We Are Forgetting

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The Petraeus hearings were a disgrace. The man was called a liar and a puppet before he ever uttered a word. Can this country have a political discourse under such conditions? When the moveOn.org message is indiscernible from the Senators' in the committee hearing room, there is a problem in our government. It means a foreign-born Hungarian socialist has hijacked the Democrat Party, for pennies on the dollar.

Why have the committee meet under such poisonous conditions? Aside from the political theater, was there any point to the exercise? We as a Nation still need to listen to each other. The only alternative is violence. To assume your political adversary is always lying is to end dialog.

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When Reid proclaimed the war lost last April, the Democrat party announced publicly its investment in losing the war in Iraq in order to win the election in 2008 here in the US. It is this investment that set the stage for the Petraeus Report fiasco. With politics at home trumping the war abroad, do we really remember those who were killed on 9/11? Is this honoring their memory?

UPDATE:
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OK boys, girls and Legionaries (Tom, Realist et al). Petraeus actually did provide a report. Instead of rehashing what we have been chewing on for over a year now, lets get a copy of it, I will open a new thread if needed. There is plenty of passion here, but lets put some fresher meat on the table than "should we go to war in Iraq". Your vote in a comment would be appreciated. BTW, using the NIE and other sources is most definitely fair game etc. But the TOPIC is the current situation and Petraeus' veracity.

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56 Comments

RWN said:

Jacob - I don't know how many times the liberals have to prove they can't be trusted with power. It's their favorite debating tactic, they can't win on the merits of the facts, so attack anyone and everyone who disagrees with them. Proof positive why the GOP has held the White House for 19 of the last 27 years.

Anonymous said:

Petraeus is a liar and a puppet, they are correct.

9/11 had nothing to do with this war and we all know it.

RWN, the liberals can't be trusted with power? that is a joke. The radical right created this war along with a huge mess here and around the globe. They sent us back years. Now as usual, the Dems have to clean up the mess, just like they had to do when Regan left office.

The right wing radical extremists are so delusional, lucky for this country popular US opinion is realizing it, let’s hope it’s not too late.

zimzo said:

Again, Jacob, what connection does the War in Iraq have with 9/11? Who impugned the patriotism of those who disagreed with the invasion of Iraq and how the war has been conducted? Why is it OK for you to impugn the patriotism of the DemocratIC party by falsely accusing them of having an "investment in losing the war in Iraq in order to win the election in 2008 here in the US"?

When your side slanders its opponents and impugns their patriotism apparently that's OK. When you invoke 9/11 to score partisan political points apparently that's OK.

Mark said:

President Bush cherry-picked intelligence to make his initial case for war over four years ago. Since then he has stifled dissent and distorted the truth to sell his failing strategy to the rest of us.
The Republicans accuse Democrats of setting arbitrary dates for withdrawal -- but it's the Republicans who set arbitrary dates for delay.

10 feet tall and bulletproof said:

"investment in losing the war in Iraq in order to win the election in 2008 here in the US"?

Wow....isn't that what I've seen plastered all over Hillary's appearances?
She's an obvious flip flop, ala Kerry...
Whatever the latest polls tell her is popular sentiment.
I'm kinda rooting for her to get the nomination from the moonbats. Almost any Republican in the race could win based solely on the fact that he ain't Hillary.
Clean up after Reagan?? That's just too funny to even grace with a proper retort. You've shown that you are INDEED a puppet for lunacy, and capable of no independent thought. I'll add that IF that was indeed an independent thought, you lack the process for rational ones and should probably go back to parroting these from someone who is as looney as you. That way you can always blame the actual stupidity on them.

Abe said:

Ah the radical republicans, they put people down in order to try and pull themselves up.

It’s so sad to see them grasping at straws now…so sad.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Jacob writes:

"We as a Nation still need to listen to each other. The only alternative is violence. To assume your political adversary is always lying is to end dialog."

and then IMMEDIATELY says that the Democratic Party has an investment in losing the war in order to win the White House. Isn't that sort of mischaracterization of your political rival's intention as detrimental as assuming your rival is always lying? Might want to start with practicing what you preach, Jacob.


ACTivist said:

Jacob,
There are those who know how to utilize the military and then there are those that fear the military. The Clintons despised the military because they feared them, and with good reason. You can't just keep beating the dog until you think he'll listen. The dog is going to break his bonds and bite you before that happens. You are very much on the right track!

jacob said:

zimzo,
I will be happy to answer this question; I have in the past. Will you at least then acknowledge the answer, for a change? Attack if you will, but can we at least agree that I have answered and move on?

Jack said:

"President Bush cherry-picked intelligence to make his initial case for war over four years ago." --Mark

The White House did not provide the intel to Congress. Congress got that independently. Did Hillary "cherry-pick" the intel? No, she couldn't be bothered to even READ it before she voted to send our soldiers to war! And this is your front-runner?

jacob said:

Eric the 1/2 wit,
Since you do not know the difference between not wanting to communicate and observing behavior I will explain it to you.

