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pervert
04-28-2004, 02:31 AM
I wrote up a semi-lengthy post laying out just who does and who doesn't qualify as an Islamic militant and why ( IMHO obviously - teaser: SH, no - Hamas, yes ), but I lost it and now I don't feel like re-creating it. You'll just have to suffer along in your partisan catfight without the dubious benefit of my input ;).

- Tamerlane
I'm sorry to hear that. I have enjoyed every one of your posts that I have read. Can I offer to buy you a beer to recreate it? What can I tempt you with?

Meanwhile, let me ask you , how much do think an anti - zionist agenda should count when making such a determination.

pervert
04-28-2004, 02:33 AM
crackers. I meant to delete that last paragraph. Darn it. Please ignore it. I'm not sure where I was going with that thought.

Desmostylus
04-28-2004, 02:38 AM
Can you give me some terms that I could search for to locate such a thing?Is it really that difficult for you to find things? You type words like "Powell", "Saddam", "disarm" into Google, and you get:Powell: Saddam can avert ouster
By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY
October 2, 2002 (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2002-10-02-powell_x.htm)

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested Wednesday that President Bush's policy of "regime change" in Iraq could leave Saddam Hussein in power if he disarms fully.
Though Powell said he was simply echoing statements by President Bush, his comments went a step further and marked the first time a high-ranking administration official has suggested Iraq's regime could change its ways and not its leader.

"The issue is disarmament," Powell told USA TODAY's editorial board. "If you can get the (weapons) inspectors back in, that can make sure under a tightened, tough regime, with consequences for failure to perform, you can disarm this society. ... Then in effect you have a different kind of regime no matter who's in Baghdad."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer denied that Powell had shifted U.S. policy. "Do you honestly believe that all these conditions can be met by Saddam Hussein?" he said.

Bush administration officials, including Powell, have said they doubt Iraq will cooperate with new arms inspections. But the secretary of State's comments were softer than those of the president, who has repeatedly said the only sure way to disarm Iraq is to get rid of Saddam. Fleischer even suggested Tuesday that Iraqis assassinate the dictator.

In the Rose Garden on Wednesday, Bush said he hoped it would be possible to avoid war. But he vowed the United States "will not leave the future of peace and the security of America in the hands of this cruel and dangerous man."Lies from start to finish.

Tamerlane
04-28-2004, 02:38 AM
I'm sorry to hear that. I have enjoyed every one of your posts that I have read.

Thanks.

Can I offer to buy you a beer to recreate it? What can I tempt you with?

Later, maybe - like tomorrow. I just got off work, it's past midnight, and I have to crash :).

Meanwhile, let me ask you , how much do think an anti - zionist agenda should count when making such a determination.

Zero. Neither anti-semitism and anti-zionism need be driven by Islamism. There have always been plenty of secular anti-zionists in the Arab world.

- Tamerlane

Desmostylus
04-28-2004, 02:41 AM
I'm not sure where I was going with that thought.Pretty obvious, isn't it?

blowero
04-28-2004, 02:43 AM
Well, then perhaps you should read the rest of Kerry's position. He said "To succeed, we are going to need more forces on a temporary basis. Our commanders on the ground have requested it. We should provide it. " Is it really sophistry to point out that providing what our commanders want is exactly what Bush is promising? Can you explain to me how this position and the administration's are significantly different?

Bush is president. He should have sent enough troops in the first place, and yes, people in the military did ask for it. Instead, he allowed Rumsfeld to plan the attack with an under-manned force. I haven't heard of any promise from Bush to send more troops, but if he's making such a promise just months before the election, after doing nothing this whole time, I'm pretty skeptical. There's a big difference between the administration saying they sent enough troops, and actualy having done it. I don't know where you get your news, but the news that I follow has made it very clear that Rumsfeld went against the advice of military commanders and went with an overly optimistic scenario as to how the war would go down. Some lame eleventh-hour "promise" to do better just isn't convincing.

You are misreading Kerry's statement. He says "we are going to need more forces". That's not ambiguous. He doesn't say "the same number as we have now", or "the same number that Bush promised". He says "more". More means more than Bush is using. He also says "the commanders have requested it." He doesn't say "I will send only the number the commanders have requested, which is the same as Bush is doing." That seems to be what YOU think he's saying, but he's not saying that. Military commanders, the people who actually have the experience to know what they need, wanted more troops, but Bush didn't provide them. Kerry says he will. There's no need for confusion.

As I recall, I suggested two courses of action that Kerry could take (rhetorically) that would make me believe his current rhetoric was sincere concerning the war.

And I pointed out that Kerry HAS suggested exactly the things you claim he hasn't. But then your baffling response was to play some sort of semantic game with his words.

No, I, don't. Never have never will. Haven't called for cards, magical powers, or time machines.
Not in so many words, but what you seem to expect from Kerry may as well be magic. I'm sorry, but your bizarre contention that Kerry's plan has to "match the rhetoric" is just nonsensical. Every specific example you have given has turned out to be a thing that already IS a part of Kerry's platform. That just leaves us with this vague "match the rhetoric" idea, which is utterly meaningless.

pervert
04-28-2004, 02:53 AM
Pretty obvious, isn't it?No, it is not. But since you had to ask, I will try and explain.

I was thinking (with my fingers) of asking Tamerlane, who I consider to be something of an expert on Middle East issues based on posts of his that I have read, a question. I was thinking of asking something like "I seem to notice that many Islamic militants also have a strong component of anti zionism. Is there any sort of link, or is it a coincidence." I thought about the question and decided that it was patently silly. There are certainly Islamic militants who are not very anti zionist (the groups in Indonesia come to mind) at least in their activities. And there are certainly groups who are anti zionist who are not Islamit militants.

I was not trying to suggest that Militant groups are necessarily racially prejudiced. I was not trying to suggest anything at all. I really was only contemplating a question of opportunity to ask of someone I think is much more knowledgeable about Middle East issues than I am.

I had the paragraph highlighted and was about to delete it when I hit the submit button by mistake.

In case there is any doubt at all left in anyone's mind, I would like to now publicly disavow support for whatever ideas you think that pargraph implies. I would like to appologize for any offence it may have caused you. And I would like to ask that you please ignore it from now on. Please treat it like a typo. You must be used to seeing them in my posts.

pervert
04-28-2004, 03:06 AM
Bush is president. He should have sent enough troops in the first place, and yes, people in the military did ask for it.Can you give me a cite for this?

I haven't heard of any promise from Bush to send more troops, but if he's making such a promise just months before the election, after doing nothing this whole time, I'm pretty skeptical.Every time Rumsfeld talks about troop levels, he reiterates that any time troops are asked for by commanders on the ground, they will be provided. Its what he has said all along.

You are misreading Kerry's statement. He says "we are going to need more forces". That's not ambiguous. He doesn't say "the same number as we have now", or "the same number that Bush promised". He says "more". More means more than Bush is using. He also says "the commanders have requested it." He doesn't say "I will send only the number the commanders have requested, which is the same as Bush is doing." That seems to be what YOU think he's saying, but he's not saying that. Military commanders, the people who actually have the experience to know what they need, wanted more troops, but Bush didn't provide them. Kerry says he will. There's no need for confusion.Ok, but now who is postulating a time machine. Ok, commanders asked for more troops in the past (the only article I've seen on this implies that some planners thought they needed more troops before the invasion). I have not seen evidence that commanders are asking for more troops now. Have you seen evidence that commanders are asking in the present tense for more troops? Or are you suggesting that Kerry's policy is that he will provide troop numbers based on old requests despite the current requests? I'm sure that's not what you mean.

And I pointed out that Kerry HAS suggested exactly the things you claim he hasn't. But then your baffling response was to play some sort of semantic game with his words.Well, no, I think the only thing which came close was this one thing. I'm sure that when I said he should advocate pulling out of Iraq you did not offer evidence that he said that.

I'm sorry, but your bizarre contention that Kerry's plan has to "match the rhetoric" is just nonsensical.Really? So in general if a candidate rails against the evils of high government spending but then proposes to increase government spending that's ok with you?

Every specific example you have given has turned out to be a thing that already IS a part of Kerry's platform.Well, its late and I may have missed something, but the only thing we have discussed which come close is the troop strength issue.

That just leaves us with this vague "match the rhetoric" idea, which is utterly meaningless.Really? You're sure you don't understand the idea that a candidates proposals should match his rhetoric?

Now to clarify, I did mention in another post that I may have conflated the rhetoric of other democrats (Kennedy, for example) and Kerry's own. To the extent to which that is leading to confusion, I appologize.

But is it really so odd a notion that a candidates policy proposals should match his rhetoric? I'm willing to grant the Kerry himself has not done this to the degree I thought. But is it really an irrational area of inquiry?

pervert
04-28-2004, 03:11 AM
Is it really that difficult for you to find things? You type words like "Powell", "Saddam", "disarm" into Google, and you get:Thank you. I did use those terms (except disarm) as well as others and did not find that article. Thanks.

But I'm not sure what that article proves. It suggests that Saddam could stay in power if he came up with ways to ensure "with consequences for failure to perform" that his regime had changed its policies, that is in effect it was a new regime, he could stay in power. It certainly does not seem to indicate that Powell proposed, nor that the Administration supported, leaving Saddam's regime in power as is. What am I missing?

blowero
04-28-2004, 03:26 AM
I'm sure that when I said he should advocate pulling out of Iraq you did not offer evidence that he said that.

I apologize. I missed when you said that. I'm utterly baffled as to why you think Kerry ought to advocate pulling out of Iraq, but I will concede that you are correct in saying that Kerry never advocated such a thing. Why you would want him to is beyond me. (Or is this just another fly for me to swat at?)

Desmostylus
04-28-2004, 03:28 AM
But I'm not sure what that article proves.It proves that Powell did in fact say what sevastapol claimed he said. It also shows that they were just making stuff up as they went along, and were never able to articulate a coherent reason why "regime change" was necessary.

Can you give me a cite for this?You really are going to have to work out how to use Google. Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force's Size
By Eric Schmitt
New York Times
February 28, 2003 (http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/consequences/2003/0228pentagoncontra.htm)

In a contentious exchange over the costs of war with Iraq, the Pentagon's second-ranking official today disparaged a top Army general's assessment of the number of troops needed to secure postwar Iraq. House Democrats then accused the Pentagon official, Paul D. Wolfowitz, of concealing internal administration estimates on the cost of fighting and rebuilding the country.

Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, "wildly off the mark." Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops. Mr. Wolfowitz then dismissed articles in several newspapers this week asserting that Pentagon budget specialists put the cost of war and reconstruction at $60 billion to $95 billion in this fiscal year. He said it was impossible to predict accurately a war's duration, its destruction and the extent of rebuilding afterward.

<snip>

In his testimony, Mr. Wolfowitz ticked off several reasons why he believed a much smaller coalition peacekeeping force than General Shinseki envisioned would be sufficient to police and rebuild postwar Iraq. He said there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq, as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo. He said Iraqi civilians would welcome an American-led liberation force that "stayed as long as necessary but left as soon as possible," but would oppose a long-term occupation force. And he said that nations that oppose war with Iraq would likely sign up to help rebuild it. "I would expect that even countries like France will have a strong interest in assisting Iraq in reconstruction," Mr. Wolfowitz said. He added that many Iraqi expatriates would likely return home to help. So none of Wolfie's predictions came true, but the administration still refuses to admit that the troop numbers required was wrong.

pervert
04-28-2004, 04:54 AM
You really are going to have to work out how to use Google.Thank you very much for your help. Allow me to return the favor. It might help if you learned to read the cites you look up. As in, "General Shinseki gave his estimate in response to a question at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday: "I would say that what's been mobilized to this point — something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers — are probably, you know, a figure that would be required." He also said that the regional commander, Gen. Tommy R. Franks, would determine the precise figure.". This is the quote that has such a fuss made over it? A quote by the lame duck Army chief of Staff (you did know that his retirement had been anounced the previous june right?) while troop numbers were still being decided on? This is touted by blowero (and attributed to sevastapol by you) to be a request for more troops from the army? When he himself at the time said that his estimate was not the final troop request?

Let me explain to you how decisions get made in large organizations. Over a period of time relevant people are asked for their input. In the case of a resource allocation such as troops to Iraq some will come up with a high number and some will come up with a low number. Over time and with discussion, hopefully a consensus is reached. Sometimes, this may mean that one of the participants wishes is not satisfied. However, in most cases there is an understood process and all participants agree that the final number is the "group opinion".

To glom onto a single opinion made off the cuff during that process and then claim "Our generals have asked for it" as Kerry does, as bloweroseems to be agreeing with, and now you are asserting is ludicrous. If you add into the mix the possibility that this particular general may have had long standing disagreements with Rumsfeld, then the assertion is beyond ridiculous.

From your own cite, "Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops.".

I've heard this claim before, but never looked into it. Thank you for your help.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Let me be clear. If generals on the ground ask for more troops and the administration refuses or fails to provide them I'll join you in condemning the job they are doing. I might even start to like Kerry more. If on the other hand, you are asserting that one of the early estimates of necessary troop strength which was not the official Pentagon request amounts to the same thing, then perhaps I have not repaid my debt to you. ;)

Desmostylus
04-28-2004, 05:38 AM
Is there any reason why the rest of us shouldn't treat your posts as nonsensical spam? It seems that a few of us can't follow your line of argument, and you go ahead and demonstrate that you can't even follow your own line of argument that you just posted. Let me set out for you the sequence of questions that you just asked:Anyways just recalled: Did not Colin Powell make a public statement, that if SH were to disarm the US would have no problem with him continuing to govern. It's being mentioned and linked many times on this board, I believe.
Can you give me some terms that I could search for to locate such a thing?Is it really that difficult for you to find things? You type words like "Powell", "Saddam", "disarm" into Google, and you get:
Powell: Saddam can avert ouster
By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY
October 2, 2002But I'm not sure what that article proves.It proves that Powell did in fact say what sevastapol claimed he said. It also shows that they were just making stuff up as they went along, and were never able to articulate a coherent reason why "regime change" was necessary.This is touted by blowero (and attributed to sevastapol by you) to be a request for more troops from the army? You'll note that it wasn't me who was unable to separate two entirey different arguments that you had running with blowero and sevastopol.

I don't see any reason why I should bother with any further crap that you post, and I don't see why anyone else should either. You obviously aren't taking any of this seriously. If this was a Pit thread, I'd explain further what I think it is that you're doing.

pervert
04-28-2004, 05:39 AM
I think I missed this post. I was sidtracked with conversations with a few other posters.
pervertWell, for what it’s worth, I understand your argument much more clearly now.It's worth quite a lot. Understanding is all I can ask.

on a regular basis, administration spokesmen consistently refer to al-Qaida, 9/11, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and “WMDs” in the same breath, paragraph, or sentence. It is a kind of talking point.But there is nothing sinister about this. We are fighting a war on terror. You can certainly argue that Iraq should not have been made part of it, but it certainly is part of it now. I'd bet that looking up Roosevelt's speach's you might find several examples where Japan and Germany were both mentioned. They had few joint operations. But they were 2 theaters of the same war.

There is a significant difference between making an explicit claim, on the one hand, and implying a connection by means of rhetorical association, on the other.Agreed. But before you accuse someone of implying a connection, you need more than mere proximity within a speech.

You are correct; anyone who argues that the administration has officially, explicitly claimed the existence of a connection between Hussein and 9/11 would be either lying or mistaken. That’s not my claim.Understood.

I argue that the administration is willfully conflating the two by insinuation. It is playing a rhetorical trick. It’s so tricky, in fact, that Simon X invented the term “not-lie” to try to capture its essence. The statements aren’t lies, exactly, if you read them carefully; they just aren’t very clear, careful statements of the whole truth. They are not-lies.The usual term for this is rhetoric. Is it not common for rhetoric, especially political rhetoric, to condense complex ideas or situations? Sometimes to the point where important information is lost? If the rhetoric is true but some details are missing, I think it is easier to attribute this to the fact that it is rhetoric. Now, if you have a good example of such conflation in some sort of official administration document that might be a different story.

You don't have to reiterate a long argument here. If you have posted such a thing before, simply give me some help finding it (I'm not very good at that ;)) and I'll go read it. I usually avoid these Iraq was bad, Iraq was good threads like the plague. Thank you for reminding me why that attitude of mine was misplaced.

Bush could simply stand up at his next public appearance and state, flatly, that no such connection exists, in clear, plain language. I challenge you to produce 2 more public statements in which Bush, or other significant administration officials, unambiguously reject this connection.


"We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11" attacks. (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/11/18/iraq/main584234.shtml)

Rice, asked about the same poll numbers, said, "We have never claimed that Saddam Hussein had either direction or control of 9-11." (http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/091903C.shtml) This one is the AP article which the last quote is taken from. It appeared in many places. This one is a reprint of the AP article on some "truth about Bush" cite and I cannot vouch for them. It purports to be a direct quote of the AP article.

If I may address the possible reasons why so many people believe that Saddam was behind 9-11, I'd simply point out that people believe strange things. I heard about a poll tonight that claims 25% of Brits believe that Star Wars "credits" and Harry Potter "knuts" are real kinds of money. Although a much smaller portion of the population, many readers of H.P. Lovecraft's horror stories still look for copies of the Necronomicon.

I'm willing to believe that the Administration's rhetoric has an effect on the public's perception of this "link" (can I call it a myth?). Perhaps even a causal link for some of it. However, it is a long way from there to saying that the Administration engineered such a misperception. And it is so far to the proposal that this constitutes a lie on the administration's part that I cannot take it seriously. (As I said, if you have a detaile argument concerning this point me there and I will read it)

Having said all that, I have to add one more thought. There is a link between Iraq and 9-11. Not a causal link such as some are accusing the Administration of implying. But a link in the way that Iraq, and Saddam, were percieved. The threat posed by Saddam's Iraq was viewed very differently before 9-11, than it was after it. Many things were percieved differently. Personally, I think that is as it should be.

[b]perv, I have to close for now; but this is to me a very interesting debate, and I hope to get back to with a more extensive answer to your objections as soon as I can.I look forward to it. As I indicated, I usually stay in the more civil gun / anti gun debates. ;) I find it hard to locate claims which can be discussed clearly in debates about politics. Politicians are much too clever in the way they parse their positions. Thank you again for a very reasoned and civil discussion.

pervert
04-28-2004, 05:43 AM
You'll note that it wasn't me who was unable to separate two entirey different arguments that you had running with blowero and sevastopol. You're correct. I had already started responding to the article you included in the same post as you mentioned sevastapol I totally missed that that part of you post was a response to a completely different post. Thank you for pointing that out.

I don't see any reason why I should bother with any further crap that you post, and I don't see why anyone else should either. You obviously aren't taking any of this seriously. If this was a Pit thread, I'd explain further what I think it is that you're doing.I'm not sure how this mistake on my part warrants this, but OK.

Kimstu
04-28-2004, 06:23 AM
blowero replied to pervert's reply to blowero:
- I have found myself repeatedly "swatting at flies" in trying to understand your position
- If I may, this is because you refuse to understand.
- All I can say is that at least two of us have noticed the same thing about you.

Make that three. I'm not sure that this is something that is necessarily a fault on pervert's part: I often have trouble following him myself, but it's possible that he's just trying to get at something too complex for me. I have found, though, that the more I go back and forth with him trying to straighten out the difficulty, the more tangled up and confused I get about what he really means to say.

So these days, when pervert asks a thoughtful, interesting question about one of my posts (which quite frequently happens) and it's something I find comprehensible, I answer it. But when he comes back with one of his puzzling elaborations or alternative scenarios that I just don't get, I find it works best for me simply to drop out of the conversation. Saves his time and my sanity. :)

jshore
04-28-2004, 08:12 AM
It was from his interview on Fresh Air, which I heard on the actual radio....

I don't know if Fresh Air transcripts are kept this long. However here (http://www.npr.org/display_pages/features/feature_1767468.html) is a link to Morning Edition where he says basically the same thing.

If you go here (http://freshair.npr.org/day_fa.jhtml;jsessionid=5KT24X3WXXXGLLA5AINSFFI?todayDate=archive) and type "Blix" in the Guests box, it comes up with an audiotape of the show (which was March 17, 2004). I haven't tried listening to it.

Rashak Mani
04-28-2004, 10:27 AM
Great list in the Bush Lies (http://www.bushlies.com/)

10. "I have been very candid about my past."
9. "I’m a uniter not a divider."
8. "My [tax] plan unlocks the door to the middle class of millions of hard-working Americans."
7. "This allows us to explore the promise and potential of stem cell research."
6. "We must uncover every detail and learn every lesson of September the 11th."
5. "[We are] taking every possible step to protect our country from danger."
4. "I first got to know Ken [Lay in 1994]."
3. "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." And, "[Saddam Hussein is] a threat because he is dealing with al Qaeda."
2. "We found the weapons of mass destruction."
1. "It’s time to restore honor and dignity to the White House."

Mr. Svinlesha
04-28-2004, 11:34 AM
pervert:

First off, congratulations on meeting my challenge! I probably should have asked for 3.

It also strikes me, upon careful rereading, that I’ve made a mistake. The poll claims that 57% of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein gave substantial support to al-Qaida, not that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. I therefore issue a second challenge (if you choose to accept it): find 2 public statements by Bush, or any other important administration official, repudiating the existence of those ties, not counting Tenet’s.

