Posted by Karol at
Flawed intelligence is bad. Repeat. Flawed intelligence is bad.
Flawed intelligence is bad. Intentionally pumping up flawed intelligence to scare a population into supporting a war is very bad.
And Special K, although the first sentence makes no grammatical sense, I assume you are suggesting in these two sentences what the “alternate” reasons for invading Iraq were:
“It’s a post-9/11 reason to need to change that region of the world that had become a cesspool breeding ground for terrorists and their supporters. Yes, it is ambitious to bring democracy and real stability to a region that has seldom seen it but it is not impossible and it is a worthy goal for our own self interest.”
Two words: Saudi Arabia.
Funny, I believe my post does mention something about Saudi Arabia.
a fair take on the whole situation that all of you might appreciate.
You say there was no doubt that Hussein had these weapons because he used them in the past. But use of these weapons in the 1980’s is not a reason for going to war in 2003. It appears that Hussein no longer had them at the eve of the war.
Something is seriously wrong here. Either the U.S. went to war based on poor intelligence or the U.S. went to war based on falsified intelligence. Someone should be fired or jailed for this. Over 500 Americans are dead (let alone Iraqis) because of this war. And the bill for the war and reconstruction will probably cost taxpayers here several hundred billion dollars.
If there was another justification for the war, other than WMD, then that should have been made without WMD being brought into the discussion. Many Americans supported the war, not because they wanted to ‘liberate’ the Iraqis, but because of the fear that the Iraqis had WMD and that they were an imminent threat.
I would have supported going to war if WMD were not even part of the equation IF there was a slaughter going on in Iraq in 2003. I usually support using US military force for humanitiarian reasons. Example: I was very much for military intervention in former Yugoslavia.
In Iraq, however, there was no current slaughter happening. The end of Gulf War 1 was a different story and we should have done something back then when Saddams goones were on a killing and torture spree in the country side.
Given there was no humanitarian crisis in 2003 I needed something more, and Bush provided the reason with the WMD excuse. Now I’m left scratching my head. I also see why much of the world trusts the US even less than usual now and our credibility is suffering.
Remember the old days when it was taboo to just talk about assassinating another country
He had the weapons in the 80s and even admitted to having them at the conclusion of the Gulf War in 1991 (which by the way ended in a ceasefire depending upon Saddam holding up his end – one part being that he destroy said weapons). The whole purpose of the inspections was to prove that Iraq destroyed the WMDs they admitted to having. They never proved the destruction of those weapons.
Now I’m not privy to the same sort of intelligence those in charge have, but here’s my two cents as a lay observer: 1) He had the weapons, 2) He never proved getting rid of them, ergo 3) He still had the weapons.
Now where did the weapons go? I don’t know but it is a bit concerning they haven’t been found yet. Did he get secretly rid of them and not tell anyone? Maybe, but then Saddam should be the one blamed for misleading the coalition into war.
Rick and Dan, looking forward to your responses to ‘Bush apologetic’ Peter’s comment.
When I was a kid, my mom was driving us home from school, and my little brother kept turning around in his seat and making faces at me. I kept telling him to stop, but he wouldn’t. When he turned around and gave me the finger, I lost my cool and whacked him in the head, at which point he started crying and my mom stopped the car and made me walk home.
“But Mom,” I protested. “He made me do it!”.
As we grow out of childhood, many of us learn the difference between being made to do something and being provoked. One is a loss of control, the other is a loss of self-control.
The United States had many options available to it short of immediate invasion and occupation. Saddam did not pose an imminent threat, and the US at that time faced several very real, very imminent threats.
I, for one, have seen no evidence of any connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda or Osama. However, since that theory had some currency for a while among the administration, let me play it out: Osama hits the towers. Saddam says, “Hey, maybe I can draw their forces away from your people by playing games with the inspectors.” Sure enough, he provokes us, and we send over the vast majority of our military resources. Saddam escapes to an al-quaeda funded safehouse (that part didn’t quite work out), and the US’s flanks are exposed while its ability to respond elsewhere in the world is significantly reduced.
