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January 23, 2004

WMD HUNT SEMI-FINALE....David Kay gives a valedictory interview upon stepping down as chief U.S. arms hunter in Iraq:

Q: You came away from the hunt that you have done believing that they did not have any large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the country?

A: "That is correct."

Q. Is that from the interviews and documentation?

A. "Well the interviews, the documentation, and the physical evidence of looking at, as hard as it was because they were dealing with looted sites, but you just could not find any physical evidence that supported a larger program."

Q: Do you think they destroyed it?

A: "No, I don't think they existed."

Q. Even though in the mid-1980s people said they used it on Halabja?

A. "They had stockpiles, they fought the Iranians with it, and they certainly did use it on the Kurds. But what everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last (1991) Gulf War and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s."

Now, it's worth noting that Kay was careful to say "large-scale" throughout this interview. But even so, the takeaway from his remarks is fairly stunning:

  • He's stepping down because, essentially, he feels the administration is not really serious about looking for WMD at this point. This is basically an admission that no one in the administration thinks there's anything to be found. If they did, there's no way they would allow the inspection program to wind down like this.

  • There was no nuclear program to speak of. "There had been some restart of activities, but they were rudimentary."

  • There was no serious chemical or biological weapons development in the 90s. Not just after 1995, not just after 2001, but at no time in the entire last decade. And yet the world's intelligence services were apparently fooled for that entire time.

  • The search is pretty much complete and there's not much chance we're going to find anything more. "I think we have found probably 85 percent of what we're going to find."

Can someone please tell Dick Cheney about this?

Posted by Kevin Drum at January 23, 2004 03:21 PM | TrackBack


Comments

It'll be hard to tell Cheney if we can't find his spiderhole.

Posted by: ch2 at January 23, 2004 03:26 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad these remarks weren't available in time for use in the SOTU address.

Posted by: Marky at January 23, 2004 03:27 PM | PERMALINK

"This is basically an admission that no one in the administration thinks there's anything to be found. If they did, there's no way they would allow the inspection program to wind down like this."

There are other possible reasons - the more likely being the search needs to continue in other countries or if we haven't found them yet, they can't pose that big of a danger.

"There was no nuclear program to speak of."

Obviously, or the Israelis would have hit them like they did before.

"There had been some restart of activities, but they were rudimentary."

As I recall, that how the U.S. nuclear program got started too.

"There was no serious chemical or biological weapons development in the 90s."

He's not shown HOW he could know that.

"And yet the world's intelligence services were apparently fooled for that entire time."

So either Kay is wrong, or Saddam sure had one big bluff going there.

"The search is pretty much complete and there's not much chance we're going to find anything more."

Wasn't there some chemical weapons recently found in Japan that they were looking for SINCE World War II?!

Posted by: Charlie at January 23, 2004 03:28 PM | PERMALINK

"he feels the administration is not really serious about looking for WMD at this point."

And why should they be serious about it? No one--not the press, not the Congress, not the Democratic candidates--is serious about asking where the WMD (or WMDRPA) are.

Posted by: QuakerinaBasement at January 23, 2004 03:30 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone please tell Dick Cheney about this?

Fool! Lord Cheney said there was overwhelming evidence! You think this makes a difference? You just don't know the power of the Dark Side of the Force!

Posted by: Koko the gorilla at January 23, 2004 03:30 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Charlie!!!

I know you can keep pretening that the war was some Churchillian effort to fight off the great evil and save society from utter distruction. In truth it was Panama 1989 writ large.

Posted by: Rob at January 23, 2004 03:31 PM | PERMALINK

The story none of you seems interested in is why the CIA blew this so badly. The same people who are raising hell about Wilson were the ones who completely missed the story in Iraq. The stuff about lies by Bush is political propaganda but Bush was misled by his intelligence agencies. Heads should roll in the CIA.

Cheney was misquoted about the WMD program on Meet The Press but he's talking about al-Queda connections to Saddam now, not WMD programs.

What is really wierd is that Saddam could have avoided the invasion by opening up to the UN. Why didn't he ? Of course, that goes with the megalomania of dictators. Killing the messenger tends to be counterproductive.

Posted by: Mike K at January 23, 2004 03:38 PM | PERMALINK

Guess the Clinton sanctions against Iraq must've worked.

Posted by: teri at January 23, 2004 03:39 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, your homework assignment this weekend is to read The True Believer by Eric Hoffer and reflect upon the lessons within. Run along, now...

Posted by: Jokey Smurf at January 23, 2004 03:43 PM | PERMALINK

If a hack like David Kay can find his way to the truth so can you. They have been searching for the same phantom stockpile of weapons for 13 years!!!! Based on original accounting anomalies after the first Gulf War. No army in history has been able to give a full and complete accounting of men and material after two major wars(Iran/Iraq and GW1) Its just stupid to expect otherwise. The other numbers from Powell and intelligence were based on what Iraq might produce IF they were running their programs at the full capacity of pre-91. We know the facilities where they might have done this were all run down from the inspections that took place in 2003. After the destruction of these facilities in GW1 it was never reasonable to assume they would produce the quantity of weapons that they did pre-91.

Posted by: takethree at January 23, 2004 03:45 PM | PERMALINK

What an incredible indictment of Bill Clinton. Clinton spent eight years -- EIGHT YEARS -- enforcing "sanctions" for what purpose? None. There was nothing there to "sanction" against! Apparently Clinton justed wanted to kill lots of Iraqi babies. He's a war criminal - indict him.

Posted by: Al at January 23, 2004 03:45 PM | PERMALINK

LOL Teri - yeah, those sanctions against importing banned materials into Iraq worked just great - just ask France and Russia subcontractors that imported banned materials into Iraq!

Rob:

"Sorry Charlie!!!"

I've loved that one since I was a little kid : )

"I know you can keep pretening that the war was some Churchillian effort to fight off the great evil and save society from utter distruction."

I have no doubt GWB et al accomplished as much good for the nation and the world as Churchill did - we have yet to see if they await the same fate : (

"In truth it was Panama 1989 writ large."

Different topic for a different thread I imagine.

Posted by: Charlie at January 23, 2004 03:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jokey Smurf:

"Charlie, your homework assignment this weekend is to read The True Believer by Eric Hoffer and reflect upon the lessons within. Run along, now..."

Sorry - my weekend is PACKED already - we just got back from Kenya.

Posted by: Charlie at January 23, 2004 03:48 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Kay's wife isn't undercover or anything.

Posted by: Glenn Hack Reynolds at January 23, 2004 03:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the Rove administration has tried to pin this on the CIA.

But back in the fall of 2002, CIA analysts were already complaining they were being pushed by the White House to come up with stories that fit the administrations wants, regardless of the facts.

This isn't news to anyone who was paying attention. The fall of 2002 was all about filling the airwaves and press with Iraq, Iraq, Iraq to keep the Republicans' shameful policies and performance out of the November campaign.

Posted by: EssJay at January 23, 2004 03:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Can someone please tell Dick Cheney about this?"


Yes. And also please let Wesley "Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time" Clark in on the secret too!

Posted by: Al at January 23, 2004 03:57 PM | PERMALINK

Its a pity, really. Hans Blix was doing a perfectly adequate job of not finding any weapons and without the added cost of invading the place.

Posted by: dp at January 23, 2004 04:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well, looks like we had an invasion and all we got out of it was 23 million liberated people. What a waste.

Posted by: Al at January 23, 2004 04:10 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, the right-wing dodge.

Where the WMD's, Al?

After all, your boy Dick said that 'we know where they are'.

Posted by: Barry at January 23, 2004 04:12 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone please tell Dick Cheney about this?

I suppose Kevin.

But Cheney's opinion really means nought to me. He is just one person, enamored with wealth and power, doing the best he can to reach his nirvana.

What cuts me deeply is that my country bought into this bogus war: that the populace willingly accepted it.

It is one thing to control the planet's resources via legitimate businesses and the machinations of one's particular CIA.