I want to pick up where I left off, which was a response to your post # 217 on page 5. Also, this is probably going to be my last direct response to you in this discussion, at least for the next few exchanges, since I owe Sam a goodly piece of my mind as well. Since I doubt I will be able to convince you of the correctness of my opinion on this matter, I hope to leave you with something to reflect upon, such that you will at the very least feel my viewpoint is rational, and that I’m not some sort of left-wing conspiracy-theory crackpot.

Not that I have anything against left-wing conspiracy-theory crackpots, mind you.

:)

I believe I was somewhere around here:I agree entirely. I did not mean to suggest that my counter interpretation was more likely than his. Well, alright I did mean to suggest that it was more likely in my opinion. But I did not mean it as a refutation or "forceful argument" against his interpretation. Such a thing would require a link to the original remarks.If you are involved in a debate, you must support your point of view with evidence and logically consistent arguments. Merely noting that other interpretations are possible, without going into detail as to why they are to be preferred, clouds the issue and confuses your opponent, who is left at a loss as to how to respond. One is in fact left with this sense that one is swatting at your statements like flies. So, if you feel that you must have a link to the original statement in order to make such an argument, then it is up to you to fetch it.

I hope you don’t take this observation personally; I’m just trying to clarify where the confusion lies.I really was only trying to make a point about the preponderance of evidence that is trotted out concerning the administration's supposed lies regarding 9-11 and Iraqs involvement. Just because the two things are used in the same speech, paragraph, or sentence, does not mean that the writer is trying to imply that Saddam caused 9-11.Three points:

1) First off, you failed to make your point. You merely asserted that another interpretation is possible, which is, of course, obvious.

2) Secondly, I agree completely with your last statement. There are doubtless hundreds, maybe thousands, of examples wherein I, or even administration officials, have referred to Saddam Hussein and 9/11 in juxtaposition, without intending to imply a causal connection. What I, Juan Cole, and Jeffery Record are trying to argue is that there are strong reasons for believing that in this particular case, the administration has exploited misleading rhetoric as a means of conflating Saddam Hussein, terrorism, al-Qaida, and 9/11, so that the general public “connects the dots” in a certain way.

2a) You must remember, first off, that most people don’t read this stuff as carefully as you do, parsing the meaning of every uttered word with care and precision. Most of us hear Bush saying “al-Qaida, Hussein, 9/11,” and more or less jump to the conclusion that there must be a connection there somewhere. Why would he constantly mention them together like that otherwise? Obviously, they must be connected in some sense.

2b) As I keep trying to explain, this is an issue of rhetoric, not factual public statements or policy. As you note yourself, The usual term for this is rhetoric. Is it not common for rhetoric, especially political rhetoric, to condense complex ideas or situations? Sometimes to the point where important information is lost? If the rhetoric is true but some details are missing, I think it is easier to attribute this to the fact that it is rhetoric.Indeed, that is in fact precisely my point. Bush and other members of his administration employ rhetoric that condenses complex ideas to such an extent that important information – very important information – is lost. That is the gist, the very meat, of my argument. This effect is to be attributed precisely to the fact that we are talking about rhetoric. I am arguing that this use of rhetoric is purposefully misleading. This is not the same thing as arguing that it is an out and out lie, however. I am arguing that Bush’s rhetoric helps create a myth in the public mind, a myth in which certain factually unrelated issues are nevertheless linked together by means of association and innuendo (and not because “they just happen to be” in the same sentence. In these speeches, no two items “just happen” to wind up side-by-side; they are placed there for a purpose.) This leads into my next point…

3) …(and this might be a bit confusing), I am not presenting these examples of rhetorical sleigh-of-hand as examples of outright lies. I’m trying to be clear about that.

There are examples of outright lies being promulgating by the administration, such as Bush’s statement, taken from your linked articles, that “There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties…” That is a lie, as we now know. Rather, the examples I’m referring to here represent ways in which false connections between disparate, unrelated issues are implied by means of rhetorical tricks, which is something else. (These techniques are also used to equate Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, however.)

Well, that’s it for me. I leave you a last rebuttal before turning to Sam. It’s been a pleasure.

blowero
04-28-2004, 01:25 PM
Can you give me a cite for this?


The Pentagon's civilian leadership underestimated the number of troops needed to occupy Iraq after ousting Saddam Hussein, former Army Secretary Thomas White said Tuesday. (http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/06/03/sprj.irq.white.iraq.troops/index.html)

Read Kerry's position statement again: "Our commanders on the ground have requested it." HAVE requested it. Past tense. Show me where Kerry says they requested it today or this week.

Besides, you're baiting and switching again.

1. YOU complained: Why doesn't Kerry call for more troops in Iraq?

2. I pointed out that he HAS.

3. THEN you said: He doesn't need to because Bush has already done it, and they aren't asking for more troops now.

WTF?????????


Have you seen evidence that commanders are asking in the present tense for more troops? Or are you suggesting that Kerry's policy is that he will provide troop numbers based on old requests despite the current requests? I'm sure that's not what you mean.

In that case, why did you originally lambast Kerry for NOT asking for more troops? It's obvious that you would criticize him no matter WHAT he said. In your mind, he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

Really? So in general if a candidate rails against the evils of high government spending but then proposes to increase government spending that's ok with you?

More bait and switch. The scenario you present here would be an example of a candidate suggesting proposals that are the EXACT OPPOSITE of his ideology. Yet you never even came CLOSE to showing an example of Kerry proposing anything that's the EXACT OPPOSITE of his ideology.

If Kerry criticized Bush for starting the Iraq war, and THEN proposed a unilateral invasion of Libya, unjustified by any evidence of a threat to the U.S., you would have a case. But Kerry didn't do that, or anything like it. In fact his proposals are quite consistent with his ideology. The only point you've even TRIED to make is that his proposals don't go AS FAR as his ideology, but then you've resorted to silly semantic games to even try to show THAT.

Here is one of your scenarios compared with your strawman:

Your previous scenario: "If the invasion of Iraq was a crime against international law, then call for turning Bush over to the Internationl Tribunal or the World Court."

Your current strawman: "if a candidate rails against the evils of high government spending but then proposes to increase government spending..."

You REALLY think that criticizing Bush for starting a war, but not going so far as to call for his prosecution under international law (perfectly reasonable and consistent), is THE SAME as criticizing spending, but then PROPOSING more spending? You REALLY think that's the same thing? I think you're going off the deep end.


Really? You're sure you don't understand the idea that a candidates proposals should match his rhetoric?

The way you have presented it, it makes absolutely no sense.

Tamerlane
04-28-2004, 01:43 PM
Shortened a fair bit...

If an organization uses or supports Islamic practices, policies or "goals" (whatever Islamic goals are), then that organization can be said in some vague way to be Islamic. If that organization uses violence to achieve its goals then it is militant.

Fair enough, but it seems to me the word militant has come to be virtually synonomous with activist, at least in the U.S., which can make it a bit confusing.

The most common term to refer to those interested in promoting more religiously-oriented societies in Muslim countries is Islamist. That sub-group of Islamists that are actively seeking to establish theocratic regimes/more religious societies ( not necessarily both ) by force are referred to by several different names, but I like the term jihadists - they're the folks convinced they are locked into a external religious struggle/holy war against their own corrupt governments and the outside agencies that they perceive as propping them up ( the West generally and the U.S. in particular in recent years ).

ObL ( if he is still around ), al-Qaeda, and their numerous affiliates and splinters are jihadists - their stated goal is a pan-Islamic theocracy ( thouugh in practice their real goals tend to be much more local in scope ) and their means are terrorist action.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are jihadists - the ideology of the first is vaguely similar to that of al-Qaeda ( ObL cited the late Ahmad Yassin as one of five authorities in his first declaration of jihad aginst the west ), the second, though Sunni in membership, was primarily inspired by the Iranian revolution and the establishment of clerical rule there. They aren't philosophically identical - for example Hamas promotes a bottom-up model of Islamic revival, PIJ a top-down model ( which is why Hamas is now a political power and PIJ is not ). But they view their various struggles through the lens of militant Islam, they both envision establishing religious states ( if not necessarily explicitly theocratic ones ) and they both trade in violence.

Hezbollah are jihadists - they take their cues from the Iranian revolution, were originally propped up and aided by a unit of Iranian pasdaran and support the Khomeinian notion of velayat-e faqih ( they have, however, distanced themselves just a little bit from Iran since Khomeini's death, becoming rather more independent in ideology as well ).

Saddam Hussein was/is not an Islamist. Frankly it is not even clear if his religious faith was anything other than purely cultural/theoretical. SH came up in a secular organization and for years promoted one of the Arab world's most secular regimes. A cunning survivor, he began making occasional use of religious rhetoric as early as the Iran-Iraq War as a counter to the mullahs in Iran, but that was pure standard boilerplate. It ramped up more after the 1rst Gulf War as he tried to out-propaganda the Coalition and in 1996, when Iraq was sinking to its nadir under the impact of sanctions, he initiated a "faith" campaign which saw him start to use more Qur'anic symbolism in his speeches, very publically attend the occasional religious service, ban public ( but not private ) consumption of alcohol, etc.. But this was in a milieu where the type of quasi-socialist pan-Arab secularism originally promotred by the Ba'ath was increasingly seen as a geriatric and failed paradigm. It was now "hip" to be an Islamist, as it were ;). Nobody appears to have really bought it as a genuine change of heart - it was just political opportunism at its most transparent. The jihadists have publically and repeatedly referred to him as an apostate and that's not a light or casual epithet. It sends a very unambiguous message once you realize that the standard sentence for a proven charge of apostasy from Islam, at least for the truly orthodox = death.

The former PLO/most of the current PA are not Islamists. Like the old Ba'ath, the PLO, particularly Fatah, were very explicitly secular in ideology and included/still include quite a few Christian Palestinians. Rather they are loosing ground to the populist Islamists in the form of Hamas.

The Assad family and the Syrian Ba'ath are not Islamists. Indeed many Sunni Muslims don't consider the Assads Muslims even theoretically - they belong to the Alawite religious minority, which is close to Shi'ism, but is very heterodox. They tolerate not a smidgen of Islamist agitation within Syria itself. It is true they have had alliances of convenience at times with certain Islamist-jihadist groups, most notably Hezbollah in Lebanon. But that is a loveless relationship which has often been punctuated by violence. Hezbollah serves a useful purpose for Syria in harrying Israel and allowing it do so keeps it out of Syria's hair while it exercises control in Lebanon, while Hezbollah at the moment seems to consider Syria the lesser of potent evils and more practically realizes it is vulnerable to Syrian military force and sheltered by the same as long as Syria maintains its de facto protectorate over the country.

I'm not sure I understand this at all. If he suports Islamic terrorists he is still not a Islamic militant unless he allows them to opperate in his own country?

Bashir al-Assad is a) an Alawite and b) supporting Islamic militants as a strategic move is not the same as being one. To be an Islamist, you must by definition believe in Islamism. Assad most assuredly does not.

But he does not pepper his speeches or policies with as much Christian rhetoric as Saddam did Islamic rhetoric.

Interesting point, but it just goes to the heart of the difference between the U.S. ( a far more secular society culturally ) and Iraq ( far less so overall, despite the years of secular rule ) and the rather more intrinsically political nature of Islam. Also Bush is not an unpopular tyrant under siege in a tottering country, with an unstable powerbase ( yes, yes - spare me the jokes anti-Bush people ;) ) - if he was he might just ramp up the Christian apocalyptic imagery a tad :).

- Tamerlane

blowero
04-28-2004, 01:51 PM
You know, I should add one thing. I see Pervert's point about Kerry saying "commanders ON THE GROUND have requested it". I don't have a link handy to prove that any particular commander who is IN Iraq has requested more troops (although I suspect it has happened, based on all I've heard in the media about the administrations' under-planning for Iraq. So I suspect that there is some basis for Kerry saying this, but I honestly don't feel inclined to do hours of research to find out, when it's really not a very big point. EVEN IF that turned out to be a total fabrication, it pales in comparison to the dirty tricks that the Bush campaign has been engaging in, such as counting Kerry's vote on ONE bill as multiple votes, etc.

Shodan
04-28-2004, 03:30 PM
Shodan:

You know, I’m sitting here wondering why on God’s green earth you would waste your time, and mine, with that last reply. It must have taken you at least 30 minutes to fix all of those pretty little hyperlinks in between the quotes, maybe longer. You must also have known that your response was an open and obvious dodge, and would be immediately perceived as such by literally everyone involved in this debate, regardless of their position on the issues. Another instance, I think, where we are not talking about the same things.

You asserted that we now know that (for instance) Saddam had "no programs" for developing WMD, and that when Bush claimed that Saddam did, it was a lie. So I provided a link to the news story showing that Saddam had nuclear centrifuge parts and a good big batch of documentation buried in the back yard of one of his nuclear scientists. In other words, he did have a program, Bush was correct in his assertion, and we now know this to be the case. And you refer to this as an "obvious dodge".

Same with the rest. You claim that it has been shown for a fact that Saddam did not have WMD. So I link to the places where Saddam used chemical WMD to kill some of his people - after the Gulf War - and you claim that this cannot be considered evidence that Saddam had WMD.

And it is allegedly a lie that "Iraq had no connections with al-Queda". Except for the al-Queda terrorists living in Iraq. And the al-Queda terror attacks in Spain, widely believed to be in retaliation for the invasion - of Iraq. (And the other al-Queda terrorist Saddam recruited to train his military - I can't remember his name).

And yet, you immediately claim:

We failed to find the nuclear weapons facilities or programs. We failed to find evidence of an alliance between Hussein’s regime and al-Qaida. Etc. You claimed that there was no evidence that Saddam had a nuclear weapons program. I provided a cite showing that he did. Which you claim is a "transparent dodge".

You must have noticed in my last response that I invited you to open, straightforward debate on these issues. You responded with a transparent dodge. How can you sit there with a straight face and accuse the anti-war left of being disingenuous? Of “denying reality”?
Because there is good reason to doubt that each of the assertions you made were correct. You claimed that all the assertions Bush made prior to the invasion were shown to be false.

But they weren't. Very far from being a dodge, it is a direct response. You are incorrect in stating that there is no evidence showing Saddam had a nuclear WMD program, that he had any links to al-Queda, that etc., etc. There is evidence. I have provided some of it.

I also asked you a straightforward question: “Doesn’t this make you scratch your wooly (or not-so-wooly) pate and wonder, just a little bit – could I have been lied to?” I ask it again. Does not the fact that absolutely none of the administration’s pre-war claims about Iraq’s weapons have proven true cause even a sliver of doubt, or curiosity, to arise somewhere back in the dark recesses of your brainstem? Here's the problem. It's not a fact.

As I said, I doubt we are talking about the same things. If you assert that there is no evidence of any of the things you listed, and I cite some of the instances where there is, and you dismiss it as "irrelevant links", we part company.

If you need a straighter answer than this, here it is.

You ask if I have wondered if I was lied to. I have. I have, in fact, done the research you find irrelevant. In some instances (I mentioned the two trailers that cannot be unambiguously shown to have been used for chem-war, and the yellowcake claim), yes, Bush overstated the case for WMD. Based on the evidence available before the invasion, I believe he was speaking in good faith for the most part. It is entirely possible that he overstated his case as to WMD because he believed that would make the invasion an easier sell to the American public, and also because he honestly believed (in concert with everyone else for the last dozen years or so, including the UN inspectors) that Saddam was indeed hiding his WMD.

That ain't lying. You can call it bad intelligence, you can call it a political decision about how to bring about something that needs doing anyway, but it is not lying.

And especially you can't call it lying if it becomes clear that the assertions you characterize as lies turn out to be correct. Saddam did have a nuclear program. He did have ties to al-Queda. He did have chemical weapons, and used them. He did fund international terrorism. He did not abide by the inspections regime, or have any intention of doing so. He did commit horrifying human rights atrocities, and threaten his neighbors, and do all the other things that Bush also cited as justification for the invasion.

:shrugs

If you don't want to know, I can't force you. If finding elements of a nuclear program is irrelevant to deciding whether or not a nuclear program existed, it isn't going to be much of a discussion.

Regards,
Shodan

pervert
04-28-2004, 03:31 PM
Although I don't really want to commit a general hijack on my debating style, I would like to not one thing.
I often have trouble following him myself, but it's possible that he's just trying to get at something too complex for me.It is also just as likely (perhaps more) that what I am trying to get at is too complex for me.

Rashak Mani
04-28-2004, 03:52 PM
Ok pervert... here goes. You do have a point in some things... in others not.

- Saddam did have a nuclear program: He did. Israel bombed it... and the sanctions stopped it dead on the tracks. Much of his taunted WMD programs were bluffs it appears.

- He did have ties to al-Queda: Never proved... no evidence

- He did have chemical weapons, and used them: Chemical weapons weren't a menace to the US... plus it seems his chemical weapons weren't availabe to defend his regime. Again sanctions took their toll ?

- He did fund international terrorism: Let me guess... he gave money to palestinian families ? That is hardly funding terrorism ... even less "international" terrorism.

- He did not abide by the inspections regime: Yep he did make it bothersome. Then when he accepted the US didn't want to wait.

- He did commit horrifying human rights atrocities, and threaten his neighbors, and do all the other things that Bush also cited as justification for the invasion: Ok... so did people in Rwanda... Bosnia... China... Russia... Sudan... and a bunch of other places. What does that have to do with US security ?

My main issue still is... if the Pentagon/CIA/Bush were so sure of WMD where are they ? What the fuck is Intelligence expenses in the billions and you beleive in Chalabi INC instead ?

pervert
04-28-2004, 04:11 PM
pervert:

First off, congratulations on meeting my challenge! I probably should have asked for 3.Or perhaps 2 from 2 different sources? I thought it was bad form on my part to include 2 quotes from the same AP article. But that is all I could find.

It also strikes me, upon careful rereading, that I’ve made a mistake. The poll claims that 57% of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein gave substantial support to al-Qaida, not that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. I therefore issue a second challenge (if you choose to accept it): find 2 public statements by Bush, or any other important administration official, repudiating the existence of those ties, not counting Tenet’s.I will go look. But this is much harder. The word "substantial" is especially troubling. As I was looking (for Iraqi AQ links) I found a couple articles about training camps in Iraq but they were in less than reputable sources. I accept your challenge, and I will respond in a day or two after I have a chance to look.

I hope to leave you with something to reflect upon, such that you will at the very least feel my viewpoint is rational, and that I’m not some sort of left-wing conspiracy-theory crackpot.I have not thought that about you. I hope I have not said anything to give you that impression.

I believe I was somewhere around here:If you are involved in a debate, you must support your point of view with evidence and logically consistent arguments.Agreed.

Merely noting that other interpretations are possible, without going into detail as to why they are to be preferred, clouds the issue and confuses your opponent, who is left at a loss as to how to respond.I agree with this in general with one caveat. If the issue in question is an impression or opinion of a third party, especially one which is used as an indication of objective reality, then I think it is useful to examine other possible interpretations of the data used by that party to arrive at his opinion. So, if Cole asserts his opinion that the Administration is juxtaposing Iraq and AQ so as to mislead the American public, it should certainly be permissable to examine the speeches in which such juxtaposition took place in order to offer alternate interpretations to the opinion.

One is in fact left with this sense that one is swatting at your statements like flies. So, if you feel that you must have a link to the original statement in order to make such an argument, then it is up to you to fetch it.Agreed. But often enough of the original speech is included in the original opinion piece to make a judgement call, as you might say.

I hope you don’t take this observation personally; I’m just trying to clarify where the confusion lies.I have not taken any of your comments personally. At least not in a bad way. I have taken them as useful feedback on my debating style. I am trying to internalize them in order to do better. If I may say, thank you.

1) First off, you failed to make your point. You merely asserted that another interpretation is possible, which is, of course, obvious.Ok, but that was my point. Specifically, that Cole's opinion was just that, an opinion and not a fact. It may turn out to be true that the Administration is attempting to hoodwink America by encouraging the false impression (can we call it a myth yet?) that Iraq had something to do with 9-11. However, I was trying to point out that assertions of this nature require far more evidence than that ofered by Cole. Adding many more commentators opinions to his will not increase the value of the evidence. It simply means that more people agree with him.

2) Secondly, I agree completely with your last statement. There are doubtless hundreds, maybe thousands, of examples wherein I, or even administration officials, have referred to Saddam Hussein and 9/11 in juxtaposition, without intending to imply a causal connection. What I, Juan Cole, and Jeffery Record are trying to argue is that there are strong reasons for believing that in this particular case, the administration has exploited misleading rhetoric as a means of conflating Saddam Hussein, terrorism, al-Qaida, and 9/11, so that the general public “connects the dots” in a certain way.That may be the case. However, all of the evidence to this effect that I have seen is really nothing more than evidence of a juxtaposition. Consider the speech that Cole was refering to. He tried to make a lot out of the fact that Schlesinger quoted OBL in his introduction to remarks about Iraq. He tried to suggest that there was something vaguely improper or illogical about it. But a reading of his remarks reveals this to be untrue. There was a perfectly reasonable purpose in those quotes. This may be a "not-lie", whatever that is, but it certainly was not a lie, nor was it even good evidence of an obfuscation.