Pay attention...

Reid made his "the war is lost" statement in April. Reid then attacked the general BEFORE the general could deliver the message. This is cutting of dialog.

Had Reid heard the general out, and in the process of asking questions uncovered falsehood or contradictions, then he would be justified in making his statement. Sen. Biden actually did try to do just that.

What I above did was observe Reid and the other democrat Senators from april to now. I then offered my observation, with their behavior at the committee as the final basis for my conclusion. A conslusion I am not alone in. This conclusion is not cutting off dialog, but furthering it.

What Reid did was proclaim the messeger false before the guy had said a word. That is cutting off dialog. Dialog is not the exchange of compliments or insults. It is the give and take of questions, answers and observations.

The lesson is now over, please go grow up.

ACTivist said:

Troll,
The Democrats and their bosses (Reid and Pelosi) are definately wanting to bring our troops home yesterday which, in fact, would LOSE the war in Iraq. This in turn would help them garner votes so as to "win" the White House. THAT is the intention. They are politicians, NOT civil servants. Remember, they don't care what anyone thinks is best; they already have the answers!

Does your mouth taste like sock?

Jack said:

"Why is it OK for you to impugn the patriotism of the DemocratIC party by falsely accusing them of having an 'investment in losing the war in Iraq in order to win the election in 2008 here in the US'?"

Simple -- they, and you, have heaped all of the blame for everything in Iraq on Bush and the Republicans. Thus, if we WIN in Iraq, the credit will go to Bush and the Republicans, hurting the socialist candidates in 2008.

RWN said:

Anonymous - Al Qaeda created this war. A threat existed in Iraq, and it was removed from power, now Al Qaeda is in Iraq, so we must fight them there. You left wingers were preaching peace the day after 9/11, yet these insane islamo-fascists have been waging war against us for years. Al Qaeda wants you and me dead, it wants America harmed, it would love to drop a dirty bomb on Washington, DC or any major city in America. We can't let these thugs roam the world plotting, planning and attacking America. They must be defeated.

Tom said:

The tactic of leading people into a war…that doesn’t make any sense by telling them they are under attack, and if they raise any objection, they’re unpatriotic is a very old tactic. And it doesn’t intimidate me.

Jack said:

Are you trying to say that Al Qaeda did not attack us? That they did NOT bomb the WTC _twice_? That they did NOT attack the U.S.S. Cole? That they did NOT attack the Pentagon? That they are NOT planning more attacks?

Tom said:

sorry for the confusion, wrong war...I was speaking of Iraq.

stay puft said:

you knew that, Jack

Sanity said:

You repubs keep talking about Reid and Pelosi "losing" the war. Can you define what "winning" would be? Then we can decide whether there's any chance we can win. If there's no chance we can "win", and you don't want to "lose", the only alternative is to just keep fighting forever.

That's what you want! Government by fear! If you say, "well we have to keep fighting because there will still be terrorists." Well, guess what, there will ALWAYS be terrorists. So should we just go in and take over every country with a bad leader, let the terrorists in, and then say, "well, see there's terrorists here, so we have to stay forever!"

You repubs are crazy. At the cost of more American lives than in 9/11 (not to mention uncounted Iraqi lives) we've managed to turn a bottled-up imperialist country (who was actually our friend until 1991) into a hotbed of terrorists that hate our guts.

Maybe we can do that with more countries! With the vaunted Republican leadership!! What do you think?!?!

Jack said:

Actually, puffalump, I did not. Tom spoke of attacks, and we were attacked by Al Qaeda.

As for Iraq, we know that he had WMD, having used them both on the Kurds and the Iranians. We know that, having launched a satellite, he had long-range missile capability. MI5 still stands by its assertion that Hussein was trying to get uranium. EVERY intelligence agency in the world thought Hussein had WMD. He had six months to move it. We have satellite images of convoys going to Syria in the weeks before the war. Hussein was paying the families of Hamas and Hezbolla suicide bombers. He had threatened our ally Israel, and he had threatened us and Europe.

BJ, Hillary, Kerry, and Kennedy all agreed that he needed to be removed from power. Did you have access to the classified intelligence reports that they had?

So the question remains, after we captured Hussein, should we have remained in Iraq? It was the opinion of our leaders that leaving Iraq in chaos would allow the terrorists to move in and set up another Taliban-like government. So we stayed to fight the terrorists there.

inSanity asks a good, fair question: "Can you define what "winning" would be?"

My definition of "won" would be seeing a stable government that is internally and externally secure. I will admit that these are not hard-and-fast definitions. Italy is a "stable" democracy even though it changes governments almost as often as zimzo changes his underwear. It is stable in the sense that the government is overturned by elections, not coups. That mirrors "internally secure." By "externally secure," I mean that Iran will not be able to invade the minute we leave, nor will terrorists from outside be a threat.

