Thursday, November 10, 2005

Are Bush's critics lying about lying?

Like Dr. Sanity and the Anchoress, I'm tired, tired, tired of the "Bush lied about WMDs" meme, which is itself a lie (or at least a grave error).

Fortunately, though, Norman Podhoretz isn't as tired as the rest of us. He's written this article of remarkable clarity on the subject in Commentary. If it were a lawyer's brief, it would be--to coin a phrase--a "slam-dunk." He carefully and patiently amasses irrefutable evidence that Bush did not lie. Read the whole thing, as they say.

But Podhoretz actually sounds a bit tired, too, I'm afraid:

What makes this charge ["Bush lied about WMDs"] so special is the amazing success it has enjoyed in getting itself established as a self-evident truth even though it has been refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike. In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up, or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.

Nevertheless, I want to take one more shot at exposing it for the lie that it itself really is. Although doing so will require going over ground that I and many others have covered before, I hope that revisiting this well-trodden terrain may also serve to refresh memories that have grown dim, to clarify thoughts that have grown confused, and to revive outrage that has grown commensurately dulled.


The fact that the "Bush lied" meme went all the way around the world several times over before the truth had time to even get its underwear on, much less its pants, has caused me no end of puzzlement. Surely there are many ways to criticize the Iraqi war without using such a transparently inane one. Illogical and easy to disprove by offering quote after quote after quote (some of them from the very people making the accusations) and fact after fact suggesting that everyone thought Saddam had WMDs, the "Bushlied" meme seems to nevertheless have unusually strong legs.

That so many otherwise intelligent-seeming people have swallowed it points to something irresistable about this particular lie (or error) about lying. What could it be?

My first thought is that people tend to be angry at being misled about something, even if the misleading was in fact done innocently and in good faith; nobody likes to be wrong. So it's easy--and very tempting--to strike out at the source and imagine one has been purposely duped.

My next thought is that people are understandably reluctant to commit to war, and it's not unusual, ex-post-facto, to attack the reasons originally given for entering such a conflict. There are even those who question whether Roosevelt knew about Pearl Harbor in advance and let it happen.

And then there are those lingering memories of controversy over the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, for example, which have made people in this country especially sensitive around this issue of being lied to in order to start a war.

The members of Congress who are criticizing Bush overemphasize his own reliance on WMDs as the casus belli, conveniently forgetting it was only one of many reasons he gave. Why do they do this? I think the answer is simple: it's the reason that convinced them, the one that they gave the most credence to, the one designed to appeal most to a reluctant warrior or an isolationist.

What else? That old reliable, Bush-hatred, is part of the picture. To believe Bush was mistaken is one thing, and probably true (although he had plenty of company in this, to be sure). But to believe he lied requires a belief in a much greater depth of corruption.

Remember back when Clinton was in the middle of Monicagate, and he was accused of wagging the dog when he bombed Afghanistan and Sudan? Or when some thought Clinton had had Vince Foster murdered? It was one thing to not be a major fan of Clinton's (I, for instance, counted myself among that number), but it was another to think him capable of a bombing to save his political skin, or a cold-blooded murder of a friend. Granted, the number on the right who believed the latter to be true never numbered anything remotely like those on the left who believe the "Bush lied" meme, but I think the process of believing both things is somewhat similar: each arises in the idea that the person in question is totally untrustworthy and almost devoid of a moral sense, not just lacking in judgment.

So, this one isn't going to die, I'm afraid, despite how many convincing articles Norman Podhoretz has the stamina to write. More power to him, of course. But on this blog and others I've watched as the topic of WMDs and lies has been batted around in the comments section ad nauseum, without a single mind appearing to change.

Blogger Wunderkraut is tired, too (via Willisms)--tired, tired, tired--of blogging and debunking the same stuff over and over. It's a dirty little secret that blogging is both invigorating and tiring, with peaks and valleys and long slow slogs.

Wunderkraut writes:

Maybe all bloggers go through this at some point. This must be where most give up, while others stick it out. You reach a point where you have written about the things that most interest you and you feel like you are repeating yourself. What more is there to say? How many more times can one point out the bias in the MSM? How many more times can you point out the hypocrisy of the Democrats in Congress concerning the war in Iraq?...

If I grow weary and the next blogger grows weary and this continues until the big name Conservative bloggers grow weary…then the MSM and their buds in the Democratic Party will have won and we will be left with the MSM passing forged “fake but accurate” documents to the unsuspecting American public.


Yes, Wunderkraut, it’s a war of attrition, and they’re hoping to tire us out. And blogging is a marathon, with no finish line.

Maybe we should all treat ourselves to one of these:

90 Comments:

At 12:25 PM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...

1. I'd take anything Podhoretz wrote with many grains of salt. Kosher, of course.
2. Bush lied, but this should disturb only believers in George Washington's mythical truth-telling obsession. Leaders lied to advance an agenda, personal or larger. If the consequences are beneficial or neutral, they tend to get away with the lies. If not, they may pay a price.
3.Truth-telling is reserved for scholars and philosophers, not politicians or CEOs.
Or, "I'm shocked, shocked that lying is going on in The White House."
A Civics lesson for 1949, maybe. For 2005, after Watergate, Gulf of T, Iran Contra, Monica.... Not even the liitle old lady in Dubuque would buy it.

 
At 12:38 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

As long as readers continue to contact elected officials and comment themselves, blogging pays off. You bring things to our attention that prompt and encourage us to speak out not only here but elsewhere. That is very important. Of course these blogs give guys like me the chance to all of a sudden veer off subject.

Today is the Marine Corps birthday!
OOOH-RAAH!

And the GAO, Gov. Accounting Office, is reporting in its Sept. casualty analysis of 1841 combat deaths, Caucasions who make up 66.4% of active duty and 71.5% of the reserve force, sustained 71% of the deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. Blacks constitute 19% of the active duty forces and have sustained 9% of the deaths in the two theatres of operation. Another Liberal lie gets shot in the foot, no pun intended. My stats are taken from the VFW magazine, November/December issue, 2005.

When you grow weary, you can have an open forum where any topic goes and take a day off.

 
At 2:07 PM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politics is religion to many. With the right room you could probably still get a wild dogma fight over Hiss/Chambers. --timmah!

PS, Happy birthday, Marines.

 
At 2:40 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger SeekerBlog.com said...

Keen observations on why such a contrary-to-fact meme is adopted by so many. The meme even has status as an Urban Legend - Snopes has collected many of the same quotes from flip-floppers as used by Podhoretz. More references here.


The members of Congress who are criticizing Bush overemphasize his own reliance on WMDs as the casus belli, conveniently forgetting it was only one of many reasons he gave. Why do they do this? I think the answer is simple: it's the reason that convinced them, the one that they gave the most credence to, the one designed to appeal most to a reluctant warrior or an isolationist.


That's a theory that I hadn't thought of. But it doesn't explain how the same politicians can rewrite history in their own minds. I thought Orwell was correct - that learning to practice Double Think was very difficult. And in Orwell's world it was much easier because Google would turn up the anti-history if it returned any result.


Your points on demonization are excellent. I wish we had reliable polling on the Clinton "wagging the dog" case to compare to "Bush lied" case.


But there is a key difference between these cases. The Clinton case is about what was in Clinton's mind - his motivations - which are only checkable in there were memos left around, or staff remembrances of conversations that could be extracted.


The "Bush Lied" case is about readily checkable facts. To recast the Bush case into the Clinton frame, one would have to believe that "Bush saw all the same findings of western intelligence, but concluded they were wrong. Bush believed Saddam did not pose a WMD threat, but he postured as though he did believe Saddam was a threat. Thus he lied".


In addition to the Clinton charges, we have the case of Republicans charging that FDR "lied us into war".


But on this blog and others I've watched as the topic of WMDs and lies has been batted around in the comments section ad nauseum, without a single mind appearing to change.


But this isn't a "cycle of violence" case, where fault is presumed on both sides. One side is responding to an body of evidence. The other side is truly practicing Double Think.

 
At 2:49 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Counter-propaganda is always a useful thing to learn when you're writing.

I wrote this comment at Major K's
blog




Hear here, Major. Fight the good fight, never give up, and... how many of them can you make die? (March of Cambreadth)

I came over here from China at age six, and I have more love for this great and just country of ours than some people who've been enriched and empowered by this nation ever will.

But then again, it was the barbarians that made up the bulk of the Roman Legion when Rome was falling. It was the barbarians who did the fighting and the dieing, not the Latins. The Thracians, the Greeks. All came to see themselves as Roman above all else. The rich patriarchs did nothing for Rome, ROme that had enriched them.

That is and will be the source of strength for the United States come what may, through hell or heaven, and it will certainly be the bulwark that the "domestic enemies" will have to overwhelm first and foremost.

Hold the line in Iraq, Major. And the American people, armed with the 2nd Ammendment and the internet, will hold the fort.

"O xein angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti tede keimetha tois keinon rhemasi peithomenoi

These verses have I rendered thus, as best I can:

Tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie."

We all must do our duty, no matter who or where we are, in the end.


The question is. Who's going to fall first, the military (Marathon) or the home front defenders (Athens)?

Neo-Neo, I suggest you study up on that word "Marathon" by looking up the Persian invasion of Greece where Athens held off the horde at Marathon, but had to tell the home defenders or else the home defenders might break and turn a victory to a defeat.

Quite appropriate, no?

Iraq is... Marathon.

 
At 3:19 PM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Bush lied people died" refrain resonates with the simple-minded (much of the intellectually stunted, ideology driven "baby boom"generation), and the naive (a good portion of the population of most liberal arts campuses.) The rest of us, those who live in the real world, as opposed to one merely based on reality, are itching for more facts, more details, so that we can draw our own conclusions.

We are the true audience for the bloggers; the curious, the skeptical, the thinkers. Because we are thoughtful, we are not loud like the shrill platitude spouting parrots that inhabit the forest at the lunatic fringe.

Keep writing for us; we who are, hopefully, the fulcrum on the scales of political sanity. We'll quietly pay attention.

Sign me,
Desperately seeking sanity

 
At 3:25 PM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous dilys said...

My not-so-serious comment is here.

 
At 3:59 PM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...

A very good account of our entry into the war:

"Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong," by Kenneth M. Pollack, January/February 2004

 
At 4:01 PM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...

