Saturday, November 19, 2005

Pre-war Intelligence

Glenn Reynold's wants bloggers to revisit the issue of the intelligence picture before Operation Iraqi Freedom, otherwise known as the invasion of Iraq, which took place in March, 2003.

The topic? Pre-war military intelligence--what was known going into the war in Iraq, who knew it, and more importantly, what should we have known that we didn't? To participate, write a blog post on this topic, and send the link to

This is the proper question to ask if the object were to identify shortcomings in the intelligence process, identify shortcomings and those responsible for them and to find a way to avoid future mistakes. But it is probably not the question many want to ask. The political version of Glenn Reynold's question is 'how many versions of pre-war intelligence on Iraq existed; and which version was fed to whom?' The issue of pre-OIF intelligence is intimately intertwined with a whole host of current issues, including the Scooter Libby indictment, and Representative John Murtha's call to immediately withdraw US troops from Iraq.

"The US cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home," said Representative John Murtha, a retired Marine colonel and the senior Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending.

Murtha is widely regarded as one of his party's top voices on military issues.

Murtha's remarks followed a string of sharp attacks by US President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney against critics of their Iraq-war policy and handling of prewar intelligence.

The entire assertion that 'Bush lied, people died' doesn't work if there was a single pre-war consensus Iraq intelligence estimate which unhappily turned out to be wrong, in whole or in part. It only works if there were two versions, one of which was fed to the public and to government officials like John Murtha, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry (which 'misled' them into voting for OIF) and another which was kept secret within the inner circles of the Bush administration, which showed OIF to be unjustified. The Washington Post, in an article by Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus, touches upon, but does not entirely pursue this key question. The article notes that President Bush recently asked why, when "more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power" they should now accuse him of misleading them into a war. This is essentially an assertion that only one consensus version of pre-war intelligence existed. Milbank and Pincus go on to suggest there may have been more than one version. 

But Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.

Milbank and Pincus do say that some of the misunderstanding may have been due to Congressional laziness.

The lawmakers are partly to blame for their ignorance. Congress was entitled to view the 92-page National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq before the October 2002 vote. But, as The Washington Post reported last year, no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary.

Yet it's fair to say that one reason why the pre-war intelligence estimate that Saddam Hussein constituted a national security threat to the US did not elicit more scrutiny was because the view had been held for years. Milbank and Pincus noted that President Clinton ordered Iraq bombed on four days in 1998 based on a Congressional authorization to defend "against the continuing threat by Iraq". Although a Bush-administration ground invasion of Iraq was a far more serious step than a Clinton cruise missile barrage it was based on the same general narrative -- a narrative which had been accepted for years. Nor was the US alone in holding this view; the idea that Saddam Hussein constituted a threat to international security was shared by Britain and even the United Nations. Neither the regime of sanctions, weapons inspections, No-Fly Zones nor anything else makes any sense except in the context of a consensus that Saddam Hussein constituted some sort of threat. On that subject there was simply one version.

But it was a story with two variants, respecting the magnitude and imminence of the Hussein threat. Both are presented in a PDF compiled by the Washington Post. (See an equivalent HTML version from FAS here.) The first is represented by the State Department's Intelligence and Research Assessment, which believed that although Iraq's WMD programs were extant, they were not far advanced.

"The Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR ) believes that Saddam continues to want nuclear weapons and that available evidence indicates that Baghdad is pursuing at least a limited effort to maintain and acquire nuclear weapon-related capabilities. The activities we have detected do not, however, add up a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what INR would consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons. Iraq may be doing so, but INR considers the available evidence inadequate to support such a judgment. Lacking persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program INR is unwilling to speculate that such an effort began soon after the departure of UN inspectors or to project a timeline for the completion of activities it does not now see happening. AS a result, INR is unable to predict when Iraq could acquire a nuclear device or weapon."

The majority view in the National Intelligence Estimate (see the same PDF) was that Saddam's WMD programs (whose existence had been accepted by INR, albeit at on a limited scale) were much further advanced: 

"We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in defiance of UN resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade. ...

We judge that we are seeing only a portion of Iraq's WMD efforts, owing to Baghdad's vigorous denial and deception efforts. Revelations after the Gulf war starkly demonstrate the extensive efforts undertaken by Iraq to deny information. We lack specific information on many key aspects of Iraq's WMD programs."

... If Baghdad acquires sufficient fissile material from abroad it could make a nuclear weapon within several months to a year. ... Iraq probably would not be able to make a weapon until 2007 to 2009

But the NIE could offer no definite view over whether or when Saddam would use any WMDs against the US. It said "We have low confidence in our ability to assess when Saddam would use WMD", but added it believed that "Saddam, if sufficiently desperate, might decide that only an organization such as al-Qa'ida--with worldwide reach and extensive terrorist infrastructure, and already engaged in a life-or-death struggle against the United States--could ... decide that the extreme step of assisting the Islamist terrorists in conducting a CBW attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him."


It's fairly clear there was only one version of the general assessment of Saddam Hussein before OIF -- that he was a threat. There were, however, two variants respecting the degree and imminence of the danger that he represented. The first view was that Saddam, though mischievous, did not present a very imminent threat in 2003, though INR offered no estimate to when he might be. The second view was that Saddam Hussein might be able to build a nuclear weapon in the 2007-2009 timeframe. Interestingly, the NIE's most imminent Iraqi threat scenario did not involve nuclear weapons at all but possible assistance to a terrorist launched "CBW attack against the United States". Since chemical weapons are far more widely available than nuclear weapons, the danger of a CBW attack on America did not directly depend on Yellowcake in the Niger or centrifuge tubes, but simply on the availability of money and operational support that a hostile Iraqi regime might offer a terrorist organization. The seriousness of any Iraqi CBW threat to America was independent of it's nuclear weapons making capability; indeed it was only directly dependent on the character of the regime in Baghdad.

It's an article of journalistic faith now that OIF was all about WMDs and that generalization has covered a multitude of elisions. A close reading of the NIE suggests that the Saddam CBW threat was insensitive to which version of how advanced Saddam's fissile program was. In fact, one is tempted to conclude that in a larger sense, OIF itself was irrelevant to the threat of a state supported terrorist CBW threat against America; because for so long as a state, not necessarily Iraq, had the incentive to provide money and logistical support for a terrorist group intent on mounting such an attack the threat would remain undiminished.

If the objective of OIF were to forestall the emergence of a nuclear weapons capability among "rogue states", there is no getting around the fact that it has hardly affected the development of such weapons in Iran and North Korea. And if it's goal were to prevent chemical weapons from reaching terrorist hands -- weapons that are widely available on the arms black market -- the invasion would be useless as well. The only sense in which OIF would have diminished both the nuclear and chemical weapons threats to America was to the degree in which it succeeded in sending a deterrent signal to states considering supporting terrorist groups. This is the consideration which is not only explicitly missing from the pre-war intelligence estimates but largely absent from the subsequent discussion about whether "Bush lied and people died". The strange omission of geopolitical goals from the story of OIF will continue to have unfortunate results, because the measure of the war's success or failure never lay in its ability to neutralize atom bomb manufacturing facilities -- those are by all accounts operating day and night in North Korea -- but the degree to which it has deterred 'rogue states' from sponsoring terrorist organizations. If the Murtha resolution is any indication, what OIF has proved to every rogue state watching is that another OIF is unlikely to ever happen again. What started out as a demonstration of resolution intended to deter terrorist state supporters of terrorism has morphed into proof that all such demonstrations are hollow -- at least for now.

Although the pre-war intelligence estimates of Iraq now turn out to be inadequate in many ways, its principal defect was that it attempted to measure the wrong thing. It ought to have focused on the extent to which Iraqi Ba'athists and regional terror groups would have mounted a Lebanon or West Bank type defense; identified the key hurdles in creating a replacement Iraqi state; and specified the requirements necessary to win this campaign in an impressive and overwhelming manner in order to demonstrate to the rogue state audience what the consequences of aggression against the United States were. But this subject was verboten, and so instead intelligence spoke to the strategically irrelevant minutiae of Yellowcake and centrifuges, casting a wavering light, like the drunk searching for a lost coin in the story, not in the area where it would be found but in the only place he could shine a beam.


Blogger tefta said...

I see you didn't have your head turned by all that exposure to media elites in the big apple.

Your analysis as usual is deft and eminently readable.

Good to have you back at your post.

11/19/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Brilliant analysis, as usual.

11/19/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

The reason for the war was finding a way to reduce the growth rate of terrorism to negative numbers. That is, there will be terrorists, but they will be unable to organize much and tend to die off quickly as they find no support.

One way, and one that solves several problems at once, is to establish a working democracy in Iraq, in the heart of the Arab world that is the chief problem.

Not only the American soldiers but also now the Iraqis are fighting for American interests (as well as their own).

How easy it will be to extend this victory is still open ; it might happen largely on its own.

Lacking that revision of the 8th century world, modern weapons are too good to let the situation persist where an organization can take out cities at will. When that happens, killing them all is the only option, as Imus put it on 9/12/2001.

Better all around to move them into the modern world. They're better off, and we're better off.

That's why there's a war on terror, and why it doesn't care much about bin Laden,
but rather that his kind gets zero support wherever he goes.

As it happens the media echo chamber would only hear WMD back before the war, and it echoed only that ; but everything was stated, everything was clear.

WMD pulls better audience for the media, and audience is everything.

The intelligence investigations are gotcha sessions. We're all smarter than before 9/11 now.

11/19/2005 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You are, per norm, right on target.
When you say:
" The strange omission of geopolitical goals from the story of OIF will continue to have unfortunate results, ... "

It has to be a conscious omission, by the Administration.

The lack of articulating both a mission statement and realistic forward looking post invasion operations order. Those subjects were and continue to be the greatest area where bi-partisan agreement seems to exist.

The Senate vote calling for an articulated Victory Strategy and quarterly progress reports is both much more important & telling than the House vote.

Now, either Mr Bush 'bends' to the will of the Senate, or stays on the wrong course in the Information war, or
Declares Victory in January '06.

It seems humorous that after three years Mr Chalabi could get the keys to Iraq, the one's that Mr Perle now thinks the US should have just handed to him in '03.

11/19/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Do we think that the White House knew about the oil-for-food scam pre-war, and that Saddam had bought off France *and* much of the UN? Since Powell was knifed in the back by de Villepin, it would appear not.

Wouldn't that information have had a fairly big impact on strategy-making? And whether to believe anything to do with yellow-cake or nuclear capabilities that was being fed through France and its ilk?

I also have to disagree with your conclusion that "...such demonstrations [of resolution] are hollow -- at least for now," in that the domino's continue to topple so it seems to me that any dictator content to rest on his laurels and not be concerned is a damned fool (can you say Baby Assad).

11/19/2005 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone in the known universe knew deep in their dirty little hearts that the reason for the war was to prevent a (eventually) nuclear-armed Saddam Hussein from controlling "ALL" of the Middle-Eastern oil.

Now, another opportunity presents itself. A chance to kick the crap out of Al Quaida, and to establish a "Democracy" in the heart of the Arab world. This is a bit more success than the Dems would like to see Bush have.

Politics broke out in Washington. My, My. Whodathunkit.

Don't fret, children. This war's won. It's just a matter of managing the dis-engagement. The serious question is Iran. We need a real stroke of luck, there. And, as someone once said, "Wishing for luck is a dubious strategy, at best."

11/19/2005 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

Sadly, I think, the adminstration and right are trying to brush off concerns of the vast majority in the middle.

Two thirds of the population is in doubt, yet the desire is to class them with Mr. Moore.

The mocking of Shineski for saying several hundred thousand troops would be necessary, the firing of conservative economist Lawrence Lidsay for estinating costs would be several hundred billion are part of a pattern that indicates a desire to edit out unwelcome information.

Fallows "Blind Into Baghdad" offers a compelling argument that the administration ignored the advice of the experts including the generals:

Fallows recent editorial argues that the administration literally can not see the concerns of ex CIA officer Scheur and many, many others that the war on Iraq may hurt the war against terror:;_ylt=A86.I1GMynhDWhoBRAn9wxIF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNhdA--

By parodying questioning and refusing to acknowledge the most serious recent critiques were those of Colonel Wilkerson (whose first hand accounts lend weight to the concerns of a distorted bureaycracy) and General Scowcroft, the right tries to turn serious debate into partisan game.

The resolution presented differed significantly from that of congress critter Murtha's which runs:

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of American in Congress assembled, That:

Section 1. The deployment of United States Forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S. Marines shall be deployed in the region.

Section 3. The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.

This is a shallow piece of dishonesty from a political movement whose integrity is widely questioned.

By 2/3rds of the people, most of whm supported the war and many who voted for Bush.

By parodying the opposition you are playing an esoteric game where reality does not intrude. But in the real world people like General Odom ask questions like this:

He is only one of a long line of retired officers from General Zinni on down who have expressed concerns.

Are they all cowards?

Rationalizations and political games show contempt for national interest. The fact that "some democrats" do it is not the central issue. The Republicans had a mjority for real reasons, one was the perception that they had values and were serious.

The simple fact of the matter is that the minority who have hijacked the party seem not to.

And their supporters are worse. I wonder why "Open Source Media" bloggers do not address the stink that arose when first it was found they did not know how to use google and tus did not know an enterprise of that name already existed, second they wre not "open source" in any meaningful sense of the word and third the oganizaers flasely claimed the original owners had ceded the name.

In the blogosphere including many on the right, the affair is being compared to Dan Rather. Yet the owner of this blog and others prefer to ignore an issue central to their reputations.

11/19/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I know everything is GWB's fault since I read comments here, but FWIW, here is VDH:
"While the U.S. military conducts a brilliant campaign to implement democratic reform that is on the eve of ending with an Iraqi parliament,
while there has been no repeat of promised 9/11 attacks here at home,
and while the entire dictatorial Middle East from Lebanon and Syria to Egypt and Libya is in crisis —
baffled, furious, or impressed by a now idealistic United States pushing for something different and far better —
our intellectual and political elite harp on "WMD, WMD, WMD..."

Sadder still, they stay transfixed to this refrain either because polls show that it is good politics or it allows them a viable exit from an apparently now unpopular war.

But no, not so fast.

History has other lessons as well — as we know from the similar public depression during successful wars after
Washington's sad winter at Valley Forge,
Lincoln's summer of 1864,
or the 1942 gloom that followed Pearl Harbor and the fall of the Philippines, Singapore, and Wake Island.
When this is all over, and there is a legitimate government in the Middle East that represents the aspirations of a free people, the stunning achievement of our soldiers will be at last recognized, the idealism of the United States will be appreciated, our critics here and abroad will go mute —
and one of the 23 writs for a necessary war of liberation will largely be forgotten."

— Victor Davis Hanson

11/19/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Bi Partisan,"
Yes 'Rat, the Dems have what's best for the country always in mind, and at the top of the list.
Got any Hash from your last trip to Afghanistan, Tony?

11/19/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

well doug,
even if you and I do not agree with the Republicans that voted with the Dems, fact is that 70 plus Senators is Bi-Partisan.
This is the scenario I have been talking about for months, now.

The President has not set the debate, has not taken the initative and to date set any judgemental goals.

Now, because of public pressure, the Senate wants to see an Operation order for the overall strategy and progress reports on the implementation of said strategy.

I do not find the idea of holding the Military and President accountable to my Representitves in Congress for the success or failure of the OIF unpatriotic or cowardly.

Bush's staff should be making his case, not trying to demonize Rep Murtha.
At least Mr Clinton realized that to excercise power effectively the campaign for the Public's support was a never ending project, independent of Election cycles.

11/19/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

"The only sense in which OIF would have diminished both the nuclear and chemical weapons threats to America was to the degree in which it succeeded in sending a deterrent signal to states considering supporting terrorist groups."

Agreed, but your pessimism about the outcome ("...what OIF has proved to every rogue state watching is that another OIF is unlikely to ever happen again.") is unjustified.

On the contrary, what OIF has shown is that even a Republican President (which means a President doomed to operate in the teeth of relentless, united opposition from the MSM and liberal Democrats) can blow you away and install a regime which durably denies your tribe a return to power.

That is precisely the message we needed 'rogue states watching' to get, expressed in the only language they understand.

11/19/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

...In fact, one is tempted to conclude that in a larger sense, OIF itself was irrelevant to the threat of a state supported terrorist CBW threat against America; because for so long as a state, not necessarily Iraq, had the incentive to provide money and logistical support for a terrorist group intent on mounting such an attack the threat would remain undiminished.

I would submit that in an even larger sense than this, one might look at all of the threatening states driven by jihadists, and elect to take them all on, one at a time, before any of them hit the US, if possible. This would put possession of either or both Nuclear and CB weapons into play as a material threat to the US from the Islamic jihadists and their sponsoring nations in the ME.
Thus Iraq would be simply step II in the global reduction by the US of the Islamic threat, and the nuclear proliferation threat, with or without help from other nations.

