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December 27, 2003

BILL O'REILLY, CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGIST....If Bill O'Reilly really said what Matt Yglesias says he said, he needs to take a break. A nice, lo-o-o-o-ng break.

Look, evolutionary psychology is controversial for a whole lot of reasons, but if there's one thing it can explain it's the human desire to have sex. And despite what O'Reilly and other bluenoses seem to think, I'm pretty sure that the per capita amount of sex in the world today isn't any larger than it was a thousand years ago, rap music and Britney Spears notwithstanding.

Really, though, who cares what O'Reilly thinks of rap? The real reason for this post is to give me an excuse to reprint this O'Reilly statement from March 18:

Here's, here's the bottom line on this for every American and everybody in the world, nobody knows for sure, all right? We don't know what he has. We think he has 8,500 liters of anthrax. But let's see. But there's a doubt on both sides. And I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush Administration again, all right? But I'm giving my government the benefit of the doubt.

So, Bill, how's it going? Still giving the Bushies the benefit of the doubt?

Posted by Kevin Drum at December 27, 2003 05:45 PM | TrackBack


Comments

Hey Kevin, let's play a fun game. Go out and find one of those geocaches hidden somewhere in California. Only problem is, you won't be given any GPS coordinates...

Posted by: Lonewacko: I Blogged Across America. Twice. at December 27, 2003 05:54 PM | PERMALINK

Um, that's not exactly how they go about it, Lonewacko. At some point, you're going to have to face reality on this....

Posted by: Kevin Drum at December 27, 2003 05:56 PM | PERMALINK

So Lonewacko, you mean to tell me that the WMDs are hidden in California? Darn that Hussein guy, who woulda thunk it.

Posted by: Another Bruce at December 27, 2003 05:58 PM | PERMALINK

O'reilly is a blowhard but the WMDs may have been there and might still be found. I suspect the new Iraqi gov't will "find" them. As far as evolutionary psych is concerned, I have read every book Steven Pinker has written. He is a linguist at MIT who is the polar opposite of Chomsky politically (at least I think so although he does look like a hippy). His book "The Blank Slate" is terrific but my daughter, who just got a degree in anthropology from UCLA, won't read it. She says I have to read "The Mismeasure of Man" (I have) which takes the blank slate tack. This is a big deal that cuts along political lines as well as ev psych lines. She won't even read it ! Green Party member. Not all the closed minds are on the right.

Posted by: Mike K at December 27, 2003 05:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bill O'Lielly, sovereign king of idiots, never admits error nor apologizes. You can take that to the bank. If there wasn't tape of it, you can bet he'd claim he never said the words you quoted.

If you haven't heard Triumph the Insult Comic Dog mock O'Lielly on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, check it out. God that was funny.

Posted by: Tim B. at December 27, 2003 06:03 PM | PERMALINK

I don't recall that Gould's The Mismeasure of Man came down in favor of human nature being a blank slate as much as it refuted Social Darwinism. If only Gould were still here, he might write a book about the mismeasure of Darwin by those who misconstrued his theory to suit their own political agendas, as O'Reilly does.

Posted by: David W. at December 27, 2003 06:10 PM | PERMALINK

But Mr. Bill, remember when we the administration told us they only needed access to the those thousands of Iraqi scientists, the ones who were afraid to speak before the invasion? They would tell the story of the WMDs, if we only had unfettered access to them. So what's the story now? How is there any chance of finding WMDs, if no one can attest that they ever existed?

Posted by: poputonian at December 27, 2003 06:17 PM | PERMALINK

David Kay found an extensive network of clandestine laboratories, amongst other things. That is not "clean".

Kevin, did you fail to read those news reports, or are you just pretending?

Posted by: umm at December 27, 2003 06:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ah the Operatives are still at it!

Yes biys and girls we're supposed to believe in WMD's.

And what a perfect time to show our support for them.

Why, they're just like Santa Claus!

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at December 27, 2003 06:35 PM | PERMALINK

David Kay found an extensive network of clandestine laboratories, amongst other things.

Umm, no he did not. David Kay offered to keep looking, for a whole lot of money if I recall correctly, but the sum total of what he did find was less than conclusive.

Posted by: r. Pedant at December 27, 2003 06:37 PM | PERMALINK

Bill O'Lielly, sovereign king of idiots, never admits error nor apologizes.

