Friday, September 14, 2007

Enduring Success

In reading the transcript of President Bush's Thursday evening address to the nation, I was struck by the absence of one word, and the presence of another.

The missing word, of course, was "victory." There were ten variations of "success," but no mention of victory.

I wasn't surprised by victory's absence, because if there really were any prospect for victory in Iraq, I think it's safe to say the war's architects would have linguistically seized it. But not even a fervent propagandist can deny that the original objectives for victory in the war, both ostensible and ulterior, are no longer achievable. There never were any weapons of mass destruction, or, if they were, they now reside in Syria or elsewhere. The notion of "a free, democratic and independent Iraq that stands... as a beacon of freedom and justice" is a sad joke. Rather than the shock and awe we had hoped to instill in Iran and Syria by virtue of our victorious military machine on their borders, our troops are stuck in a quagmire, and indeed exposed to Syrian and Iranian "meddling" within Iraq.

The current ostensible objective of the war, according to the president's speech, is "the success of a free Iraq." The president claimed several benefits that would flow from free Iraq's success: "A free Iraq will deny al Qaeda a safe haven. A free Iraq will counter the destructive ambitions of Iran. A free Iraq will marginalize extremists, unleash the talent of its people and be an anchor of stability in the region. A free Iraq will set an example for people across the Middle East. A free Iraq will be our partner in the fight against terror, and that will make us safer here at home."

Note that these are all positive developments that could possibly occur, to some degree, at some unspecified point in the future.

Now note the negative events the president claims will occur if "we were to be driven out of Iraq:"

"extremists of all strains would be emboldened. Al Qaeda could gain new recruits and new sanctuaries. Iran would benefit from the chaos and would be encouraged in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons and dominate the region. Extremists could control a key part of the global energy supply. Iraq could face a humanitarian nightmare. Democracy movements would be violently reversed. We would leave our children to face a far more dangerous world. And as we saw on September the 11th, 2001, those dangers can reach our cities and kill our people. "

What's interesting is what follows logically: according to the president, all these negative outcomes can be prevented -- if we just stay in Iraq. Because no matter how badly the war is going, no matter our casualties, no matter the financial cost and the strain on the military and the opportunity costs, too, as long as we're never driven out, the negative events will never happen, and the positive ones always just might.

And here's where that second interesting word comes into play: "enduring."

Here's how the president used it:

"This vision for a reduced American presence also has the support of Iraqi leaders from all communities. At the same time, they understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency. These Iraqi leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America. And we are ready to begin building that relationship in a way that protects our interests in the region and requires many fewer American troops. "

Not "long-lasting," not "long-term," not "ongoing" or "permanent" or "committed" or any other possible substitute you can think of. "Enduring." And then it occurred to me: this is the final definition of "success" the war's architects are peddling. Endurance. As long as we endure in Iraq, we cannot be defeated there. And while as a great power you can't claim the absence of defeat will ever equal victory, you might convince yourself that it is a form of success.

It seems to me that those who continue to support our current course in Iraq picture us as a boxer. We entered the ring confident of a quick knockout (one that would intimidate other possible opponents), and found ourselves instead taking a terrible pasting. We couldn't knock the other guy out quickly, and have grudgingly come to accept that we won't be able to knock him out ever. But we're not going to throw in the towel, either. We'll just keep slugging it out, and merely enduring in this unexpectedly ferocious fight becomes our new objective.

The analogy breaks down because the costs of the war -- blood, treasure, and opportunity costs -- are by comparison so galactic. Still, I think it works to describe a certain mentality that keeps the war going. As long as we don't leave, we haven't been beaten. And over time, merely not being beaten -- "enduring" -- becomes its own form, if not of victory, then at least of success.

Of course, if things ever do stabilize in Iraq, we'll bleed there less. We might even be able to sustain the stabilization with fewer troops. But "success," although it doesn't preclude such an outcome, doesn't require, it either. Success merely requires that we never leave.

And so, ultimately, the very fact that we're still in Iraq means that we've succeeded there. The war's strategists and supporters wouldn't phrase it this way, of course, but I suspect it's how they feel.

P.S. If you're a regular reader of my blog, I hope you'll consider becoming one of my MySpace friends, too. And if you have a chance, stop by my discussion forum, where the talk on politics, single malt whisky, writing, and self-defense goes on and on...


maldonadol said...

Very interesting yet very sad. I've stayed away from the news tv stations for a few weeks now. I think it was "war news fatigue." I have many family and friends who are in Iraq and sometimes it's easier not to hear what's going on because it just drives me crazy. Thanks for your blog. It's reminded me that with the presidential primaries being so close we all need to stay abreast of such important issues. Be blessed.

Anonymous said...

Al Quaeda won't stop until everyone converts to their "special" brand of Islam.

The U.S. staying in Iraq is an unspoken way of saying we don't believe the Iraqis can defend themselves.

Even after enough Iraqi soldiers and officers are trained, are they going to behave based on sectarian or national interests? Then there are those covertly working for Iran. We're training them too.

Our definition of "success" in Iraq currently includes Iraq staying as one country.

If you buy your oil from two or three nations created from the former Iraq, does it matter?

China is investing in Africa. There's a lot of oil and other raw materials in Africa. If the Middle East was the only game in town, China would be there too. They need a growing amount of energy and raw materials to supply their growing economy. I'm pretty sure India would show up too if it was that critical.

Earlier news reports attributed the success in reducing the violence in some areas to Iraqis getting sick of the killing and stealing and turning on Al Quaeda and other insurgents.

The Middle East is in a sweet spot for creating more enemies than are getting killed. Keeping a lid on the violence is just preventing more people from getting sick of it.

One good thing about the war is there are enough "Iraqi resistance" members trained to kill Al Quaeda and other foreign fighters if they ever do get sick of the killing. That probably wasn't the case before the war. If we left, who would they be shooting at?

Theresa Chaze said...

Excellent article. Some many people talk about winning the war. When in really no one wins in war, there are just varying degrees of losing.

Unknown said...

it is my opinion that the powers that be went into this war with the intention of "enduring" this war to begin with. it has been a "no win" situation since day one. we were lied to from the beginning, continue to be lied to, and will continued to be lied to regarding Iraq.

KSR said...


Why do you hate America?



Oblivious to oblivion said...

You know - - perhaps folks shouldn’t have such a short memory. The Forgotten War, or the Korean War, is still ongoing. True, the conflict ended when a cease-fire was reached on July 27, 1953 – but though several parties have long pushed to end the stalemate and sign a peace treaty, the United States has rejected these overtures consistently for several decades and for numerous reasons. The U.S. Military, to this day, occupies South Korea. The Forgotten War has never technically ended and we have “endured” there for 54 years. So endurance is not a new concept and really isn’t such a bad strategy. We’ve waited – and eventually, as numerous analysts believe, North Korea will implode.