2a) You must remember, first off, that most people don’t read this stuff as carefully as you do, parsing the meaning of every uttered word with care and precision. Most of us hear Bush saying “al-Qaida, Hussein, 9/11,” and more or less jump to the conclusion that there must be a connection there somewhere. Why would he constantly mention them together like that otherwise? Obviously, they must be connected in some sense.Well, I do think they are connected in a certain sense, as I indicated in an earlier post. I also agree that most people draw too much from such juxtapositions. But then most people believe many much more odd things for far less reason. ;)

I am arguing that this use of rhetoric is purposefully misleading.Well, as I said this is certainly a possibility. But to make this case, don't you need evidence of purpose? That is don't you need evidence of intent? Look back at Cole's essay. I don't think he gives any such evidence. As always, I am willing to be proven wrong on this. If you are aware of an argument which does give good evidence of an intent to mislead I am very willing to look at it.

I am arguing that Bush’s rhetoric helps create a myth in the public mind, a myth in which certain factually unrelated issues are nevertheless linked together by means of association and innuendo (and not because “they just happen to be” in the same sentence. In these speeches, no two items “just happen” to wind up side-by-side; they are placed there for a purpose.)Well, I agree with this, but I would point out that the purpose of the juxtaposition is in fact different that what you are alleging it to be. I suppose that is also in the nature of a "not-lie". Is there any similarity to a "not-lie" and a misunderstood truth?

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3) …(and this might be a bit confusing), I am not presenting these examples of rhetorical sleigh-of-hand as examples of outright lies. I’m trying to be clear about that. If I may say so, I appreciate this very much, and I understand. You have never said that the Administration is claiming a causal relationship between Iraq and 9-11. I understand wht it is to take a position which seems to be in sympathy with nuts but in fact diverges from them in very important ways.
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[...]Bush’s statement, taken from your linked articles, that “There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties…”Yea, I noticed this too. It will make meeting your challenge even harder, no?

Rather, the examples I’m referring to here represent ways in which false connections between disparate, unrelated issues are implied by means of rhetorical tricks, which is something else.I understand. If those false connections between disparate, loosely related issues are percieved by others, how ill you determine that the false connection is the one intended by the speaker?

Well, that’s it for me. I leave you a last rebuttal before turning to Sam. It’s been a pleasure.Fair enough. Thanks again, for the considered responses.

pervert
04-28-2004, 04:33 PM
Fair enough, but it seems to me the word militant has come to be virtually synonomous with activist, at least in the U.S., which can make it a bit confusing.I agree entirely with this. Too many people equate Islamic or even simply Arab activist with terrorist. It is an unfortunate aspec of the sound bite nature of our political debates.

The most common term to refer to those interested in promoting more religiously-oriented societies in Muslim countries is Islamist. That sub-group of Islamists that are actively seeking to establish theocratic regimes/more religious societies ( not necessarily both ) by force are referred to by several different names, but I like the term jihadists - they're the folks convinced they are locked into a external religious struggle/holy war against their own corrupt governments and the outside agencies that they perceive as propping them up ( the West generally and the U.S. in particular in recent years ).
I like this. May I use the term?

So, AQ is Jihadist. Saddam was not. I can accept that. Do you have a way to differentiate Saddam from, say, Pol Pot? Certainly Saddam's willingness to appeal to pan arabism is one factor in such a distinction?

Do you have some good terms to use for more secular groups from the middle east? Perhpas something that could be translated as Arabist and Arabist militant?

The Assad family and the Syrian Ba'ath are not Islamists.Just an aside, but have I not heard histories of Saladin that describe him primarily as a political expansionist? And yet, was not his empire also considered Islamist? Is the term Jihadist simply too modern to be applied to him? Or is there some overlap between the actions, motives, practices or methods of people like the Ba'athists and the Assads with those of the Jihadists? If there is overlap, can we really say the are totally unrelated?

Thank you for the considered response. I appreciate you thoughts on these issues.

kanicbird
04-28-2004, 06:26 PM
OK I'll bite

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew of the islamic terrorists plans to attack our country and crash planes into the WTC, pentagon and other structures and acted in a way to allow it.

pervert
04-28-2004, 06:43 PM
Just one more thought on this issue.
I believe I was somewhere around here:If you are involved in a debate, you must support your point of view with evidence and logically consistent arguments. Merely noting that other interpretations are possible, without going into detail as to why they are to be preferred, clouds the issue and confuses your opponent, who is left at a loss as to how to respond. One is in fact left with this sense that one is swatting at your statements like flies. So, if you feel that you must have a link to the original statement in order to make such an argument, then it is up to you to fetch it.
I agree with most of this as I indicated earlier. To be fair this should apply to both sides. So, if a pundit offers an interpretation without even considering others, much less offering reasons why his should be preffered, what are we to think about his proffered interpretation. If I may be so bold (and uppon reflection) I think I was trying to claim that Mr Cole's interpretation was just such an impression. That is offered without any evidence as to why it should be preffered. Thinking back I should have said something along these lines rather than simply offering an alternative impression. I will keep this in mind in the future.

Rashak Mani
04-28-2004, 06:52 PM
OK I'll bite

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew of the islamic terrorists plans to attack our country and crash planes into the WTC, pentagon and other structures and acted in a way to allow it.

Wow... he had to KNOW and to ALLOW IT it for you to give up on him !?! Not only know ?

( Does reading school books during an attack on the USA count as knowing and not doing anything ? )

PatriotX
04-28-2004, 06:54 PM
Wow... he had to KNOW and to ALLOW IT it for you to give up on him !?! Not only know ?


At least he was certain about it and not wishy-washy.

Tamerlane
04-28-2004, 08:29 PM
. Do you have a way to differentiate Saddam from, say, Pol Pot? Certainly Saddam's willingness to appeal to pan arabism is one factor in such a distinction?

Well, yes - obviously they come from different places ideologically and were shaped by rather different cultures. Actually, unlike Pol Pot who had a definite ( if insane ) social theory, it is arguable whether Saddam ever really had a coherent ideology at all, which is one of the reasons the pandering to religious iconography was so easy for him. He most definitely did not spring from the intellectual wing of the Ba'ath Party - rather he was recruited as a thug and assassin. What ideology he adopted may have been merely a matter of convenience. The commonality between Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein was ruthlessness and megalomania ( to the point of overreaching, as both did - PP by provoking Vietnam, SH by trying to grab Khuzestan and later Kuwait ).

But I think the term dictator covers both of them well enough. Different sorts of dictators, but similar enough for an umbrella definition.

Do you have some good terms to use for more secular groups from the middle east? Perhpas something that could be translated as Arabist and Arabist militant?

Errm...well...secularists I suppose ;). Really pan-Arabism in particular is a moribund ideology. The Arab League pays a vague lip service to the concept, but as a real political movement it lost a lot of force after 1967 and has been dieing slowly ever since. It's the ideology of late-middle-aged, superficially westernized Arab intellectual elites that hold little to no real power. Secularism ( which was heavily tied to the ideologies of pan-Arabism and a half-assed socialism in the MENA in the 1950's-1970's ) in general is looked upon as a bit of a failure in the region, because it all it seemed to produce were dictatorships ( like Iraq and Syria ) and virtual dictatorships ( like Egypt and Algeria ).

Just an aside, but have I not heard histories of Saladin that describe him primarily as a political expansionist?

Saladin? That's quite the intellectual leap, there :p. Saladin was a medieval warlord - comparing him to modern political figures in the MENA is a bit like comparing Tony Blair to Richard I. Apples and oranges - the mindset was very different.

And yet, was not his empire also considered Islamist?

Nope. It was Islamic, which is different. The term Islamist is a modern one and refers to a modern ideology, as articulated primarily by 20th century writers like Sayyid Qutb and Mawlana Mawdudi and in part by 18th century revivalists like Muhammed Ibn Abd al-Wahab and Shah Waliullah.

Is the term Jihadist simply too modern to be applied to him?

Yes. Despite the appeal to medieval theologians like Ibn Taymiyya ( who spent much of his life hounded by local authorities and died in prison ), the movement is quite modern. Modern IslAamic fundamentalism was the backlash and counterweight to the 'Islamic modernism' of the 19th century that fostered a syncretism between Islam and the West, at a time of weakness in the Islamic world. Both Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic modernism attempted to address this imbalance between the West and the Islamic world ( particularly the Ottoman state ) in different, conflicting ways ( and both schools of thought continue in some respects today )

Or is there some overlap between the actions, motives, practices or methods of people like the Ba'athists and the Assads with those of the Jihadists?

Not...much. No. Certainly not motives - those are scarcely in common at all, except at very basic levels ( both Syria and Hamas might desire the destruction of Israel, but neither wants the other running things in the aftermath ). As to actions, methods, and practices, Syria is a state, the Jihadists are extra-territorial guerrillas ( or at most local milita with limited state apparatus and no formal international recognition ). Both might commit assassinations for example, but means, resources, and usually reasons are rather different.

Now, the Jihadist leadership are probably incipient dictators for the most part and the Assads are actual dictators, but otherwise there is not a lot in common.

- Tamerlane

jshore
04-28-2004, 09:20 PM
You asserted that we now know that (for instance) Saddam had "no programs" for developing WMD, and that when Bush claimed that Saddam did, it was a lie. So I provided a link to the news story showing that Saddam had nuclear centrifuge parts and a good big batch of documentation buried in the back yard of one of his nuclear scientists. In other words, he did have a program, Bush was correct in his assertion, and we now know this to be the case. And you refer to this as an "obvious dodge".

Same with the rest. You claim that it has been shown for a fact that Saddam did not have WMD. So I link to the places where Saddam used chemical WMD to kill some of his people - after the Gulf War - and you claim that this cannot be considered evidence that Saddam had WMD

...

Shodan,

I have to admit that I feel embarrassed for you. That you are reduced to this level of obfuscation and bullshit. It is really pathetic and it shows how the Bush Administration has corrupted not only itself but its diehard defenders. (Or may you were always this way; I don't know.)

I suppose you can continue to live in your little world where a few parts to one centrifuge buried in the ground for several years constitutes a serious nuclear weapons program. What do you think is going to happen...These parts are going to sprout from the ground and grow into the hundreds of centrifuges needed?

And, a world where the documented fact that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons back in the 80s and early 90s (and used them at some point with pretty much of a "Bad, Saddam! [Nudge! Nudge! Wink! Wink!]" response from the U.S. at the time) becomes conflated with the question of whether he had them at the time we invaded in 2003.

And, a world where the fact that Al-Qaeda attacked in Spain a year after the Iraq war becomes conflated with the idea that there were significant connections and cooperation between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.

You may think you are performing impressive rhetorical feats here but the rest of us are just going to sit back, shake our heads sadly, and wonder what it is like to be completely whoring oneself for the President one loves so deeply.

I'd suggest for your side's own good that you stop posting such drivel here and take it over to the Free Republic where it will probably pass for intelligent thought.

pervert
04-28-2004, 09:58 PM
First, thank you again, Tamerlane. I always learn a lot from your posts.

I have one or two more questions.
But I think the term dictator covers both of them well enough. Different sorts of dictators, but similar enough for an umbrella definition.Certainly. But it would also cover the leader of the Taliban would it not?

Nope. It was Islamic, which is different. The term Islamist is a modern oneI'm confused. I have the term Islamic and Islamist intertwined in my head. My dictionary is no help. Can you give me the essential difference between them?

Or is there some overlap between the actions, motives, practices or methods of people like the Ba'athists and the Assads with those of the Jihadists? Not...much. No. Certainly not motives - those are scarcely in common at all, except at very basic levels ( both Syria and Hamas might desire the destruction of Israel, but neither wants the other running things in the aftermath ).But don't they each want to control whatever is left in the aftermath? Even if they have completely opposite desires about how to run things in the middle east, don't the both want to run things there? How is that not a similar goal?

AQ may want to control the area and its people in order to create an Islamic state for the greater glory of Allah (or whatever). Saddam may have wanted to control the region and its people for the greater enrichment of Saddam and his family. But is this not enough of a link to logicaly consider them in the same breath when discussing dangers and potential problems in that region? That is, from a global security stand point, isn't there some overlap there?

jshore
04-28-2004, 10:17 PM
If you go here (http://freshair.npr.org/day_fa.jhtml;jsessionid=5KT24X3WXXXGLLA5AINSFFI?todayDate=archive) and type "Blix" in the Guests box, it comes up with an audiotape of the show (which was March 17, 2004). I haven't tried listening to it.

I was just listening to this interview and highly recommend it. The question of what Blix himself believed when starts at about the 7 minute mark. Basically, Voyager's memory was good...Blix started out the inspections believing that the Iraqis probably had some WMD, but then began to doubt it when the places that U.S. intelligence told him to go didn't pan out. He realized that the intelligence didn't really know what they were claiming to know. And, he also had serious doubts about the cases that Powell raised in his presentation before the Security Council. And, it was around that point that Blix told Condaleesa Rice that he would have to say something about this before the Security Council.

jshore
04-28-2004, 10:46 PM
By the way, one thing that Blix states rather matter-of-factly (around the 22 minute mark of the interview) is that the previous inspections group (UNSCOM) had allowed themselves to be used by the U.S. intelligence service, e.g., to feed back information that could be useful in targetting Iraqi facilities. (One of the specific things he says is that "they allowed themselves to be piggybacked with electronic equipment that monitored Iraq for these organizations, which was not in the U.N. resolution...")

This is interesting because when the inspectors left in '97, they left so that the U.S. and Britain could launch air raids to punish Iraq for not giving adequate compliance with the inspectors. (They were not kicked out by Saddam, as some have said, even in the media.) At any rate, at that time Iraq was justifying its non-compliance by complaining that the inspectors were engaging in spying for the U.S. A bit later, in 1999, stories broke in various U.S. papers such as the New York Times and Boston Globe, quoting anonymous U.S. and U.N. sources saying that in fact such spying had in fact occurred. However, strangely enough, as FAIR has documented, the U.S. media...even some of these very same media outlets...failed to report this in the run-up to the current Iraq war. In fact, many reported the Saddam allegations of such spying simply as allegations, failing to mention that these were allegations for which there was such good support that they were reported as being fact by several major U.S. newspapers in 1998.

Here (http://www.fair.org/activism/unscom-history.html) is FAIR's accounting of the incident:


Back in 1999, major papers ran front-page investigative stories revealing that the CIA had covertly used U.N. weapons inspectors to spy on Iraq for the U.S.'s own intelligence purposes. "United States officials said today that American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms inspectors," the New York Times reported (1/7/99). According to the Washington Post (3/2/99), the U.S. "infiltrated agents and espionage equipment for three years into United Nations arms control teams in Iraq to eavesdrop on the Iraqi military without the knowledge of the U.N. agency." Undercover U.S. agents "carried out an ambitious spying operation designed to penetrate Iraq's intelligence apparatus and track the movement of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to U.S. and U.N. sources," wrote the Boston Globe (1/6/99).

Each of the three news stories ran on the papers' front pages. At first, U.S. officials tried to deny them, but as more details emerged, "spokesmen for the CIA, Pentagon, White House and State Department declined to repeat any categorical denials" (Washington Post, 3/2/99). By the spring of 1999, the UNSCOM spying reported by the papers was accepted as fact by other outlets, and even defended; "Experts say it is naive to believe that the United States and other governments would not have used the opportunity presented by the U.N. commission to spy on a country that provoked the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and that has continued to tangle with U.S. and British forces," USA Today reported (3/3/99).

...

The UNSCOM team, explained the New York Times' Barbara Crossette in an August 3 story, was replaced "after Mr. Hussein accused the old commission of being an American spy operation and refused to deal with it." She gave no hint that Saddam's "accusation" was reported as fact by her Times colleague, Tim Weiner, in a front-page story three years earlier.

"As recently as Sunday, Iraqi officials called the inspectors spies and accused them of deliberately prolonging their work," the Washington Post's Baghdad correspondent wrote recently in a story casting doubt on the Iraqi regime's intentions of cooperating (9/8/02). Readers would have no way of knowing that the Post's Barton Gellman exhaustively detailed the facts of the spying in a series of 1999 articles.


It is interesting to hear now from Hans Blix further collaboration that the 1999 news stories were indeed correct (although there was really very little doubt at the time about this point anyway, as noted above).

jshore
04-28-2004, 10:52 PM
It is interesting to hear now from Hans Blix further collaboration...

Of course, that should be "corroboration". Don't try to type and listen at the same time.

Tamerlane
04-28-2004, 11:32 PM
Certainly. But it would also cover the leader of the Taliban would it not?

Ehhh...kinda. Mullah Omar ruled a bit more by consensus. Top dog, certainly, but his was ( and is ) a very tribal society. The Taliban, though they had ( and have ) a hard-core base, depended a lot on the loyalties of fickle tribal chieftains. Just how fickle and how dependant is shown by the rapidity with which that state crumbled once placed under sufficiently overwhelming duress. One could say he was an authoritarian leader, but he ruled in consult with a council and with consideration of the desires of important tribal leaders. Granted all dictators play off internal factions - but the contrast is much more stark in Afghanistan.

I'm confused. I have the term Islamic and Islamist intertwined in my head. My dictionary is no help. Can you give me the essential difference between them?

Different people might give you different definitions, but from my standpoint:

Islamic = pertaining to Islam generally

Islamist = much more specific term referring to followers of a strain(s) of modern Islamic fundamentalist ideology that seeks to enshrine a reactionary version of Islam as the basis of political, legal, and moral authority in society/the state.

So Tunisia is an Islamic state - Islam is both the overwhelming majority religion and it is also officially enshrined as the state religion. But Tunisia is not an Islamist state - it does not adhere to the modern dogma(s) of Islamism.

But don't they each want to control whatever is left in the aftermath? Even if they have completely opposite desires about how to run things in the middle east, don't the both want to run things there? How is that not a similar goal?

AQ may want to control the area and its people in order to create an Islamic state for the greater glory of Allah (or whatever). Saddam may have wanted to control the region and its people for the greater enrichment of Saddam and his family. But is this not enough of a link to logicaly consider them in the same breath when discussing dangers and potential problems in that region? That is, from a global security stand point, isn't there some overlap there?

If your argument is that secular dictators are a potential threat, just as terrorists, absolutely. Secular ( or completely non-ideological ) despots of any sort are of course potentially dangerous by their very nature.

If, however, what you are carefully edging towards is the argument that therefore Saddam Hussein or Bashir al-Assad are/were just as much a threat ( or a virtually identical threat ) as AQ, no, I'm not going to agree :). I'm also not going to argue the point very strenuously either, because I don't wish to be sucked too deeply into debate on the topic - there is a reason I leave these topics alone these days ;). But briefly al-Qaeda and other Jihadist groups are much more threatening because they are a) much harder to punish due to their often cellular structure and dispersal and b) more dangerous because the ideology they promote is a much more insidious societal meme than the naked ambition of a dynast. See, Syria can be reasoned with ( up to a point, anyway ). The Assads are clever folks ( much more so and much more subtle than the Husseins ever were - no massive network of garish presidential palaces for them - Hafez al-Assad lived in a single modest villa in Damascus ) and while they may play dangerous brinkmanship games for whatever reasons, you can still negotiate with them ( Kissinger said that Assad was very skilled - always started with utterly unacceptable demands and carefully let himself be argued down to what he wanted in the first place, while giving the impression of being flexible ). There is a reason Syria sent an armored division to fight alongside the U.S. in Gulf War I and it wasn't out of love for the Kuwaitis ( NOBODY loves the Kuwaitis ). They are very adept at playing all the angles to maximum advantage and realize give and take is involved. Who got their asses kicked when Israel invaded Lebanon? Syria. Who gained the most from Israel's invasion of Lebanon? Syria.

Osama bin Laden and his ilk on the other hand are bomb-throwing fanatic. They cannot be negotiated with.

- Tamerlane

Kimstu
04-29-2004, 12:20 AM
Tamerlane: Islamic = pertaining to Islam generally
Islamist = much more specific term referring to followers of a strain(s) of modern Islamic fundamentalist ideology that seeks to enshrine a reactionary version of Islam as the basis of political, legal, and moral authority in society/the state.

And just to complicate the issue a little further:
Islamicate = pertaining to a political or cultural entity that is not itself necessarily Muslim/Islamic in origin or affiliation, but is heavily influenced or dominated by its Islamic political or cultural context.

E.g., medieval Middle Eastern Jewish literature or early modern North Indian Hindu governments are sometimes referred to as "Islamicate" to indicate that although most of the chief actors may have been non-Muslims, the entity was largely shaped by the influence of the Muslim-dominated "Islamic world" in which it took place.

So:

- people who want to impose Muslim-theocratic regimes in Islamic societies (like ObL and religious conservatives in Iran) are Islamists;
- societies composed of Muslims and largely shaped by the Muslim religion and Islamic cultural heritage, like most of Saudi Arabia and Iran, are Islamic;
- while, say, the Middle East in general, which is majority-Muslim and culturally dominated by Islam, but which also comprises a lot of non-Islamic heritage and non-Muslim population, is Islamicate.

So, to use pervert's example, Saddam Hussein was an (at least nominally) Muslim dictator of an [b]Islamicate[b] state governing a chiefly Islamic society, but he was not an Islamist.

Pol Pot, on the other hand, was a non-Muslim, non-Islamist dictator in a non-Islamic, non-Islamicate state.

Got it? ;)

pervert
04-29-2004, 01:11 AM
Yes, Kimstu and ! Thank you both very much. That makes a great deal of sense.