"Well, guess what, there will ALWAYS be terrorists."

Really? Where are the French anarchists of the early 1900's? Where is the IRA? Where are the Basque separatists? None of those groups got their demands, but they are gone.

What good is comparing 9/11 and Iraq War death rates? Do you compare the death rates of Pearl Harbor and WWII? How many Americans did the Germans kill before we went to war with Germany, in either WWI or WWII? Do you compare the losses at Fort Sumter with the Union casualties in the Civil War? Do you compare the death toll of the Gulf of Tonkin incident with that of the Vietnam war?

realist said:

President Bush asserts that U.S. military action against Iraq was justified because Saddam Hussein was in material breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441. But even if Iraq was in violation of a UN resolution, the U.S. military does not exist to enforce UN mandates. It exists to defend the United States: its territorial integrity and national sovereignty, the population, and the liberties that underlie the American way of life. So whether Iraq was in violation of Resolution 1441 is irrelevant. The real question is whether Iraq represented a direct and imminent threat to the United States that could not otherwise be deterred. If that was the case, then preemptive self-defense, like Israel's military action against Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq in the 1967 Six Day War, would have been warranted. And if Iraq was not a threat, especially in terms of aiding and abetting Al Qaeda, then the United States fought a needless war against a phantom menace.

realist said:

The war against Iraq was the wrong war because the enemy at the gates was, and continues to be, Al Qaeda. Not only was Iraq not a direct military threat to the United States (even if it possessed WMD, which was a fair assumption), but there is no good evidence to support the claim that Saddam Hussein was in league with Al Qaeda and would have given the group WMD to be used against the United States. In fact, all the evidence suggests the contrary. Hussein was a secular Muslim ruler, and bin Laden is a radical Muslim fundamentalist—their ideological views are hardly compatible.

Sanity said:

Jack, the point is that if had just stayed out of Iraq altogether, it would not now be a haven for Al Quaeda and we would have saved American lives. If we had taken even a fraction of the same resources and put them in Afghanistan, Bin Laden would be dead and Al Quaeda essentially destroyed. Instead, we've spent $$ and American blood to make the whole situation MUCH worse.

I also notice that you keep repeating yourself about the discredited crap about the WMD. I guess you didn't read much back then, since anyone with a magazine would have known that the jutification for going into Iraq was bullcrap. It's all come out, for instance, that the White House knew A YEAR before we invaded that the Uranium stuff was made up. You, like Cheney, seem to be repeating the lies so often you may even believe them!

I assume by "stable" government in Irag that you mean a democratically elected one? I assume that because before we invaded Iraq had "a stable government that is internally and externally secure". It was a bad government, but it was certainly secure. If you mean a democratically elected one, we'll have to wait a long, long time because there's no chance on God's green earth it will happen.

Looking at Iraq, it's history, people, culture, oil, and neighbors, there's no chance. We're totally screwed because we went in there. Again, this is the dumbest thing we've probably ever done. The long-term negative ramifications are simply staggering, and the sad part is that there is almost no potential upside. We're just hosed.

Jack said:

"The real question is whether Iraq represented a direct and imminent threat to the United States that could not otherwise be deterred. If that was the case, then preemptive self-defense, like Israel's military action against Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq in the 1967 Six Day War, would have been warranted. And if Iraq was not a threat, especially in terms of aiding and abetting Al Qaeda, then the United States fought a needless war against a phantom menace."

I agree with all of that. I also maintain that those with access to the Top Secret intel, which you do not have, believed that he was just such a threat. Those people include BJ, Hillary, Kerry, and Kennedy. Why is your uninformed opinion better than their informed ones?

Realist, I pose you the same question: Why is your uninformed opinion better than those who had access to the classified intel?

"Jack, the point is that if had just stayed out of Iraq altogether, it would not now be a haven for Al Quaeda and we would have saved American lives."

Agreed, except that it is a "haven" in which we are killing a lot of them. However, Hussein would still be funnelling money to Hamas and Hezbolla, he would have had time to acquire the uranium, and he would have had time more time to work from the al-Abid prototype. He had threatened us and Israel, our ally.

"I also notice that you keep repeating yourself about the discredited crap about the WMD."

MI6 still believes it. Do you have better intel than they do?

"I assume by 'stable' government in Irag (sic)that you mean a democratically elected one?"

I did specify "stable in the sense that the government is overturned by elections, not coups."

Yes, we may be hosed. But the information we had at the time indicated that we had to go in. No-one hoodwinked Congress. They had the same intel that the White House had. They got the same briefings. That many, such as Hillary, didn't care enough about the military they "loathe" to attend the briefings or read the reports cannot be blamed on Bush. The Democrats scream about how horrible the war is, but their front-runner is a woman who voted for the war without attending the briefings or reading the reports. That is inSanity.

