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Old 04-05-2005, 05:09 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Team Bush and "Best Info Available @ the Time"

It has been "contended" that Team Bush "acted according to the best information available" at the time.
This contention must be made w/o regard to the organizations created to gather supporting evidence that varied widely in quality to tie a threat of terrorism against the US to, "sweep it all up, things related and not," as Rumsfeld put it. These organizations, (specifically the OSP, Office of Special Plans, and the PCTEG, Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group), are sure to have lent credence in the eyes of some, to the view of Mohammed Atta, and undoubtedly other members of al Qaida, that "Saddam Hussein was an American stooge set up to give Washington an excuse to intervene in the Middle East"[alt link]
So we have the creation of these extra groups that function outside of the normal operations of the US intelligence system to find the raw materials necessary for Team Bush to cruft a sales pitch for the idea of a threat from Iraq to the US to the American electorate.

Despite the litany of reasons cited for going to war with Iraq, according to one senior official, the threat to the US was recognized within Team Bush as the only one that could justify putting "American kids' lives at risk...on the scale we did..." So this idea of an Iraqi threat was absolutely necessary for the war effort to prevail.

Team Bush's threat spiel was dependent on three main elements: Hussein's non-conventional weapons; Hussein's "operational relationship" with terrorists who would attack the US, (al Qaida being the most well branded candidate); and the idea that Hussein was undeterrable and thus a madman. Without any of these three, the case for a threat to the US from Iraq would be weakened significantly. And thuis the case for invading Iraq would likewise be crippled.

The second most important of these three items were the strong, meaningful and significant ties to a terrorist group likely to attack the US, specifically al Qaida. To further this end, iffy and/or previously debunked reports were stripped of contexts, professional analysis and descriptions of their relative accuracy and presented to the electorate as reliable information. Even classified national security intel was leaked to Bush friendly press outlets to further this idea. Team Bush purposefully used information that was not "the best available" to sell this idea.
As merely a single example, Cheney took up the Atta/Iraq connection as a cause celebre (occasionally to darkly comedic effect):
CHENEY: CLEAR LINKS BETWEEN SADDAM, AL-QAEDA; CALLS NY TIMES ARTICLE 'OUTRAGEOUS'
Thu Jun 17 2004 19:00:33 ET

"...responding to a report from the 9-11 Commission saying it had found no evidence of 'collaboration' between Iraq and Al Qaeda" "Vice President Dick Cheney... called the New York Times coverage of the story 'outrageous'."
Vice Pres. CHENEY: I disagree with the way their findings have been portrayed.
<snip>
There's clearly been a relationship.
There's a separate question. The separate question is: Was Iraq involved with al-Qaida in the attack on 9/11?
<snip>
What The New York Times did today was outrageous. ... The press wants to run out and say there's a fundamental split here now between what the president said and what the commission said. Jim Thompson is a member of the commission who's since been on the air. I saw him with my own eyes. And there's no conflict. What they were addressing was whether or not they were involved in 9/11. And there they found no evidence to support that proposition. They did not address the broader question of a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida in other areas, in other ways.
Vice Pres. CHENEY: But that is a separate question from what the press has gotten all in a dither about, The New York Times especially, on this other question [of whether or not there was a general relationship between UbL and Hussein]. What they've done is, I think, distorted what the commission actually reported, certainly according to Governor Thompson, who's a member of the commission.
BORGER: But you say you disagree with the commission...
Vice Pres. CHENEY: On this question of whether or not there was a general relationship.
BORGER: Yes.
Vice Pres. CHENEY: Yeah.
BORGER: And they say that there was not one forged and you were saying yes, that there was. Do you know things that the commission does not know?
Vice Pres. CHENEY: Probably.
BORGER: And do you think the commission needs to know them?
Vice Pres. CHENEY: I don't have any--I don't know what they know. I do know they didn't talk with any original sources on this subject that say that in their report.
BORGER: They did talk with people who had interrogated sources.
Vice Pres. CHENEY: Right.
BORGER: So they do have good sources.
Vice Pres. CHENEY: Gloria, the notion that there is no relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida just simply is not true.
[Since there actually is a disagreement between "what the president said and what the commission said," and if it is outrageous that the NYT would say that 'there's a fundamental split here now between what the president said and what the commission said,' this means that the VPotUSA is just outraged that the NYT would say it?]
BORGER: Well, let's get to Mohammad Atta for a minute, because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was, quote, "pretty well confirmed."
Vice Pres. CHENEY: No, I never said that.
BORGER: OK.
Vice Pres. CHENEY: Never said that.
BORGER: I think that is...
Vice Pres. CHENEY: Absolutely not. What I said was the Czech intelligence service reported after 9/11 that Atta had been in Prague on April 9th of 2001, where he allegedly met with an Iraqi intelligence official. We have never been able to confirm that nor have we been able to knock it down.


The Vice President Appears on NBC's Meet the Press
December 9, 2001
RUSSERT: Do you still believe there is no evidence that Iraq was involved in September 11?
CHENEY: Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that's been pretty well confirmed, that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.
Cheney continued to cite the supposed meeting without regard to the dearth of reliable evidence that it had occurred and despite the US intel community analysis that the story was most likely hokum. Obviously, this is an instance where Team Bush was insufficiently concerned with what was the best information available.