11/19/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Bush's staff should be making his case, not trying to demonize Rep Murtha.
At least Mr Clinton realized that to excercise power effectively the campaign for the Public's support was a never ending project, independent of Election cycles.
Murtha derides the Vice President as a chickenhawk, but that is GWB's fault.
Murtha was ruthless in deriding the Draftdodging, Military Hating, Clinton, I'm sure, thus he is a patriot. are JFK2, Jane Fonda, and the Dems and MSM.
I get it.
Gotta Go,
Time for Ophrah.

11/19/2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

In the years immediately prior to 2002 the U.S. intelligence community had gone through what was essentially a training course on the consequences of being The Dog That Did Not Bark.
In May of 1998, India and Pakistan both conducted nuclear tests; this was not predicted by the U>S. intelligence community, despite clear statements of intent by the leaders of those two countries.
In August of 1998, following an intelligence assessment that said that rapid or unexpected developedment of ICBM capabilities were virtually impossible, North Korea fired its Taepodong 1 missile, which displayed ICBM range.
Then there was 9/11/01, after which the intelligence community was roundly excoriated.
It would be truly remarkable if after those shocking events the intelligence community did not err on the side of caution, and bark when they simply thought they detected anything at all.

11/19/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They should have voted on Rep Murtha's original proposal. That would have been an honest debate & possibly vote.

I do like J.D., his sense of drama and news is well above par. Because of his actions the news has shifted to the House and questions of civility, away from the Senate vote chastising Mr Bush.

I have not been paying attention, which Oprah model is out now, thick or thin?

11/19/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"At least Mr Clinton realized that to excercise power effectively the campaign for the Public's support was a never ending project, independent of Election cycles"
That's why he's overseas rousing up his Jihadi base by explaining how Iraq was a mistake from the giddyup.
What a guy!
We need more Cynthia McKinney, EJ Dionne, and Bill Clinton.
Thanks for obliging.

11/19/2005 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

RWE, 12:19 PM,
I agree.
...but the template is:
Bush lied, people died.
So that's what I believe.

11/19/2005 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The dust-up occurring on Capitol Hill is the result of frustration and impatience over the pace of operations in Iraq; the debate would not be occurring if operations had wrapped up a year ago.

Even if OIF had gone smoothly however, Congress would still have important questions to investigate:

1) Why did the intel community screw up the WMD questions so badly and how can the intel community be fixed?

2) What should be the long-term campaign plan against Islamic terrorism?

3) What should be the long-term campaign plan against rogue WMD-possessing states?

4) What DoD transformation is required to accomplish these missions?

Instead of working on these issues, certain senators and congressmen, from both parties, are participating in exercise that aims to embarrass the administration. This could lead to a collapse of OIF. The consequences of that doesn't appear to concern them.

The Bush administration's intention with OIF was to show how the U.S. could pro-actively resolve a problem (in this case, Saddam's family in Iraq), rather than reacting to some catastrophe that inevitably Saddam (or Qusay or Uday) would create. As bloody as OIF appears, it will end up a more humane solution to the Saddam family problem than if the world had waited for them to do something wild again.

We agree with Wretchard that OIF's problems have resulted in the death of U.S. proactive problem solving. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps will be largely unusuable for many years. And the world will be back to the practice of reacting to disasters rather than taking measures to avoid them.


11/19/2005 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

David Bennett:
Shinseki deserved to be mocked for a great many things, only the latest and greatest was the 500K troop requirement, or hence, the US could not go to war with Iraq. Generals get things done with what they have, otherwise we tend to fire them, like Lincoln did all of the also-rans before US Grant. Mikey “Hussein was an Ally” Scheuer doesn’t play so well in these parts, methinks. Murtha may be many things, but he should know the Corps’ other motto; “What have you done for us lately?” Thank him for his service, and if you want the opinion of the Corps, there are some 150,000 other Marines you can ask. For instance, ask me.

11/19/2005 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Exactly doug,

Mr Clinton is part of a hydra, you know a multi-headed snake.

He leaves the Mrs on the moderate left, while he attacks the US from the Mr Bush made great errors flank, while in feasting in Mohammedan territory.

These storm clouds have been forming on the horizon for quite awhile.

11/19/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Jhn1 said...

Mr. Bennett, am I to infer that you are a proponent of "Peace With Honor"?

SF writer David Drake wrote in an afterward that military studies of Low Intensity Conflict, oposition usually (iniatially) centered around certain positions (priest or pastor, mayor, or police chief). Saddam was just such a center. If anyone else had been after Afganistan, he would have used his "Arab street cred" to insist on support of him and his armies so that he could opose the West. He probably would have gotten it. Nukes from Pakistan, money and men from Syria and Egypt (eventually money from the Saudis as well, but as they want to be "on top" they wouldn't have been in at the start.)
Chemical capabilities from Egypt.
Just about everything the Arab world had and/or could pressure their Islamic subordinates to provide.

We literally could not make any other move after Afganistan without having Saddam opose us. There was absolutely no benefit to allowing him to front a coalition to attack "the West", so if there were going to be any actions taken against the RIFs and their supporters, Saddam was going to be engaging the US.
Did we want that engagement to be -Anglosphere vs. Muslim World which included the paramilitary death squads- or Anglosphere and some Muslim allies against Saddam and his Republican Guard to get at the paramilitary death squads?

11/19/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Westhawk, Wretchard, there probably aren’t many realistic scenarios of the US using military action against Iran or North Korea, not even in a parallel universe with an Iraq erased from the map. Even with Sept.11, the mullahs/Lil’ Kim would have to seriously threaten our interests to get an appropriate caussus belli. We did not attack a nuclear, or a just-about-to-go, USSR, or a China during an ultimately more existential crisis; WMDs and hostile intent are nonstarters for declaring war, another dishonesty on the part of the left…there were plenty of compelling reasons besides that combination. But if Iran and North Korea engaged in a hostile action, ultimately a belligerence beyond the diplomatic pale, the US will fight it out again. Even after Vietnam, we fought to get back the Mayaguez, because it was in our interest.

If OIF has convinced the coin-slot dictators to press their luck, they will do so to their extreme displeasure. Democracies are moderate by definition, autocracies extreme by the same. I can almost guarantee that the dictatorships will overplay their hands and force the house to lay down ours. Witness the charming “World Without Zionism(/Jews/Crusaders/Infidels)” President of Iran.

Also, keep in mind that there are now just four countries that really espouse terrorism; Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, and "Palestine," which is a marked improvement from the past.

11/19/2005 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

I just wonder how many people have thought through the implications of not performing humanitarian pre-emptive actions such as OIF.
Obviously, one result will be more events such as 7 Dec 41, 1 Aug 98, and 11 Sep 01.
But we will respond, and one day we will once more have a President that does not follow the foreign policy dictates of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
The result will be:
Day One: 7 Dec 41 Repeat
Day Two: 6 August 1945 Repeat
Day Three: GO TO Day One
Conclusion: The Pro-Peace crowd is going to kill a whole lot of people. And the vast majority of them won't be Americans.
The key question dictators have is which one will get left holding the bag.

11/19/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger playah grrl said...

this is a great open-source (in the intel sense) kind of idea.
but how useful is it really?
most of the good stuff is classified and the dems fight against having it redacted.
this is pretty useless unless you can get the seven year-old stuff and make some sense of it.
it is depressing.

there just wasn't a lot of the stuff we needed after the wall went down. we had all this sophisto crypto stuff for the sovs, but who uses it now? the NORKs i guess. who else?

we needed that dirty humint and the clintonistas had snuffed most of that. that and the peace dividend. i'm not casting blame aspersions, because that was the rightfully elected adminstration's policy. they had a right to do that. but my point is the dems will never let stuff like that go public.

so the 911 commission was basically a joke.

11/19/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

The White House’s emphasis on Iraqi procurement of yellowcake from Niger in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq as evidence of Saddam Hussein wanting to restart his nuclear program is the clearest proof that the Bush Administration willfully deceived the American people. Democratic members of Congress are another matter; they have staffs that should have (and probably did) call bullshit on the whole charade. The one hundred Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq have no excuses, they should all, Murtha included, resign, and short of that, be thrown out of office by their constituents at the next election. Their votes were based on political calculations, not sober evaluations of the intelligence. You live by politics you die by politics.

Yellowcake is refined uranium ore and acquiring it is the first of many steps towards producing a bomb. After the 1991 Gulf War, UN inspectors found 500 metric tons of yellowcake in Iraq. George Bush I and the International Atomic Energy Agency were so freaked out by this that they decided to put the yellowcake in drums and leave it in Iraq! It would take Saddam quite a while to make anything remotely dangerous with yellowcake. It is hardly believable that Saddam would bother to try to acquire something that he already possessed. Remember, the IAEA inspectors left in 1998, when they returned in 2002, the drums were untouched.

Dick Cheney certainly knew this, all George Bush had to do was pick up the phone and talk to his father or read the analyses from the CIA

Although the NSC had already removed the uranium reference from the speech, later on October 6, 2002 the CIA sent a second fax to the White House which said, "more on why we recommend removing the sentence about procuring uranium oxide from Africa: Three points (1) The evidence is weak. One of the two mines cited by the source as the location of the uranium oxide is flooded. The other mine cited by the source is under the control of the French authorities. (2) The procurement is not particularly significant to Iraq's nuclear ambitions because the Iraqis already have a large stock of uranium oxide in their inventory. And (3) we have shared points one and two with Congress, telling them that the Africa story is overblown and telling them this is one of the two issues where we differed with the British."

No, the lies were intentional. The only other explanation is an outbreak sheer stupidity within the senior levels of the Bush Administration.

Not only that, evidence is emerging that the Bush Administration used communist torture techniques known to produce lies, in order, to, well, produce lies that would justify the war.

However, ABC News was told that at least three CIA officers declined to be trained in the techniques before a cadre of 14 were selected to use them on a dozen top al Qaeda suspects in order to obtain critical information. In at least one instance, ABC News was told that the techniques led to questionable information aimed at pleasing the interrogators and that this information had a significant impact on U.S. actions in Iraq.

According to CIA sources, Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi, after two weeks of enhanced interrogation, made statements that were designed to tell the interrogators what they wanted to hear. Sources say Al Libbi had been subjected to each of the progressively harsher techniques in turn and finally broke after being water boarded and then left to stand naked in his cold cell overnight where he was doused with cold water at regular intervals.

His statements became part of the basis for the Bush administration claims that Iraq trained al Qaeda members to use biochemical weapons. Sources tell ABC that it was later established that al Libbi had no knowledge of such training or weapons and fabricated the statements because he was terrified of further harsh treatment.

"This is the problem with using the waterboard. They get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear," one source said.

However, sources said, al Libbi does not appear to have sought to intentionally misinform investigators, as at least one account has stated. The distinction in this murky world is nonetheless an important one. Al Libbi sought to please his investigators, not lead them down a false path, two sources with firsthand knowledge of the statements said.

Of course we will have to wait for Rog and Chas to fact check all that before we can believe it but I hear they are busy Googling “Open Source Media” to see if any other companies are currently using that appellation.

By the way, Mr Reynolds might want to talk to the copy editor over at OSM about the wording of the event he is hosting tomorrow:

Calling all bloggers! On Monday, November 21, Instapundit Glenn Reynolds will be ringmaster for a blog carnival, hosted right here on OSM.

Uh, as far as I know carnivals don’t have ringmasters, circuses do.

11/19/2005 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger playah grrl said...

kevin, i think you shaould resume your meds.

11/19/2005 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Arasto said...

Ok you have to read this.

It isn't too long but very interesting and funny.


11/19/2005 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger playah grrl said...

i'm sorry kevin, that was unjust.
maybe you can explain something to me.
what motivation do people like you ascribe to GW for starting a war?
I mean, why would he do that?

11/19/2005 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

A significant problem with any assessment of intelligence data is reproducing the conditions under which it was received and interpreted.
Postwar examination of intercepted Japanese radio traffic from Nov -Dec 1941 showed clear indications of an impending attack. Some have used this information to assert that Roosevelt knew of the Pearl Harbor attack in advance and chose to do nothing.
Of course, the messages show clear intent to attack AFTER the event had occurred, which tends to color the interpretation rather significantly.
But more significant is the fact that a number of the supposedly damming messages were NOT decoded until 1946. In 1941 decoding messages was a lengthy process, not even partially automated until well into the war. The messages simply sat in a non-decoded state for 5 years and then were decoded for purely academic purposes; after the attack their existance became trivia and more pressing matters awaited.
So, it really is impossible to accurately second guess intelligence estmates after the fact. The bias of the observer always will be too strong and inevitably pieces will be put into the jigsaw puzzle that had to be taken out of a separate box and unwrapped.
And KEVIN: There was no emphasis on the yellowcake. It was a few lousy words, that's all. Like the people trying to prove that the Pearl Harbor attack was a Roosevelt plot, the only emphasis is in the bias of the observer.

And besides if Iraq tried to buy more - and they did try, we know that - the only conclusion that could be reached was that they had used up what they had in producing fissionables and needed more. And that is the really important data.

11/19/2005 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger usually mellow said...

WMD's are certainly more palatable an excuse than the reality of OIF.

The reality being:

Iraq was arguably the best of the worst to 'take down' as opposed to Saudi Arabia or Iran

The Middle East is the spiritual, financial, intellectual, and actual home to radical Islamicism and a fundamental change is need to 'reform' this hijacked religion

Oil security has been and will continue to be a pillar of our policy in the middle east...Bush said in a SOTU speech prior to OIF that no nation will be permitted to dominate a vital region

This was a continuation of the Gulf War, which never ended in an armistice, just a cessation of hostilities, partially contingent upon disarmament

The US is now the strongest military in the Middle East now and neighbors have to consider that capability in their geo-strategic thinking (not intent)

We would rebuild the nation after taking down the ruling regime...would we do that again if a WMD ever goes off in a US city, killing 100k's?

WMD's were a rather simple palatable storyline that people could readily understand.

Anything more than that would require an appreciation and understanding of history, condemning islam(ofascism) as an ideology incompatible with our own, and risking ticking off the PC-crowd.

11/19/2005 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/19/2005 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Just to take everyone back to September 12, 2001, a very important part of going into Iraq was simply an overwhelming need for vengeance. We took out Afghanistan in retaliation for the twin towers coming down, but that was a minor burp. America wanted to seriously kick some major Arab ass just because they had it coming.

Bush promised the firefighter and cops of New York that we'd take it to the enemy who had attacked us, and if he had NOT gone someplace in the Middle East and done that, he would have been impeached.

That is a reality that is dependent upon emotion and psychology and doesn't factor into Wretchard's analysis of global politics and premeditated war planning. But I think under the right circumstances with the right buttons being pushed again, we would be right back there on the front line, enraged, foaming and ready to take it to the bad guys.

When that happens, if you've got a coterie of willing allies, that's nice. If not ... tough. And axis of weasels (not to mention bought-off UN) be damned.

11/19/2005 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Senators assume we, like them, have forgotten all events and realities that occured more than 3 years ago.
This includes 9-11 and their on the record reasons for supporting the war.
In addition to the psychological realities you mention, I would add the (rational) FEAR people felt about what would happen next if we continued to respond to terrorism with weakness.

11/19/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You're right nahncee, Bush promised Justice for 9-11, he has failed to deliver.

That above all else is the greatest challenge facing Mr Bush.

What about Osama, Dead or Alive.
Was that just a Bush lie?

Saddam has proven a poor substitute for Osama and even Saddam has avoided Justice so far.

11/19/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat has a verbal chip that is stuck on repeat:
It's Bush's Fault, It's Bush's Fault, It's Bush's Fault...
Even if it means painting spineless turncoat poll watching politicians as fearless patriots.

Senator Kyle, wise man that he is, disagrees.

11/19/2005 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the bad intel was not Mr Tenets and the CIA's fault.
If post invasion Policy was not Mr Rumsfeld, Bremmer or Powell's fault.
If all US problems in Iraq are laid on Mr Chalabi's doorstep, and he becomes Prime Minister,
who else could be blamed?
Certainly not Dan Rather and Jon Stewart.

Upon the naming of the new Iraqi Government, post election, Mr Bush should fly to Baghdad, taking his wife, Senators Clinton and McCain with him. They should motorcade down Route Irish to the Green Zone.
There they should then meet with the newly elected President and PM
drive back to the Airport and fly home.

11/19/2005 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger playah grrl said...

kevin, the more i think about the more i think it is useless. But other Carnivals could be a good idea.
the democrats will fight like tigers to keep the real reasons behind our intel failures classified. Nominally, the reason is that the rest of world shouldn't know how weak our covert ops and intel are.
I guess I'll go change that.

11/19/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The idea that being a porker discredits a Congressman is absurd.
Mr Murtha, someone I never heard of before yesterday, is a Marine Col. none the less.
So he's a fiscal porker, so is Mr DeLay, so is almost every Congressman, Republican or Democrat. The current Congress, the entire Government is not fiscally responsible. The President has NEVER vetoed an Appropriations Bill, does that disqualify his judgement? I think not.

J.D. did his job, changed the above the fold story. The Senate vote no longer the story.

11/19/2005 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Hogan said...

