Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 22, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

SADDAM AND OSAMA YET AGAIN....Marc Lynch is still plowing his way through the Iraqi document dump, and today he examines a memo that was written in 1997 shortly after Osama bin Laden had moved from Sudan to Afghanistan. Among other things, it says, "Currently we are working to invigorate this relationship through a new channel in light of his present location."

Marc suggests that "activate" is a better translation of the Arabic word taf'il than "invigorate," but then tells us that's the least of the problems with this memo:

This is a very odd "document". It's handwritten, and is not on any kind of official letterhead or stationary. It has no stamps or signatures indicating that it had passed through the bureaucracy and been placed in the files. It is neither signed nor dated. I'm just not sure the grounds on which it was declared to be presumed authentic. That isn't to say that it is definitively not authentic there could be cover pages and supplemental materials that were not included in the scanned file. But what was made public gives little reason for confidence.

I've got a slightly different question: who cares? This document apparently dates from 1997 and it doesn't tell us anything new. We've known for years that Saddam and Osama had a few tentative contacts during the 90s, the last of which was in 1998/99 when Osama's relationship with the Taliban was undergoing some strain and Saddam had just been bombed by U.S./British forces. The contact was brief and nothing came of it.

No one has ever suggested that Saddam had no contact at all with al-Qaeda. He did. But it never amounted to anything, and the credible evidence indicates that there hadn't even been any casual contact between Saddam and al-Qaeda for over four years by the time we invaded Iraq in 2003. This document does nothing to suggest otherwise.

Kevin Drum 1:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (164)

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Comments

Odd, you goofballs didn't pay attention to this kind of stuff when Bill Burkett gave the forged documents to Dan Rather!

Posted by: FrequencyKenneth on March 22, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

You ask the relevant question Kevin. Of course all this document dump is designed to do is give conservative commentators some talking points whenever anyone brings up the fact that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no immediate threat to the U.S. They can shout, "What about memo 981.23B?" and try to derail the discussion. It's like Hitchens' columns supporting the war--throw every wild claim and half-truth against the wall and hope that some of it sticks.

Posted by: Steve on March 22, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

We didn't go to war over Rather. And Rather paid the price for sloppy journalism.

But why bother, Kevin, facts have nothing to do with support for Bush's war.

Posted by: tomeck on March 22, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Mr. Chalabi can tell us something about that memo

"Proof depends on who you are. We're looking for a preponderance of evidence, and some people need more of a preponderance than other people." - John Kantner

Posted by: daCascadian on March 22, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Tomeck: It does seem kind of pointless to keep fighting this stuff, I admit. Still, I figure someone ought to at least put it on the table. Otherwise, the other side wins by default. "We have new documents that prove we were right all along!"

Posted by: Kevin Drum on March 22, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

The Likud's Genocidal Fucktards were pushing this kind of crap yesterday. Color me unimpressed. It's like they're trying to relive their glory years, or rather "year."

But 2003 is growing ever more distant by the second. They're still wrong, and thousands are still dying in the middle of nowhere for nothing. What kind of freak, then, is still trying to pull this shit?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 22, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Why are you even bringing this crap up, Drum? It's a freaking distraction.

Posted by: Lucy's Football on March 22, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Odd, you goofballs didn't pay attention to this kind of stuff when Bill Burkett gave the forged documents to Dan Rather!

See? Another contrafactual statement. It's like for every bushtard there's a spider hole for them to hide in.

Pathetic.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 22, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Great post, Kevin. Gotta' make sure this dead horse stays dead so the real kool aide drinkers don't go too far.

Posted by: Chris on March 22, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

All the really good memo releases will be in October.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 22, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty good analysis, Kevin.

Now do this one.

I've been watching these documents with some interest.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 22, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

And you are able to draw this conjecture based on information we have why?

Because we declined to continue to appease Hussein and we invaded Iraq to enforce our rights as per the treaty ending the Gulf War. [Put another way; you, I, and no one could possibly have sure information on the al-Qaida/Hussein links then; now we have definitive surety.]

That is also why we know (as opposed to being threateningly keep from knowing by Hussein) that he had no WMD; and why we know he was getting rich vis-a-vis the UN's absurdly corrupt oil-for-food scandal and that to ever even conceive of acting militarily "only under the auspices of the U.N." is national suicide; and why Hussein is in custody; and why we've been killing Baathist holdouts and Islamofascists at a rate of 30:1 for U.S. soldiers killed; and why we have our #1 global enemy surrounded on both sides by battle-hardened U.S. troops; and why Hussein can no longer pay $25,000 to every suicide bomber who strikes Israel and/or the U.S.

I challenge any Regressive-Appeasement-unDemocrat tin-hatter to make a convincing case that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld have conducted the Afghanistan and Iraq II Wars incompetently given the history of American military casualties in past wars, the history of British involvement in both countries for the last 250 years, the history of the Soviet-Afghanistan War in the 70s and 80s, the Iraq-Iran War of the 80s, and the ethnic, religious, and political dynamics on the ground upon invasion in March of 2003.

3000 dead after having conquered two historically intractable and multi-schismatic countries, occupied them for 3 years, made great strides toward nation building despite a hyper-violent, hyper-irrational and hyper-fascist resistance; this is a masterpiece by historical standards. The moderated troop levels represent the wisdom of a relatively surgical level of troops where "overwhelming numbers" would have been counter-productive, produced quickly diminishing marginal returns, futile, and a catastrophe in terms of casualties.

