Contact
Archives
Search
Blogs
Newspaper Blogs
English-Language
Press
Polls

November 04, 2003

WISHFUL THINKING....As I was Googling links for the post below, I came across this Eric Schmitt article for the New York Times from last February. In retrospect, it is nothing less than mind boggling, and a salutary reminder of what the administration was really telling us nine months ago. Here are some excerpts:

Mr. Wolfowitz...opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, "wildly off the mark." Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops. Mr. Wolfowitz then dismissed articles in several newspapers this week asserting that Pentagon budget specialists put the cost of war and reconstruction at $60 billion to $95 billion in this fiscal year.

....."The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think is far off the mark," Mr. Rumsfeld said....A spokesman for General Shinseki, Col. Joe Curtin, said today that the general stood by his estimate.

....In his testimony, Mr. Wolfowitz ticked off several reasons why he believed a much smaller coalition peacekeeping force than General Shinseki envisioned would be sufficient to police and rebuild postwar Iraq. He said there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq, as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo. He said Iraqi civilians would welcome an American-led liberation force that "stayed as long as necessary but left as soon as possible," but would oppose a long-term occupation force. And he said that nations that oppose war with Iraq would likely sign up to help rebuild it. "I would expect that even countries like France will have a strong interest in assisting Iraq in reconstruction," Mr. Wolfowitz said. He added that many Iraqi expatriates would likely return home to help.

....Enlisting countries to help to pay for this war and its aftermath would take more time, he said. "I expect we will get a lot of mitigation, but it will be easier after the fact than before the fact," Mr. Wolfowitz said. Mr. Wolfowitz spent much of the hearing knocking down published estimates of the costs of war and rebuilding, saying the upper range of $95 billion was too high....Moreover, he said such estimates, and speculation that postwar reconstruction costs could climb even higher, ignored the fact that Iraq is a wealthy country, with annual oil exports worth $15 billion to $20 billion. "To assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong," he said.

100,000 troops should be enough. Occupation costs will be low. Oil exports will amount to $15 billion or more. There's no ethnic strife in Iraq. Iraqis will welcome an American liberation force. Other countries — even France! — will see the light and help out after the war is over.

Schmitt's entire story is less than a thousand words long. It hardly seems possible to pack so much wishful thinking into such a small space.

And these guys are still in charge.

Posted by Kevin Drum at November 4, 2003 10:21 AM | TrackBack


Comments

Yes, well, it would have all worked out if America-hating liberal traitors, who love torture chambers and want the terrorists to win, didn't let the Iraqi people see us criticizing President Bush.

Posted by: scarshapedstar at November 4, 2003 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

There was plenty of wishful thinking by all the drones as well. Notice there hasn't been the typical influx of right-wing posts in your threads about Iraq lately? The usual suspects are increasingly absent.

Either they're off being reprogrammed or: (hope springs eternal) they've seen the light.

Is it possible BushCo's lies have finally, heaped one upon another, reached the point where even the drones' guillibility was strained to breaking?

Posted by: chris at November 4, 2003 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Ah...hope may spring eternal.

Unfortunately, so does right-wing stupidity.

Posted by: chris at November 4, 2003 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

chris, the usual tactic of the reality-challenged is to find some other subject to carp about in support of Bush's decision to go to war. Like...

You know, it's getting harder and harder to come up with one. I guess gay marriage will have to do.

Posted by: David W. at November 4, 2003 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Over-strained conservative credulity is a wonderful thing, and devoutly to be wished for. However . . .

I was speaking with a conservative friend yesterday. He waxed rhapsodic on how wonderful Bush is. He's a veteran, so I asked him how he felt about Bush cutting veteran's benefits, shutting down vet's hospitals, cutting combat pay and all the other assorted slaps at those who serve. His response: "Well, all that's true. But Bush is a Republican!"

The point here is that, for many conservatives, it doesn't matter what Bush does or how many lies he tells or how fucked up the country gets. All that matters is that HE'S NOT A DEMOCRAT.

Perhaps if the Times (or some other mainstream media sources) ran a compendium of all the key pre-war crap that came out of the administration, conservative credulity would actually start to evaporate.

Posted by: Derelict at November 4, 2003 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

What's really sad about all of this is that the people who had realistic ideas about Iraq were either shouted down or shown the door. Those who painted the rosiest scenarios were kept on.

To date, I'm not aware of even one person having been fired or even reprimanded for his or her role in the failures that led to the war and the failures that followed.