But who is really surprised by this. He's not really a journalist, he's an entertainer out to make a buck. So he says controversial things, knowing it will drive people crazy and create a buzz.

Now I know that some people are going to say that many right-wingers out there consider him a good journalist. But in reality, only a tiny fraction of the population watches him. I googled, and his show has a couple of million viewers. Compare that to 60 Minutes which gets around 9 million. Or one of Kevin's favorites, Survivor, which gets around 25 million viewers.

My point, nobody watches him.

Posted by: Proper Response at December 27, 2003 06:42 PM | PERMALINK

None of those alledged WMDs have been found in Iraq, contrary to Bush, Powell's, Rumsfeld's and Cheney's claims made in support of going to war. Moving the goal posts now doesn't change that fact one bit. Nor does ignoring it, as O'Reilly now does.

Posted by: David W. at December 27, 2003 06:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin this would be a cutting querry:

So, Bill, how's it going? Still giving the Bushies the benefit of the doubt?

If the kind of mind O'Reilly has was capable of doubt. But let's face it, he lives in a world of Limbaugh certainties.

Despite this...thank you anyways for raising him skywards here--with a beaver shot of his soiled underpants on--for public humiliation.

Posted by: -pea- at December 27, 2003 06:49 PM | PERMALINK

Pedant, please read the report, OK?

It says that Saddam could have resumed Anthrax production in one week, given seed stocks.

If what Kay claims is true, case closed. Sorry.

Posted by: umm at December 27, 2003 07:00 PM | PERMALINK

No umm, Kay found nothing.

As in nada. Zip. Zero.

Posted by: GT at December 27, 2003 07:09 PM | PERMALINK

It says that Saddam could have resumed Anthrax production in one week, given seed stocks.

Which begs the question about the existence of seed stocks, obviously. Nor is it related to the claim made before the war that Iraq had thousands of liters of anthrax ready to use as a weapon.

If what Kay claims is true, case closed. Sorry.

What a weak argument. For one, you aren't even sure about Kay's claims and two, it again has nothing to do with the alledged WMD claims made prior to the war.


Posted by: David W. at December 27, 2003 07:12 PM | PERMALINK

It says that Saddam could have resumed Anthrax production in one week, given seed stocks.

If what Kay claims is true, case closed. Sorry.

Well guess what? Kay's conclusions are disputed. And it's a far cry from 8,500 liters ready and available. I'm afraid it's case closed for the admin's claim of the Iraq threat. Sorry.

As for O'Reilly, even if he didn't say it, he still needs to go the hell away. I'm so sick of hearing about the evils of sex from these goofballs. Why does anyone take this man seriously?

Posted by: four legs good at December 27, 2003 07:15 PM | PERMALINK

Please. extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Umm:
Give me links and I shall believe.
otherwise i have read the report, well most of it, and frankly it was a lot of hooey. I must agree with GT. ZIP Zero, zilch. I personally could whip up more dangerous things in my kitchen that they have found in iraq.

cheers,

Posted by: Freen at December 27, 2003 07:18 PM | PERMALINK

Good Question - "Why does anyone take this man seriously?" You can fool some of the people all of the time - they are called Limbaugh/O'Reilly fans.

Posted by: lk at December 27, 2003 07:21 PM | PERMALINK

David, the pre-war claims concerned unaccounted-for stockpiles. I don't recall anyone claiming that they had intelligence as to the whereabouts of those stockpiles - the concern was simply that they needed to be accounted for.

The main worry was that Saddam could make chem/bio weapons available for use by Al Qaida inside the US.
Kay's claim that Saddam could have commenced manufacture of Anthrax in a week validates that concern *completely*.

With respect to seed stocks: he had them, for sure. There wouldn't have been much point in retaining the dual-use manufacturing capability otherwise. Kay describes the concealment and destruction activities with occurred beforem during and after the invasion.

Please, read the report. It's all there.

Now, it does require a little intellectual integrity to understand the form of Saddam's chem/bio capability. It is easy to misrepresent. Please do not deliberately understate it for the furtherance of petty US partisan political biases.

Posted by: umm at December 27, 2003 07:23 PM | PERMALINK

I like to send emails to Bill asking when he will live up to his word.