GWB belongs with Washington, RR, TR, Lincoln, and FDR as the greatest U.S. presdients; his edge, and Reagan's edge, on the latter two is that he, and Reagan, avoided the cataclysmic conflict they could not [for those obsessively counting U.S. soldiers dead, he beats Lincoln and FDR].

History will glorify George W. Bush; and toward that end, I, The Objective Historian, already have.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on March 22, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

No one has ever suggested that Saddam had no contact at all with al-Qaeda.

Saddam and every other government in the Middle East and much of Central Asia. In fact, of countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc. Iraq probably had the least contacts of anyone.

Posted by: Stefan on March 22, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

FROM INSTAPUNDIT: WOW.

REGRESSIVE-APPEASEMENT-unDEMOCRATS, CRY OVER THIS FOR A WHILE:

Some interesting numbers:

While every lost serviceman and servicewoman is certainly tragic and should be mourned, the actual statistics tell quite a different tale from the MSM and Democratic doom-and-gloom outlook. Comparing the numbers of lost US military personnel to past years, and past presidential terms, may even be a shock to supporters of the war.

Take a look at the actual US Military Casualty figures since 1980. If you do the math, you wil find quite a few surpises. First of all, let's compare numbers of US Military personnel that died during the first term of the last four presidents.

George W. Bush . . . . . 5187 (2001-2004)
Bill Clinton . . . . . . .4302 (1993-1996)
George H.W. Bush . . . . 6223 (1989-1992)
Ronald Reagan . . . . . . 9163 (1981-1984)

Even during the (per MSM) utopic peacetime of Bill Clinton's term, we lost 4302 service personnel. H.W. Bush and Reagan actually lost significantly more personnel while never fighting an extensive war, much less a simulaltaneous war on two theaters (Iraq and Afghanistan). Even the dovish Carter lost more people duing his last year in office, in 1980 lost 2392, than W. has lost in any single year of his presidency. (2005 figures are not available but I would wager the numbers would be slightly higher than 2004.)

In 2004, more soldiers died outside of Iraq and Afghanistan than died inside these two war zones (900 in these zones, 987 outside these zones). The reason is that there are usually a fair number that die every year in training accidents, as well as a small number of illness and suicide. Yet the MSM would make you think that US soldiers are dying at a high number in these zones, and at a significantly higher number than in past years or under past presidents. This is all simply outright lies and distortion.

Clinton lost almost as many; Bush pere and Reagan lost more . . . without having conquered two countries, etc. (see TOH post above).

Incomptence? Only if you are looking a mirror right now.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on March 22, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

MORE FROM INSTAPUNDIT:

Soldiers die in accidents and of natural causes when they are in garrison. What he doesnt take into account is that the military was much larger under Carter, Reagan and Bush I than it has been under Clinton or Bush II. Clinton and Bush II are really the only two comparable numbers. Looking at those numbers, it appears that the Iraq, Afghanistan wars have resulted in an increase of 885 dead over what could have been expected through normal garrison operations in Bush IIs first term. That is not too bad when you consider that Bush has liberated two countries and fought a prolonged insurgency in both and that America lost over 1,000 dead in taking Vichy French North Africa in 1942 (that was before we even so much as fired a shot at the Germans).

THAT INCOMPETENT GEORGE BUSH, DICK CHENEY, AND DONALD RUMSFELD, HUH? RELATIVE TO HISTORY, TAKING DOWN DICTATORS, FEEDING AND CLOTHING THE POOR, AND DEFENDING AMERICA AT VIRTUALLY NO COST IN MILITARY CASUALTIES.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on March 22, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

This is a very odd "document". It's handwritten, and is not on any kind of official letterhead or stationary. It has no stamps or signatures indicating that it had passed through the bureaucracy and been placed in the files. It is neither signed nor dated.

Yes, but when you turn it over it appears that the other side of the paper bears the letterhead "Office of the Vice President of the United States."

Posted by: Stefan on March 22, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

TOH:

The casulaty figures include all deaths to Military Personnel. Let's break the numbers down a bit and include only the numbers killed as a result of combat or terrorist attack:

George W. Bush . . . . . . 1157 (2001-2004)
Bill Clinton . . . . . . . . . . . 56 (1993-1996)
George H.W. Bush . . . . . 172 (1989-1992)
Ronald Reagan . . . . . . . 288 (1981-1984)


This doen't even include those killed during combat in 2005-2006.

So, what is your point again?

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on March 22, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Incomptence? Only if you are looking a mirror right now.

How do you like the view?

The difference is that every life spent in Iraq is being spent against the interests of this country, and that Iraq is the reason Afghanistan was left undone.

Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton never attacked US interests with our own troops.

But thank you for coming over here to regurgitate what you don't understand. You're helping everyone here see what a hole you'd have to be to remain a bushtard in times like these, and for that I can't thank you enough.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 22, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Please, let's all ignore The Objectionable Histrionic, shall we? This thread is about Hussein and bin Laden and the questionable documents, not about what he'd like it to be about.

Posted by: Stefan on March 22, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Ya, E. Henry, because no one grieves over soldiers killed in non-combat roles, right?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 22, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Please, let's all ignore The Objectionable Histrionic, shall we?