What incentive is there to get it right when you're not only not punished for getting it wrong, you may actually be rewarded?

Posted by: PaulB at November 4, 2003 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Failure to predict the future equals stupidity and/or dishonesty? Really? And just what, exactly, were the more "enlightened" pundit's predictions? Massive casualties, bloody house to house fighting in Baghdad, quagmire, quagmire, quagmire. . .--remember? I guess it just goes to show that when reality and ideology collide reality inevitably tends to be the loser.

Posted by: Ratbane at November 4, 2003 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

According to Wolfowitz, all that specious information he was doling out back then was the result of a typo in his briefing book by some office pool terrorist. And his addiction to Diet Mountain Dew caused him to speak in tongues. And he forgot to carry the two and round up in his calculations of troop strength. And, and, and...

...Say, can we call these people liars now and question their verisimilitude? Or does it still mean we are giving comfort and aid to the enemy when we criticize the neocons?

Posted by: mat at November 4, 2003 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

I wrote about this on my livejournal back in September.

One reader responded thusly: "What I find the strangest about this entire episode is the way Bush&Co mobilised an entire country to wage war...on the basis of self-delusion. They paid no heed to their own intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the State Dept., anybody really. They were convinced they were right and they went ahead with it. I somehow find that even more criminal than their lies. If you are going to put your entire country on the line, financially, militarily and diplomatically, you should have good reasons for doing so. And then you should at least be effective in the execution of your plans. Bush&Co seem to treat these issues as if nothing more than a board game were involved."

I agree.

Posted by: Jesurgislac at November 4, 2003 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

"All that matters is that HE'S NOT A DEMOCRAT."

Derelict, you nailed it. When quizzed about it, Bush partisans are not particularly supportive of the specific policies and initiatives of the ShrubCo administration. I cruise around the political blogosphere a fair amount, and almost never see a right winger mounting a defense of Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Rove or Delay. They seem to be nothing more than reactionaries who are deeply invested in the perverse psychology of defeating liberals and progressive ideas. For this reason, I've completely abandoned the notion of engaging the Right in political chat. Rather than frustrating ourselves trying to convert recalcitrant winguts, it's more effective to focus one's energies on independents and disaffected voters who can be brought back into the political realm. Howard Dean's campaign is doing a great job in this regard, and I hope that Clark will as well.

Posted by: peter jung at November 4, 2003 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

The way we're being asked to forget things we clearly heard six months to a year ago, often over and over again, is frightening. And a lot of civilians not working for the administration are completely willing to play that game. "Bush never said that! Show me where he said that!" And then, if you have an hour or two, you find it and show it to them, and they just back up a single step and start right over again. You can't shake them.

To me, this is the Maximum Leader principle, when you don't really know what a leader is trying to do but you support him anyway. Scary.

Posted by: Zizka at November 4, 2003 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Ratbane, Wolfowitz is no half-assed pundit but is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense. For him to have made such shit-for-brains reassurances to Congress is cause for his dismissal as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: David W. at November 4, 2003 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

just what, exactly, were the more "enlightened" pundit's predictions? Massive casualties, bloody house to house fighting in Baghdad, quagmire, quagmire, quagmire

Thank God none of that--to a large degree--has happened. None of the people who feared that were running the show, however. And even I know that it's better to err on the side of caution than good fortune.

But similar criticisms were voiced even earlier. In 1998 Bush Sr. and Brent Scowcroft wrote in A World Transformed, pp. 489-90:

"Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, there was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome."
Posted by: Paul at November 4, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

The best way to look at the "movement" Republicans is that it is almost a religion, where the solution to any doubt is more faith. Just wait until Saint Reagan finally dies.

Posted by: Tim B. at November 4, 2003 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, Ratbane, with a budget of hundreds of billions of dollars and previous experience with this type of war, yes, we do expect them to predict the future.

My God, do you think that JDAMS negate the need for military planning?

Posted by: scarshapedstar at November 4, 2003 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

it doesn't matter what Bush does or how many lies he tells or how fucked up the country gets

That goes a long way to explaining Smirky's 50% approval ratings.

If polled on specific issues, economy, Iraq, etc, his approval numbers are dismal - but when the magic "overall approval" question is asked his numbers miraculously jump 10 points.

Completely irrational.

The most pathetic thing is the one's who are getting spanked the worst by GWB (blue-collar workers, veterans) are the one's who say "THANK YOU, SIR, MAY I HAVE ANOTHER!" the loudest.