No reply yet, 70 some emails and counting. (All in the last 9 months.

Posted by: mac at December 27, 2003 07:31 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's man rejects Blair weapon claim

Luke Harding in Baghdad
Sunday December 28, 2003
The Observer

Tony Blair was at the centre of an embarrassing row last night after the most senior US official in Baghdad bluntly rejected the Prime Minister's assertion that secret weapons laboratories had been discovered in Iraq.

In a Christmas message to British troops, Blair claimed there was 'massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories'. The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) had unearthed compelling evidence that showed Saddam Hussein had attempted to 'conceal weapons', the Prime Minister said. But in an interview yesterday, Paul Bremer, the Bush administration's top official in Baghdad, flatly dismissed the claim as untrue - without realising its source was Blair.

It was, he suggested, a 'red herring', probably put about by someone opposed to military action in Iraq who wanted to undermine the coalition.

'I don't know where those words come from but that is not what [ISG chief] David Kay has said,' he told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme. 'It sounds like a bit of a red herring to me.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,1113182,00.html

Posted by: vee at December 27, 2003 07:32 PM | PERMALINK

Link me baby!!!! link me. thats what this here interwebby is for.

Why would a pan arabist and an islamic fundamentalist co-operate? beats me. specially since saddam was just about numero uno on al-quaida's hit list. Read up on some.

reasonable general purpose article

Fantastic, but unfortunately requiring cash

and a guardian paraphrasing of the nytimes article.

see? it ain't so hard......

so link me baby. Show me the wmd. Show em!

Posted by: Freen at December 27, 2003 07:32 PM | PERMALINK

"umm",

"The main worry was that Saddam could make chem/bio weapons available for use by Al Qaida inside the US."

Um, no. The main worry was the 8500 liters of anthrax. If you are trying to tell me that the administration made a bigger deal about two suspicious trailers that may or may not have been designed for making somethingorother, than 8500 liters of anthrax, that's a damn lie and you know it.

Posted by: scarshapedstar at December 27, 2003 07:33 PM | PERMALINK

Also, given that Osama hated Saddam, your scenario is about as likely as us giving him chemical weapons.

Posted by: scarshapedstar at December 27, 2003 07:36 PM | PERMALINK

Scarshapedstar sorry but ummmm we did..... back when we were all buddy buddy....

odd bedfellows

don't forget that saddam still has the keys to detriot.

Posted by: Freen at December 27, 2003 07:51 PM | PERMALINK

back to that kay report.......

desire to have wmd.... ooh keeps me up at night....

Posted by: Freen at December 27, 2003 07:53 PM | PERMALINK

umm,


"I don't recall anyone claiming that they had intelligence as to the whereabouts of those stockpiles..."

You must not have been paying attention when Cheney said we knew where the WMD were.

Posted by: Bernard Yomtov at December 27, 2003 08:21 PM | PERMALINK

Desire to have wmd? I have a desire to be a perfect size six. They tell me it takes more than just a desire. Damn.

And, btw, my chances are probably still better than the chances of our people finding all those WmDs they claimed they were going to find.

Posted by: Laura at December 27, 2003 08:26 PM | PERMALINK

[bold]"I don't recall anyone claiming that they had intelligence as to the whereabouts of those stockpiles..."[/bold]

Does "[w]e know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad" ring any bells?

[bold]Hey Kevin, let's play a fun game. Go out and find one of those geocaches hidden somewhere in California. Only problem is, you won't be given any GPS coordinates...[/bold]

This seems easy enough. I'll have hundreds of thousands of troops and all the US intelligence at my disposal, correct?

Posted by: James at December 27, 2003 08:29 PM | PERMALINK

David, the pre-war claims concerned unaccounted-for stockpiles. I don't recall anyone claiming that they had intelligence as to the whereabouts of those stockpiles - the concern was simply that they needed to be accounted for.

The pre-war claims included Cheney's allegation that Iraq was near to having a nuclear weapon. Now we know that even Bush's State of the Union allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger was bogus. We also claimed to have knowledge of the location of said WMDs, which the U.N. could have made use of but never received. In hindsight, it's clear that the Bush administration made allegations it had no good evidence to support.

The main worry was that Saddam could make chem/bio weapons available for use by Al Qaida inside the US.

