Of sovereign countries and aspirin factories

Clinton-haters criticized him for blowing up an aspirin factory in Sudan (he was accused of being inept, clueless and distracting the nation from Lewinsky affair by cynically misusing the military). It was not a big issue in 2000 presidential race, but it was mentioned a few times as a negative for Gore.

Bush-haters are livid now about him invading and occupying Iraq. This certainly will be one of the main anti-Bush issues of 2004 race.

Are those two events comparable? I think so, with a certain huge scale factor. What is the scale factor between USS “Cole” bombing and 9-11 massacre? Is it not huge? If authorizing missile strike against wrong target in Sudan was an excusable side effect of ‘USS Cole’ bombing, perhaps invading Iraq to put an end to non-existing WMD was an excusable side effect of 9-11 massacre?

But to the point. I think what we see demonstrated in both cases is a genuine wariness felt by US public of any potential for abuse of executive privileges by White House and Pentagon. Expressions of this mistrust are clouded and colored by partisan passions and personal prejudices, as it must be in real life; party in power is mostly supportive of war, while party in opposition is overwhelmingly critical, and when power changes hands, so do the attitudes. Which might be a very good thing that benefits us all.

I am a big supporter of Iraq occupation, at the same time I rejoice at all the criticism leveled against POTUS every time he goes warlike. I’d much rather live in the country where majority of the people object to and scrutinize the use of military, rather than glorifying it. So I’m all for the invasion and equally all for public scrutiny of it. Let’s have the backlash; the only question I have, how much backlash is enough backlash?

The subject of proposed debate is whether the amount of public criticism of Bush in relation to Iraq invasion so far was 1) too little, 2) too much, 3) just right, or 4) am I a Bush-licking lackey (last strictly optional)?

I’m pretty sure the bombing of the factory was at least intended to hit those who had hit us. Sort of an eye for an eye, if you will.

I’m not sure what us invading Iraq has to do with 9-11, so I guess I don’t see what comparison you’re trying to make.

Therefore, I’ll go with 4.

Not really. There was no link I am aware of between the factory and our public enemies, or even private ones.

I was willing to forgive Clinton (grudgingly), even though I despise the man. The single thing I most dislike about Bush is that he refuses to get rid of Tenet. The man is either incompetant or his organization is broken. Either way, he’s not helping. But anyway, we’ve had intel failures before. This latest one was hardly the worst.

From here.

As I stated earlier, they intended to pay back bin Laden by hitting the factory. Whether the intelligence linking bin Laden to the factory was correct or not, is a completely different question, and there are countless threads here devoted to it. Either way, at the time of the bombing, there was indeed considered to be a link.

So, I stand by my original assessment.

Please. Aspirin factory workers in Sudan connected to USS ‘Cole’ bombing off the coast of Yemen? Please.

Clearly, the reason for that strike against Sudanese pharmacologists was that they were suspected of manufacturing in their laboratories something that didn’t look and taste exactly like aspirin, something quite possibly destructive and may be even massive in it’s implications… are the bells ringing yet?

At the time of invasion “there was indeed considered to be” WMD.

Q: What Iraq invasion and aspirin factory missile strike have in common?

A: Bad intelligence.

Boxing match spectator mentality on display: one on one, blow for blow, fair and square. The situation we are in is more like being hit suddenly from behind, swinging around only to behold a bunch of bad guys, scowling. Who you gonna hit, who you gonna spare and how much you gonna discriminate?

Surprise!!! And you are welcome. However, what about the nitty-gritty stuff? Was Bush scrutinized too little, enough or too much for the benefit of the Respublic and Democracy?

The Bush Admin and advisors were the ones promoting the idea that the intel on Iraq showed Hussein was an urgent threat that must be dealt with by full-scale military invasion of Iraq if necessary because of the unacceptable risk of mushroom clouds appearing over major American cities.

The White House made the case that inaction regarding the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq was unacceptably dangerous and that delay in the overthrow of Hussein’s regime was irresponsible.

The idea that an Iraqi attack on the US with WMDs via a third party, was an urgent threat whose resolution could not be delayed til after mid term elections in 2002 was not a theme of the intelligence community’s.

These were White House assessments that were subsequently supported by the analyses of the Office of Special Plans.