It is quite another to make like Caesar and pound the Celts into paying tribute.

Let's be straight here: Modern America finally, and completely, succumbed to the "WILL OF POWER."

She just doesn't want to admit it...

Instead She creates endless apologetics:

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.

Again, let me straight about it: As long as Bush is in power we are going to behave like Rome.

(Note: and we don't need any permissions slips from the world either!)

(Double Note: Pardon me for putting the facts is such blunt terms. But it is your country too, and I thought we ought to take off the mask.)


Posted by: -pea- at January 23, 2004 04:16 PM | PERMALINK

We'll soon see if the administration will force Kay to recant as they did to O'Neill.

Posted by: chsa at January 23, 2004 04:16 PM | PERMALINK

chronological service record

Posted by: AWOL at January 23, 2004 04:18 PM | PERMALINK

Al, try to remember.... when was the first time you realized you were very, very concerned about the liberty of the Iraqi people?

Here's a hint: it was after the invasion, and after Duhbya didn't find a trace of those WMD he invaded to find.

Posted by: grytpype at January 23, 2004 04:20 PM | PERMALINK

What is really wierd is that Saddam could have avoided the invasion by opening up to the UN. Why didn't he ?

Here in the real world, Saddam did open up to the UN in an effort to stop the invasion. The administration simply ignored the UN inspectors' findings.

Posted by: WinningerR at January 23, 2004 04:22 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why everyone says the intelligence services were "fooled."

The case, as I understand it, was:

1) Saddam hasn't accounted for the weapons that he used to have.

2) So, he must have them!

Posted by: praktike at January 23, 2004 04:24 PM | PERMALINK

More people will listen to Cheney than listen to Kay. I guarantee it.

Posted by: Terrance at January 23, 2004 04:28 PM | PERMALINK

I rely on Verizon Wireless NationalAccess at $79/month unlimited. It rocks. I travel a lot all over the US and it hasn't let me down yet. In fact it is what I am using right now.

Also in San Diego and DC you can get on their Broadband access plan, same price for broadband speeds everywhere in the coverage area, which, they say, will grow to nationwide by the end of the year. Like everywhere is one big hotspot. So far I am quite pleased.

I also have used Wi-fi but got sick of hunting for access that often didn't exist, or by having to pay the daily connect fee more than once in the same day when I was on travel.

Posted by: O Henry at January 23, 2004 04:32 PM | PERMALINK

“I don’t think it’s OK to mislead people, whether it’s deliberate or inadvertent.” Dean said. “I thought it was fundamentally wrong for the president to mislead the American people on this uranium business.”

Howard Dean, July 18, 2003

Posted by: susan at January 23, 2004 04:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry! Put this in the worng comments section.

Posted by: O Henry at January 23, 2004 04:35 PM | PERMALINK

The key point, as I see it, is that Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II all believed that Saddam had sizeable inventories of WMD. Bush I and Clinton had the good judgement to enforce sanctions, including occasional air strikes, to let Saddam know we meant business. Bush II, however, lacked good judgement and allowed himself to be misled by the Rumsfeld/Perle PNAC group into believing that invasion was necessary, would be easy, and would yield a toehold for democracy in the region. He failed to adequately consider the downside of this plan, just as he failed to adequately plan for the post-invasion occupation. He has squandered the USA's good standing in the world, created another terrorist hotbed where one previously did not exist, and appears to be in the process of destroying our military due to the (not surprising) declining rate of enlistments/reenlistments. The blood from this mess is on his hands, and I believe it to be an impeachable offense. If only we had a Congress that would do something about it.

Posted by: KenO at January 23, 2004 04:56 PM | PERMALINK

"That one bomb was one of four that we found in Ramadi that day. Two exploded. Two we found because of tips from local residents.

We did capture someone that morning with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of Iranian and U.S. currency--fresh, crisp bills, and several books on how to make improvised explosive devices. The Iranian currency tells us a lot. We fly him out the next day. A lot of people want to talk to him."

Quotes from a daily account by an army lieutenant in Baghdad.

I know you guys aren't interested in this stuff. You'd rather fantasize about stuff like this:

"Here in the real world, Saddam did open up to the UN in an effort to stop the invasion. The administration simply ignored the UN inspectors' findings."

The fact that he kicked the inspectors out in 1998 doesn't faze you. The war on terror is proceding with all deliberate speed. Tom Friedman sees this. 65% of the public sees this. The Deaniacs are trapped in an alternate universe where 9/11 never happened.

They said about the Bourbons: "They never learned anything and never forgot anything."


Posted by: Mike K at January 23, 2004 04:58 PM | PERMALINK

If Kay's standing up for truth, cool. Maybe he belongs in the True Hero ranks with Jessica Lynch. Hard to say here in the land of Free but Flawed and sometimes Fake press.

Posted by: Carloff at January 23, 2004 04:58 PM | PERMALINK

Al counts himself among the special 13% of Americans who support wars for humanitarian reasons - he's a member of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, too, I bet.

Posted by: ChrisL at January 23, 2004 05:02 PM | PERMALINK

David Kay gives a valedictory interview

That's what Kay gets for talking a little to much to PBS Frontline...

So now it replacement time. Will next guy be able to say whatever Cheney wants him too?

Posted by: Cheryl at January 23, 2004 05:04 PM | PERMALINK

Way to go, Kay.

Alright, Dick & George, let's move on to the shit detail: fixing your mess.

Just don't ever, ever, everrrrrr try to put this one on your resume under: Missions Accomplished.

Posted by: fouro at January 23, 2004 05:05 PM | PERMALINK

There was nothing there to "sanction" against! Apparently Clinton justed wanted to kill lots of Iraqi babies. He's a war criminal - indict him...

I guess that's supposed to upset someone? If that's what it takes to bring down the Bushscists, whatever...a two-for-one deal is fine with me.

And also please let Wesley "Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time" Clark in on the secret too!

Damn, son, you're reaching! For Gawd's sake, just accept reality with some dignity already.

Posted by: Al's mama at January 23, 2004 05:07 PM | PERMALINK

Cheryl, they've already picked him. Tenet's boy Charles Deulfer...he's said all along he's skeptical of the WMD Heaven's Gaters.

Posted by: fouro at January 23, 2004 05:07 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

""There was no serious chemical or biological weapons development in the 90s."

"He's not shown HOW he could know that. "

so, now you demand that he prove a negative? Oh my, you really are a troll.

Posted by: Dan at January 23, 2004 05:07 PM | PERMALINK

I agree, the interesting question is why every intelligence service in the world beleived Saddam to have stockpiles of WMDs. This is just a side consideration, however.

Right now, it seems to be the case that Saddam retained equipment, intent, and personal to restart a nuclear program and begin production of bio and chem weapons whenever he felt safe to do so. This is less than the Bush administration thought Saddam had.

But even in hindsight I fail to see how the war was a bad thing. The negative consequences everybody cites: the world doesn't like us as much, lost lives, and $, still are worth the positive effects: Saddam no longer a worry or a responsibility, potential democratic Iraq, freedom for Iraqis, world knows the US will act to combat percieved threats.

Many consequences may result yet in the future that will weigh on the question as to whether it was a good idea: the ability of the Iraqis to form a functioning democracy, the effects of the world hating us (if that is the case), the effects of our aggression against perceived threats (especially in Iran, Syria, Libya, and NK).

It was a situation where there was some potential downside, especially in lost lives, but the potential upside was much greater, stopping lost lives here from terrorism (caused by Iraq, but also other countries as they see we are serious), also the lives we saved in Iraq must be considered as well.

Posted by: Reg at January 23, 2004 05:13 PM | PERMALINK

But no one can deny that Saddam Hussein was seriously contemplating maybe someday engaging in some sort of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.

Posted by: Frederick at January 23, 2004 05:16 PM | PERMALINK

23 million people liberated? They seem awfully ungrateful if that was the big outcome. Might have someting to do with those bombs, the lack of electricity, the sewage, the crime, the rising fundamentalism, etc.