I prefer to vivisect them. We have to isolate the source of the deformity. Besides, it's fun!
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 22, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Lynch's voice was likely to be the only voice of reason in all this -- you're going to find what you want to find.

Take this guy, General Sada, that Michael Reagan, Limbaugh, et al. are so enamored of. He "knows" that Saddam flew (in 56 sorties of a 747 and 727) all his WMD to Syria. There! The proof!

So I looked at Sada's book (what a surprise, a book) and the WMD story takes up 1.5 pages of a 270+ page book, and its buried 2/3 of the way through. Now if his editors at his right-wing publishing house thought the story was that powerful, wouldn't it be in the preface? Wouldn't it be blurbed on the back? But its not. But "a top Iraqi general" said it, so there. They see what they want to see.

I'm sure that if you could get access to all the files of the OSS, you'd see that OSS agents had contacts with Admiral Canaris' people -- would that "prove" that the US had a "relationship" with Hitler? Likewise, if all the CIA's house-keeping files were declassified, there'd undoubtedly be lots of contacts between CIA folks and al Qaeda folks here and there. Surely Milt Bearden met some Qaeda types while he was running his campaign to support the muj during the Afghan war.

It's the nature of that spooky business -- in a sense, everyone knows everyone. But lamentably, that is far too nuanced for the Unwashed Red Masses.

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on March 22, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam was a BAD MAN!

All you LIEberals just love Saddam!

Getting rid of Saddam is worth any number of American lives and any amount of money! Anyone who says otherwise hates freedom!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 22, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Objective Historian - please identify the source of your information. Of course soldiers die by accident, probably at a rate greater than the general population. But when one compares those who died in "hostile action" the information from the Defense Manpower Data Center tells a slightly different story that the one that you tell.

Reagan 1981-1988 58 deaths
Bush 1 1989-1993 170 deaths
Clinton 1993-2001 1 death
Bush 2 2001-2004 1100 deaths

The information is only available through the end of 2004 and so you'll have to add the hundreds killed since then. Please try to be a little more accurate when you make your idiotic arguments.

Posted by: Lamonte on March 22, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton personally killed every soldier that died in an accident. As opposed to all the ones who died PROTECTING AMERICA!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 22, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Grand Moff Texan wrote: "I prefer to vivisect them. We have to isolate the source of the deformity. Besides, it's fun!"

It definitely can be. In addition to the points already made, there are the obvious points that measurements of deaths is hardly an appropriate metric of competence, not to mention that talking only of deaths rather than all casualties is rather dishonest.

What's been most interesting to me is the absolute reluctance on the part of the war supporters to discuss the true and complete list of costs, benefits, risks, and consequences, both short-term and long-term, of this war. Debate by soundbite? Plenty. Thoughtful analysis? None.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Otherwise, the other side wins by default. "We have new documents that prove we were right all along!"

Kevin

I'll grant you that, but they say that shit anyway. I guess my frustration is that if we came up with definitive proof that Bin Laden and Saddam were trying to kill each other, the right would just say "See, they were working together."

Posted by: tomeck on March 22, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

"THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials."

Sand, meet head.

Posted by: am on March 22, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, please, not this crap again. Man, Hayes is even resurrecting Salman Pak, that long-discredited and thoroughly debunked story.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Note to liberals:

When there are several million documents still awaiting translation it might be better to couch arguments in terms of "at this time" or "in light of current evidence".

That is all.

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

That is all.

Yes, we knew that was all. That's what makes it so funny!
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 22, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Stay classy Texas.

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel, the comma is our friend and humble ally in the war on incomprehension.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 22, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, Birkel. Now care to tell us, please, just how often the warbloggers have triumphantly announced that this time, truly, we have discovered those elusive WMDs? Or those long-awaited and much-anticipated ties to al Qaeda?

If anyone needs to "couch arguments in terms of 'at this time' or 'in light of current evidence,'" it ain't us.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

that measurements of deaths is hardly an appropriate metric of competence

Especially when you don't know who was president from 1996 to 2001:

George W. Bush . . . . . 5187 (2001-2004)
Bill Clinton . . . . . . .4302 (1993-1996)

Oh, the humanity. I mean, it's one thing to feed the bushtards on this phony hope, that keeps the cattle in the barn, but it's just plain humiliating for them when they take it out in public and pretend to be able to ... count.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 22, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

GMT,
You didn't understand what I wrote? You suffered an inability to comprehend because you say a comma MUST go between classy and Texas? Sorry!

PaulB,
And how many times have those on the left so confidently stated that they've proved the negative?

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

GMT:
I'm fairly certain that the reason for only indicating Clinton's first term is that Bush's second term is incomplete and therefore the numbers are incomparable if you compare anything other than just first terms; that's why Bush's 2005-6 numbers aren't included too.

But snark away...

(No commas is fun!)

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

"THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials."

Sand, meet head."

What Hayes referenced was covered in the ISG Report years ago. The Mukhabarat Intelligence recruited legions of foreign mercenaries and trained them in paramilitary tactics. Their purpose was to act as agents of the regime and supplement their domestic Fedayeen goons in maintaining 'order.' One of their specific missions, cited in the ISG Report, was counterterrorism. (The Iranians had engaged in plenty of attacks on Iraq since the Iran-Iraq war; in one 1986 attack, a civilian Iraqi airliner was hijacked and crashed in Arar, Saudi Arabia, killing half the occupants.) They even relayed a claim that the components of one foreign paramilitary group took down an attempted hijacking at Baghdad's Airport in 2000.

