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January 21, 2004

MISCELLANEOUS SOTU FOLLOWUP....I missed this when I was listening to the SOTU last night, so it's a good thing it's become a widespread target of mockery in the blogosphere today. Here, apparently, is the evolution of Iraq's WMD program:

March 2003: Weapons of mass destruction.
June 2003: Weapons of mass destruction programs.
October 2003: Weapons of mass destruction-related programs.
January 2004: Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.

Isn't that great? "Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities." Brad DeLong speculates here about how this particular phrase got constructed.

(UPDATE: But Atrios seems to have the real story on this.)

Also via Brad, here's a USA Today article that — unlike those by the infamous Nedra Pickler — does fact checking right. I haven't gone through it line by line to see if every single thing it says is accurate, but the general tone seems right and the idea of adding missing context is fine. I'd be happy to see this kind of thing applied to major addresses from both sides of the aisle.

Finally, here is Al Franken's webcast commentary on the SOTU last night. I hate to say it, but it's pretty flat. I hope he does better than this on his new radio show.

Posted by Kevin Drum at January 21, 2004 11:21 AM | TrackBack


Comments

LOL - so (in hindsight) your big complaint boils down to GWB not using the right phrase (would "Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities" have even been enough for you?) and stressing enough times that intelligence agencies around the world are not 100% certain about Iraq's WMD?!

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Next up: Weapons of mass destruction-related program activity dreams.

Posted by: Meteor Blades at January 21, 2004 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

don't forget to mock the imminently mockable drug rant. "the state of our nation is...too jacked up on steroids."

Posted by: Marc at January 21, 2004 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

I doubt THAT would have even satisfied your side's blood-lust.

BTW: Didn't GWB also lie last night when he claimed: "The terrorists continue to plot against America and the civilized world"? I mean, NO evidence of that has been made public, has it?

I can see Howard Dean now: "How could he possibly suspect that, unless he's in conspiracy with the terrorist themselves!"

If this wasn't so serious and tragic, I would laugh out loud.

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

So if they'd have waited until about now, they'd have completely gone anyway! Of their own accord. Truly a remarkable President. Can us Brits have him when he's out?

Posted by: Matthew at January 21, 2004 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

They should have renamed the speech "No Lie Left Behind".

Posted by: MostlyCoherentwill_b at January 21, 2004 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure there are going to be some great bumper stickers featuring WMDRPA and prominently featuring either a close-up of and eagle's head in profile, or a waving, undulating American flag, or both. And here's where SUV's come in: only a Hummer-width vehicle will be able to fit all the present and future qualifiers to the original WMD.

Posted by: peejay at January 21, 2004 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

One last time: Did GWB lie or not last night when he claimed: "The terrorists continue to plot against America"?

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie, please, please don't waste your time, or our time, with pretending that Bush appropriately hedged and caveated his claims about Iraq and WMDs. He didn't, there's no question left about it, and anyone who at this late date is trying to pretend that he made an honest case about WMDs is, prima facie, guilty of denial and insufficient awareness of the facts.

And despite Bush's "what difference does it make," it does make a difference, and our credibility has been lowered as a result.

The broader question of accurate reporting - and its distinction from news analysis - isn't going to be solved here, but it does seem to me that, for instance, accurate reporting would note actual job gains against the bush administration claims for the jobs gains their tax cuts would produce; analysis would get into the varying viewpoints about why fewer jobs have been created than bush claimed would be.

So a reasonable news account of the SOTU would note the evolution of the WMD position, among many other things.

Actually getting reasonable news accounts, though, is another story altogether.

Posted by: howard at January 21, 2004 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

One last time

Promise?

Posted by: Demetrios at January 21, 2004 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

I hope he doesn't switch to rooting out "steroid related programs" in professional sports.

Posted by: Talking Wall at January 21, 2004 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Did GWB lie or not last night when he claimed: 'The terrorists continue to plot against America?'"

Nope. I'm sure Osama and Omar are plotting against us this very moment. Funny how their names never came up, though ...

Posted by: Guy at January 21, 2004 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

There are lies, and there are dangerous laws. It's well worth our time to oppose Bush vigorously on some of them:

Fight the Patriot Act! Tell your congressperson and senators not to renew the provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire. These provisions were considered such a threat to civil liberties that even conservative Republicans led the fight, against the wishes of the Bush administration, to put sunset time limits on them!

It is likely that if not abolished these parts of the Patriot Act will be used to punish dissent. Remember Nixon?

Our future liberty and that of our children may well depend on our taking action now. Contact your representatives:

http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

Posted by: Rick Barton at January 21, 2004 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

As someone at my work said, "Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities?" Does that mean they found matches in Iraq?

Posted by: Sovay at January 21, 2004 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,
what you and your kin just don't get is that going into Iraq seriously weakened our ability to fight terrorism. Iraq, a secular country with no substantive links to Al Qaeda, and no WMDs that could threaten us, was portrayed as essential to fighting terrorists. When this point was questioned, the administration effectively told us that Iraq did in fact have WMDs, that could be launched on us in a matter of minutes, and that we not only knew that these WMDs existed, but that we knew where these WMDs were. That they've now backslid to "related program activities" is evidence that their earlier statements were lies.

Only an idiot would think that invading Iraq somehow made us safer from terrorists.

Posted by: Dave at January 21, 2004 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

You also forgot that Libya abandoned its plans for "weapons of mass murder".

Posted by: Dave at January 21, 2004 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Charlie---

I doubt that he lied about that. Actually, it seems like the kind of thing that always has been true and always will be true.

But, why are you so wound up about this? I don't think anybody has said that this claim was a lie.

The more troubling thing to me is that he seems to think the invasion of Iraq is somehow connected to the War on Terror (as if it were the logical continuation of the invasion of Afghanistan). Inded, given the lack of WMDs and few contacts between Iraq and Al-Quaeda, it seems like a big ole distraction (like the guy at the Army War College said).

The only people that I have run into who think that the invasion of Iraq is part of the War on Terror are people who believe that is all part of a larger War on Islam. Which is strange, since
Bush speaks out against that interpretation pretty often.

What do you think Charlie?

Posted by: Nate at January 21, 2004 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

BTW: Didn't GWB also lie last night when he claimed: "The terrorists continue to plot against America and the civilized world"? I mean, NO evidence of that has been made public, has it?

I can see Howard Dean now: "How could he possibly suspect that, unless he's in conspiracy with the terrorist themselves!"

If this wasn't so serious and tragic, I would laugh out loud.

Well then how did Howard Dean know we weren't any safer after capturing Saddam if there is no evidence that terrorists are plotting against us?

YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jay at January 21, 2004 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

It kinda reminds me of buying what you think is OJ and finding out it is really an 'Orange-like fruit-type snack beverage.'

Posted by: Tripp at January 21, 2004 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

And; what in the Hell is this?
It sounds like a nightmare!: Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention: http://antiwar.com/article.php?articleid=1748

Posted by: Rick Barton at January 21, 2004 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

don't feed the trolls.

Posted by: ChrisS at January 21, 2004 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

The only people that I have run into who think that the invasion of Iraq is part of the War on Terror are people who believe that is all part of a larger War on Islam.

You don't get out too much do you Nate?

Posted by: Jay at January 21, 2004 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Oh. I'm sorry Jay---

I meant "Islamism". A War on Islamism is _very_ _different_ from a War on Islam.

Posted by: Nate at January 21, 2004 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

howard says
anyone who at this late date is trying to pretend that he made an honest case about WMDs is, prima facie, guilty of denial and insufficient awareness of the facts.

I don't think so. If you like, I can spend a few minutes and drag up all kinds of quotes from all over about Iraq having WMDs and how they presented a threat. At the time, WMDs were fairly widely accepted.

I agree that in light of recent events, WMDs were overblown. But they were overblown by everyone, Repub, Dem, foreign, etc.

I do find it disturbing that Bush is hanging onto the claims, unless definitive proof surfaces. So far there has been only smoke.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 12:19 PM | PERMALINK
I agree that in light of recent events, WMDs were overblown. But they were overblown by everyone, Repub, Dem, foreign, etc.

Yes, but not everyone claimed that the information was both solid enough and constituted a big enough threat to warrant a war.

Posted by: cmdicely at January 21, 2004 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Re-elect Bush: Because it's not that he lies, it's just that his relationship to the truth is like Sunny D's relationship to Orange Juice.

(as for the substantive argument--one more time: we thought Saddam had bio and chem weapons, but we obviously exaggerated the evidence because we "knew" he was guilty. And the administration deliberately deceived us about his nuclear weapons.)

Posted by: Katherine at January 21, 2004 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

So far there has been only smoke.

Smoke from the administration maybe. Nothing has surfaced in Iraq that even gives the hint of advanced, current weapons programs.

I am confused as to what a related program activity is supposed to entail, but when it comes to this administration's, uh, interesting use of rhetoric, it could be anything.

Posted by: ChrisS at January 21, 2004 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

It was the neo's war:
http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

Posted by: Rick Barton at January 21, 2004 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Congressman: Details of Iraqi WMD 'years away'


"Every day is a new day for the intelligence people," said Rep. Porter Goss, R-Florida. "I would say that we are probably a couple of years away from getting through all the material and talking to all the people we need to talk to about exactly what was going on, not only with the Saddam Hussein regime but with some of the Taliban and some of the things that have been going on in North Korea, Libya, Iran and other places."

They just can't help themselves, can they?

Posted by: digger at January 21, 2004 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

There's an excellent article on salon.com about how many jobs GW has not created.

What I always wonder when it comes to all this talk about WMDs or "weapons of mass murder" and how it's so terrible for a country to have them--essential to FREEDOM, in fact, for a country NOT to have them--is why no one ever seems to point out that our country has the largest stock of these weapons of any country in the world, and is actively involved in developing new and even deadlier .weapons of mass murder.'

Why isn't THAT a bad thing?

Posted by: dave at January 21, 2004 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ron, i'm familiar with all the enabling arguments. They didn't hold water then and they don't hold water now.

In particular, as best as i've discerned, there was only one place in the world in which it was taken as a fact that saddam had "reconstituted" his nuclear weapons program (and i'm being generous to cheney, who left out the word programs and never issued a correction): the bush white house.

And since nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction worthy of the name....

Now, there was not an unreasonable basis to accept that Saddam probably had some stocks of chemical and biological materials, although there was an open question about both shelf life and about whether these materials existed in weaponized forms, but that not unreasonable basis of belief is nowhere close to what the bush administration said even about these less than mass destruction weapons.

An honest case about WMDs noted uncertainty, lack of direct evidence, and the high reliance upon saddam's track record; a dishonest case about WMDs looked just like the Bush administration case, in which intel was cherrypicked, hedges abandoned, caveats treated like they were for wimps, and uncertainties brushed away.

Posted by: howard at January 21, 2004 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Moreover, many of the quotes that Ron would undoubtedly post will be either a) years out-of-date, or b) based on the flawed, "adjusted" intelligence reports from the Bush administration.

Posted by: PaulB at January 21, 2004 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I wrote it in one of the threads below but the SOTU speech strangely reminded me of late 70s / early 80s Brezhnev Pravda speeches than went more or less like: i) enemy at the gate, fear, fear, war, war, ii) enrich the nomenklatura, iii) conquest of space, and iv) scapegoat the jews. Omit the conquest of space and replace jews by gays and you've got it.