Well at least they now have the right to say:

"U.S.uck!!"

with lesser risk of death than before. And it will really be a waste if the result is a civil war, or another theocracy.

Posted by: Johannes at January 23, 2004 05:17 PM | PERMALINK

Armed with this report, I'm sure the Republican controlled Congress will be only too eager to get started on impeachment proceedings against Bush and his administration, as they are all such patriots and will not tolerate Bush, Cheney, et. al besmirching their party's reputation.

Posted by: DanM at January 23, 2004 05:18 PM | PERMALINK

But even in hindsight I fail to see how the war was a bad thing. The negative consequences everybody cites: the world doesn't like us as much, lost lives, and $, still are worth the positive effects: Saddam no longer a worry or a responsibility, potential democratic Iraq, freedom for Iraqis, world knows the US will act to combat percieved threats.

So you "fail to see" that the most powerful country in the world setting the precedent for a pre-emptive strike based on conjecture might be a bad thing. As in India and Pakistan. As in Turkey and the Kurds.

Isn't it time for your medication?

Posted by: Susan at January 23, 2004 05:23 PM | PERMALINK

world knows the US will act to combat percieved threats

you misspelled "imaginary".

Posted by: Troy at January 23, 2004 05:28 PM | PERMALINK

also the lives we saved in Iraq must be considered as well

And the 10-30,000 lives we took.

Paraphrasing Colin Powell, war is not a RISK game.

If the Iraqis wanted liberation, it was within their power. The 1998 Iraq Liberation Act was the more correct longterm national policy, short of building a full case for UN intervention.

Posted by: Troy at January 23, 2004 05:31 PM | PERMALINK

"setting the precedent for a pre-emptive strike based on conjecture might be a bad thing"

The precedent we sat was that a brutal dictator suspected of aiding terror and having WMDs and violating UN regulations can be deposed.

THis argument is just stupid. Since when were the validity of wars determined in courtrooms under common law doctrines of precedent?

Tell me how this works. So China attacks Taiwan and says well the US did it to Iraq? And then what, everybody says, oh, right, nevermind, its okay, there is precedent. Or what. I don't see how any country will be more likely to start a war after we deposed a guy who faced numerous sanctions for fighting a war of aggression and refusing to behave in any responsible way.

Posted by: Reg at January 23, 2004 05:33 PM | PERMALINK

What an incredible indictment of Bill Clinton. Clinton spent eight years -- EIGHT YEARS -- enforcing "sanctions" for what purpose? None. There was nothing there to "sanction" against! Apparently Clinton justed wanted to kill lots of Iraqi babies. He's a war criminal - indict him.

Okay, I'm good with that, as long as Cheney is right there beside him in the dock, charged with starting a war under false pretenses.

(What, not Bush? Nah, no point. The buck should stop with the man who ran the White House. That was Clinton, in his time, sure enough, but it's pretty clear by now that it isn't Bush who really calls the shots now.)

By the way, why weren't you clamoring for this at the time, instead of spending all your time chasing after idiot irrelevancies? If you'd tried to nail Clinton for the real things he was doing wrong, you'd have gotten a lot more support from sensible people.

Posted by: Canadian Reader at January 23, 2004 05:38 PM | PERMALINK

What an incredible indictment of Bill Clinton. Clinton spent eight years -- EIGHT YEARS -- enforcing "sanctions" for what purpose? None. There was nothing there to "sanction" against! Apparently Clinton justed wanted to kill lots of Iraqi babies. He's a war criminal - indict him.

LOL, Al, dude, you are too stupid to live.

Posted by: four legs good at January 23, 2004 05:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't YOU tell Cheney about it, Kevin, since you're so informed and so hands-on.

Dork

Posted by: bj at January 23, 2004 05:50 PM | PERMALINK

this discussion is old, but my wife just got stranded in Atlanta by Delta, so I'm bored.

so, Reg: in re, "brutal dictator suspected of aiding terror and having WMDs and violating UN regulations can be deposed," please explain why we do not invade China, Pakistan, Israel and the DPRK.

Posted by: wcw at January 23, 2004 05:52 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K wrote: "The story none of you seems interested in is why the CIA blew this so badly."

We are interested in the story of how the intelligence process was twisted by the Bush administration, Mike. Sadly, nobody seems interested in pursuing that story. Lord knows, the Bush administration isn't interested in a serious look at the intelligence failures.

The CIA didn't get it all that badly wrong. Look at the 2001 security estimate on Iraq and compare that to the 2002 security estimate. The 2002 estimate, with no new intelligence, was dramatically different. That's a story I want told. The earlier estimates by the CIA were that Saddam just wasn't a threat. Sadly, those estimates were ignored.

"Bush was misled by his intelligence agencies. Heads should roll in the CIA."

Mike, what part of "they-didn't-like-the-information-from-the-CIA-analysts-so-they-created-their-own-analysis-department" are you having trouble understanding? What part of the "stovepipe" intelligence operation are you having trouble understanding? Sorry, but the "Bush was deceived" theory just doesn't hold water.

"What is really wierd is that Saddam could have avoided the invasion by opening up to the UN."

Which he did, for the most part, in 2002. While Blix did report some areas where Saddam could do better (most notably, the unfettered access to scientists), Saddam put virtually no obstacles in the way of letting them go where they wanted to go. It didn't do any good, though; we still attacked.

Posted by: PaulB at January 23, 2004 05:52 PM | PERMALINK

Al:

Suicide is painless, yo.

Posted by: Javier Zanetti at January 23, 2004 05:53 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie's ravings we can dismiss; Mike K, for the umpteenth time, Saddam did not throw out the inspectors in 1998, they withdrew (not that he probably wouldn't have thrown them out, but is it too much to ask that we deal in the realm of facts), and unless you want to claim that all non-israelis in the middle east are the same and needed to be taught a lesson (which is essentially the friedman argument), the "war" on terror and the war on iraq are two completely different animals; but Reg, bless his soul, is actually showing signs of dealing with reality.

So Reg, here's the issues with respect to your comments: a.) taking the US to war under exaggerated and false pretenses isn't acceptable under any circumstances; b.) an honest case for war may or may not have won the support of the american public, but the backbone administration didn't even try; c.) how nations behave is a very complex and subtle matter, and when the most powerful nation in the world sets a bad example, that's not a good thing; and d.) let's put aside the dishonest case for war and pretend that an honest case was made instead. Let's further pretend that this war had no opportunity costs (which is a whole other matter, but i digress). Even so, for this war to be, in hindsight, not a "bad thing," would have required a legitimate postwar plan. Such plans (and the requisite expertise) were available to the administration, and they chose to ignore both the plans and the expertise because they were so proud of themselves.

As a result, the two primary goals that Bremer announced when he arrived - transition to a private economy from a state-owned economy, and a constitution written before a handover of power - are both being abandoned. The CIA and others are predicting civil war as a likely outcome. The general responsible for training the new Iraqi army thinks it will be years until it can stand alone, yet we are cutting and running in terms of our force level.

In short, it's hard to see how US national security interests have been advanced one iota, and this was a predictable outcome of the backbone administrations' ideologically blinkered approach to the iraq war. (I mean, it was so readily predictable that millions of us - including me - predicted it: i said, in this space and elsewhere, that the war would go very well and the postwar would go terribly.)

The purpose of US foreign policy, after all, is to protect the interests of american citizens, not iraqi citizens. If we were merely interested in what humanitarian good we could do with $160B+, believe me, we could start with a complete transformation of the health/AIDS demographic disaster that is Africa today.

And mark my words: when the orphan generation grows up and Africa becomes the source of global terrorist insecurity - as it most assuredly will if nothing is done - we will regret not having done anything there.

But Reg, seriously, congratulations on being willing to deal with WMD reality so much better than the likes of Charlie.