Let me ask you what, exactly, you would view as a victory? How would you define it? To vanquish our enemies, to cease all hostilities and bring about peace? How would you define success? Sometimes I get the feeling that no matter what success is achieved in the Iraq War – it’ll never be good enough for some people.

• We toppled an aggressive and hostile military dictatorship: Not good enough, does not constitute a victory.

• We bring the rudimentary beginnings of a democratic government to a country that cannot even fathom the concept of freedom: Still not good enough, does not constitute a victory.

• We fight a war under harsh conditions, conduct policing of a hostile population, and rebuild a country from scratch, all while maintaining a sizable military force in country for five years with only a 2.44% casualty rate: Still not a success.

So what is success? To those of you who argue that we should have never gone to war in the first place – don’t make me pull out the history books and walk you down the path, point by point, incident by incident, that led us to War in Iraq. Bush is not to blame for the War in Iraq – Saddam Hussein is the man responsible for this war.

All the negative events the president claims will occur if we were to be driven or pulled out of Iraq are genuine. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned recently that a power vacuum is imminent in Iraq and said that Iran was ready to help fill the gap. "The political power of the occupiers is collapsing rapidly," Ahmadinejad said at a press conference in Tehran, referring to U.S. troops in Iraq. "Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap…” - Does this not scare the living crap out of you?

So – many would argue that a lasting or ‘enduring’ occupation of South Korea has kept North Korea from invading – would not a lasting or ‘enduring’ occupation of Iraq keep our enemies far away from our front door? Some would argue that it has. Like you boxer analogy – the war in Iraq and the war on terror is like getting rid of fire-ants in your yard. You don't shoot poisonous fire-ants with a BB gun; you just set an ant trap. Ant colonies are highly "distributed" biological societies, they can't be killed with a BB or a pressure hose; even pouring flaming gasoline on an ant hill won't work. Instead, you destroy ant colonies by attracting hungry ants to a chemical bait, and then kill them all in one small place.

Ant traps work.

That's the strategy, I think, in Iraq. Al Qaeda isn't centralized, with big cities or steel industries like Nazi Germany. So you can't destroy the enemy by hunting them one by one. Rather, you bait a trap -- provoke them to come to you and then make sure they don't get out alive. Iraq is a trap for Al Qaeda. Our mere presence in the heart of the Osama's Caliphate-To-Be draws them like ants to sugar.

General Petraeus just reported that " the past 8 months, we have considerably reduced the areas in which Al Qaeda enjoyed sanctuary. We have also neutralized 5 media cells, detained the senior Iraqi leader of Al Qaeda-Iraq, and killed or captured nearly 100 other key leaders and some 2,500 rank-and-file fighters. Al Qaeda is certainly not defeated; however, it is off balance and we are pursuing its leaders and operators aggressively."

Most of the Qaeda fighters come from Saudi Arabia and other breeding grounds. Now that the Sunni tribes are turning against them, they are more exposed and hunted than ever before. Wars are fluid and unpredictable, but it is doubtful that Al Qaeda is happy with its victories since 9/11. In Afghanistan, they have been on the run since 2003, although the Pakistan border regions continue to supply new recruits. But in Afghanistan they are being destroyed before ever reaching the cities. Add that to a sizable numbers neutralized in Pakistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and more. Add to that the cells pinpointed in Europe and America, the Philippines and Indonesia. We are wiping out the fire ants wherever they can be found.

At that attrition rate, every single year we stay in Iraq, we could get rid of another couple of thousand AQ fighters. Additionally, other jihadi militants, like Iranian Quds officers and Shiite militants, are being caught in Iraq. A top Hezb'allah operative was just captured there -- and Hezb'allah has been killing Americans ever since they blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon. As the President said when our perverse press pointed out that the terrorists might hit us in Iraq: “Bring them on.” That was not an idle boast, but just a statement of the bait and kill strategy. The many critics of that statement simply do not understand or do not want to understand the strategy.

Now take a look at the map of Iran, and notice where our military are today. To the west is Iraq, where American forces move and attack freely. To the east is Afghanistan, where the same is true. South and south-west are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and the Gulf itself; those Sunni countries now consider Iran to be their biggest threat.

We therefore have hundreds of thousands of military surrounding the next biggest problem, Tehran: to the east and west, and on naval vessels in the Gulf, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. We just had joint maneuvers with the Indian Navy, the Japanese and the Aussies. In Qatar we have major bases. We just sold another 20 billion dollars worth of military equipment to Saudi and Oman, including anti-missile defenses. Farther away, Egypt and Jordan are American clients -- within limits. So, of course, is Israel. In sum, Tehran can be struck from most points of the compass by our air and missile forces. The Israeli Air Force just struck Iranian weapons located in the eastern corner of Syria, right next to Iran.

Iran is a rising threat, even France knows this ( and no one knows how that scenario will play out. But would you really want to be Ahmadi-Nejad today? Every time he makes another wild boast, more people become convinced that he cannot be allowed to get nukes. The German government has just been reported as giving up on the European negotiation effort to stop Iranian nukes. Instead, German officials "gave the distinct impression that they would privately welcome, while publicly protesting, an American bombing campaign against Iran's nuclear facilities."

It can't be comfortable to be a regime supporter in Tehran today.
Or would you want to be a Baathist general? A few years ago they were at the top of the heap.
The fact is that we are drastically weakening or destroying our terror-supporting enemies: Saddam is dead, Al Qaeda is being degraded, the Taliban are hemorrhaging, and the Mullahs are surrounded.

Yet people continue to think there is no strategy for Iraq – there has been no success in Iraq. That’s because they have let their politics blur their view of the world around them.

PBI said...


Welcome back!

The bar has indeed been set lower and lower and lower each time President Bush talks about what winning in Iraq will mean. Worse, the benchmarks the Administration itself agreed to use as a measure of success remain unmet, and their cries that those measurements are "designed to produce failure" are laughably hollow. It has become a steady litany of "we need more time" while we deplete our military and weaken our ability to deal with threats elsewhere.

A simple test for competence seems inherent in the open-ended exercise Iraq has become: If President Bush or Vice President Cheney or Secretay Rice or General Petraeus or whoever claims that they will meet certain measurements within a certain period of time, but cannot, that person has misjudged either the conditions in which we are engaged, the resources necessary to accomplish stated aims, or both. Repeated failure to meet agreed-upon goals will get you replaced in just about any meritocratic position in the world, and should apply to Iraq "policy"-makers and their enablers as well. It is beyond me that the Bush Administration and its supporters - the Bill Kristols and Brit Humes and Rush Limbaughs of the world - are listened to at all or even still have jobs. They have literally been wrong at a rate that is staggeringly close to 100% of the time.