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Just FTR, IW as not going anywhere nearly so general as you took my last question, [b]Tamerlane. I was really groping more toward what Kimstu said.

So, If, however, what you are carefully edging towards is the argument that therefore Saddam Hussein or Bashir al-Assad are/were just as much a threat ( or a virtually identical threat ) as AQ, no, I'm not going to agree .I would not agree with such a statement either. I would not even agree with the assertion that Saddam was as dangerous nor dangerous in the same was as Assad (as you explained more completely).


I was not even trying to suggest that secular dictators are dangerous generally. I was merely suggesting that listing Saddam's regime (Rogue or Militant Islamicate state) along with Al Qaeda (Militant Islamist organization) as some of the dangers currently facing America and its allies in the MENA region is not unreasonable. I was not trying to equate them. I was not trying to say that they are equally dangerous nor that they should be dealt with in the same way.

Many posts back, I tried to suggest that juxtaposing Iraq and AQ in rhetoric might be justifiable on the grounds that both are "Islamic Militants". After some excellent advice from Kimstu and Tamerlane I can now say that that statement by me is stupid. (can I call myself stupid?)

I should have said something closer to the paragraph above simply asserting that Saddam and AQ are linkable to the extent they are/were threats in the MENA region. And that therefore rhetoric about such threats which juxtapose them should not be treated with alarm or surprise. Certainly rhetoric about the region which juxtapose Saddam and AQ does not constitute proof of an administration conspiracy to hoodwink America.
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I'm also not going to argue the point very strenuously either, because I don't wish to be sucked too deeply into debate on the topic - there is a reason I leave these topics alone these days . I understand. I should have stayed out of here as well. I did not expect the backlash from my suggestions. although I am happy that I did so. I've learned quite a bit.

Desmostylus
04-29-2004, 01:37 AM
I should have said something closer to the paragraph above simply asserting that Saddam and AQ are linkable to the extent they are/were threats in the MENA region. And that therefore rhetoric about such threats which juxtapose them should not be treated with alarm or surprise. Certainly rhetoric about the region which juxtapose Saddam and AQ does not constitute proof of an administration conspiracy to hoodwink America.You continue to post disingenuous nonsense.

It's abundantly clear that the Administration tried to link Saddam and AQ in the context of threat to the US, not threat to "the MENA region".

It is hoodwinking, and I find your faux-naive posts repugnant.

Sevastopol
04-29-2004, 03:29 AM
Demostylus, it's even less sophisticated than that. The administration identifies Iraq as the object of revenge for the WTC. Naturally they cannot come out and say:

"We know a lot of you are bloodthirsty & vengeful orcs, so we'll now make a meal out of this guy for you, he's one of them A-rabs after all."

But it's not difficult to communicate the same thing rhetorically. And don't they love it.

Shodan by the way: It's not the president he loves so much, it's his nephew and perhaps other friends and relatives serving in the war. He's said as much. If reason and evidence tells him this service is in a dishonest and shameful cause, well then reason and evidence can just take a hike. Sad, but there you have it.

This is relevant because while we are discussing rhetoric I'm sure the same trick will be writ large in the near future. Namely, being as the US is noble, wise and just, where evidence and reason lead to an opposing conclusion, the administration, like Shodan, will invite the US public to kindly require reason and evidence to take a hike. Can't have folks thinking bad things about the red white & blue, etc.

Rashak Mani
04-29-2004, 09:10 AM
I should have said something closer to the paragraph above simply asserting that Saddam and AQ are linkable to the extent they are/were threats in the MENA region. And that therefore rhetoric about such threats which juxtapose them should not be treated with alarm or surprise. Certainly rhetoric about the region which juxtapose Saddam and AQ does not constitute proof of an administration conspiracy to hoodwink America.

In diplomacy they have the idea of repeating something all the time... until people accept it as a "fact" or a "truth". So even though mentioning Saddam and AQ in the same sentence might be logical as they are in the MENA and dangerous (which is your point...). Doing it repeatedly and in the context of terrorism is wrong. (Saddam wasn't a terrorist supporter) The result was a "hoodwinked" america that the polls show beleive in the conection.

pervert
04-29-2004, 09:51 AM
[...]even though mentioning Saddam and AQ in the same sentence might be logical as they are in the MENA and dangerous (which is your point...). Doing it repeatedly and in the context of terrorism is wrong. (Saddam wasn't a terrorist supporter).Well, doing it in a way to suggest that Saddam was responsible for any of the Terrorism committed by Al Qaeda would be wrong certainly. But I have seen little evidence of that. Most of the evidence of the Administration linking Iraq and Al Qaeda is much more like the Dr. Cole essay Mr. Svinlesha linked to back a couple pages.

The result was a "hoodwinked" america that the polls show beleive in the conection.Well, a mistaken America certainly. I think the problem has more to do with the media and the way they report things. If the administration mentions Iraq and Al Qaeda, it get written as

"The administration mentioned Iraq and Al Qaeda the group thought responsible for the 9-11 attacks."

I think that evidence of a hoodwinking is lacking. I'm willing to be proven wrong, of course, but if the only evidence is that Saddam and Al Qaeda are mentioned near each other whenever the Administration talks about security threats around the world, then we don't have a case, as it were.

Remember, the American public believes all sorts of ridiculous things. Very few of these beliefs require an appeal to some nefarious motives on the government's part to explain.

BTW, I did not mean to ignore your response to my earlier post. I took it more as a poll sort of thing. Did you really want to continue discussing these issues with short statements? They seem a little too complex for that.

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Desmostylus I composed a response to you in the same rude and condecending tone you have been using with me. I deleted it. I would like to say this, though

I find your faux-naive posts repugnant That you find anything from me repugnant is, to me, a great compliment. Thank you. :)

Mr. Svinlesha
04-29-2004, 02:42 PM
pervert:

Perversely…

;)

…I don’t seem to be able to let this go. I will try one last time. At least, I hope it is one last time.

Let us return to the example taken from Cole’s webpage. You’ve attacked the assertions there by insisting that Cole fails to present a strict, formal argument to support his reflections. That’s correct, because in the passage Cole isn’t really interested in developing a strict, formal argument. He’s just making a casual, off-hand observation.

In addition it’s worth noting I think that Cole doesn’t mention anything regarding intent. Rather, he begins by trying to solve a puzzling problem, namely the results of a poll which reveals 57% of Americans believe something that is patently false. How could that be? Cole wonders. He goes on to state, “One can only speculate, of course.” If you had read that as carefully as you read the administration’s statements, you would realize that everything that follows is merely Cole’s speculation, obviously. He continues:I saw how the mythical opinions are generated at the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations where I testified last Tuesday. Former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger testified, and began his testimony with a long quote from Usama Bin Laden about how the US was timid and had easily been chased out of Lebanon and Aden with a few bombs. It was an odd way to begin a hearing on what has gone wrong in Iraq….Now you respond to this claim by arguing: There's definately more in the blog, but go see it for yourself. It seems pretty clear to me that Mr. Schlesinger was trying to make the point that OBL's words were meant to address the question of withdrawing from Iraq to the larger question of dealing with the War on Terrorism.And there it is again. You proffer an alternative interpretation, without any other backing than your own assertion that “it seems pretty clear to me…”

In fact, it is most definitely not clear. On the contrary; Schlesinger begins his testimony thusly:I thank the Committee for its invitation to discuss the continuously unfolding situation in Iraq—and the actions required to achieve a successful transition….

Before I proceed further, I need to underscore why it is that the United States is so deeply engaged in the Middle East and what is at stake in Iraq—for I fear that there is some public uncertainty regarding these issues. For that purpose, I recommend a rereading of Usama Bin Ladin’s DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST THE AMERICANS, issued in 1998.So to start with, no: Schlesinger is not trying to make a point about prematurely withdrawing from Iraq, and employing bin Laden’s declaration for that purpose. He is states quite clearly that he aims at answering two specific questions: 1) why are we in the Middle East? and 2) what is at stake in Iraq?

Schlesinger follows this up with a page or so of fairly inflammatory quotes from bin Laden and his various associates, concluding: They may be fanatics, but they are deadly serious and thoroughly persistent. We must anticipate, therefore, a conflict that will continue for many years.No shit. But I thought this was a hearing about what’s going on in Iraq, not the threat of al-Qaida. Or – are they one and the same? Judging from Schlesinger’s introductory statement, it would certainly appear that he believes that to be the case. Schlessinger seamlessly merges statements made by bin Laden in 1998 into a monologue about why the US invaded Iraq in 2003, as if they were literally the same topic. Why did we invade Iraq, and what is at stake there? Read this statement by bin Laden. Great, but what does bin Laden’s Declaration of War have to do with America’s decision to invade Iraq? After all, we know there was no connection between Saddam and bin Laden, don’t we?

In truth, Schlesinger could have just as relevantly answered his questions about Iraq by quoting something from Charles Manson. And I imagine that, to an Arabic ear, such a parallel would make about as much sense as the one Schlesinger tries to surreptitiously draw between Saddam and bin Laden.

Now, after this section, it is true that Schlesinger goes on to dismiss the option of withdrawing from Iraq, and in doing this he also employs a quote from bin Laden. But this passage in his text marks the introduction of a second theme, namely a rejection of the option of simply beating feet:Usama himself has opined that, “when the people see a strong horse and a weak horse—they naturally gravitate toward the strong horse.” Consequently, this country must conclusively demonstrate that we are NOT the weak horse. Withdrawal before we have successfully stabilized Iraq is, therefore, not an option.As far as that goes, I happen to agree with Schlesinger, which is also one of the many reasons why I was against this damn fool war to begin with.He was in no way asserting that there was a link between Al-Qaeda and Saddam's regime.You just don’t seem to get it. For the fourth time or so now, neither I, nor Juan Cole, nor Jeffery Record, are arguing that Bush or other members of the administration explicitly assert a link between Al-Qaida and Saddam’s regime. We argue that by rhetorically conflating the issues, they effectively imply a connection when one does not, in fact, exist. And it’s rather astounding to me that you fail to note the way in which Senator Chafee’s questions push Schlesinger off balance. Thus, in response to Chafee’s query, he cannot provide a coherent answer as to why he began his presentation with a quote from bin Laden: The mention of that is to discuss why it is that the United States is engaged in the Middle East, because we were attacked, because of a declaration of war against Americans.(Note to perv: not, as you claim, to address the issue of a premature withdrawal from Iraq. In addition, this short response seems to indicate that we invaded Iraq because we were attacked, even though we know Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.)The question of Iraq, which is what you point to, it may or may not have been, as some stated, central at the time we went in. It may have been secondary or peripheral at the time we went in.Not so; we know that there are no real connections between the two. Schlesinger attempts to weasel out and continues:I think you've had testimony, or a letter, at least, from George Tenet talking about the contacts between al Qaeda and Saddam going back at least a decade…This is a pretty clear assertion of association between the two, although we are well aware that Tenet has publicly stated that no such association exists. Again, here, Schlesinger is trying to imply the existence of this imaginary connection without stating it outright. Finally, having nearly tripped himself up, he ends lamely:But that is -- we are there. We are where we are.No shit, Sherlock. Wherever you go, there you are. On behalf of the American people, I’d like to thank you for clearing that up for us.

You continue: Once again, however, this is so far from an attempt to link Saddam's regime with the attacks on 9-11, that I am surprised it is even mentioned this way by Mr. Cole.I think Cole must have been a bit careless at this point, because he shifted from a discussion of the supposed links between Saddam and al-Qaida to the supposed links between Saddam and 9/11. You’re correct to point out that these aren’t the same thing, although in truth, they’re very closely related. Absent such evidence, his impression seems to be nothing more than supposition. And heavily biased supposition at that. Have I missed something?Yup. See above. But the proposition that the administration has actually claimed, or that it seeks to blur the truth about Iraq's involvement in 9-11 is just silly. It implies either a blatant lie on the one hand or a sinister conspiracy on the other.Well, now we must return to considerations of intent. Again, as I mentioned above, Cole doesn’t address the issue of intent; he simply notes that many members of the administration employ very confusing rhetoric.

The same is true with Record. In fact, he takes the administration’s rhetoric at face value, and warns that making policy decisions based on a conflation of this sort would be a deadly mistake.

Speaking for myself, I argue that all of these statements are in fact not happenstance; rather, they are crafted with extreme care and precision. The various narrative elements of Bush’s rhetoric don’t “just happen” to be juxtaposed by chance. A bevy of speechwriters go through his public statements with a fine-toothed comb, polishing every utterance, vetting every claim, establishing plausible deniability, and so forth. Since it is really quite easy to draw a demarcation in one’s rhetoric between, say, Saddam and al-Qaida, should one choose to do so, I can only conclude that the conflation is intentional. As far as that goes, of course, I guess I can only assert intent; but of course, on the other hand, you can do little more that assert innocence. From my perspective, to insist that this systematic, egregious deployment of misleading rhetoric is merely an expression of innocent carelessness requires a quite exceptional naiveté.

In your next response to me (# 264, pg. 5) you continue:I 'm willing to believe that the Administration's rhetoric has an effect on the public's perception of this "link" (can I call it a myth?). Perhaps even a causal link for some of it. However, it is a long way from there to saying that the Administration engineered such a misperception.Well, at least we’ve made one small step. You seem to admit here that the rhetoric does play some role in misleading the public. Now we only need to address the issue of intent. Your assertion is that this juxtaposition is – what? An accident?

Then, in post # 276, pg. 6: Ok, but that was my point. Specifically, that Cole's opinion was just that, an opinion and not a fact. It may turn out to be true that the Administration is attempting to hoodwink America by encouraging the false impression (can we call it a myth yet?) that Iraq had something to do with 9-11. However, I was trying to point out that assertions of this nature require far more evidence than that offered by Cole.Well, as noted, Cole was speculating in a casual, off-hand fashion. I hope my more stringent demonstration, quoted above, meets your exacting standards.

And yes, we can call it a myth, by the way. That is, in fact, what Cole calls it. That may be the case. However, all of the evidence to this effect that I have seen is really nothing more than evidence of a juxtaposition. Consider the speech that Cole was refering to. He tried to make a lot out of the fact that Schlesinger quoted OBL in his introduction to remarks about Iraq. He tried to suggest that there was something vaguely improper or illogical about it. But a reading of his remarks reveals this to be untrue. There was a perfectly reasonable purpose in those quotes. This may be a "not-lie", whatever that is, but it certainly was not a lie, nor was it even good evidence of an obfuscation.Well, I disagree, for the reasons given above. As always, I am willing to be proven wrong on this. If you are aware of an argument which does give good evidence of an intent to mislead I am very willing to look at it.As far as that goes I think it’s very hard to prove intent, short of Bush (or some administration insider) simply coming out and stating, flatly, “We intended to mislead the public in this manner.”

On the other hand, I think Record does a good job of making a reasonable case that this rhetoric is purposeful. Go back and reread the section I quoted from his report. Record analyzes many of the important policy pronouncements made by the administration and concludes that it risks making a serious strategic mistake, if that rhetoric reflects the administration’s real view of these issues. The reason, he argues, is precisely because they do not appear to differentiate between significantly different kinds of threat (such as “rogue states” like Iraq under Hussein, on the one hand, and terrorist networks like al-Qaida, on the other).

Another good source for arguments of this sort is the Carnegie Report, WMDs: Evidence and Implications. I imagine this paper can be located with a simple google search. Regarding this particular issue, they summarize their findings as follows:Administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon programs and ballistic missile programs, beyond the intelligence failures noted above. The most important distortions fall into three categories.It is, by the way, the fact that the misrepresentations were precisely so systematic that leads me to conclude that they must have been purposeful.First, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons were routinely conflated: that is, treated as a single WMD threat. This made it technically accurate to say that Iraq had, or might still, possess weapons of mass destruction. However, such statements were seriously misleading in that they lumped together the high likelihood that Iraq possessed chemical weapons, which themselves constitute only a minor threat, with the complete lack of evidence that it possessed nuclear weapons, which would be a huge threat. Talk of “mushroom clouds” certainly led Americans to believe that the latter were in the picture.

A second source of misunderstanding was the insistence without evidence, yet treated as a given truth, that Saddam Hussein would give whatever WMD he possessed to terrorists. For the reasons discussed under question 2, this was unlikely or at best highly debatable. Yet two major consequences flow from this presumption. First, only through terrorists did Iraq pose a credible threat to the U.S. homeland. Second, the presumption collapses a deterrable threat (that posed by the state of Iraq) and an apparently nondeterrable threat (that posed by terrorists) into one. If this was a valid assumption, it meant that deterrence and containment could not be used as elements of a U.S. response to Saddam’s threat. But if the assumption is not true, these proven pillars of U.S. security policy were then, and would in future be, available as alternatives to war.

The third broad category of distortion comprises many types of misuse of the intelligence product. These include the wholesale dropping of caveats, probabilities, and expressions of uncertainty present in intelligence assessments from public statements. Part II records numerous statements by the president, vice president, and the secretaries of state and defense to the effect that “we know” this or that when the accurate formulation was “we suspect” or “we cannot exclude.” “My colleagues,” said Secretary Powell at the United Nations, “every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid evidence.” The examples noted in the report are but a few from a very long list.

Sometimes the most apparently insignificant word or two can make a world of difference. In his October 7 speech, the president refers to a finding by UN inspectors that Iraq had failed to account for a quantity of bacterial growth media. If that material had been used, the inspectors had reported, it “could have produced about three times as much” anthrax as Iraq had admitted to. The president, however, said this: “The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and is capable of killing millions” (emphases added). In two sentences, possibility first becomes likelihood, likelihood then subtly becomes fact, and a huge stockpile is created. Finally, biological agent is transformed into weapons, and not just any weapons but extremely sophisticated delivery systems—the only way such weapons could kill “millions.” Small changes like these can easily transform a threat from minor to dire. Is there any similarity to a "not-lie" and a misunderstood truth?None whatsoever. A not-lie is a statement that is technically true, even though it in fact promulgates false information. A good example is the President’s claim in the SOTU that Iraq had attempted to purchase “yellowcake” from an African country. US intelligence sources had already debunked the claim, and Bush had been forced to remove a similar statement from a prior speech in Cincinnati (although even that required Tenet’s last-minute intercession). However, Bush prefaced the SOTU statement by saying, “We have learned from British intelligence sources that…” Thus, even though he and his speechwriters undoubtedly knew that the story was bogus – or at least highly dubious – they nevertheless could include it by relying on an external intelligence report. After all, they had heard from British intelligence sources that Iraq was seeking to purchase yellowcake – that much was true at least. And the US president can’t be held responsible for failures in the British intelligence community, now, can he? You see how it works.

Sorry for such a long-winded response. I guess the question is more important to me that I realized.

PatriotX
04-29-2004, 09:55 PM
A not-lie is a statement that is technically true, even though it in fact promulgates false information. A good example is the President’s claim in the SOTU that Iraq had attempted to purchase “yellowcake” from an African country. US intelligence sources had already debunked the claim, and Bush had been forced to remove a similar statement from a prior speech in Cincinnati (although even that required Tenet’s last-minute intercession). However, Bush prefaced the SOTU statement by saying, “We have learned from British intelligence sources that…” Thus, even though he and his speechwriters undoubtedly knew that the story was bogus – or at least highly dubious – they nevertheless could include it by relying on an external intelligence report. After all, they had heard from British intelligence sources that Iraq was seeking to purchase yellowcake – that much was true at least. And the US president can’t be held responsible for failures in the British intelligence community, now, can he? You see how it works.


An example chosen from the archival crypt for convenience and relevance:

Rumsfeld, not-lying, and "technically correct" (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=3700315&highlight=technically+correct#post3700315)

Meet the Press 07/13/2003
MR. RUSSERT: The White House and now the CIA say it was a mistake to include that phrase in the [SotU] speech. Do you agree?
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: Oh, sure. Yes, indeed. George Tenet said that, the president said that. On the other hand, the use of the word “infamous” is a little strange. It turns out that it’s technically correct what the president said, that the U.K. did say that and still says that. They haven’t changed their mind, the United Kingdom intelligence people.
Now, the question isn’t that. The question is: Should those words have been in the presidential speech?
And the president and George Tenet have agreed it should not. It didn’t rise to that standard...
MR. RUSSERT: Why?
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: ...but they’re not necessarily inaccurate.
<snip>
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: [The Nigerien yellowcake] was not the basis for the intelligence assessment by the intelligence community with respect to the development of the nuclear programs in Iraq. That was not critical to it at all. In fact, it wasn’t even the five or six things that the intelligence community listed in their national intelligence estimate with respect to the Iraqi nuclear program.
MR. RUSSERT: ...the very next day [January 29th]... you said..., ”[Saddam’s] regime has the design for a nuclear weapon ... and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: And right before it, I said, as the president said, and right after it, I said as the president said. I was simply repeating what the president had said.
MR. RUSSERT: But in retrospect, you should retract that comment as well just as the president has retracted his.
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: Exactly. And certainly when I said, “As the president said” in my statement and at the end I said, “As the president indicated,” I believe and that’s quite true.
<snip>
MR. RUSSERT: This is how USA Today reported it: “Almost a year before President Bush alleged in his State of the Union address that Iraq tried to buy uranium ore in Africa—seeming proof of an Iraqi effort to build a nuclear bomb—the CIA gave the White House information that raised doubts about the claim. A cable classified ‘secret’ went out from CIA headquarter to the White House Situation Room in March 2002 reporting on a visit to the African country of Niger by a retired diplomat on a special mission for the CIA. ... His account said Iraq had sought closer economic ties with Niger but had not discussed a uranium sale.”
“... Further, in December 2002, a month before Bush’s State of the Union address, the CIA told the State Department to drop a reference to the uranium allegations from a white paper on alleged Iraqi weapons programs. In a later presentation on the white paper, John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, cut the Niger reference.”
So there clearly were big discussions in the administration...
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: Apparently.
MR. RUSSERT: ...about the accuracy. You weren’t aware of those?
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: ...It wasn’t until ElBaradei came out publicly...
MR. RUSSERT: In March.
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: ...and said that he felt that there was a forged document, that the intelligence community then said they agreed with ElBaradei, after looking at it, at which time, obviously it became clear that that fragmentary evidence may not have been right. Whether it is or not, I still don’t know. We know that the U.K. still believes it is correct, and I just simply don’t know. That’s not...
MR. RUSSERT: When Senator Pryor asked you on Wednesday [July 9th] when did you know that reports about uranium coming out of Africa were bogus, you said “Oh, within recent days.”
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: I should have said within recent weeks, meaning when ElBaradei came out.
MR. RUSSERT: Back in March.
SEC’Y RUMSFELD: In March, exactly, because I’m told that I was—that after ElBaradei came out with his statement publicly, I read it, and I’m told by the CIA briefer who briefs me that I, on that next day, said, “Who’s right on this?” And they said, “We’ll check.” And it was shortly thereafter that they came out with a piece of paper saying that they thought that ElBaradei was right, and...