The most essential element that was necessary was the suspension of disbelief in the undeterrability of Hussein, that he was a 'madman'. Despite the analysis of Dr. Rice ("national obliteration") and the historical incidences (James Baker- "resounding silence" in the Iraqi desert) in which Hussein had been shown to be well deterred from attacking the US w/ non-conventional weapons, and despite the best information available at the time from the US intelligence community, ( the probability of Hussein initiating an attack in the foreseeable future is low ), Team Bush repeatedly sold the idea that an attack from Hussein was something that would happen sooner than later. They said that we could not wait lest there be a mushroom cloud over major metropolitan area (despite the fact that the best information available said that Hussein did not have this capacity ). According to Team Bush Hussein was mongongo monkey nuts with hatred for the US and was willing to sacrifice his own life, livelihood and nation to initiate an attack in the immediate future.
None of this was supported by the best information available at the time.

Without even having to address the issues of Hussein's biological and chemical weapons, it can be seen the idea that Hussein represented a threat to the US were not supported by the best information available at the time.
Without a threat to the US, there was not reason enough to risk American lives on the scale that we have. According to one senior official, Hussein's "criminal treatment of the Iraqi people" was not enough to warrant the major invasion of Iraq.

These are just few examples of how the case for the invasion of Iraq depended on malinfo as opposed to the "best information available at the time."


Then there's the whole issue of how could so many people in the world who had only Google to go by come up with more accurate answers than Team Bush?
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Old 04-05-2005, 05:18 PM
SteveG1 SteveG1 is offline
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Freedom. Gawd. Amurrica. Chevy and baseball and apple pie. Stay the course. Freedom haters. Amurrica haters.

So Mr. Prez, where are all the weapons? Still waiting. Where is Osama? Still waiting. This latest flurry is just a case of "As the people in charge, we fucked up. So now let's shift the blame for our bad decisions down to someone else." No accountability. At least they haven't blamed the war on "activist judges" (yet).
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Old 04-05-2005, 05:38 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Originally Posted by SteveG1
Freedom. ... (yet).
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Old 04-05-2005, 06:14 PM
rjung rjung is offline
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Not that I disagree with the OP or anything, but what's the debate? Other than taking bets on when the resident Bush apologists will come and spin this whole mess as no big deal, the Iraqis now have elections, freedom is on the march, yadda yadda.
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Old 04-05-2005, 06:25 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Originally Posted by rjung
Not that I disagree with the OP or anything, but what's the debate? Other than taking bets on when the resident Bush apologists will come and spin this whole mess as no big deal, the Iraqis now have elections, freedom is on the march, yadda yadda.
Very good question. I'm so glad that you asked.

First, it's relevant to the CICUSRWMD report that has recently been issued. Secondly, and more specifically, in response to Mr Moto's (and soon to be other's) contention, "that Bush acted according to the best information available to him at the time."
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Old 04-05-2005, 07:31 PM
bizzwire bizzwire is online now
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We need to move on....there are more important issues at hand. Don't you realize that people are throwing shoes and pouring salad dressing on innocent people?
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Old 04-05-2005, 07:38 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Originally Posted by bizzwire
We need to move on....there are more important issues at hand. Don't you realize that people are throwing shoes and pouring salad dressing on innocent people?
Cite for the shoes being thrown at an innocent person please.
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:20 PM
HMS Irruncible HMS Irruncible is offline
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Honestly, who throws a shoe?
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:30 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotX
Very good question. I'm so glad that you asked.

First, it's relevant to the CICUSRWMD report that has recently been issued. Secondly, and more specifically, in response to Mr Moto's (and soon to be other's) contention, "that Bush acted according to the best information available to him at the time."
But what's the debate? Are you arguing that the USA PATRIOT Act is unconstitutional and should be struck down by the courts? Or just that it's a fucking bad idea and Congress should repeal it? Or what?

Also, why is the Act relevant to the question of whether Bush had any good reason to believe Saddam had WMD's prior to the war? I don't see the connection, except insofar as they're both instances of Republican Really Bad Shit.
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:38 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
But what's the debate? Are you arguing that the USA PATRIOT Act is unconstitutional and should be struck down by the courts? Or just that it's a fucking bad idea and Congress should repeal it? Or what?

Also, why is the Act relevant to the question of whether Bush had any good reason to believe Saddam had WMD's prior to the war? I don't see the connection, except insofar as they're both instances of Republican Really Bad Shit.
I assume you've confused your threads.
There hasn't been any discussion of the USA PATRIOT ACT in this thread.

The debate is whether or not Team Bush were merely the victims of bad intel or if they purposely (or at least negligently) made questionable (or poor) use of the intel that was available to promote war.
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:53 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by PatriotX
I assume you've confused your threads.
Yes, you're right, I thought I was in the "Screw the Fourth Amendment!" thread -- http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=310470.
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:55 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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But still, as rjung said -- what's the debate, exactly, in this thread?
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:56 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
But still, as rjung said -- what's the debate, exactly, in this thread?
As per post #10

The debate is whether or not Team Bush were merely the victims of bad intel or if they purposely (or at least negligently) made questionable (or poor) use of the intel that was available to promote war.
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Old 04-05-2005, 11:14 PM
pervert pervert is offline
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Dude, I hope the other cites you gave were represented more fairly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotX
Despite the litany of reasons cited for going to war with Iraq, according to one senior official, the threat to the US was recognized within Team Bush as the only one that could justify putting "American kids' lives at risk...on the scale we did..." So this idea of an Iraqi threat was absolutely necessary for the war effort to prevail.
I only looked into this one. It says nothing of the kind. It is, in fact, a rather heated debunking of the very thing you seem to think it proves.

The article concludes:
Tanenhaus has taken a straightforward and conventional observation about strategic arrangements in a post-Saddam Middle East and juiced it up into a vaguely sinister "admission" about America's motives for going to war in the first place.

It includes this from the misquoted interview:

The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason, but . . . there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two. . . . The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it. That second issue about links to terrorism is the one about which there's the most disagreement within the bureaucracy, even though I think everyone agrees that we killed 100 or so of an al Qaeda group in northern Iraq in this recent go-around, that we've arrested that al Qaeda guy in Baghdad who was connected to this guy Zarqawi whom Powell spoke about in his U.N. presentation.