OOPS!

Above: The Atlantic, January/February 2004

 
At 4:04 PM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

Another reason that only the WMD's are talked about is that the rest of his reasons were bourn out to be true. In fact, in quite a few of them the atrocities ended up being *worse* than what we originally thought.

They have one, and only one, thing they can hammer on. In that, they can focus all thier energy into it - it is that "pass or fail" key stone of thier arguments. Convince people of that and they win, fail too convince them and they loose. You will note that almost every other argument they have is based on this being proof that Bush lies over anything. It is the make or break of thier whole current house of cards against the Republicans, Iraq, and Bush - though it falling just means that they will have to try and build another one.

Of course, evidence has never mattered for this idea - it's not based on evidence so any thing contrary doesn't matter. At best it is just ignored, at worst the person is also called a liar (or dishonest) with no evidence whatsoever to show that. And that goes from the fourm level lefties up to the national politicians.

 
At 5:26 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Loyal Achates said...

So, let me see if I understand the possible situations vias-a-vis Bush and the WMDs.

1. He knew there were no WMDs and said that there were (lying).

2. He wasn't sure there were WMDs but edited the evidence to convince other people that there were (dishonesty).

3. He thought there were WMDs based on the evidence we now know was not convincing (incompetent).

4. He thought there were WMDs even though the evidence was clearly flawed (deluded).

So which is it?

 
At 6:04 PM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very simple. After 9/11 the country was very united behind Bush. The democrats were devastated but had to appear to support him. But they sat waiting...like a cat waiting to pounce on a mouse, hoping to find SOMETHING to discredit him. As soon as there was a report of no WMD's, they had their chance. They have been repeating it ad nauseum and have the help of the press. Most people are too busy to read articles refuting it and just go by what they hear others say. Plus the Bush administration has been TERRIBLE at PR. Instead admitting !! over and over they were wrong!

 
At 6:55 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Judith said...

"So which is it?"

5. Interpreting imperfect intelligence (the only kind there is) the same way everyone else was interpreting it at the time (Clinton, the UN, Chirac, etc), and deciding to eliminate a potential threat (who had already encouraged and supported other acts of terrorism and oppressed a nation and developed a WMD program and refused to verify he had disarmed) rather than wait for the threat to become imminent (as Bush said many times, and previously so did Clinton).

In fact, the Iraq Survey Group report confirms Bush's concerns; Saddam was trying to evade snactions to restart his WMD program, and bribing the UN and everyone else to do so.

 
At 6:57 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger neo-neocon said...

Loyal Achates writes, "So, let me see if I understand the possible situations vias-a-vis Bush and the WMDs."

Well, we've seen, and the answer is: you don't understand. Or, you pretend not to.

You are leaving out (disingenuously, IMHO) the actual situation: Bush, like virtually every other thinking person who was privy to the evidence about WMDs before the war--in this country and elsewhere, all around the entire world--looked at that evidence and concluded that Saddam had WMDs.

Ah, you say, but he, and he alone, should have known what no one else seemed to know--how flawed that evidence was. You must actually think very highly of him.

 
At 6:57 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Judith said...

The antiwar response that gets me down the most is when I bring up how much prigress the Iraqis are making and some "social activist" immediately responds: "But that's not why we went to war, Bush made up that reason later after WMDs turned out not to be true!"

which is
1. false, and easily refuted by many speeches by Bush available for Googling
2. irrelevant.

 
At 6:58 PM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

A lie can be passed on in half a sentence.
Refuting it can take paragraphs.
For example, there was a list of banned WMD found. Nearly two tons of uranium ore. Precursor chemicals for poison gas. Some gas-filled shells.
They disappeared into the memory hole, and finding it is far more difficult than shrugging when somebody who either knows nothing or knows but lies spouts off again.
It was clear from before the war that no amount of WMDs found would be admitted as sufficient to lead us to war.
I deal with some serious cases of BDS, but those people have a hard time with reality, anyway. One commented that Bush wouldn't extend unemployment. I noted that it was defeated in the Senate, being a legislative issue.
"I still think Bush did it."

But most, I think, are liars. They know, but they hope to find some who can be fooled.

 
At 7:20 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

I'll have a go.

Via Theodore Dalrymple, very much in the news of late for his prescient (City Journal, August 2002,
http://www.city-journal.org/html/12_4_the_barbarians.html)
article about the Paris suburbs, two quotes from George Orwell:
"...it takes effort and determination to see what is in front of one's face"

“We have sunk to a depth in which re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

I liked both NNC's thought that the WMD were what had convinced the current opponents, and so what they recalled in retrospect were the Big Reason, and were most upset about. I have long held to strcpy's view as well, and appreciate it being put succinctly.

Erasmus, I buy it. I think this president has several major faults, but lying is not among them. Nor do I pass him off as one honest man surrounded by thieves. I have yet to see evidence that the White House cannot be taken at its word that "this is the way we see things." As to your dismissive comments 1 and 2, you provide no evidence. Take Podhoretz with a grain of salt? For what reason? Bush lied? Chapter and verse, please. As to Mr. Pollack, would that be the gentleman who wrote in his 2002 book The Threatening Storm "It is often said that war should be employed only in the last resort. I reluctantly believe that in the case of the threat from Iraq, we have come to the last resort." ?

Loyal achates, you think in list-form, as I do, but you have not exhausted the possibilities. But first, run your own exercise with the same four possibilities, but substitute in order, the following names for Bush: John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, Tom Harkin. And others. Go ahead. Zip them in the slots. Read them out loud if you have to to let it sink in. There is no difference between the statements the White House put out and the statements of his Democratic opposition.

Because you took such rhetorical flourishes with possibilities 2,3, and 4, you left large logical holes. By overreaching to make political points, you eroded your own foundations.

2. As there is never 100% assurance on any foreign intelligence, your phrase "wasn't sure" covers everything from 1-99%, that is, all the realistic possibilities. Your point looks quite different whether you put 1% or 99% in there, doesn't it?

3. "...now know was not convincing"
But people were convinced, so the evidence was convincing in the only meaningful sense. If you mean "what we now see in retrospect to be inadequate," your question retains some force. But it doesn't sound anywhere near as good, does it?

4. "clearly" flawed. Seeing that it was not clear to anyone at the time that the evidence was flawed, I don't see what you could mean by "clearly." You are trying to inject the retrospective view, not because it is logically sound, but because to score cheap points. If we get to use current wisdom on past events, I'd own a lot of shares of Microsoft now.

By the way, there were uranium, missles, and expertise in Iraq. Exactly where in a nuclear development program is the best time to intervene?

 
At 7:30 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Eric said...

Hi neo-neocon,

Wonderful blog. I feel as though you're speaking for me, as a pro-victory liberal. Do you happen to be an INFP?

"Tired" is an apt description. I can tell you about my efforts at Columbia University to represent the pro-Victory position. Invariably and eventually, pro-Victory supporters on campus give up because the pro-Defeat crowd fights dirty and persistently and it just seems to be too much work for too little result.

 
At 7:45 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up, or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.

Liberals do this constantly. You argue with them on a concept, get them to follow you every single step of the way -- yes, that's true... yep, that follows... uh-huh... ok, right... and then you point out to them that where they are now standing refutes everything they have claimed, utterly. Three days later you'll hear them arguing from the same idiotic starting point you showed them was blatantly false.

The Liberal Reset Button is the centerpiece of the liberal mindset.

Mind you -- I have seen the same in conservatives with regards to certain hot-button issues such as abortion -- but, with liberals, it's incredibly widespread as to the number of subjects/memes covered.

 
At 9:03 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Steve said...

Just one major flaw in your argument. Truth does not wear underwear, it goes commando!

 
At 9:30 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Nick B, I have used the image of whack-a-mole for the phenomenon you describe, but I think I like the cartoon and reset button images better. Whack-a-mole is more fun to say, though.

I promised brendan over at Red State that I would spread his more reasonable criticism, though I don't necessarily agree. It is good to know, at least, that some who disagree with us aren't just starkers.

I honestly don't understand why By: brendanm98
this is so hard to grasp, but let me try one last time:

(1) Lots of people thought Saddam had WMD, based on available intelligence, and there were several reasonable cases for deposing him.
(2) Some of the evidence, particularly with respect to active al-Qaeda connections and nuclear threat, was exaggerated.
(3) There is no contradiction between (1) and (2)!

So sure, go after the "Bush lied!" crowd with guns blazing, but in your rampage don't shoot the folks with reasonable concerns about how the reliability of some intelligence was overstated.

 
At 9:48 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger terrye said...

Personally I think that most Bushbashers know damn well that Bush did not lie, they just say it anyway.

They get a perverse pleasure out of paranoia and conspiracy. That is why rational argument gets you no where with these people.

The truth is I think that the fact that Saddam tried to kill a president was reason enough to take him out.

What exactly would have happened to Saddam if he had succeeded in assasinating a president of the United States? And did that stop him?

How can you trust a man that deranged with access to those weapons and the wealth that oil can bring? At least the Congress seemed to think he could not be trusted and so they gave the authority to invade. They gave it, Bush did not take it.

Liberals and Dems can call Bush a liar all they want but where were they when Clinton was president?

Yes, I am tired of the silliness. It is like listening to the crying of a baby. year after year after year.

 
At 10:21 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger AcademicElephant said...

Yes, it's tiresome to repeat the same truths over and over, but the alternative, well, the alternative just doesn't bear contemplating, does it? Rather like letting terrye's crybaby cry unattended until it turns into a psychopathic monster or at the very least (correctly) blames you for everything for the rest of time. It has no sense of right or wrong, no sense of responsibility, no sense of fairness. You've got to keep getting up and comforting it over and over again, even when it bites you in the hopes that one distant day it will grow up into a decent human being.

This analogy is getting away from me as of course I did not chose to give birth to the entire liberal movement, but hopefully you can see what I mean.

Anyway, that never never never graphic is going to be my picture of the day tomorrow. Thank you--this has made me feel less tired.

 
At 10:23 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

I see the "whack-a-mole" model of liberal argument as having to dispute one lie only to be countered with another. (mostly multiple lies)

Nick B. is right on. Ive encountered those libs. The "whack-a-mole" model lib argument goes like this:

Lib: "Bush lied about WMD's to get us into this illegal, immoral war!"