Copyright 2003, National Broadcasting Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Note how Rumsfeld points out that he, like the PotUSA in the SotU, referenced an external source for the Nigerien yellowcake bit. This makes his comments "technically correct," and thus not a lie, (nor a mistake).
Rumsfeld obviously has a responsiblity to keep himself up on the best and latest intel about the grave and gathering, (and maybe imminently nuclear (http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/2002/s20020918-secdef2.html)!), threat from Iraq. Yet Rumsfeld doesn't find out until the IAEA mentions it, despite the knowledge having been verifiably available to the Admin on at least two prior and seperate occasions. Is this because Rumsfeld's incompetent, or is it deliberate obfuscation on his part?



I think that evidence of a hoodwinking is lacking. I'm willing to be proven wrong, of course, but if the only evidence is that Saddam and Al Qaeda are mentioned near each other whenever the Administration talks about security threats around the world, then we don't have a case, as it were.


There is evidence of the gov saying that aQ was meaningfully linked to Hussein, as well as indications that the intelligence community was reluctant to sign off on the idea that Hussein and UbL were getting in cahoots.

Pentagon intelligence offices on Iraq scrutinized (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?reportID=562588&storyID=3550125)
REUTERS
19.02.2004

[ A defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity said,]
"This was prudent policy planning based on intelligence that's produced and shared throughout the federal government. These critics have twisted this into something it isn't." [ a defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity]
Pentagon officials said the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group was created...to study...terrorist organisations and state sponsors.

Feith said this group discovered "linkages between Iraq and al Qaeda," and briefed...CIA chief George Tenet.

Pentagon officials said the two offices [OSP (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=199309&page=1&pp=50&highlight=office+special+plans) and the CTEG] never collected intelligence and simply brought a fresh perspective to data gathered by the intelligence community.


and cribbed from here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=242238&page=2&pp=50)


2-man committee put Iraq in spotlight
Senate panel probes whether they exaggerated threat
(http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/04/28/MNGP96C4I11.DTL)Wednesday, April 28, 2004
...two-man intelligence team...at the Pentagon, searching for...links between terrorist groups and host countries.
...Michael Maloof and David Wurmser, culled classified material, much of it uncorroborated data from the CIA.
...they...constructed a...new picture of global terrorism.
...ethnic, religious and political divides between terrorist groups were breaking down... ...alliances among a wide range of Islamic terrorists, ...a convergence of Sunni and Shiite extremist groups and secular Arab governments. Their conclusions, delivered to senior Bush administration officials, connected Iraq and al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and the hijackers of Sept. 11.
Unable to reach a consensus on Iraq's terrorist ties because of the skepticism of the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)...



Al Qaeda seen as not driven by ideology (http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030605-011655-2131r.htm)
June 05, 2003
A two-person Pentagon intelligence team...found al Qaeda terrorists are not bound by ideology and will cooperate with state sponsors of terrorism.
The finding was disclosed at a briefing by Douglas J. Feith...to dispel what he said were erroneous news reports that the Pentagon sought to skew intelligence to fit policy.
The group also found links between...Hussein and the al Qaeda network, and provided the information to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and CIA Director George J. Tenet.
The Iraq-al Qaeda connection was an "incidental" finding of the group.
Mr. Feith denied a report by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that the special unit became a "conduit" to the intelligence community for defector reports from the Iraqi National Congress, an anti-Saddam opposition group.


Despite having been presented with the PCTEG's info, to this day Tenet remains skeptical of a signifigant relationship bewteen aQ and Hussein.
Pease note there was no need for the PCTEG to act as a "conduit" to the "intelligence community (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/facttell/intelligence_community.html)" for the INC's ICP.
Also note that the ICP had direct access to the ears of certain administration officials.


Officials: U.S. still paying millions to group that provided false Iraqi intelligence (http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/8010341.htm)
Feb. 21, 2004
...Pentagon...$3 million [to] $4 million this year for the Information Collection Program of the Iraqi National Congress, or INC, led by Ahmed Chalabi (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&postid=3326581#post3326581)...
INC's Information Collection Program..."designed to collect, analyze and disseminate information" from inside Iraq, according to a letter the group sent... the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The letter...said the information went directly to "U.S. government recipients" who included William Luti, a senior official in Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's office, and John Hannah, a top national security aide to Cheney.
...[DIA] has concluded...that defectors turned over by the INC provided little worthwhile information, and that at least one of them...was a fabricator.
...INC-supplied information......Bush administration's arguments for war... charges... Saddam was concealing illicit arms stockpiles and was supporting al-Qaida.
"To call all of it (INC intelligence) useless is too negative," said the defense official...
"We are heroes in error," [said] Chalabi..."As far as we're concerned we've been entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. [I]What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We're ready to fall on our swords if he wants."



Since there's more evidence than "Saddam and Al Qaeda are mentioned near each other," the question for the Admin is, (still and once again), "Is the error criminal or merely from incompetence?" How much of what the Admin said did they believe?

jshore
04-29-2004, 10:05 PM
and to top it all off he [Bush] elimitated telemarketers and spam...

Spam is on it's way out and we have a national do not call list. You must be getting your news from a biased souce.


These were laws that he signed, yes, But, they were hardly his doing. And, as for SPAM, there is some belief that the Can-Spam Act may do more harm than good by pre-empting tougher state laws. See here (http://www.governing.com/articles/1spam.htm).

pervert
04-29-2004, 11:34 PM
Is there any similarity to a "not-lie" and a misunderstood truth? None whatsoever. A not-lie is a statement that is technically true, even though it in fact promulgates false information.And a misunderstood truth is a statement which is true (abnd therefore technically true) but by reason of it being misunderstood may promulgate a false impression. I'm sorry, but I have more faith in the ability of the American public to believe strange things than I do of the Administration to engineer a conspiracy of this type. They simply don't seem that media savvy to me.

Personally, I think they would have had to be far more media savvy than they are to disuade most of the American public that Saddam had something to do with 9-11. Americans are far too ignorant of foriegn affairs. Unfortunately given Saddam's infamy in America and the fact that he is from the same part of the world as Ussama, there are a significant number of Americans who will not think any further.

I certainly agree that juxtaposing Iraq and Al Qaeda contribute to the misunderstanding by the American public. But blaming them for it when all of their statements are true and they are themselves willing to admit to the lack of Iraqi - 9-11 ties, is IMHO not warranted.

Sorry for such a long-winded response. I guess the question is more important to me that I realized.No problem at all. I have enjoyed all of your responses.

Your last two posts (or any responses to this one you feel inclined to make) can be the last word on the subject for now.

I would like to ask 2 questions, though.

Many of your points require a fluid understanding of "link". I think (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) that my conversation with Tamerlane and Rashak Mani in this thread demonstrated a sort of "link" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. You have said that all of the Administrations statements are technically true, so there must be enough of a link to allow some juxtaposition of them. Your objection seems to be that you think a more "substantial" link or "signifigant relationship" is being shoe horned, if you will, into the American public's mind. Can you draw a line between the technicaly true links that the Administration has been making and the more substantial ones that you fear? That is, how significant would a link have to be?

Secondly, what exactly do you want the administration to do to disuade Americans of the notion that Saddam was partly responsible for 9-11? Surely you don't want them to stop mentioning Iraq and Al Qaeda. Is there some rhetorical divide which you want them to use to seperate the two?

Mr. Svinlesha
04-30-2004, 01:29 AM
Simon:

Thanks (as always) for the examples.

perv: And a misunderstood truth is a statement which is true (abnd therefore technically true) but by reason of it being misunderstood may promulgate a false impression.Yes, but a not-lie is not a statement of truth. It is a falsehood that presents itself as true because of a rhetorical trick. The “misunderstanding” derives from the fact that you believe it to be true, when in fact it is not.

When Bush stood up and said during his SOTU, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” that statement was one link in a chain of arguments he was presenting to Congress. It was a data point, if you will. The argument was, “Iraq is a threat; we must do something about it.”

Now, Bush and his staff knew that the evidence for this purchase was of a highly dubious quality. He knew that his own intelligence agency, the CIA, had long ago debunked that accusation. He knew that the Niger papers were forgeries. He knew that 3 months before he had been forced to eliminate a similar claim from a speech in Cincinnati, because the weekend prior the speech Tenet had called personally and warned him that there was no evidential basis for such a claim. (Here (http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/6076178.htm)is a short summary.)

And yet, he said it anyway.

It was widely reported in the aftermath of this micro-scandal that the actual formulation of the statement was something a White House speech writer and a representative of the CIA wrangled over for days. Again and again, Stephen Hadley (the writer) presented a version of the sentence to the CIA rep, only to be rebuffed. Finally, grudgingly, the CIA rep approved of the version used in the SOTU, precisely because of the way the speechwriter had formulated the sentence – by starting it with the phrase “The British government has learned…”

In addition, as Simon’s link shows, the statement wasn’t even a lie – at least, not technically. Had Bush said, for example, “We believe that…” it would have been a lie, since it was well-known within the US intelligence community that the story was bogus. The CIA had even warned the British that the claim in their dossier was false! Still, technically speaking, Bush did not lie. But the claim he made in the SOTU was false, and he knew it before he ever took that first step towards the podium.

Another example of a not-lie is the administration’s use of that convenient acronym, “WMD.” As the Carnegie report notes, the initials “WMD” conceal a range of threats, from the mundane to the apocalyptic. At the risk of sounding repetative, ”such statements were seriously misleading in that they lumped together the high likelihood that Iraq possessed chemical weapons, which themselves constitute only a minor threat, with the complete lack of evidence that it possessed nuclear weapons, which would be a huge threat. Talk of “mushroom clouds” certainly led Americans to believe that the latter were in the picture.” They simply don't seem that media savvy to me.This is your opinion, not a fact. You provide no supporting argument for it whatsoever. Am I expected to argue and argue and argue, with copious references and intricate reasoning, only to be rebuffed by your opinion? At some point, perv, you're going to have to roll up your sleeves and get to work, if you want to be taken seriously. Personally, I think they would have had to be far more media savvy than they are to disuade most of the American public that Saddam had something to do with 9-11. Once again, nothing but an unsupported opinion on your part. But I also disagree. If Bush had made a concerted effort to separate these issues, and this conflation had not characterized the majority of the administration’s rhetoric, I doubt Americans would ever have drawn such inferences. After all, few Americans believe there exists a connection between al-Qaida and the governments of Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, or, for example, North Korea.Americans are far too ignorant of foriegn affairs.The two points are not mutually exclusive. These rhetorical tricks exploit the American audience’s ignorance of the foreign events Many of your points require a fluid understanding of "link". I think (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) that my conversation with Tamerlane and Rashak Mani in this thread demonstrated a sort of "link" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. You have said that all of the Administrations statements are technically true, so there must be enough of a link to allow some juxtaposition of them. Your objection seems to be that you think a more "substantial" link or "signifigant relationship" is being shoe horned, if you will, into the American public's mind. Can you draw a line between the technicaly true links that the Administration has been making and the more substantial ones that you fear? That is, how significant would a link have to be?Why am I beginning to feel like bror Rabbit dusting it up with the Tar-Baby?

Look, when I refer to link, I’m refer to an actual link in the real world. Not an associational link, as in, “well, they’re both evil,” or “they both come from the Middle East.” I’m talking about credible evidence that, for example, they were actually working together – meetings between Iraqi officials and al-Qaida operatives, evidence of cooperation in the planning and execution of terrorist attacks, economic support, intelligence sharing, etc. Secondly, what exactly do you want the administration to do to disuade Americans of the notion that Saddam was partly responsible for 9-11? Surely you don't want them to stop mentioning Iraq and Al Qaeda. Is there some rhetorical divide which you want them to use to seperate the two?Well, it’s late now. But they could have started by simply telling it like it is. When Bush says, “There’s no doubt that Saddam and al-Qaida are cooperating,” he’s flatly lying. (You’ve admitted as much yourself.) Rather, he could tell us the truth: “Well, to the best of our knowledge, there is no cooperation between Saddam and al-Qaida,”

Or

“We have no reliable evidence that Iraq ever attempted to purchase uranium from an African country,”

or

”Our top experts agree – the aluminum tubes are unsuitable for use in centrifuges. In all probability, they are intended for the back-engineering of rocket engines,”

or

”There exists significant uncertainty regarding Iraq’s possession of chemical stockpile, and many experts point out that such stockpiles would in any event have a short shelf life,”

or

”We have little reason to believe that Iraq and al-Qaida would cooperate, or that Iraq would give sensitive weapons or weapons technology to terrorist groups,”

and so on.

In short, the exact opposite of the what the administration actually claimed.

Mr. Svinlesha
04-30-2004, 08:01 AM
Sam:How're ya doin'?Really good, thanks. You?

Our discussion has gotten far too broad for me to comment on every little detail. Therefore, I’m going to simply respond at random to issues that “jump out at me,” so to speak. If I miss a point that you feel is important to your argument, please don’t hesitate to repost it.Maybe I'm going to surprise you here, but I agree with everything you said. If Tenet actually said that to Bush (and there were, apparently, lots of witnesses and Woodward swears by it), then Tenet's head should roll. That he's still on the team is an indictment of Tenet AND Bush.Tenet’s head…or Bush’s?

Whatever Tenet said at that meeting, it is true that the NIE was chock full of caveats and dissenting opinions. In his public statements, Bush chose to present that information in categorical terms. His decision to drop caveats and ignore internal controversies over the intelligence data he received can’t be blamed on Tenet, as far as I can tell. And by framing the issue in this way, you’re gratuitously ignoring the pivotal role played by the OSP:While C.I.A. director George J. Tenet struggles in Washington to prove that his agency did not exaggerate the danger Iraq posed to the United States, American forces continue to come under attack on the ground throughout Iraq. Misunderstanding is evident in both situations. Not comprehending similar courses of events in Vietnam cost Americans thousands of lives and billions of dollars. So it is worth attempting to get as precise an interpretation of the issues as is now possible.

Take intelligence first: In his speech at Georgetown University on February 5, Mr. Tenet was candid on what he thought of as the central issue: that the analysis offered by his agency was “generally on target” and its advice to the President was hedged with warnings that all intelligence can be only an “estimate.”…

In that talk, Mr. Tenet carefully avoided the central problem. The problem is not that the CIA was wrong but that it was replaced.

What replaced the CIA was a new office created in the Pentagon to provide a more “supportive” underpinning for the already agreed direction of policy. This “Office of Special Plans” was created under the aegis of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Under Secretary Douglas Feith. Reporting to Stephen Cambone, as under-secretary of defense for intelligence and the man who took the lead in the campaign to justify the attack on Iraq, was one of the most important but least known of the small band of “Neoconservatives,” Abram Shulsky.

Mr. Shulsky’s organization aimed essentially to supplant the entire American intelligence system. Although never admitted, its task, effectively, was to prove the charge, aggressively pushed by Vice President Cheney, that Saddam Hussein, in conjunction with his ally Usama bin Ladin, was poised to attack the United States with an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. It is that alternative intelligence analysis to which those who made the decisions listened. And it was that alternative which Tenet carefully avoided discussing.

-- William Polk, senior director of the W.P. Carey Foundation(And yes, I also got that passage off Juan Cole’s website.)But not firing Tenet is not exactly a fatal error, because it's somewhat understandable from a political perspective. If Bush fired Tenet now, you know that Kerry would be running around saying Bush is looking for scapegoats. It would look like the administration is panicking.So you now advocate prioritizing election politics over matters of national security?

Anyway, the argument is lame; Bush has had more than a year to act on the problem of US intelligence failures. As far as I can tell, other than covering his own ass and the asses of his friends and associates, he’s done absolutely nothing about it.I find it frustrating that you still insist that the pre-war intelligence was rock solid....And where did I say that?My mistake. I thought you were quoting Tenet with approval, as if you agreed with his assessment.I said that Bush made reasonable decisions given the intelligence he was presented. That the intelligence was wrong is not really in question now, is it? The important question is how everyone got it wrong….

It was reasonable to believe that Iraq had WMD. That they apparently didn't is confusing, and a lot of people are still scratching their heads over that.Oh, good Lord. Here we go again.

You and I have debated to a standstill over the question of whether or not it was “reasonable” to assume that the infamous “aluminum tubes” were suitable for use as enrichment centrifuges. Unless your definition of “reasonable” diverges significantly from the average, I submit that by the end of that debate it was obvious to all but the rabid few that this assumption was not reasonable. You yourself were reduced to falling back on nothing other than your faith in the intelligence community, if you remember.

It as if that discussion never happened now, apparently. At the very least, when you make statements like this, can you not caveat them? Can you not just write something like, “Well, as I see it, it was reasonable to assume that….” Because whether you like it or not, your statement is still a source of contention, and I simply refuse to let you background it like that. You can’t just pretend we all agree with you that it was reasonable, and we’re all scratching our heads about it now. I for one, am not scratching my head, because I tried to tell you that the evidence was not convincing from the very beginning. But certainly, no WMD were found on the scale that the U.S. presented, so the intelligence was wrong even some amounts of WMD are found.Either the intelligence was wrong, or we were lied to. As you know, I strongly suspect the latter myself.This requires an investigation. I would support a bi-partisan investigation into the intelligence failures that preceded the war. But that investigation has to take place after the election (and not because I'm protecting Bush, but because it would turn into a useless mud-slinging contest if it were held now).I agree with you here, at least in part. But the commission must have wide-ranging powers to investigate allegations of intelligence manipulation as well, in my opinion, if it is to be considered legitimate. If, as you believe, there was no manipulation, then you’ve no reason to fear an inquiry into these allegations, and eventually it would force nitwits like me to shut our yap.

The problem of timing is not that simple, however. The information an investigatory commission uncovers might prove pivotal in deciding to vote for or against the current administration. That consideration must be balanced against the very real chance that it would just become a partisan mudfight.First of all, you've been doing an admirable job of keeping this civil, which is why I'm taking the time to give you serious responses. Don't blow it with cheap shots like saying I've 'stolen talking points from the monkey fist collective'.Thanks. Hope to keep it that way.

I simply meant that you have a tendency to paint all of debating opponents with one brush (of extremism). I’d appreciate it if you didn’t lump me in with some of my more fanatical “bongo-mashing” brethren, if you don’t mind.

Now I’d like to take a moment to comment on this telling progression:From what I can tell, Juan Cole is full of it. I have not seen anyone else claim that Sadr's support was greater than a small minority.followed by, a bit later:Why do you consider Juan Cole an expert? His 30% 'low' number is still a gross exaggeration. Methinks this is just partisan spin.followed by, still later: Before we go any further, I'd like to point out that you have been unquestioning in your acceptance of data that portrays the war and occupation in a bad light, including outageous figures like 50% Shiite support for al-Sadr, based on nothing more than the word of a partisan like Juan Cole.It’s interesting to see how Juan Cole, whom you apparently know nothing about, has evolved from total stranger to a partisan hack right in front of our very eyes.

Actually, to answer your question: Juan Cole is a professor of history at the University of Michigan, specializing in the history of the Middle East. He’s the author of countless newspaper and journal articles, as well as Sacred Space And Holy War: The Politics, Culture and History of Shi'ite Islam. He also sponsors his own weblog, Informed Comment (http://www.juancole.com/), which, in my opinion, is required reading on day-to-day events in Iraq, if only because it is one of the few net sources which contains regular updates on coalition casualties.

Here (http://www.npr.org/rundowns/segment.php?wfId=1813422) is an NPR interview of Cole in which he relays his view of the Sadrist uprising.

Anyway, regarding al-Sadr: let’s be clear that Cole isn’t talking about those Iraqis who identify themselves as followers of al-Sadr. I was unclear on that point. Rather, he’s referring to how many Shiites might have some sympathy for al-Sadr’s views, and in particular his vision of an Iraqi theocracy. (I don’t think even al-Sadr himself would consider being the leader of such a theocracy, so your poll results aren’t surprising in that regard.)