In the meantime the USSR was sinking in its own self-inflicted quagmires of Afghanistan and a spiralling economy, but none of that seemed to matter -- yet.

If I was an older Russian, I'd be laughing my head off.

Posted by: Lupin at January 21, 2004 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Do the paranoid fools who eat up Bush's nonsense realize how pathetic they look? Who is scared by his comic-book crap about dangerous evil-doers plotting, dangers gathering and killers in caves?

Ignorant people don't have the faculties or perspective to judge threats and probabilities, and unfortunately most of America fits this categorization. Like some shut-in terrified about the undercooked chicken report on the local news, "your dinner is trying to kill you!"

It's allright to be pathetic and scared, most of the rest of the world knows you are just stupid and gullible, but why are you conservative types so proud of it? And really, the tough decisions shouldn't be made by the emotionally immature, let the grown-ups do it, allright?

Posted by: andrew at January 21, 2004 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my major problem with the speech and with criticizing the speech - link

Posted by: dave at January 21, 2004 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Howard & Paul B & Ron,

Ron actually has a point, although not the one he thinks he does. This is not a partisan issue. Both Clinton and Bush systematically misrepresented what was known about Iraq, although for somewhat different reasons, and they made different choices. In fact, as gruesome power politics goes, Clinton was far worse. He's probably responsible for more Iraqi deaths than Saddam Hussein.

So -- Ron's qiuite right that both Democrats and Republicans said the same things about Iraq (except for the nuclear issue). But this wasn't because both were being honest. They were both lying.

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Howard & Paul B & Ron,

Sorry, let me amend that -- most Democrats and Republicans weren't lying. They simply had no idea what they were talking about, and were repeating what they'd been told. However, some members of both the Clinton and Bush administrations clearly lied about this issue. Clinton is lying relentlessly about it to this day.

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Jon, someone somewhere (either here at calpundit or over at Matthew Yglesias) cited the other day what i took to be a mythical species: people who say that just because we haven't found WMDs today, that means they never existed.

You aren't actually an example of such a species, are you?

Posted by: howard at January 21, 2004 01:01 PM | PERMALINK

Omit the conquest of space ... and you've got it.

But aren't we going to settle the moon? And the mission to Mars was what?

This administration scares me for its inability to take precautions against the unintended consequences of its actions. Or its refusal to even believe that there could be other outcomes. Liberals had their failures of this as well (e.g. putting high density housing developments adjacent to wealthy neighborhoods, which led to an increase in crime in the area and a decrease in property values), but those programs typically impacted an urban center, or a limited number of people. Bush policies impact a system a couple of magnitudes more complex.

Posted by: ChrisS at January 21, 2004 01:05 PM | PERMALINK

howard says
They didn't hold water then and they don't hold water now.
I have always maintained that the opposition to the war had solid arguments.

there was only one place in the world in which it was taken as a fact that saddam had "reconstituted" his nuclear weapons program
I agree that only Cheney was claiming nuclear stuff.

Now, there was not an unreasonable basis to accept that Saddam probably had some stocks of chemical and biological materials...
This was my point. I accept as perfectly valid the arguments that the information was not sufficient to wage pre-emptive war. But to say that "Bush lied about WMDs" is to ignore the fact that so did almost everyone else.

cmdicely says
Yes, but not everyone claimed that the information was both solid enough and constituted a big enough threat to warrant a war.
I believe I covered this in response to Howard, I agree with this and I allow that the opposition had good arguments.

PaulB says
Moreover, many of the quotes that Ron would undoubtedly post will be either a) years out-of-date, or b) based on the flawed, "adjusted" intelligence reports from the Bush administration.
Actually, my favorite quotes were the Dem congresspersons while Clinton was president. They seemed hell-bent that we should take out Saddam.

Jon
It wasn't just Dem and Repub, there are lots of quotes from foreign leaders. And surely you remember UN Resolution 1441? I don't think this was so much a case of intentional misleading as it was a case of nearly everyone being snowed.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 01:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ron, for the record, i don't waste my time on the notion of bush "lying." This takes us down too metaphysical a path for political discourse.

What i do say is that Bush didn't make an honest case about WMDs, and it appears, in the end, that you agree.

Posted by: howard at January 21, 2004 01:12 PM | PERMALINK

We were intentionally misled about the nature of the alledged Iraqi WMDs by Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld and Tony Blair before the war, and we're being misled about them still. That says all that needs to be said about the trustworthiness of this administration. Not making an honest case to go to war is a terrible stain on the honor of my country, and Bush has dishonored the men who fought in Iraq as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: David W. at January 21, 2004 01:28 PM | PERMALINK

We don't want the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud-related program activity.

Posted by: neil at January 21, 2004 01:50 PM | PERMALINK

Well, actually, as we've discovered from the searches by the UN and the Kay group, it seems that pretty much all of those activities were stopped not long after the first war.

However, we have proof that there were weapons of mass destruction-related program activity plans.

Posted by: bleh at January 21, 2004 01:56 PM | PERMALINK

There's no doubt in my mind that Bush overstated the threat of Iraqi WMDs a year ago. I have no reason to think he was lying, since what he said was pretty much what other countries also believed at that time. But, our intelligence turned out to be flawed. Iraq apparently had only a few programs and some minor ongoing efforts, although even these were banned under Iraq's 1991 peace agreement and Security Council resolutions.

Given that our intelligence is flawed, suppose we think a nation is close to being a WMD danger. Should we attack or wait for certainty? Should we tend to give dangerous countries the benefit of the doubt? Should we refuse to make war unless we're certain that we're at risk?

My guess is that a majority of the voters would say that if in doubt we should attack, but a large majority would strongly argue that we should wait. I think more voters prefer the President to be too much concerned with WMDs rather than too little concerned with them. YMMV.

Posted by: David at January 21, 2004 02:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush apologists are truly beginning to look pathetic. Even noted Bush groupie Andrew Sullivan has admitted that the lack of WMDs is big deal and Ken Adelman, member of the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Board admits that it has undermined our credibility abroad, telling the Washington Post that "The foreign policy blow-back is pretty serious." Can anyone forget Rumsfeld saying "we know where the weapons are"?

Look, we all know what happened. The Bushies reasons for wanting to invade Iraq were many, but WMDs was the one that, according to Paul Wolfowitz, everyone could agree on. Also, only by portraying Iraq as an urgent WMD threat would Bush be able to get broad popular support. They believed he had them, so they chose to emphasize intelligence that supported them and ignore intelligence that did not. It was dishonest because they were not using the intelligence to reach a conclusion, they had reached their conclusion and the looked for intelligence to support it.

Those who cannot see this are either in denial or do not care.

Posted by: David Perlman at January 21, 2004 02:05 PM | PERMALINK

We don't want the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud-related program activity.

FYI, a pencil drawing on spiral-bound notebook paper does not a smoking gun make. And if that yellowcake was such a danger, it's strange how securing it where we *knew* it was kept wasn't a top priority.

The fact is that the allegations about supposed Iraqi WMDs were merely a pretext to go to war, and we were intentionally misled by Bush.

Posted by: David W. at January 21, 2004 02:11 PM | PERMALINK

Howard,

No, of course I believe they existed at one point. They existed up until 1991. Then in 91 Iraq handed over some to UNSCOM, and -- as they've claimed since 1995 -- secretly destroyed the rest, which was mainly anthrax and VX.

Ron,

Here's a fall 2002 quote from one foreign leader, Vladimir Putin:

"Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners yet."

The vote on 1441 doesn't mean anything. First, you could believe Iraq was in material breach of 687 without believing it had any weapons. Second, and more importantly, countries voted for it even if they didn't believe Iraq was in material breach of 687, etc. They were trying to hold back the US, which had already stated it would attack Iraq if the SC didn't pass a resolution.

In any case, there is no question whatsoever that the Bush administration intentionally misled the American people. None.

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 02:13 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that a majority of the voters would say that if in doubt we should attack, but a large majority would strongly argue that we should wait. I think more voters prefer the President to be too much concerned with WMDs rather than too little concerned with them. YMMV.

Doubt cuts both ways though, and the Bush administration's allegations about WMDs were based on little more than distrust of Saddam Hussein. Which is certainly a good reason to be vigilant, but not a good enough reason to go to war for.

Posted by: David W. at January 21, 2004 02:14 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with David Perlman that the Bush Administration had reached their conclusion and the looked for intelligence to support it. That's still better than failing to act, in my book. Don't forget that there were several other reasons for overthrowing Saddam which turned out to be accurate.

A right decision for the wrong reason beats a wrong, but justifiable decision. Tens of millions of lives would have been saved if FDR had attacked Hitler in 1935 for the wrong reason.

Posted by: David at January 21, 2004 02:18 PM | PERMALINK

Jon:

"In any case, there is no question whatsoever that the Bush administration intentionally misled the American people."

And as you know, I disagree with your opinion.

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 02:20 PM | PERMALINK

howard says
What i do say is that Bush didn't make an honest case about WMDs, and it appears, in the end, that you agree.

I am saying that popular evidence at the time supported that Saddam had WMDs. And it certainly appears that this has been proven false. I am also willing to allow a good argument against going to war based on what we had as popular evidence. I'll also agree that Bush pushed what evidence he had very hard.

I'm not willing to single Bush out for not making an honest case about WMDs. It seems like an oversimplification to me.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 02:22 PM | PERMALINK

David: I have no reason to think he was lying, since what he said was pretty much what other countries also believed at that time. But, our intelligence turned out to be flawed.

Saying that "our intelligence turned out to be flawed" is a classic "mistakes were made" type formulation in which there's no responsible party--it just happened.

The intelligence wasn't just "flawed." The white house broke it. Intelligence analysts are a lot like scientists--they work in a highly-specialized discipline that's largely impenetrable to outsiders and they're trained to go where the facts lead them without regard to ideology and without respect for foreordained conclusions. (This is an ideal toward which they strive, not by any means a standard that all achieve.)

The administration routinely interfered to an unprecedented degree in the intelligence process, suppressing and browbeating analysts who refused to mangle the data to produce the answers the administration wanted. Eventually the administration started piping raw data to a carefully chosen politically reliable committee that could be trusted to come up with the right conclusions.

Well, we've owned the country for a long time now and the facts are in: The professionals were right and the commissars were wrong. The up-is-down amateur show that insisted on politicizing the intellience got it all ass-backwards and now they have the nerve to stand back and point fingers at the very agencies they obstructed, bullied, and sidelined.

This crew has done real lasting damage to our intelligence apparatus even without considering the appalling Plame affair. For that alone they deserve an early retirement.

Posted by: Laertes at January 21, 2004 02:22 PM | PERMALINK

That mealy mouthed phrase sure would have made the 2002 Cincinnati speech sound different, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Frank at January 21, 2004 02:24 PM | PERMALINK

A right decision for the wrong reason beats a wrong, but justifiable decision. Tens of millions of lives would have been saved if FDR had attacked Hitler in 1935 for the wrong reason.

I think my irony meter has just left the building, because evidently the end now justifies the means for Republicans. Lenin's biography will now have to be revised to put him in good standing as a forerunner of Republican political strategy.

Posted by: David W. at January 21, 2004 02:24 PM | PERMALINK

OK Jon, you've forced me to look up some quotes.

"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
- Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

"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."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

There are pages and pages of them. Tell me how many you want. I'll look up other foreign leaders too if necessary.

Yes, Bush pushed his evidence hard. It only makes sense that he did so. You do not want a country going to war half-hearted. There is an argument that he pushed too hard, I won't undertake a defense of that since it's water under the bridge.