Hayes probably just spun it as terrorism training for jihadists, you know, because Hussein was the world's biggest fan of Islamic Fundamentalism...

Posted by: Anonymous Passerby on March 22, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel wrote: "And how many times have those on the left so confidently stated that they've proved the negative?"

Not nearly as often, given that such judgments would have been premature prior to the Duelfer report and the 9/11 Commission reports. The triumphalism on the right began within a few weeks of the war.

"and therefore the numbers are incomparable if you compare anything other than just first terms"

You forgot to add that the numbers are incomparable regardless of which term was selected.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

No I did not forget.
That is your point and I no more wish to tell you what you mean to type than I wish you to do so to me.

Thanks anyway.

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like ol' Kevin is cherry-picking intelligence again, just like those nasty, shrill, partisan, right-wingers. Memo to Kevin (Earth to Kevin), it is disingenuous to criticize others for what you yourself do. How in the heck can Kevin, with a straight face, criticize one single piece of paper from the thousands of pages that have been released, and at the same time accuse people like me of only selecting the intelligence we agree with to make our case? For cryin' out loud!

And when Kevin states that no one has ever suggested that Saddam had 'no contact at all' with Al Qaeda? - give me a break. It's been suggested, implied, written, etc by any number of shrill, partisan, left wingers. (And no, I won't provide examples because I don't have to!)

Perhaps Kevin should learn to avoid using such generalities in the future - that way, he won't get caught doing exactly what he accuses others of doing. h_y_p_o_c_r_i_t_e.

Posted by: sunbeltjerry on March 22, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

No, birkel, I was wondering why just pick their first terms. It's not like casualty statistics aren't available for the last two years, you know.

In fact, if you compare all the available apples to apples, say, Clinton to Reagan, or the first six years of Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II, you get:

13,349
5,946
6,127* with year #6 only beginning.

*additional data from icasualties.org only include fatalities in Iraq, not total deaths in the military.

In other words the right blogsphere is in a tizzy about numbers that have been pre-chewed for them. If they'd bothered to get out their calculators, they'd have nothing to say. Even giving Bush's 2006 numbers every benefit of the doubt (like it only being, say, March and only including Iraq) the "point" being made all over the blogsphere by Reynolds' misguided minions simply falls on its face.

Kinda like Hayes, but that's another story.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 22, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

it is disingenuous to criticize others for what you yourself do.

Except he didn't. He just pointed out that you still have nothing.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 22, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

mmm, no.

Posted by: sunbeltjerry on March 22, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

sunbeltjerry wrote: "Looks like ol' Kevin is cherry-picking intelligence again,"

Only if you've turned off your brain and are engaging in unthinking partisanship. Pointing out a problem with a particular document is not even remotely "cherry-picking." Now, if Kevin were to say something like, "This document is bogus; therefore all of these documents are bogus," or if he were to write: "This document conclusively proves that Saddam Hussein had no links to al Qaeda," you might have a point. Since he didn't, you don't.

"just like those nasty, shrill, partisan, right-wingers."

Good to see you accept that such behavior is ongoing. Maybe there's hope for you yet.

"Memo to Kevin (Earth to Kevin), it is disingenuous to criticize others for what you yourself do."

Memo to sunbeltjerry -- first make sure that the target of your venom has actually done what you are accusing him of doing. Otherwise, you just look foolish, as in this case.

"How in the heck can Kevin, with a straight face, criticize one single piece of paper from the thousands of pages that have been released,"

Quite easily, actually. Did you have a point to make? Or are you disagreeing with Kevin's analysis?

"and at the same time accuse people like me of only selecting the intelligence we agree with to make our case? For cryin' out loud!"

Um...did you actually read Kevin's post? You know -- the one you're responding to? The one in which he quite specifically does not suggest that "people like you are only selecting the intelligence they agree with?"

Or were you perhaps responding to his earlier post from five days ago in which he said that pretty much everyone cherry-picks? If so, it's interesting that you took that little bit of conventional wisdom so much to heart. Guilty conscience, perhaps?

"And when Kevin states that no one has ever suggested that Saddam had 'no contact at all' with Al Qaeda? - give me a break. It's been suggested, implied, written, etc by any number of shrill, partisan, left wingers. (And no, I won't provide examples because I don't have to!)"

Really? So we're just supposed to take your word for it? Wow... I'll have to keep that in mind. Hmm... let me try this. "All right-wing blog commenters are self-admitted child molesters. And no, I won't provide examples because I don't have to!" Hey, cool. Whadayaknow ... it works.

"Perhaps Kevin should learn to avoid using such generalities in the future - that way, he won't get caught doing exactly what he accuses others of doing. h_y_p_o_c_r_i_t_e."

Perhaps sunbeltjerry should learn to read before he next posts a comment on this blog? That way, he won't get exposed as an idiot. Oh, wait ... too late.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel wrote: "No I did not forget."

Ah, so you're a fool rather than just careless? Thanks for clearing that up.

"That is your point and I no more wish to tell you what you mean to type than I wish you to do so to me."