Concerning these numbers, Cole writes on April 4th:The always tense relationship between the Sadrist movement among Iraqi Shiites and the US and its Coalition partners has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Perhaps a third of Iraqi Shiites are sympathetic to the radical, Khomeini-like ideology of Sadrism, and some analysts with long experience in Iraq put it at 50%. Earlier Muqtada Al-Sadr, the movement leader, had called on his forces to avoid violence against Coalition forces. As of Saturday and Sunday, he appeared to have feared that the Coalition meant permanently to exclude his group from power, and had decided to launch an uprising.This is where I got the figure. Cole doesn’t provide any support information, so I don’t know how he arrived at it.al-Sadr is widely seen as being the leader most supported by Iran, and his uprising appears to have been funded in part from Iran.This is actually a matter of some dispute, according to Cole (and others). From all accounts Iran is playing a important covert role in just about everything that’s going on in Iraq. How deeply they’re involved in this particular uprising, on the other hand, is anybody’s guess. Most specialists, I believe, reject the claim that Iran has been dictating events from behind the scene. However: I’m wandering in uncharted territory myself, here, since I know literally nothing about these matters aside from what I read, so I certainly can’t say with confidence that this is the case. However, I think it's a mistake to underestimate the influence of Iran in the Iraqi popular mind. Even if the majority of Iraqis reject a Khomeni-style theocracy, it seems pretty clear that a rather large group favors it.

Perhaps Tamerlane has an opinion on this question?

I have to close for now. More later.

Rashak Mani
04-30-2004, 09:35 AM
Secondly, what exactly do you want the administration to do to disuade Americans of the notion that Saddam was partly responsible for 9-11? Surely you don't want them to stop mentioning Iraq and Al Qaeda. Is there some rhetorical divide which you want them to use to seperate the two?

Not much time today... but I'll try.

Why would Bush want to disuade Americans of the Saddam - AQ link ? He profits from this distortion. He should be clear about the reasons to invade Iraq: Geo Strategic or forceful submission of Arabs... whatever but not terrorism.

Also I started paying more attention to Bush's speeches after some of the discussions last month... and he keeps talking about Iraq as a fight against terrorism... as the front of the war against terrorism. He has always said that in older speeches too. So he clearly sees Iraq as part of terrorism... and from what we've seen the links are tenous at best... non existant at worse.

pervert
04-30-2004, 09:47 AM
Perhaps the problem then, is that you do not understand what President Bush means by Terrorism? Is it possible that he means something closer to "international threat" while you are hearing a more "classical" definition?

Desmostylus
04-30-2004, 10:25 AM
Perhaps the problem then, is that you do not understand what President Bush means by Terrorism? Is it possible that he means something closer to "international threat" while you are hearing a more "classical" definition?I think I've got it sussed. I've heard Bush's philosophy discussed in terms of Lysenkoism (http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2004_archives/000045.html), but I think what pervert is slyly promoting is actually the more general case of dialectical materialism (http://www.bartleby.com/65/di/dialcti-mat.html):dialectical materialism

official philosophy of Communism, based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, as elaborated by G. V. Plekhanov, V. I. Lenin, and Joseph Stalin. In theory dialectical materialism is meant to provide both a general world view and a specific method for the investigation of scientific problems. The basic tenets are that everything is material and that change takes place through “the struggle of opposites.” Because everything contains different elements that are in opposition, “self-movement” automatically occurs; the conflict of opposing forces leads to growth, change, and development, according to definite laws. Communist scientists were expected to fit their investigations into this pattern, and official approval of scientific theories in the USSR was determined to some extent by their conformity to dialectical materialism (see Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich). Use of these principles in history and sociology is sometimes called historical materialism. Under these doctrines the social, political, and intellectual life of society reflect only the economic structure, since human beings create the forms of social life solely in response to economic needs. Men are divided into classes by their relations to the means of production—land and capital. The class that controls the means of production inevitably exploits the other classes in society; it is this class struggle that produces the dynamic of history and is the source of progress toward a final uniformity. Historical materialism is deterministic; that is, it prescribes that history inevitably follows certain laws and that individuals have little or no influence on its development. Central to historical materialism is the belief that change takes place through the meeting of two opposing forces (thesis and antithesis); their opposition is resolved by combination produced by a higher force (synthesis). Historical materialism has had many advocates outside the Communist world. And maybe a new term is needed, because while it may have been the official philosophy of the Stalinists, it's not really a communist philosophy, it's really a fascist philosophy.

Everything must be interpreted according to the Bushist worldview. Whatever the fuck that may be.

This is perhaps what I've unconsciously loathed about pervert's posts all along.

pervert
04-30-2004, 12:54 PM
I think what pervert is slyly promoting is actually the more general case of dialectical materialism (http://www.bartleby.com/65/di/dialcti-mat.html)No, not at all. I'm not suggesting that Saddam might be reasonably linked with Al-Qaeda simply on the grounds that they both operate from the same part of the world. Neither am I suggestiong that they can be reasonably linked within the context of the war on terror due to some racial or cultural linkages either. Also, unless someone has been posting in my name, I'm almost positive I have never mentioned whether or not they have similar control over the "means of production". I can't see a single aspect of what you suggest in what I have posted.

[...] I've unconsciously loathed [...] pervert's posts all along. Once again. Thank you very much.

pervert
04-30-2004, 01:06 PM
... a not-lie is not a statement of truth. It is a falsehood that presents itself as true because of a rhetorical trick.Ok, but if the "not-lie" part of the statement is not actually in the statement, how can you attribute it to the statement?

I'm having difficulty asking this question, because I suspect there is some aspect of the "not-lie" that I do not get. We said before that "A not-lie is a statement that is technically true, even though it in fact promulgates false information." And I suppose that whay you mean in the quote above is that the promulgated information is the part which is false. The question I have is what principle do we apply to statements to determine this other information. If the statement is true, where does the false information hide?

The “misunderstanding” derives from the fact that you believe it to be true, when in fact it is not.Right. The false information is imparted not from the statement as written, but from some interpretation of the statement on the listeners part. So, the distinguishing feature of a "not-lie" as opposed to a misunderstanding is that the speaker intends that the false impression be left in the mind of the listener. I've been assuming an intention on the part of the "not-lier". Have I missed something?


BTW, I was under the impression that you did nor really want to parse through some of the examples of Administration juxtaposition of Iraq and Al-Qaeda. I thought you guys had done this enough in other threads. My last post was not intended as evidence or an attempt to change your mind. I really just wanted to politely end the conversation about evidence rehashing. If you really would like me to take a stab at going over Schlesinger's statement or any others, I am willing. If not, that's fine too. We can wait for another thread. Meanwhile I do appreciate your willingness to repeat some of the arguments made in other threads. I did not pay much attention to them then. I appreciate the opportunity to go over them here. (I, of course, include SimonX in this)

PatriotX
04-30-2004, 08:03 PM
perv,
How's this?

Vice President Cheney (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/14/iraq/main606181.shtml) said on January 22, 2004 (http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/il09_schakowsky/pr3_3_2004mis.html):

“There's overwhelming evidence there was a connection between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I am very confident that there was an established relationship there."


cribbed (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=196390)

Iraqi Who Might Have Met With 9/11 Hijacker Is Captured (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A30323-2003Jul9&notFound=true)
By Vernon Loeb and John Mintz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 9, 2003; Page A11

Richard Perle, a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board who has contended al Qaeda and Iraq are linked, said he is hopeful al-Ani's capture will lead to a corroboration of his stance.

"Of course, a lot depends on who is doing the interrogating," said Perle, adding he fears that if it were the CIA, it could skew the interrogation so as to play down evidence that the alleged meeting with Atta occurred.

CIA spokesman Bill Harlow described Perle's charge as "absurd."

"His comments do a disservice to all the men and women of the CIA who every day call it as they see it, not as some wish it to be," Harlow said.
"We're open to the possibility that they met, but we need to be presented with something more than Mr. Perle's suspicions," the official said. "Rather than us being predisposed, it sounds like he is. He's just shopping around for an interrogator who will cook the books to his liking."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company
supplemental link (http://www.casi.org.uk/discuss/2003/msg03355.html)




Cheney's quote alone would clear the hurdle of being more than merely "Saddam and Al Qaeda... mentioned near each other whenever the Administration talks about security threats around the world," yes?

PatriotX
04-30-2004, 11:52 PM
Remarks by President Bush September 25, 2002 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/20020925-1.html)

Q Mr. President, do you believe that Saddam Hussein is a bigger threat to the United States than al Qaeda?

PRESIDENT BUSH: <snip>
They're both risks, they're both dangerous. The difference, of course, is that al Qaeda likes to hijack governments. Saddam Hussein is a dictator of a government. Al Qaeda hides, Saddam doesn't, but the danger is, is that they work in concert. The danger is, is that al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world.

Both of them need to be dealt with. The war on terror, you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror. And so it's a comparison that is -- I can't make because I can't distinguish between the two, because they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive.


Remarks by the President September 17, 2003 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030917-7.html)

Q Mr. President, Dr. Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld both said yesterday that they have seen no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with September 11th. Yet, on Meet the Press, Sunday, the Vice President said Iraq was a geographic base for the terrorists and he also said, I don't know, or we don't know, when asked if there was any involvement. Your critics say that this is some effort -- deliberate effort to blur the line and confuse people. How would you answer that?

THE PRESIDENT: We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th. What the Vice President said was, is that he has been involved with al Qaeda. And al Zarqawi, al Qaeda operative, was in Baghdad. He's the guy that ordered the killing of a U.S. diplomat. He's a man who is still running loose, involved with the poisons network, involved with Ansar al-Islam. There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties.



I hope that I've been able to satisfactorily show that various members of the Bush Admin, from the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, to the former chairman of the Defense Policy Advisory Board, to the VPotUSA and PotUSA themselves, have all presented the connection between Hussein and al Qaeda as more than a mere juxtaposition in conversation.

If I have, then comes the questions of how much of what did the Admin knew when they were saying these things.

It's easy to show that the Admin, (especially certain members in particular), had a duty to know the most up-to-date facts and conditions re Iraq, al Qaeda, etc. It's also demonstrable that information contrary to the Admin's presentation was available, (in some cases made available), to the Admin.

Of course, the underlying crux of the biscuit is the nature of motives of the members of the Admin.
However, the theory that ascribes a desire to knowingly conflate the threats from Hussein, al Qaeda, biological weapons, chemical weapons, and nuclear weapons, etc., cannot be tested by the presence or lack of a confession as it is a theory about intenional wrong-doing. Those who're accused of intentional wrong-doing are rarely expected to confirm the charges. So the lack of confirmation through admission/confession by the Admin cannot be taken as evidence either for or against the validity of the charges.
So, all that can be reasonably done in these sorts cases where denial of wrong-doing is expected, (and even where denial of wrong-doing's somewhat a part of the charges), is to establish a verifiable pattern of behavior and from this pattern divine a motive.


How much of what did the Admin knew when they were saying these things?
Compare and contrast the above and former with humble snippets like these:

Congressional Record (http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2002/10/dci100702.html)
October 9, 2002
[Excerpts of a letter from John McLaughlin for DCI Tenet, to Bob Graham (former) Chairman Select Committee on Intelligence]

Dear Mr. Chairman:

In response to your letter of 4 October 2002, we have made unclassified material available...

Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States.

Saddam might decide that the extreme step of assisting Islamist terrorists in conducting a WMD attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.

...we can declassify the following dialogue [from 02/10/02 SSCI closed hearing]:

Senator Levin: . . . If (Saddam) didn't feel threatened, did not feel threatened, is it likely that he would initiate an attack using a weapon of mass destruction?
Senior Intelligence Witness: . . . My judgment would be that the probability of him initiating an attack--let me put a time frame on it--in the foreseeable future, given the conditions we understand now, the likelihood I think would be low.

Senator Levin: Now if he did initiate an attack you've . . . indicated he would probably attempt clandestine attacks against us . . . But what about his use of weapons of mass destruction? If we initiate an attack and he thought he was in extremis or otherwise, what's the likelihood in response to our attack that he would use chemical or biological weapons?

Senior Intelligence Witness: Pretty high, in my view.

In the above dialogue, the witness's qualifications--"in the foreseeable future, given the conditions we understand now"--were intended to underscore that the likelihood of Saddam using WMD for blackmail, deterrence, or otherwise grows as his arsenal builds.

Regarding Senator Bayh's question of Iraqi links to al- Qa'ida, Senators could draw from the following points for unclassified discussions:

Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and al- Qa'ida is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.
We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qa'ida going back a decade. 1 **
Credible information indicates that Iraq and al-Qa'ida have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression. 2 **
Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qa'ida members, including some that have been in Baghdad. 2 **
We have credible reporting that al-Qa'ida leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qa'ida members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs. 3 **
Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians, coupled with growing indications of a relationship with al- Qa'ida, suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent US military action. 4 **



CIA Finds No Evidence Hussein Sought to Arm Terrorists (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A46460-2003Nov15?language=printer)

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 16, 2003; Page A20

The CIA's search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has found no evidence that former president Saddam Hussein tried to transfer chemical or biological technology or weapons to terrorists, according to a military and intelligence expert.

Anthony Cordesman, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, provided new details about the weapons search and Iraqi insurgency in a report released Friday. It was based on briefings over the past two weeks in Iraq from David Kay, the CIA representative who is directing the search for unconventional weapons in Iraq; L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civil administrator there; and military officials.

"No evidence of any Iraqi effort to transfer weapons of mass destruction or weapons to terrorists," Cordesman wrote of Kay's briefing. "Only possibility was Saddam's Fedayeen [his son's irregular terrorist force] and talk only."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company


Are the Admin's pattern of behaviors just the an unfortunate Rorshach like result projected by many Americans? If so, what obligations does a Presidential Admin to keep the electorate well informed, (besides the SotU)?

Are the Admin's pattern of behaviors just the result of poorly informed or poorly formed judgements on the parts of various members of the Admin?

Or are the patterns deliberate, from intention? (The ends of the intentions don't matter at this point. We can get to that later).


*A handful of sig lines or some such something to be negotiated later for anyone who can finid either/and/or the identities of these defectors, who found them, specifically if they're associated with the The Iraqi National Congress (http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/8010341.htm)'s Intelligence Collection Program (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=4807543#post4807543)
**notes to follow soon if all the lightning do let up, (cuz I know that someone'll want to discuss these)

pervert
05-01-2004, 12:46 AM
perv, How's this?Fine, thank you.

Cheney's quote alone would clear the hurdle of being more than merely "Saddam and Al Qaeda... mentioned near each other whenever the Administration talks about security threats around the world," yes?
I hope that I've been able to satisfactorily show that various members of the Bush Admin, from the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, to the former chairman of the Defense Policy Advisory Board, to the VPotUSA and PotUSA themselves, have all presented the connection between Hussein and al Qaeda as more than a mere juxtaposition in conversation.
Certainly. They have claimed a "relationship" quite a bit. This of course is not the same as claiming an Iraq connection to 9-11. And, it is not necessarily mistaken.

If I have, then comes the questions of how much of what did the Admin knew when they were saying these things.Well, not so fast, friend. ;)

First comes an attempt to define or understand the sort of link that the Administration is alleging. Perhaps before that, however, we should understand your belief on the matter. Are you contending that there is no connection whatsoever? Or are you simply contending that there have been no joint operations between Iraq and Al Qaeda? I assume your belief is closer to the second?

If we can agree on what the Administration was saying (or on what they said meant) and on the facts on the ground, then we have a chance to decide if naughty things were done. I agree entirely that you cannot wait for a confession. But when you have an allegation, you also have to decide if a crime was committed before you can issue an indictment.

I'm not really sure you want me to parse all of the quotes you gave. But let me give you a flavor for what I am talking about.

When you have Cheney say "There's overwhelming evidence there was a connection between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I am very confident that there was an established relationship there." And then "Tenet said he "did not agree with the way the data was characterized" in the document to which Cheney referred. " You have to be sure that they are refering to the characterization in the same way. For instance, "Asked specifically whether he thinks policy makers misrepresented the intelligence facts to justify the war, Tenet said: "No sir, I don't." "

Cheney's statement surely alleges a link. But what sort? Is he really suggesting that Iraq had something to do with 9-11 or any other terrorist attack against the United States? The president seems to discount this in his statement on September 17th 2003. Is it possible that he is merely suggesting that there were operators in contact and that this constitutes a severe danger?

When the President says "[...]you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror." Is he really saying that Al Qaeda and Saddam are existentially identical? Surely not. Especially when he described one essential difference in the previous paragraph. Is it possible that he is simply saying that they are both parts (theaters if you will) of the war on terror? If that is possible, is that really unreasonable?

Now, if you accept (I'm just saying if, I'm not contending that you do) that the administration is conflating Iraq and Al Qaeda in the sense that they are both threats, and if you allow that possible links were in fact possible or were being forged, then you have the possibility that Al Qaeda might begin to work in concert. As in the President's statement "The danger is, is that al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness." Note the future tense.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, what did the administration mean (or what did their statements mean)? Mr. Svinlesha this effects your challenge to me as well. If we can define what "Saddam Hussein gave substantial support to al-Qaida" means it will make it easier to meet your challenge.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BTW, do you really want to go over all of the quotes you have with another right wing nut (me)? I truly appreciate your willingness to dredge them up again. I also understand that you have done this a couple times. If you'd rather not go over them in detail again, I'll understand.

Personally, I'm more interested in this concept of a "not-lie". I'm intrigued by the possibility that information can be conveyed that is not in the statement in question. I'm just weird that way. ;)

Mr. Svinlesha
05-01-2004, 05:05 AM
Simon X: Of course, the underlying crux of the biscuit is the nature of motives of the members of the Admin.

However, the theory that ascribes a desire to knowingly conflate the threats from Hussein, al Qaeda, biological weapons, chemical weapons, and nuclear weapons, etc., cannot be tested by the presence or lack of a confession as it is a theory about intenional wrong-doing. Those who're accused of intentional wrong-doing are rarely expected to confirm the charges. So the lack of confirmation through admission/confession by the Admin cannot be taken as evidence either for or against the validity of the charges.

So, all that can be reasonably done in these sorts cases where denial of wrong-doing is expected, (and even where denial of wrong-doing's somewhat a part of the charges), is to establish a verifiable pattern of behavior and from this pattern divine a motive.Thanks, Simon. Excellent point, as usual.

At best we can only infer motive/intent. But judging from the record, I find it hard to believe anyone can seriously doubt that this administration has been involved in an extensive, systematic attempt to deceive the American public.


perv: Right. The false information is imparted not from the statement as written, but from some interpretation of the statement on the listeners part.Well, not exactly. The statement does contain false or misleading information. But the “not-lie” is constructed so as to channel the listener towards a specific interpretation, and to conceal the fact that the information is false or misleading. For example: when the US president stands up in front of Congress, and the world, and claims he has access to evidence that Iraq sought to purchase yellowcake, one naturally expects this claim to be well-grounded in fact. The central point of the statement is the accusation of attempted purchase, not the source of that accusation, and that is where the listener’s focus lies.

It was well-known within the US intelligence community that this accusation was false. This information had also been repeatedly relayed to the White House over the course of several months. You therefore have to ask yourself why Bush would chose to employ it in the SOTU. But Bush is able to avoid these accusations of outright lying because his speechwriter had formulated the sentence in such a way that responsibility for the information is shifted to the British government. This statement then, while technically true, nevertheless promulgates information known to be false. Hence the term not-lie: a lie that isn’t technically a lie.

Or consider the rhetorical deployment of the initials “WMD.” It would not be at all difficult to specify which sort of “WMD” one is talking of when one accuses Iraq of possessing “WMDs.” The administration could have clearly stated, for example, that they believed Iraq possessed chemical weapons but not nuclear ones. Instead, they simply and repeatedly charged that “Iraq has WMDs,” thus conflating in the mind of the listener the relatively insignificant possibility that Iraq possessed some stocks of battlefield chemical munitions with the extremely significant possibility that it possessed a nuclear weapon. The underlying strategy here is to be as vague as one possibly can in outlining exactly what sort of threat Iraq posed, and to imply within that vagueness that it is more dangerous than it really is, without coming right out and lying about it.So, the distinguishing feature of a "not-lie" as opposed to a misunderstanding is that the speaker intends that the false impression be left in the mind of the listener. I've been assuming an intention on the part of the "not-lier". Have I missed something?Hallelujah! By Jove, I think you’ve got it! Since these sentences are so carefully constructed, it seems almost banal to point out that they are almost certainly motivated by an intent to mislead or deceive. First comes an attempt to define or understand the sort of link that the Administration is alleging. Perhaps before that, however, we should understand your belief on the matter.Again with the flies, perv?

The alleged link is spelled out quite clearly in Simon’s post. To reiterate:
We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qa'ida going back a decade.


Credible information indicates that Iraq and al-Qa'ida have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression.


Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qa'ida members, including some that have been in Baghdad.


We have credible reporting that al-Qa'ida leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qa'ida members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.


Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians, coupled with growing indications of a relationship with al- Qa'ida, suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent US military action.