Splendid summary of the pre-war intelligence package. Take a look at's piece released today. They conclude that everyone had essentially the same intelligence, except the public, for whom the worst case senarios were emphasized. Just like the run-up into every war in the 20th century.

11/19/2005 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I agree: the major PR problem was that the Administration allowed the legal case, based primarily on failure to comply with the cease-fire, and the strategic argument - that the current mafiosi running Middle Eastern governments must be wacked - to be ellided, ultimately resulting in the former eclipsing the latter. I'm 29; the "Saddam has WMD" theme has been a constant for my entire life, only lately challenged when it became politically expedient. This despite the fact that even Hans Blix, in his last reports before the UN and with US troops taking position in the region, was unstaisfied. It is outrageous that the media and the Democrats continue to behave as though this entire idea arose in Cheney's Imperial Council - as outrageous as the idea that the failure to prevent 9/11 rested mostly on Bush's, and not Clinton's, shoulders (also remember the same tactic wth respect to the equities meltdown that occurred virtually as Bush was taking office). It is outrageous that this entire transparent charde is now being used to severely undercut not only the strategic goal in Iraq but now the very opertion - with the same disregard for the obvious range of strategic fallout that would attend a soon, sudden pullout. Why our political opposition continues to behave like Byzantine senators or courtesans faced with the truncation of its southeastern provinces rather than a Republican Senate faced with a marauding Hannibal - or at least a troublesome Antiochus - is execrable confirmation of the basic analysis of the global jihad: that we are a phantom power, governing through a representation of awesome strength that is ultimately a desert mirage.

That said, however, the Administration is faced with a PR problem that it cannot solve: it cannot say that "bringing democracy to the Middle East" means bringing down every regime in the region - although it has implied this with many phrases, including that one. That the Democrats should take advantage of this is outrageous (the media is obviously another problem).

Frankly this whole thing has firmly acquired the air of surreality, and it getting increasingly depressing. It will be interesting to see what the Democrats proceed do once they have regained at least one house and the presidency by 2008 and They are faced with a reality, though having reduced the very global representation - not hollow - that otherwise made limited, discrete uses of force a credible option. Now we will have a nuclearized Iran, which will attempt to coopt Iraq, Soviet-style, a Syria so weak as to do Iran's bidding, an increasingly nervous Israel faced with a seething Palestine all around it but not reasonably cowed by a successful US and secure Iraqi democracy, and a chortling Saudi Arabia coming quickly under the shadow of the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Palestine axis. Awesome. Because I can't see the Democrats abandoning this truly shocking pose, and clearly the media - the surrogate of the people! - will do nothing but advocate basic socialist surrender.

The time to say what is happening is now, right now, Bush, so get the hell on it already, or else things will get very bad indeed and there will be more war, not less.

11/19/2005 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

And listen - that's great that Murtha was a Marine Colonel, but honestly, so what. HI have only the deepest respect for the military, but his quavering little speech was a political decision now imputed with real power to affect the quick withdrawal of US forces from Iraq - a scenario that would be more disasterous in this conflict of civilizations than our staying and enduring more casualties. Everyone seems to operate with an idiot conception of that region, culture, religion and civilization: it is broken, they are incompetent, their regimes tend to criminaliy, their inherent weakness makes the strategy of terrorist-proxy-as-diplomacy a necessity. Their public discourse is, given these underlying realities, as toxic as it could possibly be. The fact that the vast majority of people may not be inclined to manifest these conditions in a massive replay of the original Arab conquests is irrelevant in face of the fact that there already are sufficient forces available to have a substantial effect on our fortunes - and thus their fortunes - and this is a problem that must be dealt with early. I agree that OIF demonstrated American power to a probably sufficient degree; after all, bleating about 2,000 casualties is all very effective poltically, but no military planner on the enemy's side can actually believe that finding 100,000 US forces on your border is a some sort of temporary bad dream. The problem is that our actual intentions, based on a reasonably sound historical experience, are to set up representative governments in the region and to imbue the new regimes with some institutional sense of post-tribal justice and a competent infrastructure (remember that electricity outages were common under Saddam as well). What - Germany, Japan, South Korea, wherein whatever morality we represent was actually enacted, mean nothing?

And Kevin - does the Lord Hutton investigation into that uranium piece mean nothing? Does none of these obvious gigantic exonerating things mean nothing?

Of course it means everything, except where the children wish to get their way through the well-known method of overbearing repetition. You do represent your side nobly here though, and for that I offer you my gratitude.

11/19/2005 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I love the internet.

11/19/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

For example - setting up buffer states surrounding Iran is probably a very useful to contain what will eventually be a nuclear-armed revolutionary, totalitarian regime with no internal checks on its fanaticism.

It is also a very delicate plan that cannot succeed without the support of the public and near unity of politicians and governmental agencies. It's failure, once embarked on, could prove extremely costly indeed. One wonders whether those who claim we "deserved 9/11" would now, with explicit invasions under our belt, countenane nuclear strikes against our cities? Same logic, obviously.

11/19/2005 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

k i'll shut up now.

11/19/2005 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

I'm a Johnny-come-lately to this comment string, but I'd like to give a perspective from a guy who was still on active duty in the Air Force up until Aug 02.

Thing is, we KNEW the reinvasion of Iraq was on the way. We talked about in the ranks. We were planning on it. To us, it was forgone. WE vets of the fist Gulf War were upset that we weren't allowed to finish it, and in effect, THAT war never stopped. WE were still there, in theater, in our thousands, still fighting on a limited scale, aka, N & S Watches.

S. Hussein KNEW he had outsmarted our leaders, after all, he was still in power and doing whatever the hell he wanted. The CONTINUATION of the war was inevitable to us in the services, and when 9/11 took place, we knew it would be sooner than later.

At my retirement "speech" I even voiced my regrets that I wouldn't get a chance to be with my comrades when we went back and finished off Hussein. The invasion of 2003 was ONLY a surprise to EVERYONE else it seems, not to us servicemen and women. WMD was NOT even in our discussions, we train to fight in those conditions, and assume the worst, that we will have to deal with NBC on the battlefield (Nuclear, Bio, Chemical). (There I go again--I still haven't gotten over the fact that I'm out! Wish I weren't!)

I don't think I'll EVER understand civilians!

11/19/2005 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


Perhaps NK & Iran are the hardest nuts, but it appears Libya cracked as far as its quest for nukes go. One less nation to worry about and the Libya case broke up the AQ Khan racket.

11/19/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Welcome aboard, Phillippines Phil !
Read your moving tribute to your Uncle.
This Part
He wanted his boy to grow up in a world where he didn’t have to worry about having to serve in a war that might kill or wound him. He was so impassioned and concerned for his boy, and I had never heard a grownup sound that way before. It was very touching, and affected me deeply.
I remember that it made me determined to join the military so someone else’s boy wouldn’t have to
reminded me of the source of some of Mark Steyn's outrage over Murtha's CALLING THREE TIMES FOR OUR IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL!
...Followed by his disgusting Chickenhawk Comments about the Vice President.

Like most of us, more than just about anything else, Steyn is concerned with the world we leave for our offspring, and is aware of the aid and comfort such outrageous statements give to the enemy.
(One of Steyn's comments was that if Murtha really wants only Military in charge of his Govt's decision-making, he should go live in a banana republic.)

Funny how the Dem/MSM cabal does scant reporting of active duty soldiers who support the President, but immediately shove Murtha and his inane comments down everyone's throats.
Ironic that your Uncle was talking about Vietnam, and here we are with the Democrats trying to do it all over again.

11/19/2005 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger T J Olson said...

David Bennett (above, not far from the top) cautions:
'[General Odom] is only one of a long line of retired officers from General Zinni on down who have expressed concerns [about Iraq].

"Are they all cowards?"

Of course not, but instead of anectdotal evidence, look a the systematic data. A Pew survey out this past week found a majority of American's thinking Iraq can be successfully transformed into a democracy.

Meanwhile, out of elites like media and business? 70-80% don't. The one exception (and largest of all groups surveyed)? Military elites, where 64% think it can.

Now, knowing this, should it be discounted because the military are detached from the very problem they're most responsibly charged with solving? On the contrary.

On this evidence, David, the shoe is on the other foot: there is reason for optimism precisely BECAUSE those most informed and closest to its solution are too.

It's the Doubting Thomases who are furthest from the ground we most ought to question.

11/19/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger T J Olson said...

David Bennett (above, not far from the top) cautions:
'[General Odom] is only one of a long line of retired officers from General Zinni on down who have expressed concerns [about Iraq].

"Are they all cowards?"

Of course not, but instead of anectdotal evidence, look a the systematic data. A Pew survey out this past week found a majority of American's thinking Iraq can be successfully transformed into a democracy.

Meanwhile, out of elites like media and business? 70-80% don't. The one exception (and largest of all groups surveyed)? Military elites, where 64% think it can.

Now, knowing this, should it be discounted because the military are detached from the very problem they're most responsibly charged with solving? On the contrary.

On this evidence, David, the shoe is on the other foot: there is reason for optimism precisely BECAUSE those most informed and closest to its solution are too.

It's the Doubting Thomases who are furthest from the ground we most ought to question.

11/19/2005 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

I was reading tonight an old article (The Clinton View of Iraq-al Qaeda Ties, From the December 29, 2003 / January 5, 2004 issue: Connecting the dots in 1998, but not in 2003.
by Stephen F. Hayes)
which relates to this whole issue of intelligence and motives and belief. The Clinton Administration suggested an Iraq-al Qaeda connection long before 9/11 when it targeted the bin Laden-financed al Shifa pharmaceutical plant for destruction.

The Clinton administration heavily emphasized the Iraq link to justify its 1998 strikes against al Qaeda. [snip] Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, one of those in the small circle of Clinton advisers involved in planning the strikes, briefed foreign reporters on August 25, 1998. He was asked about the connection directly and answered carefully.

Q: Ambassador Pickering, do you know of any connection between the so-called pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum and the Iraqi government in regard to production of precursors of VX?

PICKERING: Yeah, I would like to consult my notes just to be sure that what I have to say is stated clearly and correctly. We see evidence that we think is quite clear on contacts between Sudan and Iraq. In fact, al Shifa officials, early in the company's history, we believe were in touch with Iraqi individuals associated with Iraq's VX program.

And though Ambassador Bill Richardson called the targeting "one of the finest hours of our intelligence people", the news media, and not a few Republicans, were sceptical.

Press reports brimmed with speculation about bad intelligence or even the misuse of intelligence. In an October 27, 1999, article, New York Times reporter James Risen went back and reexamined the intelligence. He wrote: "At the pivotal meeting reviewing the targets, the Director of Central Intelligence, George J. Tenet, was said to have cautioned Mr. Clinton's top advisers that while he believed that the evidence connecting Mr. Bin Laden to the factory was strong, it was less than ironclad." Risen also reported that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had shut down an investigation into the targeting after questions were raised by the department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (the same intelligence team that raised questions about prewar intelligence relating to the war in Iraq).

Other questions persisted as well. Clinton administration officials initially scoffed at the notion that al Shifa produced any pharmaceutical products. But reporters searching through the rubble found empty aspirin bottles, as well as other indications that the plant was not used exclusively to produce chemical weapons. The strikes came in the middle of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, leaving some analysts to wonder whether President Clinton was following the conspiratorial news-management scenario laid out in "Wag the Dog," then a hit movie.

But the media failed to understand the case, according to Daniel Benjamin, who was a reporter himself before joining the Clinton National Security Council. "Intelligence is always incomplete, typically composed of pieces that refuse to fit neatly together and are subject to competing interpretations," writes Benjamin with coauthor Steven Simon in the 2002 book "The Age of Sacred Terror." "By disclosing the intelligence, the administration was asking journalists to connect the dots--assemble bits of evidence and construct a picture that would account for all the disparate information. In response, reporters cast doubt on the validity of each piece of the information provided and thus on the case for attacking al Shifa."

Now, however, there's a new wrinkle. Bush administration officials largely agree with their predecessors. "There's pretty good intelligence linking al Shifa to Iraq and also good information linking al Shifa to al Qaeda," says one administration official familiar with the intelligence.

And so it goes.

11/19/2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

Doug, if you're there, where's your blog? clicking on your name doesn't seem to lead me to you.

Still on this subject string of pre-war intelligence--I always find it amusing when so much energy is spent finding out how the American people "feel" about the war, as if that should be the primary sounding board for national policy.

For now, those days are behind us--that's pretty much how Pres. Clinton made ALL of his decisions. (I respect Clinton adviser Dick Morris' intelligence and political smarts, but I'm thankful HE'S NOT influencing policy anymore! To him, it's ALL about elections).

The LAST place I go to decide how I feel about policy, or national decision making, is to the polls, and for good reason. In the years leading to Pearl Harbor, Americans, still mostly isolationists (according to the POLLS), were against going to war against the Axis powers. FDR personally felt that helping to fight these evil regimes was the RIGHT thing to do, but he sat on his hands and used covert ways and "work around" to follow his principles, instead of having the moral courage to do the RIGHT thing. (I'm NOT an FDR fan, as you might gather).

Now, the polls show that Americans are no longer sure the war is a good thing. Unlike the previous administration, the present one uses poll numbers not to make decisions, but as a way of judging the state of their PR, and I much prefer that.

The opposition Party is the party of opposition. As a "Joe Normal," it seems obvious to me that everything the "opposition" does is not designed for the good of the country, or for the free world, instead they seem to see everything out there as fair political game. Almost mindlessly their tactics are: If GWB is FOR it, WE oppose it!

The bandwagon has shifted to a platform of anti-war (according to the polls), and despite the fact that NOTHING has changed, except for public support of the war, NOW THEY(the opposition) see it as time to find a way to similarly change THEIR position towards that same direction. Politically savvy? Yes. Morally bankrupt? Even more so.

I guess no one ever claimed that being good at politics is about doing the RIGHT thing.

11/20/2005 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

Hey Doug. Never mind! (sheepish grin)

11/20/2005 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Doesn't Murtha as an ex-Marine have the same moral equivalency as Cindy Sheehan as a grieving mother?

In both cases, I fail to see what either of them as human beings bring to the issues at hand.

In other words, if you're prejudiced and mistaken, then no title or description is going to change the fact that what you're advocating is wrong.

11/20/2005 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sorry, no blog worth linking to yet.
Yours is great!
Notice that even tho you say you are not an FDR fan, you included him with Washington and Lincoln in the top 3 when you were addressing the college kids there.
Although your sister seems to be living a life quite different than yours, you both have a refreshing way of being more open and personal than most of us manage in public writing.
Caught your comment on your sister's blog about the incident w/the drunk farmers dogs, the shotgun, truck & etc.
Back closer to the topic, I too am thankful GWB mostly ignores the Beltway Media Games, although I agree with many that he might have come out swinging earlier.
Sad tho that the Media are just Dem shills that don't even cover him when he DOES make the case.
Some posters still blame him for that, then knock him for wasting time "discrediting Murtha!"
Ya just can't win.
I think Murtha has done a fine job of discrediting himself.
Now he and the Dems are rewriting two day old history, saying he didn't say what he said.
(Immediate Pullout)
I'll be reading your blog, keep up the good work.
...maybe you can also become one of Wretchard's Phillipine reporters when they build out their world wide media empire!

11/20/2005 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Grace Nearing said...

Shinseki deserved to be mocked for a great many things, only the latest and greatest was the 500K troop requirement, or hence, the US could not go to war with Iraq.

Vercigetorix: Change the "could not" to "should not" -- we should not have gone on a regime change mission undermanned and underequipped.

Just think of this: how many forces did we send to Grenada? What was the ratio of US forces to the Grenadan combatants? Then work out the ratio of US to Iraqi forces.

No, Shinseki does not deserve to be mocked for giving an honest and expert opinion.

11/20/2005 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bob Hope on Murtha and Company.
(24 sec video)

11/20/2005 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

I think Usually Mellow has nailed it.

If you were a 'strategic planner' for the world, what would be your objectives? Well you wouldn't know (remember, you're not a rock star, you don't work for the MSM, and they crucified at least one of the last people who thought he knew), so you'd go a bit closer to home. Settle for feed the family, innoculate against disease. That'll do for starters.

Now decode it:

'Feed the family' = keep the oil supply running because we don't want the tractors to stop.

'Innoculate against disease' = remove militant Islam. (OK, I threw 'militant' in just to appear human.)

So my objectives are clear. But if the truth comes out that I want to survive (shame on me), tree huggers will hate me, beached-whale rescuers will tut-tut condescendingly, but forgivingly (well they're perfect).

What tactics? Think, think, think. I need a cover, I need a cover for my perfidity. Hey, what about WMD, great.

No, that was the mistake. Knowingly or unknowlingly (who cares), WMD wasn't true; no one cared about Saddam killing the Shiites and the Kurds; no one cares about introducing democracy to the ME as an abstract concept. Now we pay the price for pretending we do.

We invaded Iraq because we want to to survive and want our descendants to survive, but we couldn't tell anybody.

All the rest is posturing. Stop apologising for wanting to live, and playing the angles accordingly


11/20/2005 03:01:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...


Like the people trying to prove that the Pearl Harbor attack was a Roosevelt plot, the only emphasis is in the bias of the observer.