No it wasn't. The main worry was that Saddam actually had such weapons and could use them in 45 minutes, as I recall. You're argument rests on nothing more than a claim over Saddam Hussein's intentions, which in regard to support of Al Qaeda are also unsupported by any clear evidence.

With respect to seed stocks: he had them, for sure. There wouldn't have been much point in retaining the dual-use manufacturing capability otherwise. Kay describes the concealment and destruction activities with occurred beforem during and after the invasion.

You're supporting your claim on some very dubious evidence, because as you say the 'dual use' facilities were chemical plants that made other chemicals for non-military uses.

Now, it does require a little intellectual integrity to understand the form of Saddam's chem/bio capability. It is easy to misrepresent. Please do not deliberately understate it for the furtherance of petty US partisan political biases.

All I know is that the claims made before the war about Iraq's WMDs have not turned out to be true. I also know how the Bush administration pressured the intelligence services for anything to support their allegations about them, which is why such bogus claims like the sale of uranium ore to Niger were included in the State of the Union speech. To discount my concerns about such facts on the basis of my alledged political bias is not going to make them go away.

This is why I suspect Bill O'Reilly is shutting up instead of following through on his promise that he made prior to the war.

Posted by: David W. at December 27, 2003 08:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin -- Back on topic, he did say it, and I couldn't believe he would say something so dumb. Oh wait, yes I could.

Posted by: allan at December 27, 2003 08:40 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Bush apologists:

You cannot justify the war based on Saddam's incohate dreams of WMD capability that were nowhere near fruition BECAUSE since dreams were all Saddam had, he could be stopped and contained by means short of war. In fact, he WAS being stopped and contained. The war had no security justification whatsoever. Just give it up, it's getting tiresome.

Posted by: grytpype at December 27, 2003 08:56 PM | PERMALINK

Freen wrote: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." I fully agree. But, which claim was extraordinary? Saddam having WMDs? Or, Saddam not having WMDs?

What did we know prior to the invasion?

-- Saddam had previously manufactured and used WMDs
-- Saddam had refused to cooperate with the UN inspectors and/or kicked them our of Iraq in 1998.
-- Saddam had WMD stockpiles in 1998
-- Saddam could have gotten the sanctions removed by proving that he had destroyed his WMDs.
-- Saddam could have prevented hte US from invading and overthrowing him by proving he had destroyed his WMDs and ended their development.
-- Virtually every world leader, including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Hans Blix said they believed Saddam had WMDs

Given these facts, it would be extraordinary if Saddam had destroyed all his WMD stocks and given up his programs of WMD development.

Posted by: David at December 27, 2003 09:06 PM | PERMALINK

Well David when you mention Saddam kicking the UN out you pretty much show you don't know what happened.

Posted by: Rob at December 27, 2003 09:16 PM | PERMALINK

Given that U.N. inspections were taking place in the months up to the war, the question of whether or not Saddam Hussein had WMDs as alledged was in the process of being answered to a reasonable satisfaction. As to Saddam's possible intent or ever knowing if the alledged WMDs were all destroyed, I suppose we could go to war simply based on allegations, but I submit that this isn't a good habit for a nation to have.

Posted by: David W. at December 27, 2003 09:19 PM | PERMALINK

The bar for WMDs in Iraq has been set so low, it requires no evidence at all for some to believe the in Bushco's phantom security threat.

In other, fact-based news, a white power nutcase in Texas admits possessing chemical weapons. Luckily, this aspirant terrorist was discovered by accident.

[sarcasm] Bush is all over it, I know. Nothing to see here. [/sarcasm]

Posted by: edverb at December 27, 2003 09:24 PM | PERMALINK

umm's comments remind me of that Glenn Reynold's post about how liberals and conservatives "live" in 2 realities, where liberals believe that Bush stole the election and conservatives believe that Clinton had Vince Foster murdered. umm has a reality that is quite far away, I imagine

Posted by: TOTL at December 27, 2003 09:45 PM | PERMALINK

Some of us (from the 1960s) recall that psychology was the major that people who couldn't make it anywhere else would go into. I guess it hasn't really changed.

Posted by: raj at December 27, 2003 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Does everyone remember when $hrub said this:

In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.

Oh, wait, that was Hillary.

I wonder, if we only end up finding 300 liters, will the "liberals" continue their whining?

