Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ah, but Bush lied! Lied, I tell you!

Appearing in the upcoming May/June 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs will be this article, entitled "Saddam's Delusions: The View from the Inside."

It presents excerpts from the recently declassified book-length report of the USJFCOM Iraqi Perspectives Project. Author Kevin Woods is a defense analyst in Washington, D.C., author James Lacey a military analyst for the U.S. Joint Forces Command, and author Williamson Murray a Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy. Along with Mark Stout and Michael Pease, they were the principal participants in the USJFCOM Iraqi Perspectives Project.

The article is quite a read. Here is one of many tidbits if offers:

When it came to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Saddam attempted to convince one audience that they were gone while simultaneously convincing another that Iraq still had them. Coming clean about WMD and using full compliance with inspections to escape from sanctions would have been his best course of action for the long run. Saddam, however, found it impossible to abandon the illusion of having WMD, especially since it played so well in the Arab world.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians in 1987, was convinced Iraq no longer possessed WMD but claims that many within Iraq's ruling circle never stopped believing that the weapons still existed. Even at the highest echelons of the regime, when it came to WMD there was always some element of doubt about the truth. According to Chemical Ali, Saddam was asked about the weapons during a meeting with members of the Revolutionary Command Council. He replied that Iraq did not have WMD but flatly rejected a suggestion that the regime remove all doubts to the contrary, going on to explain that such a declaration might encourage the Israelis to attack.


Saddam believed he would win the war and stay in power, almost to the end (narcissists and megalomaniacs are like that). In his regime, there was no way of detecting the truth, even for insiders --and, in some cases, even for Saddam:

Ironically, it now appears that some of the actions resulting from Saddam's new policy of cooperation actually helped solidify the coalition's case for war. Over the years, Western intelligence services had obtained many internal Iraqi communications, among them a 1996 memorandum from the director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service directing all subordinates to "insure that there is no equipment, materials, research, studies, or books related to manufacturing of the prohibited weapons (chemical, biological, nuclear, and missiles) in your site." And when UN inspectors went to these research and storage locations, they inevitably discovered lingering evidence of WMD-related programs.

In 2002, therefore, when the United States intercepted a message between two Iraqi Republican Guard Corps commanders discussing the removal of the words "nerve agents" from "the wireless instructions," or learned of instructions to "search the area surrounding the headquarters camp and [the unit] for any chemical agents, make sure the area is free of chemical containers, and write a report on it," U.S. analysts viewed this information through the prism of a decade of prior deceit. They had no way of knowing that this time the information reflected the regime's attempt to ensure it was in compliance with UN resolutions.


This constant stream of false reporting undoubtedly accounts for why many of Saddam's calculations on operational, strategic, and political issues made perfect sense to him. According to Aziz, "The people in the Military Industrial Commission were liars. They lied to you, and they lied to Saddam. They were always saying that they were producing or procuring special weapons so that they could get favors out of Saddam -- money, cars, everything -- but they were liars. If they did all of this business and brought in all of these secret weapons, why didn't [the weapons] work?"


Members of the Military Industrial Commission were not the only liars. Bending the truth was particularly common among the most trusted members of Saddam's inner circle -- especially when negative news might reflect poorly on the teller's abilities or reputation. According to one former high-ranking Baath Party official, "Saddam had an idea about Iraq's conventional and potential unconventional capabilities, but never an accurate one because of the extensive lying occurring in that area. Many reports were falsified. The ministers attempted to convey a positive perspective with reports, which were forwarded to Saddam's secretary, who in turn passed them up to Saddam." In the years before Operation Iraqi Freedom, everyone around Saddam understood that his need to hear only good news was constantly growing and that it was in their best interest to feed that hunger.


For many months after the fall of Baghdad, a number of senior Iraqi officials in coalition custody continued to believe it possible that Iraq still possessed a WMD capability hidden away somewhere (although they adamantly insisted that they had no direct knowledge of WMD programs). Coalition interviewers discovered that this belief was based on the fact that Iraq had possessed and used WMD in the past and might need them again; on the plausibility of secret, compartmentalized WMD programs existing given how the Iraqi regime worked; and on the fact that so many Western governments believed such programs existed.

I've written about WMDs before, and discussed why their actual existence or non-existence was not--in my opinion and that of many others--the make-or-break justification for the war. I don't want to beat this particular horse again, as it seems to lead nowhere and convince no one (although that may not stop the arguments from going on ad nauseum).

But I thought the material from this particular article fascinating in and of itself, presenting a chilling picture--almost a caricature--of what happens in a tyrannical dictatorship in which every person is afraid that, if he gives the Leader bad news, the answer will be "Off with his head!" (and, in the interests of gender neutrality, I suppose it could sometimes be "Off with her head!")

Dictators such as Saddam may start out relatively sane, or they may not. But there tends to be a trajectory towards greater and greater lack of connection to reality. It certainly happened to Hitler in his last years, although some of his problems may have stemmed from various diseases he is speculated to have had.

This increasing paranoia/irrationality and its effects--the fact that no one can tell the tyrant the truth--has its good points and its bad. The good is that it tends to lower the leader's effectiveness in the decision-making process, and may cause major lapses of judgment that can be fatal to his cause. The bad news is that no one can count on that, and in the meantime the tyrant spirals more and more out of control and can do even more damage, both domestically and internationally.

[ADDENDUM: Prediction: someone in the comments section will say this article actually describes Bushhitler.]

65 Comments:

At 1:45 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Daniel in Brookline said...

Interestingly, I've already seen this article used to advance the anti-war agenda: Saddam was actually no threat (insert wringing of hands here), and oh, if we had only known!

There are many things Saddam could have done to prevent the war. However, as the saying goes, you can't expect a homicidal megalomaniac not to behave like a homicidal megalomaniac.

By the way, I think you can safely say "Off with his head" in this case. As I recall, Saddam's trusted inner circle included few, if any, women; I believe the US Army's deck-of-cards lineup had only one woman represented. (This doesn't speak well for Saddam as the "secular" leader he's sometimes made out to be, does it?)

respectfully,
Daniel in Brookline

 
At 1:54 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Some general comments.

- I wouldn't call Bush Hitler, that's just silly.

- You keep saying that WMD's was not your justification, even though just today Bush _reiterated_ WMD's as being his justification, not only in Iraq but in the future, like, e.g., Iran.

- Underlings always tell the man in charge what he wants to hear, and people in a closed loop will always end up reinforcing each other. That is how the Bush Admin erred on the issue of WMD's: they were predisposed to believe it, so, they did: "Lying" had nothing to do with it (in my view.) The term "groupthink" has been coined or appropriated to explore this issue, but it's common in a reading of history.

- There are three keys to controlling groupthink. #1 - Always have at least one maverick in your group. 99% of the time he will just be a pain in the ass, but the ONE TIME he's right will be enough. #2 - Always keep the First Amendment open without reservation, and let the quality ideas bubble up from below. #3 - Always allow anonymous comments on your blog. ;-)

 
At 2:19 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous nittypig said...

I can buy the argument that Saddam wanted to play both sides - i.e., he wanted to be armed with WMD to the arab 'street' and disarmed with the UN.

But I still don't understand what happened to his WMD. We know he had them in 1996. And, as Hans Blix famously said, "mustard gas is not marmalade". You can't just throw it into a dump - you have to go to a lot of trouble to destroy it. Where are the records of th destruction of the WMD? And how was it carried out without anyone being able to find out about it?

 
At 2:29 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger karrde said...

steve--

one of the things that is outlined by this is that our Intelligence agencies didn't have clear information, because the people inside Saddam's government didn't have clear information.

Worse, Saddam was trying to lie to at least one group of outsiders, and the Intel folks knew that Saddam was lying to someone. They didn't trust that he was telling the U.N. the truth, for several reasons.