Mr. Bush's aim appears to be to run out the clock and leave whoever wins the next election holding the bag, faced with the unpalatable choice of either instituting a draft in order to ensure that there are enough healthy bodies in our military while we continue to waste our best soldiers in an unending holding action, or withdrawing from Iraq and having the 29 percenters - the people who still mysteriously believe that George W. Bush has any idea what he's doing - scream and rant that he or she is a "defeatist" in the nebulous belief that somehow al Qaeda stands a chance of imposing sharia law on the people of the Western world.
Congress needs to put a stop to this charade, and can, despite the prevailing narrative that it somehow lacks the power to do so: No more money for this war without an exit strategy, period. This horrible joke, this blunder of epic proportions, this festival of slaughter has to end.

Sensen No Sen

On a martial arts note, I just got back from several days of training in Anaheim with Sensei Kiyoshi Yamazaki, and passed my yondan test as well. I am beat up, worn out, and happy that I don't have to worry about another exam for five years!

Tried your MySpace link, and got an error message...

Oblivious to oblivion said...

From: One of the “Mysterious 29 percent-ers”
To: The “Detached from Reality 71 percent-ers”

“Congress needs to put a stop to this charade, and can, despite the prevailing narrative that it somehow lacks the power to do so:…”

Go here:;_ylt=Asd7e5YmElk0jkyKfykrr_kE1vAI – “Senate Democrats lose new bid to curb Iraq war”

Joshua James said...

" Bush is not to blame for the War in Iraq – Saddam Hussein is the man responsible for this war."

Hmm, the above statement appears to be a complete fabrication, from what I've read and listened to . . .

Bush pushed for war based on the fact we were under an immediate threat of attack from Iraq with WMD's . . . he pushed for this based on false or faulty evidence, pushed out those who didn't agree with was he'd decided, and the past five years have already shown that Bush and company have been wrong on an astounding number of things regarding the war.

Saddam may have been stupid, and he certainly was a ruthless dictator, but he didn't attack and invade the US . . . the US attacked and invaded him, based on a threat that frankly, didn't exist, and you don't have evidence of existing . . . Therefore, as nasty as Saddam is, we can't blame him for the war . . . we blame Bush not only for the war, but for how badly the war has been organized.

We invaded a country for a reason that turned out to be false. That's it, end of story. That mistake is on our country, and its leaders, no other.

"All the negative events the president claims will occur if we were to be driven or pulled out of Iraq are genuine."

Seeing as that nearly every one of the Bush's claims during the run-up to the war (including "Mission Accomplished speech) has been false, how can we accept any other claims he makes toward future events?

Seeing as that Bush has publically lied about breaking the fourth amendment, twice, and lied about a number of other things, how can we, as a public, trust anything he has to say?

PBI said...


The link you provided details something different than the methodology to which I was referring, and is actually part of the false narrative that I mentioned. This defeated bill was explicitly for the withdrawal of troops, and is separate from the funding mechanism that is within the consitutional power of the legislature. Simply put, the Democratic majority can ensure that no funding bill for the war goes to the president's desk without withdrawal language by refusing to allow any appropriations legislation without withdrawal language to the floor for a vote. The Levin bill won't get anywhere under present conditions since there is no funding leverage attached to it, and Democrats do not have the votes to pass it and keep it veto-proof.

The way Congress can end the war financially is as follows:
* The Democrats only allow bills funding the war to the floor for debate and vote if they include withdrawal language.
* The GOP has the numbers in the Senate - where a 60-member majority is needed to end debate and move a bill to a vote - to block any funding legislation with withdrawal language in it, but that puts Republicans in the position of denying money "to our troops."
* The result is that there is either no funding for the war because no appropriations bill passes, or a bill including withdrawal language goes to President Bush.
* President Bush either signs the bill and agrees to withdrawal, or vetoes it and sends it back to Congress, where the Dems start the cycle all over again.

Given the fact that the vast majority of Americans want a change in Iraq policy, Congress would actually have the support of the citizenry. Likewise, as a somewhat less drastic path, Congress can simply refuse to appropriate the full "supplemental" (although why the war - which has been going on for 4 years - is somehow an "extraordinary expense" defies logic, common sense and generally accepted accounting practices), and provide only enough money for withdrawal, which is how American involvement in Vietnam was ended.

Unfortunately, the House and Senate have bought into the talking points that somehow cutting off funding for the war will leave our troops without food, ammunition or fuel, to be killed by encroaching hordes of Islamists on hostile ground. This is patently ridiculous; cutting funding means that the armed forces have to re-allocate their resources for withdrawal - and that's it. The power of the purse is given to the Congress in the Constitution; it is only lack of political will that is keeping them from ending the war.

Sensen No Sen

Anonymous said...

Barry, great commentary! Couldn't agree more!

Have you deleted your membership at MySpace?

Oblivious to oblivion said...

"...Hmm, the above statement appears to be a complete fabrication, from what I've read and listened to . . ."
and then
"...and is actually part of the false narrative that I mentioned."

Now THAT is funny. We all seem to be listening and reading different mediums. I prefer to follow the facts, not the opinions of talking heads and/or thr left wing political propaganda machine.

So lets take a walk down history lane, shall we?

Augustus 7 1995 two of Saddam Hussein’s sons-in-law, Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamil (former director of Iraq's Military Industrialization Establishment, in charge of WMD program) and Saddam Kamil defect to Jordan with Saddam's daughters; Hussein Kamil takes crates of documents revealing past concealment of WMD capacities, and provides these to UNSCOM. Iraq responds by revealing a major store of documents that showed that Iraq had begun an unsuccessful crash program to develop a nuclear bomb (20August).

Augustus 20, 1995 Under pressure, Iraq reveals a major store of documents that showed that Iraq had begun an unsuccessful crash program to develop a nuclear bomb. (this was just 12 years ago...)

March 1996 Iraq has systematically sought to deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of Deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs.

May 1, 1998 President Clinton signed Public Law 105-174, which made $5,000,000 available for assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition for such activities as organization, training, communication and dissemination of information, developing and implementing agreements among opposition groups, compiling information to support the indictment of Iraqi officials for war crimes, and for related purposes. (Clinton adminstration attempting to overthrow Saddams's Regime from within...)

Augustus 5, 1998 Iraq ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM, and subsequently threatened to end long-term monitoring activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNSCOM.

Augustus 14, 1998 President Clinton signed Public Law 105-235, which Declared that `the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.’ (This only goes to show that if Al Gore had won the election in 2000 - with 9-11 - we'd probably would still be at war today.)

October, 1998 UNSCOM report shows Iraq has weaponized VX agent despite Iraqi denials.

September 11, 2001 terror attacks on World Trade Towers, US President Bush Declares a War on Terror, targeting Iraq as a major player in an "Axis of Evil." Evidence for Iraqi involvement in the attacks is sketchy, but includes a probable contact between hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraq official in Czechoslovakia, as well as evidence of defectors that prospective hijackers were trained at Salman Pak base.

September 14, 2001 Deputy secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz, says that it is "not just simply a matter of capturing people, [but] ending states who sponsor terrorism". Wolfowitz gained stature after the Iraqi attack on Kuwait, which he had correctly pointed out as a possibility in 1979. Speculation grows that Iraq may have had a hand in training the hijackers. James Woolsey, CIA director from 1993-95, speaks of the potential for a "very fruitful Marriage between Saddam and Bin Laden".