Now, I’m NOT saying this is what happened, but it is one of the countless scenarios that suggest that a little self-control might have been better for the US in the long run.
Mylroie: Basically, that’s correct.
The White House was aware of the suspicions of New York FBI regarding Iraq’s involvement in the Trade Center bombing and it believed that when it hit Iraqi intelligence headquarters a few months later, in June, saying that the strike was punishment for Iraq’s attempt to kill former President Bush, that would take care of the Trade Center bombing too. Clinton believed that that strike would deter Saddam from all future acts of terrorism. But of course, that was to underestimate Saddam’s vengefulness and resolve.
So Iraq was involved in the 93 bombing but we’re supposed to believe someone else was behind the 01 bombing?
Maybe no one has found the WMD because they were not there in the first place. Maybe Iraq only had intentions to build WMD, but did not really have WMD production capability. Maybe Iraq was not any sort of imminent threat. Maybe the sanctions were really working and the war was completely unneccessary. These possibilities seem increasingly likely to me given the failure to find any WMD by inspection teams from the United States.
If this is the case, then the intelligence used to promote the war was either very wrong or it was manipulated. Whether it was incompetence or criminality involved with this intelligence, it is important to uncover the truth.
And let us not blame Hussein for starting the war. It was the U.S. that attacked Iraq, a country that apaprently did not threaten the United States. The American invasion and occupation seems like aggression pure and simple with the WMD story used as a cover.
Laurie Mylroie says that the White House was aware that the New York FBI had suspicions . . . wait, what was the question? Mylroie’s theories support little more than that Ramzi Yousef may have assumed the identity of a man whose records were tampered with during the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. But Mylroie does not link Yousef (who is believed to have worked for bin Laden) to Iraq. And, even if Mylroie had any evidence of Iraq’s involvement in the ‘93 bombing, she certainly has none of Iraq’s involvement in the 2001 bombing. And, yes, since all evidence points to the involvement of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and Saudi nationals, it probably makes sense to belive that they were behind the bombings. There is as much reason to link Saddam to 9/11 as there is to link the Japanese (They sent an awful lot of planes to blow up an american port city once before, after all), or Tim McVeigh’s buddies.
Despite this pedigree, Salameh himself is naive and manipulable.
When one considers that he was arrested in the process of returning to collect the deposit on the van he had rented to carry the Trade Center bomb, it is not so surprising that on June 10, soon after being recruited into Nosair’s plot, Salameh made the first of forty-six calls to Iraq, the vast majority to his terrorist uncle in Baghdad. We can only speculate about what Salameh told his uncle, but it seems very likely that he spoke about the bold new project Nosair was organizing, perhaps seeking his help and advice. Salameh’s telephone bills suggest that the pipe bombing plot was one of the most exciting events in his life: In six weeks he ran up a bill of over four thousand dollars and lost his phone service.
Iraq is one of the few remaining Stalinist states. Iraqis routinely assume their telephones are bugged, and are even cautious about discussing sensitive issues in their own homes. The more significant the person, the greater the likelihood his activities are monitored–at least that is what Baghdadis assume. My own experience in Baghdad makes clear that when Iraqis want to be sure that a conversation is not monitored, it takes place out of doors. It is thus more than likely that Iraqi intelligence learned of Nosair’s bombing plot and Salameh’s participation in it through Salameh’s phone calls to his uncle. In any event, key preparatory steps to the World Trade Center bombing were taken within days of Salameh’s first call-including steps taken in Baghdad.
ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1992, Ramzi Yousef arrived at JFK airport. He presented an Yousef went to stay at the apartment of Musab Yasin, an Iraqi living in Jersey City. So too did Abdul Rahman Yasin, Musab’s younger brother, who arrived in America from Iraq soon after Yousef. (Musab had an unlisted telephone number under an Israeli-sounding alias, Josie Hadas.) Iraqi passport without a U.S. visa, was briefly detained (and fingerprinted) for illegal entry, and granted asylum pending a hearing.