Tom said:

Jack, I also notice that you keep repeating yourself about the discredited crap about BJ, Hillary, Kerry, and Kennedy.

realist said:

No-one hoodwinked Congress. They had the same intel that the White House had. They got the same briefings.

Not true, the Bush administration tailored the information given to Congress; therefore, they did not have all the facts the President did.

Tom said:

Ironically, President Bush provided his own indictment of the Iraq war when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September 2003: "No government should ignore the threat of terror, because to look the other way gives terrorists the chance to regroup and recruit and prepare." But that is exactly what the United States did by going to war against Iraq. To make matters even worse, the American taxpayer is stuck with the bill for the war and postwar reconstruction.

Jack said:

How is it discredited Tom? They said what they said and they voted how they voted.

Realist, the Bush administration did not give the data to congress, the intel agencies did that independently.

Jack said:

Tom, Hussein was sponsoring terrorism, specifically against Israel, our ally. He had terrorist training camps. He was a part of the War. Japan attacked us, not Germany. But Germany was part of the war, and was attacking our allies. We would have beaten Japan a lot sooner if we had not gone to war in Europe -- and Hitler would probably have developed nuclear weapons, jet bombers, the A4-SLBM and the A9 ICBM. Then where would we be?

Our debt was 120% of GDP after the war -- twice what it is now. Was it worth it? The American taxpayer was "stuck with the bill for the war and postwar reconstruction."

The question was asked what winning the Iraq war would look like.

My view is my own, not that of others, and certainly not that of the republican party.

Iraq stops being a nation, but is split into three states. One Sunni, one Shi'a, and one Kurd. The idea of combining the three is almost absurd, but historically that happened, so we tend to think it must continue.

Other points. While I don't think it was wise to invade Iraq, once it was decided, we should have done so with a single mind. Congress was brought into the picture, they were given the same intelligence, and came up with the same decision. Monday morning quarterbacking is pointless, unless it is just to point fingers.

I doubt seriously if the intelligence used was fabricated that supported going into Iraq. If it were, it would have been too easy to have it leak, and that would have caused a lot more trouble -- while politicians (repub. and dem.) are power hungry, they aren't total idiots. Conspiracy theories are almost always wrong, if for no other reason than it is too hard to keep secrets.

Jack said:

And of course, the U.N., Russia, France, and the U.K. had similar "fabricated intelligence."

Right.

Sanity said:

France? Yeah, France was just itchin' to help us in Iraq.

Brian, the point is that it is not Monday morning quarterbacking. All the facts were there to see and behold before the invasion. It DID leak. The majority of Congress didn't care. Certainly not everyone voted to support the president. There was a significant minority that didn't. The problem was not that we knew that the Iraq evidence was bogus, but that most in Congress thought that we would have an easy time invading and so didn't want to be on the "losing" end of the vote come November 2004 (or 2006).

Summary: The president is going in one way or the other. If I'm a Republican, I have to support the president in war, no choice. If I'm a Democrat, I don't want to run for re-election next year and have my opponent say I didn't support his successful foray into Iraq. Therefore, I have to vote with him as well.

The intelligence given to Congress was NOT the same as what the president had. The president knew much more about the credibility (extremely poor) of the informants which Congress was never presented with. In addition, some members of Congress had legal gag orders which prevented them from talking with anyone else about what they knew.

But, in any case, no way was Congress going to not support this "adventure". The people, if you remember, were "in a fightin' mood".

jacob said:

Insanity,
I was hoping to move on, but oh well.

you say (repeatedly)...
"The intelligence given to Congress was NOT the same as what the president had. The president knew much more about the credibility (extremely poor)"
Then why did Mossad, MI5, and the KGB think he had WMD? Can you answer that?

Sanity said:

I'll let you move on. I'm not sure what to say that hasn't already been said.

jacob said:

Insanity,
that is my point. zimzo, Marshmallow, and Jack and others have beaten this to death. Go look at the update above. Let me know if you are interested.

nice dodge on the question BTW, no one has answered yet.

Sanity said:

Ok, Jacob, I’ll take the bait.

(Pre-warning, I split this post into multiple parts so as not to trigger the SPAM filter. This is 1 of 6)

It doesn’t matter what those other intelligence agencies knew or didn’t know. What matters is that:
1. The reasons for invading Iraq are totally unrelated to 9/11
2. While we know that Iraq had WMD’s at one point, Iraq was not a threat to the U.S.

As I’ve said in other posts, Chency, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Libby were all part of the PNAC neo-con organization, formed officially in 1997, but having roots earlier in the 90’s. And as I also said, they tried to get Clinton to invade Iraq in 1998: www.iraqwatch.org/perspectives/rumsfeld-openletter.htm

While the reason in the letter points to suspicion of WMD’s, that wasn’t the real reason. The Neocon’s have a “Pax Americana” philosophy (see newamericancentury.org), and wanted the U.S. more directly involved in the Middle East. From their report: "Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." This quote is from 2000. See http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/100102_bush_advisors.html

So, well before 9/11, the major players in PNAC, who pretty much all ended up running the Bush Administration, wanted to move into Iraq. It had nothing to do with Iraq itself being a threat to the U.S., but pushing more U.S. influence.