These conclusions were reached before the OSP was created. The OSP and related groups found corroborating reports and documentation among intelligence previously gathered by American and other intelligence communities as well as intelligence provided by Iraqi opposition groups. The OSP acquired and dispersed info supplied by Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress.
In some cases, the OSP, (and other members of the BA), used information that members of the established intelligence community had already determined to be erroneous, unsubstantiated or fabricated. It’s alleged that some of the parties in the BA knowingly misrepresented erroneous, unsubstantiated or fabricated info as credible.

Both the intelligence community and various members of the Bush Administration reached the conclusion that Iraq had “engaged in extensive concealment efforts and [had] used the period since it refused inspections to attempt to reconstitute prohibited programs.” The divergence among the assessments came over how well Iraq’s attempts at which “prohibited programs” were proceeding.

Some of the most damning and inciting items cited in support of the WH’s case for war with Iraq were selected by the Office of Special Plans and related groups. These were used to provide the American electorate with an impetus toward war.
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas J. Feith, who headed the OSP, noted that the group discovered "linkages between Iraq and al Qaeda," and briefed Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and CIA chief George Tenet.

The American intelligence community, however, had concluded that Hussein was both deterrable and deterred when it came to engaging in an attack on the US with conventional or non-conventional weapons either directly, or by proxy.

So it wasn’t so much that the CIA, DIA etc screwed up, as much as it was that the Bush Admin rolled the dice on what could be called, (some would say only generously so), an incorrect, educated guess made to err on the side of American safety, (arguably through a sort of assertive hegemony).

Though the intelligence community does bear responsibility for its actions in this matter, which, presumably, are being thoroughly investigated by the President’s CICUSRWMD.

Here’s a link to a discussion of some of the investigations surrounding the case for war. So far, and in particular the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Review of Pre-War Intelligence in Iraq.

Yes, although the evidence, in hindsight, was tenuous at best. The difference between the two is that bin Laden was suspected of being connected to the factory (incorrectly in my opinion, from the evidence I’ve seen), and he was directly responsible for terrorist acts against Americans. When exactly did Hussein send terrorists after Americans?

Yep, that’s about all they have in common. One was a retalitory strike against a target that was, probably improperly, identified as being linked to bin Laden. The other is a “preemptive” strike against someone who has never been an aggressor towards America. Another difference, one was a precision cruise missile strike after office hours. The other has resulted in over 10,000 civilian casualties.

I don’t know, maybe hit the guy that hits you, not the guy you think might hit you, even though he has never shown a propensity to do so. Once again, with feeling, I think we were wrong to bomb the Sudanese factory, but only because it appears that it wasn’t the target they thought it was.

I already answered that. Unless you can show that we thought there was a link between the bin Laden and the Iraqi government, even if it turns out the link was based on bad intelligence, the two are nothing alike. Keep in mind, that although most of us are quite convinced that Bush “attempted” to fool folks into thinking the two were related, he now claims that he never meant to imply such a thing.

I’m sticking with 4.

So far so good…

Oops, distortion and breach of logic. The justification of invasion was not Saddam sending terrorists after Americans, it was his potential for aiding and arming bin Ladin.

So far so good…

Oops, distortion and breach of logic again. Sudanese pharmacologists were attacked because they were “identified as being linked to bin Laden”, Saddam was attacked because he was “identified as being linked to bin Laden”; no difference. Even the pattern is the same: al Qaida terrorists bomb US embassies and battleship, Clinton strikes at al Qaida camps at Afghanistan and potential WMD factory in Sudan; al Qaida terrorists perpetrate 9-11 massacre, Bush strikes at al Qaida camps at Afghanistan and potential WMD stockpiles in Iraq. Is it not hilarious how some people see clearly what Clinton was doing and absolutely refuse to see clearly what Bush is doing, and vice versa? The only difference between Clinton and Bush actions is the one of scale (and there was vast difference of scale between embassies and USS ‘Cole’ bombings, and 9-11 massacre). We can argue whether George went too far, or whether Bill didn’t go far enough, but to insist they were doing different things is ridiculous. Also, to insist there was a possibility of a link between Sudan aspirin factory and bin Ladin and at the same time deny the possibility of a link between Saddam and bin Ladin, is totally ridiculous: at least Iraq is much closer to Afghanistan and Saddam had better means of transportation and communication.

Do you seriously propose that after 9-11 we had to limit our response to another single “precision cruise missile strike after office hours” at some factory and stop there?

Is Busy lying?