The correct historical parallel would be between the FDR KNEW and the Bush KNEW crowds, that is to say, through machiavellian benign neglect, both presidents allowed attacks to occur against our country, with Pearl Harbor allowing entry into WW2 and 9/11 allowing us to invade Afghanistan. I have never seen anything remotely credible for either KNEW theory.

The only way to make a credible historical parallel between Pearl Harbor and the WMD fiasco in Iraq would be if FDR had manufactured his casus belli by inventing the whole attack on Pearl Harbor and that a year or two into the Second World War, the people of the United States had found out that Pearl Harbor had never actually happened, it had all been a figment of their President’s imagination. Better historic analogies could be drawn between WMD’s and both the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the sinking of the Maine; although the major difference with our current problems is that in both former cases, they at least contained a kernel of truth; i.e. there actually was an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin and the Maine really did sink. In Iraq on the other hand, the WMD stories were pure fantasy, not a single atom of a single weapon was ever found nor was a single shred of credible evidence gathered that even suggested WMD’s existed in Iraq.

And besides if Iraq tried to buy more - and they did try, we know that - the only conclusion that could be reached was that they had used up what they had in producing fissionables and needed more. And that is the really important data.

But the IAEA inspectors were readmitted to Iraq in the Fall of 2002 and the first thing they did was check Saddam’s uranium supply:

32. All known procured, indigenously produced and practically recoverable uranium compounds which were not removed by 1994, in accordance with resolution 687 (1991), have remained in the custody of the IAEA, and are presently stored under IAEA seal. This includes the depleted uranium imported in 1979, natural uranium imported in 1979 and 1981–1982, low enriched uranium imported in 1982, yellow cake produced at the Al Qaim facility, uranium dioxide and uranium tetrachloride produced by the Al Jesira facilities, and uranium compounds produced at Tuwaitha. After the resumption of inspections in November 2002, verification of the nuclear material subject to IAEA safeguards which is stored in the nuclear material store of Tuwaitha “Location C”, was performed from 9 to 11 December 2002. The inspection activities (i.e. item counting, tag checks, gross defect tests, enrichment measurements and weighing) did not uncover any discrepancies.

The Bush Administration knew this well before the SOTU address in early 2003. The problem was that they had already launched their war sales jubilee with the arresting image of a smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud. Unfortunately the pesky UN had found every bit of Saddam’s uranium untouched. He had been sitting on top of at least two metric tons of the precious isotope U-235 (fifteen kilos is the rough critical mass for a simple U-235 atomic weapon with a neutron deflector) but he had made no attempts to separate it from the 498 metric tons of U-238 in which it lay. Bush made the mistake of worrying that the Democrats might find a spine and challenge him on this so, to muddy the waters, he again repeated the imaginative tale of Saddam trying to obtain yet more tonnage of +99% U-238 from Niger when he had already failed to separate a single atom of U-235 from the stash he already had possessed for four years free from the prying eyes of weapon inspectors.

11/20/2005 03:56:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Playay grrl

(I actually did forget to take my allergy meds this morning :) )

As for the discussion with Mr Reynolds about pre-war intelligence, I think in general it is a good idea to try something along those lines. The form in which they are actually going to do it seems highly objectionable to me however. The first question has to be what is the goal of such an event. If I were in charge, the goal would be to build up a database of knowledge on the all aspects of the question and to then make that database available to the on line public as a resourse. From what I can gather of the event as it is planned, OSM’s goal seems instead to be to build up Mr. Reynolds brand name. I mean who is he to be made the ringleader? What special knowledge does he possess? Why does one need a ringleader at all? They way to do it is to divide the subject into different categories (public sources, political framing, historical parallels, etc.) and to give people a week to submit essays and to comment on others. The most important aspect of this is that it should be done anonymously; people should be given numbers or something, so that people concentrate on the quality of the material presented and not on the names of the celebrity bloggers who are submitting. At the end the best-rated essayists in each category could perhaps write summaries and then all names could be revealed. The most important part would then be to put this collected knowledge at the disposal of all bloggers. Given OSM’s draconian, neo-fascist end user agreements, this is totally impossible. Rog and Chas seem destined to become the blogosphere equivalent of a black hole -- lots of work submitted -- none shared. A literal interpretation of their privacy demands would mean that a blogger could be sued if she actually reproduced a submitted essay on her own blog.

11/20/2005 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

"No, that was the mistake. Knowingly or unknowlingly (who cares), WMD wasn't true; no one cared about Saddam killing the Shiites and the Kurds; no one cares about introducing democracy to the ME as an abstract concept. Now we pay the price for pretending we do.

We invaded Iraq because we want to to survive and want our descendants to survive, but we couldn't tell anybody.

All the rest is posturing. Stop apologising for wanting to live, and playing the angles accordingly


I think the politics of the USA is confusing the world..

The battle has been joined....

If Saddam Had only murdered 400,000 people, that would have been enough

If Saddam Had only raped other Arab countries, that would have been enough

If Saddam Had only funded suicide bombers, that would have been enough

If Saddam Had only attacked Israel, that would have been enough

If Saddam Had only burned oil wells and created a world eco-crime, that would have been enough

If Saddam Had only gassed the Kurds, that would have been enough

If Saddam Had only shot at US air forces on patrol, that would have been enough

If Saddam Had only thrown out the UN inspectors, that would have been enough

and so on, and so on.....

the arguement going on now is ONLY politics..

we are NOT leaving Iraq, we have not left Germany or Japan and it's been 50 YEARS...

11/20/2005 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Cheer up terrorists, Representative Murtha says we will be out of Iraq by the elections of 2006. (He was just on Meet The Press.)

Hang in there. Time is on your side.

11/20/2005 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger betsybounds said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/20/2005 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Osama may be proven correct when he made that statement that America is a 'paper tiger'. If we leave Iraq in disgrace, and the region becomes Taliban-like - it will prove to be our Ultimate undoing. No longer will we be willing to project our power, and we will quake at the mere mention of the word 'insurgent'. When every military operation becomes a quagmire, what politician will ever go into a protracted war?

11/20/2005 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Duce said...

Very good detai, but will the truth every be declassified?

11/20/2005 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Grace, the entire point is moot...Shinseki was not mocked by the administration.

I am mocking him.

500,000 troops are the entire army. We have held Iraq with 150,000 troops and pushed into Sunni areas even Saddam never controlled. Shinseki was wrong at least on that account.

Shinseki was wrong because what mattered was not the combat power but the willingness to use it. We never pushed into Fallujah, not because we didn't have the troops, or at least not that alone, but because the US didn't want to get 'bogged' down in fighting an insurgency, just like we let the head-liberating "freedom fighters" have Mosques as free areas because we didn't want to alienate anyone. We had plenty of combat power, but we never used it, that's the original sin.

Shinseki was a third rate general, without imagination and certainly a pampered-prince politician in a uniform, exactly what is wrong with today's military. He is not the solution. And as much as you might want to believe the opposite, mass never wins engagements without blood, velocity does. Add four times the troops, you'll get four time the casualties, just from accidents alone (already a large portion of the casualties in Iraq).

But what do I know, maybe Gen. "Elite forces wear berets, so if I give the entire army french-chapeaus, the entire army will be elite. Yay!" Shinseki is right. Probably not.

11/20/2005 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Leave in disgrace...
Battle for survival...
No WMD ....

There is no serious call for surrender, not even Mr Murtha calling for leaving in disgrace. Just a change in US strategy. If the Adninistration's Policy was better understood, explained honestly by the Administration to the Public, the current situation could have been easily avoided.

I've read the Authorization for Use of Force. US National Survival is not discussed. Changing the political climate in ME is not discussed. Scaring Iran with prepositioned force is not discussed. War on Mohammedanism us not discussed. When the Authorization was first floated, it was for a Regional Authorization, that language was quickly stripped from the Law. The Authorization, by those changes, explicitly limits US Goals.

Those original Goals may have just been politically expedient at the time, they have become the Law, now.

Iraq complying with UN Resolutions is mentioned, as is surporting an "emerging democracy". Funny thing is, those where as's Goals have been met.
But the War does not end, Mission Creep rules the day.
If the US really has greater and grander Goals, well, those must be debated and voted upon, or at least should be.

As I've said before, the US cannnot be ruled with winks and nods. That style of governess has come to bite the Adimin in the butt.

There were small amounts of WMD found. There were centrifuges found, though not nearly in quanities required for bomb production. The chemical plants in Iraq were, without doubt, dual purpose capable.

As to Mr Murtha, he is much more credible than Ms Sheehan. He is a Marine, he is the ranking member of the House Military Appropriations Committee, He has the CURRENT intelligence and has come to a different conclusion, based on that intel, than the President. Ms Sheehan has only emotion, Mr Murtha has, along with the Administration, access to classified US intelligence resources and a well of experience that is deeper than most.
He is a Representitive of around 600,000 people, Ms Sheehan represents herself.

11/20/2005 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...


The 'politicians' needn't worry, because they may apparently, with impunity, change their minds later to suit popular whim.

But your point is well taken. Any future President should be forgiven now for declining to engage in any operation that might entail a long-term commitment. Any would-be ally should be forgiven for distrusting our will to commit. And any enemy should be excused for capitalizing on a foreign policy subject to the changing vagaries of public and political support.

11/20/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Fabio said...

desert rat,

You also have to consider how the enemy will perceive an eventual retreat from Iraq. And there is little doubt that they will see it as a victory for their side, whether it is or not in objective terms.

11/20/2005 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

s. sir

I was watching the story of the Hmong in Laos on Discovery, I remember the Shia uprising in southern Iraq, I recall the termination of Vietnam's President Diem's rule.
If I was a foreign power I'd be leery of US promises, based on past US performance.

11/20/2005 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

It may be that the Authorization was silent on the issue of regional strategic goals, but the fact is the invasion of Iraq has radically changed the strategic and political realities of the region, and a discussion of the situation without respect to that change only illustrates the imposition of illusion and error on the discussion if left to the limits of law, irrespective of the moral arguments for such a limitation.

The question is what would be the likely effect of a pullout now in this new context?

My completely amateur opinion is - without reference to US positions - the Sunnis would bristle in all-out war; the Shiite militias would seize the southern towns, in which there would be a intramural battle for dominane; the Kurds and Arabs in the north would quickly come to blows, with the Peshmerga probably asserting dominance and some at least low grade ethnic cleansing occurring, partly as revenge for years of Arabization under Saddam. Iran, well-entrenched among the Badr Brigade, SCIRI and other factions, would gradually co-opt the Southern regions especially close to their border. Whether this would foment a general rejection of Persian rule among that southern province of Arabs in Iran - are they Shiite? - and their cousins in Iraq is anyone's guess. Iran's secret agencies must be proficient, though, and their success, Eastern Bloc style, cannot be ruled out. Obviously the central political process wold collapse under the stress, if not under the loss of legitimacy/authority conferred by US/British presence. There would obviously be an increased number of massacres, loss of media view, infiltration of jihadis on a grander scale.

Because the presumption that self-destroyed Iraq - I'm speaking of prior to our invasion even in 1991 - is a Vietnam with a conquering North waiting to subsume it and fight off external threats like Camdobia and China is just stupid. The thing is a collection of tribes, barely connected even by infrastructure, let alone political sentiment, let alone national sentiment. Nor is there a single dominant revolutionary sentiment. Though these sentiments do exist, in a condition of accute crisis the "reversion to form" that would occur would be a reversion to vast fragmentation as has always obtained among Arabs in the absence of a single (at least regional) charismatic authority.

A strategy urging immediate or precipitate withdrawl is a strategy for abandoning Iraq to its natural fate - precisely the kind of thing we are shepherding them away from, however painful it may be to us. The whole purpose of the present endeavor is, as in Afghanistan, to develop representative governments more receptive of modern essentially institutional ideas. One of the presumptions of such a project is that the regional actors are BOTH incapable of doing it themselves and lacking a sufficient set of conditions to exert the will to do it. That's why providing this shocking/awakening moment of invading and staying and helping and sacrificing is, considering the options, a reasonable strategy: there is no other way. Look at the region, look at the region, look at the region. They don't have to stop being Arab, or Muslim, or any of that; they only must adopt a more competent, effective and efficient institutional scheme and the minority sentiment of cooperation and flexibility that such a scheme initially requires. Obviously the political transformation is succeeding. Obviously you can't have a stable country when you have carbombers and IEDs litering the cities and highways. But without our presence there there is going to be far more and far worse than that and absolutely no hope of avoiding the tendency toward institutional Islamism in the region that this whole thing is ultimately meant to reduce and reverse.

Yeah it's obviously an enormous gamble - which is why this opposition is amazingly dangerous. Even Murtha just said on Meet the Press that he doesn't believe Bush r any presence would intentionally lie us into a - what - war for oil.


11/20/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Which enemy, fabio?
The Sunni Insurgents?
The Big Z and his cohort of foreigners?
The Golden Chain financers?
The enemy of the US, per the Law, is Saddam's Iraq. That enemy is gone, the threat diminished or destroyed.

If we have "new" enemies, we need "new" strategies.

If we are towait until the ME is "secure", before declaring victory, we will be there forever, which may well be the required solution.
We would need a new Law.

If the Administration is afraid of the debate they are on shaky ground. If they are not assured of their position and facts based on Current Intelligence, if they cannot explain their Policy, it may well be the wrong Policy.

11/20/2005 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

you take the absolute worse case scenario and present it as the alternate option to what is occurring today.

If you check out there are multiple open source reports of US operations.
Add up the numbers. 2,000 troops here, 1,500 there, on and on.
The ongoing Operations do not require 158,000 US troops. To draw down to 90,000+/- US troops over the next six to twelve months IS the plan.
It is already Public knowledge, the Congress HAS been briefed.
The US Public should be made better aware of it as well.

11/20/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is a link to Bill Roggio's site.

11/20/2005 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In Israel the Labor Party has dumped on the Sharon Government. General Elections should be held there in March (FOX News)

11/20/2005 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

For many people the debate on whether Saddam was a threat hinges on their grasp of the nature of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The most obstinate limit the discussion of WMD to conventional nuclear weapons — i.e., a warhead deliverable by ICBM or advanced fighter-bomber. But two incidents in the 1980’s hint at the real dimensions of the problem. Coincidentally in each case, in Brazil and Mexico, scavengers dismantled abandoned therapeutic radiotherapy machines, and broke open the cannisters containing highly radioactive material that was the source of the X-rays used to bombard cancer-patients’ tumors. In Brazil, many hundreds of residents of a neighborhood were contaminated by exposure to pellets of radioactive metal, some seriously. The pellets were distributed widely enough that many hundreds of neighbors were exposed. Unable to guage the exposure of the thousands of people in the neighborhood, Brazilian medical authorities set up follow-up medical exams and treatment for the community, to continue for several decades.

In Mexico, the contamination affected individuals more severely because the radioactive material Cesium 137 was in powder form. One of the original scavengers and several members of his family died from the radiation they absorbed. Additionally, besides contaminating a number of friends and neighbors, powder from the breached cannister contaminated thousands of pounds of scrap steel that had been manufactured into construction rebar, which all had to be tracked down and recovered. In fact, it was only when radioactive rebar on a truck set off detectors at a U.S. research facility that the contamination was discovered and carefully traced back to its source in a Mexican scrapyard.

Consider the response of Congress when a single letter containing anthrax spores was detected in mail to a representative. The disruption that could be accomplished by bio-contamination or a “dirty bomb” is potentially similar to that of New Orleans after Katrina. Not so much outright deaths, as chaotic disorder and panic. Multiple experiences may give citizens a better ability to assess danger and respond accordingly, but at present, we tend to run in circles flapping our arms and shrieking.

Meanwhile, a quantity of Anthrax spores sufficient to kill tens of thousands of people can be stored in a five gallon cannister.

That is the essence of the WMD problem.

11/20/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger NN said...

Yes, the deterrence factor cannot be overstressed. In view of this, OIF is a failure. By taking on a lesser threat (Iraq) while leaving potentially greater ones unharmed (Iran), the Bush administration comes across as weak.

Honking my own horn, read it here.

11/20/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

As we struggle to classify, categorize, and incorporate the lessons of Iraq into our institutional memory, our enemies grow emboldened by our doubt and inertia.

I use to think the joke was on them. The joke, it seems, is on those who must clean up the cafeteria after the children stop the food fight. Unfortunately, when the chaos dies down, there will be bodies amongst the foul and rotten debris.

When the histories are written, they will record that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, and Americans masturbated.

11/20/2005 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Here is David Warren's, a Canadian, view of the current situation. He claims to be a Tory.