Even 8500 liters would be easy enough to hide away. That amount of water only weighs about 8 tons. I've personally carted 20+ liters of water up nearby hills. If I and, say, 20 other people wanted to hide 8500 liters in mountains throughout California (about the same size as Iraq), it would take us less than a month. And, those caches would be extremely difficult if not impossible to find.

Posted by: Lonewacko: I Blogged Across America. Twice. at December 27, 2003 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

David, add to your list:

-- the U.S. could not direct the UN inspectors to anything resembling a WMD cache, despite boasting that Iraq was rife with them.

-- Saddam would not want to be seen has having knuckled under to the UN. And the belief that he had WMDs was a deterrent to his enemies. He only told the truth -- that he had no WMDs -- when war was threatened on WMD grounds. Bush could have stopped right there. But he insisted on war, for reasons no one can explain, with no plans for the post-invasion, against international law, on numerous false pretenses, against the vast majority of world opinion, against the counsel of our allies, against the sound and reasonable advice of career experts.

Bush apologists: How can you defend him? Do you just not want to admit you are on the wrong side?

Posted by: grytpype at December 27, 2003 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Nice try, Lonewhacko but the people you quote did not have access to current US intelligence. Bushco, who did have such access, consistently claimed concrete proof about the location of the WMDs. When the UN inspectors tested the intel the US provided there was nothing there. One one occasion they arrived at an expanse of bare rock which the US had said was a chemical plant.

Posted by: Alan at December 27, 2003 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Lonewacko, this is getting to be a little bit tiresome to point out. None of the people you mentioned made the decision to invade Iraq. Bush did, it was his decision and responsibility. He built the case for going to war based on WMD, and he was wrong. It doesn't matter who supported it. He did the deed, and now it looks like he wants to pull out before the bad news affects his re-election chances. You conservatives like to talk about responsibility, but as soon as things start going sideways, you never fail to try to shift the blame.

Posted by: Another Bruce at December 27, 2003 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

We've now come to the part where the Bushies blame everyone else but themselves.

Posted by: Spinning Tops at December 27, 2003 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

So when were the 8500 litres manufactured? 1991? Give me a fucking break. Did he have the agents to preserve anthrax that long? As far as Al Queda goes, even if they possesed some large quantity of anthrax what is the reliable weapon or delivery device they are going to use to kill 'millions' of people. They don't give a damn about these weapons and neither does anyone else as long as traditional, conventional weapons are more effective, convenient, cheaper, readily available, store, transport and easier to use.

Posted by: keely at December 27, 2003 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

When people start thinking on who it is that signs O'Reilly's paychecks I might begin to hope.

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at December 27, 2003 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, either they are as corrupt and cynical as Bush, or they were duped by the Bush. Which do you think? It doesn't matter much to me. They are weak or craven or both, but this is Bush's war, it's his baby. He wanted it, he pushed it, and he got it.

Posted by: Boronx at December 27, 2003 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Hey 'umm', looks like your claim has been dismissed by none less than Paul Bremer..........Tony Blair was at the centre of an embarrassing row last night after the most senior US official in Baghdad bluntly rejected the Prime Minister's assertion that secret weapons laboratories had been discovered in Iraq.

In a Christmas message to British troops, Blair claimed there was 'massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories'. The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) had unearthed compelling evidence that showed Saddam Hussein had attempted to 'conceal weapons', the Prime Minister said. But in an interview yesterday, Paul Bremer, the Bush administration's top official in Baghdad, flatly dismissed the claim as untrue - without realising its source was Blair.

It was, he suggested, a 'red herring', probably put about by someone opposed to military action in Iraq who wanted to undermine the coalition.

'I don't know where those words come from but that is not what [ISG chief] David Kay has said,' he told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme. 'It sounds like a bit of a red herring to me.' http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,1113182,00.html

Posted by: bill w. at December 27, 2003 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Trying to disprove WMD to the cult of bush believers is like trying to disprove flying saucers to the UFO faithful.

It is a preposterous chore: For like Ufologists, they do not require an actual flying saucer to support their faith.

You might argue that the lights in their eyes are really just reflections off a vast network of oil pipelines...but they will not budge.

You might argue that all the crash sites have been walked a thousand times and nothing has been found...they will insist the evidence has been removed and buried elsewhere.

