Hey Sevastopol: over here if you want to discuss Bluesman

This is NOT a Pitting per se; I just wanted to keep this digression from hijacking this thread.

The state of play:

OK, now we’re all caught up.

He is my friend. But my post here did not rely on that fact in any way. But apparently you’re incapable of responding to what I actually said.

And you promised you wouldn’t mention him again. Now you’re even.

Sometimes people walk away from a fight that they know they’ve lost. Sometimes they do that even when they say they’ll do otherwise. Happens all the time.

But rarely do people keep freaking out about it for years afterwards. There are names for people like that, and I’d expect to find them in DSM-IV.

This is even scarier: I dimly remember our having words about this before, but it was some time ago, and I certainly can’t remember what, specifically, either of us said. But here you either care enough to have it bookmarked, or remember well enough to find it with a search.

But if you’re going to drag whatever fight we had back then into a current thread, the least you could do is link.

Your evidence?

I’ve got this dim recollection that most of the country did that. I hope you’re not similarly obsessed over 100 million people.

Do you have one scintilla of evidence that Bluesman committed some professional breach of integrity, let alone that anything he might’ve done could have deflected the Bushies from taking this country to war?

Well, no shit, but that admission isn’t exactly a ‘get out of slime free’ card. Equivalently, I could say something like “you break into octogenarian widows’ homes and rape them as a hobby. If that’s not true then I’m wrong.” You see?

Oh, the heck with it, I guess it is a Pitting after all. If the shoe fits.

Meh. I’d like to have Bluesman keep his word and explain himself too, frankly.

As I said, I don’t wish to harp on. However I thought your reply merited a response. Secondly I have previously started a pit thread about the man and won’t be repetitive.

At core my objection is that the man wrote intelligence reports to say that the Iraq posed a certain and real threat to the United States. Not because the evidence sustained that view, which it plainly did not, but because he supported the invasion of Iraq for his own partisan reasons.

In short, he was right in the thick of fabricating the bogus intelligence to facilitate the invasion. His latter posts show this. Search and see.

So he was in a privileged position to known - for a fact - that the President was lying. Unlike the credulous or indifferent millions.

The options then - not buckle - write a report that reflected what the evidence showed - and the consequences be damned.

  • Leak the fact that the President was lying about the content of the intelligence.

Had the intelligence services integrity, no war would have been possible. Lastly it is a good example of the failure of American culture that enabled this war to occur.

That’s my position. If I’m wrong then good and well, but my reading of the posts shows otherwise. As I say I’ve dealt with this before and now return as a courtesy to you. It is your pit thread. Bring the cites to contradict me and I will apologise and withdraw. If the evidence shows otherwise I’d request the same from you.

I freely admit that this was what intially invited my views of the man.

However, it is just a message board, small potatos. Only, the getting on-board with the deception campaign is a serious matter. As I say 10s of thousands dead. His fault.

Meh. IMO Sevastopol is overreacting slightly. However, he has a quite valid point. I can recall sitting on Jonathan Chance’s front porch with Airman Doors and Bluesman, as a much younger Dwalin tried to make time with his eldest daughter inside, while Bluesman gave Airman Doors the straight scoop on the particular training detail he was due to report to, and then waxed eloquent on “what little he could say” about what the NSA had found that definitely proved that Iraq had WMDs. Since much of the intelligence that led to this conclusion was classified, though, we’d just have to trust his word.

I think it’s clear how that worked out. I have two choices: Bluesman was lying through his teeth, to two respected Dopers who otherwise didn’t mean a whole lot to the larger scheme of things; or someone was fabricating intelligence that was convincing to a skeptical experienced NSA staffer.

If the first is true, Bluesman owes several of us an apology. If the second, it’s symptomatic of something very, very wrong in this country.

Which is the main reason I’m making this post. I fully admit to being too trusting, believing that people with no obvious ulterior motive will generally tell me the truth. IF Bluesman lied to me, it’s no cosmic huhu. *But if the alternative is true, and Bluesman himself was misled, well, then friends, we got trouble, right here in River City, with a capital T that rhymes with B that stands for…

He was part of the process that sold the war to the public, with reasons that turned out to be false. This resulted in thousands of deaths that may not have happened if the politicians didn’t have the support of Americans scared by these falsehoods.

