masses who lack the foundational base of knowledge to ever fathom the multi-generational stratagem in play. Invading Iraq was an ABSOLUTE requirement to furthering the long-term war against radical Islam, you are simply too small-minded and short-sighted to grasp the complexity of the issue. I'd ask you to challenge the facts I presented, but we both know that is an exercise in futility. It is about time for your bottle and a diaper change.

Posted by: Cary | October 20, 2006 04:52 PM

OOPS
I should have said "Idustrialized" nation on earth. just for you pinheads that can't infer meaning in your readings.

Posted by: Proud of My Country | October 20, 2006 04:56 PM

Hey "Proud Of My Country"...rather humorous that you say "i have three degrees?". The fact that you actually used a question mark at the end of that claim was right on point, because to say that comment is questionable is a gross understatement! Even more telling was when you ended your post by typing "intelegent responses only please"! LOL
You can find many a spell checker or dictionary for free online, but i am sure someone as INTELLIGENT as yourself already knows that! Hell, i am not even saying i disagree with everything you wrote, but how can you ever expect to be taken seriously when you challenge other people's thoughts with retorts written in such a way that they just scream "stupidity" at the reader? You come across as a complete bag of bricks, and any viable points you might make (and there are a few in there somewhere) are totally lost in the hilarity and hypocriticality of your puerile presentation. At least your posts make for a whimsical read though, so i will thank you for that.

Posted by: i'm with stupid.... | October 21, 2006 06:32 AM

Speaking various languages I read both USA and European newspapers. Interesting to note that "Official, Federal Government controlled" USA perspectives are often 180 degrees different from the European collegues. Particularly when interpreting issues pertaining to Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, and now Iran - European Leaders are, as usual, more scared to use militairy powers but by the same token look at things from a much more global perspective - in the USA exactly the opposite on all counts. Reading the many BLOGS though it is obvious that there is a much stronger bond and sharing of points-of-view between the 2 sides of the Atlantic. Key issues BLOG shared include: (1) what is the US doing in Iraq (no idea); (2) what is going on with Israel and how in the world did they end up there (Fell of a cliff - Olmert is not to be trusted); (3) Now that US has lost power in Iraq what does this mean for Iran and Syria (They are getting very strong indeed - scary); and (4) How strong are the Moslem/Islam powers in Western Europe and how much longer until we see this in the US (Very and Soon, resp.). Obviously, what is happening at the "BLOG" level is a true concern about Western vs Arab powers and the latter getting the upperhand. What is also showing in these BLOGs is that these issues are rapidly getting worse and primarily because of Bush's narrow-mindness and global ignorance. Hopefully 2 years from now things will improve.

Posted by: Bruce - Timbuktu | October 21, 2006 12:14 PM

ThanKS Stupud! You Done ReEl good! Ya'll figerd my out?

Posted by: Proud of My Country | October 22, 2006 01:25 AM

No problem Cary, that was easy.


When I read your whining I get the impression you are still grabbing! Keep going!

Quoting you. "With that being said, I NEVER claimed that the primary reason that the US invaded Iraq in 2003 was to find WMDs. That excuse was simply the palatable "master key" required to open the door and garner support to do so from the myopic ignorant masses who lack the foundational base of knowledge to ever fathom the multi-generational stratagem in play. Invading Iraq was an ABSOLUTE requirement"

There we got the reason for the "straw". It's there for all us "stupid" so we may follow you "smart" into some dumb, immoral war.

Thanks for your clarification. That quote tells stories, not only about the war in Iraq.

Again keep grabbing for some "straw". Hope you find the truth. And please, stop lying to us and hopefully to yourself too.

Posted by: Ben | October 22, 2006 07:30 AM

Ben - clearly, the truth is too far over your head to see it. You call me a liar yet fail to provide a shred of evidence that ANYTHING I said was a lie, again solidifying the fact that you simply lack the intelligence or understanding of the issues at play to logically attack me. Hyperbolic rhetoric doesn't hold up at all in the face of the truth, and the clearly ignorantly-formed bias you carry blinds you to ever considering that you are grossly misled in your thinking. The second last thing I am is a Republican, and the last thing I am is a Democrat. I have no partisan agenda at all, and am only interested in the facts. Did the Bush Administration lie to the public about the reasons for invading Iraq? Damn right! Absolutely! If you honestly think that WMD's, or the pursuit of oil interests, or personal agenda, was the PRIMARY reason for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, then you are, as I said, a member of the myopic and ignorant masses. You and the vast majority of those who engage in uninformed debate have had your lack of knowledge of the enemy, the region, the culture, the history, all used against you to allow the Bush Administration to achieve their initial goal of garnering public support to invade Iraq. It clearly worked to perfection in 2002 and 2003, because enough of the public swallowed the WMD argument in particular to support the invasion.
Iraq is a vital component in a multi-decade, multi-generational stratagem to take on militant Islam and attempt to build and secure a level of stabilization in the Middle East in the LONG-TERM (not 5 years from now, but decades from now). I am NOT saying it is right or wrong, I am simply explaining the facts that you, and many like you, just do not yet grasp - or refuse to due to your preformed bias being too strong to appreciate that you lack the substratum of understanding to form a cohesive and informed opinion. This flaw in your thinking is one that I do not fault you for; you are just one of the average myopic thinkers who lacks the appreciation of the nuance and complexity involved - which is precisely why you had to be lied to in the first place by the Bush Administration in order to secure initial support.
I admit it was wrong of me to engage in name calling with you, and for that i apologize, but at least I can also cohesively explain an opinion and support it with evidence. If you are going to call me a liar when you cannot come close to disproving one thing i said, all you are doing is supporting my claim that you are grossly misled. Forming a strong bias on any issue without adequeately being capable of explaining WHY you hold that mindset is not only totally ignorant, it is incredibly arrogant, creating someone who honestly thinks they know what they are talking about but who lacks the foundational base of knowledge to engage in a competent debate. No lies or ignorance coming from me my friend, and no unsupportable claims either. As a terrorism analyst for a major global NGO think-tank who has spent nearly a decade studying the threat of radical Islam specifically, i may be arrogant on issues dealing with this subject matter, but I certainly cannot be accused of being ignorant, because i can back up what I say with facts and evidence - after all, any opinion is rather worthless otherwise.

Posted by: Cary | October 22, 2006 12:42 PM

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)

Posted by: Robert Rose | October 22, 2006 09:15 PM

Cary, I could not have said it better. Nor do I believe that anybody else could have either. I believe you have not only hit the war issue "nail" squarely on the head but you also have driven home in one strike. Now could you explain to me why the "liberals" or anti-war Nazis or whatever you want to call them always respond with a nonsense rant without ever addressing the issues.

Posted by: Proud of My Country | October 22, 2006 09:19 PM

Ok, i typically lurk and laugh at these fools around here, but i just had to say that was prolly the best damn post i have read on the internet in A LONG time! That one is getting emailed around the office today!

Posted by: smarty pants | October 23, 2006 06:57 AM

Hey "proud of My Country" - That query you posed is one that i used to ask myself on a DAILY basis Sir. With my job duties as a terrorism analyst who specializes in the subject of radical/militant Islam, I am forced to face such foolishness constantly on this topic of the "war on terror". From ALOT of experience, i can tell you that what it comes down to is typical human ignorance.
It is well established that it is human nature to form initial opinions and bias immediately upon hearing the very basics of an issue, whatever said issue may be. That initial bias then becomes one's prevailing viewpoint, and makes it significantly harder to alter. Basically, most people are hardwired to think that their initial impression is the correct one, and rather than challenging themselves to prove or disprove that impression from an unbiased stance, they instead tend to give disproportionate weight to data that may support their initial opinion, while at the same time affording less weight to new theories or evidence that offers a diametric viewpoint. To put it more simplistically, no one ever wants to discover they are wrong, and therefore as a consequence they become more open to absorbing or giving credence to data that supports their preformed bias than they do to data challenging it. (Again, this is inarguable human nature, and has been well proven by many a study done on human intellect and the formulation of bias.)
Now, that strategy worked fine for countless millennia when our species as a whole was entirely uneducated and was typically faced with little more than rather basic survival situations, such as how best to categorize and evade predators, seek out and construct rudimentary shelter, hunt for and gather food, and (most importantly in relation to this argument) inter-tribal and exo-tribal conflict resolution. This engrained evolutionary survival trait of rapid bias-forming served (and continues to serve) the average person quite well when the issues/topic at hand are simplistic enough that they do not require significant study or analysis in order to gain a suitable requisite level of understanding. However, when one is dealing with an incredibly nuanced and deeply complex issue (such as the heterogeneous stratagem in play in the "war on terror" for example), it should be absolutely ridiculous to think one can rely on this most basic of methodologies to truly achieve an accurate and supportable opinion - yet true to human nature, many still rely on this technique.
While the COLLECTIVE intelligence of our species has increased remarkably in the last half-millennia (particularly due to the advent of Gutenberg's printing press in 1450), the FACT is that most people INDIVIDUALLY are still of average (and average is not smart) intelligence, and therefore, they primarily behave, think, and problem-solve the way the average person has for over 50,000 years, forming rather concrete opinions based on the most rudimentary of facts and the sparsest level of understanding of the issue - even when the topic is clearly multiplex and highly sophisticated in depth. This is classic (and definitively ignorant) human behaviour at its finest, and in the case of the "war on terror" (or any other hyper-complex topic for that matter), this problem of jumping to a hard-and-fast conclusion without possessing, or never even seeking to acquire, a truly informed and unbiased foundational base of knowledge on the subject matter is compounded heavily by a mass-media apparatus that is forced to present a story in the most juvenile manner possible. This is done in order to maintain a certain level of attraction and readability/viewability amongst the typically not-well-informed "average intelligence" mass audience. Anyone working in the media, if being honest, will tell you that they consistently must "dumb themselves down" to the lowest common denominator when reporting multiplex stories because they simply do not have the column inches or television airtime available to cohesively explain the deep background - even when that background may be a requirement to presenting an adequate and wholly accurate understanding.
*(post continued below)*