Me: "But you voted for Kerry! He said the same damned thing!"

Lib: "Well, he was lied to by Bush, and besides there's no connection between Al Queada and Iraq and now we're stealing all the Iraqi's oil and killing innocent civilians. Why does Cheney want to continue to let the CIA "rendition" so called "terrorists" off to other countries to torture them? How does that make America safer? Huh? Huh? Huh?"

Me: {sigh}

 
At 10:47 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger troutsky said...

I feel safer just knowing you folks are guarding the right flank. The whining is a bit unbecoming,I really would have thought such keen analysts would understand the cyclical nature of political gaming by now.

 
At 10:57 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"That so many otherwise intelligent-seeming people have swallowed it points to something irresistable about this particular lie (or error) about lying. What could it be?"

what could it be???

people who are:
-afraid of American power
-jealous of American power
-embarassed by American power

the nonsense about the US
being a "hyper-power"
is just that:nonsense.

history has never been kind to people imagine things don't change.

it's my firm belief that ALL
the above parties will regret
the passing
of global American influence.

but not before they've suffered greatly from its absence.

 
At 10:57 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger Loyal Achates said...

This is inspiring. So the anti-war types who (correctly) said that Saddam didn't have WMDs before the war are now the bad guys, while Bush, who turned out to be totally wrong, is the hero?

What a world.

 
At 11:19 PM, November 10, 2005, Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"Loyal Achates said...

This is inspiring. So the anti-war types who (correctly) said that Saddam didn't have WMDs before the war are now the bad guys, while Bush, who turned out to be totally wrong, is the hero?

What a world."


totaly,dude.

"what if they gave a war
and nobody came??"

 
At 12:07 AM, November 11, 2005, Anonymous dicentra said...

What no one seems to point out is the following:

If Bush is venal enough to manufacture stories about WMDs, he's venal enough to manufacture their discovery.

How hard would it be for him to grab some of our leftover chemical weapons, change the markings, bury them in the sand, and orchestrate the big reveal? Could he and his entire staff have been so stupid that they didn't consider how much egg would be on their faces when the WMDs were not found?

They endured an entire election cycle with that egg on their faces: no dishonest man would stand for such a thing. A venal Bush would have made sure something was found, one way or the other.

 
At 1:02 AM, November 11, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

"So the anti-war types who (correctly) said that Saddam didn't have WMDs before the war are now the bad guys,"

Except that wasn't what was claimed. It was claimed that the inspections were sufficient to disarm him and we were rushing things (the timeline is generally given from 2000 instead of 1992 though). The time frame for a justified invasion was always "just a little longer, itt'l work in the next year or two" - in other words anti-war cloaked in an attempt to sound like war is actually an option. You will note that this is a common tactic - impending doom is always ten years away for environmental concerns, it gets amusing if you pay attention. The "hole" in the ozone has been ten years from killing us since the early 80's.

There were, however, a few that said he didn't have them, but none of them had any evidence whatsoever to base that on. If you get enough different opinions one will actually be correct. Another way of putting it "Even a blind squirril finds a nut occasionally". You can see how accurate these people are in that every single other of thier predictions (500,000 dead US soldiers just to reach Baghdad, 20 years of total civil unrest, Bush institute draft, etc) were grossly incorrect.

 
At 1:50 AM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Loyal Achates said...

I remember in the run-up to the Iraq War that the overwhelming message of the anti-war movement even before the war and in its early days was that there were no WMDs. Why did we think so? Because no WMDs had been found! The sanctions and the inspection teams did their job. We know that now; are you going to say that it would've been smarter to be wrong?

Are there no consequences at all for being grossly mistaken at the least or a teller of falsehoods at the most?

 
At 3:39 AM, November 11, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

I remember something totally different. I remember "give them a chance" - a "chance" isnt' "We have succeded". Of course, most of the sheople have memories also - don't forget that (and note that a 35% approval rating doesn't do you much good if you have a 20%).

But OK, lets assume that you have the Answers and Know All as you claim. I'll allow that as I would like an end to conflict too. Now is your chance.

Do you think that if we had left them alone Saddam would have not done anything more and was no threat the US or the west? Do you think that we would have needed indefinate weapons inspections. Or is there another option? Due to your prescience I am sure you have a good answer to this. You win: can you follow through or is all you are is "anti-war" and "anti-republican" and not interested in anything else?

 
At 5:45 AM, November 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq’s WMD and ballistic missile programs by:

- Treating nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as a single "WMD threat." The conflation of three distinct threats, very different in the danger they pose, distorted the cost/benefit analysis of the war.

- Insisting without evidence — yet treating as a given truth — that Saddam Hussein would give whatever WMD he possessed to terrorists.

- Routinely dropping caveats, probabilities, and expressions of uncertainty present in intelligence assessments from public statements.

- Misrepresenting inspectors’ findings in ways that turned threats from minor to dire.

 
At 5:48 AM, November 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was and is no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam’s government and Al Qaeda.

There was no evidence to support the claim that Iraq would have transferred WMD to Al Qaeda and much evidence to counter it.

The notion that any government would give its principal security assets to people it could not control in order to achieve its own political aims is highly dubious.

 
At 7:13 AM, November 11, 2005, Anonymous Paul said...

Did GWB lie to the American people ? I cannot say for certain, but I have lost confidence in him and I think a majority of Americans have now as well. And I am not a Democrat or Left/Liberal!

 
At 9:20 AM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

This is inspiring. So the anti-war types who (correctly) said that Saddam didn't have WMDs before the war are now the bad guys, while Bush, who turned out to be totally wrong, is the hero?

This reminds me of the boy who kept lieing about wolves, and then expecting people to believe him when he tells the truth about wolves.

Sure, we'll believe him, after they committ ritual sepukko for the sheep that is. Which the Democrats never will do, they will never help slaves in need of freedom.

So it seems the honest shepherd is to blame when he is wrong once, while the lieing shepherd who has been wrong 100 times, now gets the heroworship for being right 1 time...

This is the inspiring world that Loyal Achates lives in.

Loyalty to party never to truth, forever.
Because no WMDs had been found! The sanctions and the inspection teams did their job. We know that now; are you going to say that it would've been smarter to be wrong?

Of course no weapons were found. This is clearly a cynical attempt to clear Saddam of the sanctions so that Russian, German, and French business rick folks could make a bigazillion profit on the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Of course there were no weapons found, for there to be weapons found, the UN would have been off the take for one thing...

An inspiring world, that is.
I cannot say for certain, but I have lost confidence in him and I think a majority of Americans have now as well. And I am not a Democrat or Left/Liberal!

I've lost confidence in him, and I'm about as much in favor of weakness as Winston Churchill and Al-Qaeda are.

The reason why most people have lost their confidence is due to the fact that Bush doesn't lie at all, assuming he speaks anything at all that isn't a parot parody of substance. I certainly think so.

As Dick Morris said, Bush could turn his approval ratings to 60% if he only did 3 things,

crack down on energy management through executive actions such as vouchers, programs, executive writ, anal retentive drilling in ANWR through the Senate.

Fence the border.

And do something about drugs.

One's the everyday issue. Second is the male issue. Third is the female issue.

Bush gets it all in one speech, his approval rating jumps 20%.

But Bush doesn't say anything, and he doesn't say anything because he believes the truth is self-evident. Well, the truth is not self-evident, and if he needs to lie about something or spin it, then that's what he has to do to get the truth out.

It is the basic strategy of the Democrats, and you can't win in politics without fighting fire with fire. At least, not with Bush's skills.

Maybe with Dick Morris's skills, Bush wouldn't have to lie to protect the country's interests, but without... he's a goner.

 
At 9:38 AM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

I can't tell if the two last anonymi are the same.

Loyal A: Then you misremember significantly. I was arguing on an international bulletin board heavily weighted anti-war. That they did not believe there were WMD was only one argument, and I am not sure it was even the top one. "The US doesn't have the right, because it's imperialistic" was certainly heard often; "Saudi Arabia is worse" was big; "It's all about oil/Halliburton/revenge," "no connection to 9-11," "we have to address the Palestinian problem first," and "the humanitarian disaster will be enormous" were also oft-repeated.

Those aren't bad things. It's good to have more than one reason not to go to war, just as it's good to have more than one reason to go to war. Life doesn't tie up neatly in little boxes. We make judgements on balance, and reevaluate them on balance. Your oversimplification is not accurate. You are trying to hang everything on not discovering completed objects. We have since 2003 absolutely confirmed that active WMD programs were in place, just much farther behind than we feared. We have absolutely confirmed the presence of most of the necessary materials. If that isn't enough for you, fine, say that. But you are trying to paint it as if there's nothing, simplifying the equation to "Saddam has WMD's ande is dangerous versus Saddam doesn't have WMD's and is fine."

Anonymous(es), your objections deserve a good reply, and I hope I am up to it. For the first set of comments, yes, conflating the different WMD's obscures important parts of the argument in the run-up. I am not sure how we would fix that, even in retrospect. Most people are not political junkies, having businesses, children, illnesses, or whatever to attend to. Arguments have to be simplified on both sides to gain any political traction. I also regret that the political argument becomes so imprecise, but have no solution.

As for the other parts of first comment, two things: all four are attributable not only to the administration, but to a goodly percentage of those currently criticising him. If you were one who was not saying such things, you have more right to criticise now; as in my comments to LA, there was not NO evidence, and we now have absolute evidence of mutual aid between Iraq and Al Queda. It turned out not to be extensive and systematic. Dropping qualifiers does lead to imprecision, but it is routine, not just for political gain but for any decision-making.

Whitaker, who agrees with you that disconfirming evidence was not given enough weight, still reports that there were many incidents that were strong, for example the series
1. Satellite photos show chemical trails before the inspectors arrive.
2. During the inspectors' visit and after, there are no chemical trails.
I would weigh that strongly.

Last point. I am figuring that I am missing something here, because I can't be the only one who has noticed, yet the question is not all over the blogosphere. Then where are the WMD? We know they existed in the mid 90's, and Iraq was supposed to record their destruction. No records. To my eyes it looks as if Saddam is saying "The dog ate my WMD" and we're saying "OK, fine then, but we're still kicking you out for the other stuff." I admit I don't get it.