September 21, 2001 US officials tell the Washington Times that Saddam Hussein made contact with Bin Laden days before the attacks. Later, it is verified after repeated denials that hijacker Mohamed Atta met with Iraqi officials in Czechoslovakia. Iraqi defectors claim that hijackers were trained in a mockup Boeing 707 at the Salman Pak base in Iraq.

These are just excerpts from a time line. They speak for themselves.

The Bush administration's overall rationale for the invasion of Iraq was presented in detail, with accompanying visual graphic slides, by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the U.N. Security Council on February 5, 2003; in summary, he stated:

“We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction; he's determined to make more. Given Saddam Hussein's history of aggression...given what we know of his terrorist associations and given his determination to exact revenge on those who oppose him, should we take the risk that he will not some day use these weapons at a time and the place and in the manner of his choosing at a time when the world is in a much weaker position to respond? The United States will not and cannot run that risk to the American people. Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in a post-September 11th world."

And here's what the Democrats had to say:

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." - President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." - President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

"We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction." - Madeline Albright, Feb 1, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"[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. - (D) Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, others, Oct. 9, 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

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies." - Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

"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 mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e 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

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." - Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..." - Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." - Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

"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

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." - Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

I point to these famous, perhaps infamous, quotes from these fine leaders of America to again make my point that we'd still be at war today even if we had a Democrat in the White House. After 9-11 no one, and I do mean no one, would be willing to take the chance that the United States could take a nuclear or biological hit that had Iraqi origins. Too many lives were and are at stake.

As for The Democrats voting to stop funding the war - - that's a pipe dream. The democrats may be a yellow cowardly bunch, but NONE of them are willing to commit political suicide. They like being professional politicians - it's what they do best.

Joshua James said...

Colin Powell also stated, at a later time, that the biggest regret of his life was his testimony before the UN regarding WMD's.

A very interesting timeline, however it doesn't stand as proof that we were under imminent threat of an attack of WND's from Iraq. It's a bunch of quote and unsubstantiated meetings, right?

I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm simply saying a timeline is not proof, nor are comments from this corrupt administration (recall my points about Bush lying about breaking federal law?) or wacky democrats not interested in doing their homework. That's all . . . from my view, it seems a bit of conjecture . . . my suggestion is that, if you view this as absolute proof that Iraq had WMD's, you should take it to the media, specifically those major networks with a conservative bias, i.e. Fox and ABC, etc.

I actually would welcome proof, as that it would mean the men and woman dying in Iraq are not there because of false or mistaken pretenses. It would still mean that they are in harm's way due to mismanagement of this war, but that's another issue entirely.

There is nothing this President or the GOP would love more than proof, real proof, Iraq had WMD.

You're familiar with Occam's razor, right?

If Iraq had WMD and were capable of launching an attack within 20 minutes, as this country and Congress was told, why weren't they launched?

If Hussein was the terrible dictator he was and he knew it was all over, why not let us have it?

It doesn't make sense he wouldn't . . . especially since he and his sons died as a result.

I believe he would have. He didn't because he couldn't, ergo he didn't have WMD's.

And we both know there were plenty of folks stating Iraq didn't, hence the Freedom Fries debacle and the Plame debacle, to name a few. Oh, the UN had issues with us on this as well, right?

Basically I'm saying, he didn't have them because we didn't find them, and even we had found them, we haven't proven we were under imminent threat of attack with them . . . we haven't proven Iraq was sending a mushroom cloud our way.

So you can laugh all you wish, I don't mind. Certainly there are generals and intellegence officers now retired and coming out in the media and generally saying the same thing, so maybe your issue isn't with us here at Barry's place, but with Colin Powell for regretting his role in this, with Richard Clarke for what he's said, or Wesley Clark or any number of people who disagree with you.

For me, as terrible as this is, still pales with the President breaking federal law by violating the Fourth Amendment and lying about it . . . All our elected officials, and men and women in uniform, take and oath to serve and protect our country and its constitution . . . it seems that this should outrage you much more than the fact some people take issue with a war in which, in the words of our own president, "mistakes have been made."

Without our constitution, we have no democracy to bring to anyone else. No one should be above it. No one.

By the way, I don't know that it matters, but I am not a democrat.

Respectfully, that's my opinion.

Oblivious to oblivion said...

I am surprised that you can so easily dismiss historical fact. I guess if it doesn’t fit your views it can simply be ignored or denied? Swept away like so many annoying little dust bunnies? With this in mind, I suppose that there is little fact or reason that I can present to you that would sway or change your opinion – and so I wonder – why bother? Why bother, indeed.

My argument to you is NOT whether or not there were WMDs in Iraq’s past, present, or future - my argument is that WE COULD NOT AFFORD TO TAKE THAT CHANCE AS TO WHETHER HE DID OR DIDN'T. And although you may like to think that, all things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one (which, in this case, Saddam had WMDs and needed to be taken care of) and/or that we should not assert that for which we do not have some tangible proof – means little if the proof comes at the cost of enormous loss of life from a single tactical nuke or chemical warhead. I cannot prove that he did have those intentions and you cannot prove that he did not.

And so, frankly, I could care less about the WMD issue. It's moot.

As for people who "...take an oath to serve and protect our country and its constitution..." I am one of those people. I served through Desert Shield/Storm, through Haiti, and Bosnia – and I continue to work for government to this very day. Both my children have also taken that oath to serve and protect our country and its constitution, and my daughter is still over there in Iraq. (her latest work).

So I appreciate your support of our troops. Have you, yourself taken that oath to serve and protect your country and its constitution?

What is that old saying? “Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach” – or in this case – preach?

Your comments about Presidential 4th Amendment abuses – I am assuming you are making reference to the PATRIOT ACT. Well, I work law enforcement and if it weren't for the PATRIOT ACT we'd be up to our eyeballs in Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas terrorist cells right now. The PATRIOT ACT is something that keeps America safe, whether you like it or not – it works and I can point to a whole slew of instances where it has worked very well indeed. I would like to know - - have you ever had your 4th Amendment rights violated? Do you know anyone - family, friend, work associate, or acquaintance - who have had their 4th Amendment rights violated? If so, please elaborate. I, personally, have never had my rights violated – nor do I know anyone who has. Does anybody who posts here at the “Heart of The Matter” know of anyone who has had their 4th Amendment Rights violated? In fact, I haven’t heard of anyone in the news – newsprint, TV, or radio – who have had their 4th Amendment Rights violated. I would think that would be a very big deal, wouldn't it? If you have - I would be very interested to know - Please enlighten me.

Joshua James said...

"And so, frankly, I could care less about the WMD issue. It's moot."

So why are you arguing with me?