Posted by: Cary M | October 23, 2006 07:01 AM

That fact is then coupled with a grossly obvious prevailing bias in today's mass-media that, rather than simply reporting an issue with impartiality, instead interjects a subtle-to-overt prejudice (typically motivated by a writer and/or editor/producer's personal political and/or moral bias) that has the effect of aiding in the solidification of the average reader/watcher's ignorant and ill-informed opinion.
To think one can understand an issue as nuanced and complex as "the war on terror" by reading a few headlines or absorbing a couple newspaper stories, or watching a few 150-second news segments on television, is incredibly foolish thinking, yet most (i.e. "average people") in our society do it all the time.
To steal the old saying, "opinions are like a-holes, everyone has got one". I would expand that by adding, "If you believe that your opinion is absolutely correct but you lack the knowledge base to cohesively support and explain your conclusion, or if you cannot present suitable facts and evidence to effectively counter an opposing opinion, then you are an A-HOLE."
Quick analogy examples for ya: Many people argue incessantly and ABSOLUTELY about sectarian violence in Iraq between the Sunni and Shi'a, yet when prodded, prove totally incapable of providing even the most basic of explanations to demonstrate they understand the ideological differences between these two primary denominations of the Islamic faith. Many form CONCRETE mindsets on anything and everything to do with the Islamic faith, even if they have never read the Holy Qur'an, the Hadiths, or Shar'ia, or cannot even give a basic explain of the faith's belief structure. Many engage in vicious verbal altercations and name-calling regarding how or how not to wage this war, but they cannot demonstrate they possess any real understanding of the operational art of military warfare and intelligence gathering.
When their arguments lack any appreciation of these most basic and vital pieces of data - data that are prerequisite requirements to really understanding an issue as complex as this - those people very rapidly recognize that they are losing the argument. They achieve the stark realization that they do not possess the foundational knowledge base to present an informed and supportable opinion, and when faced with someone they disagree with who can cohesively explain an opposing point of view and back it strongly with facts and evidence, all they can do to attempt to save face is engage in hyperbolic rhetoric or name calling.
So "Proud Of My Country", that answers your question of why people may respond with a nonsense rant without ever addressing the issues (and it is not only left-wingers that are guilty of this, as right-wingers do it with equal aplomb as well).
It all comes down to this: if one cannot cohesively explain how they have achieved that opinion utilizing supporting FACTS and EVIDENCE, then they should never consider their opinion to be concrete and unmovable, and neither should they even consider their opinion to be an accurate one. I certainly am not saying i am always correct in my opinions that I may voice here - not by a long shot, but you can bet your ass that I can at least explain and support not only why I feel the opinion I have achieved is correct, but also why the one you have achieved is wrong as well.

Posted by: Cary M | October 23, 2006 07:03 AM

Cary Martynuik wrote:
--The big question is, where did all the WMD's go? There is no documentation supporting that they were destroyed. ANSWER: They went to Syria, into the hands of another psychotic madman - Assad.--

You got FACTS and EVIDENCE for that claim? There are other possibilities ya know. Or are you of the initia bias that the WMD existed and now its hard to change that bias, like our president, who joked about not finding WMD while servicemen and women were dying in Iraq?

Posted by: Sully | October 23, 2006 07:48 AM

Sully - Sorry for the misunderstanding. The bulk of the evidence garnered from post-invasion prisoner interrogations, from other intelligence sources both within Syria and Iraq, as well as external methods of intelligence from outside those nations, points to clear evidentiary path that does show more than a mere possibility that at least a portion of Saddam's WMD stockpiles were not unilaterally destroyed by the Hussein regime as claimed.
General Georges Sada, the former Iraqi Air Force 2 i/c under Saddam, has stated on the record that several Boeing Iraqi flag-carrier civilian aircraft had, in early 2002, been surreptitiously converted to a cargo-carrying capacity by removing the interior seats and amenities. These aircraft, under direct orders of Ali Hussein al-Majid (good ol' "Chemical Ali"), General Shalish (i am sure you already know he was one of the top-ranking Commanders in Saddam's Special Republican Guard), and multiple reports claim the Syrian contact handling the transfer was none other than Assif Shoakat (who of course is Bashar Assad's cousin, and you know who Assad is, right?). These aerial convoys were reportedly loaded with drums of chemical/biological agents and precursor chemicals in liquid and powder format, as well as centrifuge components. These aircraft, tracked and dutifully recorded by coalition AWACS, made a total of as many as 56 flights out of Iraq to several military facilities within Syria (want specific facilities? Ok - khan Abu Shamat, Shanshar, Al-Baydah, and Al-Masyaf - all sites that UN weapons inspectors have been denied access to since mid-2002 when these transfers occurred). These air-lift flights masqueraded as humanitarian aid missions that the Hussein regime claimed were delivering relief supplies to help in the aftermath of the Zeyzoun Dam collapse in northern Syria on June 4th, 2002. Incidentally, General Sada is a man who has provided the coalition forces plenty of credible and confirmable hard intelligence on other issues following the 2003/04 post-invasion roundup, and has also passed a lie detector test regarding this WMD transport issue specifically.
In addition, multiple reports from several different internal Iraqi military sources (reports that have been corroborated by men like former Iraqi Survey Group head David kay) also discuss Iraqi overland truck convoys moving chem/bio weapons, their precursor chemicals, plus refinement technology and apparatus into Syria in the days, weeks, and months prior to the 2003 US invasion. These reports are further bolstered by both NSA VISINT satellite imagery and JSTARS radar plot data that upon review, back up the fact that during the dates and times provided by the claimants, miltary convoys did indeed cross at Tal Afar and Tanif, as well as other frontier border checkpoints.
I have not even touched on the myriad reports coming from sources within the CIA, MI6, Mossad, DGSE, ISI, Dairat al-Mukhabarat, Mukhabarat al-Aama, to name a few of the alphabet soup intel agencies that offer HUMINT support for the claims, because i would be here ALL day and night. I can keep going, but i actually have some work to do.
Now, before i go, let me ask you a question Sully (obvious it's a rhetorical one, because i clearly already know the answer). Can you give me some reliable FACTS and EVIDENCE that prove my FACTS and EVIDENCE false, or even raise serious questions about their validity? Na, didn't think so.




Posted by: Cary M | October 23, 2006 09:55 AM

Yep, I would state that it is safe to say that m'man Sully just got owned! Cary, remind me never to argue with You, ok? LMAO!!!!

Posted by: smarty pants | October 23, 2006 10:01 AM

Yep, I would state that it is safe to say that m'man Sully just got owned! Cary, remind me never to argue with You, ok? LMAO!!!!

Posted by: smarty pants | October 23, 2006 10:02 AM

Cary,
If that is the case;
A) Why did we allow it to happen? If we "knew" where the WMD's were, as Rumsfeld said at the time, wouldn't huge planes taking off from where they were, flying back and forth to Syria have been a slight tip-off?
B) Why has that not been mentioned, ever, by anyone in the administration? They want to invade and topple Syria too (Axis of Evil) and that seems like a pretty good reason, to do so.
C) Transporting WMD's is one thing, but could they have flown a whole lab out of the country? There would have been residue, detritus, something, that would have allowed our troops to pinpoint that although there were no longer any WMD's in Iraq, they had been there at some point. As it is there is no evidence.

I am skeptical.

To the person who wrote the BLT remark; one of the things that Americans are doing that is so disrespectful of the Iraqis, is that in the Green Zone they are eating pork, and for all I know BLT's too. BTW, don't steal Ali G's funny interview with Pat Buchanan. He's funny, you're not!

Posted by: Thom | October 23, 2006 10:48 AM

Cary M wrote:
--Can you give me some reliable FACTS and EVIDENCE that prove my FACTS and EVIDENCE false, or even raise serious questions about their validity? Na, didn't think so.--

You ask me to prove a negative, as though I have anything to prove. You are the one stating that WMD was moved to Syria. Its up to you to prove your statement, not up to me to disprove you. Sorry, but extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Making a claim and telling those who doubt you that it is up to them to prove you wrong is a poor debating method.