 
At 10:00 AM, November 11, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Absolutely correct.
We know the stuff was there.
It's not there now.
The accountability for its disposal is the missing link.

 
At 11:30 AM, November 11, 2005, Blogger neo-neocon said...

At the risk of nattering on about things I've said I'm heartily tired of, I will add that the Duelfer report made it clear that, if indeed there were no WMDs at the time, Saddam had the capability and the desire to make them quite readily once again as soon as sanctions were lifted. He and his Oil-for-Food-scandal buddies were working very hard to see that that would happen, soon. Plus, the war was justified merely by his refusal to cooperate with inspectors as the terms of the agreement dictated. There is no "innocent until proven guilty" requirement for such a situation: one does not need to prove that the weapons weren't there--that was for Saddam to prove, and he did not.

 
At 11:42 AM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

They're probably in Syria or Iran. Which accounts for some of Syria's and Iran's giving the US the middle finger in most respects. They believe with the weapons, that they are golden.

There is no "innocent until proven guilty" requirement for such a situation: one does not need to prove that the weapons weren't there--that was for Saddam to prove, and he did not.

The justification favored by most pro-military people is the one about the cease fire. Gulf War 1 never ended, the cease fire was still in effect, mandated by the UN. The important part is not about the UN, but about the fact that we were flying over Iraq to enforce the cease fire terms while Iraq was violating the cease fire terms willy nilly.

Some people believe that America has a moral right to act with a higher standard, but there is no higher standard when America allows our enemies to violate treaties, mistreat our citizens, and let them go with a slap on the wrist.

I believe, as probably most people who favor Total War (that's not what happened in iraq btw) that the cease fire was the only thing that allowed us to honorably take the decision that we did, which is to invade.

We gave Saddam a chance, in return for his safety he would not bomb the Shia and the Kurds into submission and extinction.

He violated his words, therefore his arse was ours.

Forget the UN, WMDs, and what other willy nilly weak complaints there was elsewhere. That's my position, and it is why I don't feel anger at Bush for "misleading" me.

 
At 11:46 AM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Erasmus said:

I'd take anything Podhoretz wrote with many grains of salt. Kosher, of course.

Are you implying Jews are less truthful than others with your “Kosher” remark?

Bush lied, but this should disturb only believers in George Washington's mythical truth-telling obsession. Leaders lied to advance an agenda, personal or larger. If the consequences are beneficial or neutral, they tend to get away with the lies. If not, they may pay a price.

I challenge you to quote Bush in a lie on Iraq/WMD. Be sure & list your source.

The reason the ‘Bush lied’ accusation is so persistent is that many folks who oppose Bush are also on record as having favored the present Iraq war. Their problem is how to be righteously against something when only a couple of years ago they were righteously for it. The way that has been chosen is to claim that they were deceived, i.e.: Bush lied.

 
At 12:22 PM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

All things may be reduced to human nature, human motivations, and human psychology.

Isn't that the strategy of the neo-cons and perhaps even the neo-neocons?

 
At 3:24 PM, November 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what if they gave a war
and nobody came??"

That would be great, unless they gave a war and only the bad guys showed up, which is apparently just fine with today's liberals.

 
At 3:38 PM, November 11, 2005, Blogger gumshoe1 said...

Oil for Food =
Administered by UN =
UN Bribed & Bought by Saddam

Mr Annan was "unaware" of the subterfuge.


Weapons Inspections =
Administered by UN =
UN Bribed & Bought by Saddam

it's really quite a mental stretch,
isn't it?

 
At 3:41 PM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Arthur Parry said...

That they would attempt to revise history is unremarkable. What amazes is the sheer shallowness of the memory hole required to do so.

 
At 4:00 PM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Kobayashi Maru said...

With a phrase like, "...it's the reason that convinced them, the one that they gave the most credence to...", you're dancing around the biggest reason the "Bush lied" lie has stuck and the truth has not: self hatred, aka 'projection'.

Leftie politicos facilitate the lie that allows them to hate the president because it's psychologically much easier than the only alternative: hating themselves for being gutless, powerless, and without moral foundation. I.e., they're trying to preserve some self respect by using variants on "why didn't I think of that?" (with the bonus that it's all politically expedient with benefactors like George Soros.)

Opposing the truth is the only unoccupied political ground left to stand on on this issue. Drowning in self-loathing, they choose to stand on it rather than going under entirely. Now they hate themselves even more.

 
At 4:12 PM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Anonymous:

There was and is no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam’s government and Al Qaeda.

There was no evidence to support the claim that Iraq would have transferred WMD to Al Qaeda and much evidence to counter it.

The notion that any government would give its principal security assets to people it could not control in order to achieve its own political aims is highly dubious.


This one always makes me smile. It’s the kind of thinking that led to 9/11: Oh surely they wouldn’t do such horrible things. In fact, let’s invent nice, rational little reasons why such things wouldn’t be done.

Let’s imagine we are Saddam. All we have to do is give the terrorists a few containers of anthrax & they’ll do the rest. There will be no reprisals against us. Oh sure, there will be suspicions but nothing that can be proven.

The burden of proof is on those that say Saddam wouldn’t cooperate with terrorists. Personally, I haven’t come across anything along that line of thinking that’s convincing.

 
At 5:35 PM, November 11, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

You will note that none of that anti-war crowd here answered my questions. They are simply "anti" and have nothing beyond that - they know it. In a debate where people are actually watching and you have to respond they get trounced - it's easy to have a ones sided debate through text, you can conviently ignore things.

There is no good answer to what I asked, the possible answers show that they are wholly uninformed, niave, or dishonest. In this type of forum it's easy for it to be forgotten that they ignored it, in a real debate ignoring it isn't an option and this is a large part of what killed Kerry (while he spoke good and had many facts they were not relevant to the discussion and many saw it as what it was: avoidance).

 
At 12:49 AM, November 12, 2005, Blogger TmjUtah said...

Why did we go back to Iraq?

Because George H.W. Bush disregarded the lessons of Versailles and entrusted the containment of Saddam Hussein to an organization even more toothless and orders of magnitude more corrupt than was the League of Nations.

He, in short, kept his word to the world by honoring the U.N. mandate to only eject Iraq from Kuwait.

Imagine FDR freeing france and leaving Hitler in Germany.

Bush I took it in the shorts, too, and rightfully so. That wasn't what cost him reelection, though.

Remember "Read my lips"? Everybody old enough to remember that second - to - last internet - free election does: another "Bush LIED" then, but about taxes. Or did he?

Nobody ever remembers the Tax Summit, and the Dem agreement to cut spending if they got the tax cut. Media NEVER mentioned it. I missed the half-column report about the tax summit, if it even appeared at all in the Scripps newspaper we got at the time in San Diego. I ended up voting for Perot - which will probably be the hard one to explain when I see St. Pete.

Foley and Mitchell set him up slicker than a Barbary Coast waitress slipping a mickey to a sailor. Just another fine day in the U.S. Senate. Knives and togas were the only thing missing.

 
At 1:02 AM, November 12, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ strcpy
Hey, give 'em the benefit of the doubt. They may have been just skimming your post while looking for my brilliant writing.

Okay, well, it's theoretically possible anyway

 
At 2:23 AM, November 12, 2005, Blogger TmjUtah said...

Preview, preview...

That should be "tax INCREASE" instead of "tax cut" in my previous post.

 
At 2:44 AM, November 12, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

Haha, maybe :)

I can't think of any instance I've ever had it answered, even by the ones I know think that Saddam was going to play nice. They know very well it's stupid to the vast majority of people.

It's a big flaw with them and the flaw with just being "anti". At some point, if you win, you gotta have the answer.

Interestingly enough one of the reasons that leftists/liberals do not do well on that is that they almost never *have* too. For the last, at least, 30 years anything they say has been given a free ride. No need to defend, it's assumed to be true and even when it's found it's not it gets covered up.

Conservatives have had to defend themselfs not only through legitimate criticism, but even outright lies. Every little slip is focused on.

leftist depend on that groupthink, conservatives depend on logic. As that groupthink shatters, the dems are dieing. They may still have a few breaths in them - that old groupthink is strong, I think a democrat is going to come out sometime in the next decade or so that plays very well with them (allow them to "return to the fold" so to speak - you can see that mentality on many - though not all - of the "change" blogs), but once elected it will not go as planned - until the core of what the libs/dems are changes it will only be window dressing (if this happens there will be quite a few hard core republicans born). I took me getting violently ill (nearly to the point of going to the hospital the last time) three times from a recently aquired allergic reaction to fish. Given my refusal to stop eating fish until I knew for sure what was causing it, I can't imagine having a total change of my self needed to move to the other side, would probably want to go back MUCH more than I want to eat fish.

 
At 10:53 AM, November 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

strcpy, no one has adequately replied to my post (5:45, Nov 11) either, and I'd like to draw some conclusions from that, too.

Neo-neocon's comment threads approach the civil society ideal of a democratic (small d) forum, in the sense that democracy is best served by a well-informed citizenry exposed to a variety of points of view. Liberals do post here, including myself when I actually find the time.

But the threads only approach a democratic forum, because the tone here is far from civil, closer to the tone of an echo chamber. Now, echo chambers do serve a purpose: people of the same stripe do need a place to gather and commiserate and exult, away from their opponents. They need a place to move the debate beyond premises -- this thread's topic, for instance, is apparently one the right is tired of rehashing.

People in this community complain bitterly about the MSM being an echo chamber, but then they happily build their own.

Why not step up and respect your political opponents? Why not concede the occasional point?

You might find more people would actually register rather than post anonymously.

 
At 11:06 AM, November 12, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Anonymous -- I have conceded the occasional point and attempted to give credit for good intention and solid reasoning.

Your point is taken. Yes, any conversation stands the danger of becoming an echo chamber, with those on the outside having to sharpen and refine their arguments to get heard at all, while those inside get fat, dumb, and happy. The Republican Congress is already on their way to that. I hope the rank-and-file conservatives can hold the fort for another decade or two.

I have long predicted that once the liberals figure that out and go back to the long processes of honing their skills and actually thinking hard about foundational premises, they will push the dinosaur conservatives out of the way. It took us 30 years -- 1964-94. The sooner you guys get started, the sooner you'll be back in.

I am an ex-lib; wrote for socialist underground papers in my youth, in fact. I became a conservative because I got tired of losing arguments to people not as smart as me, because they had better facts and reasoning.