But if Bush intentionally mislead, he had lots of company.

"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 .. 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."
- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 02:30 PM | PERMALINK
The vote on 1441 doesn't mean anything. First, you could believe Iraq was in material breach of 687 without believing it had any weapons.

For instance, if you thought Saddam Hussein hadn't fully complied with the inspectors and with documenting the disposition of the weapons. Which he hadn't.

Of course, there are big gaps between believing that "Saddam hasn't verifiably accounted for his WMD and needs to so we can be certain they are gone, though they probably are", and believing "Saddam might still have some substantial WMD stockpile and likely at least active WMD programs, so its urgent we get an accounting and inspections and verify what's going on and destroy what's left, if any", and again between that and believing "We know Saddam has WMD's, he's building drones to deliver them, we believe he has 'reconstituted nuclear weapons', and if we don't attack right now there is a substantial risk that the smoking gun that will, in retrospect, show the error of delay will be a mushroom cloud over a major Israeli or Western city".


Posted by: cmdicely at January 21, 2004 02:33 PM | PERMALINK

Tens of millions of lives would have been saved if FDR had attacked Hitler in 1935 for the wrong reason.

sigh. Nice Monday morning quarterbacking...

Posted by: ChrisS at January 21, 2004 02:33 PM | PERMALINK

Ron, are you saying you think that Senator Hillary Clinton had identical access to the intelligence services, both American and international, that the White House had access to?

Bush & Co lied to everybody.

Posted by: Jesurgislac at January 21, 2004 02:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ron, why don't you look up the quotes from Colin Powell and Condi Rice from a couple of years ago while you're at it? The results might surprise you.

Posted by: PaulB at January 21, 2004 02:36 PM | PERMALINK
There are pages and pages of them.

So?

The Democrats universally either (a) have no current information not from the Bush Administration (and, therefore, unless they are lying about what the intelligence they've been showed says, are merely evidence, again, of Bush Administration lies) or are speaking in 1998 about the context of the Desert Fox campaign aimed at Iraq's WMD programs -- which statements have nothing to do with the status quo at the time of the 2002-2003 run up to war, since, after all, they don't refer to any of the effects of Desert Fox, either in direct destruction or changing Iraqi behavior in the area of WMDs, or any other events which may have transpired in the four years after Desert Fox.

Posted by: cmdicely at January 21, 2004 02:37 PM | PERMALINK

Jesurgislac
I'll confine my quotes to before the Bush administration:

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the
U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if
appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond
effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of
mass destruction programs."
- Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle,
John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998

I have more. They're easy to find.

This mis-information was not limited to Bush.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 02:40 PM | PERMALINK

I've got it!

Next will be:

ambitions for weapons of mass destruction related program activities...

And Ron, why no links?

Wanna bet that none of the quotes you offer were made as a pretext for a first-strike war against a third-world country?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement at January 21, 2004 02:42 PM | PERMALINK

Here we go round and round again. 1998 was not 2003 - is that so hard to understand?

Ron, if you have no other basis for doubting Bush's case, at least take a look back at the NIE. The NIE contained a footnote (typical in NIE documents, and actually located in the appendix) in which the state department sounded off on how it disagreed. Neither Bush nor Rice even bothered to read it.

In addition, we're now down to the question of whether it's even legitimate to consider chemical and biological weapons as WMDs. I don't, and most military observers agree (Greg Easterbrook, who supported the war, wrote extensively on this topic, one of his better ones). When the Bush Administration started pushing the nuclear line, that was a clear sign that it had no interest in making an honest case....

The fact is, millions of us, sitting behind keyboards, knew that the case was exaggerated....

Posted by: howard at January 21, 2004 02:50 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso is to believed, former president Bill Clinton told him in October 2003 that he (Clinton) was convinced Iraq had weapons of mass destruction up "until the end of the Saddam regime" he said in an interview with Portuguese cable news channel SIC Noticias.

But, then, why do I think you knew that little piece of news already?

; )

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 02:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm curious about a wrong done for the wrong reasons, which seems to be what we have on our hands.

Posted by: Boronx at January 21, 2004 02:54 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, your point was silly at 11:40 a.m. and it's silly at 2:54 pm.

When you find a quote from anyone outside of the Bush inner circle that Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, talk to us.

Posted by: howard at January 21, 2004 02:58 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't make a point at 2:54 p.m. (maybe that's what time you read one of my points?)

If you are commenting on my 2:52 p.m. post, is it fair to say you don't want to take Clinton's word on this either?

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 03:02 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. I guessed I was raised with a different mindset that NBC weapons are ALL weapons of mass destruction, deserving response in kind by the U.S.

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 03:05 PM | PERMALINK
Wanna bet that none of the quotes you offer were made as a pretext for a first-strike war against a third-world country?

Actually, they were. Which is part of what makes them somewhat irrelevant -- they were used in the runup or during- and post-action discussion of Operation Desert Fox. Whose objective was to destroy Iraq's WMD programs. So they clearly don't indicate belief in a certainty that those programs existed and constituted a threat in 2002-2003, since they were all about a military campaign aimed at those programs in 1998.

Posted by: cmdicely at January 21, 2004 03:05 PM | PERMALINK

“We have faced serious challenges together and now we face a choice: We can go forward with confidence and resolve or we can turn back to the dangerous illusion that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat to us.”

The cheap rhetorical stunt of a semi-literate deceiver who cannot defend his policy with either facts, logic, or coherent argument…setting up a straw man is the refuge of one unable to make any other case. So, let’s see….you either agree with him OR you choose dangerous illusion?

Up yours, Mr. President…………you’re a phony!



“…weapons of mass destruction-related program activities…”

Anyone who needs this explained will have to take their nose out of W’s ass first.

“Unless you act," he said, "Americans face a tax increase. What the Congress has given, the Congress should not take away. For the sake of job growth, the tax cuts you passed should be permanent.”

He put expiration dates on the tax cuts to purposely keep the size of the package down and within budgetary limits, and now complains with phony passion, setting about to right this “injustice”. Hey, dimwit—you did it in the first place!!!


The budget he will soon send to Congress will allegedly "cut the deficit in half over the next five years."

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Bush's projections "show a large decline in the deficit by 2009 only because the [Office of Management and Budget] figures will omit a series of very likely or inevitable costs in taxes, defense spending, and other areas." The center explains:
"A series of analyses -- including analyses by the Brookings Institution, Goldman-Sachs, and a joint analysis by the business-led Committee for Economic Development, the Concord Coalition, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities -- all have found that recent budget projections omit a number of likely costs that must be added back to gain a realistic sense of the budget deficits we face in coming years. The administration's forthcoming budget is expected to have approximately $200 billion in missing costs in the fifth year."
"Specifically, the OMB figures are likely to exclude the costs of fighting terrorism internationally after September 30, 2004; to fail to reflect the full costs of the Administration's own "Future Year Defense Plan;" to omit the costs of extending relief from the mushrooming Alternative Minimum Tax after 2005; and to omit the costs of extending a series of very popular tax breaks."
Using real-world assumptions, the center calculates that the deficit is likely to rise from $374 billion in 2003 to between $440 billion and $500 billion in 2009. It adds, "The administration's contention that the deficit will be cut in half in the next five years thus is essentially an accounting fiction, derived in large part by omitting very likely or inevitable costs, including costs for proposals the administration itself hopes and intends to submit in the years ahead."
accounting fiction, derived in large part by omitting very likely or inevitable costs, including costs for proposals the administration itself hopes and intends to submit in the years ahead."


No sale, Mr. President………your fraud is unravelling….your time is up. Turd Blossom will have to try harder….this scam is getting old!

Posted by: marty at January 21, 2004 03:07 PM | PERMALINK

Jesurgislac,

I'm afraid Ron's case is airtight. The Clinton administration did say most of the same things as the Bush administration on this subject (though not about the nuclear question).

As I wrote, this doesn't mean that both the Clinton and Bush administrations were telling the truth. People within both adminstrations were lying. However, again as I wrote, most politicians surely were just repeating what they were told when they made all those claims, rather than consciously lying.

With the Democrats, there was also a large element of not wanting to be called soft on Saddam -- as happened with everyone who was knowlegable and honest about the subject, such as Scott Ritter. If you're a politician, far better to talk tough. You'll never pay a political price for saying bad things about Saddam Hussein, as we have seen.

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 03:07 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently Charlie you were entirely raised after 1990 – making you about 13, because back then the only “response” made to Hussein’s use of BC (he didn’t have any N, he wasn’t on his way to getting any N, and he wasn’t going to get any N so long as the UN Sanctions prevailed) weapons was to give him directions to the people he wanted to use them on.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at January 21, 2004 03:09 PM | PERMALINK

howard
Your last comment, I'll agree with. Even to the point that Bush exaggerated the case.

Maybe I'm splitting too fine of a hair here. But the Bush administration was not alone in believing that Iraq had WMDs. I believe there was a viable argument both for and against war. Subsequent information has rendered the WMD argument a bad one, but at the time this was not the case.

For everyone else
1990 - 1st Gulf war
1998 - Iraq pitched the inspectors out.
After 8 years of inspections, I'll submit that the intelligence surrounding the 1998 quotes above was as good as was available at the time.

And, oddly enough, seems to show that WMDs were indicated in Iraq. I find it interesting that you consider mis-information in 1998 to be no problem, but that same mis-information in 2002 to be a show of devastating incompetence.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 03:14 PM | PERMALINK

Bush doesn't think, reflect, intuit, or reason. Frum or Frumkin or whomever could throw in the line- "Iraq was one step away from World Domination before America stepped in", and Bush would season the gristle like it was red meat.

He's a new kind of imbecile, and the neocons made hay while the idiot son shined.

Posted by: Blackthorne at January 21, 2004 03:15 PM | PERMALINK

Lori - did I say Saddam, with regards to nuclear? I'm not 13 though - what I was referring to has been clear U.S. policy against EVERYONE for DECADES now - let's see, I got that basic knowledge with my degree in Poli Sci back in 1991 - that makes me 35 on February 7th (one day after Ronald Reagan's birthday). Now, how old are you?

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 03:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry PaulB, didn't mean to skip over you
Ron, why don't you look up the quotes from Colin Powell and Condi Rice from a couple of years ago while you're at it? The results might surprise you.

My greatest hope is that the people in charge were aware of the arguments in favor of war, as well as those against. I do remember some stuff by Powell, but I like hearing the opposing view. And besides, he's State Department, it's his job to look for ways other than military force.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 03:24 PM | PERMALINK

So we took action based on intelligence we had in 1998-2000 and interrupted an inspection process to start a war? An inspection process that would have provided us the same results we presently have without 500 Americans and thousands of Iraqis liberated from Saddam and from life altogether?

And just how many Democrats called for that same interruption of the process because we just couldn't afford to wait?

Posted by: Amigo at January 21, 2004 03:29 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, my point in hammering the nuclear portion was that this is the only REAL weapon of mass destruction. Why? Because only nuclear weapons have the capacity to kill massive numbers of people with any reliability. Tell me, how many people have died in chemical or biological attacks? How many people died in each of the two known nuclear attacks? How do the figures compare? Biological and chemical weapons are more about terror than effectiveness.