So please, convince me. Convince us all. I'm open to evidence but I see little in your posting. Lots of heresay and speculation, but little of anything solid. Point me to anything that is more than some Iraqi prisoner wanting to make his captors happy. Point me to a document. I've read Kay's final report. Guess what, no mention of WMD being moved anywhere. You can read what David Kay has said here:
https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/chap5.html#sect0

Note the following in his Key Findings:
"While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad's desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered."

Note the sentance "There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter [1991] ..." You see, there was nothing to move to Syria according to Kay's report.

Now either you know something David Kay doesn't know and Bush refuses to let anyone know or you are just plain wrong. Consider that a possibility. Next time bring evidence that is much more convincing, for if Bush knew the WMD were in Syria you need to explain why he is not mentioning it nor attacking Syria. You'd also need to explain why Israel made no attempt to protect itself from chemical weapons Hezbollah could have obtained from Syria during their recent little war. In short, you need to show how the government's evidence against the existence of WMD is overcome by your evidence of its existence and transport. And remember, this government WANTS the evidence to exist, and they cannot provide any evidence.

Posted by: Sully | October 23, 2006 12:07 PM

Yep, I would state that it is safe to say that m'man Cary just got owned! Sully, remind me never to argue with You, ok? LMAO!!!!

Posted by: dummy pants | October 23, 2006 01:01 PM

"You ask me to prove a negative, as though I have anything to prove." Sully

Interestingly enough, that is what we asked Saddam to do time and time again in relation to the WMD's. The fact that he couldn't (no-one can) is one of the things that got us into the war to begin with.

Are we now going to ask Bashar Al-Asad to do the same? Not if Cary's evidence is what we have to go on.

Posted by: Thom | October 23, 2006 01:10 PM

Thom wrote:
--"You ask me to prove a negative, as though I have anything to prove." Sully
Interestingly enough, that is what we asked Saddam to do time and time again in relation to the WMD's. The fact that he couldn't (no-one can) is one of the things that got us into the war to begin with.--

Ah but we had UN weapons inspectors on the ground for a month before the invasion. Bush poo-pooed them, saying that Saddam would make sure they found nothing, contrary to history where in the early 90s the inspectors found a lot and monitored its destruction. The weapons inspectors could have proven a negative (no WMD) but Bush, instead of waiting for the result, pushed for the invasion. I remember at the time I was wondering why he disregarded the inspectors so willingly and pushed for the invasion. It's worth asking whether Bush KNEW they would find nothing.

Posted by: Sully | October 23, 2006 01:44 PM

Wow, the level of ignorance and clearly preformed bias is just pathetic, and for the reasons, we can just go back to Cary's well-written and well-supported earlier posts on ignorance and bias (best and most effective posts i have seen here in A LONG WHILE). Clearly, it's impossible to argue with guys who are begging for black and white answers when dealing with an issue that should be clearly obvious to all that it is every shade of grey imaginable. Christ, you guys whine like little girls, and clearly can't take it when you meet an intellectual superior. It is ABUNDANTLY clear this guy has FAR more knowledge of the issues than even the dude writing this original article does, and if You dont think Sully (and everyone else here disagreeing) has been beaten into submission, you're just being sad and grasping at tiny little straws to save face. Funny how Syria wont let anyone look in the facilities in their country...funny how published interrogations and published reports support what Cary says, to say nothing of intel findings...funny how you cant provide counter-arguments and only carry unsupported skeptisism as Your primary defense with NOTHING to back your your own partisan agendas up...you guys got no game at all! i dont read anything partisan-right or pro-bush in his writings at all, all i see is someone who can make claims and then ACTUALLY back them up clearly and support them in-depth with strong evidence, unlike you guys who LOVE to voice an ignorant partisan opinion without anything behind it that is even remotely convincing. I will listen to anything he says LONG before i pay attention to your ignorant whining! If you cannot remotely come close to disproving an argument or supporting your own adequately, then go get a good night's sleep and go back to school in the morning little boys, cause you're clearly up WAY past your bedtimes!

Posted by: smarty pants | October 23, 2006 02:43 PM

smarty pants, you make me laugh...
Cheney was saying days before the invasion that we KNEW where the WMD were, we had spy satallites over the KNOWN sites for weeks. Yet when we got there on the ground NOTHING was found. Cary and you can make up all the fantasy you want but the guys on the ground who did the investigation and reported to Congress say there never was anything there, at least since 1991. This is based not only on direct inspections but the paperwork they found as well. Read the Kay report I linked in my previous post to see for yourself.

Now, you can believe the heresay or you can read the official documents. Again, its up to you to bring the evidence to us, not for us to disprove your fantasies. And the main problem I have is that if Cary was right, why is the Bush administration saying there was no WMD? If Bush tought Cary's "evidence" was correct, he'd pounce on it to prove he was right. So please explain that.

Posted by: Sully | October 23, 2006 04:04 PM

How do we know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust? That's 6 million killed in about 6 years. That's preposterous. Can anyone provide 6 million death certificates? So, just like the Lancet report, the 6 million figure is fake. My guess is that only 30,000 Jews died in WWII. Hardly a "holocaust".

Posted by: Ike | October 23, 2006 06:05 PM

smarty pants wrote:
--funny how published interrogations and published reports support what Cary says, to say nothing of intel findings...funny how you cant provide counter-arguments and only carry unsupported skeptisism as Your primary defense with NOTHING to back your your own partisan agendas up...you guys got no game at all--

Published! Well that's different. Please provide links to those published reports and interrogations. That would be a good start because right now Cary and you have given nothing except a lot of talk. I pointed to Kay's final report. That is pretty definititive on there having been no WMD before or after the invasion. That's a pretty good document to prove Cary wrong. So if Cary or you have something that has been published that disputes Kay's report, BRING IT ON!