 
At 5:13 PM, November 12, 2005, Blogger knoxgirl said...

Anybody who thought the UN weapons inspectors "did their job" doesn't really understand what the inspectors were supposed to do.

And, incidentally, Saddam kicked them out, they didn't leave because the job was done.

NNC: No wonder you bloggers get tired, the "BushLied" crowd doesn't have the first clue or even the relevant facts.

 
At 7:12 PM, November 12, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

"strcpy, no one has adequately replied to my post (5:45, Nov 11) either, and I'd like to draw some conclusions from that, too."

It hjas been gone over - Podhoretz did a nice job of it (what the original article was about). Just because you do not believe it doesn't mean anything. None has even attempted to answer mine. For many of us here it's been said over and over and over and over and over. After a while it gets like trying to prove to you guys that gravity pulls objects towards the earth by dropping something, but it never works. Immediatly after seeing it sayng "See, I told you that it flings it into space". You have a refusal to see reality so why bother.

But, if you want to read it again, here goes:

"- Treating nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as a single "WMD threat." The conflation of three distinct threats, very different in the danger they pose, distorted the cost/benefit analysis of the war."

So? I don't see anything wrong with that. If any one were a serious threat, or any combination of them it comes to the same conclusion. Especially given that Saddam was considered both a current and future threat in *all* of them I don't see your issue, detailing what each one is capable of would have given *more* of a reason to go to war anyway. Maybe a bit more detail there as to why that is so wrong.

"- Insisting without evidence — yet treating as a given truth — that Saddam Hussein would give whatever WMD he possessed to terrorists."

It's not a court of law, with this type of thing it has to be stopped *before* it happens. As he said, when the attack happens because you need oncontroversial proof, it's too late. Not to mention Saddam has offered that type of stuff to terrorist before Desert Storm and given his stance on aiding terrorist that strike Israel and the US, it's silly to think that he suddenly cleaned his act up and wouldn't.

Besides, the vast majority of speeches I have read/listened too say "might" which is quite different from "given truth". I'm sure it was stated as an absolute in some places - they speak too much for it not, but that is a far difference from always.

"- Routinely dropping caveats, probabilities, and expressions of uncertainty present in intelligence assessments from public statements."

Again - so? If the intelligence he is quoting has some uncertainty in it why is it wrong to say so? I thought this list was supposed to show Bush the liar, not Bush the Truth no matter how much it hurts. Again, I need to know why this was so wrong.

"- Misrepresenting inspectors’ findings in ways that turned threats from minor to dire."

I need examples on this one. Some inspectors had VERY dire warnings - much stronger than Bush's, others saw the same evidence and concluded something less. I can't think of any instance where it was misrepresented as "minor" to "dire". At worst taking one of the older reports and using the information in the new one to confirm the facts, though not agreeing with the inspectors take on the future (which was never "mild"). But even in those cases it wasn't claimed that the current inspector said the warnings.

"Why not step up and respect your political opponents? Why not concede the occasional point? "

Pretty much or the same reason you don't. I see no reason to concede that gravity pushes things into the sky (and, to fend off the inevitable "I didn't say that" it's called an "analogy") just to make you feel better and register on a board. It's better than the lefty boards where you are sent an angry message and banned. I don't see you or any other anti-war person conceding the occasional point to make me feel better.

 
At 7:28 PM, November 12, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Anonymous said: strcpy, no one has adequately replied to my post (5:45, Nov 11) either, and I'd like to draw some conclusions from that, too.

Here’s what Anonymous said in that earlier post:

Administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq’s WMD and ballistic missile programs by:

- Treating nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as a single "WMD threat." The conflation of three distinct threats, very different in the danger they pose, distorted the cost/benefit analysis of the war.


Although different in many ways, all the WMD threats are too dangerous to contemplate. Since they are all capable of killing in large numbers, what’s the value in a rhetorical separation, the benefit in drawing distinctions? What did the administration ‘get away with’ by not drawing distinctions? As for the “cost/benefit” distortion, perhaps you could help us with a concrete illustration or 2?

- Insisting without evidence — yet treating as a given truth — that Saddam Hussein would give whatever WMD he possessed to terrorists.

But why wouldn’t he? It’s up to you to convince us that he wouldn’t do such a thing as, say, let the terrorists have a little anthrax.

- Routinely dropping caveats, probabilities, and expressions of uncertainty present in intelligence assessments from public statements.

Too vague to debate. You have to be specific for this kind of thing to have any impact.

- Misrepresenting inspectors’ findings in ways that turned threats from minor to dire.

A charge such as this, without an example or 2, is very unconvincing.

 
At 8:30 PM, November 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My source:

WMD in Iraq: evidence and implications [pdf document]

The issues I posted here are addressed between pages 50-54 (of the 111 page document).

For many of us here it's been said over and over and over and over and over. After a while it gets like trying to prove to you guys that gravity pulls objects towards the earth by dropping something, but it never works. Immediatly after seeing it sayng "See, I told you that it flings it into space". You have a refusal to see reality so why bother.

I'm sorry that's been your experience. You hear the same complaints on the left, btw.

I don't see you or any other anti-war person conceding the occasional point to make me feel better.

I think the Bush administration is correct to think long term. That is the right thing to do.

 
At 11:39 PM, November 12, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Hey anonymous:

I read the Carnegie pdf. link & didn’t come across anything I found compelling enough to make me take your POV. But maybe I’m missing the point. What parts did you find persuasive? In any case, I think I deserve more of response to my comment than to be directed to some reading material.

 
At 12:27 AM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

"The issues I posted here are addressed between pages 50-54 (of the 111 page document)."

Ok, I've read them and it didn't address anything of what I said and the same refutation that I gave you stands. Amusingly enough they do answer one of my questions above and it falls into the "naive" category.

From what I can tell thier reason for Saddam not going to give WMDS is he didn't before Desert Storm so he will not now. "Saddam will play nice". They have no more evidence for what they emphatically state than Bush - if it is wrong to do so then it is wrong both ways. Thier crowning achievement is other peace orgs declared he would not. Thier solution - pass resolutions that are alraedy in place and talk about them more.

It then goes on to complain about the intelligence and makes some assumption that even they say can not be supported. Thier solutions (independant investigations on the intelligence and possible influence from the whitehouse) have been done now four times and each one has concluded that what they claim happened did not happen.

Lumping the WMDS together - several big errors. First they claim the chemical are not a large threat which is plain stupid. The chemical and biological were the *main* threat. Easy to produce, easy to transport, and easy to use. Within a year he could have had back to his old levels (enough to kill every person on the planet over a few times) and they would actually be deliverable. Nuclear weapons are scary, chemical and biological are the mass deadly - unless he had large ICBM's. All of them were capable of killing millions, nuclear the hardest biological the easiest to use and produce.

Thier main fault in that section is the confusion between militarily usefull and terrorist useful and that seems a common theme. They base thier whole chemical weapons aren't as dangerous on thier ability for tactical and strategic use - that is how good of a military weapon it is. I agree that they are bad for the, they do not hang around long enough and aren't targetable enough for military action. However, as a terrorist weapon they are incomparable (they simply say the *could* be effective). One is against soldiers dispersed in a line, the other is against people contained in an office building or sporting event. Nor are the terrorist looking for tactical or strategic weapons - they have no intention of taking and controlling the superdome but in killing as many as possible. For that chemical and biological are unparalelled (see Halabja, Iraq for an example of that). To put it bluntly, flying a jumbo jet into a skyscraper is strategically and tactilly worthless - not "not very effective", but utterly and completely worthless. In fact it is a strategically and tactically *bad* decision - it would negativly effect it. However, it is an effective and deadly terror attack. So, should we ignore that possibility also?

The only thing I can find about Bush saying the intelligence might, maybe, or some other non absolute is saying those are "red flags". I don't see that at all - it's an opinion they have given as a fact. Intelligence is almost never certain, I'm much more uncomfortable with someone who says that intelligence is irrefutable than one who says it "probably means". Though, again, that isn't an absolute either - a person telling the truth most like has a mix of the two.

As for taking weapons inspectors from "minor" to "major", they are not completely honest either (or rather, I would put it dishonest). They, like Bush, are picking and choosing thier quotes from amongst several inspectors, though thiers is in proof that someone lied and his is that what he is saying is accurate. Some said exactly what Bush said (in fact a few were even more vehement), some said exactly what the article said. Without knowing which inpector he was refering too, or which one they are, you can not make an accurate judgement as to who is the most truthfull, and that comes down to trust (and, for some reason, I doubt the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace gets an automatic "truthful" tag, any more than the President does).

"I'm sorry that's been your experience. You hear the same complaints on the left, btw."

Irrelevant. Three options: I'm right, they're right, both are wrong. The fact that both sides say it doesn't have any bearing on that.

"I think the Bush administration is correct to think long term. That is the right thing to do."

Haha, I tell you what, I'll make a few "concessions" then. War sucks and should be the last option, no large stockpiles of WMD's have been found in Iraq, people shouldn't be tortured, Civilian deaths should be minimised as much as possible, fluffy bunnies are cute. Feel better now? I reached out the same as you did (which is, nothing more than lip service on topics everyone agrees on).

 
At 12:47 AM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the Carnegie pdf. link & didn’t come across anything I found compelling enough to make me take your POV.

My POV (here, so far) is simply a distate for the saturated positions taken in echo chambers.

You didn't read anything in those five pages that might lead you to concede some ground?

But maybe I’m missing the point. What parts did you find persuasive?

I find them all well-reasoned and well-documented, actually, and I wouldn't feel comfortable dismissing any of them out of hand.

In any case, I think I deserve more of response to my comment than to be directed to some reading material.

Yes, you do. Those are the pages that deal specifically with the concerns you had with my post, i.e., unpacking of concepts, with examples. I started copying and pasting, actually, but it was getting awfully long (five pages of double columned text) so I thought the link would be best.

Also, I confess I'm stealing time from midterms at grad school to contribute here. One of my courses is the social context of technology, and I'm knee-deep in articles on the erosion of public discourse. Hence my post. I'll be arguing on a student panel this Thursday that people online are actually better informed about all the issues than people offline. The argument's that just because echo chambers exist doesn't mean that people spend all their time in echo chambers.