ROFL.... Fine by me, Birkel; I'm quite content for you to expose yourself as a fool without any help needed from me.

"Thanks anyway."

My pleasure, I assure you.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

"... you still have nothing."

GMT:

Would you prefer the US government under President Bush be wrong about WMD pre-invasion or correct about WMD?

If some document (that all but the most delusional would accept) was translated that clearly showed Saddam's chemical, biological and nuclear programs (for argument's sake we'll assume some such document(s) exists and remains untranslated) were operational pre-invasion, would that be a good thing or a bad thing for this country?

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Richard Clarke's analogy remains the most enduring - "Attacking Iraq after 9-11 made as much sense as attacking Mexico after Pearl Harbor."

It was foolish then and it's even more foolish today, knowing there were never any WMDs.

End the illegal occupation of Iraq today!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 22, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel wrote: "would that be a good thing or a bad thing for this country?"

Neither, of course. It sure would be good for George W. Bush, though.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB,
Did you just learn to type the expression "expose yourself" or something.
You used it both for me and sunbeltjerry.
Now I don't feel special!
/sarcasm routine

And you think I care about your opinions how, exactly?

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel, rather clumsily, wrote: "PaulB,
Did you just learn to type the expression 'expose yourself' or something.
"

No. Did you have a point to make?

"You used it both for me and sunbeltjerry."

Dear, it's hardly my fault that both you and sunbeltjerry did the same thing.

"Now I don't feel special!"

I'll work on it.

"And you think I care about your opinions how, exactly?"

And you have reason to believe that my comments were aimed at you how, exactly? Birkel, dear, I care as much about your opinions as you do about mine. I will continue, however, to highlight your foolishness anytime you choose to engage in such behaviors. Such is life in the comments section.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Help! I've been exposed!

PaulB: mmm, no. doubled.

Posted by: sunbeltjerry on March 22, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Tell you what, PaulB, I'll note the cogent arguments you've made below:

.

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

ROFL.... Oh, this is priceless...

sunbeltjerry wrote: "Help! I've been exposed!"

LOL... Yes, dear, you have. Now care to actually address the substance of my remarks? No? I thought not. Poor fellow....

"PaulB: mmm, no. doubled."

Ah yes, the resort to childishness and playground dynamics. Hmm...let me think... "I know you are, but what am I?" Or maybe, "Tripled! No, infinitied!" Nah, needs work.

Now let's take a look at dear little Birkel: "Tell you what, PaulB, I'll note the cogent arguments you've made below:"

ROFL.... Yup, childishness and playground dynamics it is. Alas that my point went over your heard, Birkel. Do feel free to come back after you've had a chance to think. I don't think I'll be holding my breath.

Now what was it that tbrosz was saying about shrillness and desperation?

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Ah, so you're a fool rather than just careless? Thanks for clearing that up."
-PaulB

The model of anti-shrillness and cogent argument.

Good work if you can get it.

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel, dear, I note that you quite carefully did not address the point I made in the post that preceded that: "You forgot to add that the numbers are incomparable regardless of which term was selected."

When you're prepared to address that point, not to mention the other points I made on this thread, we can talk. Until then, I'm afraid that the label still stands. And you're further confirming it with every post. Nice work!

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK



When there are several million documents still awaiting translation it might be better to couch arguments in terms of "at this time" or "in light of current evidence".

Note to those who are not utter morons -- when you have practically every single senior member of Saddam's regime, including Saddam himself, and have interrogated them separately it is delusional to think that documents will turn up establishing a WMD program that all these people, deny, separately.

Note to wingnuts: The US governemnt has in 2 reports basically said there were no WMDs. Anyone who continues to beat this long dead horse thus reveals himself to be a complete liar.

Posted by: erg on March 22, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB,
And you forgot to address the point that these are not numbers about which I have taken a position.

This, in effect, makes your point the following:
"You have offered no opinion about something and yet I'll ask you twice to defend your position on this matter and call you names in the interim."

How's that work out for you?

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

erg, I think the mindset is best summed up in a comment that Jay made on another thread:

"How do I know the Iraqi military is united for peace? Because I believe in them .... That's called faith, a virtue of which your dark little selfish liberal heart could not possibly possess."

Who needs facts, proof, or evidence when you've got faith?

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel wrote: "How's that work out for you?"

Works great for me, Birkel, dear, but then I'm not the one looking like a fool for posting about numbers that make absolutely no sense and not commenting that they make absolutely no sense. But hey, that must have been someone else using your name to do that. I'd complain to Kevin if I were you. YMMV. HAND.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

I posted one thing about those numbers, PaulB. I said the reason they only looked at first terms was to be consistent. That's a very long way from commenting about the veracity of the numbers themselves -- something about which I have said nothing.

So that leaves you arguing with yourself about nothing.

And that's where it'll have to stay.

Posted by: Birkel on March 22, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

STOP THE PRESSES!

I have unassailable evidence, confirmed by multiple government sources, that members of the Grand Old Praty regime of the United States House of Representatives had a long-term and enduring relationship with Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives that included economic, political, and weapon support!

See the photographs in _Charlie Wilson's War_ of Representative Charlie Wilson (R-TX) with Jalaluddin Haqani, who sheltered bin Laden during the 2001-2002 war, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom we attempted to assassinate with a Hellfire shot from a Predator because he was an affiliate of al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda operatives received training, financial support, and weapons from these treasonous scum.