Posted by: Sully | October 23, 2006 06:08 PM

Ok...i am kind of amazed how the topic has entirely turned to a single line which was aggressively attacked that I wrote about Syrian involvement at the end of a lengthy email, and i am the first to admit that short of SFOD-D breaching the sites in Syria, not much can be offered to provide absolute proof that at least some WMDs were moved to Syria. This goes to the "black and white" issue that smarty-pants spoke of. When dealing with a notoriously hermetic and secretive regime as Saddam's was, unequivical evidence is hard to produce. That does NOT mean that there is no evidence however. I produced plenty of circumstantial evidence to support my claims (claims that are not just mine, but are supported by myriad HUMINT intelligence sources throughout the world). PLENTY of people have been convicted of murder based on NOTHING more than circumstantial evidence gang, and when multiple sources, multiple trails, multiple facts (only a few of which i addressed clearly) all point to a certain direction, a clear-cut case is still able to be built. The preformed bias that many of you carry is incredibly obvious to one who looks at this issue with an OPEN MIND, and you demand absolute proof...well, i am the first to admit that ABSOLUTE proof wont be found. If You do not wish to give any credence at all to MANY high-level Iraqi Military and Baath Party officials who brought these stories of WMD transfer to light (claims that appear to carry substantial weight as they are backed by circumstantial clarifying evidence from MANY intel sources), that is your absolute right not to believe it. Nothing i can do about that.
Sully - i guess i should have dumbed down my comment about you providing facts and evidence a bit more and broke it down, as i figured You would have been able to get the point from the previous posts. Sorry about that, i was obviously wrong. You insinuated that i reached my conclusions because i had an "initial bias that WMDs existed". I was able to show that i have no bias, but rather i have an informed opinion that was formed after reviewing mountains of circumstantial evidence that points to that logical conclusion. If you want black and white, eat an Oreo cookie...this is the real world my friend, and you seem to want to believe Saddam's claims that he destroyed ALL his WMD stockpiles, when Saddam or his officals cannot provide any evidence that he did destroy them ALL. If you feel Saddam's word is good as gold and worth something, then by all means, run with that, as it speaks volumes about your level of bias, but remember that those CLAIMS by Saddam are the only evidence (not really evidence at all) YOU can present to support that the circumstantial evidence i provided is incorrect. That demonstrates a clear preformed bias you carry, as i explained ad nauseam earlier. Your head is in the sand, you THINk your initial opinion is correct, and my point with my request to you was to get you to support your own ignorant opinions, which, as is common for those lacking the foundational base of knowledge on the subject, you failed to do.
Now, for those who claim that there were NO WMDs in Iraq following the 2003 invasion, the simple fact is that you are WRONG. The NGIC report nullifies the argument that NO WMDs were there, because the US Military found some post-2003 invasion. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,200499,00.html
So, that PROVES unequivically that at least some WMDS still existed at the time of invasion, blowing apart anyone who claims that there were NONE, zip, zilch, zero - i am first to admit that that in itself does not PROVE that massive stockpiles were there, but coupled with all the other evidence, it is difficult to not give some level of credence to the Syrian stewardship claim when you cannot counter that theory - unless of course you are ignorantly biased, in which case what you think matters little anyways. Obviously, we know Hussein HAD WMDs, as he used them repeatedly, of that there is NO question. Some may very well have been destroyed unilaterally by his regime post-Desert Storm, and evidence suggests that some certainly appear to have went to Syria, but the FACT is that Hussein's upper echelon military planners have stated in interrogation that they were not even aware of any unilateral Iraqi WMD destruction until Saddam told them 2 months prior to the US invasion in 2003. They believed up until that point that Iraq still had a viable WMD arsenal in place to defend the nation, as did EVERY credible intel organization on the planet. Clearly, the fact that stockpiles were not found was a stunning intel failure (see, no bias here at all), but we know the regime had them because they have been used in the past and were not all destroyed during Desert Storm, the regime cannot account for the destruction of them (in a regime that was renowned for excellent paperwork and documentation skills), violated 17 UN resolutions in what could only logically be percieved as a clear effort to hide something, and plenty of circumstantial claims point to at least some of them moving to Syria. In the face of NOTHING but preformed bias clouding your views (or the word of Saddam, which you clearly seem to value and hold as credible), you still dont want to admit that there appears to be an evidentiary trail pointing to exportation. Again, you want black and white, and wont get it. It takes a deep understanding and education on the issues to appreciate the complexities at play, and that wont be gained by reading a couple articles in a paper or watching a segment on a news show and then jumping to hard and fast conclusions, but sadly, simple people demand simple answers to incredibly intricate and nuanced issues.
Now, i already said that WMDs were not the reason for invading Iraq - that was simply the excuse used to secure support for the invasion from the vast majority of people who are ignorant and myopic in their thinking and lack the substratum of understanding to absorb or appreciate the stratagem. Were you lied to about the reasons for invasion? YES! Of course you were...if you could think out of the box, you would have appreciated that in 2002 and 2003.
Why were you lied to? Pre-invasion, the Bush Admin (incorrectly) figured that just about every intel organization on Earth was correct and that Saddam still had WMD stockpiles, and the Admin assumed that they would find them after invasion and that would have justified to the ignorant masses their palatable and grossly simplistic claims ("lowest common denominator" again) that they needed to make in order to secure support for invasion. The intelligence was obviously wrong in that regard, no argument there, but pragmatically, that matters little, because (i will say it again) securing WMDs was NOT the real reason why the Bush Admin wanted to enter Iraq in the first place, it just gave them exactly what they wanted - permission from the citizens (and bulk of the world) to invade.
The best advice that can be given is get off the whole WMD whining kick - Yes, you were lied to! Yes, you had to be lied to because you can't appreciate the long-term stratagem. Yes, you are too short-sighted and lack the deep understanding or mindset to think not 2 or 5 years down the road, but 20, 50, even 70+ years into the future to get why we are there. That is classic average human nature though (as i explained cohesively in previous long-winded posts), as is jumping to hard and fast conclusions and building a rapid level of bias that, as many of you prototypically demonstrate, is notoriously hard to deviate from because ignorance and arrogance overwhelms you. The term "keep an open-mind" should always be a rule of thumb until an UNBIASED education on an issue allows for a well-founded and powerfully supportable opinion to form, but that concept is most definitely lost on many here who THINk they get it, want to TELL everyone they get it, but CANT explain or support how it is that they apparently "got it." Skeptisism is fine, but is really only valid or worthwhile if you possess the knowledge to build an effective counter to challenge well-supported claims your initial preformed bias has you desperately wanting to disagree with.

Posted by: Cary M | October 23, 2006 11:43 PM

BTW - I never once put forth evidence that Hussein was actively manufacturing WMDs since Desert Storm in 1991. Rather, I said that he still had weapons stockpiles. Please at least TRY to appreciate the obvious and very important difference, because you are trying to bolster your opinion by offering statements to discredit claims i did not make.
As a side note regarding the Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMDs -
Anyone who honestly reads that report IN ITS ENTIRETY has little choice but to come to the conclusion that Iraq had a very obvious WMD pursuit agenda, and while again, WMD's were absolutely NOT the ACTUAL reason the US invaded Iraq in 2003, it was and still is a more than justifiable reason to support the invasion all by itself if one wanted to stick with that explanation/justification. As a final comment on whether Saddam Hussein had WMDs or not, I can tell you what we KNOW he did have PRIOR to the United States invading the second time around in 2003 was some 500 TONS of Uranium "yellow cake", which we all should know can be refined into that magical isotope Uranium U-235, which is the most vital piece of the puzzle required to make a really big atomic BOOM!
The UN and the IAEA were well aware of this stockpile of yellow cake that Saddam had, because they were trying to monitor it, having allowed it to remain in Iraq's possession following the regime's "Desert Storm" defeat in 1991. After the 1st Gulf War, the UN had indeed removed the highly enriched Uranium that had been acquired by Iraq over the previous decade from France and Russia, but they left the un-enriched uranium behind. Saddam kept nearly all 500 tons of the stuff buried beneath his al Tuwaitha nuclear complex near Baghdad, where it still sits today (aside from a 1.8 ton portion of this nuclear material - the amount of his uranium stockpile that had already been partially enriched, which was removed via an unprecedented US military airlift campaign in June 2003)
While the United Nations liked to call Saddam's massive 500 ton stockpile of Uranium that was ready to be enriched "largely benign in nature", the question that you should ask yourself is whether or not you think that something that can be refined into enough fissile material to produce somewhere on the order of 142 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons to be considered "benign" in the hands of a man like Saddam Hussein?
The facts are that Saddam had all that yellow cake still in his possession before the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, and he had absolutely no intention of surrendering it willingly after he had been allowed to keep it the first time around. We now know from interrogations that that Uranium trump card was one of the primary reasons Saddam Hussein had chosen to follow a "wait 'em out" campaign rather than continue a covert nuclear program while being monitored and under UN sanction. While the UN and IAEA had inspectors checking this stockpile periodically, that surveillance was not going to last forever, and once the sanctions lifted, it would mean Saddam already would have the raw material in his possession to create U-235. Once that raw uranium was enriched into enough of that fissile isotope, he would have the most difficult part of the nuclear weapons development process completed, and be only one step away from having an Iraqi "Mother of All Bombs" to call his own.
Securing 500 tons of potential nuclear material that we unequivocally KNEW Saddam had, material we KNEW could only be secured by force, certainly should have provided ample excuse to justify the 2003 Invasion of Iraq to the world,, particularly with the deception campaign Saddam was engaged in since 1991.
It turns out that the idea that Iraq still had a WMD production capability turned out to be a relatively easy sell to justify invasion the 2nd time around, because although everyone knew that the weapons inspectors had found nothing in the months prior to invasion #2, the fact is it was difficult to believe that Saddam WILLINGLY destroyed or had removed/exported the WMDs he had, as well as stifled their design and development programs as well. One has to put themselves into an early 2003 mindset to accurately appreciate this, rather than playing Monday morning QB and acting like they have all the answers today and knew the true score all along.
While all that evidence about Saddam's mindset came out in the months after the invasion, here are the things that we did know as fact about Saddam Hussein and his regime PRIOR to the 2003 invasion of his country.
· Saddam had once constructed his own WMD biological/chemical stockpiles already.
· Saddam used these weapons in the past, on both invading Iranians and his own civilian population.
· Saddam had many times expressed the importance of these weapons in his countries survival; his desire for them was well known and understood.
· Between 1991 and 2003, Saddam repeatedly violated UN Sanctions and denied access to sensitive facilities, disabled monitoring cameras, threatened and coerced scientists, and even threw U.N inspectors out of his country. All these actions gave the clear appearance that he was concealing something from the world (since it was WMDs or evidence of their production that were being sought after by the inspectors, it was wrongly but justifiably hypothesised that they were being denied access to a covert WMD weapons program of some kind).
· Saddam failed to denounce the 9/11 attacks, leading to questions like: was his silent rancor simply arrogance, or was there something far more malevolent, such as collusion with Al-Qaeda, behind it?
· Saddam positively had 500 tons of Uranium "yellow cake" firmly in his possession that the UN had no means of securing diplomatically once sanctions lifted. When those sanctions dissolved, Saddam would then be free to enrich that Uranium at his convenience.
I don't know (or much care) about you, but it should be clear that those points alone, all things we knew prior to the Invasion in March 2003, provided more than enough justification for America to topple Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party at that time, and when you add what we DID know with what we THOUGHT we knew regarding his WMD programs, a pre-emptive invasion seemed to be a perfectly justifiable course of action to take. From a long-term threat perspective, removing Saddam and his regime from power was the best option available to secure America's safety from him in the future. If you did not think so before, I hope those paragraphs above should be more than enough to give you a scare, and the fact is that by invading Iraq when they did, it could be strongly argued that the United States were doing the same long-term thinking as the Israelis did some 22 years earlier when they hit the Osiraq nuclear reactor (albeit on a much grander scale), an attack that stalled Saddam's nuclear aspirations and prevented him from acquiring atomic weapons back in the 1980's.
There is much to be said for the argument that securing those huge uranium stockpiles provided more than enough reason to invade Iraq and remove Saddam and his regime from power, because there was simply no other way this potentially deadly substance, a substance known to be in Saddam Hussein's possession for the expressed purpose of being converted into nuclear fuel/fissile material, could be removed diplomatically. That much was apparent even prior to 9/11, and if you don't think that a good portion of that 500 tons of yellow cake was being saved to create what Saddam himself called "The mother of all bombs", then I have some oceanfront property in Afghanistan for sale cheap that you may be interested in as well.
Again, not that I am trying to tell you that WMDs were the primary reason for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq however. WMDs simply provided a reasonable excuse; a threat that was thought real enough, immediate enough, and most importantly, was dangerous enough to our short-sighted species to convince the world pre-emptive military action was required ASAP, and it was that fear of these horrific weapons that allowed the United States of America the ability to accomplish their true primary goal of "Operation Iraqi Freedom".