As to my other point, let me try this again, what was the response of Reagan and Bush to Hussein’s use of what you claim are WMD (chemical attacks)? Was it to sanction Iraq? Was it to invade? Or perhaps it was a lesser known method of punishment – selling helicopters and providing intelligence on the would be victims? How is that third (and historically accurate) example congruent with your claim of a “clear U.S. policy against EVERYONE for DECADES?”

Ron: if you can’t understand the difference between the inspectors being recalled in order to allow the US to start bombing (1998) and being “kicked out,” then how can we take your analysis seriously?

Posted by: Lori Thantos at January 21, 2004 03:30 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, sorry to copy the time wrong, but you are in a distinct minority on the subject of chemical and biological weapons as weapons of mass destruction.

Ron, although on some level you are splitting hairs, you still ought to try and read what i wrote. I didn't say Bush "lied," i said he didn't make an honest WMD case.

I didn't say that Bush (and his administration) were "devastatingly incompetent" on WMDs, I said he/they didn't make an honest WMD case.

It's an open question exactly what the status of Saddam's military arsenal was in 1998 (and, for the "honest" record, no Saddam didn't throw the inspectors out, although he probably would have, we withdrew them) and whether the Clinton efforts at the time finished them off or, as jon would have us believe, Saddam was telling the truth as of the mid-'90s.

But it's not an open question that if you want to build your case for war on WMDs, you need the certainty that Bush and his administration pretended existed. That's why they're busy scrambling to pretend that the whole purpose of the war was idealistic.

Posted by: howard at January 21, 2004 03:32 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

I wrote:

In any case, there is no question whatsoever that the Bush administration intentionally misled the American people.

You responded:

And as you know, I disagree with your opinion.

What I know, I'm sorry to say, is that I provided you with clear evidence that both the Bush adminstration and Tony Blair lied -- but, just as I expected, you neither had a meaningful response to the evidence nor are willing to admit that they lied.

For instance, you write elsewhere (http://www.calpundit.com/archives/003045.html) that it wasn't a lie when Tony Blair wrote "weapons inspectors were evicted from Iraq in 1998" -- since the truth is that they were "evacuated" at the request of the US and UK... and "evicted" and "evacuated" are just a few letters different.

Of course, you are deliberately being obtuse and missing the point -- which is that in one case the US was doing the evacuating, whereas if they'd been evicted that would have been an action of Iraq's.

Indeed, by your logic, the statement "Charlie shot Oprah Winfrey" is not a lie even if the fact is that "Jon shot Oprah Winfrey." After all, I've just changed a few letters around. Why quibble over who did what?

Moreover, you ignore the fact that Blair wrote elsewhere that Saddam Hussein "kicked the inspectors out of Iraq."

So your argument is preposterous on its face -- and of course you also never addressed the other lies of Blair or the Bush administration with which I presented you.

No one could read our exchange and not see that you had no reasonable response to what I wrote. In most cases you didn't even make the attempt. Sadly, the truth is that you would never accept any amount of evidence that Bush or Blair lied. It's very dangerous for this country that there are so many people like you; certainly your kind of blind, unthinking faith in leaders has had extremely unhappy outcomes in other countries. But there it is.

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 03:40 PM | PERMALINK

Ron

Can you provide any sources for the quotes of Democratic leaders that you sited above? Can you provide any context for any of the quotes you listed? No? Well I can:

Words of Mass Destruction

BTW, here is the untruncated quote from Sen. Clinton:

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

Posted by: digger at January 21, 2004 03:42 PM | PERMALINK

howard
I'm aware you're level headed, a lot of what I said needs proper context (which I probably haven't given).

If I can modify your words if you want to build your case for war on WMDs, you need the certainty that Bush and his administration pretended existed to "if you want to build your case for war on WMDs, you need the certainty that the last 2 administrations pretended existed" then I'm completely happy. I'll generally agree with everything else.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 03:42 PM | PERMALINK

Lori - let me explain this one more time, very s l o w l y

U.S. policy AGAINST everyone has been (rightly so) to treat any foreign attack (defined as "against U.S. soils / interests") via NBC as a weapon of mass destruction, deserving response in kind by the U.S. I'll have to look up the exact numbers, if you really want to know that, but I'd venture to guess there have been some chemical or biological weapons that killed more effectively than Hiroshima.

Here's a quick Google search on the definition of WMD:

"These [UN] reports do not contend that weapons of mass destruction remain in Iraq, but nor do they exclude that possibility." Dr Hans Blix's statement to the UN Security Council - 27/01/03.

ORIGIN: British newspapers called bomber aircraft "weapons of mass destruction" in 1937, when the Nazi Luftwaffe was flattening towns - such as Guernica - during the Spanish Civil War.

In the arms race of the Cold War, WMD was exclusively applied to thermo-nuclear bombs - since the opposing sides were ready with enough nukes to mutually assure the destruction of, well, everything.

BROADENED DEFINITION: UN Resolution 687 - which ended the Gulf War in 1991 - called on Iraq to relinquish its NBC ambitions and summed up the unpleasant trio as WMD.

In 1998, US law formalised WMD as devices able "to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people" using chemicals, a disease organism, radiation or radioactivity.

DISPUTED DEFINITION: the FBI says conventional explosives can also be WMD. "A weapon crosses the WMD threshold when the consequences of its release overwhelm local responders."

DISPUTED DEFINITION (TWO): Colombia's Vice President Gustavo Bell Lemus told the UN that small arms are also WMD, because bullet fatalities "dwarf that of all other weapons systems - and in most years greatly exceed the toll of the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki".

DISPUTED DEFINITION (THREE): some say that fewer - rather than more - weapons should be deemed capable of mass destruction.

"Only nuclear weapons are completely indiscriminate by their explosive power, heat radiation and radioactivity, and only they should therefore be called a weapon of mass destruction" says chemical weapons expert Gert G Harigel.

ALTERNATIVES: Mr Harigel prefers to call clouds of anthrax or poison gas or radioactive dust "weapons of terror" when aimed against civilians and "weapons of intimidation" for soldiers in gas masks and protective suits.

Now, are you going to tell me your age?

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 03:43 PM | PERMALINK

1998 - Iraq pitched the inspectors out.
The US pulled out the inspectors in order to commence Desert Fox.

Ron, Charlie, who ever...

The point is that no matter who said what, no one committed US ground troops and a whole lot of money to nation building in Iraq based on the evidence they saw at the time. Only George W. Bush did. He made the call, and his decision was based on the evidence that his administration cherry-picked, maybe fabricated, and strongly pushed. It is how they sold the Iraqi Campaign to the public and fence sitters. Now that the evidence has been largely shown to be false it his problem to deal with.

Yet he fails to accept responsibility for his administration's actions and continues to deflect the criticism onto others. There's the problem. Clinton didn't occupy Iraq no matter what he may have said.

--------

NBC counterstrike has been the official US policy and most importantly it has been the policy of overwhelming force. Not just a couple of bombs, but total devastation. That's enough to make even the most maniacal dictator think twice about *using* NBC. See, the policy hasn't been to use preemptive action against countries that may be developing weapons for their defense. It's a policy response for countries actively using NBCs against the US, and its troops.

Posted by: ChrisS at January 21, 2004 03:44 PM | PERMALINK

digger
You don't need to expand my argument to claim that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. I'm capable of getting myself in enough trouble.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 03:44 PM | PERMALINK

The overnight polling is in...

"Speech Gets Smaller Boost Than Last Year's"

http://nationaljournal.com/avantgo/

Posted by: aReader at January 21, 2004 03:46 PM | PERMALINK

Ron

You know perfectly well that my post doesn't expand your arguement in any way. Quit lying.

Posted by: digger at January 21, 2004 03:47 PM | PERMALINK

And, my apologies for the wording "1998 - Iraq kicked the inspectors out". It is true that that is when we withdrew them.

But regardless of how they left, they left after 8 years of inspection. And that is where my argument centers.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 03:49 PM | PERMALINK

Jon:

And, I think it's very dangerous for this country that there are so many people like you too - so there it is.

BTW: who now is deliberately misleading - that thread you quoted from was pretty much dead when I posted "evicted" and "evacuated" are just a few letters different - you really need to get a sense of humor. Especially when you know that I already gave DAYS of "meaningful response[s] to the evidence" : )

Just ask Howard.

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 03:49 PM | PERMALINK

digger
It does, my argument is on WMDs, not al Qaeda connections.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 03:50 PM | PERMALINK

The quote is directly taken from the Kay Report.

"We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities..."

So, don't give Dubya any credit(blame).

Reference:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/2003/david_kay_10022003.html

Posted by: KYR at January 21, 2004 03:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ron

Can you provide any sources for the quotes? Can you provide any context? You know well as I do that you took those quotes from a list that has been circulating around various right-wing websites, blogs, and email alerts. These quotes were taken out of context, truncated and selectively chosen to bolster the charge that Dem's were just as complicit as Bush in deceiving the American people about the degree to which Sadaam posed a threat to the US.

Posted by: digger at January 21, 2004 03:57 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam did have mushroom-cloud shaped mushrooms!

C'mon, Kevin -- he only lied about sarin gas and uranium! It only cost hundreds of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars! Not like he was talking about a blowjob!

Posted by: MattB at January 21, 2004 03:59 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

I realize you weren't being serious when you said I need a sense of humor. But I guarantee you that I have a better sense of humor than you do.

Anyway, if you weren't being serious when you wrote that about "evicted" and "evacuated" what the hell were you talking about? Then you have made no argument of any sort about Blair's statement.

Also, I defy anyone (except you) to claim you had any meaningful response to what I wrote about Blair's lies (http://www.calpundit.com/archives/003045.html). For instance, you gave up trying to defend Blair's statement that "inspectors [found] over 8,000 litres of concentrated anthrax and other biological weapons" after Kamel defected. And rightfully so, because it's indefensible. He was lying.

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 04:01 PM | PERMALINK

Ron, where do you stand on the Bush administration's call for an end to the UN inspection process so that the US could issue an ultimatum and go to war? Do you not see a difference between claiming publicly that Saddam had MWD and claiming the same thing yet interrupting the very process that would determine the validity of said claim?

Posted by: Amigo at January 21, 2004 04:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jon:

After arguing about that since 1/15/04 (although it feels like since 2003), I stated: ". . . you are technically correct that UNSCOM was withdrawn (at the request of the U.S. and U.K.), I would call that "evacuation" but Blair changes two letters and calls it "eviction" : ) "

You must have missed the "smiley" face at the end of that. That means it was said in jest.

As for the 8000 liters, no - I have not had the time to look that up, but that doesn't mean I've given up (I have been very busy doing other things, not the least of which was looking up every other word at dictionary.com for you guys ; )

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 04:08 PM | PERMALINK

Amigo:

"Do you not see a difference between claiming publicly that Saddam had MWD and claiming the same thing yet interrupting the very process that would determine the validity of said claim?"

Saddam was going after the WATER supply too?!

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 04:12 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, you said that in jest. Then what's your point? As you say, it is "technically correct" that what Blair said wasn't true. Or to put it another way: he was lying.

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 04:15 PM | PERMALINK

digger
You're right, I Googled quick for those quotes and they came from some right-wing sites. But guess what, the lefties aren't advertising this stuff, where did you expect them to come from?

And no I did not look up each source, I hate research that I'm not getting paid for (I pretty much hate it then).

But the quotes, even if truncated, still get my job done. Bush did not pull the "Iraq has WMDs" argument out of thin air, it existed prior to Bush.