Thus, when they intercept communications that appear to be about keeping chem/nuke/biological weapons secret, they assume that Saddam has been lying about ending his research program.

There were four possibile intersections of the Iraqi weapons program and Intel analysis:

(1) Saddam was developing chem/nuke/biological weapons, and the Intel folks told the White House that Saddam was developing such weapons.

(2) Saddam was developing weapons, and the Intel folks told the White House that Saddam wasn't developing the weapons.

(3) Saddam wasn't developing weapons, and the Intel folks told the White House that he was developing weapons.

(4) Saddam wasn't developing weapons, and the Intel folks told the White House that he wasn't.

The Intel folks didn't trust Saddam to tell the truth to UN inspectors, because of the stuff cited in the article. They also knew that options (1) and (2) were much more dangerous to the US and to the world than options (3) and (4).

I would claim a lot of justification in saying that the Intel folks knew that they might be making a mistake, but decided to err on the side of caution--choosing options (1) and (2), rather than (3) and (4).

If they ended up being wrong, they were wrong because they disbelieved a government already known to be lying.

 
At 2:36 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

karde: From what I have read about this there were minority voices in CIA and DOD who thought the WMD evidence was being oversold, but they were overruled, and even cashiered.

I could have told you in 2002 that Saddam would have an interest in lying about WMD's - if only because it would deter Iran (the main reason Saddam had them in the first place.)

No, I stand by my assessment: the government believed what it wanted to believe.

 
At 2:41 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

It's useful to note that the choices karrde describes were forced on us by Saddam's obstructions. Had Hussein complied with demands for information, we would not have had to rely so heavily on our fallible intel.

 
At 2:56 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:01 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

Steve

You keep saying that WMD's was not your justification, even though just today Bush _reiterated_ WMD's as being his justification..


And you see a contradiction bewtween these two justifications?

If Peter is opposed to Roe on legal grounds, and Paul is opposed to it on moral gounds, does it follow that one or the other must be "wrong"? Is it truely incomprehensible to you that a wide range of people can support a particular course of action, and that they all may have different reasons for doing so?

Underlings always tell the man in charge what he wants to hear .. That is how the Bush Admin erred on the issue of WMD's:

Then what explains the fact that all kinds of people far outside the Bush administration believed the same thing? Why did Hans Blix say the same things as Bush, for example, on the topic of Iraqi WMD? Was he a Bush underling?


In any case, let me call your attention to the Joint Resolution which authorised the use of force in Iraq. Read it. Please.

The last I checked, members of Congress were not considered to be part of the Bush administration.

 
At 3:05 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Flenser: Neo keeps saying that the WMD issue is moot, because she would have supported invading Iraq anyway. My point is that the POTUS just again reiterated his justification for invading Iraq and any other country on the basis of a perceived WMD threat. What this means simply is that the WMD issue is NOT moot, because it is the basic principle whereby our government invades other countries.

Clearly, since we didn't find the WMD's and the evidence in no way supports "aluminum tubes for nuclear chain reactions, etc." it means that Bush's underlings reinforced what the admin wanted to hear.

The fact that others thought that Saddam had WMD's just widens the sphere of mass suggestion. OK, Time out.

 
At 3:14 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

OK, I took the time to re-read the resolution authorizing Bush to use military force to create "peace and security" in Iraq.

Good thing: It limits Bush's powers to Iraq. I guess he'll have to get another rubber stamp resolution for the next 2-3 countries.

Bad thing: The "whereases" clauses are a gobbledygook of statements, many of which are so vaguely worded that it is not clear what the specific evidence is. And, of course, in some places, clearly false.

 
At 3:30 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous Van der Leun said...

I'm sorry but if there ever was an adverb that does not apply to this issue, that adverb is "clearly."

 
At 3:37 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger The probligo said...

Interesting that at least one commenter has mentioned Hans Blix. No one has mentioned Scott Ritter and Richard Butler. All three had formed similar opinions that Iraq's WMD were not operative or did not exist.

What is interesting is the time and resources devoted by Bush and Blair to discredit the UN Inspection process and teams, the personal denigration of Hans Blix and Scott Ritter as "incompetents", and the subsequent refusal to release "firm intelligence" to the UN inspection teams.

Bushhitler? Nah. Gives him too much credit.

To "letmespellitoutforyou", he might like to reveal how he would go about proving without possibility of refutation that a negative is true. Especially when I can always reply "I don't care. I don't believe you. The negative is still unproven." without being required to prove that statement is true.

But essentially, neo is quite right. The WMD debate is a dead horse. The flesh has been stripped from it several times over. It will remain only as a little flag in history that might at some future date trigger further events of note. It is a topic that I used to debate with passion. Now, it is a lost cause simply because those involved seem to have successfully engineered their electorates into accepting the "error".

 
At 3:47 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

I am not interested in plowing the WMD field, either, except that the POTUS once again invoked it today as justification (to seek authorization) for invading countries. So it can't really be avoided.

The reason why the WMD's will continue to crop up is not because of finger-pointing (although that will come later), but because future allegations of WMD development will have to be measured against the past allegations.

 
At 4:08 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Bryan J Weitzel said...

Am I the only one who remembers reports in the early days of the war that the Czechs had detected mustard agent in the Tigris river?

And what of the reports of the Russian Spetsnaz smuggling weapons out of Iraq into Syria? This one can be found here: http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=20&artnum=1&issue=20060224

 
At 4:15 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Bryan J Weitzel said...

Sorry about the link:

http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=20&artnum=1&issue=20060224

 
At 4:29 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

"Dictators such as Saddam may start out relatively sane, or they may not. But there tends to be a trajectory towards greater and greater lack of connection to reality.

Maybe such dictators feel pressure to justify command decisions undertaken through the years. Dictators must pile rationalization upon rationalization. They may feel they must fiercely defend every decision against criticism. Eventually, the pile of accumulated and intricately linked rationalizations bears no resemblance to reality. If the dictator's decisions have resulted in much death and suffering, the need for rationalization might increase, and the distance from reality might correspondingly increase. One small truth, if it blatantly conflicts with the intricately constructed pile of rationalizations, can bring the whole pile down. Therefore, one minion, speaking one truth, could be a serious threat to the dictators' power, and/or the dictator's image(incl self-image), and possibly even to the dictator's life. It's no wonder that speaking a truth can be dangerous.

I see a parallel in lefty/righty discussions. A righty, imo, is more likely to derive their self-image as a good and decent person from their religious/philosophical conviction. A lefty, and admittedly this is a very broad generalization, is more likely to derive their self-image as a good and decent person from their political conviction. Therefore, for a lefty, a truth which conflicts with their political conviction is a very dangerous thing. Such a truth threatens to collapse their entire image of themselves as a good and decent person.

This is partially why truths about Saddam retaining his ability to reconstitute WMDs has been explicitly ignored - such a truth endangers a lefty's most basic concept of who they are. This is partially why truths about Saddam's connections to terrorists have been explicitly ignored. This is why the coming release of Iraqi documents - and the Saddam/terrorist connections likely to be revealed therein - will be explicitly ignored, and/or explained away in the most fantastical of ways. To truly internalize the magnitude of their political error would be too great a jolt to the lefty's self-image.

I also see connectivity between lefty refusal to look reality squarely in the eye, and the historic refusal of many groups to look reality squarely in the eye. This is partially why Dr. Sultan, and those who sheltered Holocaust survivors, took their actions: they were able to look squarely at reality - without retreating into comfortable fantasy.