Dear liberal soldiers, you are doing the Lord's work here, but ultimately you must realize this truth:

You can lead a republican horse to a clear stream, but you can't stop it from shitting in the water.

That's the nature of the beast.

Posted by: -pea- at December 27, 2003 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

keely, great point. Including chemical and biological weapons in the WMD category has always been a joke. Conventional weapons are destructive enough, and at a good cost/benefit ratio.

Nukes are a different story, but Iraq was nowhere near making a bomb.

Posted by: grytpype at December 27, 2003 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wrote -


I'm pretty sure that the per capita amount of sex in the world today isn't any larger than it was a thousand years ago, rap music and Britney Spears notwithstanding.

I'm pretty sure that the per capita amount of sex in the world is as high as it has ever been, since the per capita number of sexually mature adults is as high as it has ever been. Although, decreased child mortality before puberty might be offset partly by (what I'd guess has been) an increase in the percent people who are elderly that live alone.

Posted by: dbc at December 28, 2003 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Ashcroft got what he wanted............The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies tucked away these new executive powers in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, a legislative behemoth that funds all the intelligence activities of the federal government. The Act included a simple, yet insidious, redefinition of "financial institution," which previously referred to banks, but now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business "whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters."..........The Senate passed it with a voice vote to avoid individual accountability. While broadening the definition of "financial institution," the Bush administration is ramping up provisions within the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which granted the FBI the authority to obtain client records from banks by merely requesting the records in a "National Security Letter." To get the records, the FBI doesn't have to appear before a judge, nor demonstrate "probable cause" - reason to believe that the targeted client is involved in criminal or terrorist activity. Moreover, the National Security Letters are attached with a gag order, preventing any financial institution from informing its clients that their records have been surrendered to the FBI. If a financial institution breaches the gag order, it faces criminal penalties. And finally, the FBI will no longer be required to report to Congress how often they have used the National Security Letters.

Posted by: uly at December 28, 2003 01:13 AM | PERMALINK

David,

You write:

What did we know prior to the invasion?

-- Saddam had previously manufactured and used WMDs
-- Saddam had refused to cooperate with the UN inspectors and/or kicked them our of Iraq in 1998.
-- Saddam had WMD stockpiles in 1998
-- Saddam could have gotten the sanctions removed by proving that he had destroyed his WMDs.
-- Saddam could have prevented hte US from invading and overthrowing him by proving he had destroyed his WMDs and ended their development.
-- Virtually every world leader, including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Hans Blix said they believed Saddam had WMDs

Every one of these statements except the first is false.

I suggest you learn something about this subject before you comment on it further.

Posted by: Jon at December 28, 2003 02:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'm amused. Some people apparently believe that the recent invasion of Iraq had something to do with weapons of mass destruction. That should be weapons of mass distraction, because it is clear beyond peradventure that Shrub's primary reason for taking out Saddam was because Saddam tried to kill his daddy.

He said that too many times for it to be coincidental.

It's unfortunate that the US taxpayer was snookered into getting involved in Shrub's little Hatfield and McCoy feud, though.

Posted by: raj at December 28, 2003 04:10 AM | PERMALINK

eveluion pysco?ogy do that mean that mbd and aspergersis deasis are proved to be hype ? that objectevism and libertanism are the politcal anwser to dna ? or dont evbeluion psychtery matters at all becuse all cloning and gentechi engenering will change ouer laws and culture so it will be as big difrenceas between middel ages hospitals and todays hospitall?

Posted by: alfa lkava at December 28, 2003 05:21 AM | PERMALINK

shorter bush apologists:
the world is scary, and I'd rather Bush had people killed to reassure me than that he worked quietly to protect me.

Posted by: aimai at December 28, 2003 07:33 AM | PERMALINK

Here's some questions for those who believe in the existence of WMDs.

Are current Iraqi resistance forces led by Baathists?
Has the guerilla warfare of the past few months, up till the capture of Sadaam been led by Baathists?
The answers from the neocons and fellow travellers always seems to be yes on these matters.

Okay, if in fact the resistance is by Baathists why are they not hitting american compounds and others with WMDs?
The argument during invasion, and shortly afterwards was that Sadaam would not use WMD because it would guarantee his own destruction, but for several months he was hidden away, supposedly leading restistance forces. Okay, if I was an evil dictator who had killed his own people with gas before, I sure wouldn't hesitate to do it again with a bunch of americans based in Baghdad, and me in Tikrit.