"...I begin to understand why the Bush administration so hesitated to defend itself, from the wild charges being made against its Iraq policy. Commentators, at least on the Right, were pulling their hair in frustration. And even on the pro-Bush Left: Christopher Hitchens told me, the other evening, that the reason he goes to such provocative lengths to defend the U.S. President and his foreign policy is that the guy "doesn't seem to do it himself".
Mr. Hitchens, and Salman Rushdie, though the most famous, are incidentally far from the only supporters the Bush Doctrine has had on the Left. Nor, as Mr. Hitchens is also wont to explain, is President Bush short of enemies on the Old Right, from the Brent Scowcroft Beltway school of "realpolitik", to the isolationist heartland. The view that Americans had better leave tar-babies alone, and that "stability" is the only value they should pursue in the oil-bearing Middle East, is rife not only outside the government, but throughout State Department and CIA. Whereas Mr. Hitchens, who describes himself as "not necessarily not still a Marxist", applauds Bush and Blair for being "on the right side of history", carrying the torch of democracy and secular modernity to the world's most intransigent states. ..."

The best paragraph, well the most humorous for me:

"... What I'm getting at here, is that the Bush Doctrine of physical intervention against the worst evils, while seeding democracy on Mesopotamia's irrigated plain, can be defended or attacked from several points of view. The doctrine's principal defence has lain with its author, however, and over the last few years, he has done a good job of keeping it to himself. ..."

The entire peice is at Realclearpolitics

11/20/2005 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

By the way, poster Kevin has completely distorted the issue of the 500 tons of yellowcake that were known to reside in storage in Iraq from 1991.

The unbroken seals on those containers in no way proves that Saddam was no longer continuing to develop his nuclear weapons program. It only proves that he did not need THOSE CANNISTERS of yellowcake. In fact, that he had that store of yellowcake dramatically points out that he was at all times able to acquire Uranium despite the attempts of the world community to constrain him.

The publicity value to Saddam of maintaining the seals on those stored cannisters is that delusional apologists like Kevin point to that as proof that he was not using that batch of Uranium Oxide, whatever other evidence comes to light.

Some 1.7 metric tons of enriched Uranium have recently been discovered in Iraq, presumably refined from sources other than the 500 tons of yellowcake Kevin tells us PROVE Saddam had abandoned his pursuit of nuclear weapons technology.

11/20/2005 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is no Caesar on the horizon.
No Legion is marching on the Senate.
The Republic stands.

The essence of Republican Government is consent of the Governed. Even Caesar saw the need to rally the People to his Standard, and he was a tyrant.
A self proclaimed living God, no less.

11/20/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/20/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Desert Rat,

No, there is no Caesar. Yet.

History tells a cautionary tale about gross incompetence. When a society sues its entire government for negligence, entropy is introduced into the system. Structures and supports become brittle. Bad things happen.

Let me tell you. If we get hit hard by WMD, and the vendors in Washington sell only apologetic and ignoble retreat or a reactionary nuke-them-all militancy, our society will shatter into tiny pieces of vehement dogmatism, and we will fail.

In such a situation is a Caesar born. In such a way do Republics fall.

11/20/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'm not sure how you feel about Howard Fineman, but he writes this about the White House staff and the current PR fiasco:
" ... But White House aides concede that they, too, were at fault for having assumed that Bush was personally unassailable and that events—and explanations of them—would take care of themselves. A war-room defense was "something we did well during the campaign," said Nicolle Wallace, Bush's communications director. "Maybe incorrectly, we had hoped or presumed that wouldn't be necessary after the election."

It is. The war room now is back, staffed with many of the same people who ran it in 2004, led by the Boy Genius himself, Karl Rove. ... "

Then there is in the same article this little tidbit about Mr Murtha:
" ... And few members of Congress return from visits to Iraq buoyant about the likelihood of ending the insurgency any time soon without a massive infusion of additional American troops that, according to Murtha, would require the reinstitution of the draft. "I saw how discouraged these commanders were," the congressman told NEWSWEEK. "They say what the White House wants them to say, but they don't have enough troops to secure the border." ..."

The infamous border, which we have discussed at length, previously.
The challenge is , as verc said at 8:08 "...because what mattered was not the combat power but the willingness to use it. ..."

Our Forces were not set to the task, they sat in barracks and waited. I've gotten my own USMC after action report, from the Front, in Fallujah, Iraq.
My intel is as least as good as most, first hand reporting from a trusted source.

Mr Fineman's article at

11/20/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Fineman's article @ .com.

11/20/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

The only goal in Washington is smugness, and it is pursued with a cravenness known only to the addicted. Like the heroin addict who neglects his body in his obsession with momentary release, our elected addicts are neglecting the well-being of the body politic, accelerating a degeneration that is completely avoidable.

We will still win, I think. But we will win despite our current leaders, not because of them.

11/20/2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Supposably al-Zarqawi has been killed. Refer to:

I saw it first on "Little Green Footballs".

Needless to say, news like this requires the 72 hour rule before being believed in.

11/20/2005 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

short and to the point, wonder which TV network reported this.

All the more reason for Mr Bush to visit the Green Zone, by motorcade from the Airport, in Jan '06.

Taking Senators McCain and Clinton with him.

11/20/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

There is a parallel, in my opinion, between WWII and the current World War vs the Islamofacists. There were widespread conspiracy theories that FDR had colluded in the attack on Pearl Harbor in order to involve the US with its full heart and soul behind the war. I have read a lot of what has been published about this and have concluded that FDR did indeed realize that an attack was imminent, but that he did not know exactly where it would occur or how devastating it would be. It is however curious, that the vital fighting heart of the US Navy was safely out of harms way at the crucial moment. I have always chalked this up to blind chance favoring the US, others have differing opinions. The facts are that if the paricular ships that were destroyed had not been destroyed, the chances are that the Admiral in charge would have sailed off into the sunset, met the Jap Navy at sea and had his ass handed to him. There is no doubt that at that time that the Imperial Japanaese Navy was vastly better. Be that as it may, WWII was the right war at the right time, and if it was FDR's evil plotting that induced Yamamoto to make what he himself knew was a monumental error, then more power and credit to FDR.

Similarly, the war in IraQ is the right war, in the right place, at the right time and if George Bush cherry picked intelligence to get it going, in the long run of history it should be to his credit. In fact I have a hard time beleiving that either FDR or GWB was sufficiently Machiavellian (spelling?) to pull these things off. FDR got away clean because being a Democrat, he was a media darling, even in those days and because he dumped Kimmel and Short into the fire as scapegoats to divert blame from himself. I think GWB could have similarly found scapegoats for the errors that have undoubtedly occurred, but probably being somewhat more honorable than this Democratic predessesor, he has simply kept his mouth shut for the most part. That may have been an error, in that he did not until recently counter attack the idiotarian left that is the source of this nonsense.

11/20/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

hey if my scenario's far fetched then sure - i'm with you. that's all i'm concerned about.

11/20/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Moqtada does seem to be able to get his people out onto the street quickly, though.

11/20/2005 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It goes back. dan, to defining victory.
When is enough, enough?

For the National Government to enjoy a monopoly of force within Iraq, the Militias will have to be disarmed.
The Shia Militias could have as many as 40,000+ armed members. The Kurds about 20,000, give or take.

It seems we are now engaged militarily against the Sunni Militia, we are almost done with them.
What comes next?
Is it our responsibility to disarm those Shia and Kurd militias?
How can the Iraqi Government be secure as long as those Militias exist as armed forces?

11/20/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee's point:
No matter what titles, credentials, or history, someone still is whoever he or she is.

Desert 'Rat's "response:"
More titles, credentials, and history.
Murtha remains a corrupt, sellout Dem, who cheats, LIES, and carries on, even when the welfare of our troops and the nation are at stake.

Your rewriting of what he MEANT
(when he was lying, or telling the "truth" about what he said???)
when he comes up with his politically and personally motivated crappola,
remains crappola,
no matter how you slice it.
"It's Bush's Fault"
mantra is becoming as tired as
"No WMD's, No WMD's, No WMD's,"
"Bush Lied, People Died"
Maybe a closet MoveOn Man?

11/20/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Right - that's what I'm saying though: my answer to that question is that it can't. As in Palestine, as in Northern Ireland, as in many other places it seems, armed militias do not willingly disarm themselves - and that's when it's basically one group against a nascent national government. What happens when there are several, and no supreme force to act as arbiter? The "international community" obviously cannot provide it to any level of satisfaction for the people on the ground, absent our help.

11/20/2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes points in his 9:36 AM, post do a good job of describing my perspective on the situation.

If you, like Trish was so fond of doing, want to comb through Anti-Bush writers of greater or lesser repute,
from Juan Cole and EJ Dionne to Howard Fineman,

quote characters ranging from Cynthia Jew Hating McKinney to Mr. Murtha,

Just don't expect me to spend my time sifting through all their garbage to get to some "point."

Your "point" seems to be that ALL responsibility belongs on GWB's shoulders.
You could be right,
I think that is a warped way to "describe" the situation.
I consider it mental masturbation of the sort Aristedes points to above.

11/20/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Because I agree with Nicolle Wallace, Bush's communications director, when she says. "Maybe incorrectly, we had hoped or presumed that wouldn't be necessary after the election."
I become a moveon'er, doug.

Then they say it a defensive tactic, their 'War Room'. That symbolizes in a word their trouble, defensive.
The White House should be on Offense, not defense. Offense in Iraq, offense on the Hill, offense in the PR war.
The best Defense is a "Good Offense"
The White House and the Generals are doing their best to "manage" the War. The quotes by Combat Commanders are at Roggio's site.
The fight has not been "taken" to the enemy, either at home or abroad.
Whom else is at fault for walking into an ambush, but the leader of the team?

11/20/2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Grace Nearing said...

Verci: Well, since the war is still ongoing, I don't think the point is moot.

Yes, speed is important, no denying that. But once the war shifted from invasion and overthrow to occupation and pacification, then manpower, not speed, became critical. Because of that lack of manpower Iraqis were able to raid unsecured munitions depots; it's why the borders have never been secured (except, reportedly, on election days); it's why establishing a reliable Iraqi military force has been so slow; it's why reconstruction projects have been hindered by "security problems"; it's why basic power and water services have been so erratic; and on and on.

Just think how long it has taken US forces to reasonably secure one road from Baghdad to the airport! That alone is a GIANT CLUE.

Personally, I still think Shinski's estimates of needed troop strength were far more realistic than those of Wolfowitz, who curiously seemed to tire of the good fight awfully fast, didn't he.

If the US had a credible coalition of allies -- not just a coalition useful for PR purposes only -- then we could have gotten closer to Shinseki's estimates. And the fact that we couldn't develop a credible coalition is a GIANT CLUE too.

Oh well, Togo did the best it could.

11/20/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bring in the IAEA inspectors:
From what Kevin says,
they really have their
stuff together.

11/20/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rat says,
"Then they say it a defensive tactic, their 'War Room'. That symbolizes in a word their trouble, defensive.
The White House should be on Offense, not defense.

Offense in Iraq, offense on the Hill, offense in the PR war.
The best Defense is a "Good Offense"

The White House and the Generals are doing their best to "manage" the War.
Why didn't you just say that before!

11/20/2005 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I still maintain my (superior) position with regard to characters like Murtha and Co.
His lies are confirmable by audiotape by checking merely 2 days of his different versions.

However you slice that, he is not credible.

Also don't see the point in rejecting all points and perspectives on the present reality other than Bush's shortcomings.

The fact that he makes mistakes does not excuse the perfidy of others so prevalent in the DEM/MSM cabal.
They are not on our side.

11/20/2005 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

building to the cresendo

11/20/2005 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...


Clinton lied, people died.

You don't hear that much, but it's the opinion of some (perhaps most notably, C. Hitchens) that the destruction of the al Shifa pharmaceutical plant was based on faulty or manipulated intelligence mistakenly indicating it was being used to make VX. (See my comment at 10:40 PM)

Personally, I don't know the truth of the matter and don't pretend to. So I'm willing to give the former President the benefit of the doubt and believe he acted honestly based on the best information available at the time.

Maybe there's a parallel to be drawn with more recent events. I'm just sayin', you know?

11/20/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Who can say where we would be if the cabal were not lying turncoats?

I concede we'd be in a better position if Bush played offense,

Can you concede that we'd be in a better position now if the cabal put our nation's interests FIRST?

11/20/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That was it 'Rat,
Kinda anticlimactic,

11/20/2005 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rat tries to beg off admitting we'd be better off with different behavior from the DEM/MSM cabal.
(sneaky Rat)

11/20/2005 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The two nations most dependent on ME supplied oil are...
India & China.
India has a large and capable military and have been fighting Mohammedans for ages.
If faced with major US withdrawal and instability in the Region, would they not be more willing to participate? The same goes for the Chinese.
Perhaps more "Foreign Support" would step up, if we stepped a bit further away.

11/20/2005 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Whom else is at fault for walking into an ambush, but the leader of the team? "
When the CIC is repeatedly stabbed in the back in public while he is overseas by a lying Marine and a well known ex president,
well amplified by their allies in the MSM,

Good Question!


11/20/2005 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Lying Congressperson,"

Apologies to the Marines.

11/20/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

mad fiddler,

Iraq imported 1.767 metric tons of low enriched uranium (LEU, between 12 and 20% U-235) from Italy in 1982. The US took it out of Iraq in 2004.

In order to show that Saddam had a nuclear program, the LEU would have had to been further enriched; in other words its percentage of U-235 would have needed to go up. It didn’t.

In its heyday (the late eighties) the Iraqi uranium enrichment program produced 640 grams of 7% enriched uranium.

11/20/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey Kev,
Are Chemical and Biological weapons sometimes considered to be WMDs?

11/20/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The opposition is the opposition, doug. They have been and will continue to be. One must read their opinions and enjoy their logic, or the our team could easily be led into an ambush.

Would it be better if they did not oppose, perhaps. Still when Mr Bush enjoyed major across the board support our troops still sat in the barracks, in Iraq, waiting.

The politics of the US, it's players and rules are pretty much no holds barred.
By any number of measures the US Government does not take the current Mohammedan Wars very seriously, so why would or should it effect Political battles for control of the Government?
The "war" becomes another piece to be played in the "Great Game".
Rome was a pauper compared to US.

11/20/2005 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Are Chemical and Biological weapons sometimes considered to be WMDs?

Yes Doug they are, not only that but according to Wikipedia: cactus needles are too!

In US jurisprudence, the term has been expanded through use of 18 U.S.C. 2332a and the associated 18 U.S.C. 921 to include devices containing virtually any toxic agent or explosive in excess of a quarter of an ounce (7 grams). Indictments and convictions for possession and use of pipe bombs, shoe bombs, cactus needles coated with botulin toxin, etc. have obtained under the statute

11/20/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

In order to show that Saddam had a nuclear program, the LEU would have had to been further enriched; in other words its percentage of U-235 would have needed to go up.

Who gives a crap?

The onus was on Saddam Hussein to fully co-operate with the inspection regimen set up to show he was in compliance with the terms of the first Gulf War cease-fire. No, strike that. The onus was on Saddam to show that he was in compliance. Did he do that? No. Did he even attempt to do it? No. Did he do everything within his (admittedly constrained) ability to subvert attempts to prove his compliance? Yes.

You got it entirely backwards, bud. In order to show that Saddam did not have a nuclear program he had to show he did not have a nuclear program. Instead, he did everything he could to reinforce the suspicion that he did.

11/20/2005 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gee, I thought in previous wars, and prior to "presidents" Carter and Clinton,
ex-presidents held their tongues regarding the Current CIC.

Hmm, (again)

Has the new MoveOn Standard for ex presidents now become the permanent new standard.
Seems like standards have fallen a bit.
...but some would say, no difference between Carter, Clinton, and GWB,
I disagree.

11/20/2005 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think I understand the enemy on the home front better than you, 'Rat.
Thus I would never say the things you've written about Murtha in the way you have.

That would be falling into the trap of believing their LIES.
(while spouting their credentials as though they are being sincere)

11/20/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


On December 9-11th 2002 Saddam did just that, he gave the IAEA inspectors access to all the uranium that they had decided to leave in Iraq after the 1991 war. Nothing had been touched, no uranium had been enriched, all the amounts and weights matched perfectly.

Sorry but the onus is not now on Saddam to prove he didn’t have a WMD program, his ass is sitting in the jail under the airport formerly known as Saddam International; the onus is on those who drank too much of the WMD Kool-Aid and can’t seem to piss it out of their system to prove that Iraq did have a WMD program. For someone to claim that Iraq had a nuclear program post 1991 they must show that Saddam either enriched or attempted to enrich uranium or that he had, or attempted to build, a nuclear reactor that could produce plutonium. Otherwise it’s just more hot air.

11/20/2005 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

For someone to claim that Iraq had a nuclear program post 1991 they must show...

Kevin, you still just don't get it, do you?

No-one other than Saddam EVER had to show anything. That Saddam did his best NOT to show what he did or did not have was and remains the only relevant point.

11/20/2005 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I do not think Mr Bush has lied, I do not think that Mr Murtha is lying, either.

Mr Bush will need to drive Route Irish, meet the Iraqi Presidient and Prime Minister, and
and the already planned troop draw down.

At the same time our best and blackest will need to snatch or kill Dr Z and Osama.

11/20/2005 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Bill Clinton secures his legacy:

"I supported the Iraq thing" before I unsupported it.

11/20/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


I’m trying my best to work here with you so please be patient with my confusion.