I may be similarly guilty regarding Darfur. Part of my self-image is that I am a citizen of a nation which tries, and usually does, act in an ethical and moral fashion. To think that my nation ignores a genocide which we have the capability to stop... that is a blow to my self-image. I don't know a lot about Darfur. I have largely ignored it - possibly as generations before me also ignored blatantly obvious truths.

 
At 4:31 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Am I the only one who remembers reports in the early days of the war that the Czechs had detected mustard agent in the Tigris river?


I don't remember that, but I remember other things. I remember on Day 2 someone found a gas mask -- proof that Saddam intended to use WMD's. Then on Day 4 someone found some atropine injectors -- proof that Saddam intended to use WMD's. On Day 10, someone found a 55 gallon drum containing -- pesticides. This went on for weeks.

http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=20&artnum=1&issue=20060224

That's a highly biased editorial. I would like to see the evidence on which it is based.

 
At 4:31 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Please try to see the forest for the trees... The reason WMD was an issue with Iraq was that they were a government that was openly antagonistic to the US. Things like not adhering to cease-fire agreements and shooting at planes, plotting to assasinate an ex-president, not complying with inspection requirements of the cease fire and in fact openly obstructing them... A government like that, and which has had, and used those weapons in the past, is a threat in the new paradigm of 9-11 in that they clearly see (if they hadn't already) that they have a new weapon- one that might even allow them to attack and not have it known that they were the attacker. In that new paradigm, governments such as that cannot be allowed to exist. Period. That's how we got from containment (at the expense of common Iraqis, and to the benfit of UN slimeballs) to pre-emption. If you can't understand that, please don't pretend to understand foreign affairs and national security at all.

"My point is that the POTUS just again reiterated his justification for invading Iraq and any other country on the basis of a perceived WMD threat. What this means simply is that the WMD issue is NOT moot, because it is the basic principle whereby our government invades other countries."
So, Steve, it shouldn't be a reason for invading, or attacking other countries, if need be? You're not serious are you?

"Clearly, since we didn't find the WMD's and the evidence in no way supports "aluminum tubes for nuclear chain reactions, etc."
People assume that because we wouldn't use those spec tubes for that function, and they might not even work, doesn't mean someone with no choices but a desire for results might not try it anyway...if it's not ideal doesn't mean it won't work at all.

 
At 4:35 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

oh, and Steve, pesticides are a precursor for nerve agents, because that's what they are. They're just not strong enough in that form to hurt you the way they hurt little bugs. Nations have the infrastructure to turn things like pesticides into active nerve agents fairly easily... And I guess the atropine and NBC suits were for decoration only...

 
At 4:40 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

"That's a highly biased editorial. I would like to see the evidence on which it is based."

Aren't EDITORIALS highly biased by definition?

http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/Investigation/story?id=1616996
Theres the info on the Saddam tapes (haven't you heard about them already) that the editorial mostly talks about. there are links to transcripts there also.

 
At 4:40 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

gcotharn: It's true that people who designate themselves by some external expertise are often tripped up by it, because their self image is involved.

I don't think that's the case here.
Thus:

This is partially why truths about Saddam retaining his ability to reconstitute WMDs has been explicitly ignored - such a truth endangers a lefty's most basic concept of who they are.

Speaking as a conservative, that has nothing to do with it. "Retaining your ability to reconstitute WMD's" what country does NOT have that capability? Only a country that has no oil, and no pharmaceuticals industry. The "ability to reconstitute WMD's" is just a fancy way of waying that they don't have any.

This is partially why truths about Saddam's connections to terrorists have been explicitly ignored.

Speaking as a conservative, the above doesn't clarify WHAT terrorists and WHAT KIND of relationship. Bottom line: hard evidence linking Saddam to 9/11? Or Al Qaeda? No. Were some guys who were involved in terror in the 1970's and 1980's living in Baghdad? Yes. Were they a clear and present threat to the security of the US? Make the case.

This is why the coming release of Iraqi documents - and the Saddam/terrorist connections likely to be revealed therein - will be explicitly ignored, and/or explained away in the most fantastical of ways. To truly internalize the magnitude of their political error would be too great a jolt to the lefty's self-image.


This sounds more like projection than anything else. I am perfectly willing to be persuaded by the documents, but let's not assert what's in them before they are released.

 
At 4:47 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

- You keep saying that WMD's was not your justification, even though just today Bush _reiterated_ WMD's as being his justification, not only in Iraq but in the future, like, e.g., Iran.

Steve, use some logic here. When A says B is not their justification and friend X says their justification is B, A's justification is not B.

That is how the Bush Admin erred on the issue of WMD's: they were predisposed to believe it, so, they did:

Woah, Neo is becoming prescient. It only took 2 comments before her prediction came off.

From what I have read about this there were minority voices in CIA and DOD who thought the WMD evidence was being oversold, but they were overruled, and even cashiered.

You forget Steve, that the CIA, NSA, and various other ABC organizations work for the President. That's why the Executive Branch is 1/3rd of the government. The First Ammendment is actually designed to make the Executive Branch ineffective in wartime, which is why several successful American wars were only prosecuted when the Executive limited the First Ammendment.

Is it truely incomprehensible to you that a wide range of people can support a particular course of action, and that they all may have different reasons for doing so?

People believe what they want to believe, flenser.

The comments here underline just why exactly Bush needs a superior propaganda apparatus.

While there might still be arguments, most people would end up agreeing.

One of the better solutions would be to use Iraq's failed WMD inspections to destroy the United Nations from the top down. This would give the Bush administration maximum freedom to act concerning Iran. Not only would it shift the blame from Bush and his underlings, it would focus people's attentions on the right target.

Most people, if they heard something bad about the UN, would believe it almost immediately. This is in contrast with Bush's WMD justifications, which took months of repetitive media propaganda to produce any results.

Bush's problem is that he is inflexible, like his father. Except concerning different things. Bush Senior is inflexible about realism and international commitments. Bush Junior is inflexible about international diplomacy and upholding the things he has said he would do. In other words, telling the truth.

It is one of the reasons why Bush doesn't change his statements from one year to the next, even though he has a lot to benefit from reinventing himself even once. It is also why Bush supports the UN and wants to make water stiff.

The Left has projection down pat, the oldest trick in the book. Their propaganda apparatus, though inferior to the Palestinians and Al Qaeda 3rd tier, is still better than anything true liberals have.

In order to invalidate any attacks concerning the Left's not obstructing Bush prior to the Iraq War, the Left produces the WMD blame game and focuses it on Bush. So long as it is focused on Bush, Democrats are immune to accountability.

Because Bush chooses not to go on the offensive against the Democrats or the UN warlords, he becomes the primary target and his power is leeched away.

In some ways it is akin to Neo's arguments concerning Pacifism. Bush, by countenance of his principles and unyielding stubborness, refuses to use a specific tactic. And like pacifists, they are held afloat by blogs, alternative media, Michael Yon, the neoconservatives, and the Swift Boats.

If you recall back to 2000, one of Bush's pledges was something about how he was going to bring prestige back to the Presidency. Obviously, Bush meant prestige as in "not being like Clinton". Then when 9/11 occured, Bush had a conflict of interests. He could try to protect the American people and risk losing the prestige of the Presidency through propaganda and getting caught in it, or he can try to protect both the American people and the Presidency's prestige at the same time. He chose the latter, and everything was going well until 4 months after Iraq.

The blogs and even the media was waiting, for WMD evidence. And we kept waiting, while Bush waited. Waiting for the enemy to attack you, is not a good idea. Bush should have learned that on 9/11, and perhaps he did, but not nearly enough.

When the Democrats were mounting an Orwellian synchronized propaganda campaign about Bush being a divider, not a uniter. A unilateralist, rather than a multilateralist. We all remember that time, even those who pretend not to.