So, what he said was that helping the Iraqi people was not in and of itself enough of a motive to put Americans at risk. Except that he did not even say that. He added the proviso that it was not enough to justify the scale we used in the Iraqi invastion. But he most certainly did not say anything like "No WMD means no cause for war".
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Old 04-05-2005, 11:24 PM
pervert pervert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotX
Team Bush's threat spiel was dependent on three main elements: Hussein's non-conventional weapons; Hussein's "operational relationship" with terrorists who would attack the US, (al Qaida being the most well branded candidate); and the idea that Hussein was undeterrable and thus a madman. Without any of these three, the case for a threat to the US from Iraq would be weakened significantly. And thuis the case for invading Iraq would likewise be crippled.
I have to disagree with your logic that any of these could be removed and the whole case would crumble.

I agree that Iraqi WMD was a major part of the case for war.

I also agree that the relationship with Al Qaida was a large part of it. However, I do not think that this piece is exclusive. That is, just because we decide that Iraqis never met with Al Qaida operatives does not mean that a)other terrorists were unavailable to Hussein nor that b) Hussein himself could not have used those tactics.

Finally, I don't think anyone ever suggested that if there were any slight trace of humanity (or deterability) in Hussein that this would mean there was no need for a war. I think this part you have backwards. If I recall the rhetoric, the point was that Hussein was a madman and thus not deterable enough for comfort. I'd especially like a cite to the monkey nuts line you used.

I'm partially willing to debate wether the Bush administration screwed up or intentionally mislead the world with regard to intelligence on Iraq. But it is unnecessary to portray the motives in such a one sided way.
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Old 04-05-2005, 11:53 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
But he most certainly did not say anything like "No WMD means no cause for war".
Dude, I did NOT, repeat did NOT say, "WMD was recognized within Team Bush as the only one that could justify putting "American kids' lives at risk...on the scale we did..."
Dude, check it what I did write, a'right: "...the threat to the US was recognized within Team Bush as the only one that could justify putting "American kids' lives at risk...on the scale we did..." "

Wolfowitz mentions four reasons. I'm making the case that three of them are subsets of "threat to the US"
1) weapons of mass destruction
2) support for terrorism
3) the connection between the first two

When he discusses the other reason, the "criminal treatment of the Iraqi people," he makes the point that "it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it."
Since we did have reason to put American kids' lives at risk on the scale we did, this means that (at least one if not more of) the other reasons he provided (items 1,2 &3 above), which are subsets of "threat to the US," were reasons for putting American kids' lives at risk on the scale we did it. These three items are subsets of the threat to the US from Hussein's Iraq.
Hence, the threat to the US (as distinguished from WMD) from Hussein's Iraq was the reason that justified putting "American kids' lives at risk...on the scale we did..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
He added the proviso that it was not enough to justify the scale we used in the Iraqi invasion.
Dude, I'm unsure as to why you thought I was ignoring or downplaying the proviso. I made an explicit point to note the part about scale by including the words, "...on the scale we did..." I'm not sure how to make that much clearer.

I hope I've been able to clarify what I wrote. I apologize for the lack of limpidity.
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Old 04-06-2005, 12:11 AM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
I have to disagree with your logic that any of these could be removed and the whole case would crumble.
I said "weakened significantly" and "crippled," not destroyed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
I also agree that the relationship with Al Qaida was a large part of it. However, I do not think that this piece is exclusive. That is, just because we decide that Iraqis never met with Al Qaida operatives does not mean that a)other terrorists were unavailable to Hussein nor that b) Hussein himself could not have used those tactics.
I said, "Hussein's "operational relationship" with terrorists who would attack the US, (al Qaida being the most well branded candidate)." What I mean was that the al Qaeda was the best branded, most widely known of potential terrorist groups available to fill the bill of "terrorists who would attack the US."

Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
Finally, I don't think anyone ever suggested that if there were any slight trace of humanity (or deterability) in Hussein that this would mean there was no need for a war. I think this part you have backwards. If I recall the rhetoric, the point was that Hussein was a madman and thus not deterable enough for comfort.
I said, "suspension of disbelief in the undeterrability of Hussein." This means that one had to suspend one's disbelief in the undeterrability of Hussein. This suspension of disbelief allowed Hussein's undeterrability to be believed. Which amounts to roughly same as "Hussein was a madman and thus not deterable enough for comfort."
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Old 04-06-2005, 12:13 AM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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We seem to agree much more than you're giving us credit for.
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Old 04-06-2005, 12:15 AM
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Apparently, "mongongo monkey nuts" is a Simon W. Moon Original.
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Old 04-06-2005, 12:35 AM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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One can only hope.
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Old 04-06-2005, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
I have to disagree with your logic that any of these could be removed and the whole case would crumble.
Here's a question I've asked several times in previous threads about the case for war. Can anyone give an estimate of how the case for war would have looked without the WMD justification? Once that's done, can we get some analysis as to how this case would have fared had it been on a resolution to authorize force? Because from what I see and have seen since the pre-war days, no one was willing to start a war over humanitarian violations by Hussein or to spread democracy.