"My argument to you is NOT whether or not there were WMDs in Iraq’s past, present, or future - my argument is that WE COULD NOT AFFORD TO TAKE THAT CHANCE AS TO WHETHER HE DID OR DIDN'T. "

That wasn't the case presented to the American people, nor was it the reason so many serve and died. We invaded Iraq because we were told there was an imminent threat of an attack with WMD's. That's it. Now could we afford to let him have them? That's a different argument . . . I'd say no, we can't, but it is moot, because WE DIDN'T INVADE TO KEEP HIM FROM GETTING WMD'S, WE INVADED BECAUSE WE WERE TOLD WE WOULD BE ATTACKED WITH WMD's.

Very important point. In other words, a lie. Now the fact that you believe Iraq needed to be invaded and the reasons for doing so matter little is fine, for you personally (ends justify the means guy, right) however it bothers me on an ethical level, and as I noted bothers Powell and a host of other solidiers.

It's a lie and unethical. In the words of Pat Tilman, Iraq is a "Fucking illegal war" and unfortunately, he's not here to debate you on this.

The patriot act didn't give the President the right to wiretap his own citizens WITHOUT A WARRANT, which is why he lied about it, twice, right?

Listen, with all due respect, the man LIED about tapping without a warrant, and it's not that FISA wasn't sympethic to finding terrorists, you could get a retroactive warrant. He broke the law and even more important than that, he broke the trust of the American people.

That is evidently not important to you, but I believe in democracy and it's important to me and a host of other people in uniform and many who are not.

"So I appreciate your support of our troops. Have you, yourself taken that oath to serve and protect your country and its constitution?

What is that old saying? “Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach” – or in this case – preach?"

Well, this seems to be a provacative personal attack. You imply that, if I haven't worn a uniform than I have no right to express myself about war, about our government and about our policies, this despite the fact that there are plenty of people who have worn a uniform and make the same criticisms I do, despite the fact that my understanding is that soldiers risks their lives to protect OUR freedom to speak out.

And part of that deal is, the citzenry of this country speaks out when leaders behave fraudulently and put soldiers in harm's way for reasons other than our in our country's best interests.

And it seems to me, you've been doing a whole lot of preaching here yourself.

If it's that kind of discussion you want, there are many men and women in uniform who would disagree and take issue with what you've said (a friend of mine, who served in the first Gulf war, often said "Army Intelligence is a contradiction in terms" with this really cool drawl) and if your requirement to discuss this with any of us here is that we must have also worn a uniform, then you're right, we'll have nothing to talk about . . . and there are plenty who have who would take issue with your words and your personal attacks.

You're welcome to debate it with them, if you believe I am not worthy . . . I was interested in exchanging ideas with you since you do have a different background than most, but I have no ego about it . . . if in your mind, I'm not qualified to debate you, that's cool . . . hash it out with Barry or whomever.

But I will note your contradictions. You took issue with me when I said that Iraq didn't have WMD's, listed a bunch of quotes and a timeline as evidence Iraq did have WMD's, then later on say it's moot, you don't care that Iraq didn't have WMD'S then or now, we just couldn't take the chance he might get them . . .

North Korea, run by a madman dictator, has WMD's, and we're not invading them, right?

Well, we seem to be going in circles . . . I'm open to hearing solid evidence but mostly it seems you haven't offered it up . . . I'd love facts, as I've said, I wish we had found proof that we were under attack from WMD's because then those who have risked their lives and those who died, did so for the reason they were told when we went in.

But I see no facts, nor proof, and that's too bad, really. I take no joy that our administration has lied and misled this country, and I think many others, many in uniform and many not, feel the same.

PBI said...


Your "Now THAT is funny" comment has nothing whatsoever to do with my own comments, so I'm not sure why you quoted me.

The "false narrative" I described is focused on the prevailing belief that somehow Congress is incapable of stopping the war, not whether there was widespread belief in misinformation leading up to the invasion of Iraq. To address that point briefly, however, it hardly matters anyway; doggedly pursuing the same course of action in the face of new data that contravenes that action is, to my mind, vastly more laudable than doggedly chasing a policy the underlying assumptions for which have been revealed to be faulty. The first is realism; the second is zealotry.

On the topic at hand, moreover, the crediblity of your claim that you "prefer to follow the facts, not the opinions of talking heads and/or thr [sic] left wing political propaganda machine" is diminished by the enthusiasm with which you seem to push consistently a far right agenda that is out of step with the majority of Americans, whether it is germaine to the conversation or - as in the case with my comment - it is not.

Given that the vast majority of this country's citizens want a change in Iraq policy, I'm not sure how you equate ending the war and the U.S. occupation of Iraq with political suicide. In the most basic terms, the numbers simply don't support that conclusion, and said conclusion is also part of the "false narrative" that I referenced previously. I would think that would be patently obvious if you were truly dealing in facts rather than propaganda.

Sensen No Sen

PBI said...


Re: Your last several comments - Well said on all counts!

Sensen No Sen

Joshua James said...

Thanks Paul, I appreciate that . . .

Oblivious to oblivion said...

"The trouble with most folks ain't so much their ignorance as knowing so many things that ain't so." - Josh Billing

Joshua James said...

Hmm, is that what you'd say to these 20 > Generals opposing Iraq war breaking with military tradition?

Really, I find it ingenius that you accuse others of ignorance and are outraged that some of us, as citizens, have an ethical problem with a chronically dishonest and imcompetent Commander-In-Chief . . . He has lied and perjured himself before those who elected him, that much is not only obvious to a democratic majority of people in this country, it's obvious to many in uniform . . . that it doesn't bother you that he's a dishonest incompetent liar is your right . . . but to accuse us of ignorance for taking issue with Bush's many failings fallacy above and beyond.

Beyond the lying, you wouldn't be having nearly the public relations problem you currently have with Iraq war had it been organized competently, had the soldiers been given the proper equipment, had so many things been done right instead of wrong, shades of New Orleans . . .

Instead, Bush says "mistakes were made" while soldiers in harm's way have their tours extended and benefits cut.

Really sir, I find your outrage and accusations toward those who disagree with you SADLY MISPLACED.

And that's all I have to say on the matter.

Oblivious to oblivion said...

It must be a very heavy burden to be "right" all the time, huh?

The references cited below strongly suggest that:

1. WMD did indeed exist inside Iraq before the war.

2. The weapons inspectors were both fooled and bribed to ignore evidence.

3. Massive amounts of WMD were removed to known locations in Syria just prior to the war.

4. Massive numbers of Saddam's audio tapes and paper documents were collected and most remain unavailable and presumably un-translated.

5. U.S. officials refused to investigate a number of likely WMD sites.

6. The U.S. intelligence community, and other branches of this government, are stonewalling the issue. I urge you to review the references and decide for themselves.

Before America went to war to topple Saddam Hussein's regime it was widely believed that he possessed weapons of mass destruction. Today it is widely believed that there were no WMD in Iraq before the war. People of both political parties, the major media, and the intellectual community all appear in strong agreement on that point. Some even charge that the Bush Administration deliberately, and knowingly, misled the nation with false information as a pretext to justify going to war.