Sanity said:

(2 of 6)

After 9/11, Cheney tried to use this as an excuse to invade Iraq, but there was no connection. Even Wolfowitz said that: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0917-07.htm And, actually, if you look back over the last six years it’s really only been Cheney (and apologists) that have asserted the connection.

The only other reason to invade Iraq would be to assert that there was imminent danger to the U.S. While there may have been chemical and biological weaponry, neither is very suitable for transporting across the ocean, bringing it into the U.S. and releasing it to cause mass causalities. It’s technically very difficult and pretty easy to trace back to the source. Also, Saddam hadn’t used any since 1988, even in the Gulf War, so there’s a good chance that even by 1991 his stockpiles had become unsuitable for use.

Saying that Saddam trucked his WMD’s into Syria is also ludicrous. Not only did Bush’s senior weapons advisor disagree: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/26/international/middleeast/26weapons.html?ex=1272168000&en=759ec4426ad2c84f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss but Iraq and Syria weren’t exactly buddies. It’s beyond comprehension that Saddam would send his WMD’s to Assad.

Sanity said:

(3 of 6)

So, the administration tried hyping nuclear weapons. Sure MI5 thinks that Saddam was trying to acquire nukes. He was! A lot of countries have tried to get nukes. Some have been successful. We haven’t invaded any of them (yet). The real question is whether Iraq was close to getting them. The administration was saying that they were (due the imminent “yellowcake” purchase), but even in early 2002, the administration knew this to be false. In fact, before the invasion, the IAEA admitted it publicly. http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/03/14/sprj.irq.documents/index.html

Sanity said:

(4 of 6)

The assertion that Congress wasn’t being played by the administration is also false: By early 2002, the Pentagon (remember, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz) were running intelligence and their “Office of Special Plans” was cooking up evidence as fast as they could find it to feed to Congress. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/05/12/030512fa_fact

Also notice in this report: http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/Iraq3FullText.pdf the influence Cheney had directly on the intelligence. It says, in part, "...the October 2002 NIE suggests…that the intelligence community began to be unduly influenced by policymakers’ views sometime in 2002. …the pressure appears to have been unusually intense. This is indicated by the Vice President’s repeated visits to CIA headquarters123 and demands by officials for access to the raw intelligence from which analysts were working.124 Also notable is the unusual speed with which the NIE was written and the high number of dissents in what is designed to be a consensus document."

Sanity said:

The foreign agencies sited had vested interests in us going into Iraq so their public assertions can’t be trusted. Israel is happy as a clam we took over Iraq and exaggerated findings to help us convince everyone else: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-12-04-israeli-iraq-threat_x.htm. As a matter of fact, Israel told us we wouldn’t be able to bring democracy to Iraq: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/22/148253. But are they taking advantage of the current situation? Absolutely!

Sanity said:

(6 of 6)

Russia’s ally is Iran. Without Iraq in the picture, Iran becomes the strongest Middle East power (outside of Israel). England is the country that formed Iraq so they feel some ownership there, and they also wanted a bigger foothold in the Middle East. http://www.poptel.org.uk/scgn/archive/articles/0307/page12a.htm Also note that France’s position isn’t so holy as they stood to lose income from skirting the blockade.

Lastly, lumping Saddam in with Al Qaeda just isn’t credible on its face. Until 1991, Saddam was our ally, a bulwark against Iran. Saddam had never done anything to promote an ideological agenda. He was just on a power trip. He invaded Iran (and lost), invaded Kuwait (and won, until we kicked him out), was ruthless with his internal political enemies (including gassing the Kurds because they wanted to be independent). Yes, he was a bad guy, but he had no interest in the things that Bin Laden had interest in. He wasn’t even particularly religious. In fact, he didn’t have much hatred for Shiites either. He hated Iran and he hated anyone in Iraq that might threaten him, but it was all a power game, not a religious one.

Conclusion: We’re in Iraq because the Neocons wanted us there ever since the early 90’s. They thought it would be an easy win for U.S. power, but they were wrong. We’re in a big mess now with no easy way out. And, in hindsight, it was a terrible idea. In foresight, it’s not surprising, given the climate at the time, that so many congressman voted “aye”. The default position is to support the president in war and they did. The whole bill was debated for far less time that in 1991 and there was much better justification then. We were reeling from 9/11 and spoon-fed questionable intelligence.

A better solution would have been to really crush in Afghanistan (we should have learned from Russia that it wouldn’t be so easy to make the Taliban disappear – Another U.S. ally.), and then wait until Saddam either (a) died or (b) did something else stupid, which he would have done!