Just as back then, the Democrats today are lying. They said Bush was a unilateralist. No, Bush's problem was his multilateralism, as you can see in the diplomacy games in NK, the UN games in Iraq, and the Euro-Russian games in Iran. Democrats said Bush believed what he wanted to believe. Again, the oldest trick in the book, projection as a counter-offensive defensive strategy.

The point is not to admit that you are lying, and then say Bush is lying. The point is to say Bush is lying therefore you have to be telling the truth.

So that is why the Democrats say Bush is a unilateralist for closing off the UN inspections, when Clinton didn't go to the UN at all. They don't want to recognize themselves as being unilateralist and ally killers (Dubai Port Deal), so they look around for someone with the virtue to their vice, and say that person is a unilateralist.

The reason why WMDs will continue to crop up is because Bush is too honest, to such an extent that his honesty is no longer a virtue, but a liability and a vice.

Bush, like pure pacifists, will not use lies/violence. Regardless of what his opponent uses. A pure pacifist will stand there and let himself be killed by a violent person. Bush will stand there and let others use lies and propaganda against him, and he will do nothing.

That is quite a liability in the propaganda component of the War on Terror.

He is like Google. Lots of profits and good business practices. Make a lot of money, offers a lot of features(Google Earth), provides a lot of liberty boosting opportunities to China and other countries. But their PR? It sucks. They don't even contact Glenn Reynolds and tell him their side of the story, in a reasoned email, when they would spend hours being grilled by Congressmen (Ya, saw that on CSPAN, wasn't pretty).

A lot of people have Bush's problems. However, not a lot of people have the job of protecting 300 million Americans. Bush has no excuse to silence his critics once and for all, no excuse at all. No moral excuse, no technical excuse, and no intellectual excuse.

 
At 4:57 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Correction, Bush has no excuse not to silence his critics once and for all.

 
At 4:58 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Doug: I am perfectly well aware of what nerve gases are and how they were discovered and how they are made. That doesn't make a can of Raid a WMD.

Also: And I guess the atropine and NBC suits were for decoration only... The purpose of these materials is defensive, not offensive: we had them when I was in the service. That didn't mean we were planning on using poison gas.

The testimony concerning aluminum tubes made by our Sec'y of State has been refuted. These weren't WMD's, either. If we start defining everything by their potential, then, clearly, the fact that there were airliners at Baghdad International meant that Saddam had an entire fleet of WMD's ....

Editorials may be biased but the more biased they are -- this one went over the top in para two or three -- the less likely they are going to be persuasive. What can I say.

Forest for trees: Not really the issue here, I am not trying to re-fight the decision to go to war. The issue is that POTUS has again claimed that the WMD threat justifies pre-emptive invasion by the USA. Now, let's see how it plays out in Country #2 .....

 
At 5:04 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

Steve

WMD are not "the basic principle whereby our government invades other countries". Othewise we would have invaded France and Britain a long time ago. Can you get serious please?

All countries reserve the right to take such action as they deem neccessary to protect themselves. This is not some crazy idea that Bush and the neo-cons dreamed up recently. It formed the basis for US involvement in just about every war it has engaged in


Clearly, since we didn't find the WMD's and the evidence in no way supports "aluminum tubes for nuclear chain reactions, etc." it means that Bush's underlings reinforced what the admin wanted to hear.

Clearly? Clearly you are incapable of constructing a simple chain of logic. The fact that no WMD were no found most certainlty does not imply that "Bush's underlings" were up to some hanky-panky. One does not logically follow the other.

The fact that others thought that Saddam had WMD's just widens the sphere of mass suggestion.

To somebody not in the grip of terminal BDS, it simply indicates that all the evidence was that Iraq had WMD. It takes a special kind of paranoid delusion to think it means that the evil neo-cons used their mind-ray to cast a "mass suggestion" on the helpless world.

And I see that this "mass suggestion" was so diabolical that it started years before Bush even took office, and cast its spell even over Democrats, many of whom spoke frequently of the danger of Iraqi WMD in the late 1990's.

Probligo

All (Blix, Ritter, and Butler) had formed similar opinions that Iraq's WMD were not operative or did not exist.

Not so. Blix gave a report to the UN in January 2003 which reads like a more neocon case for war.

Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.

While Iraq claims, with little evidence, that it destroyed all biological weapons unilaterally in 1991, it is certain that UNSCOM destroyed large biological weapons production facilities in 1996.

For nearly three years, Iraq refused to accept any inspections by UNMOVIC. It was only after appeals by the secretary-general and Arab states and pressure by the United States and other member states that Iraq declared on 16 September last year that it would again accept inspections without conditions.

In addition, Iraq has refurbished its missile production infrastructure. In particular, Iraq reconstituted a number of casting chambers which had previously been destroyed under UNSCOM's supervision.
Iraq has also declared the recent import of chemicals used in propellants, test instrumentation and guidance and control system. These items may well be for proscribed purposes; that is yet to be determined.


What is clear is that they were illegally brought into Iraq; that is, Iraq or some company in Iraq circumvented the restrictions imposed by various resolutions.

And as Blix also said;

Inspection is not a game of catch as catch can. Rather, as I noted, it is a process of verification for the purpose of creating confidence. It is not built upon the premise of trust. Rather, it is designed to lead to trust, if there is both openness to the inspectors and action to present them with items to destroy or credible evidence about the absence of any such items.


See here for a full discussion of his report.
Its hard to believe that there are still people peddling these long discredited lies in 2006.

 
At 5:12 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

Steve

The issue is that POTUS has again claimed that the WMD threat justifies pre-emptive invasion by the USA.

Not that I don't believe you, but .., all right, I don't believe you. Post a link please. Based on past performance I think we'll find you read his remarks as saying what you wanted them to say.

Of course, the USA, like any other country, reserves the right to take military action whenever it deems it neccessary.

 
At 5:14 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

All countries reserve the right to take such action as they deem neccessary to protect themselves. This is not some crazy idea that Bush and the neo-cons dreamed up recently. It formed the basis for US involvement in just about every war it has engaged in

Didn't you read over that part where Steve said he was a conservative? Now triangulate what that means. For him to be a conservative, means that he is to the right of Pat Buchanan. Isolationist conservatives still exist, even though they don't appear to be many.

The point being, I don't think steve would have backed any of America's foreign wars, regardless of the justifications. So it is consistent, in a way.

Democrats, many of whom spoke frequently of the danger of Iraqi WMD in the late 1990's.

Well, ya, which is why they use the tactic of projection to defend themselves. And it has succeded quite handily. You would never know that the Democrats backed Bush in the WMD argument, if you didn't have the internet for example. You would NEVER know, by 1984's Orwellian rules, that means what you don't know, never existed. And if it never existed, then you can't attack the Demos with it.

That is the power of information and psychology. It is why in a ratio to physical power, it is 3 to 1. You can't hit what you can't see or what you don't believe is there.

Blix? Come on, Bush should have had Musctache UN Ambassador Bolton execute Blix somewhere in Africa.

Why people still pay attention to the man on the payroll, is ridiculous.

Its hard to believe that there are still people peddling these long discredited lies in 2006.

Well, like Neo's oh so useful predictive quality has predicted, people will still be arguing this into the next millenium.

Myths and legends tend to have that effect on men's minds.

I digged up the Oldest Trick Link. Read it, for an explanation of why it is so useful.

Link

 
At 5:18 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

WMD are not "the basic principle whereby our government invades other countries". Othewise we would have invaded France and Britain a long time ago. Can you get serious please?


You first. I did not say that Bush intends to invade every country with WMD's. Come up with a more convincing straw man.

All countries reserve the right to take such action as they deem neccessary to protect themselves.

No, not really. Most countries are severely constrained in what they do by treaty, alliances, the UN, and so on.