A couple of excerpts from previous posts by me in previous threads sum up my assessment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtgman
I said earlier(pre-war) that I would probably have supported action against Saddam's regime on humanitarian grounds. I've got a fairly strong isolationist streak though, not because I believe in US supremacy and those ferriners are just beneath my notice, but more because I fear the horrible bungling that half or more of "nation-building" attempts turn out to be. So for me the removal of Saddam was an ends I approved of, with a means I despise. The ends do not justify the means(especially since we're a long way from the actual end of this venture). Want to see if this democratic country should go to war for your listed causus belli? Then put those, and only those, on a declaration of war and have a vote. Some of my fellow citizens were hoodwinked into thinking Saddam was a "grave and gathering threat" when the reality is that he was contained by sanctions and inspections and too scared to even start an elementary Bio-Weapons program(the easiest to run and conceal). As far as I'm concerned this means the resolution to authorize force should be considered null and void. One of the underlying assumptions, the major one, was bullshit. There is no way in hell that it would have passed without the WMD threat being on it.

The lumps of living in a democracy mean that sometimes minorities, like those who wanted Saddam gone(for whatever reason), don't get what they want. You wanted him gone. I wanted him gone. Lots of people wanted him gone, but we weren't a majority, even all together. So some of those who wanted him gone bullshitted a larger bloc of people into joining the "remove Saddam" bandwagon so it would reach critical mass. Even though the wind on my face feels nice now that we're moving, the smell of the bullshit loaded on the wagon to draw the extra passengers is making me sick.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtgman
WMD was the "grave and gathering threat". It was the cornerstone of the case for war both in the congress(which authorized force) and in the presentations to the electorate. The case for war does not stand without it, at least not for a large enough majority for it to be considered a legimitate exercise of the will of the people.
Enjoy,
Steven
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:14 AM
SteveG1 SteveG1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
But what's the debate? Are you arguing that the USA PATRIOT Act is unconstitutional and should be struck down by the courts? Or just that it's a fucking bad idea and Congress should repeal it? Or what?

Also, why is the Act relevant to the question of whether Bush had any good reason to believe Saddam had WMD's prior to the war? I don't see the connection, except insofar as they're both instances of Republican Really Bad Shit.
Unconstitutional - I think it is.
Should be struck down - I think it should be.
Relevant to Saddam or anything else (other than amassing more power for the Gov't) - It is irrelevant and not much use.
Really Bad Shit - I agree.

But then, jumping off to war, based on preconceptions, cherry picked info, ignoring contradicting advice and warnings and independent reports, and then blaming some anonymous low level Dilbert schmucks for your decision is Really Bad Shit too. It smacks of nonaccountability.
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:22 AM
SteveG1 SteveG1 is offline
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For those with short attention spans, WMD and the "terror link" was used to "sell" the war. We were all told that Saddam had WMD - nukes, gas, germs, whatever. We were told he was all cozy with Osama. We were told they were "comin' ta git us". It was told to the U.S.and it was recited by Powel to the U.N.

It was not enough to say "Saddam is mean so we wanna whack him". The president, vice president, and their people wanted the war. They needed an excuse. When 9/11 happened, the excuse was handed to them on a silver platter, but the "villain" was not who they wanted. So, they manufactured a "link" between Osama and Saddam.

So, once again we keep going in a damn circle. Where the hell is Osama? I for one am not satisfied with the debate drivel about him being marginalized and no longer important.
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Old 04-06-2005, 12:01 PM
pervert pervert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotX
We seem to agree much more than you're giving us credit for.
You know what? I have to appologize for those two posts. I did have a point in there somewhere, but my ire got in the way. Old habits rearing there ugly head again, I guess. Let me take a day or two and try and make those points again in a more rational way. I appologize if anything I said gave offence.
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Old 04-06-2005, 09:09 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
I appologize if anything I said gave offence.
None taken.
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:33 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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It is obvious to me that the best information was ignored. The best information was that from Hans Blix and the UN inspectors who were actually on scene and making the rounds of inspection. And weren't they saying "No WMD." which was finally admitted by GW's WMD guy David Kay?

They were not only ignored, their work was essentially sabotaged and cut short by the rush to war.
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Old 04-06-2005, 11:08 PM
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Hussein was a likely target for any kind of action. I'd be willing to bet that in 50 years the history books will follow along this path.

Saddam was already an established enemy of the US thanks to Gulf I.

He was found to be a factor in the assassination attempt of a former US President.

He openly sent large cash gifts to families of those that died in efforts to kill Jews.

He used barbaric means to make sure the majority kept quiet and fearful.

He made sure that in his defiance, he left the impression that he still had considerable weaponry.

He had no qualms about using his weapons against the citizens in his own country.


Now, take all that, add in the long-standing problems the ME has had with the West and top it off with 9/11.

Diplomacy and protests are all well and good, and have their place in the world of politics, especially in the ME. However, in that region there seems to be a small but sizeable portion that just doesn't understand anything but brute force.

The elections in Iraq and Afghanistan seem to show that a majority want free elections and a voice in government, while the few that held power are fighting tooth and nail to supress that basic right.

Of course, all we have to do is look to the US to debunk the previous statement. Over here, the will of the majority is stated in elections, then assailed by the minority and likened to a dictatorship.

Actually, I no longer know who's correct.
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Old 04-07-2005, 08:59 AM
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The history books written by those who dug no deeper into the issue than right-wing blogs and Republican talking points maybe.

Enjoy,
Steven
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Old 04-07-2005, 11:06 AM
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It looks like there may be a fight brewing, and some people are not happy. The CIA and some congresscritters want to know how a presidential commission unearthed details on intel failure that were missed by All previous investigations. This commission apparently had details that did not emerge at any previous time in any previous investigation.
CIA tried to tell top bosses that "Curveball" was a suspected fabricator. There suposedly was a warning about it given directly to George Tenet to not trust him - Tenet has very conveniently stated he doesn't remember. Selective memory at its best?

Comment - if I started a war, I would damn well remember how and why I did it.

Tenet has written a SEVEN PAGE statement, just to say "he doesn't remember". He somehow remebers enough of the "convenient" things to fill SEVEN PAGES.