Now, this ain’t exactly rocket science, and your constant hair-splitting is beginning to make me wonder about your sincerity in this discussion. Are you being artfully disingenuous on purpose – or is it possible that you simply don’t know what words mean?Are you contending that there is no connection whatsoever? Or are you simply contending that there have been no joint operations between Iraq and Al Qaeda? I assume your belief is closer to the second?Not to answer for Simon, but my guess is that he means the first. I certainly do. To spell it out: there exists no credible evidence to date of any operational cooperation between Saddam Hussein’s regime and al-Qaida. The asserted connections are merely associational (they’re both evil) or coincidental (they’re both active in the Middle East). Cheney's statement surely alleges a link. But what sort? First off, I’d just like to point out that you’re once again employing that debating tactic that I (and others) have complained about previously – to wit, you merely suggest here the existence of another possible interpretation of Cheney’s statement, without providing any reason whatsoever as to why that alternative is superior. This tactic is not particularly clever, nor does it lead to any real insight, so please give it a rest. If the only objection you have is, “Well, he could, of course, maybe, have meant something else,” then perhaps you should just close up shop.

Secondly, I submit that Cheney’s statement OBVIOUSLY implies an OPERATIONAL LINK. (Don’t you dare ask me, “Yes, but what sort of operational link?” Do so and I’ll seriously discombobulate on your ass.) If you disagree with this claim, PRESENT YOUR ARGUMENT AS TO WHY, and stop beating around the Bush (hey! A pun!) with a bunch rhetorical questions. When the President says "[...]you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror." Is he really saying that Al Qaeda and Saddam are existentially identical? Surely not.Why do you dismiss that possibility? It is almost certain that 90 to 95% of his listeners understand him as asserting this existential link. Record wrote an entire report repudiating the factual existence of this identification, so he must surely have thought so. Is it possible that he is simply saying that they are both parts (theaters if you will) of the war on terror? If that is possible, is that really unreasonable?Depends on how you view it, but many administration critics (most notably, Richard Clarke) would indeed argue that making such a claim is unreasonable. (Clarke, you may recall, believes the Iraq invasion is a “distraction” from the war on terrorism.)So, what did the administration mean (or what did their statements mean)? Mr. Svinlesha this effects your challenge to me as well. If we can define what "Saddam Hussein gave substantial support to al-Qaida" means it will make it easier to meet your challenge.Important operational support in reality. Guns, money, (lawyers), intelligence sharing, etc. I have the feeling I’ve already mentioned this once.

And I’m still waiting for you to meet that challenge. I'm more interested in this concept of a "not-lie". I'm intrigued by the possibility that information can be conveyed that is not in the statement in question.What are you talking about?

The information is in the statement. It just happens to be false information, presented as true.

Sam Stone
05-01-2004, 04:53 PM
This seems to be a good place to add this...

Remember the 'Uranium from Niger' flap? If not, let me reiterate: The Bush administration said that there was credible evidence that Iraq was seeking to buy Uranium from Africa. Joseph Wilson was then sent to Niger, and he reported no credible evidence that Iraq had made any attempts to purchase Uranium whatsoever.

This created a huge controversy. The U.S. position was based on British intelligence. British intelligence refused to back down on its claim, and pointed out that Wilson had only mentioned Niger, and they said "Africa". This distinction was overlooked by everyone, and the 'Niger Uranium hoax" became a cause celebre' among the anti-war crowd. It was on the news every night.

Well, Joseph Wilson has a new book out, and it seems he has changed his tune (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A54640-2004Apr29.html):


Book Names Iraqi in Alleged '99 Bid to Buy Uranium

It was Saddam Hussein's information minister, Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf, often referred to in the Western press as "Baghdad Bob," who approached an official of the African nation of Niger in 1999 to discuss trade -- an overture the official saw as a possible effort to buy uranium.

That's according to a new book Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador who was sent to Niger by the CIA in 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq had been trying to buy enriched "yellowcake" uranium. Wilson wrote that he did not learn the identity of the Iraqi official until this January, when he talked again with his Niger source.


Well, how about that? Baghdad Bob himself, trying to buy enriched yellowcake for Saddam. The Bush administration was right. It also begs the question: Why would Iraq be trying to buy enriched uranium if it had no nuclear program?

elucidator
05-01-2004, 05:30 PM
...to discuss trade -- an overture the official saw as a possible effort to buy uranium....

Well, you can't get any more solid than that, now can you? Boy, is my face red! That clearly nails it, the official "saw it as a possible effort". Man, talk about a smoking gun! Put that together with several pieces of a centrifuge, buried under a rose bush, and you've got a nuclear program that could, concievably, be a genuine threat sometime in the 23rd Century! Gasp!

Restore my faith, Sam, and tell you me you realize that this is perfectly ridiculous. Besides, Canadians look silly doing the Victory Boogie. Not as silly as when putting mayonaisse on Freedom Fries, but still.....

squeegee
05-01-2004, 06:21 PM
Well, how about that? Baghdad Bob himself, trying to buy enriched yellowcake for Saddam. The Bush administration was right. It also begs the question: Why would Iraq be trying to buy enriched uranium if it had no nuclear program
Excuse me, Sam -- Comical Ali is now revealed as the protagonist of the fairy tale that Wilson debunked, and that makes the story more credible to you? Tell me you're not serious.

ElvisL1ves
05-01-2004, 06:45 PM
Not to mention Sam declaring an "important distinction" between "Niger" and "Africa" without ever mentioning any other country than Niger. You gonna explain why that's important, big guy?

The odds-on favorite for the reason for Bush saying "Africa" in that speech: The risk his handlers saw that he'd make a very embarrassing mispronunciation on TV if the word on the Teleprompter were "Niger".

Sheesh - Baghdad Bob is now being used as a cite. The loyalist position really has come to that now, hasn't it?

Sam Stone
05-01-2004, 07:43 PM
Did you guys bother reading the link? This is not the word of 'Baghdad Bob'.

squeegee
05-01-2004, 10:16 PM
Did you guys bother reading the link? This is not the word of 'Baghdad Bob'.
Yes, I did read the link. Now I'm curious how carefully you've read it.

What I've gathered - to summarize fairly briefly - is:

a) in 2002 there were 'rumours' that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium ore from Niger
b) Wilson traveled to Niger to investigate this, where he learned that,
c) An "unnamed businessman" had maybe perhaps made a sorta inquiry about uranium.
d) Wilson had deemed the claimant of this as unreliable. Translation: that person was probably making shit up.
e) It now comes to light that the "unnamed businessman" was supposedly Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf. Wilson says he found out that this was the "rest of the story" recently.

I'm failing to see how this revelation either discredits Wilson or credits the widely-believe-to-be-bogus yellowcake theory. Nor how this is a demonstation of Wilson "changing his tune".

Perhaps you could elaborate?

May I also suggest to you that the appearance of Baghdad Bob in an already fanciful tale will probably not make it less fanciful to most observers. Just my opinion.

pervert
05-02-2004, 12:33 AM
The not-lie stuff first.

At best we can only infer motive/intent.

Hallelujah! By Jove, I think you’ve got it! Since these sentences are so carefully constructed, it seems almost banal to point out that they are almost certainly motivated by an intent to mislead or deceive.But this is not a banal inference. I'm sorry, I understand you are convinced. I also understand that you are passionately convinced. But your passion does not relieve you of the burden of providing evidence. If the primary difference between a not-lie and a lie is the intent of the speaker, then you have to provide evidence of this intent. Proposing the argument that the not-lie is also evidence of intent is somewhat circular is it not?

The statement does contain false or misleading information.And yet it is technically true? How can a true statement contain false information?

The information is in the statement. It just happens to be false information, presented as true.But false information presented as true is a lie. we don't need a new term for it.

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[deleted 6 ro 7 paragraphs in response to flies, closing up shop and threats to discombobulate on me] ;)
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Let's see if I have to close up shop. I'll just address one point because it seems to be a prime example. Evaluate it and let me know.

I submit that Cheney’s statement OBVIOUSLY implies an OPERATIONAL LINK. I assume you aretalking about this statement culled from SimonX's excellent post: "There's overwhelming evidence there was a connection between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I am very confident that there was an established relationship there."I respectfully disagree. I am sorry to produce a fly, but it seems pretty clear to me (if you can say OBVIOUSLY with no evidence, I can say pretty clear under the same standard ;)) after reading the link that SimonX provided to Jan Schakowski's site that Cheney was talking about the same relationship that is mentioned at the end of that page thus "Concluded the senior U.S. official: "Did Saddam tolerate terrorists? Yes. Was there any evidence Saddam was involved with 9/11? No." and ""Were there meetings? Yes, of course there were meetings. But what resulted? Nothing," said one senior U.S. official."

I grant you that Cheney's statement does not seem to mean that Iraq and Al Qaeda are simply both MENA threats nor that their relationship is simply one of enemies. He is clearly implying that they know each other. But an operational link means that they have undertaken operations in concert. I do not think that Cheney is alleging this. He says only that there is a relationship and that it goes back a long time. I read this as just what he says. That there was a relationship and that it went back many years. I don't infer from this that Al Qaeda helped Iraq (or the other way around) on any particular operation. Nor do I infer that any specific materials were transfered between the two. I do infer that the relationship could develop along these lines. I do infer that this relationship constitutes a threat. But only in the sense that two enemies of the United States, both of whom have shown their willingness to use international violence against America, its allies and others, are talking and could one day cooperate.

If I may, go and look at the definition of operational support you gave. What in Cheney's statement implies "Guns, money, (lawyers), intelligence sharing, etc.".

If you disagree with this claim, PRESENT YOUR ARGUMENT AS TO WHY, and stop beating around the Bush (hey! A pun!) with a bunch rhetorical questions.I hope I have done so. (And a good pun, BTW)

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You did ask some questions, so I'd like to answer them.

When the President says "[...]you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror." Is he really saying that Al Qaeda and Saddam are existentially identical? Surely not. Why do you dismiss that possibility? It is almost certain that 90 to 95% of his listeners understand him as asserting this existential link.Well, I said existentially identical, not existentially linked. I'm not sure what existetially linked would mean. I meant that the President is not asserting that there is no difference at all between Al Qaeda and Iraq. My reason is that in the previous paragraph of his statment he listed on essential difference.

Important operational support in reality. Guns, money, (lawyers), intelligence sharing, etc. I have the feeling I’ve already mentioned this once.If you did, I'm sorry, I only remember you saying "significant", "substantial" ,"operational" or some such term.

And I’m still waiting for you to meet that challenge.Understood, work and all that.

Mr. Svinlesha
05-02-2004, 01:16 PM
Sam:

(This reply is a continuation from post # 300 [last post on page 6], in case you missed it for some reason).

We are in the middle of a back-and-forth regarding the use of the term “popular uprising,” and debating each other about the size of al-Sadr’s following. I’m just going to skip over the rest of that particular discussion for the time being, since I’m not sure either one of us really knows what we’re talking about.

:)

Instead, I want to address one of the themes that was quite prevalent a couple of pages ago, and that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle; namely, your observation about how the pro-war and the anti-war side don’t even seem to be able to agree on the basic “facts” of the Iraqi situation. To exemplify you note:Before we go any further, I'd like to point out that you have been unquestioning in your acceptance of data that portrays the war and occupation in a bad light, including outrageous figures like 50% Shiite support for al-Sadr, based on nothing more than the word of a partisan like Juan Cole. But now you are engaged in parsing the positive data with a microscope, trying to deconstruct it away. While this may be a natural tendency for people on both sides of the issue (including myself), I just wanted to point it out. A little healthy introspection never hurt anyone.Touché!

Actually, to begin with, I welcome a critical inspection of Juan Cole’s claims. And it’s good that you point this blind spot out – that’s why I get into these debates! So if you have solid evidence that Cole’s estimate is wrong, I’d be glad to review it.

I admit I was myself surprised when I saw his figure, since it seemed to contradict most of the reports I had read about al-Sadr. But then I saw the depth of the April uprising: “coalition” forces fought running battles in Karbala, Nasiriyah, Kufa, and Amara. They lost control of East Baghdad. The Mahdi Army expelled Ukranian forces in Kut and took control of the city. In Basra, the Mahdi Army took over the governor’s mansion. They took complete control of Najaf, including the Shrine of Imam Ali – one of the holiest of all Shiite sites – and they still control it. It seems to me that’s a pretty big uprising for a guy who represents a mere 1% of the Iraqi population. As Juan Cole noted at the time:The difficulty the United States and its allies are having in regaining control of the major cities of the Shiite south is breathtaking in its implications. There is little doubt that they can prevail eventually in a military sense. But if the Sadrist uprising were a minor affair of a few thousand ragtag militiamen, it is difficult to understand how they could survive the onslaught of 150,000 well-armed and well-trained European and North American troops for more than a day. Rather, it is clear that urban crowds are supporting the uprising in some numbers.But I also want to comment on your observation that I’m “parsing the positive data with a microscope, trying to deconstruct it away.” There’s some truth to that, because you have me on the ropes, in a manner of speaking.

As always, Sam, I’m dazzled by your rhetorical brilliance. In this instance, you’ve successfully reduced me to picking at the details of your poll numbers, although I confess there is some method to my madness. But before getting into that, I want to relate how this situation came to pass. It began when annaplurabelle responded to your statement, ”Slowly but surely, the U..S. is building allies in the middle east,” by posting links to three newspaper articles that seemed at least to gainsay this assessment. (This was way back on page 2, post # 98). Your response (post # 106, page 3) was masterful:Anecdotal evidence sucks. How about we pay attention to real data.Fantastic! In two short sentences you 1) utterly reject anna’s newspaper reports as unreliable, anecdotal, “sucky” evidence, and 2) assert that you possess the real, incontrovertible facts of the matter. After that it was simply a matter of posting the poll. End of discussion. Can anyone reasonably doubt the poll you produced was more accurate than all those sucky, anecdotal newspaper stories? As usual, you effortlessly ascend to the rhetorical high ground.

It’s no secret, Sam, that you constantly seek to frame the accomplishments of the CPA in their best light, always. You’ve posted a string of threads specifically designed to further this project. “Thousands march in Baghdad in support of democracy,” you exclaim, specifically intending to demonstrate that the US media consistently downplays good news coming from Iraq. “Could the Zarqawi letter be proof that the coalition is winning the war in Iraq?” you wonder with wide-eyed innocence. (No hidden agenda here!) “Look at all the wonderful projects completed by the CPA in the last six months!” you shout.

(Regarding the Zarqawi letter, by the way: only if it’s real, of course. Naturally, you seem to have forgotten that the authenticity of the letter is still in question, when you reply to me in this thread:As Zarqawi himself said, the forces trying to tear apart Iraq are facing a clock that is running out, because once Iraqis begin governing themselves further attacks will be seen as attacks against Iraqis rather than against an occupying power. I predicted this violence several months ago when Zarqawi's letter surfaced (and was of course ridiculed for that), and I predict now that the violence will continue to get worse between now and June 30.Ahem.)

In addition to these topics we find a long series of posts, in dozens of threads, wherein you reject the accuracy of the reporting coming out of Iraq. Reporters never leave their hotels, you say, and so they don’t really know what’s going down on the street. They get their news from the occupation forces, and only see the hot spots. They never report about the good things that happen, or report the CPA’s many happy successes. Look all the schools they’ve painted! All the police they’ve trained! And so on. A typical example:Your leap from, "there are potential problems" to "these problems have been ignored" is not warranted. The CPA is trying. They know what the problems are. They've made a bunch of mistakes. But they've also gotten an awful lot right. By focusing only on the mistakes or problems left unsolved it's easy to paint a picture of gross negligence. A more reasonable point of view is that they are trying, and the results to date are a mixed bag. Some mistakes seem pretty obvious in hindsight, such as disbanding the army and instantly creating several hundred thousand enemies. De-ba-athification was taken too far, etc. The thing is, the successes are quiet and fly under the radar. The failures stand out.How unfair we are, us big bad lefties, picking on the poor innocent CPA like that! Shame on us!

It’s just that – and I kinda hate to be the one to have to tell you this, Sammy, but – well, you don’t really have a monopoly on the “reasonable” interpretation of events. Nor do you, in truth, “own” the facts of the matters which we debate. I have my view as well, and as luck would have it, it just so happens that my view seems “reasonable” to me, too.

Let’s take your poll: what can we reasonably say about it? Is it reasonable to assume that the results of this one poll utterly and completely repudiate all the negative press that’s been coming out of Iraq over the last few months? To be honest, I don’t think so. But in order to demonstrate that, I have to begin with a critique of the poll. How accurate is it, really? A poll is like a snapshot of a certain set of attitudes within a given population at a certain point in time. No, scratch that. Really, it’s more like a painting. Utilizing a specific set of tools, the poll paints a picture of what things are like among the people out there. It relies on sophisticated statistical correlations and complex corrective mathematical analyses. It assumes that it can extrapolate from the 2,737 Iraqis who have been interviewed to a general view of what the Iraqi population believes, feels, or thinks as a whole. But in fact, a poll isn’t the “truth,” the “facts,” such that its results must simply be accepted without critical scrutiny. (For example, I’ve seen surveys that provide solid statistical evidence that group TM meditation can produce a calming effect on a larger geographical area – like, for example, Israel.)

If the tools employed by the poll are misleading or inappropriate, the resulting picture painted by the poll is skewed. Thus it is really unreasonable to accept the results of any poll at face value without taking out the time to investigate the methodology employed by the pollsters.

At the same time, it’s fairly unreasonable to dismiss all the negative media coverage Iraq has received over the last year as sucky, anecdotal evidence, at least to my way of thinking.

So, okay, then, back to the question of “facts.” The thing is, you and I tend to perceive different sets of “facts.” The pro-war side disagrees with the anti-war side about what the “facts” are. Was the fighting in April indicative of the beginnings of a “popular uprising,” or was it ”almost completely contained within the small group of al-Sadr's followers”, as you claim? The answer to this question is non-trivial, and being a “realist” (as opposed to a postmodernist), I believe that it does have an answer. But I don’t believe that we can get to that answer by simply wishing it, or by rhetorically emphasizing the results of one poll while rhetorically downplaying all the “anecdotal stories” that have been streaming out of Iraq from hundreds, maybe thousands, of sources. And in fact, a second poll, taken in almost the same time frame as the one you cite above, paints a significantly different picture (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-28-poll-cover_x.htm) of the situation in Iraq:Asked whether they view the U.S.-led coalition as "liberators" or "occupiers," 71% of all respondents say "occupiers."

That figure reaches 81% if the separatist, pro-U.S. Kurdish minority in northern Iraq is not included. The negative characterization is just as high among the Shiite Muslims who were oppressed for decades by Saddam as it is among the Sunni Muslims who embraced him.So, which poll shall we choose now? Before we get started, may I predict that you will unhesitatingly select that poll which best supports your point of view, while dismissing the one furthest from your prejudices? And that you will frame that choice as “the most reasonable” one?

At another level, this is also a battle of perceptions. Perceptions of “facts.” Whoever establishes interpretive hegemony determines the policies that will be subsequently pursued. They are also the ones who get to write the “true” history.

And that’s the real reason why people with different political agendas support their views by a careful selection of relevant “facts,” and why this debate over “facts” is so important. Once we agree to a certain set of facts – a given “version” of what’s going on in Iraq – then this version constrains the debate over what policies might reasonably be pursued there.

Sam Stone
05-02-2004, 01:53 PM
Well, now I guess I get to surprise you again. Because I've looked at the recent poll data, and the methodology behind it, and I have to accept its results. And they aren't pretty.

And since the methodology of the previous poll I was quoting was also sound and showed significantly more acceptance of the occupation, this latest one is even more troubling, because it appears that the 'slope of discontent' is quite steep. Bad, bad news.

A few messages ago I said that the uprising was not a 'popular' one - that it was being led by ex-Saddam Baathists, foreign fighters, and al-Sadr's small militia. But I also warned that dissatisfaction with the occupation was rising, and at some point there would be an intersection between the two and then it WOULD become a popular uprising and a very difficult situation.

We are now very close to that. While the average Iraqi is not ready to pick up arms and fight the coalition, and while there is still very little specific support for the uprising in Fallujah and in Najaf, the plain fact is that there is an alarming increase in anti-American sentiment in that country, other than in the Kurdish areas. And unfortunately, the despicable behaviour of a handful of military guards in that Baghdad prison is going to inflame the situation beyond belief.

The administration and CPA have pretty much used up their allotment of screw-ups. They have to get it right, consistently, from now until next January. And quite frankly, I don't know what to make of the latest decisions, which appear to give the Sunnis much more power again. Putting an ex-Republican Guard general in charge in Fallujah may turn out to be brilliant - or a disaster. Turning the formation of an interim government over to Brahimi may turn out to be the thing that gives the new government legitimacy - or it may signal to Iraqis that the U.S. is willing to turn Iraq over to the desires of other Arab states, since Brahimi is closely associated with them. At this point, I don't know what to make of it - it all depends on the Iraqi mindset, and I have no idea where that is today.

The sole remaining good news is that the Kurdish areas are incredibly supportive of the U.S. So much so that any even remotely negative perceptions of the invasion and the U.S in general are within the margin of error of the polls. It truly is amazing to see numbers like 97%, 98% favorable. I think the Kurds like the U.S. more than Americans do, at this point.