Amigo
The fact that we have not uncovered any WMDs does manage to shoot down many arguments. That is why I like to focus on what was generally agreed at the time. I say generally agreed because there were some that disagreed that Iraq had WMDs. And I say at the time because it is hard, even for Republicans, to make decisions on evidence that will be uncovered in the future. Please keep this in mind as I procede here.

The inspectors were there to witness Saddam verify that he had no WMDs. This process was not working. Since the inspection process was not working (and remember, evidence at the time), I had no problem stopping it. Inspections were not, as you say, very process that would determine the validity of said claim

And I will now spread untold joy upon this blog by leaving. Y'all have a nice evening.

Posted by: Ron at January 21, 2004 04:26 PM | PERMALINK

No one seems to have mentioned (although since I haven't read every comment, I may have missed it) the remark the LA Times emphasized under its (totally unnecessary, Republican-promoting) banner headline about the speech this morning: The Presidunce opined that now "the world knows" that "our word is good." I almost did the classic Danny Thomas spit take, since anyone who's been paying attention knows that if there's any promise the Bushies make to foreigners that they keep, it's strictly by accident!

Posted by: Temperance at January 21, 2004 04:26 PM | PERMALINK

Jon:

"As you say, it is "technically correct" that what Blair said wasn't true."

Where did I say that?! One last time, very s l o w l y: ". . . you are technically correct that UNSCOM was withdrawn (at the request of the U.S. and U.K.)" and even though, perhaps, the more appropriate word would be "evacuated" Blair chose to use the word "evicted" in his argument - no one has proven that was a lie - and I'm not going to go through all 6 days of arguments about that again (I have 8000 liters of anthrax to track down ; )

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 04:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jon, Ron's case is about as far from being airtight as a wicker basket. He is able to come up with quotes from Dems till the cows come home, and of course he can provide proof that US Congress was successfully conned by President Bush: we know Bush & Co lied to Congress, that's one of the many counts against them. We can certainly argue that Congress should have done more to challenge Bush's statements and claims, but bear in mind that since November 2002, both Houses have been controlled by the Republican party. When asking why Congress has not done more to challenge Bush & Co's lies, that is asking why the Republican party has colluded in its own damnation.

Posted by: Jesurgislac at January 21, 2004 04:34 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

Rather than making anyone else read this excruciating, bizarre argument, I will contact you privately. But I can't let this go, because I simply cannot believe you are saying these things:

It's technically correct that UNSCOM was withdrawn at the request of the US. However, Tony Blair was telling the truth when he said that Saddam Hussein "kicked them out."

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 04:47 PM | PERMALINK

That's fine - in your private communiqué be sure to address my point about "constuctive eviction" too. Saddam pulled so much against UNSCOM short of physically applying the toe of his boot to their rear end, I don't think it's a stretch to say (at least figuratively) Saddam kicked them out.

Posted by: Charlie at January 21, 2004 04:52 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, apologies. Of course, I meant WMD. Unlike you, I'm not perfect.

Ron, too bad you left, because I would have liked to disagree with your point that they weren't working. Perhaps another time.

Posted by: Amigo at January 21, 2004 04:52 PM | PERMALINK

Jesurgislac,

Believe me, I'm not defending the Bush administration. As you write, they lied over and over again. The whole case for war was one of the shoddiest propaganda exercises ever conducted.

However, the Clinton administration DID say many of the same things as the Bush administration. That's just a fact. The difference is that rather than using these claims as a rationale for invading, they used them as a rationale for maintaining the sanctions, which according to UNSC 687 were to be lifted if Iraq had no banned weapons.

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 04:58 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam pulled so much against UNSCOM short of physically applying the toe of his boot to their rear end, I don't think it's a stretch to say (at least figuratively) Saddam kicked them out.

Charlie, I finally understand your endless logical squirming, your finicking contradictory analysis of the specific or potential meaning of language. You're not an oblivious dolt; you're a fiction writer! And a post-modernist, besides. When I think about Bush's speeches as a playful tweaking of reality, a sly resistance to the idea of objective truth, an exuberant word salad of figurative language never meant to be taken literally — suddenly, they all make sense. As president, Bush is a brilliant post-structural fabulist.

Of course, I'd prefer it if the leader of my country explained his reasoning and actions in a more straightforward, easily understood fashion, especially when he's making a case for invading another country. But you can't have everything, right?

Posted by: nina at January 21, 2004 06:06 PM | PERMALINK

:) Charlie take the patronizing :) over to some right wing blog where it will be more appreciated:(

Posted by: recursos at January 21, 2004 07:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Tens of millions of lives would have been saved if FDR had attacked Hitler in 1935 for the wrong reason."


That statement is moronic. But this analogy probably explains it best.

Tens of millions of lives would have been needlessly wasted had Reagan attacked the Soviet Union in 1981 for the wrong reasons.

You don't make war casually because you think someone is evil.

Posted by: DMBeaster at January 21, 2004 07:28 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, let me ask again s l o w l y, because you seem to be having difficulty understanding the question:

How many people have been killed by WMD’s that were not nuclear? Please give the death toll of the largest single attack you can find.

When you have done that, compare this to the death toll from the two nuclear attacks on population centers: as an aid I will tell you that the figure for Hiroshima is 70,000 instantly killed, and for Nagasaki 40,000. Assume for the sake of this discussion that the estimates are twice the actual value. The smallest attack killed 20,000 people that day.

To pretend that weapons like blister gas or anthrax have anywhere near this kind of lethal power is to be appallingly dishonest.

Stop asking me my age, I never asked for yours, I merely suggested that if you think we have had a muscular response to every use of “WMD” and that this has been the case for your entire life, then you couldn’t possibly be more than 13.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at January 21, 2004 08:17 PM | PERMALINK

1998 - Iraq pitched the inspectors out.

Do we have to hear that canard again?

No, in 1998, Richard Butler and the inspectors left of their own accord, because Iraq stopped co-operating; that was because Iraq believed that UNSCOM was basically working on behalf of the CIA to identify potential targets. Which turned out to be true, once Desert Fox began, as Barton Gellman's reports in the Washington Post made clear. That's to say, Saddam's decision to make life difficult for UNSCOM wasn't some fit of pique.

Believe it or not, but the US expels diplomats it suspects to be spies.

Posted by: ahem at January 21, 2004 09:35 PM | PERMALINK

david says that tens of millions of lives would have been saved if fdr had attacked hitler in 1935 for the wrong reason.

i don't know where to start david. first of all it would have been impossible for fdr to attack hitler in 1935. impossible militarily,politically,
economically. you don't just go attack countries. it's a big fucking project and lots of things can and will go wrong. i don't know why i even respond to bullshit like this, really.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 21, 2004 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

You can always tell someone knows nothing about history when they start talking about how "we should have attacked Hitler in 1935!"

There was no need for us to attack Hitler to stop him. All it would have taken would have been for right wing politicians and businessmen in the U.S. and U.K. to stop happily supporting fascism -- because it made them money and because they liked the fact that Hitler stomped on communists. The aiding and abetting of fascism's rise by people like JFK's father and Bush's grandfather is poorly known, but it's extremely ugly. Or rather, it's poorly known precisely because it's so ugly. It's almost as little known as the attempt by right wing businessmen to stage a coup, overthrow FDR and install American fascism.

What's funny is that it's the political descendants of Hitler's enablers who always talk about how we should have attacked him in 1935. See, eg, Iraq, 2003.

Posted by: Jon at January 21, 2004 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Amigo says
Ron, too bad you left, because I would have liked to disagree with your point that they weren't working. Perhaps another time.

Well, I'm kinda like a bad penny, I keep coming back. If you happen to check back, I'm happy to continue the discussion.

At this point in time, it appears that the inspections were working. i.e. We find that Saddam has no WMDs. This, by itself, tends to give credence to inspections over invasion. But, as I said earlier, popular evidence at the time indicated that the inspections were not working. And again, I will support this with the Dem quotes above taken in 1998 after 8 years of inspection. And it is impossible to base decisions today on evidence that will be uncovered in the future (unfortunate but undeniable).

But I'm still pretty relaxed about choosing invasion over inspections, even with the current knowledge that Saddam did not have WMDs and little to no WMD programs. The reason for this is twofold. First, I believe that Saddam desired WMDs, this makes inspection a permanant thing. His boys were no better, so there was no end in sight to inspections.

Second, the sanctions. Sanctions are necessary to give Saddam the incentive to cooperate with the inspectors. We saw how poorly he did this without sanctions, and I think that is a good indicator of how well he would tolerate inspections without sanctions. The sanctions were beginning to break down. Some countries were beginning to sell dual use items to Iraq. But mostly, the sanctions were hurting the Iraqi people.

So, since the popular evidence at the time indicated that inspections were not working, I had no problem stopping them. And since ongoing inspections are undesirable, I still don't mind stopping them even knowing that they were performing their first order task of eliminating WMDs from Iraq.

Posted by: Ron at January 22, 2004 06:22 AM | PERMALINK

I'm gonna have to hire a professional proofreader, my meager skills don't seem to be cutting it.

We saw how poorly he did this without sanctions, and I think... Should read
We saw how poorly he did this with sanctions, and I think...

Posted by: Ron at January 22, 2004 06:27 AM | PERMALINK

Jesurgislac, if you wander back in:

I would use the phrasing that Bush sold the war very hard. If you would like to say that Bush "conned" Congress, I will ask where the opposition party was? Were they maybe standing by their earlier words?

It's gotta be hard trying to claim that this was an orchestrated Repub plan given the Dem position before Bush came on board. I think the best you can claim is that there is is plenty of blame to go around.

Posted by: Ron at January 22, 2004 06:53 AM | PERMALINK

You can argue this way and that about who knew how much when, but it makes no difference.


You have been succesfully lied to.


Your money has been used for a private war of conquest designed to ensure wealth, liberty and the pursuit of power by those who have always benefitted from war, poverty, and fear.


If you are reading this message, you are not one of those people.

Posted by: Tor Kristensen at January 22, 2004 07:10 AM | PERMALINK

Ron,

The role of the Democrats was ugly, although it's worth noting that a majority in Congress voted against the Iraq resolution. But there's simply no question that the Bush administration consciously misled the United States.

Look at the 2003 State of the Union address. All of the references to "25,000 liters of anthrax," etc. were to weapons that Iraq hypothetically could have produced before the Gulf War, but had not accounted for. (At least to the satisfaction of the US.)

However, even if Iraq had produced the weapons in those quantities (it hadn't), the Bush administration knew very well that it was almost certain Iraq retained no weapons from before the Gulf War, and hadn't since 1991. Why? Because Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, defected to Jordan in 1995 and told the CIA that.

However, the Bush administration cited Kamel over and over and over as a credible source without ever mentioning this rather important fact. And when Newsweek broke a story in late February about what Kamel said, the CIA piled more lies on top by stating that the story was "incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue."

But somehow they never got around to explaining just HOW it was "incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue." That's because the Newsweek story was completely accurate. Moreover, not only had Kamel said that Iraq had destroyed these weapons in 1991 -- just as Iraq had always claimed -- we now know that he was telling the truth. Read the recent, excellent story by Barton Gellman in the Washington Post for details on this.

The Kamel case -- and in particular the CIA's lies about the Newsweek story -- makes it perfectly clear that the Bush administration well knew that what they were saying was bullshit. It wasn't a "mistake." They were lying. I urge you to look into this yourself, and you'll see that there is no other explanation (unless you want to be Charlie, who I'm sure would insist that "incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue" actually means "completely accurate").