I firmly believe that this latest "presidential report" has only one purpose - to shift blame and absolve the big boys of any possible repercussions from the decisions they made. I use the term "report" very loosely.
  #30  
Old 04-07-2005, 11:20 AM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer
Hussein was a likely target for any kind of action.
As Mr. Atta maintained.
Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer
I'd be willing to bet that in 50 years the history books will follow along this path.
Saddam was already an established enemy of the US thanks to Gulf I.
He was found to be a factor in the assassination attempt of a former US President.
He openly sent large cash gifts to families of those that died in efforts to kill Jews.
He used barbaric means to make sure the majority kept quiet and fearful.
He made sure that in his defiance, he left the impression that he still had considerable weaponry.
He had no qualms about using his weapons against the citizens in his own country.
I suspect that history books say this now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer
Now, take all that, add in the long-standing problems the ME has had with the West and top it off with 9/11.
Here's where you take the great leap of faith- connecting the invasion of Iraq w/ 9/11.
There's no reason to believe or to have believed that Hussein was a threat to the US either directly or via third party terrorists.
As far as the GWoT, Iraq has lowered the standing of the US worldwide, esp so among inhabitants of majority Muslim countires. It has provided the motivation and means for many more people to tranform themselves into proficient terrorists. It was recognized before the invasion by members of the NIC that the invasion of Iraq would increase the number of anti-American terrorists, and since the invasion it has been noted that it has in fact aided the cause of anti-American terrorist recruitment worldwide.
Since the invasion of Iraq has worsened (and was anticipated to worsen) the US's security picture vis a vis terrorist who wish to strike the US what's 9-11 got to do with it? Unless one is making the case that the invasion of Iraq was to generate more 9-11 type events.
Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer
The elections in Iraq and Afghanistan seem to show that a majority want free elections and a voice in government,
Oddly enough some surveys show that in several MEcountries democratic ideals are more highly regarded than here in the US.
  #31  
Old 04-07-2005, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
It is obvious to me that the best information was ignored. The best information was that from Hans Blix and the UN inspectors who were actually on scene and making the rounds of inspection. And weren't they saying "No WMD." which was finally admitted by GW's WMD guy David Kay?

They were not only ignored, their work was essentially sabotaged and cut short by the rush to war.
I don't believe that anybody before the war said that Saddam had no WMD. At least, nobody suggested that it had been proven. I recall Blix, and his supporters, asking that he be given more time to inspect. Why would you need more time to inspect if you know Saddam has no WMD?

Blix didn't find evidence of WMD, but that is a far different thing than proving there aren't any. Especially since Saddam had been very resistant to giving the inspectors the full access they wanted. Until the US army was stationed on his border, he still threw up roadblocks to the inspectors.

Personally, I think Bush relied on bad intel. Giving it far too much weight. Clinton had made similar conclusions on Saddam's WMD capability, but didn't deem them strong enough (or important enough) to go to war on. A great many people in the government, on both sides, believed that Saddam had WMD, but only Bush and his supporters wanted to go to war over it.

Not exactly the Evil Bush some would make him out to be, but more incompetant, and still not acceptable for a leader.
  #32  
Old 04-07-2005, 01:25 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
I don't believe that anybody before the war said that Saddam had no WMD. At least, nobody suggested that it had been proven. I recall Blix, and his supporters, asking that he be given more time to inspect. Why would you need more time to inspect if you know Saddam has no WMD?

Blix didn't find evidence of WMD, but that is a far different thing than proving there aren't any. Especially since Saddam had been very resistant to giving the inspectors the full access they wanted. Until the US army was stationed on his border, he still threw up roadblocks to the inspectors.

Personally, I think Bush relied on bad intel. Giving it far too much weight. Clinton had made similar conclusions on Saddam's WMD capability, but didn't deem them strong enough (or important enough) to go to war on. A great many people in the government, on both sides, believed that Saddam had WMD, but only Bush and his supporters wanted to go to war over it.

Not exactly the Evil Bush some would make him out to be, but more incompetant, and still not acceptable for a leader.
More nit-picking excuses to absolve an incompetent President and a bunch of war hawk ideologues. The UN inspectors were saying they had found no evidence but that was ignored in favor of false information from a shady source that supported what GW et al wanted to do all along.

Once again, there was no iminent threat to US national security from Iraq so grave as to justify a war.

I maintain that the best information was ignored.
  #33  
Old 04-07-2005, 02:06 PM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is offline
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Call a guy incompetant and unacceptable for a leader and I'm absolving him? I'm not trying to absolve anyone, Bush screwed the pooch big time.

However, this does not mean that Blix, prior to the war, stated that Iraq had no WMD. That is what you claimed they were saying "No WMD." He said, IIRC, that he hadn't found anything and wanted more time to conduct his inspections.