For the record, I was telling everyone I knew in 2002 that it was a mistake to go in and that we wouldn’t find any WMD’s. I’m not saying that to say “I told you so” but just to reinforce that I’m not changing my position because it hasn’t gone so well.

stay Puft marshmallow Man said:

odd, I haven't heard a single person say that we should go into syria to get those hidden WMDs. We were so concerned with those WMDs when they were in Iraq, now we KNOW they're in Syria, probably being sold to hezbollah. where's the outrage? ...wtf?

Jack said:

"1. The reasons for invading Iraq are totally unrelated to 9/11"

Not entirely. We were fighting Islamic terrorists. Hussein was supporting such terrorists (although a different set).

"2. While we know that Iraq had WMD’s at one point, Iraq was not a threat to the U.S."

Hindsight is 20/20, huh? Your own Democrat leaders, BJ, Hillary, Kerry, and Kennedy, thought he was a threat. Just as you go to war with the army you have, you make decisions with the information you have. The question now is, what do we do about it? Do we pull out and hand the terrorists a safe haven and launching pad, with oil revenue?

So what if PNAC tried to get Clinton to invade earlier? Hussein was a threat then, too, and they wanted to prevent that threat from getting larger.

Hussein had launched a satellite. He had the capability to launch an ICBM with a WMD warhead. Our leaders, Democrat and Republican, decided that risk was too great to ignore.

WMD transfer to Syria: Your article states that this senior weapons advisor thought it unlikely -- after the fact -- that WMD had been transferred to Syria. If you find such transfers to Syria "beyond comprehension" and "ludicrous," can you comprehend that he DID send aircraft to Iran before Desert Storm? (You might at least comprehend that Iran refused to give them back, which is why Hussein might instead try Syria the next time.)

Yellowcake forged documents -- there is no indication in the article that they were known to be forgeries BEFORE the war. This article is March 14, 2003. Where did you get the idea that the IAEA declared these to be forgeries BEFORE the war?

Your New Yorker article gives no indication whatsoever that the "Office of Special Plans" was giving anything at all to Congress. I have been an intelligence analyst, and I can tell you that we briefed Congress directly, not through the White House.

Could you please explain how Israel is "taking advantage of the current situation"?

Conclusions:

"In foresight, it’s not surprising, given the climate at the time, that so many congressman voted 'aye'."

Especially when they were too lazy to read the reports. How can you support candidates that would send our soldiers to war without reading the reports on the threat?

"We were reeling from 9/11 and spoon-fed questionable intelligence."

WE may have been, but we didn't vote. Congress did, and Congress was not "spoon-fed questionable intelligence."

The Taliban was not a U.S. ally. The Taliban did not take power until 1996, seven years after the USSR was pushed out of Afghanistan. During the war, the Taliban was just one of many mujahideen groups.


Jack said:

"odd, I haven't heard a single person say that we should go into syria to get those hidden WMDs"

Where have you been, puffy:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,938326,00.html
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/121878http://maarten.typepad.com/brusselsblog/2006/02/can_bush_now_le.html

Sanity said:

Jack said: "Not entirely. We were fighting Islamic terrorists. Hussein was supporting such terrorists (although a different set)."

No doubt Iraq was anti-Israel. So what? He hated Al Qaeda. Yours in no logic.

Jack again: "Hussein had launched a satellite. He had the capability to launch an ICBM with a WMD warhead. Our leaders, Democrat and Republican, decided that risk was too great to ignore"

Are you crazy? There's no way Saddam had anything close to ICBM capability. All he had were a few dopey SCUD's. He did NOT launch a satellite. If he did, it's pretty sneaky since no one else in the world can confirm it. Again, you're missing the point that the reason we went to war with Iraq had nothing to do with WMD's. PNAC just wanted to take over the Middle East and Iraq was the easiest opportunity.

Jack: "Yellowcake forged documents -- there is no indication in the article that they were known to be forgeries BEFORE the war. This article is March 14, 2003. Where did you get the idea that the IAEA declared these to be forgeries BEFORE the war?"

Well, since the war started on March 20th, and March 14th is before the 20th, I logically concluded that this means "before the war". Maybe your world is made of tachyons or the calendar is different?

Once more: "Your New Yorker article gives no indication whatsoever that the "Office of Special Plans" was giving anything at all to Congress. I have been an intelligence analyst, and I can tell you that we briefed Congress directly, not through the White House."

I never said that the Office of Special Plans was even known to Congress. What I said was that they influenced the agencies' intelligence BEFORE it went to Congress. Sure you may have went directly to Congress, but what you gave them was, perhaps, 1/2 written by Cheney behind the scenes.

Almost last time: "The Taliban was not a U.S. ally"

Let's not quibble. Bottom line is that we seem to support these groups whenever it's in our short-term best interest and then we're suprised when they take advantage of that support. As a government we keep doing dumb things. Iran is the same way. I encourage you to review the 20th century history of Iran and then tell me we can't share some of the blame for a lot of this. Connect the dots.