Posted by: howard at January 23, 2004 05:54 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K wrote: "The fact that he kicked the inspectors out in 1998 doesn't faze you."

Nope, because here in the real world, he didn't.

"The war on terror is proceding with all deliberate speed."

Yup, we're creating them as fast as we can.

Sheesh, can we get some smarter monkeys?

Posted by: PaulB at January 23, 2004 05:55 PM | PERMALINK

Reg wrote: "I agree, the interesting question is why every intelligence service in the world beleived Saddam to have stockpiles of WMDs."

They didn't believe this, though, Reg. At least, they didn't believe he had any significant quantities. That's why we had so much trouble assembling a Coalition of the Willing, remember?

Posted by: PaulB at January 23, 2004 05:59 PM | PERMALINK

Reg wrote: "Right now, it seems to be the case that Saddam retained equipment, intent, and personal to restart a nuclear program and begin production of bio and chem weapons whenever he felt safe to do so."

Oh, nonsense. The programs were shut down. The equipment deteriorated. The personnel moved on to other programs. You're reaching, Reg. David Kay's report doesn't support this assertion.

Posted by: PaulB at January 23, 2004 06:01 PM | PERMALINK

restart a nuclear program

restart nuclear program-related activities more like.

Posted by: Troy at January 23, 2004 06:11 PM | PERMALINK

What's really sad, very depressing, is that almost nobody is willing to say "oops" here. It's all spin.

First, let's be clear. EVERYBODY knew that there was no Iraqi nuclear threat before the war.

Second, while many governments believed there may be and even probably were chem/bio weapons before the war, only ONE government decided to wage war in the absence of hard evidence. That one government was quite wrong, in retrospect...

Third, EVERYONE knew and still knows that claims of ties between Iraq and Al-Qaeda were utter crap.

Mad. It's all mad. Give these people simple truth, and you get nonsensical lying. Whoever does not denonunce Dick Cheney is the worst sort of boot-licking sycophant.

Posted by: Thersites at January 23, 2004 06:12 PM | PERMALINK

so, to mike k (who i hope will never spread that "sadaam kicked them out" canard again), reg, chris and whoever else:

does it bother you at all that no one, not one measly person, has been fired? either your guy bush was misled, in which case he should fire everyone up to and including condi in the info flow chart, or he was given bad info pre 9-11, in which case heads should roll. remember when we were told we were getting a CEO preznit? CEOs are beholden to stockholders. when CEOs perpetuate bad info for nefarious purposes, once they are caught they are usually fired. most times they have already fired minions left and right in advance of that.

so what gives? what does one have to do in this administration to get the ax? young live boy? young dead girl?

Posted by: Robert Green at January 23, 2004 06:14 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K wrote: "The story none of you seems interested in is why the CIA blew this so badly."

I'm interested, but I'm more interested in why the Bush Administration isn't interested. In fact, the Administration fear that the accuracy of the CIA and Pentagon intelligence estimates is one reason behind Cheney emerged from his burrow to stonewall on these matters: he's out there selling the accuracy of them, against a growing wall of independent evidence to the contrary. There are reasons, as I see it, for Admininstration denial. Some are more obvious than others, but two are:

1) American intelligence services reported accurately and professionaly, and the inaccuracies derive from Administration manipulation of the reports and the reporting processes

2) An admission that our intelligence gathering deeply, deeply flawed calls into question the entire "Bush Doctrine of Preventive War."

I think Howard did a fine job. What he said, but I would add that, if you're trying to demonstrate the beauty and value of a representative republican form of government (to Middle Eastern dictatorships and tyrannized populations), lying your own citizenry into supporting it, and trying to escape the consequences later, probably isn't the best way to do so.

Posted by: Brian C.B. at January 23, 2004 06:18 PM | PERMALINK

Dammit.

"In fact, the Administration's fear of the accuracy of the CIA and"

Posted by: Brian C.B. at January 23, 2004 06:20 PM | PERMALINK

Tell me Al really did go kill himself. Pretty please?

Posted by: four legs good at January 23, 2004 06:21 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only person who remembers that the UN found about a dozen shells filled with 97% pure mustard agent back in February? It's not like they didn't have some kinds of atleast chemical weapons...

The thing to really investigate here is what the CIA, MI6, and the French, Russian, Italian, etc. intelligence services had on record about Iraq. Why haven't we heard what those countries' intelligence had on Iraq? Because it would be too embarassing to admit that they were in the same allegedly "sexed up" blindspot?

"What is really wierd is that Saddam could have avoided the invasion by opening up to the UN. Why didn't he ?"

I have an answer: the French and Russian diplomats might have some answers for you...

"No, no, no Saddam. Don't worry about it. We will lobby for you in the Security Council like last time. No, don't worry. We did get the UN inspections stopped for 4 years didn't we? Yes, those pesky Americans will probably attack you again, but we will get them pulled out of there in no time, just like last time. Don't worry, only some Shiites in the south will get killed, and I know you don't really give a damn about them anyways, so it's all good, Mr. Hussein."

I would imagine it went down somewhat like that... because.. why else wouldn't Saddam cooperate enough to keep the US out of there?
Makes no sense.

For all you losers always asking "yeah, but where are the WMDs??"
I have got an answer for you: frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

Saddam defied the UN, we gave him what he has always deserved, 24 million Iraqis are free and can now walk the streets to protest whatever their hearts desire... FREEDOM.
Sure, you don't know what that really means, sitting there in your comfy chair reading ihatebush.com... So keep saying "yeah (I don't care about the damn Iraqis) but where are the WMDs??"

Sure, many other regimes need to be dealt with in the same way, if need be... Saddam just gave us every reason, including moral, to do it.

Have Iran, North Korea, Syria, etc. defied the UN? Um... no. Have they attacked other countries unprovoked within the last 2 decades? Um... no. Have they violated UN SC resolutions passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter allowing for military enforcement of such resolutions? Um... no.

All of that, in addition to the morally responsible reasons to throw Saddam out, is why the "where are the WMDs" becomes completely irrelevant and not to mention completely disregarding Iraqis entirely.

Clinton thought Iraq had WMDs (even nukes, read the transcripts), Gore thought so, Clark thought so, Hillary thought so, EVERYONE thought so...

So where are they? Who knows!!? And, who cares??!

Posted by: G at January 23, 2004 06:29 PM | PERMALINK

Well, G, power to you for admitting the obvious: that many war supporters claim they no longer give a rat's ass about the purported cause of war.

Still, it doesn't bother you even a teeny, tiny bit that the admin cherrypicked intel and exaggerated us into war? Not even a teeny, tiny bit?

To deal quickly with a few of your other comments: boy, you lack imagination, as well as a grasp of reality. Saddam did allow the inspectors back in. He said there were no WMDs. So what in the world are you talking about when you make up these silly dialogues between Saddam and the Russians and the French?

As for intel, i'm not the first one to point out that, in fact, most intel services didn't think there was much there, and the only intel service in the world that thought the nuclear weapons program was reconstituted was the cheney stovepipe oepration.

As for walking the streets in freedom? well, this remains to be proven, but i've already written about this earlier in this thread.

Posted by: howard at January 23, 2004 06:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's not Dick Cheney that needs be told: it's the American public, who seems immune to news like this.

Posted by: tmoore at January 23, 2004 06:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Am I the only person who remembers that the UN found about a dozen shells filled with 97% pure mustard agent back in February? It's not like they didn't have some kinds of atleast chemical weapons..."

No, but you might be the only one here pretending that the reports compiled independently by both the Dutch (who actually found them) and the U.S Army weapons lab (who examined them) was that they did not have, and probably never did have, any mustard gas in them. Also, if you examined the photos, that they were so rusted from being buried in a swamp since the late '80s that they would never have fired.

Posted by: Chuck Nolan at January 23, 2004 06:55 PM | PERMALINK

If all this sounds familiar, remember the "Committee for the Present Danger", the Richard Pipes boondogle that claimed Communism was the better system and we had better elect Reagan and adopt Communism.