The fact that no WMD were no found most certainlty does not imply that "Bush's underlings" were up to some hanky-panky.

Since when is being influenced by your superiors expectations an instance of "hanky panky"?


To somebody not in the grip of terminal BDS, it simply indicates that all the evidence was that Iraq had WMD. It takes a special kind of paranoid delusion to think it means that the evil neo-cons used their mind-ray to cast a "mass suggestion" on the helpless world.


Actually, as other posters have noted, there were a number of people, including high officials in the British government, who were highly skeptical of these WMD accusations.

You ought to stop over-stating the positions of your opponents, you are likely to be more persuasive that way.

You might also like to read some history about delusions, Mackay, and such, which show that these kinds of things crop up all by themselves, and don't require any prompting by some paranoid fantasy of a "neo-con mind-ray."

 
At 5:19 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a management consultant. The behavior you describe in Iraq under Saddam is very similar to what I see often in companies. The first and often biggest task is to get them to look honestly at their strengths and weaknesses and start measuring useful things instead of only things that make them look good. If you want to see a good example of this kind of pathology, Fortune had a great writeup a couple of years ago on Xerox in the late 90s. They promoted their sales manager to president. He insisted on constantly increasing sales every quarter, even in the face of the slow-down in 2000. People who did not agree whole heartedly were fired. After a while, he got a group who told him what he wanted to hear. To make the numbers they had committed to, they faked sales. Xerox got in big trouble and he eventually got fired. The president had clearly forced everyone into doing illegal things, but he had done none. The interesting question the article asked was what was his guilt in this.

 
At 5:31 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Didn't you read over that part where Steve said he was a conservative? Now triangulate what that means. For him to be a conservative, means that he is to the right of Pat Buchanan. Isolationist conservatives still exist, even though they don't appear to be many.

Ymar: I'm still waiting to know how Bush will silence his critics.

Now: as to war. My basic belief is that you don't fight one unless you intend to actually win it. I don't believe the war in Iraq was fought intelligently or seriously.

The reason is that no war simply ends when the fighting stops. No war possibly could, because war is simply fast-forwarding a political solution. Therefore, after the war, you need the political solution, otherwise the war itself is a waste of time.

The reason I am not happy about the War in Iraq is because it was not planned presciently, the postwar was not planned AT ALL, the American people were not prepared for sacrifice, the Admin has attempted to do all of this on the cheap (too few boots, over-reliance on inadequately trained reserves, no tax hikes, supply shortages, no rationing), etc.

I am not opposed to invading Iraq, taking it over, making it a dependency like Puerto Rico, and making the oil an American asset. Not opposed to that at all. However, if we are going to do that, let's be honest about it, and let's do it with a full court press, which is not to be confused with just bombing the sh*t out of Iraq.

My justification? As the world's sole superpower, we have a responsibility to protect the world's oil supply. So, in return for taking over the world's oil supply, we will then sell it to the rest of the world.

My main complaint about the Iraq war at this time is that we are not doing enough to protect our people from IED's. That's about it.

 
At 5:45 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger The probligo said...

Flenser, go read here -

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-03-02-un-wmd_x.htm

"The study, a quarterly report on Iraq from U.N. inspectors, notes that the U.S. teams' inability to find any weapons after the war mirrors the experience of U.N. inspectors who searched there from November 2002 until March 2003.

Many Bush administration officials were harshly critical of the U.N. inspection efforts in the months before the war. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in August 2002 that inspections "will be a sham."

The Bush administration also pointedly declined U.N. offers to help in the postwar weapons hunt, preferring instead to use U.S. inspectors and specialists from other coalition countries such as Britain and Australia.

But U.N. reports submitted to the Security Council before the war by Hans Blix, former chief U.N. arms inspector, and Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, have been largely validated by U.S. weapons teams. The common findings:

Iraq's nuclear weapons program was dormant.

No evidence was found to suggest Iraq possessed chemical or biological weapons. U.N. officials believe the weapons were destroyed by U.N. inspectors or Iraqi officials in the years after the 1991 Gulf War.

Iraq was attempting to develop missiles capable of exceeding a U.N.-mandated limit of 93 miles.

Demetrius Perricos, the acting executive chairman of the U.N. inspection teams, said in an interview that the failure to find banned weapons in Iraq since the war undercuts administration criticism of the U.N.'s search before the war.
"

 
At 6:26 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

Steve

You ought to stop over-stating the positions of your opponents, you are likely to be more persuasive that way.

You are a slippery one. Here, again, is the position you took.

Clearly, since we didn't find the WMD's and the evidence in no way supports "aluminum tubes for nuclear chain reactions, etc." it means that Bush's underlings reinforced what the admin wanted to hear.

If you would care to to try to explain how the claim following "it means that" logically follows from the statement preceding it, I would be much obliged. I'm not overstating your position. I'm quoting your own words to you.

there were a number of people, including high officials in the British government, who were highly skeptical of these WMD accusations.

I assume they were simply victims of "mass suggestion". They certainly never offered any credible rationale for their views. And of course, certain "high officials in the British government" have turned out to have been taking bribes from Saddam.


On Day 10, someone found a 55 gallon drum containing -- pesticides. This went on for weeks.

I remember that. Iraq sure was stuffed to the gills with pesticides, wasn't it? Much of it stored in guarded camouflaged bunkers. Well, nothing to see here, move along.


Most countries are severely constrained in what they do by treaty, alliances, the UN, and so on.

Well, no. Most countries are severly constrained in what they do by their power relative to their neighbors. Nothing else. The UN? Just what kind of conservative are you?


My main complaint about the Iraq war at this time is that we are not doing enough to protect our people from IED's.

The great thing about America is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think we are doing fine in protecting our "people" (an odd word for our troops) from IED's.

 
At 6:39 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

probligo

Assuming you have read the Blix report I limked to, you must already know that it was not the purpose of the UN inspections to find weapons in Iraq. It was not the purpose of the inspections to prove or disprove that Saddam had WMD. Blix says so himself, in language that even you can follow.


Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed the inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.

As we know, the twin operation declare and verify, which was prescribed in Resolution 687, too often turned into a game of hide and seek. Rather than just verify in declarations and supporting evidence, the two inspecting organizations found themselves engaged in efforts to map the weapons programs and to search for evidence through inspections, interviews, seminars, inquiries with suppliers and intelligence organizations.


So I'm at a loss as to why you made the comment and the link you did.

You do not have to read what somebody else says that Blix said. Follow my link and read what he said in his own words. What he said is that he found that Iraq was flouting the sanctions and was not serious about disarming.

I don't know how I can make this any plainer for you. Read his report. It contradicts everything you are saying here.

 
At 6:48 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

There's two sides. One side believes that giving Saddam time for inspections gave him time to get rid of his WMDs and move them to Syria. The other side believes that what you see is what you get, so if you don't see anything from UN inspectors and you don't see anything from American inspectors, then that means there was nothing to see in the first place.

It is the difference between people that can recognize an illusion and people who think all mirages are reality. It is an unbridgeable gap of perception.

No reason, no logic, no facts, may countervail it.

You first. I did not say that Bush intends to invade every country with WMD's. Come up with a more convincing straw man.

Tertiary logic gap. Where point 1 leads to point 2, and point 2 leads to point 99. Tertiary, meaning it offloads at the third point.

"Derails" to be more accurate.

Ymar: I'm still waiting to know how Bush will silence his critics.

Now: as to war. My basic belief is that you don't fight one unless you intend to actually win it. I don't believe the war in Iraq was fought intelligently or seriously.


You answered your own question the paragraph later. Anything that creates the perception that the war is serious or intelligent, whether lies or propaganda or half truths, whole truths, no truths, is how Bush can silence his critics. Because his critics will silence themselves. It's a Catch 22.