None of this should absolve Bush, since he claimed to have positive evidence of WMD, which he obviously didn't.
  #34  
Old 04-07-2005, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
Personally, I think Bush relied on bad intel. Giving it far too much weight.
Are you referring to the intel that was known to be inaccurate and/or unreliable that Team Bush purposely assembeled via the Office of Special Plans and the Policy Terrorism Evaluation Group to help them pitch the invasion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
Clinton had made similar conclusions on Saddam's WMD capability, but didn't deem them strong enough (or important enough) to go to war on. A great many people in the government, on both sides, believed that Saddam had WMD, but only Bush and his supporters wanted to go to war over it.
In part, this is an example of what I posted in the OP- the idea of a threat to the US from Hussein. There was an apparent consensus that Hussein wasn't likely to initate an attack on the US either directly or by proxy via third party terrorists. This is one of the more blatant examples of Team Bush relying on "bad intel" despite the widespread availability of better intel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
Not exactly the Evil Bush some would make him out to be, but more incompetant, and still not acceptable for a leader.
It depends on how one assigns the quality of 'evil'. Perhaps, if motives are the key factor, Team Bush was acting "for our own good" and thus not evil.
However, someone(s) made deliberate decisions to ignore good intel and hype poor quality intel re several key elements of the case to go to war. At the least, this is willful negligence.
  #35  
Old 04-07-2005, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
None of this should absolve Bush, since he claimed to have positive evidence of WMD, which he obviously didn't.
There's more to it than just the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons.
  #36  
Old 04-07-2005, 02:36 PM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotX
Are you referring to the intel that was known to be inaccurate and/or unreliable that Team Bush purposely assembeled via the Office of Special Plans and the Policy Terrorism Evaluation Group to help them pitch the invasion?
I'm not sure how inaccurate it was known to be, but I am talking in general about the information he used to back up the WMD/threat claim.
Quote:
It depends on how one assigns the quality of 'evil'. Perhaps, if motives are the key factor, Team Bush was acting "for our own good" and thus not evil.
However, someone(s) made deliberate decisions to ignore good intel and hype poor quality intel re several key elements of the case to go to war. At the least, this is willful negligence.
Some posters in the past have ascribed motives to Bush that can only be described as evil. Starting a war to earn money for Halliburton, or his oil buddies, or to take revenge on Saddam. Willful negligence, while it may have the same end result, is a different thing.
  #37  
Old 04-07-2005, 04:06 PM
pervert pervert is offline
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OK. I've had a couple days to think. Please allow me to appologize again for those first 2 posts in this thread.

If you don't mind (and I understand if you do, I may be asking you to cover things you have already done) could you help me understand the terms we are using? I seem to detect some vagueness regarding the idea of "the best intelligence" especially when compared to the idea of using intellignce in the best way.

Specifically, do we have a good cite which shows one of the intelligence agencies of the time saying unequivically that Sadam did not have any WMD? I don't expect that we do, and I am not saying that without this the war is justified. I just want to be sure. Short of that, do we have any agency saying that their conclusion was that Sadam likely had no WMD? And short of that, do we have any agency saying that they don't know, but they guess the he does not have any WMD.

It seems to me that this is the essential sticking point of this particular debate. Whether or not it was reasonable for Bush to conclude that Iraq posed or did not pose a threat via WMD. What you seem to be suggesting (please correct me if I am wrong) is that there were serious reasons to doubt the conclusion of some agencies that Iraq had WMD. I agree with this assessment. However, can you find any cites which suggest that the agencies in question agreed on this at the time? That is, did the conclusions of any of the briefing documents say in effect we have a little evidence of Iraqi WMD but we think it is pretty sketchy?

There. That seems much more polite.
  #38  
Old 04-07-2005, 04:15 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
I'm not sure how inaccurate it was known to be, but I am talking in general about the information he used to back up the WMD/threat claim.
I provided the examples of Dr. Rice's analysis, the effectiveness of James Baker's veiled threat before GW1 and and even a link to the US intel community's testimony before Congress, all showing that Hussein was considered, as Powell put it, "contained," unlikely to initiate an attack on the US in the "foreseeable future".

What would make you sure of the deterrability of Hussein?
  #39  
Old 04-07-2005, 04:27 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
It seems to me that this is the essential sticking point of this particular debate. Whether or not it was reasonable for Bush to conclude that Iraq posed or did not pose a threat via WMD. What you seem to be suggesting (please correct me if I am wrong) is that there were serious reasons to doubt the conclusion of some agencies that Iraq had WMD.
Actualy what I'm trying to do is address something different than this - the issue of "if Hussein did have banned weapons, why would one think he'd attack the US either directly or by proxy via third party terrorist organizations?"
FTSOA, let's start from the supposition that there was absolutely no doubt whatsoever anywhere in the entire known universe that Hussein had some chemical and biological weapons of some sort.
Even when Hussein had these weapons, as he assuredly did during GW1, he did not use them against the US. James Baker advised Mr. Aziz that to do so would result in a "resounding silence" in the Iraqi desert. The implication being that if Hussein wanted to play the WMD game then the US was willing to play and we have the Real & Actual WMDs to play with.
So, why did Hussein suddenly stop being deterred by what Dr. Rice described as "national obliteration"?

Why, when our intel agencies were telling us that Hussein was unlikely to attack the US in the forseeable future, would an attack from Hussein be portrayed as an issue that had to be dealt with posthaste?
  #40  
Old 04-07-2005, 05:19 PM
pervert pervert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotX
Actualy what I'm trying to do is address something different than this - the issue of "if Hussein did have banned weapons, why would one think he'd attack the US either directly or by proxy via third party terrorist organizations?"
Ok, but this seems the easiest portion of your OP to answer. That's one reason I did not address it. Perhaps I am missing something. Did our intelligence agencies have some information which would lead you to trust Sadam Hussein in a post 9-11 world?

Quote:
Why, when our intel agencies were telling us that Hussein was unlikely to attack the US in the forseeable future, would an attack from Hussein be portrayed as an issue that had to be dealt with posthaste?
Because unlikely was no longer good enough.

I think it is really just that simple. But that, of course, moves farther into the realm of how intelligence was used, and away from whether or not the intelligence used was the best available at the time.
  #41  
Old 04-07-2005, 06:25 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
Did our intelligence agencies have some information which would lead you to trust Sadam Hussein in a post 9-11 world?
Trust has nothing to do with it. It's quite the wrong word in this situation.
The question is, are there any reasons to believe that Hussein changed in the twenty four hours between 9-10 and 9-12?
Why would the calculus suddenly become that he was willing to see himself deposed and/or killed and have his country destroyed?
Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
Because unlikely was no longer good enough.
Unlikely applies to quite a number of nations. If it's not good enough, we should also attack them too. Some of these countries who're unlikely to attack the US actually do have ties to international terrorist organizations (al Qaeda among others) and actually do sponsor terrorism and actually do have chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Where do you suggest that we draw the line if not at unlikely? We can't draw the line at 'impossible'.