Definitely last time: "The question now is, what do we do about it? Do we pull out and hand the terrorists a safe haven and launching pad, with oil revenue?"

Good question! I'm not sure I know the answer, but like any problem, we at should at least have:
(a) A definition of success, that is "How do we know when we've won?" "How do we know when the issue is resolved?"

(b) A plan to get from here to there.

One problem is that no one has come up with a reasonable definition of success. Saying something like "we will fight until all the terrorists are gone" is simply an open-ended excuse for a continuous, never-ending war mentality and I refuse to accept that. Again, we'll always have terrorists of some sort.

Or saying, "until Iraq has a stable democratically-elected government" is not much better, since the chance within this century is close to zilch.

Another problem is that there doesn't seem to be any plan. We've ran out of whatever pre-war planning we had, and we're just fighting at a standstill with no real objectives. This is just like Vietnam. In other wars, we've had specific objectives and plans to meet them. This is just a mess. Someone with some vision needs to take control and DO something.

And don't say anything like "the surge". Big deal. That's a tactical, local thing that, even if it succeeds, isn't helping the big picture in any way. If the administration was running a corporation, they would have been bankrupt long ago.

Sanity said:

Of course Israel would LOVE us to go into Syria. We stomp on all their opponents for 'em! Great if you can get away with it!

BTW: One of the links I sent mentions that now Israel has "hundreds" of agents in Iraq whipping up Kurdish allies against Syria. I would define that as "taking advantage".

ACTivist said:

Sanity?
You said "Summary: The president is going in one way or the other. If I'm a Republican, I have to support the president in war, no choice. If I'm a Democrat, I don't want to run for re-election next year and have my opponent say I didn't support his successful foray into Iraq. Therefore, I have to vote with him as well."

Here's the bottom line. Democrat or Republican; you need to make up your own mind and not let the party do it for you. They didn't! Those are politicians for you. Regardless the reason for your vote, when you go to war and it is not stated to be protracted, you stand behind your country and that decision. When you say that you will wait for a report of progress, you don't make up your mind BEFORE you hear the report. At that point your opinion doesn't count. That's a politician. General Petraeus was wronged by a bunch of politicians (who just so happened to be Democrats) and no one as of yet has got the guts to admit it and apologize. We don't need these politicians in EITHER party running this government. And we don't need Monday-morning quarterbacks who DON'T and AREN'T privy to classified information (that means keep it a secret or commit treason) rambling on about woulda-shoulda-coulda.

An apology needs to be made and some reprimands distributed. THAT is the issue!

stay puft said:

this is interesting, from CNN.com:

"Clinton did not read the 90-page, classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, according to "Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton."

For members of Congress to read the report, they had to go to a secure location on Capitol Hill. The Washington Post reported in 2004 that no more than six senators and a handful of House members were logged as reading the document."

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/05/28/clinton.iraq/index.html


put that in your pipe...
"How can you support candidates that would send our soldiers to war without reading the reports on the threat?" it looks like the people who did read the report were statistical outliers! : )
I wonder if george allen was one of those 6 -- you supported his candidacy.

Jack said:

Sanity -- my mistake on the IAEA. I misread the date.

Still, MI6 stands by their statement, and I trust you can understand why they cannot release their sources.

Now, I expect the same in return about the satellite launch: http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/tamouz.htm

"Sure you may have went directly to Congress, but what you gave them was, perhaps, 1/2 written by Cheney behind the scenes."

Actually, I was an analyst during the Bush I administration, and I can assure you that Dan Quayle never interfered! :-) I'm curious, though, how does a man with the job that's "not worth a bucket of warm spit" have such power?


"Bottom line is that we seem to support these groups whenever it's in our short-term best interest and then we're surprised when they take advantage of that support."

How did the Taliban take advantage of our support when we did not support them? They were not even a cohesive unit until well after the war with the Soviet Union.


"I encourage you to review the 20th century history of Iran and then tell me we can't share some of the blame for a lot of this."

We certainly do -- we should have made the country into a glass factory when they took our people hostage.


"[We] at should at least have... [a] definition of success, that is 'How do we know when we've won?' 'How do we know when the issue is resolved?'"

I answered this already. See my post of September 12, 2007 9:43 PM.

"[Saying], 'until Iraq has a stable democratically-elected government' is not much better, since the chance within this century is close to zilch."

They said that about Japan, too. Why the pessimism?

"In other wars, we've had specific objectives and plans to meet them."

Now you have hit upon a very good point. (Even a blind nut finds a squirrel occasionally.) Since there are no military targets, as there were in Germany and Japan, what plans can there be but a holding mission until the Iraqis can do the job themselves? Why would the Iraqis do the job when we are doing it for them?

To some extent, you may be correct in your comparison to Vietnam. The VC were supplied by China, but we could not attack China to stop their supplies. All we could do was kill them all -- and we came close to doing it, too! The difference is that external countries are supplying not just means, but men. So it will take a lot longer to kill them all.