And of course, the Kamel story was certainly part of what you call "popular evidence."

Posted by: Jon at January 22, 2004 07:51 AM | PERMALINK

Jon
The most recent resolution for the use of force against Iraq was passed with a larger majority than the resolution for the 1990 war. I looked the numbers up once, but I don't have them handy.

I have no idea what you are refering to with that a majority in Congress voted against the Iraq resolution.. Had the majority not voted in favor of the use of force, we wouldn't have used force.

I realize that there was evidence that Iraq did not have WMDs. But the overwhelming evidence was that they did, and that's why the vote supported the use of force. That's why I'm using the phrase "popular evidence" and not "all evidence".

I accept the argument that Bush pushed his evidence hard (maybe too hard), so I'm not going to argue with most of your comment.

Posted by: Ron at January 22, 2004 08:19 AM | PERMALINK

Bush criticized those who resisted "the liberation of Iraq". But liberation was never mentioned as a reason to go to war by Bush prior to the war, and very few conservatives would have signed on had it been the sole reason.

What would be the "consequences of leaving Saddam in power"? For the US, since Saddam was not even a theoretical threat, nothing (aside from 500 lives, $200 billion saved). For the Iraqis, bad, but only what they were used to.

Posted by: BobNJ at January 22, 2004 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

"But liberation was never mentioned as a reason to go to war by Bush prior to the war . . ."

Are you sure about that?

". . . and very few conservatives would have signed on had it been the sole reason."

Agreed.

"What would be the 'consequences of leaving Saddam in power'? For the US, since Saddam was not even a theoretical threat, nothing . . ."

Pure speculation - what we know FOR SURE is that he would have continued his support for terrorism around the world - what we could not know until AFTER THE FACT was whether that gathering threat would again strike at the U.S.

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

"America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country," - GWB

Yes, and we will then go the UN on bended knee and beg for its help in straightening out the messes created by not consulting them in the first place.

Posted by: BobNJ at January 22, 2004 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Pure speculation - what we know FOR SURE is that he would have continued his support for terrorism around the world - what we could not know until AFTER THE FACT was whether that gathering threat would again strike at the U.S."

Charlie, Al Qaeda got no money, no personnel from Iraq, and the religious hatred that fuels it does not come from Iraq. Al Qaeda is not inconvenienced in any way by Saddam's demise. Iraq was in a pathetically weak state, so how can you speak of a 'gathering' threat?
Saddam did give money to families of Palestinian suicide bombers, but not to terrorists who threaten us. Iraq was a complete sideshow to the real battle.

Posted by: BobNJ at January 22, 2004 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Ron wrote: "I realize that there was evidence that Iraq did not have WMDs. But the overwhelming evidence was that they did"

Ron, that is simply not true. There was some speculation about whether he had completely destroyed his earlier stockpiles. There was some speculation about whether he had completely closed down his chemical and biological weapons research. That was it. That's not "overwhelming evidence" that they did, in fact, have WMDs.

The Bush administration deliberately changed the maybes and the speculations to definitelies.

Posted by: PaulB at January 22, 2004 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Nina:

"I finally understand your endless logical squirming . . . you're a fiction writer!"

I'm not actually - but whatever makes you comfortable : )

recursos:

"Charlie take the patronizing :) over to some right wing blog where it will be more appreciated"

I'm not trying to be patronizing - I'm actually disgusted - a lot of communication is lost without tone of voice, inflection, visuals though . . .

Lori:

"How many people have been killed by WMD’s that were not nuclear?"

According to http://www.envirosagainstwar.org/index.php MILLIONS have died from chemical and biological weapons, and that's only counting since Agent Orange in Vietnam, but I understand your question - thanks for posting it s l o w l y though - did you even read ANY of the 8 definitions of WMD I posted above?!

BTW: if I imply that you are only 13, or maybe just your arguments are at 6th grade level, then will you tell us your age?

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB says
There was some speculation about whether he had completely destroyed his earlier stockpiles. There was some speculation about whether... (emphasis mine)

PaulB, I know that all evidence didn't point to wholesale WMDs, and I agree that Bush sold hard (and possibly oversold) on the WMDs. But from reading your comment, I don't think we're far enough apart to beat each other up :-) We will naturally phrase things differently.

Posted by: Ron at January 22, 2004 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

BobNJ:

"Al Qaeda got no money, no personnel from Iraq, and the religious hatred that fuels it does not come from Iraq."

You KNOW that how exactly? I doubt even Saddam knew where all his money went.

"Al Qaeda is not inconvenienced in any way by Saddam's demise."

Except for the fact they can't use Iraq for training camp, OTHER funding may dry up, or that we can focus back on the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, right?

"Iraq was in a pathetically weak state, so how can you speak of a 'gathering' threat?"

Because Saddam wanted to kill Americans through the use of terrorism - at some point, he would have unless we acted.

"Saddam did give money to families of Palestinian suicide bombers, but not to terrorists who threaten us."

Again, you KNOW that how exactly? There may be some classified intelligence out there that says exactly the opposite ; )

"Iraq was a complete sideshow to the real battle."

Currently, it IS the real battle (as opposed to the streets of some American city, for example).

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie: what we know FOR SURE is that he would have continued his support for terrorism around the world...

1) Let me wax pedantic and note that we don't know that "for sure", capitalized or no; that's still speculation, albeit potentially justified.

2) More to the point, I was not aware that Saddam had supported terrorism "around the world" in any meaningful capacity. He was, indeed, bankrolling some of the Palestinian suicide bombers -- more precisely, offering substantial bribes/rewards to the families of the bombers -- but beyond that I was not aware of any proven links to global terrorism. Do you have any cites for this assertion?

Posted by: Anarch at January 22, 2004 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Or, would you rather Gore be POTUS but today's headline be "2 GIs, 6 Civilians die in NY terrorist attacks"

The Associated Press
Updated: 9:51 a.m. ET Jan. 22, 2004

New York - A barrage of mortar fire struck a U.S. military encampment in Central Park, killing two American soldiers and critically wounding a third, the military said Thursday.

In separate incidents, gunmen ambushed a vehicle carrying women who worked in the laundry at a U.S. military base, killing four of them, and the security chief of Spanish troops was wounded during a raid south of the capital.

Also Thursday, gunmen firing from a van killed two policemen and wounded three others in an attack on a checkpoint between E. 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue . . .


Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie —

You 're great at devising contorted plots — I can't imagine where you get your ideas! Occasionally the subplots tangle up and start contradicting each other, but that's easily fixed in editing. Work on your language skills and word choice and you could give Tom Clancy a run for his money.

"Al Qaeda got no money, no personnel from Iraq, and the religious hatred that fuels it does not come from Iraq."

You KNOW that how exactly? I doubt even Saddam knew where all his money went.

And you KNOW someone in Iraq had access to large amounts of cash, and slipped a bundle to al Qaeda, and Hussein never found out — how exactly? Both Bush and Powell have stated there's no evidence demonstrating an Iraq/al Qaeda connection. Looking at the evidence that is available, there's less to support your assertion than PaulB's.

"Al Qaeda is not inconvenienced in any way by Saddam's demise."

Except for the fact they can't use Iraq for training camp, OTHER funding may dry up, or that we can focus back on the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, right?

If you're referring to the "terrorist camp" in the north, it had nothing to do with al Qaeda, was within the no-fly zone and thus off-limits to Hussein and all Iraqis. We have no knowledge that the war dried up any funding for anyone besides us. Walking off from Afghanistan was unnecessary in the first place.

"Iraq was in a pathetically weak state, so how can you speak of a 'gathering' threat?"

Because Saddam wanted to kill Americans through the use of terrorism - at some point, he would have unless we acted.

Assuming that Hussein did spend his time fantasizing about dismembering us all, what "terrorism" had he ever directed at us? If the threat he posed would emerge only "at some point," why was it necessary to invade nownownow in March 2003?

"Saddam did give money to families of Palestinian suicide bombers, but not to terrorists who threaten us."

Again, you KNOW that how exactly? There may be some classified intelligence out there that says exactly the opposite ; )

And there may be classified intelligence that shows Dick Cheney is actually an animatron wired up to Walt Disney's brain, which gently floats in a Ziploc bag dangling from "Cheney's" larynx. You can't prove there's not. But considering BushCo's conveniently flexible attitude toward classified information, it's hard to believe that if such intelligence existed, they wouldn't leak even a hint of it to anyone.

"Iraq was a complete sideshow to the real battle."

Currently, it IS the real battle (as opposed to the streets of some American city, for example).

And exactly how do you KNOW that if we hadn't invaded Iraq, we'd be cowering under a terrorist onslaught right now? The argument that Hussein threatened us looked pretty dodgy before the war; now, it's laughable. Or it would be, except for all those dead and mangled people.

Posted by: nina at January 22, 2004 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Anarch:

"Do you have any cites for this assertion?"

Yes - I'll get some for you - whether it was "in any meaningful capacity" maybe you'll have to ask the family and friends of loved one killed in said attacks about "meaningful" : (

P.S. You are exactly right about one thing - KNOWING "anything" for sure - for all we know, Jesus Christ returns tomorrow and then none of this matters : )

Posted by

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 01:00 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, you're no longer even trying to make sense - i had wandered off from this thread yesterday, but i couldn't resist looking back.

Not one of your arguments stands up, whether said rapidly or s l o w l y.

That is, no, chemical and biological battlefield weapons aren't weapons of mass destruction, no, accumulating total deaths caused by chemical and biological weapons means nothing, no, saddam was not aiding terrorists around the world, no saddam wasn't a threat to the US in February of 2003, no if Al Gore were president, we wouldn't have had a terrorist attack in nyc yesterday.

Posted by: howard at January 22, 2004 01:04 PM | PERMALINK

Ron,

By "a majority," I meant a majority of Democrats.

Also: I'm sorry, but there is simply no rational way to claim the Bush administration was just "pushing the evidence."

For instance, Kamel said Iraq no longer had a nuclear program, and had not since 1991. Dick Cheney, in his most high profile speech about Iraq, claimed that Kamel said "Iraq has resumed" its nuclear program. This is not pushing evidence hard; this is lying.

Moreover, the CIA was not pushing the evidence hard when it said the Newsweek story was untrue. It was lying.

That is simply a fact, and it's not complicated. Let's say you were accused of murder by the police, and a friend of yours told them that you were innocent.

Then the police claimed in court that your friend told them you were guilty. Then a magazine published a story saying that your friend told the police you were innocent, and the police said the story was "incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue."

So: would you say the police were just pushing the evidence? Or would you say they were lying?

Posted by: Jon at January 22, 2004 01:09 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

Where does http://www.envirosagainstwar.org say that millions have been killed by chemical and biological weapons?

I'm not saying they don't. I just can't find it.

Posted by: Jon at January 22, 2004 01:28 PM | PERMALINK

Anarch asked for cites showing that "Saddam had supported terrorism around the world" but I'll leave to you whether any of the following (declassified) intelligence qualifies as "meaningful" - even putting aside (for the moment) Saddam's attempt to assassinate a former U.S. President, alleged links to al Qaeda, and his support for Palestinian homicide bombers, Iraq was one of seven countries that had been designated by the Secretary of State as state sponsors of international terrorism. Here’s a (partial) list of why: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/decade/sect5.html

I’m sure the State Dept. has a more detailed and comprehensive list somewhere on their Web site. I hope that points you in the right direction, Anarch : )

Nina (again with the pejorative "fiction writer" slam, but I at least have to agree) that Bush and Powell have stated there's no evidence demonstrating an Iraq / 9-11 connection (at least nothing made public - there are PLENTY of generic al Qaeda links - see above) and claims "considering BushCo's conveniently flexible attitude toward classified information, it's hard to believe that if such intelligence existed, they wouldn't leak even a hint of it to anyone."