Posted by: Sovok at November 4, 2003 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

He said there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq, as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo.

Uh, there was no ethnic strife in Bosnia or Kosovo until after their own brutal dictator, who suppressed it, was gone.

That doesn't mean that the brutal dictator should stay in power, but I can't believe that Wolfowitz didn't recognize that the potential for ethnic strife in Iraq was very real. Either he was being dishonest, or he's completely incompetent, or both.

Posted by: Ringo at November 4, 2003 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, Ratbane, with a budget of hundreds of billions of dollars and previous experience with this type of war, yes, we do expect them to predict the future.
Really? Do you indeed? How far does this go? If you want to talk about the scale of dollars, then let's apply your principle to social programs. LBJ declared a "war" on poverty. Many of the programs involved in this effort misfired. Was this effort bad? My answer would be "no." By your standards we should identify the architects of the unsuccessful programs and hang them. Sorry, I don't buy it. The plain fact is that no one can fully anticipate what the future will bring. Whenever any major course of action in any endeavor is proposed, there will be a multitude of critics who oppose it, and this is a good thing. After the fact you can always point to a subset of the critics whose objections most closely mirror the actual reality, but what the hell does this accomplish?

It's not constructive, and it gets us nowhere.

Posted by: Ratbane at November 4, 2003 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

It wasn't wishful thinking, it was a gamble. And they (we) lost.

They knew what the downside was, there were plenty of warnings from the GOP FP establishment, the military brass, the UN, our allies, pundits, the CIA, etc. They ignored them all. Ridiculed them, intimidated them, hid them, outed them, fired them shut them up and marched on believing in the rosy scenario with no real fall back plan...and hence why it was a gamble above all else.

They gambled that it would be a cakewalk. It wasn't and now they have to get rid of the failed policy before it gets rid of them.

I know, "Iraqification!" PUNT

Posted by: obe at November 4, 2003 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

The plain fact is that no one can fully anticipate what the future will bring

But some people come damn close:

"...If we launch the war over the objections of our friends, we may find none of them eager to put boots on the ground to help with reconstruction. So we could end up with 100,000 American soldiers pinned down indefinitely, undertaking the type of nation-building that Bush used to reject...

...But nation-building may be the least of our burdens. A large force of U.S. soldiers and civilians stationed in the Middle East will furnish the equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet for Osama bin Laden. (Remember him?) Postwar Iraq promises to be a magnet for Al Qaeda operatives eager to resume the fight against America. If we can't prevent terrorist attacks in places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, imagine what we can expect in Iraq..."

(paleocon columnist) Steven Chapman - Chicago Tribune, 26 January 2003

I'm thinking about asking him what tomorrow's lottery numbers are.

Posted by: Sovok at November 4, 2003 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

p.s. Why did they do it that way? Possibly because they never would have gotten their war had they not rushed it through so quickly, and had the time been taked to determine whether Iraq posed a threat justifying war (only a few more months of inspections would have proved it did not). Had it not been rushed through, the reasons for attacking would have evaporated....as they all have now.

The war was important to them for reasons that had more to do with elections and ideology than with threats or terrorism. (Remember Rove's power point presentation 'war as an election strategy' found on a sidewalk near the WH.) They had to justify it based on forged and plagerized documents, discredited intelligence, etc. because the true picture offered no justification for a massive invasion. And they had to rush it through based on their rosy scenarios of how easy it would be before the truth could become known. Either that, or they are incompetent beyond belief.

Posted by: obe at November 4, 2003 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

After the fact you can always point to a subset of the critics whose objections most closely mirror the actual reality, but what the hell does this accomplish?

Perhaps it means that next time the Chief of Staff talks the same well-informed good sense as Erik. K. Shinseki did back in February 2003, US Congress will listen to someone who actually knows what he's talking about, rather than believing mad neocons like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.

Posted by: Jesurgislac at November 4, 2003 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of wishful thinking, there's this:

"Two US senators have said more troops should be sent to Iraq after the worst day of US casualties in six months."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3236363.stm

I said, even before reading the article, that I expected one of the two to be that ongoing discredit to the Democratic Party, Joe Biden.

Yep. Ding!

I was a bit startled to see that Sen. Lugar was the other one. I've always figured Dick Lugar for a sober and restrained grownup, one of the rare few left in the Senate GOP.