In January 1993, Yousef and Salameh moved into another Jersey City apartment where the bomb was actually built. Set well back from the street, the building provided seclusion. On February 21 a twenty-one year old Palestinian named Eyyad Ismail arrived from Dallas. Ismail is charged with having driven the bomb-laden van. On February 23, Salameh went to a Ryder rental agency to rent the van to carry the bomb. On the morning of February 26, the conspirators gathered at a local Shell gas station where they topped up the tank–one last explosive touch–before driving to Manhattan. Shortly after noon, the bomb went off, on–let it be well noted–the second anniversary of the ending of the Gulf War.
Here is another great hypothesis: 1) the tooth was under the pillow at night, 2) the tooth is gone in the morning and a quarter takes it’s place, ergo 3) there is a Tooth Fairy.
Given that the U.S. was the aggressor and invaded a sovereign nation, most reasonable people would require that, at the time of the invasion and not 5 or 10 or 15 years earlier, Iraq was a threat to the security of the United States. The Bush Administration relied on, and some may say, deliberately manipulated, faulty intelligence to make a case that Iraq was, at that time, a threat to the security of the U.S. It wasn’t. It never was.
Maybe there are WMD’s out there somewhere in the desert. And maybe there’s a Tooth Fairy.
Well, if you want to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, using the justice system, that Iraq is a threat to the United States, that isn’t going to happened overnight.
We did that with the WTC93 Iraqi bombers. Tried em, convicted em and sentenced them. They were sentenced eight years after the bombing. At which point federal prosecutors proved conclusively that Iraq was a threat to the United States.
Of course, this was lost in the news because of that thing that happened the day the 93 Iraqi bombers were sentenced…You know… that thing…the 9/11 bombing of the WTC and Pentagon. Another remarkable coincidence.
So, by the most demanding proof of the existence of a threat, the United States did prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Iraq was indeed a threat to us in 1993. Unfortunately, the enemy hit us again, eight years later, the day that was proven.
Oschisms, your flurry of quotes proves too much. Your logic seems to be: Some of those involved in the ‘93 bombing were Iraqi, or had Iraqi family, or contacts with Iraq, or Iraqi passports. Therefore, Saddam Hussein and his regime must have been responsible for the WTC bombings eight years later.
Let’s forget for a moment that to call that logic specious would be almost as gracious as calling it logic — by your reasoning, WE SHOULD HAVE INVADED SAUDI ARABIA. Most of the hijackers were Saudis. Osama and his family are Saudis. The money came from Saudi Arabia. SAUDI ARABIA, NOT IRAQ.
By the way, I noticed that a Palestinian and someone with an Israeli-sounding name were also involved. Do you also belive that Israel and the PLO joined forces against the US to perpetrate 9/11?
He certainly had the weapons in the first place, just ask any Kurd or Iranian. And if he destroyed the weapons, why didn’t he prove so to the inspectors?
Saddam is the only one to blame for the war. He didn’t comply with how many?, 19, different UN resolutions. The US and its coaltion allies merely enforced those resolutions.
Actually if my “flurry”- and don’t be intimidated by the “flurry”- they all came from the same piece. In case you need the URL again:
If flurries are too tough for you too handle, perhaps it would be advised that you stay out of the Northeast this weekend. The weather looks too hardy for the likes of you.
Obviously you missed my first comment where I dealt with the Saudi Arabia question at some length. Since you’re too lazy too read that paragraph and flurries are tough sledding for you, i reprint it here:
Those of us who are politically active on the right knew from the start that the rationale for the Iraq campaign was, ostensibly, enforcing the cease fire agreement obtained at the end of Gulf War I. We also knew there were real reasons why the Iraq campaign was necesssary:
Firstly, installing a democracy in the Middle East, thereby encouraging the Iranians to overthrow the mullahs.
Secondly, obtaining military bases in Iraq, thereby giving us the ability to invade Ba’athist Syria should that become necessary.