Not so hard to believe if they are, in fact, true patriots who acted on such intelligence in a calculated and reasonable effort to save millions of American lives - and who will not simply turn around and put those same lives at risk by divulging said intelligence - even if that means they lose the next election.

And as for: "And exactly how do you KNOW that if we hadn't invaded Iraq, we'd be cowering under a terrorist onslaught right now?" With Gore as POTUS, the likelihood is at least greater than what happened with GWB - as I said above, no one short of God "knows" the future - besides, if Iraq was not the prime battlefield for terrorists today, America is just as possible, right?

Lastly, I saved the best for Howard who seems pretty confident that: “no, chemical and biological battlefield weapons aren't weapons of mass destruction, no, accumulating total deaths caused by chemical and biological weapons means nothing, no, saddam was not aiding terrorists around the world, no saddam wasn't a threat to the US in February of 2003, no if Al Gore were president, we wouldn't have had a terrorist attack in nyc yesterday.”

You didn't read any of the 8 definitions of WMD I posted above either, did you? More importantly, may I ask how you KNOW any of that for sure? You’re not one of those terrorists seeking chemical and biological weapons, hoping to accumulate even more deaths, all the while personally following Saddam around 24/7 to make sure he was not (a) aiding terrorists around the world and/or (b) a threat to the US in February of 2003, yet secretly planning a terrorist attack in NYC, are you?

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 01:37 PM | PERMALINK

Jon
I am going to use easier wording on Bush than you are. I would accept that Bush oversold the WMDs in the run-up to the war. But I still fall back onto the 1998 Dem quotes, he was not alone claiming WMDs, even though he was alone going to war over them.

As for the vote, I'll accept your statement that there was heavy Dem opposition. But I'll stick to my point that if the war was knowingly oversold, the opposition party didn't call Bush out very well.

But for future reference, I believe the Senate is split 51-49 Repub/Dem, and the vote was 77-23 in favor. Assuming all 23 votes against the war were Dem, that means that 26 Dems voted in favor of war.

Posted by: Ron at January 22, 2004 01:38 PM | PERMALINK

Jon - that Web site has a report that started with Agent Orange and estimated "500,000 dead" but I didn't read the entire list - just adding to that the deaths Saddam caused by gassing (note, I'm not even including Hitler's Final Solution in any of this) you already get MILLIONS. I don't see why it's so hard for you guys to agree that biological and chemical weapons, especially with the right technology in the wrong hands, could definitely qualify as WMD. This is beginning to sound a lot like "oral SEX is not sex" ; )

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 01:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jon:

Here's the "index" on that Web site for biological and chemical weapons (they don't like the nuclear kind either) in general:

http://www.envirosagainstwar.org/know/index.php#weapons

And here's the report I had started with re: Agent Orange: http://www.envirosagainstwar.org/edit/index.php?op=view&itemid=382

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 01:52 PM | PERMALINK

Plus, I just did a google search on "deaths caused by chemical weapons" and one of the first hits was "Saddam is in the 'Guiness Book Of World Records' for the most deaths caused by chemical weapons. In 1988 Saddam used chemical weapons to kill 4,000 people in Halabja." That should be easy eoungh to verify, right?

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 02:07 PM | PERMALINK

The very next hit on that search is about chemical weapons in World War I:

"Phosgene was used first by the Germans (along with chlorine) on 19 December, 1915 at Nieltje in Flanders. The attack was a cloud attack that required some 4000 cylinders containing around 88 tons of phosgene. The effect of the German phosgene attack was to some degree mitigated by the fact that the British had developed a 'gas helmet,' a flannel hood (with a celluloid eyepiece) that could be impregnated with chemicals that would act to neutralize agents. This hood, impregnated with a phenolate solution and known as the P. helmet, was issued in the summer of 1915. Despite this, the first attack produced well over a thousand casualties, including 120 deaths . . ."

". . . While phosgene never achieved the public notoriety of mustard gas, it was probably the most lethal gas fielded during the First World War. In one study of gas exposure cases, it was found that 17% of those exposed to phosgene died. Some estimates suggest that phosgene was responsible for over 85% of the deaths caused by chemical weapons during the war."

Even back then, that qualified as WMD, don't you think?

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 02:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ron,

By Congress I meant the House. 60% of House Democrats voted against the Iraq resolution.

Regarding the Democrat's quotes -- you understand my point, don't you? The fact that both parties were saying the same thing doesn't mean they were telling the truth. And they weren't -- they were both lying.

Regarding Kamel, the Clinton administration chose to cover up what Kamel said about the destruction of the weapons. They even kept it from the rest of the Security Council.

However, as far as I know, they did not tell the direct lies about Kamel that were told by the Bush administration. Still, in the killing Iraqis sweepstakes, Clinton probably comes out far ahead of both Bushes combined, and even ahead of Saddam Hussein.

The fact that two people have lied about the same subject does not mean you should use "easier language" to describe the lies of one of them.

Posted by: Jon at January 22, 2004 02:26 PM | PERMALINK

Jon - if you're really interested in the history chemical and biological weapons, this Web site is fascinating:

http://www.cbwinfo.com/intro.html

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 02:31 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

I have no desire to climb into this particular bramble patch with you, but 500,000 plus 4,000 is not "millions." Saddam Hussein did not kill most of the people he killed with chemical weapons.

This illustrates why WMD is such a term of propaganda. If you add up the deaths in violence this century, it's unlikely that biological or chemical weapons have caused anywhere near 1%. That's because they're not very useful in wars. Which is also why they don't get used much.

They're even less useful for terrorist attacks; although they might cause panic, they're extremely unlikely to cause many deaths. Note that the large number you cite -- enjoyably, from the Vietnam war, which I'm sure you would have supported if you'd been politically conscious at the time -- involved a decade of massive ariel bombardment. I don't think even George W. Bush has claimed that terrorists are going to be continually dousing us for ten years with chemical weapons dropped by the Al Qaeda airforce.

For instance, on that website you mention, see their list of "Significant Terrorist Incidents Involving Chemical and Biological Agents." I didn't look carefully, but the total number of deaths involves seems to be under 100, over a period of sixty years.

Finally, I still don't see anything on that environmentalist website claiming millions have died from chemical and biological weapons.

Posted by: Jon at January 22, 2004 02:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jon
My apologies, I had never seen the House vote on the war. I found a breakdown so complete it left my head spinning (and I'm a spreadsheet junkie). I am still in agreement with you here.

As for your contention that we were lied to about WMDs, maybe I'm getting soft but I doubt that either administration purposely mislead anyone. Intelligence is always incomplete, and pretty inconclusive about what is known. Who to pay attention to and who to ignore is one of those judgement calls, and some will be made wrong. I suspect most errors fall under that.

The main difference I see between the 2 administrations (well, with regard to Iraqi WMDs) is that Bush used them as a selling point for invasion. (And I support the war, I think it was 12 years overdue. But WMDs were so far down my list of reasons as to be in the fine print.)

Posted by: Ron at January 22, 2004 02:55 PM | PERMALINK

Ron,

You write:

I doubt that either administration purposely mislead anyone. Intelligence is always incomplete, and pretty inconclusive about what is known.

That's my whole point. We know the Bush administration was lying about Kamel because they were talking about things that had taken place in the past, and which were known with 100% certainty. They didn't have incomplete information about what Kamel said. They knew that he said Iraq had no nuclear program, yet Cheney claimed Kamel said it did. They knew the Newsweek story was accurate (it didn't draw conclusions about ultimate truth but was solely about what Kamel had said), but claimed it wasn't.

Moreover, even without this evidence, it's clear the Bush administration knows their case was bogus. Otherwise they'd be leading the charge to find out how the intelligence was so utterly wrong -- rather than trying to obstruct any inquiry or even admit that there may have been problems. "We had darn good intelligence" -- George W. Bush.

Finally, I don't understand your faith in authority. I think there's nothing clearer in history than that governments lie constantly; not just our government, of course, but all of them. In fact, all large institutions lie. (See: the Catholic Church and child molestation.) It's just the nature of human institutions.

Posted by: Jon at January 22, 2004 03:18 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Ron.

As for you, Jon - feel free to "climb into" or out of anything you desire - I will leave you with the following and go off to uncover 8000 liters of anthrax and whether unleashing all of that would qualify as WMD or not.

Of course, I never said 500,000 plus 4,000 (just one specific instance from Saddam BTW) equals MILLIONS (no wonder you think everyone around you is lying). You are correct that most of those killed by Saddam were not by chemical weapons, unless you want to consider the LEAD in all those bullets as "chemical" weapons - so, I will quickly recap (if not for you, then to fully answer Lori's question in the hope after all this effort she will at least answer mine to her):

500,000 Vietnam http://www.envirosagainstwar.org/edit/index.php?op=view&itemid=382

(One lesson being learned, chemical weapon use by most countries in WW II was severely limited, so I could not quickly find a total estimate for that war, although . . .) there's proof Japan used them during WWII and documentation that more than 2,000 Chinese died from chemical weapons contamination since the end of the war http://www.tcp-ip.or.jp/~e-ogawa/scrap/afp012097.htm

At least 6 million Jews died in Nazi concentration camps (you take a guess how many of those died via chemical / biological weapons - Höss testified at the Nürnberg trials that while he was the commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau from May 1940 to December 1943 "at least 2,500,000 people were gassed") http://www.library.gatech.edu/projects/holocaust/holocaust.htm (not to mention all the others besides Jews who were gassed by the Nazis). Unless you are one of those who claim no one was gassed at Auschwitz, are you?

80,000 WW I http://63.218.153.111/mass_destruction.htm

(equals)
_________
MILLIONS of deaths (at least) in my book. On par with, if that makes your side feel better, all human deaths caused by nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 03:31 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

What you write is a perfect example of why WMD is a term of propaganda, not understanding.

This is because as unlikely as it is that Al Qaeda will drop Agent Orange on us for ten years, it's even more unlikely they are going to put us in concentration camps and gas us.

Do you understand why this matters?

And again, while this is not really do the point, I'm amused by your citation of the Vietnam War -- since, as I said earlier, I'm sure you would have supported it wholeheartedly.

Posted by: Jon at January 22, 2004 03:48 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

Also -- you wrote:

that Web site has a report that started with Agent Orange and estimated "500,000 dead" but I didn't read the entire list - just adding to that the deaths Saddam caused by gassing (note, I'm not even including Hitler's Final Solution in any of this) you already get MILLIONS.

What else is on that list? By my math, to add up to "millions" you'd need:

500,000 Agent Orange
20,000 (let's say) Saddam Hussein against the Kurds
1,480,000+
--------------
2,000,000+

Posted by: Jon at January 22, 2004 03:54 PM | PERMALINK

Jon:

"Do you understand why this matters?"

Of course - #1 because if the POTUS lied to start a war, then even I would support impeachment, and #2 because WMD is a term of propaganda, not understanding, how could GWB possibly have lied? (as long as what he was thinking of was ONE reasonable definition of WMD - see 8 so far above : )

Now that I think) I've answered your question - do you understand that some of the biological and chemical weapons Saddam could / would not account for (theoretically, at least in weapons grade) are much more lethal and could cause more deaths than ALL of the deaths attributted to BC weapons in the past 100 years?