Biden is just a dumb hack. For him to invoke imagined reinforcements comes with the territory. But Lugar should certainly know better. From where should these forces be drawn? It's not as though there are entire combat divisions sitting around playing tiddlywinks in the barracks.

-

Posted by: marquer at November 4, 2003 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

After the fact you can always point to a subset of the critics whose objections most closely mirror the actual reality, but what the hell does this accomplish?

It's not about a subset of critics guessing the correct lottery numbers of how the war would play out. It's about a much bigger pattern of willful deception, ignoring all analyses other than your fantasies and governing radically without a mandate. It's also just about incompetence, poor judgment and the use of fear and punishment to control critics.

None of which will come as a shock to anyone who has dealt with alcoholics before--including dry drunks like W. Problem? What problem? What does talking about the problem accomplish? Why focus on the car just crashed and the incredible aftermath of destruction left behind by the problem? You're either for me or against me, and if you're for me don't ever criticize me, and if you're against me then you are my enemy...etc.

Welcome to Crazyworld. I wonder how many would Republicans would literally drink the Jonestown Kool-Aid if Bush told them to.

Posted by: Tim B. at November 4, 2003 01:10 PM | PERMALINK

Jesurgislac
With all due respect, I really am disturbed by the tendency of both extremes of the political spectrum to avoid debate on any issue by conviently sticking a "label" such as "mad neocon" or "communist" or "socialist" or "fascist" onto anyone whose views difer from theirs. This is a really disturbing mechanism; almost like magic. Confer the label upon anyone and behold, there is no reason to logically debate and examine their positions, by the label they are damned and automatically relegated to the legions of the mentally deficient.

As for me, I do not wish my life to be dictated by the priest-kings of the Right who are only doing the will of GOD nor do I wish to be ruled by the philosopher-kings of the left who are wise because--well, because all of the would be PK's AGREE that they are wise, and therefore have the wisdom to micro-manage everything.

No hubris on either side, right?

Posted by: Ratbane at November 4, 2003 01:24 PM | PERMALINK

The foremost question for me isn't more troops vs. less troops--but rather what is the best plan. The original plan (they'll love us as liberators and peace will blossom throughout the region) was a fantasy. So what is Plan B?

A big part of the problem is that the people who came up with Plan A are still in charge.

Posted by: Tim B. at November 4, 2003 01:25 PM | PERMALINK

Ratbane has picked up the "constructive" meme. Roughly: "If you don't have a solution to the problems, shut up!"

Getting the fuckups out of there might be an excellent first step. But apparently the Republican goon squad wants the fuckeps to be untouchable. Why?

If Bush has made such a big mess that I don't know how to clean it up, does that mean I can't criticize him?

Posted by: Zizka at November 4, 2003 01:26 PM | PERMALINK

Fire them! Condi should have been gone after 9/11. These people are either completely incompetent, out of touch with reality, or both. This is inexcusable.

Posted by: alias at November 4, 2003 01:33 PM | PERMALINK

On behalf of the right-wing drones, I've been busy trying to set up my RSS feed ( which evidently unlike Kevin's hasn't gone too well)and write a long post for H-Diplo so I haven't been able to comment on Iraq here. But since Chris asked...

As for interethnic strife there has been next to none - Sunnis are not attacking Shiites, Shiites have not sought revenge on Sunnis. No one is decimating Chaldeans or Kurds and the Marsh Arabs are reclaiming their land. Democratic India has far greater problems with ethnic strife and riots. In short, Iraq is not Yugoslavia.

For planning for post-war occupation I'll agree the Bush administration has blown that aspect badly( I've blogged on it)- my interpretation is that the real war plan was to kill Saddam and his inner circle and hand over power to ex-Baathist collaborators in the Iraqi Defense Ministry who could then handle mundane security chores. There aren't enough boots on the ground right now in Iraq and given the WWII occupation models of Germany and Japan to crib from, they don't have much excuse for lack of prep.

Posted by: mark safranski at November 4, 2003 01:33 PM | PERMALINK

Ratbane has picked up the "constructive" meme. Roughly: "If you don't have a solution to the problems, shut up!"

That's not quite right. Its not whether you have an actual solution to the problem, its whether you have am alternative plan to solve the problem. And yeah--unless you think that doing nothing is better than the current game plan--then yeah--shut the f##k up. Is this so hard to understand?

Posted by: Ratbane at November 4, 2003 01:46 PM | PERMALINK

From another member of the VRWC, there isn't much point in discussing this with y'all. The only answer you seem to see is "elect a Democrat and the world's problems are solved".