We elected Reagan, adopted Communism, overspent by $3.5 trillion, created an additional $5 trillion in debt. Then we find out that Communism simply doesn't work.


Posted by: Matt Young at January 23, 2004 07:08 PM | PERMALINK

Chuck, I think you're talking about the recent discovery of rusted out shells. "G" is probably talking about this story.

Posted by: PaulB at January 23, 2004 07:14 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of the liberated Iraqis: they are complaining that Saddam had basic services restored within days of the finish of the Gulf War, but the US can't do the job after 9 months.

Posted by: Marky at January 23, 2004 07:31 PM | PERMALINK

Good catch, PaulB. But here's the money graf in that cite:

"The destruction process comes as British Prime Minister Tony Blair said inspectors "can have as much time as they need" if Iraq is cooperating -- stressing that the U.N. Security Council must decide the level of Iraq's cooperation. "

Is this the same Tony Blair that, together with GWB, constituted the "coalition of the willing"?

Posted by: Joel at January 23, 2004 07:39 PM | PERMALINK

Which liberated Iraqis? Their country looks pretty well occupied to me.

Posted by: casualworker at January 23, 2004 07:39 PM | PERMALINK

"does it bother you at all that no one, not one measly person, has been fired?"

To be perfectly honest, I would have fired Tenet and the FBI director (can't remember his name) after 911.
To be even more honest, my faith in Cheney is nearly gone, I'd pick a new VP for 04. Cheney has screwed up more than enough, (O'Neill, WMDs, "deficits don't matter", etc).
I wouldn't fire Rummy, he's a great Defense sec, our war execution shows he was right on a lot of issues. Powell would never have had a job.
Condi is fine, from what I know.

I've always liked John Kasich, he would be a good VP. Somebody like Cheney, hawkish and conservative, but with better judgment and economic sense.

Posted by: Reg at January 23, 2004 07:41 PM | PERMALINK

I think G's mustard shells are the 50 liters declared by Iraq and destroyed by the UN in February 2003. those shells were empty, not "filled," they were declared, not "found," but they were real and they did involve both mustard and the UN. cf http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=400&sID=8

as for G's new extensions to Reg's criteria for unilateral war, I love when pro-war folks realize they need the UN. in any case, of China, Pakistan, Israel and the DPRK: all by their behavior defy UN ideals. all have attacked other countries. all likely violate resolution 1373 ('refrain from providing any form of support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts').

of course, nobody in their right mind believes the UN backed Iraqi Freedom Mark 2003, or did I miss a resolution?


Reg, Condi is not fine. back when she was at Stanfoo, word on the street from IR people with brains was that she was an idiot -- and she appears not to have been getting any smarter.

Posted by: wcw at January 23, 2004 07:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Clinton thought Iraq had WMDs (even nukes, read the transcripts), Gore thought so, Clark thought so, Hillary thought so, EVERYONE thought so...

So where are they? Who knows!!? And, who cares??!"

You make a good point, sir. Why should the gov't worry about the locations of WMDs? It's not as if they can harm anyone anyways.

Posted by: sym at January 23, 2004 07:50 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone think that the spidey hole hiding Paul O'Neill and David Kay is getting mighty cozy? Add the Plame leaker looking for cover... throw in some marriage counseling and evangelizing from Pat Robertson and well, that would be a great party.

"anyone but the lying chimp"

Posted by: Oregon Family 4 Dean at January 23, 2004 07:55 PM | PERMALINK

There's another big story here.

According to the Washington Post, Kay left the ISG "due to a 'complex set of issues. It related in part to a reduction in the resource and a change in focus of ISG,' he said referring to the Iraq Survey Group, which is in charge of the weapons hunt.

ISG analysts were diverted from hunting for weapons of mass destruction to helping in the fight against the insurgency, Kay said.

'When I had started out I had made it a condition that ISG be exclusively focused on WMD, that's no longer so,' he said."

See: http://blogs.salon.com/0003379/2004/01/23.html#a7

Posted by: David at January 23, 2004 08:08 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only person who remembers that the UN found about a dozen shells filled with 97% pure mustard agent back in February

No, it's also a lot of other idiots who have lost their marbles by listening to too much AM radio.

Posted by: Thersites at January 23, 2004 08:09 PM | PERMALINK

So someone tell me this: Which is broken? Our intelligence agencies, or our political leadership?

Anyone who might recognize my online moniker will understand that I'm politically opiniated.

Still, that's a very, very fair question.

And, if the answer doesn't matter to you, why not?

Or, if you think there's a better question to be asked, what is it?

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at January 23, 2004 08:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, G even works "the French were in cahoots with Saddam" meme into this discussion. I seem to recall that they and the other Security Council members were agreed to support the invasion after extended and more intrusive inspections--perhaps 30 days to six weeks. It seemed reasonable enough to nine of the 12 Security Council members, which is why George Bush backtracked from a second UN vote after insisting on one seventy-two hours prior: rather than winning a majority of the Council, and forcing France to use its veto, the US was going to be dissed by Cameroon and Chile and end up with the UK and Spain as its only supporters. (Then, too, the US was attempt to spy on the other SC delegations--leaked by the British--boomeranged pretty hard on "the grown ups," too.)

Funny, but the French popular feeling these days is, "We tried to warn you. We really did. If you were seriously worried about banned weapons, those inspections could have done the trick, and you wouldn't be going it alone right now if they hadn't." What I think infuriates right-wing trolls these days, angers them so much that they flat start making things up about the French helping Ba'athists escape, having deliberately underminded sanctions, having supplied banned weapons equipment to Saddam (a favorite prewar accusation that hasn't held up) is that the French were right, the French know it, and so do the American right-wingnuts.

Posted by: Brian C.B. at January 23, 2004 08:33 PM | PERMALINK

First, the people who were right had no evidence for their rightness. They opposed the war not out of a belief that no WMDs existed, but for some other reason. Their correctness is purely fortuitous. It certainly doesn't make me angry. Which brings up this question:

"Which is broken? Our intelligence agencies, or our political leadership?"

I would say intelligence agencies, but I really don't think anything is "broken". How could anybody have known whether Iraq had WMDs without invading? Is there a way to reform our intelligence so that we could have known? I think some things are basically unfixable, and this is one. Perhaps we just need to be much more cynical about what our intelligence can tell us. But then is the question, how do we know how to act? I think Bush has it right, we look at what possibilities are likely, and assume the worst possibility is true. A different leadership that assumed the best out of dictators like Saddam, would be broken.

Posted by: Reg at January 23, 2004 08:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Although high-profile incidents have fostered the perception that terrorism is becoming more lethal, the numbers say otherwise, and early signs suggest that the decade beginning in 2000 will continue the downward trend. A major reason for the decline is the current reluctance of countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya, which once eagerly backed terrorist groups, to provide safe havens, funding and training."

This is Larry C Johnson, an ex-CIA analyst (who is now attacking Bush for "outing Plame") 6 weeks before 9/11 (NYT op-ed on July 17, 2001)

"Charlie's ravings we can dismiss; Mike K, for the umpteenth time, Saddam did not throw out the inspectors in 1998, they withdrew (not that he probably wouldn't have thrown them out, but is it too much to ask that we deal in the realm of facts)"

They withdrew because they were blocked from entering any sites. Did you think I'd forget why ? Is this really your argument ?

", and unless you want to claim that all non-israelis in the middle east are the same and needed to be taught a lesson (which is essentially the friedman argument)"

Not a bad one. Would you list on one page the decent Arab governments ? How about one line ? One word ?

?, the "war" on terror and the war on iraq are two completely different animals;"

Of course, the capture today of two major al-queda leaders in Iraq is irrelevant. You guys ought to go into vaudville.

Democrats; get serious about security or learn to live with the minority. Did you read Jack Straw's speech at Davos ? He's a socialist, for Christ's sake ! It's going to be a long 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.