Posted by: Cary M | October 24, 2006 01:53 AM

Cary M wrote:
--I produced plenty of circumstantial evidence to support my claims (claims that are not just mine, but are supported by myriad HUMINT intelligence sources throughout the world).--

Yet that "evidence" is not in Kay's report except in some cases as uncomfirmed or unsubstantiated reports. If there was enough circumstantial evidence for Kay to be convinced there was something there, it would be in his report. It is not. I still am asking, what do you know that Kay does not? If you both have the same information, just drawing different conclusions, I'm sorry but I'll believe Kay first. Nothing personal, I'd just rather trust a report that has been reviewed by multiple people inside and outside government rather than a single person blogging on the internet. If you have more than Kay has, please specify what that is. What did Kay miss?

Cary continues:
--If You do not wish to give any credence at all to MANY high-level Iraqi Military and Baath Party officials who brought these stories of WMD transfer to light (claims that appear to carry substantial weight as they are backed by circumstantial clarifying evidence from MANY intel sources), that is your absolute right not to believe it.--

Its not whether I believe it or not, its whether David Kay believes it or not. I do not have access to the raw intel that Kay does so I have to read his report and conclusions. His conclusions seem pretty solid based on the evidence he uncovered. You disagree, so I ask again, what do you know that Kay does not or are you simply disagreeing with Kay based on the same information?

Cary continues:
--I was able to show that i have no bias, but rather i have an informed opinion that was formed after reviewing mountains of circumstantial evidence that points to that logical conclusion.--

An opinion that disagrees with David Kay's opinion who was in Iraq searching for the WMD not only in buildings and plants, but in reports and files. His conclusion is different than yours. Why?


Cary continues:
--Now, for those who claim that there were NO WMDs in Iraq following the 2003 invasion, the simple fact is that you are WRONG. The NGIC report nullifies the argument that NO WMDs were there, because the US Military found some post-2003 invasion. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,200499,00.html
So, that PROVES unequivically that at least some WMDS still existed at the time of invasion, blowing apart anyone who claims that there were NONE, zip, zilch, zero - i am first to admit that that in itself does not PROVE that massive stockpiles were there, but coupled with all the other evidence, it is difficult to not give some level of credence to the Syrian stewardship claim when you cannot counter that theory - unless of course you are ignorantly biased, in which case what you think matters little anyways.--

And what about those 500 shells? They contained mustard and sarin agents. Sounds pretty bad. However the shells were found buried in eastern Iraq near the Iranian border. They were placed there in the 1980s during the Iran/Iraq war. The agents contained in the shells were old and degraded and, according to the military, "no loger active". You'll need to do better than that Cary. If we went to war because of 20 year old inactive shells buried in Iraq than no one including the Iraqis knew about, well, lets just say its a stretch.

Cary continues:
--Obviously, we know Hussein HAD WMDs, as he used them repeatedly, of that there is NO question.--

Well here we agree assuming you are talking about before 1991. Now how is it that he went down to only having 500 shells containing blistering agents buried and forgotten. Bush I and Clinton's imposition via the UN of sanctions and containment. It worked, better than we imagined. Lets give that policy some credit. Looking back we were safer before Bush II invaded than we are today. I know, its 20/20 hindsight, but its true and worth understanding and appreciating.

Cary continues:
--Skeptisism is fine, but is really only valid or worthwhile if you possess the knowledge to build an effective counter to challenge well-supported claims your initial preformed bias has you desperately wanting to disagree with.--

You need to understand Cary that you are not arguing with me. You are arguing with David Kay and his findings. The two of you do not agree. I am simply saying that Kay has a lot more credibility than you, not because you are not a good person, but because your claims are not reviewed by others and you have not shown how your evidence is different than Kay's. So I have to decide who has more credibility, some guy named Cary on the internet or David Kay and his report. Sorry, but you will need to overcome Kay's reeport and counter it directly to begin to obtain any level of credibility. I am willing to listen. Your assumption that I have some sort of bias is wrong. I supported the war bud. I'm glad Saddam is gone. I'm very unhappy with Bush managing this war however from the day I saw looting in the streets of Baghdad. I study history and do not remember reports of that type of looting in Berlin or Tokyo. The instant I saw it I knew something was wrong. The instant I realized no WMD had been used on our troops something was wrong. When I heard a report that UN seals on a storage bunker had been broken AFTER the invasion and the contents were looted I knew Bush did not have a handle on this country he now owned. And today, with no WMD being used by terrorists or insurrgents on our troops I really have to wonder where all the WMD is that you say was transported in a massive airlift to Syria.

Cary continues in his following post:
--BTW - I never once put forth evidence that Hussein was actively manufacturing WMDs since Desert Storm in 1991. Rather, I said that he still had weapons stockpiles.--

Then you need to understand that chemical weapons degrade. You cannot make them and put them on the shelf for years. Those 500 shells that you tout as WMD were worthless due to their age. If you admit that Saddam was not manufacturing WMD since 1991, you effectively admit he had no chemical WMD worth using in a battle.

Cary continues:
--Anyone who honestly reads that report IN ITS ENTIRETY has little choice but to come to the conclusion that Iraq had a very obvious WMD pursuit agenda,...--

Yes, we can agree on this. So does David Kay. But it has nothing to do with your argument that WMD were transported to Syria. Funny, this is exactly the path Bush took when it became obavious there was no WMD. He began talking about a WMD pursuit agenda.

Cary continues:
--While the United Nations liked to call Saddam's massive 500 ton stockpile of Uranium that was ready to be enriched "largely benign in nature", the question that you should ask yourself is whether or not you think that something that can be refined into enough fissile material to produce somewhere on the order of 142 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons to be considered "benign" in the hands of a man like Saddam Hussein?

Yellowcake itself is benign. Its not very relevent if you don't have the centrifuges to refine it. We knew he did not. They had been destroyed by the UN inspectors and any that we knew of were bombed by Clinton when Saddam threw out the UN inspectors and any new ones could not get in due to the sanctions. Having yellowcake does not equate to having a bomb. You should know that so why bring it up? Here's some reading material that may help you understand why 500 tons of yellowcake does not equate to having an atomic bomb:
http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/nation/15763239.htm

Cary continues:
--Saddam failed to denounce the 9/11 attacks,...--
Ha, what do you call that ... proof? Another stretch in a pile of stretched arguments. Again, please refute David Kay's final report!

Cary continues:
--From a long-term threat perspective, removing Saddam and his regime from power was the best option available to secure America's safety from him in the future.--

I only partially agree. I agree Saddam had defied 17 UN resolutions. I go further and say he tied up US and other UN resources who were enforcing the sanctions and the no fly zones, zones where he fired on US reconnisance planes. That itself was an act of war and we should have gone in based on that. But WMD was fixed by this administration as the reason. Why? Because it could not be refuted outside the government. As the British report stated, the intelligence was being fixed around the policy. If ever there was an abrogation of official duty it is to lie about intel to send a nation into war. And Bush did this. Further more, he did not properly execute this war, ignoring his generals and sending in too few troops and once the problem was discovered as evidence by the massive looting, not changing strategy to meet the challenge. Instead he declared "Mission Accomplished" and hoped for the best. And that is my issue with Bush. My issue with your statements about WMD going to Syria is that it is not supported by the Kay report. That's a high hurdle to overcome IMO.

Cary continues:
--There is much to be said for the argument that securing those huge uranium stockpiles provided more than enough reason to invade Iraq and remove Saddam and his regime from power, because there was simply no other way this potentially deadly substance, a substance known to be in Saddam Hussein's possession for the expressed purpose of being converted into nuclear fuel/fissile material, could be removed diplomatically.--

Again, yellowcake is not bomb material. It cannot be used for anything unless you have thousands of centrifuges and a lot of other technology to refine it. Saddam was known NOT to have that capability, so just forget the yelowcake. It only supports you idea that Saddam had future plans, on that we probably agree, but it was certainly not a threat for at least 5 years and even longer as long as sanctions remained in place. There was no impending danger from this and that is why is was termed "benign". You're using this as an argument shows to me that you are using it as a scare tactic because if you are as up on military capability as you claim, you would know the yellowcake was no immediate threat. Chad has lots of yellowcake yet we are not worried about them making a bomb. I can only conclude you are confused or are bringing it up an as immenent treat to scare people. In either case it sinks your credibility.