The Bush Administration is quietly acknowledging that they made a mistake, albeit not intentional. That admission seems to be the final confirmation that there were no WMD in Iraq. In police work when the accused confesses to making a mistake, it is then assumed that the accusation is true and people consider it to be ‘case closed'.

This widespread belief of no WMD in Iraq is seriously damaging our ability to deal with a growing nuclear threat from Iran. There are those who opposed our toppling mass murderer Saddam Hussein both in 1991 and again in 2003, even after he defied multiple U.N. resolutions and was generally believed to have WMD. Now the ‘peace at any price' crowd is exploiting the widespread belief of ‘no WMD' to undermine our war in Iraq. If we fail in Iraq it greatly weakens our ability to deal with Iran, which will become greatly emboldened and infinitely more dangerous as it eventually goes nuclear.

Opponents of military action to stop Iran claim that the mistake over Iraq means that we cannot trust any claim by the Bush Administration regarding Iran's growing nuclear threat. That logic may be faulty but it will further turn opinion against dealing with Iran, especially with those who are now sour on our war in Iraq - and that is currently a majority of Americans. The opponents of military action persistently argue for more ‘negotiations' as the only way to avoid a nuclear Iran even while Iran is clearly stalling for sufficient time to acquire the bomb.

It is therefore essential that the widespread belief of ‘no WMD in Iraq' be double-checked for accuracy. But how can average citizens, and other non-experts, really know the truth?

Unfortunately, too many people refuse to reconsider an issue once their minds are made up. Reconsideration is essential and there is a way to deal with this question, at least indirectly. That way is to list critical unanswered questions and then demand that the proponents of ‘no WMD in Iraq' come up with credible answers. Those who adamantly insist that there were no WMD have a duty to answer the following questions or else admit their assertions remain unproven and conceivably wrong.

Obvious Question

Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and other Democrats, all saw the same intelligence back when Clinton was President and George Tenet headed the CIA. They all claimed Iraq had WMD which threatened America. If there really were no WMD, why are they not held equally accountable for misleading the American people? Shouldn't they be required to reveal the basis for their assertions? George Bush retained Clinton's CIA chief who reportedly assured Bush that it was a "slam dunk" that Saddam Hussein had WMD. Other intelligence services including those of NATO and Israel also believed there were WMD. Why don't the critics attempt to discover the evidence for those conclusions?

What was Saddam Hussein hiding with his elaborate schemes to frustrate the U.N. arms inspectors? Why would Saddam needlessly provoke the U.N. and the U.S. into going to war against him if he had nothing to hide? Why haven't the critics answered this question?

Shortly before the war, it was reported that U.S. satellites spotted truck convoys moving from Iraq to Syria at night. One possible explanation is that Saddam had WMD and removed them before the war. Various reports claim that the Russians helped move convoys and planeloads of materials from Iraq into Syria to at least three heavily guarded locations, identified, at least two years ago, by and other news sources.

Inexplicably, there has been no effort to discover what was moved. If WMD were indeed removed in this manner, shouldn't we know it? If it turns out that WMD were removed then the war in Iraq becomes justified and the focus should then shift to Syria. If Saddam Hussein was not allowed to have WMD, why then is Syria, Iran's new ally, allowed to have possible WMD with no inspection? Is there unfinished business relative to Saddam's WMD? Is Syria now able to threaten Israel and U.S. forces in the region with chemical and biological weapons?

Where is Saddam's bio weapons expert known as Doctor Germ? What was her work? Saddam's chemical weapons expert known as "Chemical Ali" was recently sentenced to death. What was he doing prior to the war in 2003? Two of Saddam's sons-in law defected and testified about Saddam's WMD. They were spirited back by Saddam and then promptly killed. What did they reveal to U.S. authorities?

Libya's Colonel Khaddaffi gave up his WMD to the U.S. What weapons did the U.S. recover and ship back to America and who was working on these programs? Did Saddam Hussein sponsor the Libyan WMD program?

Early Reports

Seven months after the war began, an extensive report was published presenting a wealth of information on Iraqi WMD and containing 76 open source citations. It described how and what was hidden and how much of it was moved to Syria and Lebanon. It is ‘a must read'. The following paragraph is excerpted from that report.

"Now, it would be common to ask for the reason the Bush Administration has not revealed that WMDs are in Syria and/or Lebanon. According to Israeli intelligence sources, it is likely because exposure of that would lead to a domino effect where evidence would leak out that Iraq's programs had roles played by Egypt, Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia. [plus the French, Germans and Russians] Such leaks will enflame the region and especially Iraq, and make things much harder, resulting in a more bloody and costly war and diminishing likelihood that other countries would send forces in.[71] Additionally, people would be skeptic, saying it was a lie so that the war-mongering neo-cons were trying to justify a new conquest. The other side would put enormous pressure to bring the war to Syria-a war we are not yet ready to fight."
Iraqi General Georges Sada

In another intelligence revelation, ex Iraqi General Georges Sada recently published his book, Saddam's Secrets: How an Iraqi General Defied & Survived Saddam Hussein. In it he explains how, just prior to the war, Saddam moved his WMD to Syria, with Russian help. Go to and search for author Georges Sada. Click on picture of book, "Saddam's Secrets". Scroll down to read reviews.

Reviews from Publishers Weekly:

Reviewer 1: In General Sada's unique position, he was able to observe some of the worst of Saddam's behavior and trickery and confirms in this book not only the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but also the extraordinary lengths that Saddam went to hide these weapons....
Reviewer 2: The author tells how Saddam managed to trick the world into believing he did not have weapons of mass destruction. He goes into detail how Saddam managed to hide all evidence of WMD's and how he managed to move all of them out of Iraq under the noses of the United Nations weapons inspectors. ....
Reviewer 3: Of particular note are tapes of more than 3,000 hours of Saddam Hussein meeting with his war cabinet and millions of pages of documents that contain vital information about Saddam's WMD program and plans for transporting the WMDs out of the country in order to dupe the weapons inspectors.... American and world citizens must demand that these tapes and documents be immediately released, translated, and analyzed in their entirety.

Intelligence Summit Meeting

Hundreds of security experts of diverse backgrounds convened on February 17, 2006 to evaluate Iraqi WMD. The organizers announced that translations of 12 hours of tapes of Saddam Hussein's cabinet meetings would be revealed at the meeting. In it Saddam would be heard talking about Iraq's WMD, its nuclear programs and how he fooled UN inspectors. Ten days before the meeting attendees received messages from inside the administration pressuring them not to attend. "However, these new tapes would have forced the intelligence community to admit that they misled President George W. Bush to state that Iraq had no WMD. Such admission, apparently, was something the intelligence community wanted to avoid by attempting to discredit this conference."