In any case the issue is,
"Why, when the consensus was that such an attack from Iraq was unlikely, was Team Bush portraying it as a impending inevitability?"
  #42  
Old 04-07-2005, 06:45 PM
pervert pervert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotX
Trust has nothing to do with it. It's quite the wrong word in this situation.
The question is, are there any reasons to believe that Hussein changed in the twenty four hours between 9-10 and 9-12?
Nothing.

Quote:
Why would the calculus suddenly become that he was willing to see himself deposed and/or killed and have his country destroyed?
It doesn't have to.

Quote:
Unlikely applies to quite a number of nations.
True, but not rellevant. There are a miriad of other factors which make each of those nations unique. That the US is no longer to tollerate the same risks it did before 9-11 is only one of them.

Quote:
Where do you suggest that we draw the line if not at unlikely? We can't draw the line at 'impossible'.
Oh. That is a different question altogether. I would suggest that much more uncooperation with international agencies has to be factored in. Shooting at American military planes might factor in. Unlikely means different things when applied to different nations. Especially when you consider what would push the nation from unlikely to likely. As I recall (please correct me) the intelligence report you are refering to did indicate that Sadam might use extra conventional means if he thought he was being attacked. Did it mention what they thought the fallout of an "oil for food" type scandal might be? If Sadam thought it was now going to be decades before he could lift the sanction regime?

Quote:
In any case the issue is,
"Why, when the consensus was that such an attack from Iraq was unlikely, was Team Bush portraying it as a impending inevitability?"
Well, now, that would certainly have been wrong. I guess I missed the quote in which an administration official said that Iraq was going to attack us inevitably. I recall "growing threat" and "can't let the first evidence be a mushroom cloud" type rhetoric. Which were certainly hyperbolic. But were they "inevitable"?

You see, again, I don't think it is necessary to portray Bush and his administration in this way. It is not necessary to conclude that they were mongongo monkey nuts* for war just as it is unecessary to assume Sadam had gone mongongo monkey nuts. All that is necessary is to note that Iraq and America had been butting heads in a semi peaceful way for a long time. 9-11 changed the Bush administration's tolerance for this arrangement. I think the tolerance for Sadam had been degrading considerably since before Bush came to office. Our experience during 9-11 just pushed it over the top.



*Absolutely lovely phrase. What would you make of a politician who was mongongo monkey nuts for not-lies?
  #43  
Old 04-07-2005, 06:48 PM
bizzwire bizzwire is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer
Hussein was a likely target for any kind of action. .
I agree, but not for the reasons you're thinking of

Quote:
I'd be willing to bet that in 50 years the history books will follow along this path.
I agree again, and again believe this will be the result of the diligent revisionism we're seeing today on this very board

Quote:
Saddam was already an established enemy of the US thanks to Gulf I.
. Certainly an enemy of Kuwait, and he definitely hated our guts, but, as enemies go....feh. Soviet Russia, now there's an enemy.......


Quote:
He was found to be a factor in the assassination attempt of a former US President.
...And now he's under arrest, so I say let the trial begin ASAP; I mean the government must have scads of information about this assasination attempt and Hussein's role. Funny that no one seems so eager to try him for it.

Quote:
He openly sent large cash gifts to families of those that died in efforts to kill Jews.
Oh...puleeeze.... This is too pathetic to comment on.

Quote:
He used barbaric means to make sure the majority kept quiet and fearful.
...which puts him in the company of scores of scumbags whose countries we have not invaded

Quote:
He made sure that in his defiance, he left the impression that he still had considerable weaponry.
....That ....Poseur!!!

Quote:
He had no qualms about using his weapons against the citizens in his own country.
This explains our intense involvement in Rwanda and Darfur


Quote:
Now, take all that, add in the long-standing problems the ME has had with the West and top it off with 9/11.
And you get a dog's lunch of half-baked back-pedalling of astounding paucity.

Back to the OP; as has been pointed out, the administration didn't suffer from a dearth of good information...there were mounds of it from the people who were there, looking for them, indicating that there were no WMD. There were also mounds of bad information...some of it already flagged as being of questionable validity. The problem is that the administration chose the wrong mound.
  #44  
Old 04-07-2005, 06:52 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
Call a guy incompetant and unacceptable for a leader and I'm absolving him? I'm not trying to absolve anyone, Bush screwed the pooch big time.

However, this does not mean that Blix, prior to the war, stated that Iraq had no WMD. That is what you claimed they were saying "No WMD." He said, IIRC, that he hadn't found anything and wanted more time to conduct his inspections.

None of this should absolve Bush, since he claimed to have positive evidence of WMD, which he obviously didn't.
You are correct. I should have said that Blix was saying that no WMD had been found so far or words to that effect. Sorry. And I was over hasty in reading your post and missed your calling GW incopetent. We seem to be generally in agreement on that at least.
  #45  
Old 04-07-2005, 06:58 PM
Mtgman Mtgman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
Did our intelligence agencies have some information which would lead you to trust Sadam Hussein in a post 9-11 world?
No one said anything about trust. No-fly zones aren't trust. Inspections aren't trust. Sanctions aren't trust. Hans Blix is not trust. David Kay was not trust. All of your exported oil going through a third party which restricts what you can buy with the funds to food, medicine, and other basic needs is certainly not indicating trust.