Of course, this means that the Republican Party is WITH THE TERRORISTS and that, in accordance with our recently re-stated strategic doctrine of preemption we must commence Operation Capitol Hill Freedom because the GOP is obviously a clear and present danger. Republicans obviously hate us for our freedoms.

Saddle up, boys, we cross the L.D. in early November....

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on March 22, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

No matter. Christopher Hitchens will seize upon this as yet more definitive evidence of the rightness of invasion.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on March 22, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

What Hayes referenced was covered in the ISG Report years ago. The Mukhabarat Intelligence recruited legions of foreign mercenaries and trained them in paramilitary tactics. Their purpose was to act as agents of the regime and supplement their domestic Fedayeen goons in maintaining 'order.' One of their specific missions, cited in the ISG Report, was counterterrorism...

Posted by: Anonymous Passerby on March 22, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

So what's the definition of 'providing terrorist training'?

Heck, Afghanistan could argue that Osama was providing counter-terrorism training. We train our people to fly plane. Its just to fly it around and use up its gas before crash landing when we take the plane back from terrorists.

Plus Saddam hated radical Shiite Terrorists, no evidence he hated radical Sunni Militants. And radical Sunni Militants seem well positioned to make use of armed caches and work with Saddams loyalists.....

So relying on the Saddam was not Fundamentalist is totally BS. As the Sunni-Shiite violence shows, there is more than one kind of Muslim Militant.

Posted by: McA on March 22, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel, intent on confirming my assessment of him, writes: " posted one thing about those numbers, PaulB."

Why yes, Birkel, you did. Did you have a point to make?

"That's a very long way from commenting about the veracity of the numbers themselves -- something about which I have said nothing."

Dear heart, I know you didn't, which is why I charitably gave you an opportunity to do so. You declined to take that opportunity, preferring instead to self-identify as a fool. That's perfectly fine with me, of course.

"So that leaves you arguing with yourself about nothing."

No, dear, it leaves me mocking you as a fool and you playing right along. Thanks ever so!

"And that's where it'll have to stay."

I'm perfectly happy with the outcome, dear. Thanks so much for playing; we have some lovely consolation prizes for you. TTFN.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

McA wrote: "So what's the definition of 'providing terrorist training?'"

In this case, probably showing that there was some sort of meaningful cooperation between al Qaeda and Hussein, that the folks being trained were being trained to attack or did attack the U.S. or its interests and allies, stuff like that. This isn't exactly rocket science.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Objective Historian, but those death statistics, as they are presented, are misleading. At the very least, a flag should have gone up in your head when only first terms were compared. What would be the point of that? The data is available for the whole period.

I found more here.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 22, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK


..........that the folks being trained were being trained to attack or did attack the U.S. or its interests and allies, stuff like that. This isn't exactly rocket science.

Posted by: PaulB on March 22, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Now is that viable before a war?

Remember, this is in enemy territory in a country where they torture spies. The only intelligence you are good at gathering (signal intercepts + satellite + information from biased exile types) never shows motive.

Until the last minute, the terrorists can always claim they were developing the weapons for another use.

Afghanistan's reason for not expelling Osama after 9-11 was 'not enough evidence'.

Posted by: McA on March 23, 2006 at 4:59 AM | PERMALINK

So deaths in the army are at 1980 levels because of reduction in accidents?

Here's a question - is being in the army anymore dangerous than being a cop, firefighter or timber chopper?

Posted by: McA on March 23, 2006 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK

Dearest PaulB, are you still trying to be that condescending liberal know-it-all bitch? Please until you can formulate your own thoughts instead of resorting to the Howard Dean talking points and until you actually have a plan for something other than NOTHING, please stay on the sidelines where you belong. OK Dear.

I still can't believe the liberals are admitting that Saddam and Osama even knew each other.

Posted by: Jay on March 23, 2006 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Go somewhere else, Jay.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 23, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Good Morning Ace.

Posted by: Jay on March 23, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

One of the reasons we have no proof of contact for those last four years is that our foreign policy agencies were tenaciously not looking for it. The party line at State, CIA, etc. was that a "secular" regime like Saddam's could not work with Islamists. There are mountains of evidence since the war to show that belief was completely asinine, and Kevin's use of it to butress his point illustrates how vacuous This line of reasoning really is.

Posted by: wks on March 23, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

So according to the left, the contacts in the 90's between Saddam and Osama amounted to nothing. Wouldn't you love to hear those inconsequential conversations:

Saddam: Hey Osama, see any good movies over the weekend.

Osama: No, just had a pot luck with Al Zawahiri and the boys. How about you?

Saddam: No, just hung out with the wife and kids.

Osama: Well I gotta run, hey Death to America buddy.

Saddam: Hey right back at ya kid. We'll see ya later.

Posted by: Jay on March 23, 2006 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, back for further humiliation, writes: "Dearest PaulB, are you still trying to be that condescending liberal know-it-all bitch?"

No, dear, just enjoying myself hugely watching you and your fellow partisans show off your foolishness. Quite entertaining, of course, but it would be nice if one of you could actually muster a sensible argument. Think you can meet the challenge, Jay?

"Please until you can formulate your own thoughts"

Jay, dear, everything I write is my own thought. Are you saying that that isn't the case for you? Interesting....