So what you are saying is that the fact that Saddam had no WMD’s is irrelevant, the war was all about Saddam not being deferential enough towards the UN? We invaded because his policies didn’t pass the “global test”? We sent the tanks rolling towards Baghdad after he refused give the UN a veto over Iraqi national security? If only he had just showed a little more respect towards Kofi all of this could have been avoided? Two thousand and one hundred US soldiers have died restoring the fallen honor of the UN.

Wow that’s a new one.

11/20/2005 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Murtha, Day 1:
Makes some ignornant statements about VP being a chickenhawk.

Murtha, Day 2:
Says he didn't call for our immediate withdrawal.
Democrat liars promote his lie as truth.
'Rat derides Bush for "defaming Murtha."

You come off as Mr. Moral Equivalence when you argue as though there is no substantive difference in his behavior than that of GWB.
Once again, I disagree.

Same goes for Clinton, see sirius_sir's post.
Carter is if anything, worse.

11/20/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, Kev,
Is Kerosene considered a super powerful chemical weapon?

11/20/2005 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It was Mr Bush's Press Secretary, not the President, that tried to tie Mr Murtha to M. Moore. The President said this morning that Mr Murtha is in bounds, just wrong.
The Press Secretary, that boy is not what he should be. The Peresident needs a J.D. Hayworth clone in that position.

Hopefully the head will be identified as being the mortal remains of mini Z.
That would be great news.
It would, of course, be Mr Bush's fault, too.

11/20/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Coincidence? Powerline reports the following letter printed in Jordanian newspaper by Z's family, and less than 48 hours later, he's being reported dead. That tribal thing is *wayyyy* more powerful than I realized.

* * *

The Democrats Aren't Paying Attention, But...

...the war in Iraq is steadily being won. And, since the terrorists in general and al Qaeda in particular have chosen to make conquering Iraq their number one priority, the victory is far more important than the original ousting of Saddam and his Baathists. The latest evidence that things are going our way appeared today in the form of advertisements in three Jordanian newspapers, paid for by 57 of al-Zarqawi's relatives, including his brother:

"The family of al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, reiterated their strong allegiance to Jordan's King Abdullah II in half-page advertisements in the kingdom's three main newspapers. Al-Zarqawi threatened to kill the king in an audiotape released Friday .

'A Jordanian doesn't stab himself with his own spear," said the statement by 57 members of the al-Khalayleh family, including al-Zarqawi's brother and cousin. "We sever links with him until doomsday.'

The statement is a serious blow to al-Zarqawi, who no longer will enjoy the protection of his tribe and whose family members may seek to kill him.

'As we pledge to maintain homage to your throne and to our precious Jordan ... we denounce in the clearest terms all the terrorist actions claimed by the so-called Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, who calls himself Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,' the family members said.

'We announce, and all the people are our witnesses, that we - the sons of the al-Khalayleh tribe - are innocent of him and all that emanates from him, whether action, assertion or decision.

The statement said anyone who carried out such violence in the kingdom does not enjoy its protection."

* * *

Now ... tell me again about how Pakistan has NOT been sheltering bin Laden for the last 4 years.

11/20/2005 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

From sirius_sir's Clinton link:

"But you also have to say, 'Well, my first responsibility now is to try everything possible to make sure that this terrorist network and other terrorist networks cannot reach chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material. I've got to do that.'

"That's why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for."

As we said, a man can change his mind.

It's unfortunate, however, that a former President couldn't leave policy differences at the water's edge.
And Mr. Clinton would do well to consider that while it's one thing for Senators to grasp at poll numbers to win an election, it's quite another for a former President to give them political cover.
Mr. Clinton's remarks will only make it harder for the next Democratic President--maybe his own wife--to lead the country during wartime.

11/20/2005 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

The Second Persian Gulf War, also known as the
Iraq War,
Mar.–Apr., 2003, was a largely U.S.-British invasion of Iraq. In many ways the final, delayed campaign of the First Persian Gulf War, it arose in part because the Iraqi government failed to cooperate fully with UN weapons inspections in the years following the first conflict.

Really, Kevin? This comes as news to you?

11/20/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Please get back on thread.
The subject of this thread is how much better GWB
and woulda done, if he had only followed the good advice of the posters here and the left wing "patriots" they are so fond of posting.
Next thing you know, you'll be posting some crap from your dentist friend in Baghdad that claims Murtha gave comfort to the enemy.
What would he know?

11/20/2005 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Clinton is still the real head of the Dems hydra. Their last sitting President. His wife the Senator from New York is often touted as the leading Dem Presidential contender for '08.
But you know that.
Mr Clinton is shillng for the M. Moore wing of his Party. This cements his bona fides with the Bush hating Left. His wife sits, unheard from, in the Center Right, wink & nod.

11/20/2005 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think Kev got lost in the details of all those important UN things he posted here.
Maybe he's too busy running the Al Bardai for UN Secretary Campaign.

11/20/2005 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But is Murtha responsible for his lies, or is he a victim of old Hydra Head Himself?
Will Bush or his Father trash President Hillary the way Carter and Clinton do Bush.

Is it all the the same, ME Rat?

11/20/2005 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Desert Rat,
Read this interview with Murtha and make up your mind.
Murtha presumes lack of enthusiam in the Commander in Iraq.
It is worth remembering he has been a Democrat longer than he was a Marine.

11/20/2005 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Voltimand said...

Just wanted to get on this thread a recent, very-well-taken point made by Hanson:

(In paraphrase, and somewhat expanded): on the matter of whether or not XYZ rogue state has WMDs and is willing to use them, it's a question of where the burden of proof should lie.

Should it lie on those who argue that these states have/will have WMDs and that in either case, want to have them? The liberals hold to this position: if you can't prove that they have and will use them, then there is no WMD threat.

Or should it lie on such states to show that they do not have them?

Hanson's position is of course the latter.

And this points up the fact that "possession of WMDs" is not by itself a meaningful criterion. It's a bit like the gun-control argument: who does the killing, the gun or the person who owns/holds the gun?

Clearly, for both Hanson and in the end for the Bush administration and those who support it, the decisive point is not the possession of the gun, it's the attitude, values, and purposes of the person owning the gun (or WMD) that counts. Would Saddam Hussein use WMDs? Answer of course is already given in that he has already done so.

There's something peculiarly, and shallowly, literalistic in left-wing obsessions with The Big 38-Caliber Revolver Buried (or not buried) Under Some Iraqi Mattress. As in: "If they got the gun, then it's OK to start thinking about maybe doing something about it. But if they don't have the gun, then oh boy, Bush lied.

W.'s point about the geopolitical dimension that expands in all directions from the WMDs at the center--this dimension's being absent from public discussion--is I think central here. I think it's because the public and the liberals simply don't have the military and geopolitical sophistication to talk about such things. All of which comes down to the notion, I suppose, that the globe's general public is not yet sophisticated enough to think seriously about the Hows and Whys of the Islamist terrorist threat.

But Hanson's putting the question of who bears the burden of proof in a world where WMDs are on the global market along with tee-shirts, and can be transmitted almost as easily, this seems to me to be a crucial point for discussion and elucidation.

11/20/2005 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It seems a reasonable political attack on Bush's Policy by the Dems.
First, they get REPUBLICAN Senators to vote for Stategy for Withdrawal and Quarterly Progress Reports. This was the most serious blow to Mr Bush concerning the War to date.
Second, Mr Murtha makes his "plan" public. The intent seems to have been to magnify the the impression of US Policy failure by Mr Bush, with a call for withdrawal in 6 months.
The White House, with the President out of the country, responds poorly to Mr Murtha's remarks. Questioning his patriotism and comparing him to Mike Moore.
J.D. Hayworth counters Mr Murtha's initative with a brillant piece of Political Theater, the House debate and vote.
This knocks the Senate vote off the front pages and centers the story on Mr Murtha and the House, where the withdrawal measure loses 400 to 3. It is not, however, Mr Murtha's proposal that was voted down, but J.D.'s bogus call for IMMEDIATE withdrawal.

I just heard Mr Murtha say, on FOX News, that the Iraqi's cannot take over if we do not let them, that they are ready and willing to take control, if we'd let them.
I read Mr Chalabi said basicly the same thing last week and that President Talabani is in agreement with that position.
Funny, I've said that for six months, so on that point I must agree with Mr Murtha, I think that is very true, not a lie.
T.E. Lawrence had the same opinion of Arabs, back in the day, when the Brits ruled both Iraq and, they thought, the World.

11/20/2005 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

...the decisive point is not the possession of the gun, it's the attitude, values, and purposes of the person owning the gun (or WMD) that counts. Would Saddam Hussein use WMDs? Answer of course is already given in that he has already done so.

Exactly right. That is why the Hussein regime was under sanction to begin with. Saddam Hussein had already proven himself to be a threat. The last thing anyone needed was for that threat to metastasize under the influence of proscribed weapons and terrorist contacts.

That is the reason why a country like Iran or N. Korea possessing nuclear weapons is seen (let's be honest about this point) as more of a threat to stability and peace than the U.S. The mullahs in Iran have already told us that they would unleash hellfire on both the U.S. and Israel if they had nuclear weapons. Would they really do so? The better question might be, Do you really want to wait to find out?

11/20/2005 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Iran is larger than France in population.
The French cannot "secure" France.
The Palistinians cannot "secure" Gaza
The Jordanians cannot "secure" Amman
The Lebanonese cannot "secure" Beirut
The Spanish cannot "secure" Madrid
The Brits cannot "secure" London or Basra
We cannot "secure" Iraq or our southern frontier.

There are over three hundred sites, in Iran, on the proposed EU-3 & US target lists.

The Francofada may have just been a foretaste of Iranian blowback.

Who can "secure" Tehran?
and they'll do it How?

11/20/2005 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

d. rat,

I have this crazy dream that one day soon the people of Iran will 'secure' Tehran.

11/20/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is about the "only" way.
Hopefully we are helping them, on a more than moral support basis.

11/20/2005 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Is Andy Rooney the stupidest person alive?

"I don't know why President Bush spends so much time visiting other countries..."

No, Andy. I suppose you honestly don't.

11/20/2005 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Over at Bill Roggio's new site
a Steve Schippert writes that Russia is becoming increasingly unhappy with their Persian client.
Mr Schippert has Mr Roggio's seal of approval, for what that's worth.
He thinks Mr Bush's diplomatic approach with both Russia and China is paying dividends.
Here's to hope.

11/20/2005 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Yessir, Mr. Doug, sir. You're the Man, and I live to obey.

(Actually the dentists in Baghdad are citing two sources that he's dead.)

11/20/2005 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Voltimand said...

<< desert rat said...

Iran is larger than France in population.
The French cannot "secure" France.
The Palistinians cannot "secure" Gaza
The Jordanians cannot "secure" Amman
The Lebanonese cannot "secure" Beirut
The Spanish cannot "secure" Madrid
The Brits cannot "secure" London or Basra
We cannot "secure" Iraq or our southern frontier.>>

I'm not sure what the purport of this litany might be. The repetition of the identical word "secure" seems intended to convey the notion that the "same" lack of security derives from identical threats.

But this is clearly not the case. U.S. inability to secure the border w/ Mexico is the result of the lack of a united political will to do so.

Jordan's and Lebanon's vulnerability, on the other hand, derives from proximity to the enemy--here Syria and such terrorist forces that have managed to obtain sanctuary in Iraq.

Madrid is--or was--insecure because a socialist, anti-american, and tacitly pro-terrorism regime took over, giving the latter forces some hope to believe that their threats of further attacks were working.

Iran can be secured by bombing it back to biblical times. That's the simple, crude answer. It's not going to happen, but it's possible.

11/20/2005 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Desert Rat - doubtless it's just me being dense again, but I'm not understanding what your list of the "unsecured" demonstrates, unless it that every country has bad guys now, always has had bad guys, and always will have bad guys. And we need to be relentless in killing them as they pop up.

Unless it's that we're not being relentless enough?

11/20/2005 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Westhawk:"1) Why did the intel community screw up the WMD questions so badly and how can the intel community be fixed?

2) What should be the long-term campaign plan against Islamic terrorism?"

Altho I see these as valid concerns, Question 1 presents the question based on an assumed assertion that Intel 'screwed up the WMD question', when subsequent events have proven the finding of WMD and WMD components and WMD programs and multi-purpose persons/equipment in Iraq, so WHY would we want to ask the question AS IF the admin had made a mistake?

Question 2 is more open-ended, and should uncover and incorporate into official plans, the powerful effect possible on the 1.2 billion Muslims who learn (thanks to US public broadcasting effort) of the fulfillment of THEIR prophecies and Hadith and Quraanic promises of the Coming of the Glory of God...

When the Muslim ummah learns (DESPITE the best efforts of the mullahs and imams) of His coming, His teachings and His world community; when they learn of the equality of men and women in the eyes of God; when they learn of the call for a chaste and holy life based on moderation and courtesy...

They'll rejoice as they throw off their oppressive clergy-forged chains!

11/20/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You have any links to high ranking Active Duty US Officers that agree w/the assertion that if we pulled out of Iraq IMMEDIATELY, Iraq could do just fine on their own?

2. Why would it be in our interest,
even if the Iraqis could handle things,
to pull out immediately?
ie, does 5 star patriot CIC Murtha say where his quick reaction forces should be based?

What better place than the Iraqi Desert?

11/20/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Kevin-"there actually was an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin and the Maine really did sink. In Iraq on the other hand, the WMD stories were pure fantasy, not a single atom of a single weapon was ever found nor was a single shred of credible evidence gathered that even suggested WMD’s existed in Iraq."

If you're asserting that with a straight face, as if it were true, then you're ignorant of the WMD that WERE found there, including Sarin:,,2-10-1460_1528363,00.html

You can help yourself by Googling "WMD found in Iraq" and following several of the links.

WMD, in some quantity, HAVE been found in Iraq; buried Foxbat jets have been found; dual-use factories have been found; and there was a mysterious truck caravan to Syria which probably took out even more WMD...

Which shouldn't allow us to forget that the Iraq Operation Freedom was NOT based solely on WMD, which HAVE been found in Iraq, Sir.

11/20/2005 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

And I haven't yet gotten to the bottom of the posts, but THIS is what I first wanted to add to the mix:

After serving 4 years in the ASA (Army intel under NSA) and thinking about it then AND now, I see much wisdom in revealing as much of a picture as possible WITHOUT necessarily revealing REAL secondary or primary goals, BECAUSE THEN you tip your hand to the enemy, and make the whole task (in this day) much more difficult, if not impossible!

Wretchard touches on this when he acknowledges the hollowness of our 'big stick' demonstrations which promptly or eventually get castrated at home by 'Americans' aligned consciously or unconsciously with the enemy!

11/20/2005 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Kevin:"So what you are saying is that the fact that Saddam had no WMD’s is irrelevant..."

No, we're saying "Saddam HAD WMDs in varying amounts and stages of development, SO it was necessary to step in."

You WANT to believe there were NO WMD, and you ASSERT there were no WMD, whereas an examination of reality shows that WMD have been found IN IRAQ.

THAT's what he means when he says, 'You just don't get it.'

But tell us, WHAT will you accept as proof? If finding WMD in Iraq doesn't prove, to you, that there were WMD in Iraq, then what will?

11/20/2005 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

3 Little Bomb Shaped Objects, labeled
"No WMD," "No WMD," "No WMD."

beneath a Campaign Banner which reads:

"Jimmy Carter for Quick Reaction Force Commander"
Unlike Cyrus Vance, Jimmah Perseveres:
"When Carter approved a military operation for the rescue of the hostages in April 1980, Vance resigned because he felt he could not support the plan."

Here's a Carter quote for you anti Bush quote lovers:
"Iran is a signatory of a [nuclear] nonproliferation treaty," Carter said.
"Israel, for instance, is not. Iran still claims -- as backed up I think by the international commission on nuclear weapons -- that they are in compliance with the nonproliferation treaty.
"I don't know what the facts are, but I think that's going to be increasingly important for the world to ascertain,"
he said.
"And it may be that through the United Nations Security Council, the United States, the Europeans and others will continue to put increasing pressure on Iran ... to help reveal exactly what is the status of Iran's policies."

11/20/2005 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Reminder to Murtha

11/20/2005 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As I've said the only call for immediate withdrawal was made by Republicans, and voted down by the entire House.
Look at the sponsors of the House vote, Republicans all. Political Theater has captured the moment, I've told you before, doug, J.D. Hayworth is a good guy. He managed to change the discussion from the depressing story of Republican Senators voting against the President to one that energized you, Mr Murtha's an idiot.

In the Press Conference where Mr Murtha made his call for withdrawal he stated he thought a six month schedule to withdraw the troops was viable.

Mr Murtha wants the over the horizon force off shore or in Kuwait, not in Iraq.

I do not and have not thought that Mr Murtha's "plan" was the course we should follow. But that "plan" was not what was proposed by the Republicans nor voted down by the House.

I never thought, nahncee, that you were or are dense. The litney of not secured goes, again, to our definition of Victory in the Mohammedan Wars. Is the "West" winning in France, Spain, Jordan, England, Morroco, etc.? Are we holding our own, or losing?
What is the metric for victory?