Ok, New Iskander, let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine two men:

  1. One man steals a twinkie from your lunch box and eats it.

  2. The other man robs your house of everything in it–appliances, carpet, secret cash stashes, and drapery included–and kidnaps your family and all household pets as well. Then the man burns your house to the ground, pours several kilograms of salt over your vegetable and flower gardens, and sells your nice new car for spare parts on the black market. He uses a conterfeit identity to empty the funds in your bank accounts, sell off all your stocks and mutual funds, and run all your credit cards to the max. For a final touch, he steals and eats the remaining twinkie from your lunch box, but throws the rest of iit away.

Oh, but, you see, man no. 2 didn’t do anything different from man no. 1. They both robbed you. It’s nothing more than a difference in scale. Get it?


This might be a viable analogy, but we all know now that Bush and crew had wanted to invade Iraq as soon as he was in office.

9-11 wasn’t the reason we invaded Iraq, but it was the justification needed for the public.

9-11 =!= UbL

Why put things upside down? What Clinton did, what Bush did were responses to something terrorists have done beforehand. Neither Bill nor George have commited unprovoked acts of agression. We can argue which response was better measured, but to compare BC with a petty thief and GW with a super-robber from Hell is ridiculous. Also, do you seriously think if 9-11 have happened on Clinton or Gore watch, they would do a few missile strikes only? That’s a line straight from cooky right propaganda. After 9-11 we’d be in Agghanistan 100%, whoever the President. Would Clinton or Gore have invaded Iraq? I think so. All the evidence suggests that they were gearing for doing something serious about Saddam long before 9-11. The more I think about it, the more I suspect that Lewinsky affair actually slowed them down.

I don´t think so, you´re overlooking the fact that the Bush administration has a good deal of ideologes that were lobbying to get Iraq invaded long before 9/11 happened, besides GWB family historial in the region; the Bush team had a proclivity for going after Iraq regardless of fortuitous circumstances. AFAIK the Clinton goverment didn´t have such inclinations.
In short, were talking about people with an agenda and people without one (at least in regard of the invasion of Iraq)

The hard evidence indicates that Clinton never tried to reach any accomodations with Saddam or give him any breaks. Clinton always responded to all Saddam’s provocations with air strikes, the intensity of those airstrikes was always increasing. Around 1998 Clinton pull inspectors out of Iraq (Saddam never expelled them) for the reason that Saddam is a cheating scumbag and inspections were a waste of time. Around the same time both Clinton and Gore spoke publicly about “Saddam threat” in quite belligerent and menacing words. Finally, Clinton formulated “regime change in Iraq” as one of the objectives of US gov. (Bush Sr. was explicitly against “regime change in Iraq”, declining to take Saddam out when he had a perfect opportunity). Again, would Bill or Al invaded Iraq after 9-11? Your guess is as good as mine, in the final analysis. My guess is yes, they would; they might even brought French along.

Here we go again. Clinton was accused of using air strikes to distract the nation from Lewinsky affair, Bush is accused of invading Iraq to garner electorate’s support for the Republicans before 2002 mid-term lections. How about some more obvious and less sensational interpretation? Such as, that US gov. takes WMD issue extremely seriously, always fussing with all sorts of treaties, poking into internal affairs of sovereign countries, setting up commitees, organizing inspections, issuing sanctions, and when US gov. is attacked it strikes back not only against the attackers but also against some WMD violators, two times out of two. The question is, what’s wrong with that? The implication of WMD attack are so horrific, it’s better to be safe than sorry. What worries me about all the backlash BC and GW had on WMD issue, that some future POTUS may say: “Forget it, I’m not doing WMD part, too much trouble!” You know the type, the one that agonizes over issues endlessly, to the point of changing his mind completely (hint, hint).

The bit about a president chickening out about dealing with a WMD issue because of the potential accusations of politicizing the timing would be an unlikely change. You, yourself cited two examples where Pres’s did not.
If someone can’t deal with the potential for these types of accusations, they probably won’t make it through the preidential election process. I’d say you can relax.

The electorate has a solemn and sacred duty to call bullshit on the gov. These people are politicians. They spend millions of man-hours coming up with ways to sway the public. It’s their job. To think that they wouldn’t do so is to be naive.

The fact is that the Bush Admin intentionally waited to address the WMD issue until September (see WH CoS Andrew Card’s comments and Rove’s “misplaced” strategy notes explicitly calling for the politicization of the war for the mid-term elections). So there’d already been a determination made by the WH that the WMD issue could wait. It was not a case where the issue just arose on it’s own accord when it did. It was not merely a coincidence.

You might be right.

No argument.


Thanks for all the info. Fascinating stuff.