Thirdly, to upgrade Iraq’s oil drilling facilities with today’s technology and reintroduce it’s supplies to the world oil market. This last step is directed at squeezing “Saudi” Arabia’s economy. Iraq has the potential to become the lowest cost producer in the region, supplanting “Saudi” Arabia and enabling Iraq to increase production past OPEC targets, thus lowering the price of oil. As the price of oil is lowered, “Saudi” Arabia’s princes have less money to fund Wahhabi madrassas and Islamic terrorism. In addition, once the princes realize we have them by the short and curlys, they will be more cooperative in the War on Terror.
Now, there’s a LOT of circumstantial evidence linking Saddam and 9/11. That much is clear.
What’s also clear is that there are also some people who still think OJ is innocent. They could see a videotape of OJ slitting Nicole Simpson’s throat and declare it a fake.
Thank God we don’t rely on them to defend our country. With each argument, you set Democratic control of the executive branch another 10 years.
It’s so laughable you guys don’t see this.
We are aware about Saddams WMDs in the 80s. After all, the UK and the US were happy to see him use them on Iran. But that’s history. Peter has a point about the weapons inspectors etc and the cease fire conditions, but the tooth fairy theory rings true about their existence recently. For one, if they existed, Israel would have taken them out. The case for WMDs was always bodged and contrived. Good to see Condy admitting that it is a whole crock of shit as well (or so I heard on the radio today).
It is quite irrelevant what Iraq had 15 years ago. It is relevant what they had prior to the start of the Iraq War. Given that the reason for the war was over WMD that Iraq neither had or was currently capable of developing, the U.S. was unjustified in attacking Iraq.
As far as connecting Iraq with either WTC93 or 9/11, I would like to see that connection backed up by more than a few journalists. If it were true, you would think it would have gotten a lot more attention.
And it appears that the administration had other reasons for going to war with Iraq. However, they should have tried to convince the American people of the merits to a war with a country that neither had WMD nor sponsored terrorism against the U.S. The administration did not do this because Americans would probably have rejected this war if it is was only to ‘liberate’ the Iraqis. Instead, Americans were misled into this war. Heads should roll, starting with GWB.
Oschisms, I certainly did not mean to imply that I am intimidated by flurries. To the contrary, I see little to fear in something with high volume and full of agitation and confusion but little substance and short duration. You can talk long, and you can talk loud, but that don’t mean you’re actually saying something.
Similarly, the fact that you mentioned Saudi Arabia doesn’t mean that you understood or addressed my point, which is that if invasion and occupation is necessary to contain the terrorist threat, then invasion and occupation of Saudi Arabia made and makes infinitely more sense than Iraq. To use your own OJ analogy, it’s like screaming that Mark Furhman and Al Cowlings must be put to death for their clear involvement in the killing of Nicole and Ron Brown, and then pointing out that killing them, and torturing Kato Kaelin, will eventually force OJ to admit that he did it and turn himself in.
I don’t see even “circumstancial” evidence of Saddam’s involvement in 9/11, but we’ve all seen the clear, stark evidence of Saudi involvement. Your fanatical, desperate denial of the truth may fill some void in your psyche, but as you cling to what you think is the “party line” (isn’t the constant see-sawing making you a bit seasick?), you are doing yourself, and your country, no good.
Sigh, my point was that if you want the ironclad proof the America haters seem to require, it takes years. 8 in the case of the WTC 93 bombing. To set a standard of needing 100% accurate ironclad evidence no less than a few months old is to set a standard that is impossible to meet. Your policy means, in effect, that the United States can never defend itself from an act of War. Is it any wonder that Instapundit says, “They’re not antiwar, they’re just on the other side?”
Journalists like Andrew Gilligan? No thanks. I’ll take the word of the NY FBI and Clinton’s top adviser on Iraq over the New York Times and the BBC.
Americans were not led into the war under false pretenses. The ostensible reason for the War was Saddam’s lack of fulfillment of the Gulf War I ceasefire agreement. Some of the clauses of this agreement involved destroying verified stocks of WMD’s.