Whether Bluesman’s participation in that process and the promotion of falsehood was an honest mistake on his part or not, I can’t say. But unless he comes back and gives us reason to believe otherwise, all I have left to judge him on is his existing posts.

No matter his level of guilt is, being badmouthed behind his back on message board where he’s only known by a psuedonym, which he likely doesn’t even read anymore, isn’t exactly the worst thing that can happen to a person.

Since it’s been mentioned, I’d have to agree. No recriminations - anyone can be wrong and I’m not going to jump to the conclusion that he was deliberately disseminating false information.

But I’d be very curious about just how he ended up being wrong, after being so dead certain. It’d be instructive. Moreover, he was so aggressively vehement in his belief, I think a mea culpa would be appropriate.

I’d even like to see a reply if all he had to say what that he’s still a true believer, but thinks the materials he saw evidence for was buried/moved to Syria/whatever. Not sure I’d buy it, but I would accept it as a reasonably response.

Not that I’m going to lose sleep about it either way.

  • Tamerlane

On the one hand, I’m with RTF that Sevastopol is being unnecessarily antagonistic. On the other hand, I dimly remember that Bluesman was pretty condescending and rude to people who denied the existence of Iraqi WMD’s prior to commencement of hostilities. I can’t blame Sevastopol for copping an attitude, but I think it’s time he was the bigger man and walked away.

Well, we got trouble, right here in River City. No question about that. And it’s a hell of a lot bigger than Bluesman.

While I missed the particular conversation you recall, I also remember Bluesman posting to the effect of that when the Iraqi WMDs were found, all us antiwar types who’d been skeptical of their existence would have to eat a lot of crow.

It’s possible that he could have been lying through his teeth, but to what end? If he knew there were no WMDs, he would have also known that he would have to be the one eating crow in a short time, and his prior boasting would make it even more humilating when the time came.

The way I figure it, evidence was shown to a Secretary of State and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that had him fooled sufficiently to give a big speech in front of the entire world. He’s been awfully quiet lately too.

I see Bluesman once every several months, and as curious as I am to know just what happened, I haven’t asked: I’m reluctant to potentially spoil the brief times I spend with him and his family opening old wounds.

But toss that all away. No matter what I know or don’t know about Bluesman, Sevastopol doesn’t know one way or the other, any more than I do. But he claims to know that Bluesman was actively duplicitous. The rest of us are quite aware that we don’t and can’t know.

A more specific response to Sevastopol follows.

Care to link?

That’s more than I know. Evidence?


No, that’s your claim. Back it up. If you’ve already done so in a prior thread, link to that thread.

I don’t know what he actually knew, as opposed to what he thought he knew. Neither do you.

Maybe he thought the evidence genuinely supported the WMD claims. Maybe he was exaggerating his position - maybe the evidence he saw was already filtered. Or maybe he knew the evidence was bogus and lied to us and to his superiors both.

Funny, I’ve been thinking about that lately due to what Tyler Drumheller said about the Curveball story.

What would have constituted ‘integrity’? Certainly, if you were in the CIA, DIA, NSA, or wherever, and you knew the President’s whole case for war was fucked, integrity would have required your coming forward and telling the truth to the American public.

However, it’s clear that the various pieces of putative evidence justifying the war came through a number of different channels. Below the level of CIA chief George Tenet - that is, below Cabinet level - did anyone know more than that only the piece in front of them was bogus? If I’m Drumheller, I know that the Curveball allegations are unreliable. But I don’t know about the satellite pictures or any of the other supposed evidence, and it’s going to take me awhile to wrap my head around the idea that the President and Vice-President and a whole bunch of other people way above me were lying about the whole thing, even when the case for war falls apart after the fact.

So at the time, there I am, thinking ‘they fucked up and put that in the SOTU and Powell’s presentation’ but I think it’s a fuckup, and the rest of the evidence is surely good.