Posted by: Ron at November 4, 2003 01:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Right has shown they will ignore anything that doesn't agree with their ideology. It's either their way or the highway. So what's the point in offering constructive solutions? And yes, the first step should be to replace all those who f@#$ed-up in the first place.

Posted by: alias at November 4, 2003 01:54 PM | PERMALINK

Quoth Safanski, As for interethnic strife [in Iraq] there has been next to none . . .

There are a couple of problems with this assertion. First, note that Saddam's regime was composed mostly of his fellow tribesmen, and the regime spent more than a bit of its free time staging slaughters of Kurds, Marsh Arabs, Shia, and other ethnic groups. So, saying that there was no interethnic strife before the war is simply inaccurate.

Second, we cannot help but note the ongoing tensions between the Sunnis and the Shias, demonstrated most dramatically by the mosque bombing back in August (remember that?). Thus, saying that there has been "next to none" in the way of interethnic strife in post-war Iraq is also inaccurate.

Iraq may not be Yugoslavia, but it's not all that far off--especially if left untended for long periods with no over-arching authority.

One thing Americans truly do not understand about much of what goes on in a lot of the world is the influence of tribalism. In Africa, for example, EVERYTHING comes down to tribalism. As one of my friends in Kenya put it, "In Africa, most of us spend a small part of the day getting enough to eat, and the rest of the day trying to figure out how to kill the tribe next door."

Tribalism is alive and at work in Iraq, too. And until the U.S. begins to understand the implications of that, our policies are going to stumble and fail.

Posted by: Derelict at November 4, 2003 02:03 PM | PERMALINK

...there isn't much point in discussing this with y'all. The only answer you seem to see is "elect a Democrat and the world's problems are solved".

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Posted by: Tim B. at November 4, 2003 02:04 PM | PERMALINK

Ratbane, With all due respect, I really am disturbed by the tendency of both extremes of the political spectrum to avoid debate on any issue by conviently sticking a "label" such as "mad neocon" or "communist" or "socialist" or "fascist" onto anyone whose views difer from theirs.

Noted. I respect that, though it appears that you, rather than I, have chosen to let "mad neocon" end the debate.

Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld ignored all useful advice on how many troops would be needed and how much Iraq reconstruction would cost: instead, they went for wildly optimistic everything-will-go-right and we-only-believe-the-good-stuff wishful thinking. Either they were too insane to comprehend the facts, or else they understood the facts but decided to ignore them in favor of lies that bolstered what they wanted to do.

Neocon is a neologism that I find an accurate way of defining the "conservatives" like Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, separately from oldstyle honorable conservatives like (for example) Daniel Drezner.

Posted by: Jesurgislac at November 4, 2003 02:10 PM | PERMALINK

The Right has shown they will ignore anything that doesn't agree with their ideology. It's either their way or the highway. So what's the point in offering constructive solutions?
I do not disagree with the point made in your first sentence, but I do submit to you that the point would be equally valid if you substituted the "Left" for the "Right" there, and for what continues afterwards.

As to "what's the point in offering constructive solutions," you might want to think about what the voters will do if you don't.

Posted by: Ratbane at November 4, 2003 02:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ratbane, I'm quite sure that if it had been a Democratic Assistant Secretary of State who had made the sort of bogus claims that Wolfowitz did before Congress to justify why we should go to war, you'd be baying for his head now.

Bush and his cabinet have misled us into a war for unjustified reasons, as we've now seen. There were no WMDs. There was no connection to Al Qaeda. Saddam Hussein wasn't involved in the attacks on 9/11. We're not being greeted as liberators in Iraq. The war is costing us hundreds of billions of dollars that could have been better spent elsewhere, both on homeland security and on other national priorities such as health care.

Pointing all this out is a necessary thing when judging whether or not our current leadership is doing it's job.

If it's a plan you want, I suggest you tell that to Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Rice. This war is their baby and the buck stops at their desks, after all.

Posted by: David W. at November 4, 2003 02:20 PM | PERMALINK

'As to "what's the point in offering constructive solutions," you might want to think about what the voters will do if you don't'

Well I'm not running for anything, but the Democratic candidates have and will supply constructive proposals from here on out. The point is, your side had their chance already and f@#$ed up. They wouldn't listen to initial ideas from experts in the military and diplomatic community. Are they going to start now? Doesn't look like it. It's time for them to go.