Unless you can show that Saddam did destroy all of the anthrax he was required to under the ceasefire agreement, you simply aren’t showing false pretenses. And I doubt you can, because there’s a limit to what even an Andrew Gilligan can fabricate.
Actually, to anyone who can read, my post clearly refers to the Iraq campaign in terms of it as a proxy war on “Saudi” Arabia. Launching an invasion of “Saudi” Arabia is unrealistic for 2 reasons:
1) Interrupting the flow of SA’s oil will cause the price of oil to spike, lengthining a worldwide recession. So it makes far more sense to introduce a replacement supply, namely Iraq’s, onto the world oil market before taking action against the princes.
2) It is far better to gain economic power over the “Saudi” princes than invade, occupy, and install a liberal democracy with universal sufferage. In Iraq we were certain that we could replace Saddam’s despotism with something better. In “Saudi” Arabia, universal sufferage would most likely lead to an electoral landslide for the Whahabbi fundamentalists, replacing the princes with something even worse, an Iran-like absorption of the state by the church.
As for your personal jibes, they will be ignored, as they are a sure sign you feel you are losing the argument and are lashing out desperately.
“They’re not antiwar, they’re just on the other side.” Instapundit
Switching the subject every time you feel pressured won’t make you right, it will just make me tired of arguing with you.
Are you saying that the US was justified in invading Iraq because it was “defending itself against an act of war,” or are you saying that the US was justified in invading Iraq because Iraq violated the terms of the ceasefire?
If you are saying the first, and I assume the “act of war” you are talking about is 9/11, then my answer is that attacking Iraq was as appropriate a response as invading Greenland after Pearl Harbor. I am not waiting around for “100% ironclad proof”. Neither you nor anyone else has made a case for Saddam’s involvement in 9/11 at all, much less any significant probability. If there were even 51% (maybe less), I would probably have supported the invasion of Iraq.
If, on the other hand, you are claiming that the reason for invading Iraq was their failure to comply with the ceasefire agreement and/or the UN resolution, then again I think the invasion was an inappropriate response, far out of proportion to the situation, given the intelligence we had, the options short of war that were available to us, and the other military commitments we had or should have been anticipating (Afghanistan, homeland security).
You seem to have given up arguing the ACTUAL reason that was given by the administration: that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s that posed an immediate and critical threat to the U.S.
As for your “proxy war” point, it is flawed on every level:
1. You haven’t countered my “OJ analogy”: al-qaeda was and is a far more imminent threat to the US than Saddam was, and the people of Saudi Arabia are hardly free or prosperous. Why not just cut out the middleman and topple the Saudis (hint: there are interests at work here that trump those of the American people, the Iraqi people and the Saudi people)?
2. Your scenario refers to Iraqi oil as “replacement” oil. What, they weren’t selling oil before?
3. Are you only interested in spreading freedom and universal suffrage when you are sure the people will choose the type of government you want them to choose? Invading Saudi Arabia, if done right, would have (and probably still would) give our people access to records that could break the international terrorist funding network wide open. If we can put a stranglehold on that, let the Saudis elect whomever they want.
4. What Iraqi oil? It’s been quite a while — and it’s going to be quite a while more.
Your arguments ring of after-the-fact justification, which makes me think that, at the heart of it, you have your own doubts about this administration’s actions and policies, you are just too proud, loyal or insecure to admit them.
Alright. There were many reasons as to why we should’ve went to war with Iraq. The reason which provided us the most legal cover was that Saddam did not comply with the ceasefire agreement which ended Gulf War I. He admitted to having weapons but never proved he destroyed them. The UN voted many times that action, including military action, would be taken against Iraq yet ultimately issued nothing but impotent words.
The second reason is that the US didn’t declare war just against al-Qaeda. It declared war against terror. So while, yes, al-Qaeda is a big theater of the war, it’s not the only one. Regimes that promote terror — much like Saddam, the Saudis, Iran, and Syria — are also fair game.