Do I go public over that? I doubt I would in his shoes, and I don’t exactly live for the approval of others. The basis of a skeptic’s soul, the element of doubt, cuts both ways.

So there were probably a number of Drumhellers strewn through the intelligence agencies. You demand integrity of them, which is fine, but it’s hard to say what integrity demands. And then you get to Tenet, who clearly had no integrity, but he’s not really the intelligence services so much as the inner circle, a guy who gets to talk directly to Bush and Cheney. Anyone once expecting integrity in that circle has presumably long since abandoned hope.

You did not say what you said in the other thread as a courtesy to me. You brought Bluesman up out of nowhere. If you want to make allegations, put up or shut up.

I opened this thread only to aviod hijacking the other one. It is a continuation of the discussion you started there. Your claims, your cites.

Put up or shut up.

I don’t recall specific date or any of the officials who were interviewed, but I watched a Frontline recently that rather convincingly made the case that, yeah, the CIA, from top to bottom, and State, from top to bottom, knew the whole case laid out by the OSP was horseshit from day one.

I’ll see if I can dig it up…

Amazing how much I can forget after working a 12 and drinking a few beers.

Frontline: The Dark Side

Bluesman made his proverbial bed and now he has to lie in it. That’s too fucking bad.

Bluesman helped to dig other peoples’ graves, and now they get to lie in them. That’s too fucking bad.

Who deserves to be defended?



And it wasn’t just that he believed the WMD thing, or that he tried to sell it. It was his open contempt for anyone who disagreed with or even questioned him about it.

For example:


When i am accused of serving Saddam Hussein’s interests, and being an appeaser and a “leftie dupe,” then you’ll have to excuse me if i don’t jump to the defense of the guy who so labelled me. And i don’t give a fuck if he’s not around here to defend himself.

Sure, bringing up Bluesman in every tangentially-related thread is now a bit pointless, but if anyone’s the coward here it’s the guy who made the quoted statements above, and who doesn’t even have the balls to continue to defend them or admit he was talking out his ass.

At least Airman Doors has had the integrity to admit that he was duped by people he trusted.

And RTFirefly, i didn’t realize that he was your friend. I assume this means that he’s your real-life, off-board friend? You’re a good guy, and i agree with you about plenty of things, but next time you see him, tell him to fuck himself from me.

(Why am I getting involved in this?)

OK, here’s the thing. In the fullness of time it has been demonstrated that we were wrong. There’s not really any question about that. But think back and remember how things were in 2003: the people on opposite sides of the issue were so smug that any discussion of it lead to confrontation after confrontation. The thread quoted above was a fine example of that.

Bluesman worked in an intel billet, and he “saw the raw”, so to speak. As an intel NCO, he most assuredly saw some classified intel that led him to believe that Bush was telling the truth. He was not, however, an intelligence gatherer. He was an intelligence disseminator. Therefore, he was not responsible for the “yellowcake” affair, he wasn’t responsible for the “aluminum tubes” thing, and he wasn’t responsible for the Downing Street memo. The idea that Bluesman, as one intelligence NCO out of thousands, was able to “sell the war” based upon posts on a message board, is ludicrous. The responsibility lies much, much higher than he or I, we are simply executors of policy, not the makers of it.

With the above in mind, it is noteworthy that we were “true believers” at the time, as is made plain by our posts during that time. The reason, naturally, is that we both saw intelligence in the execution of our duties that later turned out to be very wrong. Is that our fault? No. I submit that saying that “we knew something but we couldn’t tell” was indeed wrong, but we had no reason to question it, because this was gold-plated stuff (again, it was wrong). So we used that to enhance our smug, because we were sure that we would be vindicated later. But it didn’t happen that way, tragically (it’s not tragic that we were wrong, rather that the intelligence led to such a tragic decision).

So we were wrong. And there was nothing left to say about it. There still isn’t. We were wrong. I’m really at a loss as to what you want. You know as well as I do that he will not pay simply to appease you with a mea culpa and maybe get beat up some more, so you’re simply going to have to accept my statement on his behalf and maybe smack me around a bit more.