Posted by: Sully | October 24, 2006 11:27 AM

Ok, just to clarify - the Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMD (for simplicity, lets agree to refer to it as the "DCI Report", ok?) - the one you consistently refer to as the "Kay report", was not even penned by David Kay! Charles Duelfer, who was the "Special Advisor" to the DCI, wrote it, so you have to get that straight first, as you reference it continually in your reply! Regarding reading the WHOLE 1,000 page DCI Report AND its subsequent Addenda (you can bet I sure as hell did because my job profile demanded it), I find your claims that you did read the ENTIRE thing moderately to highly dubious, and that is a claim I will back up further in this post. Instead, the impression I am left with makes it appear that you simply scanned the "key findings page" (which of course was ALL you have previously quoted) and then attempted to portray yourself as "fully informed". I have touched on that type of ignorant argument-building a bunch of times on this blog topic already, and if my strong assumption that you haven't read ALL of it is true, it only serves to solidify my prior arguments on ignorance and bias. I still admit that I may be wrong on that assessment regarding whether you have read the ENTIRE report, but the fact that you cannot even get the author of the document right, the sheer length and monotony of the report, that you only quoted the "key findings" synopsis pages without any demonstration that you went deeper, and comments I address that you made later on in your post here gives me great cause to question whether you did read all of it.
For clarification, David Kay was (among other high level postings) the former head of the ISG (Iraqi Survey Group) who resigned his post in early 2004. While some of his work and findings are certainly contained within the DCI Report, he did not write it, nor was he involved in its final compilation.
Now, seeing as how you (and I for that matter) still put a fair amount of credence in what DAVID KAY says...I will quote Mr. Kay now from an interview given to the London Daily Telegraph 01/25/2004 - "...we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."
As I said before in previous posts, the Syrian WMD export/stewardship issue is one that at this time does NOT have ABSOLUTE, black and white, proof supporting it. I said that from the get-go Sully. Short of invading Syria militarily, absolute proof will not be found, and in the interests of open-mindedness, may not even exist - I will admit that, but again though, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence (some of which I referenced before and therefore will not rehash again) that comes from multiple independent and internal/external government intelligence and media-investigative sources that points towards the logical conclusion that at least some of the NBC weapons/components were not destroyed unilaterally, but instead appear to have been moved to Syria. In the face of nothing to overpower this multi-point, multi-source circumstantial evidence, and when one appreciates and actually has the foundational base of knowledge regarding the clearly documented past co-operative relationship between the father and son Assad regimes and the Hussein autocracy, I have no issue giving the theory support.
While on its face it appears to be a fair point for you to consistently point to the Special Advisor DCI Report in an attempt to nullify claims of WMD export, one MUST remember and appreciate that the vast majority of this circumstantial evidence I spoke of or presented previously about WMD stewardship had not yet been fully analyzed, quantified, extrapolated, verified (as far as it could be verified), or even truly come to light in May/June of 2004 when the DUELFER (not Kay) Special Advisor DCI Report was compiled (the original report was officially released in September of 2004). Had you read the full DCI Report in its entirety rather than just the "key findings", you would see that the report states that due to the ever-worsening level of violence that was occurring within Iraq following the 2003 invasion, ISG evidentiary gathering powers were progressively being hampered, and as a result, the DCI investigative staff was forced to cease considering these claims of export and foreign WMD stewardship, with the results on the subject remaining inconclusive. The report also states implicitly that the ISG was UNABLE to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war, particularly in an unofficial/deep-covert capacity. Ariel Sharon has also publicly claimed that Mossad was aware of this transfer, and many within the worldwide intel community voice the belief that these reports seem to carry some level of credence as well. You ask why Bush does not forward this - the answer is very simple. They cannot absolutely prove it, short of invading Syria. Look, I am not some stupid and blind partisan hack - Bush, the CIA, and most every worldwide intel organization have just about zero credibility after the fiasco of not finding large WMD stockpiles in Iraq in 2003. Now honestly, what would you say if the Bush Admin or the CIA independently began publicly voicing this view of a possible Syrian stewardship? You would all (quite rightly) laugh and say "sure, gimme a break! Why should we believe Bush or the CIA when they totally blew the Iraqi WMD argument in 2002-2003?" I will say it again, WMDs were NOT the real reason that the Bush Admin wanted to invade Iraq, but were just the excuse used, and the republicans have already long ago changed their political posture on the issue of Iraq to attempt to distance themselves from the whole WMD argument, and want nothing more than to hope people forget about those earlier erroneous excuses that devastated the Admin's reputation in the eyes of Americans and the citizens of the rest of the world. Bush's team have already accomplished their goal of invading Iraq, and cannot do ANYTHING to confirm or deny Syrian stewardship - it is not like they would ever raise permission to invade Syria in this climate, even if the Syrians openly admitted they received WMD exports from Iraq. The WMD issue is long behind us, because that is not why the US wanted into Iraq in the first place! Please, absorb that fact!

SULLY wrote :
"And what about those 500 shells? They contained mustard and sarin agents. Sounds pretty bad. However the shells were found buried in eastern Iraq near the Iranian border. They were placed there in the 1980s during the Iran/Iraq war. The agents contained in the shells were old and degraded and, according to the military, "no loger active". You'll need to do better than that Cary. If we went to war because of 20 year old inactive shells buried in Iraq than no one including the Iraqis knew about, well, lets just say its a stretch."

Again Sully, your bias and ignorance and an inability to read exactly what I wrote clearly shines through here loud and clear - the point that I was CLEARLY making with that bit of FACT was to nullify arguments made by many that there were ZERO WMDs in the nation of Iraq at the time of the 2003 invasion. There clearly were some, as the US Military found those mentioned above. Yes, they were old and degraded, but yes, they were still deemed DEADLY and by no means inert or harmless. Yes, it was just 500 shells, and I made it CLEAR to anyone with half a brain that the reason for bringing it up was just a point of clarification against those who use the literal term ZERO to describe the number of WMDs in Iraq in 2003. ZERO is an absolute word, and it has been used continually by fools (some of whom even say it in posts above) who like to argue that Saddam did not have ANY WMDs. I guess it is the fact that I think pragmatically and literally when discussing this entire subject of the war on terror, and I can admit I guess I am looking for too much by expecting that same intelligent prose from most who love to opine ignorantly on the topic - but I will take logic over hyperbole any day of the week, so I wont apologize for someone else's ignorance.
Then of course, you go on to say that I "need to do better than that" to provide WMD justification for going to war, when I have already mentioned MULTIPLE times throughout that same post and others in this forum already that WMDs were NOT the reason for the invasion in 2003 at all - the WMD threat was merely the excuse given to placate and convince the ignorant and myopic masses to garner support for the invasion. Don't try to foolishly and arrogantly downgrade my intellect by claiming that I am trying to convince people that was the reason, because WMDs had little to do with the true stratagem being pursued (though it sure worked in 2002 and 2003 to convince the ignorant to support the invasion, didn't it?)

SULLY wrote:
Well here we agree assuming you are talking about before 1991. Now how is it that he went down to only having 500 shells containing blistering agents buried and forgotten. Bush I and Clinton's imposition via the UN of sanctions and containment. It worked, better than we imagined. Lets give that policy some credit. Looking back we were safer before Bush II invaded than we are today. I know, its 20/20 hindsight, but its true and worth understanding and appreciating.

Sully, you make this statement, and I cannot quite tell if you are seeming to imply that I have made prior claims here that demonstrate I am not giving previous sanction or containment policies by prior Administrations credit. Just for clarification, I have NEVER even broached that subject matter here, as it is well beyond the topics we have been discussing. Now, if you honestly believe (as you seem to with your arguments) that the reason the 2003 invasion occurred was to remove the WMD threat, then that claim you make above about us being "safer before Bush II" may seem logical - but again, WMDs were merely the excuse to justify '03 invasion in order to help further a totally different LONG-TERM agenda, and were not the real reason at all for the war. To say we were safer before the 2003 invasion is simply an opinion that is a classic "unwrong", meaning it deals in improvable hypothesis, though it would seem to be a logical conclusion IF securing what we now know were nearly non-existent WMDs had actually been the true goal behind Operation Iraqi Freedom (which it wasn't). You are clearly stuck in that frame of mind, and it demonstrates that you clearly do lack the understanding of the nuance and complexity involved in the long-term plan, and that you still don't appreciate that you were lied to about the real agenda that was actually being pursued.