Posted by: Mike K at January 23, 2004 08:51 PM | PERMALINK

Reg wrote: "First, the people who were right had no evidence for their rightness. They opposed the war not out of a belief that no WMDs existed, but for some other reason."

Sorry, Reg, but you're dead wrong. It wasn't exactly a secret that the administration's WMD story wasn't kosher. Powell's presentation to the UN was fisked within a matter of hours. We knew that Hussein was not a threat.

Posted by: PaulB at January 23, 2004 08:54 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K. wrote: "Of course, the capture today of two major al-queda leaders in Iraq is irrelevant."

As a matter of fact, it is. Did you have a point to make? Jeez, Mike, I've heard of grasping at straws but this is ridiculous.

Posted by: PaulB at January 23, 2004 08:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats; get serious about security"

I could say exactly the same thing to you. Iraq was a mistake and it's going to cost us in the long term. Get serious about security and stop starting wars that have not one damn thing to do with our security!

Posted by: PaulB at January 23, 2004 09:00 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Mike, why did you post that quote of Larry's? Your claim was that the CIA was wrong about Iraq, remember? That quote does nothing to support your position.

Posted by: PaulB at January 23, 2004 09:02 PM | PERMALINK

Bush Lied US into War PERIOD


-----

Posted by: kirk at January 23, 2004 09:06 PM | PERMALINK

"We knew that Hussein was not a threat."

Based on what? His pure intentions? Anyway the question is his possession of WMDs. You had no explanation as to why the whole world thought he had WMDs. Nor do we have any explanation now.

Posted by: Reg at January 23, 2004 09:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush Lied US into War PERIOD"

Does anybody take you seriously when you say this? Your hero Howard Dean won't even say this. In fact, anybody who opposed the war who is a DEMOCRAT is losing to the DEMOCRATS who favored the war. If you nominate a Democrat who supported the war, that pretty much seals the deal, the war was a good thing and we had reason to think there were WMDs. This Bush Lied business is just kookery.

Stick to criticizing his economics, you are getting results there. Too much deficit spending, quit lying about the deficit George Bush. Hopefully tomorrow he'll promise to cut growth.

Posted by: Reg at January 23, 2004 09:11 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone started making T-shirts that say "program related Activities" yet?

Posted by: Urk at January 23, 2004 09:12 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, nothing fishy about the Iraq war at all.

Posted by: dubyamds at January 23, 2004 09:16 PM | PERMALINK

Yep Reg is right! Bush never lied about Iraq! He never tried to pass of Iraq as flying drones full of gas into the US! He never mentioned Iraq and mushroon cloud in the same sentence!! He never implied a relationship between Iraq and 9/11!!!! Bush, who can't go a day without lying about his domestic agenda, never lied about Iraq!

Posted by: Rob at January 23, 2004 09:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats; get serious about security"

Well, you might mention which Democrats. But, back to your main point.

Where do our enemies get their money? Well, let me help you out. American taxpayers send about $100 billion over seas, mainly in the form of interest payments resulting from $5 trillion in debt, thanks to the Republican Communist party.

"A major reason for the decline [of terrorist deaths] is the current reluctance of countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya"

This is typical Republican lunacy.

If the author wants to debate the issue, I can prove that Republican overspending since Reagan may have killed off nearly 40 million Americans, and may have very well destroyed the American antions.

" Which is broken? Our intelligence agencies, or our political leadership? "

What is broken is our lack of brain power in government. The reason for the lack of brain power is the tax cut given to the rich, because the rich, in fact, hold most of the brain power, and once they got their tax cut they ran from their responsibility.

If you want to protect the American population from lunatics like you and me, then your best bet is to tax the rich and make them pay attention to the lunacy that folks like us propogate.


"97% pure mustard agent"

Everybody grab a hotdog.

If lunatics like this bitch about mustard gas while the very bottom of our society scramble for more government programs, well then we are in trouble indeed.

"Which liberated Iraqis?"

Dunnoo, but we have every right to exit the country as fast as we decide.

By the way, did I mention that Tacitus and his bunch are the most ignorant group, next to the Free Republic, on the blog net.

Posted by: Matt young at January 23, 2004 09:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Condi is fine, from what I know"

Condi - 'who could have imagined they would use airplanes as missiles' - is fine? You poor soul!

"I wouldn't fire Rummy, he's a great Defense sec, our war execution shows he was right on a lot of issues."

The war was executed by a military developed without the help of Rumsfeld. The dangerous supply problems and insufficient troops to secure the peace proved how dangerously incompetent Rumsfeld is. The only thing that saved his ass was that the Iraqi army was a totally dilapidated, 2-bit, 4th rate army with low moral, no defenses (no communications, no air support) with only outdated broken down equipment. Kind of like a bully kicking sand in the face of the 90 pound weakling. Makes you feel big and strong and right, doesn't it tough guy!
-----

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

"Condi is fine, from what I know"

Definitely smarter then Bush the Junior. But then my dog Pepper holds that rank too.

Posted by: Matt Young at January 23, 2004 09:33 PM | PERMALINK

G imagines that the French and Russians carried on this sort of dialog with Saddam:

"No, no, no Saddam. Don't worry about it. We will lobby for you in the Security Council like last time. No, don't worry. We did get the UN inspections stopped for 4 years didn't we? Yes, those pesky Americans will probably attack you again, but we will get them pulled out of there in no time, just like last time. Don't worry, only some Shiites in the south will get killed, and I know you don't really give a damn about them anyways, so it's all good, Mr. Hussein."

G... do you think it is normal to hear the voices of whole nations in your head? Do they always speak with such clarity?

Take it from me man... you need to stand up, put down the airplane glue and take a walk about the neighborhood, maybe even a holiday.

I hear Iraq has some nice beaches this time of year.

Posted by: Straight-eye for the queer guy at January 23, 2004 09:34 PM | PERMALINK

applying Reg's newest criterion ('look at what possibilities are likely, and assume the worst possibility is true') not only has us invading China, Pakistan, Israel and the DPRK, but also Russia, France, Yemen, Malaysia and South Africa -- just for starters.

Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

Posted by: wcw at January 23, 2004 09:34 PM | PERMALINK

'they provided adament assurances that WMDs existed' LIE
'they knew where the WMD were' LIE
'aluminum tubes were for enrichment cetrifuges' LIE
'Iraq had mobile chemical labs' LIE
'Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Africa' LIE
'Iraq had WMD delivery systems' LIE
'implied that Iraq was supporting Al-Qeada' DECEPTION

to deny that Bush lied US into war is truely delusional.

Posted by: kirk at January 23, 2004 09:36 PM | PERMALINK

Re-e-ggie: Kookery? As in 'cuckoo bird'? The truth hurts, eh, bud? Still, you best get used to hearing that sound, old sport. But understand this: that ain't no stinkin' cuckoo bird you think you hear. That's the Scream Of The American Eagle, audible to every PATRIOT whose ears aren't full of shit....(fade to the strains of John Phillip Sousa).

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at January 23, 2004 09:37 PM | PERMALINK

Reg, we knew that Saddam was not a threat because of a combination of information available to anyone who cared to look: the deterioration of his military capacity thanks to the post '91 inspections; the role of sanctions; the 2002-03 inspections; the various leaks from american intel to the washington post in particular about how they were being browbeaten; and the weakness that even a much stronger saddam demonstrated in '90 - '91.

Mike K, don't embarass yourself any further. The inspectors withdrew because we were about to initiate bombing attacks. Before you post about matters like this, do your homework.

Posted by: howard at January 23, 2004 09:44 PM | PERMALINK

David Kay said: "No, I don't think they existed."