The reason I am not happy about the War in Iraq is because it was not planned presciently, the postwar was not planned AT ALL, the American people were not prepared for sacrifice,

No war can be planned for nor does any war go according to plan. It is unrealistic to expect it to be otherwise.

Not prepared for sacrifice is another way of saying Bush doesn't use propaganda. Which is true, in the ways that count.


My justification? As the world's sole superpower, we have a responsibility to protect the world's oil supply. So, in return for taking over the world's oil supply, we will then sell it to the rest of the world.


That's not a political solution that would work. Congress would probably defund something like that.

I really wonder, steve, if you would be willing to sacrifice American men and women to IEDs just so America can control the oil. I am neither for or against American oil interests, but not even I will say that such a sacrifice in lives and fortune would be worth it solely for national economic interests.

But it is an interesting dichotomy between what the Left says and what the Right says. In this comment section.

Not to put too heavy a point on it, but there seems to be a strange agreement between certain people on different sides of the political spectrum. Regarding Iraq, Bush, and WMDs.

If steve is okay with Blood for Oil and the Left hates Blood for Oil, but they somehow agree anyways on WMDs and on Bush... isn't that a little bit weird you might think?

It isn't that I disagree with the points steve listed, nor is it that I agree with them. It is just that I find them informative.

 
At 7:03 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

I wrote in this post:

I've written about WMDs before, and discussed why their actual existence or non-existence was not--in my opinion and that of many others--the make-or-break justification for the war.

Once again, I'm wondering a bit about the reading comprehension of certain readers such as Steve, who writes:

You keep saying that WMDs was not your justification..."

No, actually, I don't keep saying that; I try to choose my words very carefully, although I don't always succeed. What I actually wrote was that the actual existence or non-existence of WMDs was not the make-or-break (i.e. the only, or the absolutely necessary) justification for the war.

Translated: Saddam's lack of compliance with weapons inspections, his violation of the Gulf War cease fire, his history of belligerence and lying about such things, as well as the fact that his regime constituted a human rights violation of major propertions were the real justification for the war. WMDs might have actually existed, which would have of course made the war even more necessary than if they did not exist. But only in retrospect. The reasoning behind the decisions for a war can only be looked at prospectively; decisions cannot be made backwards, they have to be made in real time by looking at the best evidence available and evaluating it.

Which also means that actual WMDs in the hands of rogue nations bent on the destruction of other nations are always a possible reason for war--or, preferably, for the taking out of the weapons development program before it gets to that point.

It is not logical to imagine, from what I've written here, that I mean to say that WMD programs in the wrong hands could never be a valid reason for a war.

 
At 7:29 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saddam and WMD's? I was convinced back in 1991 while living in Moscow, Russa and heard all about the russian mafia selling under the table all sorts of arms and state secrets (like information on how to effectively hide things) to various mid eastern entities including Saddam. Why would there be doubt that Saddam would not have amassed means of destruction. He was the world second richest megalomaniac with a pipeline to the mob.

My experience in 1991 was confirmed in 2003 when I came across an op-ed in The Washington Times written by Ion Mihai Pacepa, former Hungarian spy, regarding Russia's involvement with WMD, "the Soviet bloc not only sold Saddam its WMDs, but it showed them how to make them "disappear."

If Americans actually do believe that America is the most evil place on the planet they're in for a very big surprise.

 
At 7:32 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...the point being, of course, that until ALL of the captured documents are translated and examined, until ALL of the country is searched and mapped, and until ALL of the regime's ex-leaders are thoroughly interrogated, the fact remains that NOBODY KNOWS FOR SURE whether there were WMDs, whether they were moved, or who was lying about what.

We're in the middle of a war, folks. With people who cut off the heads of innocents. Not with Iraqis, but with Saudis, Iranians, and Syrians. Anybody who thinks otherwise is not paying attention.

 
At 7:38 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous Armed Liberal said...

Call me Nostradamus:

http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/003555.php

"Why Are Missing WMD Like Bad Software?"

I'll blog this later on...

A.L.

 
At 8:11 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger The probligo said...

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060501faessay85301/kevin-woods-james-lacey-williamson-murray/saddam-s-delusions-the-view-from-the-inside.html

Read all of it. It is as objective analysis as any that I have seen.

"A captured Military Industrial Commission annual report of investments made in 2002Ð3 showed more than 170 research projects with an estimated budget of about 1.5 percent of Iraq's gdp. The commission divided projects among areas such as equipment, engineering, missiles, electronics, strategic weapons, artillery, and air forces. One senior Iraqi official alleged that the commission's leaders were so fearful of Saddam that when he ordered them to initiate weapons programs that they knew Iraq could not develop, they told him they could accomplish the projects with ease. Later, when Saddam asked for updates on the nonexistent projects, they simply faked plans and designs to show progress.

This constant stream of false reporting undoubtedly accounts for why many of Saddam's calculations on operational, strategic, and political issues made perfect sense to him. According to Aziz, "The people in the Military Industrial Commission were liars. They lied to you, and they lied to Saddam. They were always saying that they were producing or procuring special weapons so that they could get favors out of Saddam -- money, cars, everything -- but they were liars. If they did all of this business and brought in all of these secret weapons, why didn't [the weapons] work?"
"

Or this -

"When it came to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Saddam attempted to convince one audience that they were gone while simultaneously convincing another that Iraq still had them. Coming clean about WMD and using full compliance with inspections to escape from sanctions would have been his best course of action for the long run. Saddam, however, found it impossible to abandon the illusion of having WMD, especially since it played so well in the Arab world.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians in 1987, was convinced Iraq no longer possessed WMD but claims that many within Iraq's ruling circle never stopped believing that the weapons still existed. Even at the highest echelons of the regime, when it came to WMD there was always some element of doubt about the truth. According to Chemical Ali, Saddam was asked about the weapons during a meeting with members of the Revolutionary Command Council. He replied that Iraq did not have WMD but flatly rejected a suggestion that the regime remove all doubts to the contrary, going on to explain that such a declaration might encourage the Israelis to attack.
"

But then is that likely to change the closed mindsets created by three years of desperate propaganda?

Yeah, right!

 
At 10:18 PM, March 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, I wonder, I really wonder, if Bush has been "misunderestimated" yet again.

Here we have these miles of pages of evidence released on the Ides of March, they appear to be positive toward the position of the administration so far and they'll take at least 6 months to pore over, putting us into September/October, just prior to the mid-term elections...

So, we'll have all of this stuff about what Saddam did, when he did it, with who, and what a bad guy he was all around, dribbling out over the entire election season -- Karl you've done it again!

Meanwhile, Russ wants to censure the President for listening in on al Qaeda... It just doesn't get any better than this, for us as Americans, not just for Reps.

 
At 11:39 PM, March 16, 2006, Blogger J. Peden said...

Yes, anonymous 10:18, now it can be told: we and Rove are in full control of noble innocents like "probligo", who apparently has just been driven beyond repair, if his most recent evidence, 8:11, is any indication.

 
At 5:13 AM, March 17, 2006, Blogger camojack said...

We could have saved a lot of trouble by simply dropping a grenade down into that "spider hole"...

 
At 7:33 AM, March 17, 2006, Anonymous goesh said...

Yeah, camojack - he should have been shot in the head and his body hung up on a flatbed truck and driven around on display until the maggots made him unrecognizable. There was a time in our history when monsters and enemies were killed on sight. The bottom line is given the strength of the fundamentalists in Iran, their energy reserves and economic alliance with China, we needed that turf on the Iraqi flank. We are now on their right and left flank and the southern flank via carrier assets. It is sort of like baseball - three flanks and you are out.