Incidentally, I'm not American, nor is the school, but the USA is like the canary in the coal mine as far as media studies are concerned.

I don't see you or any other anti-war person conceding the occasional point to make me feel better.

I think it's excellent that the States put Saddam Hussein behind bars.

 
At 1:32 AM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I can tell thier reason for Saddam not going to give WMDS is he didn't before Desert Storm so he will not now. "Saddam will play nice". They have no more evidence for what they emphatically state than Bush - if it is wrong to do so then it is wrong both ways. Thier crowning achievement is other peace orgs declared he would not. Thier solution - pass resolutions that are alraedy in place and talk about them more.

I thought that passage was fairly compelling. Here's the whole thing, with my emphasis added:


Bin Laden and Saddam were known to detest and fear each other, the one for his radical religious beliefs and the other for his aggressively secular rule and persecution of Islamists. Bin Laden labeled the Iraqi ruler an infidel and an apostate, had offered to go to battle against him after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and had frequently called for his overthrow. [source] The fact that they were strategic adversaries does not rule out a tactical alliance based on a common antagonism to the United States. However, although there have been periodic meetings between Iraqi and Al Qaeda agents, and visits by Al Qaeda agents to Baghdad, the most intensive searching over the last two years has produced no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam’s government and Al Qaeda.

There were more than words for guidance. Terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna has pointed out that the Iraqi regime had a long history of sponsoring terrorism against Israel, Kuwait, and Iran, providing money and weapons to these groups. Yet over many years Saddam did not transfer chemical, biological, or radiological materials or weapons to any of them "probably because he knew that they could one day be used against his secular regime."

In the judgment of U.S. intelligence, a transfer of WMD by Saddam to terrorists was likely only if he were "sufficiently desperate" in the face of an impending invasion. Even then, the NIE concluded, he would likely use his own operatives before terrorists.

Even without the particular relationship between Saddam and bin Laden, the notion that any government would turn over its principal security assets to people it could not control is highly dubious. States have multiple interests and land, people, and resources to protect. They have a future. Governments that made such a transfer would put themselves at the mercy of groups that have none of these. Terrorists would not even have to use the weapons but merely allow the transfer to become known to U.S. intelligence to call down the full wrath of the United States on the donor state, thereby opening opportunities for themselves. Moreover, governments with the wherewithal to have acquired such weapons and the ambition to want them used are likely to have their own means of delivering them—through people who take orders. In the 1993 assassination attempt on former president George H. W. Bush, for example, Saddam relied on his own intelligence operatives. All in all, governments would have little to gain and perhaps everything to lose by giving their WMD to terrorists.


Maybe we could just focus on this one for a bit. It's late and I'm going to bed.

Haha, I tell you what, I'll make a few "concessions" then. War sucks and should be the last option, no large stockpiles of WMD's have been found in Iraq, people shouldn't be tortured, Civilian deaths should be minimised as much as possible, fluffy bunnies are cute. Feel better now? I reached out the same as you did (which is, nothing more than lip service on topics everyone agrees on).

No, don't really feel better. Sorta depressing, don't you think?

 
At 5:06 AM, November 13, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Thanks for the response, anonymous. I read the below passage, didn’t find it particularly convincing & have a few thoughts about it.

Bin Laden and Saddam were known to detest and fear each other, the one for his radical religious beliefs and the other for his aggressively secular rule and persecution of Islamists. Bin Laden labeled the Iraqi ruler an infidel and an apostate, had offered to go to battle against him after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and had frequently called for his overthrow. [source] The fact that they were strategic adversaries does not rule out a tactical alliance based on a common antagonism to the United States. However, although there have been periodic meetings between Iraqi and Al Qaeda agents, and visits by Al Qaeda agents to Baghdad, the most intensive searching over the last two years has produced no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam’s government and Al Qaeda.

One thing that bothers me about the above is that there have been plenty of instances when folks who didn’t like each other went ahead & got together – Stalin & Churchill being a prime example. They hated each other & yet made a pact that ended in the fall of Hitler. Another thing: The authors admit that there had been a lot of meetings & other contacts between Al Qaeda & Iraqi agents. I guess the Al Qaeda agents & Saddam’s agents just wanted to discuss current events & exchange recipes, right? And Saddam didn’t persecute “Islamists” in general, a fact the authors fail to mention. Saddam, a Sunni Moslem, persecuted Shiite Moslems – the same Shiites that bin Laden, Zawahiri & Zarqawi also hate.

There were more than words for guidance. Terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna has pointed out that the Iraqi regime had a long history of sponsoring terrorism against Israel, Kuwait, and Iran, providing money and weapons to these groups. Yet over many years Saddam did not transfer chemical, biological, or radiological materials or weapons to any of them "probably because he knew that they could one day be used against his secular regime."

The authors here offer an expert, who claims “ … the Iraqi regime had a long history of sponsoring terrorism against Israel, Kuwait, and Iran, providing money and weapons to these groups.” To me it sounds more like an argument for Saddam’s collusion rather than against it. Furthermore, Saddam could have easily given the terrorists a small amount of anthrax, small enough that it would not represent a weapons threat to his military apparatus yet would be devastating in a terrorist attack in a subway system.

In the judgment of U.S. intelligence, a transfer of WMD by Saddam to terrorists was likely only if he were "sufficiently desperate" in the face of an impending invasion. Even then, the NIE concluded, he would likely use his own operatives before terrorists.

This is the same “U.S. intelligence” that made very wrong judgements about everything from the military & economic state of the Soviet empire to Iran’s nuclear progress a few years ago. And of course, 9/11 came as a complete surprise to them. I think we are all beginning to realize that the CIA, our principal intel organ, is either incompetent or pursuing political goals of its own – or both.

Even without the particular relationship between Saddam and bin Laden, the notion that any government would turn over its principal security assets to people it could not control is highly dubious.

Dubious? But Saddam could have easily given the terrorists enough chemical, biological, even nuclear materials to create havoc in a terrorist attack yet small enough that it would present no threat to his regime. It’s ridiculous to imply that Saddam would have to turn over his “principal security assets” to the terrorist as if he would have to transfer all his assets in order to achieve the desired effect. Just a couple of vials of anthrax would be all that would have been needed.

Terrorists would not even have to use the weapons but merely allow the transfer to become known to U.S. intelligence to call down the full wrath of the United States on the donor state, thereby opening opportunities for themselves.

I had a good laugh at the above – like anyone’s going to believe a terrorist, yeah, right. How do we know? Because Osama told us so! That’s rich. Actually, giving terrorists the wherewithal to strike at the US is one of the few ways that a rogue state can deal destruction to the US with impunity. There would probably be no way to prove who gave Osama the anthrax.

Moreover, governments with the wherewithal to have acquired such weapons and the ambition to want them used are likely to have their own means of delivering them—through people who take orders. In the 1993 assassination attempt on former president George H. W. Bush, for example, Saddam relied on his own intelligence operatives. All in all, governments would have little to gain and perhaps everything to lose by giving their WMD to terrorists.

Here the authors admit that Saddam tried to assassinate Bush senior yet they want to split hairs over whether Osama & Saddam were buddies enough to scheme together. Also, I find their touching faith in Saddam being willing only to use his own agents a little bit like believing in the tooth fairy.

I read a good bit of the document, not just pages 50-54. Overall, I was disappointed by the authors’ reasoning from the evidence. For example on page 55 there is this:

Chemical weapons, while horrible, do not pose strategic threats, and little tactical threat, against properly equipped opponents. (It is commonly said in American military circles that the principal battlefield utility of these weapons is to force opponents to don cumbersome and debilitating protective gear.) Because they are easy to produce and disseminate, they are amenable to terrorist use.

In other words, chemical weapons are of little use in conventional warfare, but “they are amenable to terrorist use.” Sure, that’s just the kind of reasoning that would cause me to believe that Saddam would never give any to a terrorist! NOT! The authors write elsewhere that Saddam would be afraid to give WMD to terrorists because WMD could threaten his regime yet here they claim that chemical weapons “ … do not pose strategic threats, and little tactical threat ... ” – so why should Saddam be afraid? They can’t have it both ways.

 
At 10:52 AM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I find their touching faith in Saddam being willing only to use his own agents a little bit like believing in the tooth fairy.

That's interesting! Far from feeling like a reach, the power relations described by that document make sense to me, whereas your scenarios strike me as less likely. However, I have no doubt that you perceive your stance as grounded and mine as a stretch.

I apologize, I have to back out of the conversation. I really should not have posted in the first place, sorry. My interest is more with the way people discuss the topic than with the topic itself, and, more to the point, I'm in midterms and really can't afford the time the topic deserves.

 
At 12:09 PM, November 13, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Anonymous blogger: My interest is more with the way people discuss the topic than with the topic itself.

Yes, that would explain why you, with all the other activities you are involved with, would hang around the old “echo chamber”(as you call it). Yet despite your resolve to ignore topic you have managed to discuss topic quite a bit. I’m just curious: If your only interest was to study the way “people discuss the topic than with the topic itself,” why comment at all?

 
At 1:58 PM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having tuna sandwiches so taking a break from essay ... typing while eating. It's tricky.

Part of the echo chamber phenomenon is intolerance to alternative views, a tendency towards hardening of attitudes (participants become more extreme in their opinions), and rejection of outsiders (rude behaviour you wouldn't encounter offline), so I posted what I (still) consider a few sound arguments from outside the community to gauge the reaction. To this community's credit, the issues were addressed, but it was a little hostile.

Again, I should probably not have posted and I'm sorry for that. I suppose I was assuming you'd all just tell me to get lost.

Wish I had more time ...

 
At 2:50 PM, November 13, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Anonymous, what you find on the blogosphere (you already know this) is that while looking for an echo chamber you always stumble across someone whose opinion you respect who disagrees with you. I am more familiar with the Right side of the blogosphere, and I assure you it happens there. I drop over to neo-neocon, expecting to find something to fire up the blood, and find she is espousing a POV I disagree with, or one of the regular commenters here is doing same.

Yeah, it makes for real thinking and real discussion. I can't just write off such people as folks who haven't thought through the issue as thoroughly as I have.

 
At 3:55 PM, November 13, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Part of the enjoyment of this blog is that the comments offer the reader a diversity of opinion & viewpoint. Some regulars here are Holmes, Richard Aubrey, the Unknown Blogger, troutsky, just to mention a few that have widely divergent views & they certainly constitute nothing that could be construed as an “echo chamber.”