"instead of resorting to the Howard Dean talking points"

Dear heart, if you disagree with something I write, then by all means take up the challenge and debunk it. Thus far, you have done a dreadful job with it. Care to try again?

"and until you actually have a plan for something other than NOTHING,"

Alas, Jay, dear, I'm afraid that you have committed yet another logical fallacy. Would you like me to explain it to you or can you figure it out for yourself?

"please stay on the sidelines where you belong. OK Dear."

I fear I must decline, dear heart. But I'm terribly touched by your concern.

"I still can't believe the liberals are admitting that Saddam and Osama even knew each other."

Well, you see, dear, that's one of the differences between us -- we recognize reality and acknowledge it. I wish I could say the same thing about you.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, still unable to accept reality, writes: "So according to the left, the contacts in the 90's between Saddam and Osama amounted to nothing."

No, dear, according to the CIA, the 9/11 Commission, the various intelligence agencies around the world, Iraq's intelligence agency personnel, Iraq's captured leaders, al Qaeda's captured leaders, and all of the available evidence. You see, dear, unlike you, we actually look at the evidence instead of relying on "faith."

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

McA wrote: "Now is that viable before a war?"

Yes. Next question?

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Dearest Paul,
Isn't it ironic how we enjoy the same things? I enjoy watching the liberal losers spout their mental garbage on this blog. When you do post something of substance though, please let me know.

BTW, recognizing reality is what you do here? Wow, who would have thunk it? I guess that is why you are all so excited about the new book: "Amercian Theocracy; the Peril and Politics of a Radical Religion". Instead of reading the book that actually IS the problem with the current reality: "Islamic Theocracy; the Perils, Politics and Beheadings of a Radical Religion".

But I guess one man's reality is another man's liberl bubble, right dear?

Posted by: Jay on March 23, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, intent on further confirming our opinion of him, writes: "Dearest Paul, Isn't it ironic how we enjoy the same things?"

I'm afraid that that is not quite true, Jay, dear, but do keep trying, won't you?

"I enjoy watching the liberal losers spout their mental garbage on this blog."

Ah, but you see, Jay, dear, unlike you, there is actually some substance to what we write and it is supported by the available evidence. That's the difference between those of us in the reality-based world and folks like you who much prefer their own charming little fantasies.

"When you do post something of substance though, please let me know."

Already done, Jay, dear. Do let me know when you have an answer, won't you?

"BTW, recognizing reality is what you do here?"

One of the things, yes, Jay, dear. I know this is difficult for you to accept, particularly since you have already admitted that you prefer fantasy and faith to reality, but out here in the real world, that's the way things are. Care to join us some time?

"Wow, who would have thunk it?"

Well, obviously not someone who prefers fantasy.

"I guess that is why you are all so excited about the new book"

Jay, dear, do try to keep up, won't you?

"But I guess one man's reality is another man's liberl bubble, right dear?"

No, I'm afraid that you still haven't grasped the nature of reality, Jay, dear. That's not really much of a surprise, though, given your other comments. Oh well, maybe someday you'll join the grownups in the real world. Until then, we'll just be laughing at you.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Dear,
The other kids in the neighborhood are going out to find preganant teens who want to have an abortion. Join them if you want, be careful of the big bad republicans though.

Remember dear, when you disagree with someone just tell them that they are lying and that your reality is the only one that matters. OK. That way you won't get hurt. Run along dear.

Posted by: Jay on March 23, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

"Richard Clarke's analogy remains the most enduring - "Attacking Iraq after 9-11 made as much sense as attacking Mexico after Pearl Harbor.""

I think it was more like attacking Spain, who were nasty Fascists and in a just world Franco, like Saddam, would be hung from a tree, but didn't pose that much of a threat to the U.S. and weren't our main enemy.

"It was foolish then and it's even more foolish today, knowing there were never any WMDs."

This is an important point. I was against invading Iraq when I thought they had chemical and biological weapons. Even if we were going to try to depose Saddam, there were smarter ways to do it. If Saddam tried to make trouble in the region with them, then we could threat him with destruction for any use of unconventional weapons, like we did in the Gulf War when he did have chemical weapons and soldier who knew how to use them from the Iran-Iraq War.

The Weekly Standard can find WMD's in Saddam's undershorts and it wouldn't affect my position one iota.

Posted by: witless chum on March 23, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK


the number one killer of americans during the 8-years of the clinton presidency was...

timothy mcviegh...

he was brought to justice...

during the gwb presidency....the number one killer of americans was bin laden...

he's still making audiotapes...


gwb....redefining incompetence....downward...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 23, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, the gift that keeps on giving, writes: "Dear, The other kids in the neighborhood are going out to find preganant teens who want to have an abortion."

Are they? Interesting that you have such neighbors. Tell us more about them, won't you?

"Join them if you want, be careful of the big bad republicans though."

I'm afraid that you still haven't grasped the nature of reality, dear. We're not afraid of you; we're amused by you. We're mocking you and laughing at you, Jay, dear. Do I need to use smaller words? Are you beginning to grasp the situation yet?

"Remember dear, when you disagree with someone just tell them that they are lying and that your reality is the only one that matters."