Re: the yellowcake - Sully, read what I wrote again carefully, as you are ignoring key points that my argument put forth, and again making a spurious, compartmentalized retort that demonstrates rather conclusively an engrained expectancy bias and inability to recognize the depths of the issue at hand. That obviously is forming an insurmountable barrier to your keeping an open mind. You do this repeatedly in this post (and previous ones) I might add, and to back that observation up, I can say that this expectancy bias shows when one misreads someone's statements even though they are clearly presented, over or under-simplifies another's arguments by compartmentalizing and attacking only the weakest singular points in what was presented as a multi-point argument whose combined sum is far stronger than its parts, forgets about or conveniently ignores prior postings (or this one) to attempt to demonstrate that the opposing viewpoint is ignorant or misled, or clearly skews and misinterprets what is a clearly explained opposing argument (I would like to believe that is done subconsciously - not intentionally) so that it better suits your agenda bias. Here you are simply making me repeat myself AGAIN to re-explain the point I already made re: the yellowcake in the previous post you are attacking.
Now, if you actually had of read the DCI Report in its entirety (and it is now clear you have not, although you claimed you did), you would not have posed the query as the report CLEARLY and COHESIVELY explains that we now can confirm that Saddam's entire nuclear weapons design and procurement plan revolved around waiting out the UN Sanctions, and once said sanctions were lifted, he would only need to acquire the centrifuge components to make the fissile material required. It is the fissile U-235 that is the single hardest piece of the nuclear puzzle to acquire, and my entire point with that specific argument was that Saddam already had the precursor yellowcake in his possession to further that agenda once sanctions eventually lifted. EVERY expert on the subject besides myself that I know of and have spoken with (military, intelligence, and political) appreciated BEFORE the 2003 invasion that the UN sanctions against Iraq that were originally put in place following the conclusion of Desert Storm hostilities to restrict the Hussein Regime's ability to acquire gas centrifuge refinement (and related) components were expected to be lifted within the next 2-4 years, and we now know in hindsight, as CLEARLY laid out in the DCI Report you claim to have read all of, that was EXACTLY what Saddam was waiting for (and indeed was why he disbanded his covert bio/chemical program in the early 1990's, and destroyed/exported his stockpiles).
The DCI Report cohesively lays out how Saddam Hussein was a man content with biding his time and waiting to seek his revenge and reinstitution of these programs once the heat was off. Indeed, the DCI Report covers how Saddam paused these WMD programs in such a way that they could be rapidly restarted once sanctions were lifted. The problem was that prior to the early 2003 US invasion, no one outside of Iraq was aware of this plan of action the Hussein Regime was exercising, and the West's absolutely justifiable mistrust of Saddam's claims that he had been complying with the sanctions and had destroyed his WMD stockpiles and capabilities (mistrust caused largely by Saddam's own actions of deception regarding the issue), gave the perfect excuse for the US to walk up to Iraq's front door in 2003. The claims and evidence of covert WMD programs in Iraq presented before the UN Security Council in February 2003 by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was simply meant to get the all important UN permission for America to use their "Master Key" WMD excuse to blow that Iraqi front door off its hinges and invade. It is obvious today that much of that evidence presented that day in New York City by the Secretary of State Powell had been misread, In hindsight, the US intelligence community up to and immediately following the 2003 invasion had obviously erred considerably in their assessment of Saddam Hussein's CURRENT stockpiles of WMDs. This inability to trust the data on hand stemmed from the fact that Saddam had been responsible for so much lying and deception that by him putting his hand on his heart and swearing his word of honour that he had no WMD stockpiles or operational programs meant little or nothing to anyone. Time and time again, Hussein had consistently and stupidly interfered with or violated UN sanctions, and clearly, there was no question that he could not be trusted, and the claims of WMD programs came from a significant amount of assumption (it is the intelligence community after all) thrown in for good measure. It was simply assumed by every major intelligence organization on Earth that there was no way Saddam, who was well known to have held WMDs to be of the utmost importance to Iraq's future security (see the DCI Report for PLENTY of supporting evidence covering that point ad nauseam), to actually go the route he did, looking for massive long-term WMD gains rather than risking getting caught trying to pursue incremental short-term ones. It essentially proved impossible for many in the intelligence community to actually accept that Saddam's deception and interference campaign throughout the 1990's and early 21st Century was done to preserve his own pride instead of being a concerted effort to conceal some covert weapons program of some kind, and even the most ardent anti-Bush democrats (John Kerry and Bill Clinton for example) were clearly convinced that Saddam Hussein could not have possibly chosen that route of temporary disarmament. The United Nations, while we NOW know that they succeeded in getting Saddam to eliminate/remove his stockpiles of WMDs and their active programs, were clearly being heavily manipulated by the Hussein Regime, and corruption within the Global Police Force was rampant throughout the 1990s. Had a little incident known as "9/11" not occurred and raised global fears, it is WIDELY accepted in the global intelligence and political community that Saddam Hussein would still be in power and that the 2003 invasion could never have been justified, and, providing Saddam had behaved himself, today he most certainly would be free and clear of those restrictive UN sanctions and well on his way to building and possessing a formidable arsenal of chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missile weapons systems. Now Sully, go and actually read ALL of the DCI Report rather than just claiming you did, because had you of, I would not have had to waste my time writing all that to counter you!

I am very glad that you actually laughed at my point about the influence that Saddam failing to denounce the 9/11 attacks had on America's ability to justify the 2003 invasion to the world, because it CLEARLY demonstrates your complete lack of appreciation of the post-9/11 mindset that overtook the evidence and shows your powerful need to fall back on your intense (and ignorantly placed) bias! Your problem is typical - you simply cannot put yourself back into the late 2001-early 2002 mindset to appreciate the validity of the point, and your myopic thinking and lack of true understanding of the issue shines through. I also guess you missed how the importance of Saddam's silence regarding 9/11 was VERY well covered in the DCI Report when you *ahem* read it in its entirety!
In what ANY expert on the subject will tell you today was a huge tactical error, Saddam tried to do some political posturing by deciding not to denounce the September 11th attacks shortly after they occurred. Had Saddam done so, it would have been MUCH MORE difficult for the United States to have successfully justified to the world the invasion that would come a year and a half later. By not issuing a denouncement regarding those attacks, Saddam publicly was positioning himself clearly against the United States in the war on terror, and for many, they went even further and took Saddam's silence as his tacit, if not active, acceptance of Al-Qaeda and their tactics, and that opened the door to accusations of Iraqi involvement in the event (something we now know definitively was not the case). What is laughable Sully is that YOU actually laughed at that point and thought you were demonstrating your knowledge by trying to dismiss it offhandedly, showing the myopia and ignorance of your analysis (or lack thereof). As I said, ANY and EVERY expert on the subject is well aware of the effect that Saddam's silence had in bolstering global acceptance for the 2003 invasion, so keep on laughing rather than wasting your time actually learning about the nuance! Wow!

Finally, you go back to the yellowcake at the end of your post, and I your grossly plebian argument there again shows you only see want to see things in black and white! I mean, the line on "Chad" was pathetic, so I am not even going to waste the effort to dissect and annihilate the foolishness of that sad attempt. Instead, I will stick with Iraq, and direct you to the "DUELFER" (not Kay remember!) DCI Report that clearly demonstrates that the possession of this yellowcake and the end-game for which it was intended was INCREDIBLY important to Saddam Hussein, and the report explains WHY he did what everyone seemed to think was impossible - willingly pause his multiple WMD programs throughout the 1990's to appear compliant, and doing so for the SOLE purpose of seeking to reap the LONG-TERM gains that would come after UN sanctions were lifted. Getting the sanctions lifted was, without a shadow of a doubt, Saddam's primary goal - the DCI Report makes that abundantly clear, so rather than TELLING people here that you have read it all in an attempt to prop yourself and your arguments up, why not actually GO AND READ IT - not just the key findings! Christ, it is over 1,000 pages long, and you think you can masquerade that you possess a deep understanding of all of its findings because you read a page worth of synopsis? That load of bunk may work when arguing with someone equally ignorant who HASN'T read every single page of it, but sadly for you, I HAVE! And you then have the nerve to end your post by calling my credibility into question?
You clearly know how to use Google to do a bit of research to try to build a support structure for your arguments, which is great. Hell, most people hear cannot even do that most basic of steps before spouting off - but that certainly doesn't come close to demonstrating you possess anything close to a truly well-educated, and multi-faceted base of knowledge. You say I am confused and my arguments lack credibility simply because they go against your obviously strongly engrained, myopic, and close-minded level of bias. I don't expect you to consider me an expert on the subject matter just because I say I am - not at all - expertise is proven by demonstrating a foundation of knowledge on the topic, and I certainly don't give a damn if you believe my claims of background or not. That is totally fine with me, because the depth of my posts and my ability to present a cohesive argument does all the speaking for me to show I have the knowledge base and understanding required. This is an incredibly intertwined topic that is so utterly heterogeneous in scope that I can say from experience what should be obvious anyways to anyone honestly examining it - it literally takes years of study in Middle Eastern and western history, military affairs, political science, religious ideology and cultures, as well as a deep appreciation of the various psychological mindsets in play amongst the characters involved. Most importantly, it also requires one to be able to approach the issues with an open-mind and think "outside the box", not expecting or demanding simplistic black and white answers to incredibly complex questions - hence the need for several thousand-words worth of response to adequately and accurately address (or many times to even just touch on) the answers to what many still seem to think are basic queries. If I have been able to demonstrate anything in my posts, it is that I most certainly am NOT, as you say, "confused", NOR do I come close to "lacking credibility".