Is there a real Mohammedan nuclear threat? or perhaps a better question, Can any Mohammedan country be trusted with the "Bomb"?
Which Mohammedan country with nuclear capacity is the most dangerous, to US.
Our CIA has leaked info that Iran is a decade or so away from the capacity to build a nuclear bomb.

Can that be trusted as accurate?

The Pakistanis, whom already have nuclear warheads, and are, IMO, hosting Osama and aQ, with unoffical but tacit Paki approval are definately "NOT SECURE".
Which Mohammedan country is most ripe for a coup? Which Mohammedan country has a history of over throwing elected democratic leaders? Which has 300,000 armed men, outside Government control? Which is truely the greater threat to US?
Pakistan or Iran, I vote for Pakistan as the real threat.

An armed invasion of Iran, the bombing into the stone age of them, etc. are not real options. Not because of a lack of US capacity, but a lack of capability.
We do not have the WILL.

The price of action is way to high for our politicians to contemplate, let alone ask US to pay.
It is an affliction that affects the "West" from Jordan to London. New Delhi to Madrid. While the symptoms may vary, the disease is the same. Even on our southern frontier.

Wretchard points to this new matrix in his post.
When we were moving offensively, having success, we could have driven on to Damascus with US Public support, not today.
Today US policy is about Nation building and withdrawal, just ask the Republican Senators.
We are to find the road to Victory in Nation building in Iraq, that is what the current WoT strategy has morphed to.
Looking to Haiti and Somolia as the last two nation building campaigns involving US, it does not leave one with confidence we will be successful, on a much larger scale, in Iraq, much less tackling Iran.

Remember we are not at War with the Mohammedans, they practice a religion of "Peace, Love & Respect", it is those pesky stateless "hijackers" that are making all the trouble. All 300,000+ of them.

Until the Politicians speak to the truth, Republicans and Democrats alike, victory will elude US.
The enemy is still unnamed.
US Goals still obscure.
It is not Dan Rathers fault.

11/20/2005 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Richard Lugar, by no means, I think, a liberal, was on Face the Nation. He's quoted at the WaPO this way
"...Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) appearing on Face the Nation, said that rather than a lot of "caterwauling, like people coming out of a baseball dugout," the country was in need of some real answers.

"We've had votes this week in which we're not going to leave. Both the Senate and the House decided that was not appropriate, Democrats and Republicans. But the point is, even as we stay, there's going to be great anxiety unless we know how we're going to succeed," Lugar said. ... "

Did Lugar vote for a Withdrawal Policy and Quarterly Progress Reports??
All but 13 Republicans did, remember?
It is just not the Dems and the MSM, Bush's Policy is in real trouble, and only he can make the difference, with better communication.

11/20/2005 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Grace, again, more officers do not necessarily mean less crime, nor do more troops equal more security. The inability to ‘secure’ just one road in the heart of Baghdad certainly doesn’t speak well of much of the Coalition at all, but neither does it mean that double the number of troops could secure it either. Troop levels are not independent of security, but they are not necessarily predictive of success either. Look at Vietnam with 500K troops under the Johnson admin and the much better, and a magnitude smaller, force wielded by Creighton Abrams in the Nixon admin.

History points out, again and again, that mass is important, in fact critical. But what I argue is that the question is mooted by the sheer inability to use even the mass we have on the battlefield. If you have 100 car chassis and 50 engines, you have how many cars? Right, you have 50, if that. The limiting factor is not troop numbers but aggressiveness on the part of the brass and the Defense Dep. civvies, especially at first, to exploit the danger zones immediately after the Saddamite collapse.

You can’t fix that by doubling the fighting force, tripling or more. In fact, low numbers is a feature, not a flaw, as long as we have 6 page, single-spaced ROEs, inability to go into Mosques or capture and kill terrorists the way we should be allowed to.

The disingenuousness is that our timidity of facing casualties is exactly the reason we are suffering casualties.

We give the Sunni areas a wide berth, because we don’t want trouble. The result? We get trouble, the same insurgency we dreaded in the first place.

We counterattack, but give mosques a wide berth, so as not to alienate anyone. The result? The insurgency is given free zones to continue its ’insurging,’ prolonging the conflict, allowing the rebels/terrorists to gain steam, alienating just about everyone.

We try to diplomatically treat the ‘insurgents’ of Fallujah out of hope for a peaceful resolution, which allows them to dig in, meaning that we have to kill more people, destroy more city blocks, frustrate more people, alienate more factions.

Softly, softly is impossible, only speed, only velocity can beat the media cycle, can punish the ‘insurgents,’ can turn them back from their ‘Islamic republics of al XXXX,’ and defeat them. Your ‘credible’ coalition I assume would have large numbers of inconsequential European troops (which don’t exist, btw) or large numbers of ill-equipped Indian or Chinese (probably the only two countries with the deep benches that could fill out the 500K mark you admire). Your ‘credible’ coalition is anything but, as it doesn’t exist, even in theory, and the closest analogue would require us to sacrifice the only thing that can save Iraq; speed and violence of action.

11/20/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Superb Wretchard, as always. Just brilliant.

May I add that by not having "identified the key hurdles in creating a replacement Iraqi state" beforehand, we were not as ignorant as it's now fashionable to believe.

The result (and the wager) was always going be the shape of contingency to some degree, the shape that the democratic impulse in Iraq would eventually arrive at on its own. As in a modernist artwork one does not know what the composition is until it has been made; the problem cannot be formulated in advance of its solution.

That we were unable to identify the eventual "key hurdles" does revisit all of our intelligence failures in one sense, but at the same time that particular criticism is beside the point.

The Iraqi 'adventure' was always a wager. I notice that it continues to be an invaluable catalyst for post-Cold War debates about human nature, democracy, liberty, self-determination, fascism, etc...

11/20/2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

U.S. doubts Zarqawi is dead:

Late Sunday, a spokesman for the National Security Council told UPI Zarqawi is probably still alive.

We believe the report to be false, said Fred Jones, who is traveling in Asia with President George W. Bush. It is unlikely that Zarqawi is dead.

US Doubts

11/20/2005 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

We go to semantics more and more with every reiteration of this debate.

What the hell is a WMD?

Let's say we have a nuclear bomb assembly, with everything except the uranium chunks, which could be placed about ten feet away. And we find one such in Iraq.

Or a chemical intermediate one synthesis step away from sarin.

The anti-war folks would still be telling us that's not a WMD. And you know what? They're right.

But the rationale behind the war wasn't just about the existence of WMD proper. It was about preventing Saddam from obtaining them(or more of them). He had flaunted the UN's decrees. He had made it known to everybody that he wanted WMDs. The slapdown was coming, and he deserved every bit of it.

So fine. Bush will take responsibility for all the foulups resulting from his decision. But will future generations give him the same credit for his successes? The Kurds saved? The marshes preserved? Successful elections in Iraq?

No more down the memory hole. The left has dicated the tune for too long.

11/21/2005 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat said:
"doug, J.D. Hayworth is a good guy. He managed to change the discussion from the depressing story of Republican Senators voting against the President to one that energized you, Mr Murtha's an idiot."
Good to know you put your trust in your mind reading abilities:

Quite a supposition - a has been talk show host tricks simple minded old Doug out of his mental meanderings of depression about an utterly failed presidency to being distracted, mind-numbed-robot-like, by a Carnival led by that clever Ringleader JD.

It couldn't have been that I as a thinking, feeling, patriotic adult American might have been outraged upon first hearing Mr. Murtha's call to arms, (for the Jihadis, that is.) and disgusting display of disrespect for and/or ignorance of our system of Government.

...Long before, incidentally, JD mounted his stool in the center ring of this 3 ring carnival.
(disclosure: Gratuitous insults to JD, my second favorite Az politician, for illustrative purposes only, in the same spirit as the condescending Bush Ain't Perfect dialogue that fills so much of this page. Question: Who is? Question 2: Does anyone need to be?)

You put the performances of the Leaderless, Spineless GOP Senators and that of the perfidious DEM/MSM cabal entirely at GWB's feet and hold folks like Rather and Murtha blameless:
I don't.
Seems like the equivalent would be to describe FDR's actions and lack thereof before Pearl in the absence of describing the isolationist movement, pro Hitler sentiment, and the communists within our own government.

At the very least, the commies could be said to have given him a warped and stunted version of the big picture.
Similarly, I think, GWB's views were warped, and his actions circumscribed by having and believing people like Colin Powell and Co in his administration. That is now rectified.
(not to imply an equivalence w/the commies, course, but to illustrate that Powell's vision for our future foreign policy is simply suicidal, if we are to remain recognizably American) imo

Simply put, leaving out our dumbed down pc "education" system, our entrenched leftist/msm anti war, anti American (pro European) anti Bush coalition and etc is leaving out large portions of the whole picture.

Just as leaving Walter Cronkite out of the Vietnam story would mean leaving out a very significant actor.

Quoting thoroughly discredited people like McKinney, who has taken money from sponsors of terrorism, and rarely puts together a coherent and truthful adult thought, and earnest folk like Dionne do nothing to bolster you argument in my eyes. (Dionne may well be sincere, but reads like I imagine Paul Krugman would write after having significant portions of his cerebellum removed.)

I simply don't understand why you are so steadfast in defending anyone other than Bush against any criticism which implies they bear some responsibility for having impeded the war effort.

Given the field he has had to play on, I think he has done quite admirably, and if he and the conservative base can reign in the spineless, along with the wrongheaded "moderate" (spineless/rudderless) members of this party, and re-establish some semblance of order, we will muddle through, and his successor will be given a more manageable situation than was he.

Certainly I did not imagine that this war could be wrapped up by one President.
...and as you know, I agreed w/you that Syria and others should have been dealt with back when it would have been more politically feasible.
I also thought at the time that pulling the Marines off of Fallujah I was a big mistake, and I used to complain regularly about the ROE's. Many here, including the host, disagreed.

Whatever, I certainly don't and never have thought that was all evidence of GWB's unfitness, any more than we can find innumerable "mistakes" in retrospect, made by FDR.
What human leader does that not apply to?

11/21/2005 03:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kevin asks: (4:20 AM)
"Why does one need a ringleader at all?"
What's a Carnival w/o a Ringleader?

11/21/2005 03:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Do you have ANY appreciation how incapable politicians are, (esp "moderates" and of course Dem "leaders")
to restrain themselves from whoring for the cameras?

"Real answers"
Right On, Dude!

11/21/2005 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The moral authority of presidential critics is directly related to how politically useful they are to the liberal agenda," wrote L. Brent Bozell III last August.
Bush Lied, People Died™ poster girl Cindy Sheehan was the prop of choice then, her moral authority pronounced "absolute" by virtue of her having lost a son in battle.

No matter that other parents and spouses who'd lost loved ones stood staunchly behind the war effort. This week, the mantle of absolute moral authority passed to "hawkish democrat" John Murtha (D PA)
How could anyone question the wisdom of a former Marine?
Well, someone did, and the democrats and their media allies went ballistic.
You may have caught it on "the news" last night or this morning. It was played over and over.
Jean Schmidt (R OH) brought down the house when she stepped to the podium and called a spade a spade:

A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives.
He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course.
He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.
Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body -- that we will see this through.

11/21/2005 04:12:00 AM  
Blogger GB-Arg said...

Enough with politically correct wars. War is all hell -- Sherman was right.

Go in there, kill the enemy, blow up mosques if they hide there, ramp torture up to what's needed to obtain key information, use whatever will eliminate the threat from Iran, KSA, and NK.

Murtha, Durbin, Kennedy and crowd be damned. Let them talk, that's what a democracy is supposed to have; just don't let them give the world the idea that we are wimps or liars like them.

There is a job to be done and the US has to have the respect of our enemies.

This is not satire.

11/21/2005 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Of course it is not satire, we do not take this War seriously.

And that doug, is the real point

You remember "on to Damascus"

I usually do not make judgements on elected officals, except at the ballot box.
Mr Murtha, a person I had never heard of prior to this, is a Representitive of 600,000 PA residents. That makes him relevent, even when wrong. Same goes for the three that voted against the majority, in the House, and for withdrawal.

You were fuming about the Republican Senators, just prior to J.D. and Murtha dukein' it out.
Now those Senators have taken a back seat in your postings, why?
My mind reading, from afar, leads me to think it is because of Mr Murtha's and J.D.'s piece of political theater. Not because the Senators have been redeemed.

Perhaps I was wrong, but I doubt it.

I am watching a Rep Meek (D-FL) say that our Military is not taking Force Protection seriously enough.(FOX News) That is unbelievable, to me.
Verc is totally correct about speed, mobility and WILL.
WILL tops the list of what was and still is needed in the Mohammedan Wars.

I have often been told, here, though not by you, that Declarations of War are passe, that the US no longer requires such 18th Century formulations. That Public support was not required for the Mohammedan Wars, that Mr Bush would soldier on, regardless. You and I are old enough to know from experience just how wrong that thinking can be.

We opine on Mr Newt's 10% miltary 90% other means of fighting the Mohammedan Wars. Most here agree that a transformation in Strategy is needed, that we need to move beyond armed force, alone.

I have seev no shift in strategy, no Radio Free Arabia, no Iranian or Syrian PR campaign aimed at promoting Democracy, Personal Responsibility, etc.,

A few months ago I wrote that aQ would shift it's operational focus from Iraq to Europe. The Francofada erupts, and is cast around the world as caused by an "economic" and "racist" French policies.

There are no Mohammedan Wars, not yesterday, nor today. The blame, fault, responsibility or whatever verbage you belief adequate or accurate for this failure to define the enemy, let alone the scope of the battle, can be laid at the door of the Executive. Mr Clinton and both President Bush I & II.
President Bush could not think of an error or mistake he has made as President, I heard him say that over a year ago. Most of the Public has come to a different conclusion.

11/21/2005 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I had forgotten the US nation building experience in Bosnia.

" ... Start with the U.S. and other NATO troops who began arriving in Bosnia shortly before Christmas 1995. There were 60,000 of them at first in a country of 4 million, or more than twice as many per capita as now are deployed in Iraq. Ten years later they are still there -- the American contingent left only a year ago. All sides agree they will have to stay on for years to come, since Bosnia's police and army forces are still not ready to take over full responsibility for security. Billions have meanwhile been spent on reconstruction, under the supervision of a Western proconsul with the power to overrule the Bosnian government. ..."

And the chances of catching the "Leaders" of the Opposition

" ... Despite all those years of heavy-handed occupation, the Western forces have never captured Bosnia's foremost insurgents. Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, who together oversaw the deliberate murder of thousands of civilians, are still at large. ..."

And prospects for the future

" ... So, in summary: Bosnia has had proportionately more Western troops than Iraq and more money for reconstruction. It has had aggressive high-level diplomacy by a unified transatlantic coalition, backed by both Democratic and Republican administrations in Washington. It has been given 10 years by those governments, which have repeatedly resisted the temptation to pull their troops out. Even so, it is only now that a new generation of Bosnian leaders is willing to consider the political compromises necessary to stabilize their country without foreign forces or high commissioners ..."

Remember, Bosnia was, is considered a Successful Operation.


The WaPo is still credible if biased isn't it?

The only nonChinese country in the world with a large enough military to help "police" or "secure" Iraq is India, financed by the Japanese.
It's really their oil, after all.

11/21/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

desert rat, your analyses continue to dig deeper and deeper. I find disagreements--mainly in your ignoring the need to maintain alliances with such criticals as Pakistan--but kudos on the sheer volume of questions you pose as unsatisfactorily considered.

11/21/2005 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

The Ambassador of Japan to India, Mr Yasukuni Enoki recently made the following statement on the subject of Japan-India relations:

"Japan will position India as a major power in Asian and international society and that Japan has strong desire to strengthen its global partnership with India which is essential for stability, prosperity and peace of the world."

Hmmm... Now what could he have possibly meant by that?

11/21/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

If pressure existed, it was to question the veracity of the information originally used by the Clinton administration to justify the 1998 decision to make regime change in Iraq official US policy. If Bush is guilty of anything, it is the continuation of US policy with regards to the Saddam Hussein regime. If the US is expected to show a glimmer of consistency, it should be in such regard that government memory can span across one or more administrations. Is this why the world response was so vociferous in it’s democratic condemnation of this nation? The rest of the world is blind to democratic principle and yet the US stands alone in the face of accountability.

Is there or is there not a distributed responsibility in the name of separation of powers here at stake here? Who could be for the 50 billion dollars to support the run up to war before they were against it?

11/21/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The challenge of Pakistan is that the General-President is, IMO, an ally. His Intelligence Service is not, completely. I have no idea, really, about the Army.

Should we help the General-President retain control, of course. But there were how many publcized attempts on his life? More than a couple, as I recall.
How many attempts on his life have not seen the light of day?

The over arching question is the real scope of the Mohammedan Wars.

The nukes in Pakistan are the most vunerable in the World, if only because Paki is the most unstable nuclear armed country.
That the instability is, in part supported by Mohammedan Jihadists that have, in the past, been supported by the Paki Government, sometimes with US funds.