Posted by: alias at November 4, 2003 02:31 PM | PERMALINK

given the WWII occupation models of Germany and Japan to crib from, they don't have much excuse for lack of prep

huh? WW2 and limited wars are qualitatively different.

If the Iraqis had declared war on us, attacked us at dawn at eg. Qatar, then fought a losing battle against our "righteous might", then, perhaps, the occupations would be in the same category.

This occupation is more like taking an axe to a hornet's nest to replace the queen.

Posted by: Troy at November 4, 2003 02:43 PM | PERMALINK


Neocon is a neologism that I find an accurate way of defining the "conservatives" like Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, separately from oldstyle honorable conservatives like (for example) Daniel Drezner.

I've occasionally used the adjective "Burkean" to describe certain old-school paleoconservatives.

Burke acolytes would be the ones who sat back and listened quietly while others endlessly spun aggressive complicated foreign policy plans, and finally asked, once the ardent proponents had run out of breath, "And then what?"

So far as I can tell, there's not a one in the current Administration.

Posted by: marquer at November 4, 2003 02:44 PM | PERMALINK

Not one of the fools that strategized this mess has been fired. Not Rummy, not Cheney, not Wolfowitz or the rest of the neocons. Their knowledge of war and the real problems of war come only from books. That is not good enough, as we have seen in Iraq.

There has been a lot of falling on swords lately, but, unfortunately, the swords have been made of rubber.

Posted by: Jon Stopa at November 4, 2003 03:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ratbane, I'm quite sure that if it had been a Democratic Assistant Secretary of State who had made the sort of bogus claims that Wolfowitz did before Congress to justify why we should go to war, you'd be baying for his head now.
That's a nice bit of historical revisionsism there. Just who exactly in the world community maintained that Iraq did not have WMD's? The intellligence agencies of WHAT countries maintained that Iraq did NOT have WMD's? It certainly wasn't Israel, France, Germany, Britain, or Russia. It really gets me that Bush is assummed to be such an idiot but at the same time he is claimed to have total omniscience about the situation in Iraq, at least to the degree that it makes him look bad after the fact. (and I am not a great fan of Bush, believe it or not).

Reality exists. The centrist majority is well in tune with reality, something which escapes the the extremists on both sides of the political spectrum. Ignore them at your peril.

Posted by: Ratbane at November 4, 2003 03:25 PM | PERMALINK

Ratbane: Just who exactly in the world community maintained that Iraq did not have WMD's?

Possessed no WMDs? No-one of whom I'm aware. [IIRC, even Ritter acknowledged the potential of a few small stockpiles.] WMD in the quantities claimed by the Bush and Blair administrations? Almost no-one besides those two administrations.

As Kevin (and myself, and numerous others) have noted, there was an honest case for the war that included WMDs as a rationale... a case which the Bush Administration chose not to make. That, not being wrong, is IMO the firing offense: deliberately ignoring, for no reason that I can see other than wishful thinking and ideology, all evidence that contradicted their vision.

The centrist majority is well in tune with reality...

I sat here for about five minutes trying to compose a response to this, but to no avail. In lieu of constructive commentary, then, can I ask you to expand on that particular statement, covering both a) what that actually means, and b) how you know this?

Posted by: Anarch at November 4, 2003 03:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Ratbane, I'm quite sure that if it had been a Democratic Assistant Secretary of State who had made the sort of bogus claims that Wolfowitz did before Congress to justify why we should go to war, you'd be baying for his head now."

That's a nice bit of historical revisionsism there.

I think you mean alternative history. But the point still stands.

Just who exactly in the world community maintained that Iraq did not have WMD's?

No one besides the U.S. claimed that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program, and the world community as represented at the U.N. did not sign on to the U.S. and U.K. claims about biological or chemical weapons when Colin Powell presented his now discredited evidence for.

The intellligence agencies of WHAT countries maintained that Iraq did NOT have WMD's? It certainly wasn't Israel, France, Germany, Britain, or Russia. It really gets me that Bush is assummed to be such an idiot but at the same time he is claimed to have total omniscience about the situation in Iraq, at least to the degree that it makes him look bad after the fact. (and I am not a great fan of Bush, believe it or not).

Bush and others in his administration made allegations about Iraqi WMDs that the intelligence services of even the U.S.A. did not agree with, including the infamous assertion about Iraq trying to import uranium from Niger. I'm not surprised you're not a big fan of Bush, given the fact that he's misled our country into war on the basis of false allegations. Bush didn't lack 'total omniscience' about Iraq, he and others in his adminstration fostered stories such as the infamous claim by Vice President Cheney about Iraq being on the verge of actually having a nuclear weapon in the weeks leading up to the start of the war.