Regardless of what you decide to do, Bluesman was not responsible for “selling” the war. How could he be? Our elected and appointed officials did that on their own.

Well, that’s certainly true and to be honest I for one wouldn’t expect him to.

Now when he was still around I believe he should have made good with a mea culpa. It would have been the right thing to do. Granted there would have been the inevitable less than gracious abuse, but that could have been shrugged off as the minor price he had to pay for eating a little crow. It needn’t have been that big of a thing.

But, eh, water under the bridge. At this point it’s old news and I for one don’t care much. And I agree Sevastopol is a being a bit over the top - you can’t assume this one guy was in the loop and deliberately lieing to advance an agenda. But since it was brought up I was just agreeing with a few of the others here that he didn’t come off so well in the way he handled things back then.

  • Tamerlane

Sure, just as I did. But all the same, how many people are out and out wrong and come back to apologize for their errors? Very few. Do we continue to dredge up their mistakes ad infinitum after they’re gone? Of course we don’t, because it’s done. Sevastopol really does seem to have a hard-on over this, and to what end? This is the end: a pointless thread with a pointless end, and a lot of senseless rehashing of history in the middle.

Well, Airman, it can always serve as a cautionary tale, as it demonstrates that the fervor of the feeling of belief does not necessarily correlate with the truth of the proposition.

And consider that a lot of us still remember Bluesman quite vividly, and still don’t care for the things he asserted about those of us who did not buy into the argument for war. Calling us smug sumbitches and appeasers while claiming special knowledge he can’t share with us certainly did make him stand out in my mind. And as I tell my patients: “You really don’t want to be one of my memorable patients. To be so is generally not a good thing.”

Bluesman wasn’t just wrong; he was spectacularly wrong, and acting quite the jerk with his claims of special knowledge and insulting manner. And he wasn’t wrong about something unimportant like whether glass flows or not.

This episode needs to be remembered, for the next time someone claims special knowledge. If there was any doubt before what that type of claim is worth, hopefully it’s clear now.

I’ve come to my views from evidence and observation made over several years. It’s pretty clear to me that intelligence reports were written without due scepticism. Instead there was a plain vibe to get on board with the administration. The following says as much:

Let’s look at this. It is not about the evidence of a threat. It is about an analyst making a policy decision. An analyst making a policy decision to support a policy with which he agreed. Frankly, another analyst has admitted this is what occurred to me, no cite for that, so take it or leave it.

On the other hand Airman doors is an honorable man and says the man was not responsible for selling the war. I’m not sure I made that claim, perhaps I did. To clarify my view is that he knowingly got on board, using the credibility of his position to advance his own policy view. Similarly back455’s cite supports this. I continue to hold that evidence landed on his desk and the report that came off it was not stitched together by that evidence. Moreover, I’ve been interested in what went wrong for a while and from what I’ve read and noted my conclusions have been borne out. My judgment has been good on this issue.

For example: Remember the original UN resolution. Why couldn’t the US get the UNSC - that board - why couldn’t it get a majority of members who were mostly friendly countries on its side? Because their own intelligence services were telling them that the US’s case was bullshit. The intelligence community at large knew that. Overall the problem is there is so much potential for debate and so much evidence that the request to bring it all home is too much.

Add to that the fact that the man in question was plainly trolling in his latter days. By that time knowing his earlier statements were false and instead raising the level of hostile assertion. I’m no longer bugged by the trolling - let’s be clear. But the trolling itself and the subsequent behaviour allow us to infer some pretty firm things about what went on.

Evidence of things that are obscure. Sometimes it’s circumstantial and anecdotal as well as factual. When you have a lot, the graph starts to come out and I call it as I see it. Frankly I thought that by now it was a settled argument that bluesman was a byword for bad character in the US intelligence services. The name is a useful point of evidence for a number of debateable questions and I’ve used it as such. There is no need to do so. Colin Powell works jsut as well and as I indicated I hadn’t intended to make any further references.

Detailed response to RT Firefly to follow.