When the Bush administration gives lie detector tests to persons applying for positions or appointments, which they must fail in order to be considered for hiring, every once in a while, possibly due to having just listened to Celine Dion, an honest person will slip through. Luckily, when doublespeak and press blackouts fail to disappear the truth, these disloyal pseudo-liars can be easily neutralized via smear campaigns and pilot errors. As time goes on, they will have less need for the malignantly dishonest, as their condition is comparatively rare and nearly all of them already work for Bush. But, luckily again, they can be replaced by the ever increasing number of regular folks and trolls whose brains have soaked up so much propaganda they are drunk with the stuporous power of capitalistic selfishness and religious superiority. Only when the entire world emerges from its stubborn sobriety will we finally know true peace and prosperity. Of course, the most oppressed and poverty stricken--already the majority and ever more so--frowning stick-in-the-muds that they are, will never loosen up and simply drink in the wine of their redemption. But, luckily one last time, starvation, imprisonment, and slave labor will finally silence all noise not emblazoned with a FOX logo. I do look forward to the day when I can tune in to see our brave corporate warriors shooting tinfoil conspiracy theorists for sport as their shiny heads pop from spring-loaded spider holes on the lush ranges of the outdoor executive lounges, which were formerly national parks. And, bonus luckily, the more I listen to weak-necked Sean Hannity, the more sense he makes. (Provided I tilt my head to the right.)

Posted by: jayarbee at January 23, 2004 09:45 PM | PERMALINK

Check out this post today from Josh Marshall:

(snip)

Various campaigns send out rapid-response emails to journalists during and after debates. I got six tonight from the Lieberman campaign. Two were pushing Lieberman's strengths; four were hitting other candidates. And all four of those hits were hits at Clark.

(/snip)

Why does Joe have it in for Clark?

You don't suppose that some of the money being donated to Joe is being "refunded" by him via these hit letters do you?

It perturbs me that Holy Joe might not be so wholly honest.

Before I would have asked him to sign on the inside cover of my Bible. Now I am not so sure.

Posted by: micah josh matthews at January 23, 2004 09:55 PM | PERMALINK

"You had no explanation as to why the whole world thought he had WMDs. Nor do we have any explanation now."

you aren't serious are you? The vast majority of the world thought that sanctions, no fly zones, and inspections were satisfactorily containing him. But because no one could prove that he didn't have WMDs (or did for that matter), the mantra of the fright manipulators that he did, reigned (at least in the US).

Posted by: kirk at January 23, 2004 09:56 PM | PERMALINK

" Perhaps we just need to be much more cynical about what our intelligence can tell us. But then is the question, how do we know how to act? I think Bush has it right, we look at what possibilities are likely, and assume the worst possibility is true. A different leadership that assumed the best out of dictators like Saddam, would be broken."

Req,you dont assume the worst or the best if you dont know. You take the middle road, in this case the middle road was pressure through sanctions and no fly-zones, as well as detterence in the form of the US military. There is no satisfactory explanation for why this middle of the road approach was innefective, even if saddam really did have WMDs. Now that we find out how shaky the evidence was the pre-war approach seems ideal.

There is no excuse for acting with 100% certainty uncertain evidence.

Posted by: refutation at January 23, 2004 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad these remarks weren't available in time for use in the SOTU address.

Coincidence? Nah.

Posted by: ahem at January 23, 2004 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

And just to add to this: isn't it interesting that Kay gives his resignation speech on a Friday afternoon: the classic time for burying news stories?

Posted by: ahem at January 23, 2004 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's neither the middle-road nor the high road or the low road. You go back and get more information and you ratchet up the pressure on your people (CIA, DIA, etc.) and the international community (more intrusive inspections). The President clearly didn't ask the right questions of the intelligence community or he did and ignored them, otherwise, it would have been a snap to understand that even from stand-off distances, we could tell there was zero nuclear weapons activity. We knew is a split second than the Iranians and NKoreans were processing nuclear components because we could sniff the air and use other satellite and airborne detection methods. Why weren't those detection methods picking up the Iraqi program? Because they weren't there and the Administration had to know they weren't there.

Posted by: Dave D. at January 23, 2004 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

...looks like we had an invasion and all we got out of it was 23 million liberated people. What a waste.

And one imminent civil war. What a waste.

Posted by: ahem at January 23, 2004 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Did you read Jack Straw's speech at Davos ? He's a socialist, for Christ's sake !

Mike K: you're obviously not British to use that epithet for ol' Jack-boot Straw. Either that, or you're very funny.

Posted by: ahem at January 23, 2004 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Has Bill O'Reilly been informed?

http://www.oreilly-sucks.com/oreillywmd.htm

Posted by: Magnum at January 23, 2004 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

They withdrew because they were blocked from entering any sites. Did you think I'd forget why?

You seem to have forgotten about the CIA infiltration of UNSCOM which turned the inspection process into one designed to provide GPS locations for bombing targets. You silly person.

Posted by: ahem at January 23, 2004 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K writes:

They withdrew because they were blocked from entering any sites. Did you think I'd forget why? Is this really your argument?

I always enjoy the mix of ignorance and pugnacious certainty found in people such as Mike K. Most human beings would be embarrassed to flaunt their lack of knowledge like this, but not Mike K.

Of course, as is obvious to anyone with any familiarity with this subject, Mike K is wrong. The inspectors were not "blocked from entering any sites." Out of 427 inspections listed in the final report by Richard Butler, he cited problems in five of them. All five problems were extremely minor. The most serious involved a 45 minute delay before the inspectors received access.

Moreover, as others have pointed out, the US had long before destroyed the viability of the inspectors by using them for espionage aimed at the overthrow of Hussein. In retrospect, it's amazing they lasted as long as they did.

None of this will make any impression on Mike K and his ilk, however. It never does.

Posted by: Jon at January 23, 2004 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

God this is entertaining. What was it, four or five months ago the conservatives and Bushistas were telling us to watch out for the Kay report. That it would prove once and for all Hussein's WMD programs were real and we would be sorry for doubting Bush. So now Kay himself comes out and announces to the press that there is basically nothing, nada, not a ting to it. And the apologists' spiel on this board has come down to, well everybody else thought he had them there WMDs too. This is pathetic.

Posted by: Another Bruce at January 23, 2004 11:34 PM | PERMALINK
I would say intelligence agencies, but I really don't think anything is "broken". How could anybody have known whether Iraq had WMDs without invading?

So, Reg, do propose invading every country just to find out who has what? I mean, there's no other way to know, right?

Posted by: peejay at January 23, 2004 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

I read the 'large-scale' qualifier more as the difference between detectable and not-detectable.
Not large-scale would be the vials that have been sitting in some poor iraqi scientists refrigerator (and probably worthless now with the power situation there)

Posted by: Sam Jackson at January 24, 2004 01:03 AM | PERMALINK

I would say intelligence agencies, but I really don't think anything is "broken". How could anybody have known whether Iraq had WMDs without invading?
These guys have no rational arguments left, but I have noticed that this doesn't deter them in the least. The latest argument seems to be that "At least we got rid of Saddam Hussein." It seems beyond their pea-brains that there is a very good chance that we may have replaced him with something worse for Iraq, but I don't think that they care. I wish that these apologist assholes would come out with their real argument; At least we have secured the Iraqi oil fields from the French and the Russians. The trouble with that argument is that they would have to justify this bullshit to the taxpayers. The ROI for our invasion just plain sucks on many levels.

Posted by: Another Bruce at January 24, 2004 01:09 AM | PERMALINK

How could anybody have known whether Iraq had WMDs without invading?

Well, back in 2001, there were negotiations on strengthening an international treaty to enable independent inspections of suspected biological weapons facilities.

Guess which country scuppered it, claiming that there were 'national security' and 'commercial' interests making it impossible to submit to independent inspections of its own facilities?

And back in 2002, there were negotiations on strengthening an international treaty to enable independent inspections of suspected chemical weapons facilities -- a treaty that Iraq had signed up to.

Guess which country scuppered it, again claiming that letting filthy foreigners inspect its own chemical facilities breached both 'national security' and 'commercial confidentiality'?