 
At 8:54 AM, March 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Goesh, eager for the coming fight? Sharpening your favourite knife while watching Fox? New popcorn maker in the kitchen? Beer in the fridge?

 
At 9:41 AM, March 17, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

This article actually describes Bushhitler!

 
At 10:07 AM, March 17, 2006, Anonymous Ben said...

Recall the lesson of the Boy Who Cried Wolf- the tragedy came not when the boy lied, but when the Wolf was real and the boy wasn't beleived. Ergo, even if we take it as fact that Bush deliberately lied to create a false fear of Iraqi weapons, then we may be inviting tragedy by assuming this means there is nothing to fear from Iranian weapons. The issue is indeed moot.

 
At 10:38 AM, March 17, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

Sorry to disappoint you Anonymous, but I've already had my war, I watch very, very little television, I don't like popcorn and I don't drink any kind of alcohol. The only fight will be airstrikes on their reactor and with primed assets on 3 of their flanks, all we will see in return is state sponsored protests of civil servants and students ordered to hit the streets, wave their arms in the air, chant and burn the US flag. Contrary to the tenets of physiology and personal trainers, military muscle is not lost if not used. Go wag your little weenie in some vegan, pacifist blog, it is flaccid and puny here.

 
At 12:00 PM, March 17, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Let’s all look at a few statements by Steve:

You keep saying that WMD's was not your justification, even though just today Bush _reiterated_ WMD's as being his justification, not only in Iraq but in the future, like, e.g., Iran.

Apparently, since Steve keeps comparing Iraq WMD & Iran WMD & since Steve doesn’t believe Iran had any WMD, Steve must also believe that Iran has no WMD. Anti-warriors are blissfully satisfied with Iran’s ridiculous claims of “energy” nuclear designs. Those anti-warriors that reluctantly accept the likelihood that nuclear weaponry is Iran’s actual motive simply declare that a nuclear Iran would be ‘manageable.’

From what I have read about this there were minority voices in CIA and DOD who thought the WMD evidence was being oversold, but they were overruled, and even cashiered.

Actually, as other posters have noted, there were a number of people, including high officials in the British government, who were highly skeptical of these WMD accusations.


Anti-warriors never consider that there are always “minority voices” on issues – otherwise known as CYA. Bush made the same assumptions that the Democrats in Congress made, that the intelligence services of several other countries made, but the anti-warriors ignore such considerations because the strength of their meme depends on Bush acting against the prevailing opinion & intelligence of the time.

Clearly, since we didn't find the WMD's and the evidence in no way supports "aluminum tubes for nuclear chain reactions, etc." it means that Bush's underlings reinforced what the admin wanted to hear.

One of those “aluminum tubes” was dug up in the backyard of one of Saddam’s nuclear scientists but that doesn’t matter to the dedicated anti-warrior, who is always blithely willing to overlook such glaring anomalies to the cherished Bush Lied Meme.

The reason why the WMD's will continue to crop up is not because of finger-pointing (although that will come later), but because future allegations of WMD development will have to be measured against the past allegations.

To paraphrase: Bush lied about Iraq WMD & so must be lying about Iran WMD. As pointed out above, anti-warriors will placidly stand by until Iran has WMD. If an American city subsequently goes up in flames they will see no connection, no reason for regret.

When you are blind
You are blind all the way
From your first hot denial
To your last dyin' day

Sung to the tune of the “Jet Song” from West Side Story.

Were they a clear and present threat to the security of the US? Make the case.

Since many of their points are made with implication instead of fact it is sometimes difficult to interpret their meaning, but by “clear and present threat” the anti-warriors must mean the actual lobbing of nukes into Israel or perhaps terrorists caught red-handed in the US with a nuke with “From Saddam” stenciled on it. It never seems to occur to anti-warriors that a US Administration shouldn’t wait until atrocities actually happen before acting. No, for the anti-warriors prevention is never an option – one must always wait until the blow falls. We can all thank Providence that the anti-warriors are not in charge.

I am not opposed to invading Iraq, taking it over, making it a dependency like Puerto Rico, and making the oil an American asset. Not opposed to that at all. However, if we are going to do that, let's be honest about it, and let's do it with a full court press, which is not to be confused with just bombing the sh*t out of Iraq.

Here the facetious implication is that the Bush Administration wants to permanently take over Iraq & steal Iraqi oil. No, Steve, the US wants to buy the oil, not steal it & has no desire to make Iraq into a Puerto Rico.

My main complaint about the Iraq war at this time is that we are not doing enough to protect our people from IED's.

And just how could the US better protect soldiers from IED’s? The reader is left to wonder because anti-warriors are long on complaints but frequently a bit short when it comes down to alternatives.

 
At 3:29 PM, March 17, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Let's take the mushroom cloud over an American city as an example of a Very Bad Thing.
Work backwards by steps.
At what point does the act, then going further back to the intent to act, then further back to the acquisition of the means to act, become no longer "imminent" or requiring action?

 
At 4:35 PM, March 17, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Probligo: Interesting that at least one commenter has mentioned Hans Blix. No one has mentioned Scott Ritter and Richard Butler. All three had formed similar opinions that Iraq's WMD were not operative or did not exist.

The “did not exist” can’t stand scrutiny, so anti-warriors will often toss in a “were not operative.” It’s problematic to contend WMD was non-existent when everyone knows Saddam killed a substantial number of people with WMD. So, in the arguments of the anti-warriors, the idea of Saddam not having “operative” WMD is considered a handy, all-inclusive Meme of Justification. I suppose if the anti-warriors were prison guards they wouldn’t be at all worried if a convict was known to possess a gun & ammo – as long as the convict kept the 2 elements, gun & ammo, separate & therefore “inoperative.”

 
At 5:59 PM, March 17, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Here the facetious implication is that the Bush Administration wants to permanently take over Iraq & steal Iraqi oil. No, Steve, the US wants to buy the oil, not steal it & has no desire to make Iraq into a Puerto Rico.

Ah, no, grackle. Steve actually supports making Iraq like a Puerto Rico and stealing all the oil, if you take his word literally. Which I do. Look up Hamiltonian interests, Grackle.

My contention with Probligo, is that it is very problematic in deciphering what he means. Because he quotes a lot of stuff, but he never states what his own position in relation is. He doesn't say what he agrees or disagrees with in the article. It leads to the conclusion that Probligo wants us to believe that the author is writing exactly what Probligo would have written, and that Probligo thinks the same way as the author in everything. That obviously is not the case.

 
At 10:33 PM, March 17, 2006, Anonymous Michael Adams said...

Judging by the little dating clues in her blog, Neo and I are about the same age. Nearly everyone in our generation believed that we fought in Viet Nam for direct economic reasons. "The US uses its military might to extract wealth from the rest of the world." I believed it. I said it, to resounding cheers. It is a theory whose supporting evidence is found primarily in the theory. Facts support the contrary proposition. When we were buying Arabian oil for three bucks a barrel, we had no troops on the entire peninsula. We supported Israel, rather half-heartedly, but too strongly to please the Saudis, who might have been even friendlier to us if we had budged on that principal. If we were a tributary empire, conquering the world for its treasures, Japan, South Korea, Britain and Germany would be the poorest nations on earth, since that is where we have the most troops. We used to have a couple of bases in the Phillipines, which we closed immediately upon the Filipinos' request, to the later detriment of their economy. Almost nothing we do in international affairs results in direct benefit to our economy. Surely, if it did, we would at least have no balance of trade deficit. No, what we do is this, we keep the world "free" in a very narrow sense. Arabia is not a "free" country, nor is China, nor, really, more than half the worlld's real estate. However, we are free to trade there. Many people believe, and I will at least concede the possibility, that trade will bring greater internal freedom. That remains to be seen. But, for now, we need to understand that the President did not seek an "excuse" to invade Iraq to steal their oil. It is for sale. Saddam Hussein made it clear, after the invasion of Kuwait, that he'd still sell us all the oil we needed.