What anonymous has done is drift in, copy & paste a few points from a think tank report, a document that in my opinion of what little I read draws dubious conclusions because of a faulty interpretation of the facts & an over-reliance on certain anti-warrior items of faith, such as the alleged mutual hatred of Saddam & terrorists(could this be the fabled source-document of Cherished Anti-warrior Memes!), offered this electronic booty as his own words, then had the gall to bemoan that his comment received scant attention & in a condescending tone used the derisive term “echo chamber” to describe the blog. In his last comment he whines a little about the reaction being “a little hostile.” There are many blogs that would have given him more than a little hostility & I guess they don’t teach much about plagiarism or the need for attribution in grad school these days.

 
At 4:20 PM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough, though I did provide a link to the source. Again, I am sorry.

 
At 5:42 PM, November 13, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Apology accepted. I’ll admit I was a slightly hostile, the echo chamber analogy was so patently untrue, yet I for one wouldn’t mind reading more comments by you because you seem interested in the issues & can no doubt add some intelligent discussion to the mix. But please attribute when you quote & give me more of your own words.

 
At 7:50 PM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

God, I'm getting tired of this.

I've used the "Bush lied" line myself, and I admit that I shouldn't have, because it's not strictly accurate; it's shorthand.

Bush was more ignorant of foreign affairs than any other president for at least the last hundred years. He was a tabula rasa upon which the PNAC crowd was able to write what they wanted. Bush is notoriously uninformed, except by the people around him: a crowd of neocons who see the world the same way.

Saying "Bush" did or said this or that is also shorthand for "prominent members of his Administration". "Bush", in that wider sense, cherry-picked intelligence and trumpeted shaky allegations as fact. (Probably the worst offender in this respect was Cheney; he expressed certainty about things that were shaky at best). Cheney lied. I believe that. I believe that Cheney knowingly and deliberately made statements he knew were untrue.

The American people have had their patriotism manipulated for political purposes by that despicable crowd who are the power behind Bush's presidency. Their sons and daughters -- and let's have no misunderstanding here: the American people's sons and daughters, not the sons and daughters of the fatcat draft dodgers who are sending U.S. soldiers off to die -- are fighting and dying in Iraq for an unjust, illegal, immoral aggressive war being fought for greed wrapped in the American flag.

War as a last option? Horseshit. It was the first option, predetermined before Bush II's election; all that was needed was an excuse.

The last nation that exercised its right of "preemptive war" on the international stage was Nazi Germany. The Nuremburg war crime trials established that the basic war crime within which all other war crimes were contained was the waging of aggressive war.

If you think the U.S. has any allies in the Iraq invasion, you're mistaken. What the U.S. has on its side is toadying governments. Britain and Italy are not allies: Blair and Berlusconi are allies, to the great displeasure of their voters. The U.S. has one ally: Israel. Bush -- personally, but not only personally; all that he represents -- is thoroughly hated throughout the world. The U.S. will make no progress internationally until there is regime change in the U.S.

I know a lot of you turkeys will rejoice in that and scorn world public opinion. You're wrong. The U.S.'s interests are best served by acting cooperatively with willing allies.

Karl Rove et al are doing their best to turn the U.S. into a one-party state. All that's needed is for someone to burn down the Reichstag.

This is a cri de coeur, without resorting to reference material and marshalling facts and figures. It's what I believe. I know I'll be attacked from all sides. Take your best shot -- or, in the celebrated words of a prominent American, bring 'em on.


tequilamockingbird

 
At 8:42 PM, November 13, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

tmb

You hit all the buttons, again, making it difficult to focus on something. It's like playing whack-a-mole, I swear.

I'll stick with the easiest" War was their first option, all planned and just waiting for an excuse? Got your Motive-o-meter cranked up to full blast, have you?

When someone uses the motive fallacy more than once in a single post, there is no reasoning with that person. They may be intelligent and have something worth listening to, but there is no point in discussing anything.

 
At 8:49 PM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

Thanks for your helpful contribution.

tequilamockingbird

 
At 9:15 PM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

"You hit all the buttons, again, making it difficult to focus on something. It's like playing whack-a-mole, I swear".

It was an original post, not in response to anything in particular. Whack-a-mole? Jesus Christ, if someone says two things, is that whack-a-mole? Or are you just stupid?
Practice by walking and chewing gum at the same time.

Love and kisses,

tequilamockingbirc

 
At 9:17 PM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

Whoops.

That message went out unedited. I meant to sign it

tequilamockingbird

 
At 9:44 PM, November 13, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

I stand by and support everything tequilamockinjgbirc said.

tequilamockingbird

 
At 1:55 AM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Tequilamockingbird, one problem I have with your comment is it has a tendency to merely hurl accusations without any material to back it up. You write that people say things but you never provide a link or a quote, you claim folks do things yet never provide any concrete examples or links to any. It’s just your standard anti-war Bush-hating sloganeering. God I’m getting tired of it.

 
At 11:46 AM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

John Moulder: To say that I never provide a link or a quote is nonsense, and you know it. We've debated extensively, both of us quoting chapter and verse. In fact, I remember you chiding me for not providing reference to quotes from Porter Goss and Pat Buchanan, which I then provided in response. This particular message was unreferenced, and I said so. There's room here for thoughts and opinions as well as facts and figures.

tequilamockingbird

 
At 4:40 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

I always get confused between displacement and projection.

Many years ago, the late Sen. Moynihan told about taking his then-young children and some of their friends to a movie. Swiss Family Robinson, if I recall. There was a tense scene where a giant snake stalks the happy crew. As the tension got worse, one of the kids burst out with "That snake likes me." It would be impossible to live with the news that the snake hates you.

Bruno Bettelheim, in his time in the camps, mentioned even those benighted inmates could fool themselves. If a German, coming into the barracks for some reason, stamped his feet to get the mud off, they would say, see, he really sympathizes with us. In reality, it could be the habit of a lifetime or the fact that walking on a hard surface with clumps of mud on your boots is uncomfortable.
But they had to believe.

In looking at a serious problem, we prefer to believe we can controld the decisive factors. To think we can't is scary.
So we tend to think that which we can control is--must be-- decisive. If we can't control it, it doesn't have much impact.
Do you really want to think you can't control that which is bearing down on you?

We see many who push Israel in the Middle East. We may be able to control Israel. So they have to be the important factor. Those crazy Arabs won't listen, so it's useful to think they're not the problem, since we can't control them.

In the current unpleasantness, we find it breathtaking that the Islamofascists not only don't try to hide what they want to do, they brag about it. They don't even worry about justifying mass slaughter, the work at it and threaten it and refuse to show any hint of a doubt. Their claims are absurd, beyond laughable, yet they will kill for them.
They are beyond control in the normal way. Appeal to reason? To conscience?
Therefore, some look for what we can control--or at least abuse in safety--and assign that the decisive role in the struggle.
That, of course, would be Bush, the US, and conservatives. As long as it's all our/their fault,we retain some capacity to manage things.
If we admit the other side is the one whose decisions matter, and that they aren't listening to us, then things get pretty scary.

 
At 5:27 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

God, I'm getting tired of this.

I've used the "Bush lied" line myself, and I admit that I shouldn't have, because it's not strictly accurate; it's shorthand.


Your “shorthand” is really just a euphemistic rationalization for your own type of lying. Find a good psychological site & search for the term, “projection.” The spouse that accuses the other of adultery is frequently the one who is actually fooling around.

Bush was more ignorant of foreign affairs than any other president for at least the last hundred years. He was a tabula rasa upon which the PNAC crowd was able to write what they wanted. Bush is notoriously uninformed, except by the people around him: a crowd of neocons who see the world the same way.

Exactly the same was said of Reagan. An ignorant man, just a figurehead for the powers behind the oval office, blah, blah, blah etc. Smack talk.

Saying "Bush" did or said this or that is also shorthand for "prominent members of his Administration". "Bush", in that wider sense, cherry-picked intelligence and trumpeted shaky allegations as fact. (Probably the worst offender in this respect was Cheney; he expressed certainty about things that were shaky at best). Cheney lied. I believe that. I believe that Cheney knowingly and deliberately made statements he knew were untrue.

This sort of smack talk is not credible unless accompanied by some sourced quotes, or at least something more than mere accusation. In the run-up to the war Cheney goes on the talk shows & talks about policy & impending events, which all major politicians do constantly, but you attack him for this quite ordinary behavior. Why? Oh, I’m sure Cheney was enthusiastic about what the administration wanted to do about Iraq – should he have been unenthusiastic? I don’t know about you but if I’m President I expect my VP to be publicly enthusiastic about my policy decisions.

The American people have had their patriotism manipulated for political purposes by that despicable crowd who are the power behind Bush's presidency. Their sons and daughters -- and let's have no misunderstanding here: the American people's sons and daughters, not the sons and daughters of the fatcat draft dodgers who are sending U.S. soldiers off to die -- are fighting and dying in Iraq for an unjust, illegal, immoral aggressive war being fought for greed wrapped in the American flag.

More smack talk – we have an all-volunteer military – everyone in the military, grown men & women, knew what they were getting into when they joined & they overwhelmingly support the war.

War as a last option? Horseshit. It was the first option, predetermined before Bush II's election; all that was needed was an excuse.

This is just bull.

The last nation that exercised its right of "preemptive war" on the international stage was Nazi Germany. The Nuremburg war crime trials established that the basic war crime within which all other war crimes were contained was the waging of aggressive war.

The Nazi war crime trials were not about trying individuals for “waging aggressive war;” in order to do that the Allies would have had to try every German soldier, which numbered millions; the trials were about the systematic attempt to exterminate groups such as Jews & gypsies – wholesale murder for the sake of murder, the darkest part of human nature.

If you think the U.S. has any allies in the Iraq invasion, you're mistaken. What the U.S. has on its side is toadying governments. Britain and Italy are not allies: Blair and Berlusconi are allies, to the great displeasure of their voters. The U.S. has one ally: Israel. Bush -- personally, but not only personally; all that he represents -- is thoroughly hated throughout the world. The U.S. will make no progress internationally until there is regime change in the U.S.