Could it have been the US, with a delegation led by ultra-neocon John Bolton? No, surely not.

(Thankfully, the US hasn't managed to completely scupper the nuclear non-proliferation treaties. Hence the role of the IAEA in inspecting suspected facilities in Iran, North Korea and Libya.)

And Kay's comments lead us to believe that there might still be found in Iraq a 1/6th-size vial containing a US-bought sample culture of a bacterium commonly found in soil.

Posted by: ahem at January 24, 2004 01:13 AM | PERMALINK

And here's more, for Reg, on the BWC and the US bullying of the OPCW, and the motivations of the US in ensuring on the one hand that Iraq was unable to submit to an internationalised inspection programme, and on the other hand, that filthy foreigners were not allowed to submit American chemical and biological facilities to the same scrutiny it demanded of other countries.

Posted by: ahem at January 24, 2004 01:37 AM | PERMALINK

How long before Kay is "caught" "soliciting" "teens" in an "online chat room"?

Posted by: skbubba at January 24, 2004 06:04 AM | PERMALINK

Remember, Wolfowitz said in so many words that
It's really not as complicated as lots of folks on both sides of the issue want to make out.

WMD's were chosen as the pretex for war for 'bureaucratic reasons' - remember Wolfowitz' famous comment? It was the one thing that everyone (involved in the decision) could agree on.

WMD's were never the issue. The neocons never cared. They wanted a war to start remaking the Middle East. Their fantasy was that it would work.

The U.S. invaded Iraq because it could. No more, no less. EVERYTHING is a fig leaf, a distraction.

Posted by: Joe Betsin at January 24, 2004 06:51 AM | PERMALINK

Oops. Should have previewed before posting. Sorry.

Posted by: Joe Betsin at January 24, 2004 06:52 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it's actually entertaining to watch the right-wingnut trolls spasm and twitch, sort of like a live fish on the dock. Meanwhile, as Kay says, "No banned weapons in Iraq not left over from the 1980s," North Korea is announcing step-by-step its production of plutonium 239, and inviting American scientists to verify it, begging for the US to cut a deal with it. According to Bush's former special ambassador, Kim Jong Il is on the very edge of just saying, "Screw America. We've enough bombs to deter invasion, so we'll announce our nuclear status and just tell the world to deal with it." So much for reducing the threat of "weapons of mass destruction" (the real kind).

Posted by: Brian C.B. at January 24, 2004 07:08 AM | PERMALINK

Live fish have too much nobility, which is why I practice catch-and-release. These guys are more like tadpoles flopping around in a drying puddle. It's not too late to grow legs and hop on over to our side, guys! OK, Al, it's too late for you. But Reg, every now and then...

Posted by: peejay at January 24, 2004 07:35 AM | PERMALINK

Here's why we went to war: REVENGE. Pretty simple, and pretty understandable. But those who support this war and occupation will go to any length to deny this motive (hence the medieval arguments about how many WMD's can be hidden on the head of a pin).

Why can't they admit this? Go figure.

Posted by: bobbyp at January 24, 2004 09:21 AM | PERMALINK

ok. to reg and charlie and the rest of the morons who have been posting.

iraq is not liberated. it is occupied.

"at least we got rid of saddam"- using up enormous ammounts of military resources to get rid of someone who is not a threat is the most monumentally stupid use of military resources imaginable.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 24, 2004 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

The Kay team was the 4th investigative team to come up with nil. The UN, an operations team on the ground during the war, the crew sent in by I believe the Defense Dept immediately after the war and now Kay.

Kamel's transcript to UNSCOM back in '95 which Newsweek broke then held back before the war (pressure?)says of course we knew he had no WMD, Clinton and Bush. We just didn't believe it.

Kay is finally realizing he was the patsy and is PO'd.

Posted by: Daryl at January 24, 2004 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

To anyone who thinks we've liberated 23 million Iraqis... as Riverbend will be happy to explain to you, at least 11.5 million of those people might like to have a chat with you on that topic: (Her January 15th entry, in case Blogger is up to its old tricks.)

Posted by: Diane Patterson at January 24, 2004 01:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Oh, and Mike, why did you post that quote of Larry's? Your claim was that the CIA was wrong about Iraq, remember? That quote does nothing to support your position."

Are you referring to Larry Johnson ? His whole op-ed was to discredit the concept that Muslim terrorists were a threat. These were the same people who said that Saddam would not invade Kuwait. My "position", as you put it, is that ex-CIA agents have been on both sides of the issue. First, before 9/11, they said that terrorism was not a threat. Now, after 9/11, they say that Bush is not doing enough.

As far as Jack Straw is concerned, he is a member of the Labour Party which has had socialism as a basic principle since it was formed. It's true that the Blair government doesn't act that way but then Labour lost four straight elections on a socialist manifesto. Want to try to beat their record ?

"Of course, as is obvious to anyone with any familiarity with this subject, Mike K is wrong. The inspectors were not "blocked from entering any sites." Out of 427 inspections listed in the final report by Richard Butler, he cited problems in five of them. All five problems were extremely minor. The most serious involved a 45 minute delay before the inspectors received access."

Then why did he leave ? Did you see the pictures of UN vehicles being blocked ? Did you read about the members of the team who informed the Iraqis which sites were to be inspected so that things could be moved before they got there? Did you hear about what happened when they tried surprise inspections ? Those were the pictures of vehicles blocked in place.

None of this means anything to you. If Saddam had towed an H-bomb through Baghdad on a trailer to celebrate Ramadan, you would be applauding. Right ?

Posted by: Mike K at January 24, 2004 03:19 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K, right up until the last paragraph, we would almost think you're serious but ill-informed.

Instead, it turns out that you're merely angry and ill-informed. It's a sad sight.

Posted by: howard at January 24, 2004 03:32 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K,

You write:

Then why did he leave ?

I'm not sure what this means. I think you're asking, "Then why did they leave?" The answer is that the US urged Butler to pull them out so the US could conduct a bombing campaign. Some analysts -- Scott Ritter, for instance -- believe the US intentionally destroyed UNSCOM, because we were concerned that the UN would finally verify that Iraq had no remaining weapons.

Did you see the pictures of UN vehicles being blocked ? Did you read about the members of the team who informed the Iraqis which sites were to be inspected so that things could be moved before they got there? Did you hear about what happened when they tried surprise inspections ? Those were the pictures of vehicles blocked in place.

You're confused, I'm afraid. Here you're conflating many different occurences in the seven-year UNSCOM inspections process -- not the things cited in Butler's final report.

In retrospect, it's clear inspections were extremely effective. It's also clear that Iraq cooperated with them to an extraordinary degree, when you consider (1) the US was using UNSCOM as a cover for espionage aimed at overthrowing and/or assassinating Saddam Hussein, and (2) Iraq had no incentive to comply with them anyway, since we'd said many times that we would never allow sanctions to be lifted even if Iraq complied. There's certainly no equivalent example in world history of a government letting spies run around their country like that.

Anyway, as I said, it's obvious you have no familiarity with this subject. Rather than embarrassing yourself further, I suggest that you learn something about it. Just the most basic facts would be a good place to start.

Posted by: Jon at January 24, 2004 03:43 PM | PERMALINK

Let's just make sure this phrase stays alive...
"program related activities"

of course it sounds a little incomplete. What is it that's not there? oh yeah...weapons of mass destruction.

Posted by: Urk at January 25, 2004 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

This is genuinely wierd, and I hope all those people who jumped at David Kay's first interview react to his latest, including Calpundit himself. (It's in the Sunday Telegraph, but I'm having problems accessing it.)

Apparently he's quoted as saying, "A lot of [Iraqi] material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD program."

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/WinnipegSun/News/2004/01/25/324358.html

Why didn't he volunteer that information in the first interview? Is the Telegraph misquoting him?

Posted by: Andrew Boucher at January 25, 2004 02:09 AM | PERMALINK

Dang! (hits self on forehead)

So that's where all the WMD went!

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