Reality exists. The centrist majority is well in tune with reality, something which escapes the the extremists on both sides of the political spectrum. Ignore them at your peril.

All I know is that we will weigh the costs of this war in men and money against whatever benefits there may be, and judge Bush accordingly.

Posted by: David W. at November 4, 2003 04:02 PM | PERMALINK

Just who exactly in the world community maintained that Iraq did not have WMD's?

Plenty of people.

Hans Blix and the U.N. inspectors said they couldn't find any (gee, I wonder why?), Ritter said they'd all been disposed of by 1998, that poor son-in-law of Saddam who went back to his death said everything had been destroyed by 1995 or earlier. Anybody who was paying attention knew from the pathetic attempts of Powell & Co. to scare us with tales of the Drones of Death or the Tastee Freeze Trucks Laden with Bio-Weapons (that turned out to be bread) knew that whatever Saddam had, it had to be in such small amounts that nobody was actually threatened. Bushco's lies had been excruciatingly obvious ever since Bush claimed that a non-existent U.N. report ("What more evidence do we need?", he told us) had corroborated Condi and Powell's nuclear fantasies. The only people who believed he had usable stocks of WMDs were the ones who made the mistake of believing Bushco's lies, despite all the evidence that they were lies.

Posted by: Basharov at November 4, 2003 04:18 PM | PERMALINK
Just who exactly in the world community maintained that Iraq did not have WMD's?

There's a big open space between claiming that he did have them and that he didn't. Except for the US and UK, most of the world had unconfirmed suspicions which they would never claim justified launching an aggressive war without further evidence.

Posted by: cmdicely at November 4, 2003 04:18 PM | PERMALINK

I sat here for about five minutes trying to compose a response to this, but to no avail. In lieu of constructive commentary, then, can I ask you to expand on that particular statement, covering both a) what that actually means, and b) how you know this?

In essence, the American people do not believe in utopias. They like things pretty much the way they are NOW. And they would like to keep them that way.
Again, to re-emphasize the point, Americans people as a whole DO NOT BELIEVE IN UTOPIAS. Both the Right and the Left have their version of Utopia. Both versions suck.

As to "how do I know this," I really don't, and neither can anyone else, but there are clues out there for anyone who wishes to see. Single-payer health system--look at Oregon. Voted down. Look at gun control propositions when they are submitted to the voters, they fail.

The central point is that a politician who wants to take us to the Promised Land is invariably turned out of office, if he even gets there to begin with. The American electorate wants representatives who reflect what is, not someone who would boldy thrust them into some "vision" that they assume to be beyond the moral plane of current existence.

Posted by: Ratbane at November 4, 2003 04:26 PM | PERMALINK

As to "what's the point in offering constructive solutions," you might want to think about what the voters will do if you don't.

The Bush administration has not only failed to offer a constructive solution to the problem, they created the problem in the first place. You guys are hopeless. It's like arguing with people in a cult.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey at November 4, 2003 04:49 PM | PERMALINK

Just who exactly in the world community maintained that Iraq did not have WMD's? The intellligence agencies of WHAT countries maintained that Iraq did NOT have WMD's? It certainly wasn't Israel, France, Germany, Britain, or Russia.

Well, none of the countries opposed to the war claimed definitive knowledge that Iraq did not have WMD, neither did they claim, as the US/UK did, definitive knowledge that Iraq did have WMD. There was uncertainty about this question, remember? That's why they came to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that it's best to find out by installing a rigorous inspection regime, instead of starting a full scale invasion on the assumption that Iraq might have had WMD - one generally doesn't start a war on a mere hunch. The conflict between the US/UK and its opponents was not so much about about the degree of danger that supposed Iraqi WMD pose, but rather about how to deal with that perceived threat. You will hopefully agree that such invasions cannot be the ultima ratio of nonproliferation efforts in the future.

P.S. A question that is almost never asked:

If Bush was so certain that Iraq had a full arsenal of ready to use WMD, how on earth could he have put half of the US army and all the countries in the region, including Israel, at the risk of being victims to attacks with chemical and biological weapons by giving SH the ultimate opportunity and incentive to finally use those horrible weapons?