We had allies but that ruins your argument so you try to discredit the allies we did have, such as the UK & Italy, by simplistic name-calling. Shame on you. Your hyperbole about universal dislike of Bush is laughable – wishful thinking on your part. For instance, there are quite a few in Iraq who like him & that has been documented well on this blog. Remember the sweet, smiling Iraqi ladies holding up framed photos of Bush?

I know a lot of you turkeys will rejoice in that and scorn world public opinion. You're wrong. The U.S.'s interests are best served by acting cooperatively with willing allies.

If allies are willing to do what is right, fine – if not, they can sit on the sidelines & snipe at their leisure. We can’t be letting other countries run our foreign policy, especially the most important policy of our time, how to fight the looming caliphate. France & Germany, the 2 major allies we couldn’t recruit for Iraq, may eventually decide to join the anti-caliphate nations. There’s nothing like a few riots to get some European thought processes going.

Karl Rove et al are doing their best to turn the U.S. into a one-party state. All that's needed is for someone to burn down the Reichstag.

Here you compare the administration to Nazis. Every time you do you lose a bit more of my respect. Do you want to convince the reader or do you merely want to berate the reader?

This is a cri de coeur, without resorting to reference material and marshalling facts and figures. It's what I believe. I know I'll be attacked from all sides. Take your best shot -- or, in the celebrated words of a prominent American, bring 'em on.

More of a cry de Coors. Foaming, sometimes at the mouth, so much that there’s nothing of substance left in the can.

 
At 9:28 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

A few notes:
In southern Thailand, the government will be providing weapons and training to civilians so they can protect themselves against increasing attacks from Muslims.
Two judges have been killed by Muslims in Bangladesh in what is openly an effort to force (surviving) judges to rule according to Sharia.
In Indonesia, three Christian schoolgirls were beheaded by Muslims and two others shot in a separate incident.
Muslim organizations in France, said Daniel Pipes, are offering peace on the condition that France cede control over Muslim areas.
Muslims blew up people in Spain, Britain, the US, Jordan, kill weekly if not daily in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Their stated intent is to reduce the world to Islam and rule by sharia.

You can either think about this, what it means, and what we ought to be doing.

Or you can hate George Bush.

Which is easier?

And, if the notes disturb you, you can call me a racist, which is much easier than contemplating what they mean.

 
At 10:30 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

John Moulder: Heavy post. Indeed, the heaviest and most hostile and poisonous of your posts yet. I'm disppointed in you because I thought we had reached points of mutual cooperation -- and yes, individual respect. Well, never mind that -- spread your poison at will.

I concede on all fronts.

Bush is the most wonderful president who ever existed and he's leading us into a wondeful new existence of world prosperity.

I've been converted by the simplicity and rightness of your arguments -- Praised be the Lord and his presence on earth --
The Son among us -- GBII. Let us all bow down to the Son and do his bidding.

Fat chance -- just kidding!

tequilamockingbird

 
At 11:14 PM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

Richard aubrey: Thanks for your well-reasoned and articulate post. I just wish, more than anything, that the US government could have waged a legitimate war agaisnt terror which all its numerous friends and allies would have wholeheartedly supported.

As long as the centerpiece of that war is an injust and immoral invasion of Iraq, the U.S. has no allies to draw upon. When Bush and his cabal have been jailed for their warcrimes and discredited for a generation, all sorts of international cooperation will take place on all fronts.

In the meantime, when Bush's policy is "bring 'em on" -- well, let's talk again in 2008, when the American people have realized how their well-meaning patriotism has been manipulated by these whores who wrap themselves so tightly in the flag.

 
At 11:56 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Tequilamockingbird,

“Poisonous”? Maybe. I would use a milder adjective, perhaps ‘barbed.’ Something not so fatal. You brush aside any need to be factual about the principle issue of debate & expect the response to be uncomplaining? It’s ok to lie about what Bush said because it’s just “shorthand”?

And the Nazi comparison was unfair. Other points you put forth have credible cases to be made for them, although perhaps not to your extremes – political beliefs I don’t buy personally but which I assume are sincerely championed by most of their adherents. But the Nazi comparison is just gratuitous ranting & with it your comment passed from discussion & debate into a form of aggression upon the reader.

But weren’t you purposefully inflammatory? Didn’t you expect, perhaps even want to cause some heat:

I know I'll be attacked from all sides. Take your best shot -- or, in the celebrated words of a prominent American, bring 'em on.

 
At 12:31 AM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Tequila. Allies? Should we have overbid Saddaam for the favors of the French and the Russians? Hell, we didn't even know what the bidding was.
The coaliton of the bribed wasn't us. It was the other guys.
It would be nice to have allies. How many do we need to satisfy you? One more than we have?
At one point, one of the sovereign cess pits on the west African coast had a temporary procedural responsibility during the UN discussions. It turned out we were trying to out-argue the president-for-life's witch doctor. We needed the vote.
Allies are nice if they help, not if they hinder.
Besides, can you think of a nation which can project sufficient combat power overseas? Us. Britain. Most of the NATO countries would be hard-pressed to cover their own borders, so used have they been to us doing it for them.
At one point, the French rented off-season mainland-to-Corsica tourist ferries to help move troops to the Balkans.

Nope. The we-need-allies bit is an excuse. Whichever ones we have wouldn't satisfy this line of thinking. And if we had them all, some other vital item would be necessary, determined solely by the fact that we didn't have it.

Since almost nobody can fight more than a day's march past their borders, we even have to bring them to the ball. Still, it's extremely useful to have the first-line units of various countries associated with us, helping, if not on combat ops, to train police and engineers and border patrols and pipeline security and so forth.
There are more reasons than just Iraq for this.
See Kaplan's "Imperial Grunts". You can look at reviews on Amazon if you don't want to read the thing. Our man in Mongolia is only one part of the long-term approach of which the Mongol return to Baghdad is a part. Ditto getting help from the stans and eastern Europe.

The immoral, unjust tags to the war in Iraq are mere opinions. They are not facts. The Presbyterian Church (USA), damn' near a unilateral pacifist church (we disarm, what our enemies do is ignored) even decided, after looking at the Balkans, that "humanitarian intervention" could be justified, and if you nagged the hierarchy, they'd even admit, sotto voce, that it could include, um, er, LOOKOVERTHERE!! fighting. All conditions for the Iraq war were met, although the collared shooters didn't admit it.

I don't want to get into a strategic discussion with you because that requires a certain agreement on definitions, which is to say, good faith.
I will say that the war in Iraq fits the long-term strategy for the war on islamofascism.

Your agreement with part or all of this is not required.

 
At 10:24 PM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

Richard, you're on the wrong track with your thoughts on allies.

Does the U.S. need military allies? No, it does not. It's perfectly capable of running roughshod over any country you pick -- China, Russia, and certainly a pygmy like Iraq. What it needs is philosophical allies. What it needs is the give and take of diplomacy. The U.S. needs to make the effort to convince others that it is doing the right thing and to bring them on board, and it needs to receive the input of other sovereign nations who may perceive that perhaps it's not doing the right thing and should modify its approach. (In the face of unanimous world disapproval, it should perhaps even admit that it's mistaken and invite a few trusted friends to the blackboard for a redrafting).

This is an incomplete response to your informational and thoughtful post. I'll have to look more carefully into what you're saying, and I don't have the time right now.

I hope you'll agree, though, about about my point on cooperation and making allies. You don't need 'em to win militarily, but if your position is just and right in the first place, they can easily be convinced to join you, and you're way stronger with 'em.

 
At 10:28 PM, November 15, 2005, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

My agreement is not required? Damn, what a blow! Here I thought they wouldn't do anything without consulting

tequilamockingbird

 
At 11:18 PM, November 15, 2005, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

Tequilamockingbird: The U.S. needs to make the effort to convince others that it is doing the right thing and to bring them on board, and it needs to receive the input of other sovereign nations who may perceive that perhaps it's not doing the right thing and should modify its approach. (In the face of unanimous world disapproval, it should perhaps even admit that it's mistaken and invite a few trusted friends to the blackboard for a redrafting).

The U.S. did make the effort. The U.S. made the effort over & over again for more than a decade. At some point diplomacy has to be abandoned. And I’m appalled at your willingness to let U.S. policy be subject to the approval of foreign governments(“a few trusted friends”).

 
At 12:19 AM, November 16, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

I think that's Kerry's "global test".

Got an analogy.

Thinking certain things prevents having to think certain other sweaty things.

For example, there is a strong view that the Treaty of Versailles caused WW II.

That's good. Because if we take that off the table, we're back looking for reasons.

What's left? Well, considering the Franco-Prussian War and the First World War, it doesn't take the Treaty of Versailles necessarily to send the Germans over everybody's borders. Maybe we'd be left saying, it's in their blood. It's their culture. They like that stuff.
Imagine saying that in an academic setting.

Or we could point to WW II's end and say, wow. We pounded them flat. We destroyed their cities, their infrastructure. We occupied them. We remade their institutions. We hanged, imprisoned, or humiliated their leaders. Our occupation force, the Constabulary, I find, had a minimum height of six feet. Here are the Germans with their tall men dead lorded over by spit-shined, razor-creased, well-fed men not one of whom was less than an overawing two yards high.
And we haven't heard a peep from them or the Japanese for sixty years.
Clearly, we didn't hurt them enough after WW I.
Like to get that one off in a peace and wonderfulness setting?

Believing in the Versailles Treaty not only gets to make it our fault, always a winner, it keeps us from having to think no-nos.

Believing that Bush Lied seems to be as big a help, if not more so, in avoiding the uncomfortable.

 
At 10:24 PM, September 13, 2007, Blogger KingBushwicktheToityToid said...

You Know,Like The Late Peter Boyle's Character"Frank Barrone"Always Said On"Everybody Loves Raymond":"OH BOOHOOHOO!!GET OFF YOUR PITY POT NANCY!!!
PULL UP YOUR PANTS AND BE A MAN ABOUT IT!!".
That Goes For Both Bleeding Liberals as Well As You Whiny Assed Neocons!!!
I Guess You Forgot That"Saint"Ronald Reagan,Along With Bush the Elder and Ollie North Sold Guns and Ammo To Iraq and Iran in The 80's!!!
Personally,Bush the Elder and Younger;Clinton as Well As Reagan
and Ollie North Should've All Gone Top Prison For Treason!!

 

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