News seems to suggest that those fighting against American forces that are Baathists are running out of conventional weaponry, I would expect someone somewhere to get desperate and say, break open the nonconventional weaponry. I tell you, these people must truly have iron resolve to wait so long before using their ace in the hole.

Posted by: bryan at December 28, 2003 07:36 AM | PERMALINK

They have great minds of the quality we see here in America, some on this thread, in fact.

It interesting when spc67, Joe Schmoe, Will Allen, rich, and other proud defenders of the aWol Administration fall silent when this topic comes up.

Posted by: The Dark Avenger at December 28, 2003 09:13 AM | PERMALINK

>As far as evolutionary psych is concerned, I have read every book Steven Pinker has written. He is a linguist at MIT who is the polar opposite of Chomsky politically (at least I think so although he does look like a hippy). His book "The Blank Slate" is terrific but my daughter, who just got a degree in anthropology from UCLA, won't read it. She says I have to read "The Mismeasure of Man" (I have) which takes the blank slate tack.

It's pretty clear that Pinker and Chomsky both occupy the left end of the spectrum, with Chomsky obviously much, much further to the left. Pinker is pretty much a Krugman-style liberal. In fact, virtually all the ev psych luminaries, near as I can tell, are liberal/left (Robert Trivers was a friend of Huey Newton's, for crying out loud, a fact Pinker underscores in The Blank Slate).

Cultural determinism is attractive in superficial ways to people on the Left, because it posits no built-in impediments to shaping human nature in a progressive direction. Unforunately, by denying an essential human nature, it also posits no moral impediment to using human beings as objects, as Chomsky has pointed out about behaviorism in various interviews. In any event, preferring one view of human nature over another, simply because it's more congenial to one's political agenda, is not science.

Ironically for the people who champion either one, both Chomsky and Gould sound like crypto-creationists on the subject of evolution. See Pinker, Chapter 11 (I think), The Language Instinct, on Chomsky, and Robert Wright's critique of Gould here. Gould's penchant for distorting his opponents' arguments also comes in for scorching from Pinker in The Blank Slate.

Posted by: TK at December 28, 2003 09:24 AM | PERMALINK

The thing that seems to go virtually unrecognized on both sides of the debate is that Chem/Bio weapons are NOT "Weapons of Mass Destruction", they are far more effective at creating fear than actually killing people. The only true "WMDs" are nuclear.

Here's an excerpt from a report published by the Federation of American Scientists:

"If high casualties are the intended end, these agents are not the
most effective means: chem-bio agents are generally more useful for increasing
anxiety and panic than causing high numbers of casualties. Projections of tens of
thousands of casualties are theoretically possible,18 but many such estimates are
worst-case scenarios likely to occur in hard-to-achieve circumstances, with ideal
weather conditions, temperature controls, dispersion rates, concentrations of agent,
and so on.19 Still, terrorism is a psychological weapon, intended for political effect.
The goal might instead be to cause economic damage, or to show strength and
increase political support or leverage, or to copy other terrorist groups, or to emulate
the technological capabilities of states?or some combination of these. While this is
a fine line to draw, there is a danger that Western governments might overstate and
hype the threat, leading to some of the same outcomes by heightening anxieties."

So, according to the FAS, Bush's unabashed fear-mongering by classifying CB weapons as WMDs are actually increasing their effectiveness as a tool of terror.

BTW the Federation of American Scientists is the organization founded by the Manhattan Project scientists, and has no political ax to grind.

Posted by: Sovok at December 28, 2003 09:35 AM | PERMALINK

I would place cluster bombs, napalm, and air/fuel bombs in the WMD category.

Posted by: jri at December 28, 2003 09:50 AM | PERMALINK

I hope Bill doesn't apologize. The right is justy engendering a reputation as the lying, untrustworthy party.

While they have been successful at painting the left as ivory tower academics, personally I would rather vote for the elitist who thought he was doing the right thing versus the lying scumbug looking out only for himself.

Posted by: Patrick Rogers at December 28, 2003 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Lonewacko: people with access to current intelligence about iraq and their wmd capabilities.

colin powell

the department of state transcript

I beleive condoleeza rice also said something similar....

so your point is?