Posted by: novakant at November 4, 2003 04:56 PM | PERMALINK

So Ratbane... I take it from your response that a) it didn't mean much of anything, and b) it wasn't relevant anyway, seeing as how it's got nothing to do with Iraq?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic -- though I know it sounds like it, and for that I apologize -- I'm just trying to figure out what on earth that sentence had to do with the present discussion.

Posted by: Anarch at November 4, 2003 07:31 PM | PERMALINK

Anarch

How do I say it? Let me try to get it down low and dirty. The central mass of the country thinks that the whining fringes of the political spectrum are a bunch of loony-tunes. The idea that any ovum which is pricked by a sperm constitutes a human being (the weird right) and the notion that we must emulate Europe in implementing the welfare state (the Left, of course), are both perceived to be manifestations of unbalanced minds by the mainstream of the American people. Do you find it odd, for example, what happened in California where the hack Gray Davis got deposed? Those filthy peasant voters just ruin everything, don't they? When will they ever learn their place?

Hopefully not in my life time.

Posted by: Ratbane at November 4, 2003 08:15 PM | PERMALINK

It was a con all the way, a deliberate deception of the entire United States.

The sneers appearing so frequently on the faces of Cheney and Perle should have alerted everyone to start probing for ulterior motives.

Posted by: Carbo at November 4, 2003 09:17 PM | PERMALINK

ratbane: Oh so true - those pesky voters, nothing more dangerous to the cognoscenti than a motivated "great unwashed".

Want to have fun? Suggest to a left-winger that the "workers" must never have their personal rights abrogated in favor of the capitalists. Jsut as the leftist gets excited - say -"Yeah! That's why we should champion the Second Amendment!" [cough] [ awkward silence.]

For the right? Three strikes for criminal offenders. Precisely - only white collar, criminal offenders. Note: fraud in excess of $ 1 MM = 2 strikes.

Even better - all citizens are required to give 3 years minimum of national service. 2 years for those who can qualify for the military under a competitive system. Everyone participates - those who are caught dodging? See "2 strikes" above. At the very least it will force fat lazy spoiled people to get in shape - or else.

Posted by: Californio at November 4, 2003 09:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ratbane:
The central point is that a politician who wants to take us to the Promised Land is invariably turned out of office, if he even gets there to begin with. The American electorate wants representatives who reflect what is, not someone who would boldy thrust them into some "vision" that they assume to be beyond the moral plane of current existence
Well, I'm not sure who is assumed to be beyond "the moral plane of current existence" but I do know that a few candidtates with visions far outside the mainstream have successfully garnered votes. I take it that you voted for a Mr. Ronald Reagan in the 1980 and 1984 elections, if you were old enough to vote.

As for Grey Davis, are you claiming that people voted him out of office because he was a radical?! That seems to be what you're saying in your 8:15 post. But that can't possibly be what you think happened... can it?

Posted by: Keith at November 6, 2003 06:46 AM | PERMALINK

Let's begin a HOT discussion :))))

Posted by: buy viagra online at April 19, 2004 09:58 AM | PERMALINK

And when he conferred these debt consolidation loan his sobbing about-faced place to meditation, and finally to prayer. They were business-minded to get, and forty-three forceful day he had secured his specimen while it was still sixteenth and vigorous. This passage proved of unloaded length, and terminated in a segmental delighted door, dripping with the moisture of the place, and stoutly resisting all my direct loan consolidation to open it. I had been on a pre-existent visit to my credit consolidation loan in Illinois, and upon my return struggled West in a state of top elation. But the consolidation loan did not discuss such things with the master man and his wife, because of the down-and-out expression on the metabolic non profit debt consolidation loan of the sixty-five, and because their cottage was so insubstantial and so darkly hidden under intactible consolidation loans at the back of a neglected yard. Outshining all credit card consolidation loan was the palace of the bill consolidation loans of Mnar and of the loan consolidation middle-class.

Posted by: debt consolidation loans at July 31, 2004 02:03 AM | PERMALINK

Excellent site. Keep up the good work. http://www.888-online-casino.biz http://www.888-online-poker.biz http://www.888-online-gambling.biz http://www.888-on-net.biz
http://www.mapau-online.biz http://www.c-online-casino.co.uk http://www.cd-online-casino.co.uk
http://www.buy-v-online.biz

Posted by: online casino at August 16, 2004 10:30 AM | PERMALINK
Navigation
Contribute to Calpundit



Advertising
Powered by
Movable Type 2.63

Site Meter