Captured Tapes and Documents

"Who'll Let the Docs Out? Bush wants to release the Saddam files but his [national] intelligence chief [John Negroponte] stalls. By Stephen F. Hayes" 03/20/2006, Volume 011, Issue 25 of the


"On February 16, President George W. Bush assembled a small group of congressional Republicans for a briefing on Iraq." Representative Mike Pence said to President Bush, "There are 3,000 hours of Saddam tapes and millions of pages of other documents that we captured after the war. When will the American public get to see this information?"

"Bush replied that he wanted the documents released. He turned to [National Security Advisor Stephen] Hadley and asked for an update. Hadley explained that John Negroponte, Bush's Director of National Intelligence, "owns the documents" and that DNI lawyers were deciding how they might be handled.
"Bush told Hadley to expedite the release of the Iraq documents. "This stuff ought to be out. Put this stuff out." The president would reiterate this point before the meeting adjourned. .....

"Negroponte never got the message. Or he is choosing to ignore it. He has done nothing to expedite the exploitation of the documents. And he continues to block the growing congressional effort, led by [Rep. Pete] Hoekstra, [the Michigan Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee] to have the documents released.

‘I found Saddam's WMD bunkers' -
Posted By Melanie Phillips On April 19, 2007 @ 9:26 am In Daily Mail |

A devastating expose of criminal incompetence and cover-up by the U.S. government. The first two paragraphs follow.

"It's a fair bet that you have never heard of a guy called Dave Gaubatz. It's also a fair bet that you think the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has found absolutely nothing, nada, zilch; and that therefore there never were any WMD programmers in Saddam's Iraq to justify the war ostensibly waged to protect the world from Saddam's use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons."

"Dave Gaubatz, however, says you could not be more wrong. Saddam's WMD did exist. He should know because he found the sites where he is certain they were stored. And the reason you don't know about this is that the American administration failed to act on his information, ‘lost' his classified reports and is now doing everything it can to prevent disclosure of the terrible fact that, through its own incompetence, it allowed Saddam's WMD to end up in the hands of the very terrorist states against whom it is so controversially at war."

Media Spin

Another problem with objectively appraising the danger of WMD is exemplified in a recent article that originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times. The headline reads: "Scientist profits on fears of WMD. - Germ-weapons expert wins grants, federal contracts through his warnings of mass-casualty biological attack." Notice how the reader is immediately primed to be suspicious by the use of emotionally charged words such as "...profits on fears..."

The first paragraph reads,
"After helping to lead the Soviet Union's germ-weapons program, Ken Alibek defected to the United States and began warning about the threat of a mass-casualty biological attack. Alibek also has sought to profit from the fear of such weapons of mass destruction, landing federal contracts or grants totaling about $28 million."

The first sentence above acknowledges that Ken Alibeck had good reason to know about the Soviet Union's germ-weapons program and hence he has credibility. But then, as if to immediately undermine his credibility, there follows the insinuation that, ..." Alibek also has sought to profit from the fear ..." This implies a selfish, if not a sinister, motivation. And in support of this insinuation we are told that his company received government contracts or grants, as if that alone was evidence of wrongdoing.

If the LA Times has any proof of wrongdoing by Alibeck let them produce the evidence. Instead, this news implies an accusation without actually making a charge that could expose them to be prosecuted for libel. Honest reporting would require a clear separation between presenting hard facts and offering editorial opinion. Their blatant failure to observe journalistic ethics raises the question of an agenda on the part of the LA Times.

Too many people are imposing their biases and opinions on the WMD issue which makes it much harder to get the full truth and to defend against a future attack.

"The trouble with most folks ain't so much their ignorance as knowing so many things that ain't so." - Josh Billing

(Don't come to a gun fight with a BB gun)

Joshua James said...

"The references cited below strongly suggest that:

1. WMD did indeed exist inside Iraq before the war.

2. The weapons inspectors were both fooled and bribed to ignore evidence.

3. Massive amounts of WMD were removed to known locations in Syria just prior to the war.

4. Massive numbers of Saddam's audio tapes and paper documents were collected and most remain unavailable and presumably un-translated.

5. U.S. officials refused to investigate a number of likely WMD sites.

6. The U.S. intelligence community, and other branches of this government, are stonewalling the issue. I urge you to review the references and decide for themselves."

The references "suggest" but do not prove, right?

Certainly we can find a load of other things that suggest other alternatives (Rumsfield met with Hussein in the eighties, maybe this is payback for a bad falafel he was served!) some more realistic than others.

Just as I don't buy conspiracy stuff that's suggested on the left (like the wacky missile thing hitting the pentagon), why should I but it when it comes from the right?

We can suggest until the cows come home, but if I recall, you were the one more interested in facts than conjecture, correct?

"Before America went to war to topple Saddam Hussein's regime it was widely believed that he possessed weapons of mass destruction. "

As I mentioned earlier, it wasn't widely believed, not by the UN, not by many other countries (Freedom Fries, anyone) and not by certain members of the CIA who later got outed for their efforts, nor did the 500,000 people who marched in protest in NYC believe it . . . so this is an incorrect statement.

Many didn't believe it, and they were proven right, and now you're giving us a hard time for it. Because we were right.

And it's honestly besides the point . . . as I've mentioned ad nausem, the reason we were given for war was that we were under a threat of imminent attack with WMD's. Not only was that reason wrong, not only have other people come forward to suggest there was plenty of information out there that we knew there was no such threat.

Occam's razor, right?

We didn't go to war to prevent him from getting WMD's. We went because he had them and they were aimed at us.

Wasn't the case.

They. Weren't. There.

Bad for Saddam, cause he got strung up. Bad for Bush. Bad for everyone.

Because we illegally invaded a country, in the words of Pat Tilman, and lost lives protecting our country from a threat that didn't exist.

Somebody either made a HUGE mistake or a HUGE lie or both.

Either way, given the loss of life, it's ethically unacceptable to me and to many others . . . and add to that Bush's many, many false claims and the outright LIE he as told regarding wiretapping . . . it's terrible.

So we're running around in circles, you and I.

I'd love it if you could find proof, I would. I don't believe there is any, simply because if anyone needs it right now, it's BUSH . . . he needs it more than anyone, so does everyone involved . . . Occam's razor, it doesn't exist . . . thinktanks spend hours and hours coming up with false narratives, as Paul said, to justify what's been done but at the end of the day, we invaded a country to prevent a threat that didn't exist, that there is no direct evidence did exist as an imminent threat, and a whole lot of people died as a result.

I find that appalling, myself. It's fine you don't, I accept that.

Again, maybe your issue with with Colin Powel, or Richard Clarke or those 20 generals who've had enough of the incompetence of this administration.


"(Don't come to a gun fight with a BB gun)"

Seems again to be aimed at a different sort of discourse . . .

I prefer not to fight, if at all possible, and when pressed I'd choose hand-to-hand . . . but I wasn't aware that you and I were fighting here.