Hans Blix's report on the eve of war didn't show trust.
Quote:
Mr. President, Let me conclude by telling you that UNMOVIC is currently drafting the work programme, which resolution 1284 (1999) requires us to submit this month. It will obviously contain our proposed list of key remaining disarmament tasks; it will describe the reinforced system of ongoing monitoring and verification that the Council has asked us to implement; it will also describe the various subsystems which constitute the programme, e.g. for aerial surveillance, for information from governments and suppliers, for sampling, for the checking of road traffic, etc.
This "work programme" he mentions, and which was mandated in 1999 as an ongoing inspections effort, certainly doesn't indicate "trust". Aerial surveillance, reports from governments and suppliers, sampling of Iraqi chemical and biological lab products/stores, checking of road traffic, etc. These are not what you do when you trust someone.

Yet, yes. I could have slept well at night knowing this was the relationship we had with Hussein. Contained, inspected, sanctioned. Toothless.

Enjoy,
Steven
  #46  
Old 04-07-2005, 08:10 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
Nothing. It doesn't have to.
So if Hussein's not going to attack, whence the danger? No danger, no war.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
Well, now, that would certainly have been wrong. I guess I missed the quote in which an administration official said that Iraq was going to attack us inevitably. I recall "growing threat" and "can't let the first evidence be a mushroom cloud" type rhetoric. Which were certainly hyperbolic. But were they "inevitable"?
Team Bush is actually a bit wider of a group of folks than those who are technically 'administration officials'. Team Bush includes folks like that Dick Perle who, although an informal advisor of the Prez's and listed as an appointee of an advisory committee was technically not actually an employee or else he'd be in jail now. (Good thing for him that he didn't clock in for the required six days of work.) It also includes various attack-Iraq-Bush-backers on Capitol Hill, civilian members of the Pentagon such as Feith, Wolfowitz etc. and others who, though close to the Admin are not technically members of it.
But in any case, the notion of 'pre-emptive' by definition pre-supposes that an attack is nigh. And, even the more accurate descriptor 'preventive war' is based on the concept that war is inevitable and that it is better to fight now while the costs are low rather than later when the costs are high. The only question left really is the timing.

I propose that rather than wrangle with the definition of "is," or ask for or offer a concession, I'll merely change the language to suit:

"Why, when the consensus was that such an attack from Iraq was unlikely, was Team Bush portraying it as something other than unlikely?"


Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
All that is necessary is to note that Iraq and America had been butting heads in a semi peaceful way for a long time. 9-11 changed the Bush administration's tolerance for this arrangement. I think the tolerance for Sadam had been degrading considerably since before Bush came to office.
Because the Bush Admin's intolerance is hardly sufficient to send a nation to war I say that it's not "all that is necessary".

Quote:
Originally Posted by pervert
What would you make of a politician who was mongongo monkey nuts for not-lies?
Which one from where and which time period?
  #47  
Old 04-07-2005, 10:13 PM
Scott Plaid Scott Plaid is offline
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Honestly, who throws a shoe?
::Scott limps away, minus a shoe. Obviously, since he has not been seen to have thrown a shoe, he either has very bad aim, or it happened in another thread.::
  #48  
Old 04-07-2005, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mtgman
Yet, yes. I could have slept well at night knowing this was the relationship we had with Hussein. Contained, inspected, sanctioned. Toothless.
Forgive me, but the assumption for the purpose of that last post was that his posession of WMD were not questioned. I'm glad that you would have been willing to sleep trusting in the sanctions to keep Sadam tame. Others could not. That's all I'm saying.
  #49  
Old 04-08-2005, 12:00 AM
rjung rjung is offline
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Quote:
He was found to be a factor in the assassination attempt of a former US President.
...And now he's under arrest, so I say let the trial begin ASAP; I mean the government must have scads of information about this assasination attempt and Hussein's role. Funny that no one seems so eager to try him for it.
Probably because Hussein was not responsible for any assassination attempt on George H. W. Bush's life; it was a hoax apparently set up by the Kuwaitis to draw the US closer to them, as Seymour Hirsch debunks here.

Not that it'll stop duffer from spreading that mistruth in the future, I'm sure...
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  #50  
Old 04-08-2005, 12:09 AM
pervert pervert is offline
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Originally Posted by PatriotX
So if Hussein's not going to attack, whence the danger? No danger, no war.
Ah, but no one said he was not going to attack. We just agreed that he did not have to become sanguine about the utter destruction of Iraq. What if he bacame convinced he could get away with it? It would only take a few months*.

[QUOTE]
"Why, when the consensus was that such an attack from Iraq was unlikely, was Team Bush portraying it as something other than unlikely?"
Well, I'm not sure they did this either. Really, they simply said that the level of "unlikely" was not unlikely enough. Didn't they simply portray Iraq as a threat?

Quote:
Because the Bush Admin's intolerance is hardly sufficient to send a nation to war I say that it's not "all that is necessary".
Yes, but this is a misreading of what I said. I was talking about the continued degradation of American tolerence for Sadam as a larger trend. My point was that 9-11 did not have to be some earth shattering paridigm shifting event. By the time Bush came into office there were substantial blocks who had had enough of Sadam Hussein. I did not mean that such intolerence was all that is necessary for the US to go to war. I simply meant that it is all that is necessary to understand the shift in policy which occured following 9-11. Obviously more things are necessary to go to war than that Bush is pissed at a country's leader.



Quote:
Which one from where and which time period?
I wasn't thinking of any one in particular. Just trying to put some newspeak into a cute question.



*I know, as it turned out, he'd have to become convinced he could get away with it for longer than that. But if we accept the he had WMD stockpiles, he would only have to become convinced that he could get away with an attack against the US for a few months to plan and pull one off.
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