Posted by: Freen at December 28, 2003 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

My question has always been that if we were so sure that the WMD existed and approximately knew their location, why did we do such a piss-poor job of looking for them in the early months? You'd think that considering the threat these weapons presented, that they were an integral part of the decision for war, that terrorists could be making off with these weapons at any moment and heading for Syria, we would have put an extraordinary effort into finding them right away. Instead, it was a *MONTH* before they had more than 4 guys and 2 Hummers on the job. Tuwaitha, a place where we *KNEW* yellowcake existed, took weeks to go look at, and the yellowcake was looted and locals were using the radioactive containers to hold milk. Yellowcake just lying on the ground. This was a site where we knew its exact location and the fact that it really was a nuclear site, yet we lackadaisically shuffled around and took weeks to look at it or other potential sites which were looted long before we got around to looking. Does this sound like an administration that was acting in the urgent national security against WMD in the hands of terrorists? Not by a long shot. I'm forced to conclude that even the Bushies knew there were no weapons to find from the beginning. They're just lying, corrupt, evil fucks, and a whole lot of you apologists are now being tainted with it as you defend the indefensible.

Posted by: Norman at December 28, 2003 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Nanci Pelosi had this to say on December 16, 1998:

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."

Does this mean you're all going to turn on poor sweet Nanci?

Posted by: Lonewacko: I Blogged Across America. Twice. at December 28, 2003 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

If she said that she KNEW where the WMD were located in Iran, yeah, no problem.

Here's what a former member of our military had to say about the subject more recently:

"We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions -- the fact that the sanctions exist -- not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq..."

02/24/01

Now if Pelosi knew something that Powell didn't know, whose fault was that?

Posted by: The Dark Avenger at December 28, 2003 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

WE ARE NOW LIVING IN A POLICE STATE!

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at December 28, 2003 02:08 PM | PERMALINK

Powell said that 7 months before 9/11/01.

Since 1998, has Nanci retracted her statement? Did she change her mind about Saddam having WMD?

Posted by: Lonewacko: etc. etc. at December 28, 2003 04:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't really see that o'reilly comment as being so absurd as to call him to 'take a break...a looooooong break.'

Your criticism of the second quote is valid, but I would need more info on what o'reilly said regarding evolutionary sex (or whatever the hell he was trying to say) to declare that he take a long break.

O'reilly's show and books and approach are better than this blog.

Posted by: bj at December 28, 2003 05:18 PM | PERMALINK

Lonewacko, dear, you're ignoring who it was that briefed Nancy on Saddam's supposed WMDs, just as you're ignoring the pre-war evidence that Saddam did not, in fact have WMDs -- evidence that has been pretty conclusively demonstrated to be true, given the complete failure to actually locate these supposed WMDs.

When you're actually ready to address the issue, we'll be right here. Until then, your clumsy attempt to evade it is simply tiresome and doesn't really merit a response.

Posted by: PaulB at December 28, 2003 07:45 PM | PERMALINK

How much, do you think, does O'Reilley's own ham-handed sexual prose (as hilariously highlighted by Al Franken) contribute to the problem?

Posted by: Hesiod at December 29, 2003 08:19 AM | PERMALINK

286 days and counting!

(Courtesy of...)
http://www.michaelmoore.com/
(scroll down halfway & look on the right side of the page)

Posted by: spyral at December 29, 2003 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Is bill aware that humanity has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, and tv for barely a century, print barely more than a few thousand, and widespread print only for a few hundred?

Humans have always been extremely sexual. To say that it's the media's fault is not only ridiculous and ill-informed, it's laughable!

Posted by: george at December 29, 2003 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes, you hear someone make a comment, not necessarily anything personal, and you just know that some part of their private life really isn't working out.

E.g., who here, no matter how lonely or right-wing, doesn't think their own sex life is probably better than O'Reilly's?

Posted by: Molly, NYC at December 29, 2003 07:23 PM | PERMALINK

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

Posted by: Jessica Lampros at March 17, 2004 04:57 PM | PERMALINK

Inertia is not limited to matter.

Posted by: Vazquez Teresa at May 2, 2004 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.

Posted by: Cutler Betsy at May 3, 2004 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

People who do not think far enough ahead inevitably have worries near at hand.

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