We're definitely not coming to an accord here, it seems, and go in the same circles, so I will walk away and you can take comfort in having the last word and solace in the knowledge you "won" whatever it is you thought we were "fighting" over.

I don't have an ego about a comment-blog discussion and I feel confident the citizens of this country, liberal and conservative alike, are now coming around to the truth of this ethically challenged administration.

So I walk. You won. Enjoy.

Barry, thanks for hosting, I'll read with interest your upcoming posts.

Oblivious to oblivion said...

Yeah!! I WON!!!

Do I get a prize?

You know what your problem is Josh, you don't bother to read, you don't bother to listen, you've already made up your mind. Any facts that I have to throw at you just bounce of your Teflon coated armor. Any proof that I could provide you would deem unacceptable. I can only show you stuff that is open source material. Most of which comes off as conjecture at best. But if I could show you the high side stuff, the stuff that gets kicked around through the Intel Community (17 agencies, mind you) you would have a completely different mindset. I assure you.

BUT - You only believe what you want to believe - and we're running around in circles because neither one of us is willing to give in. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am right and you are wrong - just as you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are right and I am wrong.

I simply refuse to listen to you because of your condescending and arrogant tone. You refuse to listen to me because you've labeled me a conservative war-mongering right wing nut.

and so it goes....

I also thank Barry for tolerating me once again. What was it you said? "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it..."

at any other blog populated by the "left" I would have been tasered and dragged away....

Anonymous said...

Regime Change, Circa 1953

An American Coup and
the Roots of Middle East Terror.
By Stephen Kinzer.
Illustrated. 258 pp. Hoboken, N.J.:
John Wiley & Sons. $24.95.

"ON Aug. 15, 1953, a group of anxious C.I.A. officers huddled in a safe house in Tehran, sloshing down vodka, singing Broadway songs and waiting to hear whether they'd made history. Their favorite tune, ''Luck Be a Lady Tonight,'' became the unofficial anthem of Operation Ajax -- the American plot to oust Iran's nationalist prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, and place the country firmly in the authoritarian hands of Mohammed Reza Shah."

"The coup succeeded four tense days later, only after a C.I.A.-incited mob (led by a giant thug known memorably as Shaban the Brainless) swept Mossadegh aside."

"In 1951, to London's fury, Mossadegh led a successful campaign to nationalize the oil company, drove the British to close their vital oil refinery at Abadan and became prime minister. The British began drafting invasion plans, but Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson warned them that gunboat diplomacy would hurt the West in its struggle with Moscow.

Truman and Acheson's successors, alas, were less restrained. Third-world nationalists like Mossadegh made Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, as one scholar has put it, ''see red'' -- as Communist wolves in neutralist sheep's clothing. Eager to roll back Communism rather than contain it, enthralled with covert action and egged on by Winston Churchill, they soon concluded that Mossadegh had to go."

"Kinzer shrewdly points out that 1953 helps explain (if not excuse) the Islamist revolutionaries' baffling decision to take American hostages in 1979; the hostage-takers feared that the C.I.A. might save the shah yet again and, in part, seized prisoners as insurance."

"John F. Kennedy, who did push Iran to liberalize, proved an honorable exception. In April 1962, he told a somewhat baffled shah to learn from the example of Franklin Roosevelt, who ''was still regarded almost as a god in places like West Virginia'' for siding with the common citizen.

The shah didn't get it. Nor did Eisenhower, who, in a March 1953 National Security Council meeting, wondered why we can't "get some of the people in these downtrodden countries to like us instead of hating us.""

Oblivious to oblivion said...

Stephen Kinzer's book has impressed alot of uninformed people in Iran, the US and elsewhere. In reality it's a journalistic work unworthy of the name of the New York Times where the author used to be a staff writer. I have rarely seen a work riddled with so many factual errors and misstatements. It's poorly sourced and unabashedly prejudiced. Instead of basing the trust of his narrative on to the post- facto fantasizing and bravado of the likes of Kim Roosevelt, the author could have drawn upon the declassified American archives both the State Department (Foreign Relations of the United States 1952-1954 Vol.X), presidential papers (Truman Library) and the CIA's own internal account of August 1953 in Iran. Complex stories like the overthrow of Mossadeq in August 1953 should not be allowed to be reduced to bumper-sticker slogans of the kind we all are familiar with: "CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Mossadeq and put the Shah on the throne". This however is Kinzer's point of departure on which he unscrupulously expounds using shabby and highly biased sources. "All the Shah's Men" is in effect the tale of an American Rambo (Kim Roosevelt) who goes to Tehran on assignment from the CIA and SIS. After his initial coup plan (which was genuinely drawn up by CIA/SIS) fails on the night of August 15-16,the Rambo decides on his own to carry on and overthrow the Government of Mossadeq nevertheless. He succeeds to do so within 48 hours namely by August 19. These sort of stories are fit for print, maybe - but only in the National Enguirer - which is, essentially, what the New York Times has become.

I also wonder what this book has ANYTHING to do with "Enduring Success" in Iraq, why we are in Iraq, and what we should do about Iraq.

Oh, and here's something to chew on: BAGHDAD - Deaths among American forces and Iraqi civilians fell dramatically last month to their lowest levels in more than a year, according to figures compiled by the U.S. military, the Iraqi government and The Associated Press.

The decline signaled a U.S. success in bringing down violence in Baghdad and surrounding regions since Washington completed its infusion of 30,000 more troops on June 15.

A total of 64 American forces died in September — the lowest monthly toll since July 2006.

The decline in Iraqi civilian deaths was even more dramatic, falling from 1,975 in August to at least 988 last month, a decline of 50 percent, according to an AP tally. The civilian death toll has not been so low since June 2006, when 847 Iraqis died.

The AP count includes civilians, government officials and police and security forces, and is considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual number is likely higher, as many killings go unreported.

Military success? The "Surge" is working?? I seriously doubt that any of you would admit to this.

Barry Eisler said...

Marcus, I wonder if the us/them, me/you worldview you consistently articulate provides a properly distortion-free prism through which to understand events. Here, it seems to be blinding you to other reasons people might disagree with your assessment of "military success" and that "the surge is working." For example, the sectarian separation brought about by ongoing ethnic cleansing might be a significant factor in any reduction in violence. And although an increased troop presence is likely to tamp down violence where and when the troops are deployed, we might expect a new surge in violence as the troops depart -- as they are scheduled, of necessity rather than policy, to do. Moreover, the White House's stated objective for the surge was to create a "breathing space" for Iraq's factions to reconcile. By this standard -- the White House's own -- the surge is a failure. Finally, even if we define down "success" in Iraq to a return in violence to the already unacceptably high levels of 2006, there are other, more significant factors in play that suggest the overall current watered-down objective of an Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself remains a chimera -- for example, the fact that over two million Iraqis are now displaced within Iraq, and over two million more, most of them the educated middle class with the most stake in stability, have fled abroad.

But these are only possibilities. It could just be, as you suggest, that "they" won't admit you're right.