I would say that this current above topic has clearly run its course, so rather than continuing battling it out further and getting nowhere, let me ask you something entirely new, as I am sincerely most interested in gauging your mindset on this. The answers given truly speak volumes about one's ACTUAL understanding of what is the most divisive, most complex, and most important issue of our generation.
Why do you believe that the United States of America invaded the nation of Iraq in 2003? What do you think was/is the goal of the Bush Administration in waging this war?

Posted by: Cary M | October 25, 2006 12:48 AM

Cary M wrote:
--Why do you believe that the United States of America invaded the nation of Iraq in 2003? What do you think was/is the goal of the Bush Administration in waging this war?--

Cary,
I agree debating the previous topic is getting nowhere and your personal attacks are getting tiring. I'm happy to discuss this new topic as long as you keep it civil and debate the topic, not my knowlege/experience/whatever. Attacking an opponent personally is a desperate debating tactic that I hope we both recognize and hope to avoid.

Now, to your question. The short answer is I'm not absolutely certain but there is a lot of evidence pointing to a small group of reasons. I believe one reason is, as Bush claims today, to spread democracy in the ME. However that is simplistic and certainly could not have been a major reason and more likely reflects an afterthought or political talking point at best.

One main reason I believe is that Iraq had switched from selling its oil in dollars to selling its oil in euros in 2000. That's a bad thing for the US and would cause economic crises if other oil exporting nations followed suit. Iraq could have been used to set an example. Here's are two good websites explaining the reasoning:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CLA410A.html
http://www.feasta.org/documents/papers/oil1.htm
And Iran is talking about an Iranian Bourse, an oil exchange that will be based on the Euro. This IMHO likely explains the militaristic threats to Iran with its nuclear program being a minor reason.

The most plausible reason of course was the preset mentality of the Bush neocons who had laid out their reasons for invading Iraq as well as Syria, Iran and Hezbollah and even petitioned Clinton to do so in PNACs letters to Clinton well before 911. These guys were placed, mainly by Cheney, into high positions in the pentagon where military policy could be steered.

There is also the Jewish and Southern Protestant fundamentalist lobbies involvement as well though they may be more backers than pushers in this regard. These lobbies were not so much seeking Israel's protection as seeking to allow Israeli expansion into the Palistinian territories, something previous presidents attempted to halt but Bush has done little to stop. Attacking those that threatened this longterm goal of the Likud party (Iraq/Iran/Syria/Hezbollah) would certainly be supported by these lobbies and many in PNAC who support Likud.

Pulling it all together it seems credible that Cheney becoming vice president and his consolidation of his PNAC buddies in defense, the lobbies, the threatened petrodollar, George Bush's total stupidity and PNACs ability to manipulate Bush and the country after 911 lead to the invasion with WMD, as you say, being the stated reason along with multiple references to Iraqi involvement in 911 just to incite some hatred and garner additional backing from the public.

Its also clear, to me anyway, that securing Iraq was not a concern of the PNAC crowd and therefore not a concern reflected in US policy or the military mission since they now held positions in various pentagon posts and made that policy. The only real concern was a puppet government that would allow US bases to be built for military pressure, or a future conflict, with that other country threatening Israel and the petrodollar, Iran. And so today we see the result, Saddam out of power, Iraq selling oil in dollars, military bases being built for long term use (http://www.motherjones.com/news/outfront/2005/03/enduring_bases_iraq.html) and an Iraqi government not threatening Israel. It is also worth noting the reaction of the neocons to Iraq's new government's support of Hezbollah in the recent Israeli/Hezbollah conflict. Its clear that many thought that had been "fixed" by the invasion. An independently thinking Iraq in this regard was certainly not a result the PNACites wanted.

Its also clear to me that these people thought it would be a cakewalk, which makes sense since none had any real military experience and surprisingly distrusted the mostly republican military generals. It just goes to show that these guys are a different breed of republican and are in the minority, but by clinging to Bush, and Cheney consolidating the PNAC group in the pentagon, their small numbers were amplified into US policy and along with 911 as a stimulant, the invasion.

Posted by: Sully | October 25, 2006 09:28 AM

Sully wrote -
"I agree debating the previous topic is getting nowhere and your personal attacks are getting tiring. I'm happy to discuss this new topic as long as you keep it civil and debate the topic, not my knowlege/experience/whatever. Attacking an opponent personally is a desperate debating tactic that I hope we both recognize and hope to avoid."

Having followed this back and forth from the get-go, it is obvious you both are passionate about your arguments - Cary, you are a bit over the top in questioning other people's knowledge or actual understanding of the issues, and should truly tone that down as it takes away from your arguments. Although I can say that if what you say you do for a living is true and have that education (which by your postings it certainly appears you do), then i can also appreciate how you get frustrated dealing with idiots who think or are totally certain that they understand what they are talking about, but fail to demonstrate they have anything close to a "foundational base of knowledge" (as you call it) at all. (For the record, it certainly appears Sully is by NO means an idiot that falls into that category, and does have an understanding of some of the issues, and i do hope you recognize that) I realize you have been called a "liar" here (I did not see Sully call you that though!) and other names or insinuations, and that is of course totally wrong, as your rather in-depth posts and the opinions therein seem very well supported and based on facts, and demonstrate you have a DEEP knowledge of the subject matter. There are many who blog who are densely biased and really dont have any ability to support their POV at all, and it should be clear Cary that Sully doesnt fall into that category. You may disagree with him (rather vehemently LOL), and while there are many here totally deserving of being called totally ignorant and i actually quite enjoy seeing them being put in there place as they flop around, foolishly unable to back up anything they say, you do go over the top in ripping Sully as he has demonstrated some level of knowledge and research on this topic, and those tactics should be beneath you. I am an economist by training, and my in-laws in particular (Grrr!)love to argue with me or tell me how it is and how i am wrong when they themselves barely have a cursory understanding of global economics or no real education in in at all, so i sympathize, but let your facts and evidence speak for you (which they do very well I might add), and just get beyond the incessant intellectual put-downs and challenges of others level of knowledge in between. Some people are deserving of this, but if you are as honest and open-minded as you claim to be, you would have to agree that Sully has been rather coherent in his postings and has not really warranted that level of attack.
Sully - To be fair to Cary though, I think the VERY last thing he could ever be described as would be "confused" or "lacking credibilty". The depth of his posts and the understanding displayed within them is most impressive indeed, and I suspect those attacks in particular (as Cary referenced them in his last post) are a part of the reason he went off so badly. Also to be fair to Cary, in order to challenge him in your last post the primary piece of evidence you kept referencing (the DCI Report), which you did claim to have read earlier, actually does appear to answer or refute most of your own arguments! (I am the first to admit I havent read it all, but I did dig through it for a few hours last evening after reading your tete-a-tete, and I certainly plan on/would like to get the time to read it all.) From what I saw, I do think Cary is entirely warranted about coming at you about that the way he did as you did claim you read it, and Sully, one must admit that it would no doubt be rather vexing for someone who studies the subject matter for a living (and I have very little doubt that Cary has read the entire report) when an argument one puts forth is claimed to be supported by a body of evidence that actually directly refutes or offers evidence against that argument, right? That does call into question ones credibility.
I really don't know a hell of alot about this topic of the war on terror (no "foundational base of knowledge here! LOL!), other than what i read in the newspapers and see on TV, and have tried to keep an open mind on this subject. I must say that it certainly appears that this is a subject that is both incredibly devisive and incredibly complex - far more so than we, the "ignorant masses", have been led to believe, have been told, or understand. I sincerely hope you two in particular keep writing here, as it has been rather enlightening and informative, but I hope you both settle down with the name-calling and such as well, and if you disagree on something, debate it passionately, accurately support your claims, and above all, keep it clean and to the facts.
Thanks guys!


BTW Cary - i have to say that your posts on human bias-forming behaviour above were excellent and right on-point, and were ones EVERYONE should read before they go off on rants, or talk in absolutes about issues they think they understand or think they are sufficiently educated on. Nobody can know everything about everything, but far too often, people get stuck in a frame of mind that clouds their objectivity (or stifles it entirely), particularly on complex issues that do require ALOT of analysis to wrap ones head around to reach an informed opinion. I thank you for those posts, as they should cause any reader to question just how well they can back their opinions up with evidence before considering them to be hard and fast ones.
CHEERS!

Posted by: just some guy.... | October 26, 2006 06:57 AM

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