Gorsnak
05-02-2004, 02:30 PM
Wow, a Sam Stone post on Iraq I largely agree with. :eek:

Just a few observations on my part:

A "popular uprising" needn't really be all that popular, strictly speaking. There need only be a very small percentage of the populace willing to actually take up arms, so long as a somewhat larger group is sufficiently sympathetic to cooperate logistically (hide ammunition in the pantry, actively mislead occupying forces when they come round asking about insurgents, etc), and only a small minority is willing to rat insurgents out to the occupiers. I think the numbers as they stand currently already make this a popular uprising, though it could, and probably will, get a lot worse.

The Kurdish situation is something of a mixed blessing. It's of course helpful that there's at least one area in the country without too much unrest (though remember that there are significant Arab populations in the north - it's not like you can draw a line on the map and say 'north of here, it's all Kurds'). But their extremely different point of view may ultimately doom the sort of moderate federalist government that would seem to be the preferred outcome. Much as the Sunni and Shiite Arabs dislike each other, my suspicion is that it will take the Kurds to trigger an out and out civil war, should one come to pass. My current nightmare scenario is the Americans bailing a la Saigon, a strongman seizing control by main force, resulting in a declaration of Kurdish independence followed by the inevitably resulting Turkish invasion. I wish I could see a way out of it, but I fear the battle for hearts and minds has already been lost, and without the hearts and minds, the CPA has no chance at ultimately succeeding in their goals.

elucidator
05-02-2004, 02:40 PM
I share your dread, Sam. Even more so, with the latest horrible revelations about American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. Whatever the truth of the situation, it simply couldn't be worse for us, in the "hearts and minds" context.

It may be time to think the unthinkable. I have been supporting Kerry's line, which is very similar to Bush's in many respects. But it may be that they are both wrong. Kerry contends that we can finish the job with international support. I would very much like to believe that, I would very much like to believe that a respectable outcome can be salvaged from this debacle.

But I fear that the only way this is feasible is for the US to absent itself from the picture entirely. Mind you, I am not convinced, and would dearly love to think otherwise. But success depends entirely on the will and opinion of the Iraqi people, and that cannot be held to be anything but Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.

What can we possibly do? We can make loud bluster about how we will sternly punish the troops responsible, but we know we really won't. They're our people. Remember Rusty Calley? We as much as convicted him of murder, and he did...what?...something like a year of house arrest. Certainly we are not willing to punish them to the extent that would satisfy even Iraqi moderates, never mind changing the minds of the ones who already hate out guts. (Nor do I suggest that I would be willing to make such a sacrifice. They are ours, after all.)

At least if we chuck this into the UN's lap and run like hell, we can maybe pretend that they screwed it up.

Niether of our candidates has broached this question yet, and I certainly share thier reluctance: this would be or will be humiliation on a massive scale. Unthinkable. Until now.

I will cheerfully entertain opposing arguments, because, believe me, I want to be wrong. But I don't really think that I am.

elucidator
05-02-2004, 02:41 PM
Too much of a hijack. Sorry. I'll make it a thread.

Mr. Svinlesha
05-02-2004, 04:04 PM
Sam:And since the methodology of the previous poll I was quoting was also sound and showed significantly more acceptance of the occupation, this latest one is even more troubling, because it appears that the 'slope of discontent' is quite steep. Bad, bad news.A minor quibble; I suspect that the results of the latest poll come as a surprise to you because you dismiss most of the news you read as partisan spin. For me, this latest poll doesn’t reveal a steep “slope of discontent,” but merely reflects what things are like on the ground more accurately than the previous one did. Of course, in my “version” of Iraq, the bad news is under-reported, not over-reported.

However, since I’m not an expert in polling methods, I cannot honestly say that I can judge the methodology of either poll as necessarily sound or unsound. So I tend to skepticism when it comes to poll results, usually.A few messages ago I said that the uprising was not a 'popular' one - that it was being led by ex-Saddam Baathists, foreign fighters, and al-Sadr's small militia. But I also warned that dissatisfaction with the occupation was rising, and at some point there would be an intersection between the two and then it WOULD become a popular uprising and a very difficult situation.

We are now very close to that.I think there’s some truth to that, but I suspect that this intersection has already occurred. Well, actually, I think the US went into this situation with it’s eyes closed, believing that they would be greeted as liberators, and that the transition to democracy would be relatively unproblematic. And I disagree with your assessment that there’s little specific support for the uprising among your average Iraqi – on the contrary.

Shisenski’s estimate, scoffed at by Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, looks a lot more reasonable these days, doesn’t it? If I’m not mistaken, W&R predicted that a year after the invasion our troop strength would be reduced to about 30,000 men (because we would be loved by the Iraqi people as liberators).

Those of us who were against warned that this optimistic scenario might not pan out. If it doesn’t, I wonder, what are we going to do? Do you have a plan B, Sam? The administration and CPA have pretty much used up their allotment of screw-ups.Ah.

Slowly but surely, the light bulb goes on.

PatriotX
05-02-2004, 05:27 PM
Unfortunately, currently, I've not the urge to much more than fix the coding. I'll get back w/ y'all later. Sorry.
Here're some of the notes for my footnotes.



Originally posted by poster from other MB:

The Guardian, Feb 6, 1999 printed "Saddam Hussein's regime has opened talks with Osama bin Laden, bringing closer the threat of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons." But as Ahmed Allawi, a senior INC official, advised, that it is not new, "There is a long history of contacts between the Mukhabarat and Osama bin
Ladin."

Originally posted by simonX on another MB:
Here's the link (http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,314700,00.html) to that story.

First, let me say that the Guardian, IMHO, is often sort of sensationalist, (example (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=188527&highlight=economic+options+iraq)).

Second, the snippet of the article reproduced here and on the website where I found the link leaves out some other interesting bits. Common Cause kind of Dowdified it. To wit:

Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of CIA counter-terrorist operations, said: "Hijazi went to Afghanistan in December and met with Osama, with the knowledge of the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. We are sure about that. What is the source of some speculation is what transpired."
An acting US counter-intelligence official confirmed the report. "Our understanding over what happened matches your account, but there's no one here who is going to comment on it."
[AND]
Analysts believe that Mr Hijazi offered Mr bin Laden asylum in Iraq, most likely in return for co-operation in launching attacks on US and Saudi targets. Iraqi agents are believed to have made a similar offer to the Saudi maverick leader in the early 1990s when he was based in Sudan.

Although he rejected the offer then, Mamoun Fandy, a professor of Middle East politics at Georgetown University, said Bin Laden's position in Afghanistan is no longer secure after the Saudi monarchy cut off diplomatic relations with, and funding for, the Taleban militia movement, which controls most of the country.

Mr Fandy said senior members of the Saudi royal family told him in recent weeks [1999] that they had received assurances from the Taleban leader, Mullah Mohamed Omar, that once the radical Islamist movement secured control over Afghan territory, Bin Laden would be forced to leave. "It's a matter of time now for Osama." He said Bin Laden would have a [i]strong ideological aversion to accepting Iraqi hospitality, but might have little choice

So, apparently, what happened is that the Hijazi met with bin Laden and the details of the meeting are unknown. A member of the Iraqi National Congress, the Iraqi national Congress's intelligence chief, Ahmed Allawi, said that "There is a long history of contacts..." In the past, when similar meetings took place bin Laden rejected Iraqi offers. And bin Laden is purported to have a "strong ideological aversion to accepting Iraqi hospitality."

This hardly seems like a report of anything substantial as far as an Iraq - al Qaida alliance goes. From here in my armchair, right now, it really seems more like another example of the Guardian's peculiar style of reporting.

Oddly enough, despite what "senior members of the Saudi royal family" told Mr. Fandy, I don't think that Mullah Omar ever got around to asking bin Laden to leave.



Originally posted by simonX:
Next on the list of sources cited by the Common Cause footnotes (http://www.efreedomnews.com/News%20Archive/Iraq/SpecialReportWaronIraq/W5CommonCause.htm#footnotes) page I mentioned earlier is
The Western nightmare: Saddam and Bin Laden versus the world, February 6, 2002, Guardian Unlimited (http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,314722,00.html)
(note: I fixed the link. CC has theirs linked to the previous story (http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,314700,00.html) in the Guardian. I searched a bit and found what they were trying to link to. And the date of the story is incorrectly reported as 2002 when in fact it is 1999.)

From this story, the CC extracts this:

link (http://www.efreedomnews.com/News%20Archive/Iraq/SpecialReportWaronIraq/W5CommonCause.htm)
Palestinian born Director of External Operations for Iraqi Intelligence, the new Ambassador to Turkey, Farouk Hijazi, traveled to Kandahar, Afghanistan in December, 1998 and met with Osama Bin Laden.
[AND]
Ahmed Allawi, a senior INC official, advised, that it is not new, "There is a long history of contacts between the Mukhabarat [Iraqi secret service] and Osama bin Ladin."


Actually, I guess there's nothing new that they used from that article that that didn't also get from the previous one. I've padded a bibliography or two in my time in school as well.
There are, however a few more details, (but no additional insight), in the second story than in the first. I'll share some here.


This was not the first time that President Saddam had offered Mr Bin Laden a partnership. At least one approach is believed to have been made during the Saudi dissident's sojourn in Sudan from 1990 to 1996. On that occasion, the guerrilla leader turned the emissaries away, out of a pious man's contempt for President Saddam's secular Ba'athist regime.

Even before the embassy bombings in Africa, US special forces had been rehearsing daring 'grab raids' aimed at fighting their way into Mr Bin Laden's mountain lair in Afghanistan and either abducting or assassinating him.

There has been at least one assassination attempt [on bin Laden] in recent months, carried out by Saudi intelligence.
But Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of CIA counter-terrorist operations, who maintains close contact with US and Middle Eastern intelligence networks, said an assassination bid did indeed take place.
'The Saudis hired someone among his followers to poison him, probably in November. He suffered kidney failure but recovered, at least partially,' Mr Cannistraro said.
Whether as a result of the assassination attempt or not, Mr Bin Laden is unwell, said Mr Cannistraro.




I think that the quotes from Richard Perle, and about the CTEG that I've already provided demonstrate what sort of a connection they've been talking about here.
Further, given that the intelligence community held that an attack on the US by Iraq even by proxy was of a low probability, and that al Qaeda was determined to attack the US it's inappropriate to conflate the two threats.
IIRC, in no small part, the threat from Hussein consisted of the relatively improbable possibility that he'd transfer the WMDs to a terrorist organization like al Qaeda, (and then face "national obliteration," according to Dr. Rice (http://www.foreignpolicy2000.org/library/issuebriefs/readingnotes/fa_rice.html)).
The connection to aQ was essential for removing deterrence from the options for dealing with Hussein. Without the aQ connection, we'd've been left with analyses like those of Dr. Rice's that I linked to and assessments like Powell's that Hussein had "not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors"

To use the series of failed negotiations between the two, Hussein and UbL, as a basis for some sort of a meaningful, threatening connection is fundamentally dishonest. It counts as an example of something with a technically correct denotation, but with a false connotation.

Mr. Svinlesha
05-14-2004, 07:42 AM
Sam:

I had hoped to receive a more substance reply from you regarding the difference in the way the left and the right construct the “facts” coming out of Iraq. I think the topic is worth considering in-depth, and I’m still interested in your views on the matter.

In the meantime, since you seem to like polls, I thought I would share this one (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A22403-2004May12?language=printer). Note in particular, regarding al-Sadr’s supporters: In the poll, which was taken just before the April uprising of the militia led by radical Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr, a large proportion of Iraqis from the central and southern parts of the country said they backed him, with 45 percent of those in Baghdad saying they support him, and 67 percent in Basra.

Those numbers are striking because the U.S. military and the occupation authority have declared Sadr a public enemy whom they want to kill or capture.Again, all three of the polls cited in this thread seem to have been taken in more-or-less the same time frame, but as you see, they also reveal significant differences in some issues. As a non-specialist I would guess that those differences are a reflection of variations in polling techniques and analysis, rather than an actual reflection of differences within the Iraqi population.

Mr. Svinlesha
05-23-2004, 02:06 PM
Sam:

A new poll published in the Financial Times (subscription required) contradicts the conclusions of the Oxford poll you cited earlier:Respondents saw Mr Sadr as the second most influential figure in Iraq, next only to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country's most senior Shia cleric. Some 32 per cent of respondents said they strongly supported Mr Sadr and another 36 per cent said they somewhat supported him. Ibrahim Jaafari, the head of the Shia Islamist Daawa party and a member of the governing council, came next on the list.I don’t have direct access to the article since I don’t have a subscription to the FT, unfortunately.

Cole also has this to say about the issue at hand:In blogging Shiism in Iraq, I am trying to convey very complex social and intellectual realities from another society as I read them, to a wider audience. It is really tough material to get across. Journalism is quite rightly about trying to boil complex things down to something relatively simple and digestible. Academics are about understanding complex things in all their complexity. I confess to favoring the second, even as I realize that some simplification is necessary to communicate information….

I don't contest Taheri's estimation of Sistani's enormous moral authority. What I do insist on is that Muqtada al-Sadr is very widely admired; that he is very strongly supported by about a third of Iraqis (I have been saying this for a year), and that he has fanatical followers and cadres in the tens or hundreds of thousands. The polling, the military and popular movements, all of the primary sources I read in Arabic, confirm these points over and over again.

When I say Muqtada has won politically, I mean that he has stood up to the US for a month and a half, has survived, is continuing to defy it, and his forces still occasionally show an ability to surprise the coalition (as when they briefly tossed the Italians off their base near Nasiriyah earlier this week). I mean that he has enhanced his popularity nationally. I mean that he has made the US look like an oppressive tyrant. Paul Wolfowitz kept crowing last summer about how the US saved the Marsh Arabs from Saddam, but now that many of them have joined the Sadrists in Kut and Amara, Wolfowitz is having the Marsh Arabs killed just as Saddam did, and for the same reasons. Muqtada may well be doomed, but his movement is not going to go away, and his doom will just make him a national martyr and cause all sorts of new problems for the US. If Sistani comes out strongly against Muqtada, that will make the game more like a zero-sum one, but a lot of Shiites will try to avoid choosing sides, even as the strong partisans of each come into starker conflict.

However, regarding your accusations that Cole is “partisan,” it should also be noted that his comparison between Wolfowitz and Hussein (above) has generated a certain amount of controversy in the blogosphere. See in particular Andrew Sullivan (http://www.andrewsullivan.com), who notes:"Paul Wolfowitz kept crowing last summer about how the US saved the Marsh Arabs from Saddam, but now that many of them have joined the Sadrists in Kut and Amara, Wolfowitz is having the Marsh Arabs killed just as Saddam did, and for the same reasons." - Juan Cole, equating Paul Wolfowitz with Saddam Hussein, in an email to Mickey Kaus. Mickey finds this kind of rhetoric unsettling. I read Cole, because he obviously knows a lot. But his biases are so acute I don't trust him an inch. Anyone who can write that sentence has lost whatever moral bearings he once had.Followed by:Juan Cole, stung by criticism that he directy equated Paul Wolfowitz with Saddam Hussein, tears me a new one on his blog. I should repeat for the record that Cole's blog is well worth reading and a font of information and analysis. But it is also beset by a hatred of the Bush administration that mars its credibility….

Cole now steps back a bit and concedes that the Marsh Arab casualties in the insurgency cannot be compared to Saddam's attempted wholesale destruction of an entire people. But he's still vicious with regard to Wolfowitz. "Crowing" about the liberation of an entire sub-population? How about "celebrating"? And does Cole honestly believe that the Shiites now freed from Saddam haven't really been saved? Notice also what Cole doesn't take back: his vilest assertion that Wolfowitz, a decent and honorable man, is deliberately killing Shiites for the same reasons as Saddam Hussein. Does Cole really believe that Wolfowitz wants to commit genocide to entrench his own vile police state? Cole strikes me as a text-book case in the virtues and merits of today's academic elite. They can marshall great scholarship and knowledge; but their ideological extremism taints it all.Speaking for myself, I take exception to Sullivan’s characterization of Wolfowitz as a “decent and honorable man.”

On the other hand, Cole’s analyses sometimes strike me as rather alarmist, and I agree with Sullivan (to a certain extent) that Cole is bitterly cynical when it comes to Bush and other important players in his administration. Perhaps overly cynical.

Of course, on the other hand again, there are good reasons for cynicism when it comes to the current administration, in my opinion.

In the hope that you might finally deign to reply to these epistles,

I remain,

Your Humble Servant,

Svinlesha nDelavesha,

KSFSTPW (Keeper, Sacred Flashing Star Trek Paperweight)

Sam Stone
05-23-2004, 07:58 PM
Well, it's pretty hard for me to comment on a poll I can't read. For instance, you say this:


Respondents saw Mr Sadr as the second most influential figure in Iraq, next only to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country's most senior Shia cleric. Some 32 per cent of respondents said they strongly supported Mr Sadr and another 36 per cent said they somewhat supported him. Ibrahim Jaafari, the head of the Shia Islamist Daawa party and a member of the governing council, came next on the list.

But don't say which respondents. Where was the poll taken? In all Shiite areas? Just in Najaf? Sadr City in Baghdad? Without knowing more, it's pretty tough to say one way or the other.

I will say this... The situation over there is in tremendous flux, and conditions on the ground may be swinging public opinion wildly. For example, was this poll taken after the prison abuse scandal? al-Sadr gave a bit speech on that a few days ago - perhaps the swing in support was due to that. I have no idea. Maybe the new numbers reflect the new reality in the area. I don't know. At this point, we have some wildly conflicting data. I don't know what to make of it.

However, I can offer you this: Senior clerics of Najaf respond to Hassan Nasrallah (http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/archives/2004_05_01_healingiraq_archive.html#108528371454025314), in which the senior clerics of the Hawza Al-Ilmiyyah of Najaf and Karbala seem to place the blame for all the fighting squarely on al-Sadr and largely absolve the coalition of any blame. They point out that when the coalition was 'storming through the region' on the way to Baghdad they were careful to stay clear of holy sites. They also place the blame on al-Sadr for violating the sanctity of the holy sites in the first place. And they further blame him for the bullet holes in the dome of the shrine of Imam Ali, and seem to accuse him of attempting to kill Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, and of intimidating the population.

Since this letter carries with it the approval of al-Sistani, I would say this may be another of those events on the ground that could swing opinion back the other way. But I've stopped trying to guess how Iraqis will respond to these events.

sinical brit
05-28-2004, 07:57 AM
Perv quote " Personally, I'm more interested in this concept of a "not-lie". I'm intrigued by the possibility that information can be conveyed that is not in the statement in question. I'm just weird that way"

Maybe i can illustrate that this technique is neither new or rare. I think its called " discursive practices". Imagine:

Youre watching the news. A reporter is doing a piece about a zoo refurb. He interviews the zoo director who is waxing lyrical about the new facilities for the animals. The camera shows new animal houses and the like.

The reporter then asks about the happiness of the animals in his zoo. During the reply - in which the director highlights the comforts and support the animals have and that they are all very happy - we get a shot of a **insert cute animal here** banging its head off a wall, marching around in circles, and generally looking distressed.

Now then. The report (er) has not said ANYTHING that could be regarded as accusing the zoo director of mistreating his animals. The editor of the program will say "we just took some footage of the zoo and edited it together - no way was this a deliberate attempt to accuse the zoo of mistreatment " Howerver the information regarding the new facilities in the zoo will be forever linked to the images of dirtressed animals.

See ... information conveyed whilst not actually being the subject of the report ( read: statement in question ).

Note the "link" between the two bits of data, is now a subconcious one, and the interpretation is the viewers. How can the editor be responsible for what his viewer thinks about an issue? But we know he is.

Hope im not patonising anyone here - its just media studies. No zoos were involved in the creation of this metaphore.



Although this is a very interesting thread, Pervert - you dont seem to be taking on board the well documented and explained posts by the people you are debating with. You ask a question, get a very detailed answer with cites, links and explanations written in clear english. Your reply is to just ask another one on a slightly different point.

From here it looks like you are getting crucified in the debate, mate.... however i thanks you for keeping going, as reading this thread is much more interesting than doing any work !

Sin

PatriotX
05-28-2004, 09:09 AM
I always think of what kids might do.

Dad: Johny, didn't I tell yu that you couldn't go over to Jimmy's and play video games all afternoon when you had English homework to do?
Johny: Don't worry Dad, I didn't.


Johny only didn't because he either went over to davids house to play video games all afternoon or because he didn't have english homework, it was math homework.

And yes, it is a very old idea. I just don't know the proper nomenclature

It's the kind of thing that the Devil/Djinn/elf/witch would do in the old fairy tales. Following the letter of the agreement so closely that the spirit of the agreement was meaningless.


It's related to, but not exactly a:

'negative pregnant (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Negative%20pregnant)'-'Such form of negative expression, in pleading, as may imply or carry within it an affirmative.'

negative pregnant (http://dictionary.law.com/definition2.asp?selected=1313&bold=%7C%7C%7C%7C)
n. a denial of an allegation in which a person actually admits more than he/she denies by denying only a part of the alleged fact. Example: Plaintiff alleges Defendant "misused more than a hundred thousand dollars placed in his trust in 1994." Defendant denies the amount was more than a hundred thousand, and denies it was given to him in 1994. Thus, he did not deny the misuse, just the amount and the date.

PatriotX
05-28-2004, 09:33 AM
A Googling of 'negative pregnant (http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&q=%22negative+pregnant%22+-rhesus+-pregnancy+-HIV+-Rh+-chicks&btnG=Search)'