Going after Iraq first made perfect sense. First of all, Saddam is taken out of the picture and one regime is already gone. Secondly, it lessens our dependency on the Saudis. We no longer need to keep military bases in SA to contain Saddam. Those bases are closed today. By allowing Iraq to legally sell its oil on the global market again, SA’s economy will be adversely affected as demand for Saudi oil will go down. Thirdly, the removal of Saddam sent a strong message to other despot leaders in the region: Unlike before, the US means business.
The Saudis have already heard our message loud and clear and started cracking down on militants as well as introducing political reform.
As Iraq rebuilds itself, it will hopefully take form as a free and democratic nation. This should inspire other oppressed people like the Iranians, Syrians, Egyptians, and ultimately the Saudis to take action of their own against their governments.
We can agree on the first, although I continue to believe the US could have taken an active, aggressive role in enforcing the UN resolutions short of total invasion.
Going afer Iraq did not make “perfect sense”: (1) There were and are plenty of countries far more connected to terrorist acts in and against the U.S. than Iraq — including every other country you named. It doesn’t lessen our dependence on the Saudis. There is no oil coming out of Iraq, which means the Saudis are probably selling [b]more[/b] than they did before the war. I’m paying more for gas, not less. As for the bases in Saudi Arabia, you just can’t be serious. The payoff of sending 130,000 troops into Iraq, and have thousands die, is that we don’t have bases in Saudi Arabia? (3) I agree that the invasion sent a strong message, and may even have gotten Libya to clean up its act, but it also committed a hell of a lot of troops and resources. It also sent other messages: We don’t give a shit about international law or international support. Our allies can go fuck themselves if they disagree with us. The Islamic world is our playground, and they can go fuck themselves, too, unless they are Saudi Arabia. Yeah, we won’t fucking touch Saudi Arabia. That is the message.
We’ve been paying and supplying arms to people in Iran, Syria, Afghanistan for years so that they can take action of their own against the govenrment. Why in the world would they do so now that they think we’ll do it for them?
If we intend to do right by the Afghanis and the Iraqis, we will be spending hundreds of billions of dollars for the next 5-10 years. tens of thousands of troops will be committed to the region. Who the hell is going to invade the “next regime”? The boy scouts? We’ve sent our military defense overseas, and if we continue these stopgap measures of deficit spending and cosmetic tax cuts we will soon find ourselves economically devastated. Sitting ducks for the next bunch of Saudis who try to take us out.
As for your first point,
There were and are plenty of countries far more connected to terrorist acts in and against the U.S. than Iraq, I wouldn’t rule out Iraq from having connections. Oschisms already mentioned the Iraq-WTC’93 connection. There may have been connections between Saddam and al-Qaeda in 9/11. Information is still coming out from the Governing Council suggesting such a relationship.
Before the war I argued that it would be much easier to get rid of Saddam before going after the Saudis. One regime pretended to be our friend and the other made no secret about hating us. You may as well go after the one who openly hates us first. Since Saddam’s ouster, the US has been pressuring SA to crack down on militants and start internal reforms and they have been. George Bush has often said that each country will require a different way of handling. Of course we can go to war with every country and bomb the hell out of them like you seem to want, but if there are other ways to get the intended results, we may as well try that. Closing down our military bases in SA is just one way of distancing ourselves from the Saudis. As much as the US wanted to Saudi bases in order to contain Saddam, the Saudis wanted the US there to help prop up the royals and protect them from the Saudi people. As for as your question about where the Iraqi oil is, I don’t really follow news about the oil industry but the last I heard was the Coalition was trying to help rebuild and modernize the oil infrastructure while Saddam loyalists and foreign fighters were sabotaging it.
It’s very condescending to all of our allies who joined us in the war and who are there in Iraq now to say the US had no international support. As for our “allies” who didn’t agree with us, it looks like some of them were paid handsomely by Saddam.
Yes, it is going to take a lot of troops and resources to clean up the region but it’s a job that has to be done at some point.