"And again, while this is not really do the point, I'm amused by your citation of the Vietnam War -- since, as I said earlier, I'm sure you would have supported it wholeheartedly."

How can you be sure, if I'm even not sure?

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 03:59 PM | PERMALINK

"What else is on that list? By my math, to add up to "millions" you'd need . . ."

You're not reading very well - it's late, I understand - my "quick recap" included

500,000 Vietnam

2,000+ died from Japanese chemical weapons

"at least 2,500,000 people were gassed" at Auschwitz;

80,000 WW I
_____________

3,082,000 (at least)

plus

20,000 (let's say) Saddam Hussein against the Kurds
_____________

3,102,000+

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 04:07 PM | PERMALINK

As the saying goes: "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic" : (

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 04:08 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

Again, you wrote:

that Web site has a report that started with Agent Orange and estimated "500,000 dead" but I didn't read the entire list - just adding to that the deaths Saddam caused by gassing (note, I'm not even including Hitler's Final Solution in any of this) you already get MILLIONS

Again:

(note, I'm not even including Hitler's Final Solution in any of this)

Thus, a grand total, by your count, of 602,000. Not "MILLIONS."

That's all for me tonight.

Posted by: Jon at January 22, 2004 04:19 PM | PERMALINK

Have a good night then, but "again" had you read my "quick[] recap . . . to fully answer Lori's question" I conceded that most of Saddam's murders were not via chemical weapons but I went ahead and included the Final Solution simply because I was not going to waste more time tracking down every single OTHER death caused by biological / chemical weapons. I already had found 4 real good examples - I know you can't be saying there aren't more - besides, I think the 602,000+ deaths I've documented now makes my point just fine, especially since that's a lot MORE than the 70,000 from Hiroshima and/or 40,000 at Nagasaki. And, before you ask, yes - I knew that "MILLIONS" when I posted that on January 22, 2004 11:58 AM equals at least 2,000,000+ (luckily for me, I was not under oath, or I would have to pull out the Encyclopedia instead of go home ; )

Posted by: Charlie at January 22, 2004 04:35 PM | PERMALINK

Ralph Wiggums SOTU -- Mission Unpossible

Posted by: mark at January 23, 2004 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

This thread is basically dead, but in re Charlie's remark on Saddam's support for international terror: well, no, the State Department website you cited doesn't really prove much IMO.

* The (attempted) assassination of Bush and the Emir -- if, indeed, such even happened (see Seymour Hersh) -- wasn't exactly "terrorism" qua terrorism as both of those two leaders had recently been at war with Hussein. Murderous, certainly, but it lacks the key element that defines terrorism nowadays: the targeting of civilians. Bush, as victorious C-in-C, doesn't really count.

* I've certainly granted you that Saddam was a -local- terrorist threat; I only explicitly mentioned the support for the Palestinian suicide bombers, but the attacks on Iran are a similar problem.

Quick question, though: are Mujahedin-e-Khalq terrorists or partisans? I don't really know much about them, tbh, but I seem to recall reading that they were closer to the latter... not that there's really much difference in the Middle East these days. There's also the fact that one could regard their activities as a mere extension of the Iran/Iraq war, which makes considering them "terrorists" a bit more problematic. Nonetheless, I'll grant you that for the duration.

* However, the links to both Abu Nidal and Salman Pak are of very dubious authenticity, AFAIR. Which means that his links to global terrorism are, well, unverified to say the least.

Thus, the worst you can say about Saddam on terrorism is, IMO, that he was a local supporter of terrorism -- and, thus far, we only have proof that he supported terrorism on his actual borders. Which is bad, yes, but is to me a far cry from your earlier assertion that he supported terrorism "around the world".

Posted by: Anarch at January 23, 2004 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie: I should also add, btw, that no-one I've ever read considers the gassing in the death camps of Nazi Germany to have been the "use of WMD". Systematized murder via unconventional methods, sure, but WMD carries with a connotation of, well, weapons (i.e. weaponization of the chemical and biological weapons) and not merely lethality.

Oh, one other thing: insinuating that your debating partner is a Holocaust denier -- "Unless you are one of those who claim no one was gassed at Auschwitz, are you?" -- will win you no points around here; or, I hope, anywhere else. I'd ask you to refrain from such remarks in future.

Posted by: Anarch at January 23, 2004 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, first of all, regarding comparisons between Iraq and Nazi Germany: *STOP IT*. This utterly demeans the experience of the millions of people exterminated by the Nazis for the crime of being the wrong race or religion, and the devastation upon close to 1/5th of the Earth's surface wrought by that evil regime. Saddam only killed political opponents, he never tried to exterminate an entire race of people. That makes Saddam an evil man, but Hitler he ain't. And for that matter, Iraq was not Germany. Germany was one of the major industrial powers of the world, whose economy was almost as big as that of the United States. Iraq was (and is) a pissant little country that was utterly contained by the massive might and power of the United States. Iraq threatened America in about the same way as a kid with a cap gun threatens America -- i.e., not much.

As for the notion of liberating Iraq being great for the Iraqi people, fine and dandy. But I pay my taxes for my government to serve *ME*, not for my government to serve *IRAQIS*. Sorry, I don't give a flyin' flip about Iraqis, just about the 13,000 American men and women in uniform who've been brought back from Iraq on stretchers or in bodybags due to Dubya's disaster.

Posted by: BadTux at January 23, 2004 09:27 PM | PERMALINK

With respect, too many well-meaning people here allow themselve to get drawn into the argument-framework that the apologists WANT us to get drawn into -- whether or not the results of our invasion of Iraq redeem any "sloppiness" in the Administration's case for war.

The REAL issue, the one that matters for us as a democratic republic, the one that has profound implications for our future as a free nation and a free people, is this:

Our president and his entire administration lied to us and to our elected representatives, presenting information known to be false and knowingly distorting and exaggerating the significance of other information. This was done in order to justify the use of American military might in an act of war.

The fact that the media are not howling for impeachment and giving backbone to vociferous outrage on behhalf of Congress is the issue.

What happens to the very essence of our system when ends, no matter how just you think they may be, are used to justify means such as these?

What does it mean when Americans say they would rather be LIED to and given false information with which to make misinformed decisions about the actions of our leaders? Many of the apologists actually say they PREFER to be lied to under these kind of circumstances.

This is NOT a partisan issue, and we should not let the apologists frame the discussion in terms of support or opposition to the war or the president.

No matter what your politics, Bush will not be president forever. Allowing this kind of behavior is far more corrosive to our democracy than any dissent could possibly be.

THIS IS THE ISSUE. FRAME IT THUS, AND WE HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF GETTING THROUGH TO RIGHT-LEANING MEMEBERS OF THE PUBLIC.

THE PRESIDENT LIED TO US---THE AMERICAN PEOPLE---AND LIED TO THE REPRESENTATIVES WE ELECT TO MAKE INFORMED, LIFE-AND-DEATH DECISIONS ON OUR BEHALF.

The outcome doesn't matter, unless the ends justify the means. Whenever anyone challenges our patriotism or argues that the world is better off without Saddam, confront them with this: Are you saying that the ends justify the means? Always? What are the limits? If you justify our leaders lying to us for what they judge are just ends, are you saying you do not believe in democracy? That you do not believe that we, the people, have the right and the ability to rule ourselves?

Call them what they are---monarchists. Don't let them make this about Saddam. It is about Bush and about America and about the people and about the truth.

Posted by: galiel at January 25, 2004 09:31 AM | PERMALINK

Anarch:

This thread is basically dead . . ."

I certainly hope so ; )

". . . but in re Charlie's remark on Saddam's support for international terror: well, no, the State Department website you cited doesn't really prove much IMO."

Well - the State Dept. is famous for putting the best face on even something like this - I linked to several pieces of info, and that was more than enough to point you in the right direction.

"The (attempted) assassination of Bush and the Emir -- if, indeed, such even happened (see Seymour Hersh) -- wasn't exactly "terrorism" qua terrorism as both of those two leaders had recently been at war with Hussein."

I had said "putting that aside (for the moment)" but I'll use this opportunity to disagree that said act (had it been sucessful) would fail to qualify under ANY reasonable definition of "terrorism" - you don't think civilians would be in fear if Saddam could have struck outside Iraq and snuffed out those two (one of whom was a civilian at the time)?

"are Mujahedin-e-Khalq terrorists or partisans?"

I'll have to look that up, because only the first part of that even sounds familiar.

"However, the links to both Abu Nidal and Salman Pak are of very dubious authenticity, AFAIR. Which means that his links to global terrorism are, well, unverified to say the least."

You asked for cites showing that "Saddam had supported terrorism around the world" so if you have a problem with Iraq designated as state sponsors of international terrorism, you'll have to take that up with SecState.

"Thus, the worst you can say about Saddam on terrorism is, IMO, that he was a local supporter of terrorism -- and, thus far, we only have proof that he supported terrorism on his actual borders."

Except in Iran and Kuwait, right? Or, do you consider that "on his actual borders"? To go even one better, Saddam claimed all of Kuwait was WITHIN his borders, more than once, isn't that right?

"Which is bad, yes, but is to me a far cry from your earlier assertion that he supported terrorism 'around the world'."

Except, of course, when you consider that the Middle East supplies much of the world's oil.

". . . no-one I've ever read considers the gassing in the death camps of Nazi Germany to have been the "use of WMD". Systematized murder via unconventional methods, sure, but WMD carries with a connotation of, well, weapons (i.e. weaponization of the chemical and biological weapons) and not merely lethality."

I'm sure the Jews thought they were weapons, and so do I. I did not mean to insult you by simply asking a question I did not know the answer to - unless you tell me differently, I will assume from this point forward that you agree Hydrogen-Cyanide (aka Zyklon B) was used be the Nazis to kill millions of Jews during the Holocaust

BadTux:

"Okay, first of all, regarding comparisons between Iraq and Nazi Germany: *STOP IT*. This utterly demeans the experience of the millions of people exterminated by the Nazis for the crime of being the wrong race or religion, and the devastation upon close to 1/5th of the Earth's surface wrought by that evil regime."

You don't think Saddam would have done worse if he hadn't been stopped? See Zyklon B above.

"Saddam only killed political opponents, he never tried to exterminate an entire race of people."

Tell that to the Khurds.

"Germany was one of the major industrial powers of the world, whose economy was almost as big as that of the United States."

After WWI?

"Iraq was (and is) a pissant little country that was utterly contained by the massive might and power of the United States."

Except for all that oil flowing out and WMD flowing in?

"Iraq threatened America in about the same way as a kid with a cap gun threatens America -- i.e., not much."

I guess that depends on your definition of "in about the same way" and "cap gun".

"As for the notion of liberating Iraq being great for the Iraqi people, fine and dandy. But I pay my taxes for my government to serve *ME*, not for my government to serve *IRAQIS*. Sorry, I don't give a flyin' flip about Iraqis, just about the 13,000 American men and women in uniform who've been brought back from Iraq on stretchers or in bodybags due to Dubya's disaster."

And, you see - we care about ALL humans - I guess that's what makes us compassionate conservatives.

galiel:

"Our president and his entire administration lied to us and to our elected representatives, presenting information known to be false . . . in order to justify the use of American military might in an act of war."

And, I've said all along - IF that was done, I'd be the first to support impeachment.

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