"Someone with some vision needs to take control and DO something."

We are doing something. We are holding our ground and killing lots of terrorists. What would the Democrats do? Richardson would have us pull out immediately and completely. Most people, even the other Democrats, think that would be a mistake.

One idea is to let the Israelis go east and the Indians go west, and meet at the land between the rivers. We supply all the arms and materiel they need. Israel has the toughest troops in the world, and India could field an "unarmy" of 100,000,000 men and simply walk over everything in their way. Or, as the anecdotal Swiss militiaman said to the Wehrmacht officer when asked what the Swiss would do if the Third Reich invaded, "We'd each take one shot and go home."

"And don't say anything like 'the surge'. Big deal. That's a tactical, local thing that, even if it succeeds, isn't helping the big picture in any way."

You may be correct. The Iraqis must stand up and take the job themselves. The problem, as I see it, is a secure Iraq is more important to our government than it is to the Iraqi people. Now, I am being a little harsh. Many, many Iraqis have fought bravely and well alongside our soldiers, and they have done so in old pick-up trucks, not APCs, assault vehicles, and armored HMMWVs. And they don't have body armor either. Even more have joined the Iraqi police, and been killed by suicide bombers during training. But such acts require extreme bravery. If you join the U.S. Army, you may or may not get sent to Iraq, and you may or may not be in a combat unit when you go. But if you join the Iraqi army or police, you will see combat, and you will not get rotated out in a year.

We have to suppress the terrorists enough and long enough that it is no longer so dangerous to by in the Iraqi military or police. Then they will get more recruits, and we will be able to "stand down." That's the theory, anyway. I don't think we have enough troops to do it, but I am not there, either.

"If the administration was running a corporation, they would have been bankrupt long ago."

That goes for any government. Governments do not make profits, they take money from others' profits and spend it.

Sanity said:

Yes, it appears they sent a rocket up in 1989, but it was suborbital with no satellite and after one launch the guy who built it was shot dead in 1990. I don't usually use Wikipedia as a source, but they have a nice satellite summary here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_first_orbital_launches_by_nationality

To claim that Iraq had ICBM capability in 2002 is quite a stretch.

People have whatever power other people give them. Bush gave Cheney a very long leash. (At least early on. This sesems to have changed.)

For Iran, I was thinking more of 1953 to 1979.

I was speaking metaphorically when I said "bankrupt". What I meant was that even if we agreed that going into Iraq was a good idea, the administration has really botched the job. They were overconfident, had no real post-war plan, and obviously hadn't done a very good job of risk analysis and contingency planning.

Unfortunately, I still don't believe they are doing that. Someone needs to. The conclusion may be to "nuke 'em", "get out", or something in between, but, right now, there's little confidence that the administration is doing the right things. Even if, by chance, they ARE right.

Jack said:

"They... had no real post-war plan, and obviously hadn't done a very good job of risk analysis and contingency planning."

We didn't do much of that in WWII, either.

Jack said:

10,000th comment!!!

Sanity said:

True, Jack, true. We didn't. Though it was a different type of war. Less "optional" I would think.

I have no complaint about Afghanistan. I was pleased to find out that we had special forces in there within days after 9/11, and I was excited to see the progress so quickly. And if we have a lousy (or no) post-war plan, that's ok. Pretty clear purpose: Kill Al Quaeda (especially Bin Laden) and remove the Taliban from power.

It's just Iraq where my disagreements are.

Jack said:

"Less optional"? There was a rather vocal group against going to war with Germany. We could have left that to the Europeans, but the European Theater was part of the War on Fascism, just as Iraq is a part of the War on Terror.

"It's just Iraq where my disagreements are."

That's fine. Just understand that your disagreements are with those who have access to classified intelligence that you do not.

Sanity said:

True, there were folks against going to war with Germany, but it's hard to compare Iraq with Germany, especially considering how many countries Germany had already conquered, and how inevitable it looked (at the time) that they would successfully invade England.

Plus, as we've established, Iraq is (or at least was) a totally separate concern than the "War on Terror" (it's still a dumb name).

My diasgreements are with SOME of the people with access to classified intelligence that I do not have, but, more importantly, my disagreements are with those with a differing foreign policy view. I am antithetically opposed to the neo-cons and neo-libs. I think it just doesn't work. That's why I would have continued to conatin Iraq until the "War against Al Quaeda" (much better name, but wouldn't have provided an excuse to invade Iraq) was won.

jacob said:

Sanity,
Kudos on your bite at the apple. You buried your bones. I will be making regret those words. ;-)

As for Germany in 41 and Iraq in 03 it is a different situation. Germany was a conventional warfare powerhouse. Iraq was neck deep in terrorism, which after 9/11 had casts a quasi strategic specter because of the _potential_ damage.

My nightmare scenario is a terrorist with a nuke.

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