However, we get most of our oil imports from this hemisphere. Arab oil mostly goes to India, China, and Japan. We shall continue to be involved in that trade, because our oil services technology is superior to most of the world's. We didn't have to go to war for Halliburton. They, and many other American companies, have a huge market of very willing customers.

 
At 12:23 AM, March 18, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

People who have actually thought out the logical conclusion of a "Hamiltonian" war for economic interests, realize exactly why America doesn't fit that bill.

Because it is simple. In order to conduct war in order to derive money and profit from it, requires a cost-risk benefit analysis.

In the end, the most efficacious policy would be to blow cities up with nuclear weapons in order to extort favorable trade deals and various other things. No nation would have a choice in the matter, if they wished to continue to exist. And the price of one atom bomb is negligible to a ground war.

With our combination of stealth bombers, stealth fighter-bombers, JDAMs, Apache low flying helicopters, and various other advanced weapon systems, we can penetrate any air defense system in the world. Regardless of who it is.

The systems are already there, you don't have to pay for them. You just simply have to use them to carve up a trade deal in a foreign country.

Most of the people that are fake liberals and cry Blood for Oil, have not given much thought to what is required for a real blood and oil campaign.

Blood costs money, it is a waste of resources and death benefits. Dropping bombs and other things are cheap, and very effective if you are ruthless about your choice of targets.

What America does in the socio-political landscape of the 21st century is to present a stasis effect. No nation may expand their borders and conquer other nations. We have stopped expansion by the threat of our retaliatory abilities. Those who have tested those abilities, like Saddam and the Soviet Empire, are dust and ashes. Or soon to be anyway.

We prevent Israel from expanding and we prevent Palestine from expanding. We prevent NK from expanding and we prevent SK from expanding. We prevent China from expanding and we prevent Taiwan from expanding. All the socio-political alliances and relations we have, are in effect simply a child's desire to have a stable world in which to live in, in which family and friends are always there and there is no spectre of war or global annihilation on the horizon.

Free trade is simply one result. The other result is everyone hates us, because we are preventing them from raping and looting their weakened neighbors. While they see us being able to go into a nation and topple its system in a few months.

Nobody likes the topdog. Your allies doesn't like being subservient to you. Your enemies sure as heck don't like to see you winning after beating them. And the neutrals don't really care, in so far as they don't see you that often in their work day, but they hear all the complaints from your friends and your enemies, and they get a very bad impression of you.

But regardless of their dislike for the topdog, none of them have the strength or the wisdom to take our place. We're not that old that any new mutt can challenge us and take our place. China's military is still a joke, and India is becoming the anti-China.

The fake liberals that spake blood for oil was our policy, haven't even spent as much time on how they would change our policy as they did on repeating their refrains. Because they have not given one iota of thought to how those policies would work in the first place, the policies that they rail against so much.

When you're criticizing the topdog, and you know you'll never take his place, you really don't have to consider why he is doing what he is doing. So long as you can improve your standing amongst your peers, it's all kosher.

There will always be a topdog in this world, you can't change that. What you can change is which topdog would it be. You want Russia? How about the mullahs of Iran? China? Socialists perhaps?

Choose.

 
At 1:24 AM, March 18, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Steve- "I am perfectly well aware of what nerve gases are and how they were discovered and how they are made. That doesn't make a can of Raid a WMD."
Not worth comment.
"Also: And I guess the atropine and NBC suits were for decoration only... The purpose of these materials is defensive, not offensive: we had them when I was in the service. That didn't mean we were planning on using poison gas.
Context, context, context. They are certainly a defensive item to the wearer, that says nothing for the who the offensive party is in this scenario. Are you asserting that the Iraqi's were rightly preparing for OUR NBC attack? NOW I get it, thanks.

"The testimony concerning aluminum tubes made by our Sec'y of State has been refuted. These weren't WMD's, either."
Did somebody say they were WMDs? I think they were suspected of trying to reconsitute a program using the tubes, which perhaps they were, and perhaps they weren't...

"If we start defining everything by their potential, then, clearly, the fact that there were airliners at Baghdad International meant that Saddam had an entire fleet of WMD's ....
Finally you're starting to understand the post 9-11 pre-emption paradigm. Of course you have to add to your statement that it was Saddam that owned those jets. A boxcutter at a warehouse in the hands of a picker (lift driver) is perfectly innocent, in the hands of a jihadist on an airliner...

 
At 1:31 AM, March 18, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

I posted this elsewhere, but it seems applicable here, now:

As for how ‘well’, or not, things have been run, how does one measure that? What’s your metric? Relative to all wars/conflicts we’ve been in prior to this, we’re doing fantastically well. It’s only four years into this. Has it been messy? Yes. Have there been problems that MIGHT have been handled better? Yes, perhaps. It’s hard to know how well your strategy would’ve panned out, since it was never tested. It may have ended up being a disaster. Wars are full of mistakes, by nature, what leads to victory, is dealing with the cycle of mistakes faster than your opponent. We have no problem there.



Ymark- "choose" nice post, I'm going to save that one...

 
At 3:36 AM, March 18, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

I think Ymarsakar's post is a WMD. I know a few people whose heads would start bleeding if they read that :P

 
At 10:03 AM, March 18, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

It's all fun and games until someone gets blown up by a nuke, that's my view.

Glad some liked it.

 
At 3:53 PM, March 18, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

"Has it been messy?"

To some extent we're falling victim to the simple semantic similarity between "messy" and "mess", and the connotative chasm that has opened between them.

All wars are messy by definition, but a mess, well, to make one of those is an inexcusable error, evidently. As if the ME wasn't a mess to begin with.

 
At 9:17 PM, March 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But we don't celebrate the deaths our enemies these days and because of this, I'm not just too sure we are really capable of winning any war that requires our men to kill and die on the ground.

Ugly.

Am I advocating that our troops start wearing the ears of any enemy they kill? We do know however what would happen if a grunt did cut off an ear, dry it and wear it around his neck, don't we? I'm not advocating this but I'm not so sure we are capable of really owning up to what we want in a war.

Sick.

 
At 8:49 AM, March 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war, and afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands- love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper- his hands remember the rifle and the power the rifle proffered."
-- Anthony Swafford

 
At 10:59 PM, March 20, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Anon,
Lenin:
you might not be intersted in war, but war is interested in you.

OK, so the M16 the army handed me when I was 17 had a lasting affect: so what?

 
At 10:44 AM, March 21, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

"A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war, and afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands- love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper- his hands remember the rifle and the power the rifle proffered."

Yeah, but where did the rifle go that he fired “for many years”? Before the war, before the armory, he had a rifle. Who took his rifle away?


A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war, and afterward he turns the army’s rifle in at the armory and he believes he's finished with the army’s rifle. But no matter what else he might do - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper, kowtow to the local street-corner drug-dealer, get robbed in the shopping center parking lot, back off from the bullies on the subway - his hands remember the rifle and the protection the rifle proffered.

 
At 1:16 AM, March 23, 2006, Blogger Nortius Maximus said...

Echoing neo-neo and daniel in brookline:

A long time ago, Robert Anton Wilson (I think) wrote of the "burden of omniscience" of an autocrat, and of his subordinates' "burden of nescience" -- and the consequent heuristic that "[accurate] communication is only possible between equals".

That was early warning about possible Baathist "Potemkin weapons". But there was ultimately no other way to "call" Saddam's play than to go on in.

Sometimes the best choice you have still sucks.

 
At 5:38 AM, March 25, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

You can take the boy out of the Marines, but you can't take the Marines out of the boy.

 
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