Part and parcel of the Pandora's box of the Mohammedan Jihadist challenge.

With whom will the next General's loyalties lie?

11/21/2005 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Here is a piece from

" ... The agency said two Moroccans who had been held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Brahim Benchekroun and Mohamed Mazouz, were among the recruits ..."

Of course, these were not the Reuters Headliners. No the Headliners were the organizers of the cell
"... Belgians of Moroccan origin ..."
and the trainer, from Syria.

11/21/2005 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I give up on your view of Potus, his "loyal" opposition (continuing to treat Murtha's lies and motivations as insignificant compared to his "credentials" makes no sense to me) etc
. Here's a great anti Bush Policy MSM piece for you to quote from, AND I'LL AGREE w/EVERY WORD

11/21/2005 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger opsec said...

what about the simple fact that we clearly thought the population of Iraq would welcome us with open arms and the military would roll over as it did in the first Gulf war?

We went to war because we thought victory would be relatively easy. We were wrong.

Our actions weren't/aren't wrong-- but the president, et al have done a supremely poor job of managing opposition- both in theatre and in Congress.

Unfortunately, your overall point of future opportunities lost is a good one, and accurate.

11/21/2005 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When someone becomes President there is a bit of "heat" to be expected.
I recall President Truman saying something about kitchens and gettin' out if the heat got to high.
After watching Mr Cheney, this morning, it is evident that Mr Murtha's match was blown out.

The Mexican challenge is also a Lack of Will.
The US does not enforce the existing Law, it should.
If the Law needs to be changed, it should be. Until then, though, the current Law should be enforced.
Who is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the Federal Government?
You know, doug, it's the guy in the kitchen.

11/21/2005 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger flenser said...

desert rat

"As I've said the only call for immediate withdrawal was made by Republicans, and voted down by the entire House."

That simply is not true. The Republican proposal said the same thing as the one Murtha offered.

First, the GOP proposal;

"It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."

And here is what Murtha was proposing;

"The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date."

If you can see daylight between those two positions, you have better eyesight than I do.

".. is hereby terminated .." is about as "immediate" as humanly possible. Murtha in other places suggests that it might take as long as six months to withdraw from Iraq. Is that really the "earliest practicable date", or is it one based on some political calculation?

If it really takes the Army six months to evacuate Iraq, they have bigger problems than anyone thought.

11/21/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

How to lose a War - Ralph Peters .

November 21, 2005 -- QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.
Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time.
That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions:
The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration

Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq — and the region — if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.

Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the game.

Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates — knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border.
Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.

Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies — that's what Americans do.

While we're at it, let's just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.

Whatever you do, don't talk about any possible consequences. Focus on the moment — and the next round of U.S. elections. Just make political points. After all, those dead American soldiers and Marines don't matter — they didn't go to Ivy League schools. (Besides, most would've voted Republican had they lived.)

America's security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode.
So what if hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners might die in a regional war?
So what if violent fundamentalism gets a shot of steroids?
So what if we make Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the most successful Arab of the past 500 years?

For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. Why support it overseas, when it's been so disappointing at home?

Human rights? Oh, dear. Human rights are for rich white people who live in Malibu.

11/21/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"When someone becomes President there is a bit of "heat" to be expected.
I recall President Truman saying something about kitchens and gettin' out if the heat got to high.
Therefore Democrat betrayal of our troops and our Allies AGAIN are justified, ...right!!!

Continue exposing yourself only to the same evil forces at home that brought us defeat several times before, 'Rat.
...It bolsters your World View.

11/21/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Believe me, opsed, they do.
and "viable" is the KEY word, in a proposed Law, not a minor change, at all.
Depending upon whether we were removing the equipment, which I'm unsure of, at best neither "plan" is well fleshed out. But if we did withdraw with our tanks, artillary pieces and trucks, etc. six months would be tight.

The build up, prior to invasion took longer than that and the amount of equipment, in country now, is greater than what the assualt troops brought with them.

The handover to ISF would have to be executed, as we withdrew, to make the withdrawal "viable". That could take some time to complete.

To road march the entire US Force to Kuwait with it's entire inventory of equipment, in a secure enviorment as required by "viable" Force Protection could easily take more than six months.

After a Reforger execise in Germany, circa 1978, the redeployment of just portions of the 1st Cavarly Div, from Germany to the ships took weeks.

The number of transport vessles available and the logistics of withdrawal are bigger problems than most people think.

11/21/2005 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I watched VP Cheney, this very morn. He said the debate is good and justified. That Mr Murtha is patriotic but wrong. Mr Bush has said the same.
The ever famous FDR, I'm told, and Mr Nixon, I remember, came out with maps and other graphics and explained the "DEAL".
If Mr Cheney or Rumsfeld or even better the President had the curtesy to explain US Policy to the US Public they would get greater support.
The Operation along the Euphrates is going very well, Ramadi is SLOWLY becoming secure. The ISF and US using an "oil spot" tactic of attrition of Insurgent Forces and holding the area with 'good guys', one neighborhood at a time.
Perhaps Mr Bush does not feel secure in a "educational" capacity or enviorment, I don't know. He seems to enjoy the dramatic photo op, like the Carrier landing, which is why I reccomend he goes to the Green Zone, cruising Route Irish with his entourage.

11/21/2005 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Which is why, the lack of sea lift capacity, forward deployed equipment is so important.
We could leave substantial amounts of equipment behind, in secure locations. This equipment could be manned by troops if & when required.

It has always been one of the wink & nod propositions, that equipment would be prepositioned in Iraq, after Peace broke out.

It was in Germany

11/21/2005 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Thanks everyone for the posts. This place is consistently the forum where questions are being addressed that the Mainstream Alleged News Media cannot or will not even consider.

Thanks to Kevin and others for persisting more or less graciously the face of contentious reply. I've looked at the links you mentioned, Kevin; unfortunately I am fundamentally convinced that the inspectors were never allowed to properly do their work, and have NO CONFIDENCE that we can depend on their findings as telling us everything we need to know about Saddam's programs.

The Oil-for-Food charade, still mostly ignored by the MSM, shows clearly that throughout the decade since Gulf War I, there NEVER were effective constraints on Saddam's clandestine activities. And that results precisely from the criminal corruption of the United Nations, which has long since been discredited as an instrument for the maintenance of civil international behavior.

11/21/2005 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Sorry for the little venture, but I've trying to find this information all over the net, perhaps one of you can help me.

I know that Murtha was one of the loudest proponents of withdrawing from Somalia after Black Hawk Down. I also know that he was the first Vietnam Vet elected to Congress, in 1974.

I'm trying to find what his vote was on H.CON.RES.191, which withdrew all aid from Cambodia and South Vietnam for the fiscal year of 1975 and was sponsored by Rep. John Burton.

In otherwords, to see how consistent he is. So far I've come up short while trying to find a list of ayes and nos.

11/21/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Also, anyone know how many inspectors were in the UN team that worked during the 1 year "rush" to war?

11/21/2005 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The rationale for war was debated ad nauseam, and I suppose that's a good thing, but isn't the primary strategic rationale perfectly clear?

We wanted and needed a long term military presence in the ME and Iraq was the obvious choice. Iran has always been the target.

We haven't attacked NK because it's not in our best interest. China will eventually take care of the little freak who runs that show. The Chinese don't want a war on their border.

I trust our war planners are working out a nifty little plan for the Chicoms. Let's hope that they decide they like to manufacture crap for Walmart more than they want a war.

11/21/2005 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thought so:
It was crazy PHIL Burton of Calif. natch that sponsered that thing.
...I met him when he was campaigning for Eugene McCarthy.
If I find out about Murtha's vote before you I'll post it here and there.

Remember, tho, as Rat said, it was not really the Dems that trashed the CIA, enabled the mass slaughter in SE Asia, Church Ammendment, ad nauseum:
That was OUR GOVERNMENT, we got what we deserved.
Now, of course it's GOP POTUS GWB's responsibility only.
Just tune in the MSM, and you'll learn.

11/21/2005 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Some kind of screw up there, appears to be 181:
"Provides that no supplemental military appropriations be made in this fiscal year to South Vietnam or Cambodia.
Directs that a schedule be set for ending financial assistance to those nations

Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States adhere to all terms of the Agreement On Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam signed January 27, 1973, and make all efforts to RESOLVE the current conflict, achieve an accounting of United States personnel, and create a lasting agreement. "
Sorry guys, promises are made to be broken when your a liberal:
bye bye.

11/21/2005 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I'm continually amazed by the credit given to generals, esp. retired ones. Even with the whole world quoting that "military always preparing to fight the last war" thing, any retired general is still the go-to guy when you want to talk strategy, in spite of the fact that you don't have to be Sherman or Lee to get your stars.

Likewise, desert rat's using a mob/demob statistic from 1978 to indicate how long it should take today's Army to demob from Iraq. Hmm.

11/21/2005 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's even worse now, Jamie:
Finding serviceable tires for our C-46 transports ain't as easy as it once was.
You know if Hamilton AFB has any lying around?

11/21/2005 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Loading tanks and trucks and such on rail cars and ships has not changed all that much. Cranes and cargo cantainers haven't changed either. A conex is a conex, then or now.
The build up in Kuwait and the UAE, in 2002 was a long term situation
From the >a href=>US Navy>/a>

" ... Nineteen large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships have been built or converted at U.S. shipyards. The LMSRs offset the shortage of militarily useful transport ships available in the commercial sector - a growing concern as U.S. forces overseas depend increasingly on power projection "Forward ... From the Sea." ..."

And this from the Navy League

" ... A single LMSR can carry, for example, the outsized air and ground vehicles and other equipment and supplies needed by:

An Air Assault Battalion Task Force
32 Helicopters
1,100+ Vehicles
100,000+ Square Feet of Stores and Supplies
An Armored Battalion Task Force
58 M1A2 Abrams Tanks (with full combat loads of fuel and ammo)
6 Bradleys
950+ Support Vehicles
100,000+ Square Feet of Stores and Supplies
Prepositioned Forces
60 Bradleys
650+ Other Vehicles
100,000+ Square Feet of Stores and Supplies ... "

So each ship can carry the equipment for an Armored or Air Assualt Battalion.

We can carry 19 Battalions at a time. 158,000 troops equates to aprox 160 Battalions, divided by 19 equals 8.4 round trips per LMSR at 30 day round trips or let's say 20 day round trips equals 168 days, right at six months, if everything went PURRRfect.

No the numbers are all aproximations, but work out well

11/21/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They have those C-46 tires at the old CIA airfield in Marana, AZ, just north of Tucson.
You could pick 'em up there, I'm sure.

Heck, down in Tucson they are still storing A-10's. You'd think the Iraqis could use them, rather than have US scrap 'em.

But what do I know?

11/21/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Congressman Murtha has an inside deal in the works to replace those outdated A-10's with Raptors.
Nothing but the best for our troops when you're one of them patriotic Dems who always support the troops, and care about the children.
Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Iraqi youngsters sometimes excluded.

11/21/2005 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Cutler: Acoording to what I just read, Murtha was calling for us to get out of Somalia WEEKS BEFORE "Blackhawk Down", after 4 of our troops were killed by a mine.
This in turn led to a Get Out Strategy - and the refusal of Washington to send the tanks our troops requested. After all, you don't upgrade your forces when you are planning to cut and run.
So the loss of 18 of our troops was the result of Murtha's Cut And Run approach.
In one fell swoop the image of the U.S. went from the 10 Ton Gorilla With an Attitude of the Desert Storm era to that of a paper tiger.
And as you say, this all inspired OBL.

11/21/2005 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

War On Terror: Vice President Cheney's Speech:

None of us can know every turn that lies ahead for America in the fight against terror. And because we are Americans, we are going to keep discussing the conduct and the progress of this war and having debates about strategy.

Yet the direction of events is plain to see, and this period of struggle and testing should also be seen as a time of promise. The United States of America is a good country, a decent country, and we are making the world a better place by defending the innocent, confronting the violent, and bringing freedom to the oppressed.

War on Terror

11/21/2005 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

chicken or egg
I had read that the Somalians were inspired by Osama.

The BBC reported in '03:
" ... US intelligence reports said that Osama Bin Laden himself had travelled to the country several times in the 1990s and sent fighters to join in the Somali civil war. ..."

Not that it really matters, much.

11/21/2005 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

chicken and egg,
He inspired them,
"we" (cut and run hawks like Murtha)
inspired them.
If old bin is to be believed.

11/21/2005 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Take him at his word,
before we take his head.

Why not Osama?

11/21/2005 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

On the Israeli & Lebanonese border...

" ... Israeli troops have killed three Hezbollah fighters during a guerrilla attack near the Lebanese border, which also left several Israelis wounded.
It was the heaviest fighting in the disputed Shebaa Farms area since 2000, when Israeli troops left south Lebanon.

Hezbollah fighters launched a major assault on Israeli army posts, triggering retaliatory air strikes.

Israel captured the area from Syria in the 1967 war but it is now claimed by Lebanon with Syria's backing.

Eyewitnesses reported at least 250 explosions in an intense two-and-a-half hours of rocket duels ... "

Or so sats the BBC

11/21/2005 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And for those interested in Iranian nuclear developments

" ...VIENNA - EU powers and Washington have suspended their bid to refer Iran to the UN Security Council so that Russia can pursue an initiative to ease a crisis over Tehran’s suspected nuclear arms plans, diplomats said on Monday.

They said a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog this week would shelve a resolution on referral in favour of a statement voicing concern about what diplomats said was a document received by Iran which contained partial nuclear bomb-making instructions.

“There will be no resolution for sure. The Russians and Chinese oppose this,” a diplomat from the so-called EU3 ... "

This comes from the Reuters news wire, through Khaleej Times Online EU, US defer UN action on Iran nuclear plan:

11/21/2005 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Agent 86:
"a document received by Iran which contained partial nuclear bomb-making instructions."
"You are now ready for the final assembly of the weapon.
Be sure to read the precautions on the next page to avoid accidental premature arming of the warhead."


11/21/2005 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

RWE- Thank you for a KEY piece of the Murtha-CutRun debate. HE triggered the Blackhawk Down debacle?

This was an important piece of the overall picture, one long hidden from my view, Sir.

11/21/2005 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

What action would have pre-empted the problem Wretchard describes below, if it had been carried out before the sun set on the ruins of the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001?

If the Murtha resolution is any indication, what OIF has proved to every rogue state watching is that another OIF is unlikely to ever happen again. What started out as a demonstration of resolution intended to deter terrorist state supporters of terrorism has morphed into proof that all such demonstrations are hollow -- at least for now.

11/21/2005 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Well, it was not just him. The SECDEF then was Les Aspin, a former Congressman who had come to prominence by sniping at DoD for years as head as the House Armed Services Committee - the Authorizers. Murtha was head of the rather more powerful defense Appropriators.
The real driver for the Cut and Run Policy was that there was no real military reason to be in Somalia. Pres Bush had sent our troops there to protect food shipments. After Clinton came in, the U.N. pushed for and got a nation building mission - but we kept the lightweight force structure suitable only for for guarding the food trucks.
Sending tanks would admit that we were going into a damgerous place and engaging in combat - and there was no justification for that.
When the first troops got killed by a mine, Murtha's push to get out was no doubt seriously considered by a Democratic Administration which had little or no military experience on board. He was both a combat veteran and as head of Defense Appropriations controlled the purse strings.
When you are going to get out you sure don't send tanks. I think even the Pakistani contingent had some armored combat vehicles there, but not us. And no attack choppers or fixed wing air support either.
Bin Laden did train the Somalians how to ambush us, - there was a Communist Govt there before things fell apart in the post Cold War time frame, and OBL was trying to duplicate the situation in Afghanistan - but the fact that it worked so well and we ran away - even after inflicting 20 Plus as many times casualties on the enemy as they did on us sure encouraged Bin Laden and Associates.
Admittedly, those guys are the type that would take a "You May Have Won" letter from Ed McMahon as a Sign From God of The Rightness Of Their Cause - but it seemed to confirm their ideas.
And the rest is very messy history.

11/21/2005 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Flatlander said...

Reality is, boys and girls, that the clock is running out. We have three years to get the job done in Iraq, and that only because Bush has the courage to stick with it and will spend whatever political capital he has left to do so. Unfortunately the man is simply a poor communicator. That is a big problem at a time of war when the American public is divided. There is still a damn good chance of winning in Iraq, but time is absolutely limited. How we leave has always been more important than when we leave, but come 2008 it could be an absolute disaster if the American people aren't bought into the plan.

11/21/2005 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush Says Setting Iraq Withdrawal Deadline Would Court Disaster:

With the rise of a deadly enemy, and the unfolding of a global ideological struggle, our time in history will be remembered for new challenges and unprecedented dangers. And yet this fight we have joined is also the current expression of an ancient struggle between those who put their faith in dictators and those who put their faith in the people.

We don't know the course our own struggle will take, or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice.

Setting Iraq Withdrawal

11/21/2005 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Friends, Check out THIS powerful take on WMD in Iraq: Short, sweet, accurate and on-target:

11/21/2005 06:47:00 PM  

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