While that is, in fact, a marvelous description of your debating tactics, Jay, dear, (see, for example, the quote above or the thread that it came from -- highly entertaining) out here in the real world, I'm afraid that we find such tactics highly ineffective. Amusing as hell, though.

"OK. That way you won't get hurt."

Goodness, you may have a point. I might just end up busting a gut laughing at your idiocy. I'll definitely work on that. Perhaps you could try to be a little less amusing?

"Run along dear."

I'm so touched by your concern, Jay, dear. I'll give this advice every bit as much attention as I do the rest of your advice. TTFN.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares?

We do. Some folks, yourself included, are looking pretty delusional nowadays.

Posted by: Some Guy on March 23, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

"We've known for years that Saddam and Osama had a few tentative contacts during the 90s, the last of which was in 1998/99..."

Really? Why is it that I hear virtually every day that "There were no connections between Saddam and al Quaeda"

Better keep repeating:
"There were no connections between Saddam and al Quaeda"
"There were no connections between Saddam and al Quaeda"
"There were no connections between Saddam and al Quaeda"

Posted by: adlibn on March 23, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

"No one has ever suggested that Saddam had no contact at all with al-Qaeda."

Well, nobody except the New York Times.

"Panel Finds No Qaeda-Iraq Tie"

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/17/politics/17panel.html?ex=1402804800&en=492ac04303208f60&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND


Oops... sorry... And the Washington Post.

"No Evidence Connecting Iraq to Al Qaeda, 9/11 Panel Says"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46254-2004Jun16.html

But you know... other than THAT, sure... nobody ever suggested such a thing.

Posted by: The Guvnah on March 23, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

when you have practically every single senior member of Saddam's regime, including Saddam himself, and have interrogated them separately it is delusional to think that documents will turn up establishing a WMD program that all these people, deny, separately.

Yeah, we interrogated a lot of Nazis, too, and they didn't know nothin' about no war crimes or genocide, nossir, that wasn't me, that was some other General, or mean ole massa Adolf, who did those bad things, ja?

Posted by: Fester on March 23, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB is obviously a twitching turd-stabber.

Posted by: Schlongora Lohangi on March 23, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

If you cover your ears and keep chanting "bush lied, people died" then you'll feel much better.

Posted by: paul on March 23, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

"You see, dear, unlike you, we actually look at the evidence instead of relying on 'faith.'"

Then you won't mind my asking: "Where is the evidence that the democratic party and its candidates are going to be able to wage a better, more effective war against terrorism than the administration of GWB?"

Posted by: KJW on March 23, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares? I do. Don;t you think you are jumpning the gun on the whole Saddam -Al Queda connection? This is just the tip of the iceberg my friend, and you will have egg on your face when something genuinely shocking is found, and you can't just say, "who cares?"

Posted by: Paul T on March 23, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Shift the goal posts much, lefties?

First it was "NO RELATIONSHIP B/T SADAAM AND AL QAEDA!!! NO WAY NO HOW NO CONNECTIONS LALALALALALLAALALA I CANT HEAR YOU!!!"

Now its "Cough, well, cough...maybe there were SOME connections, but, uhhh, well, stutttter, uhh, I GOT IT- There weren't like, ALOT of connections! ONly a little!! And a long time ago!!"

LMAO at you freaks

Posted by: TMF on March 23, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Of course you don't care. Why let an inconvenient little fact get in the way of your emotional arguments?

Posted by: Algore Isadingus on March 23, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Nice of the National Review to link to you, Kevin. Especially since the wingnuts over there aren't brave enough to actual take comments.

Keep dreaming NR - You can't weasel out of your responsibility for cheerleading us into Iraq. Gravediggers and wreath layers at Arlington are the only jobs fit for your ilk now.

Posted by: libopinion on March 23, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I note that in this debate and in the older one Kevin linked to in this post, the topic of Hussein's offer of safe haven to bin Laden in 1999 has been rather hot.

I know some people refuse to believe it, but personally, I haven't seen much to refute it. I think it's more likely true than not.

And I also note with interest that as much as some people try to say "who cares," it also definitely makes some of you quite nervous.

As it should. Because here's what it would have offered our esteemed president, the man who's proven himself incapable of putting together a coherent case using the overhwelming opportunities to do so:

It's late 2001, early 2002. He's beginning to respond to the demands from all corners that the campaign against terror can't end at Afghanistan, that the next obvious step is to deal once and for all with the moral and strategic quagmire that is the festering Iraq situation. (These demands were nearly universal at the time, by the way. I find those far more interesting than the later ones regarding EMDs that you often see cited.)

He makes a speech about iraq. He says: "We have learned from reliable sources that as recently as 1999, Saddam Hussein offered safe haven to Osama bin Laden."

The debate about "terrorist connections" would have been over. The position offered here that it doesn't matter would have been largely ignored.

1999 is not long at all before 2001, may be one main point.

The other main point: if this is true, the "no connection worth worrying about" side has no honest leg to stand on.

Posted by: Paul from Mpls on March 23, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

"No one has ever suggested that Saddam had no contact at all with al-Qaeda"? Hahahahaha. Other than ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Howard Dean, John "Fraudulent Purple Hearts" Murtha, Moma Moonbat Cindy Sheehan, every Democrat in Congress, Keith Odorman, and every other Saddam apologist, you are exactly correct.

Posted by: Tom on March 23, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

WMDs, of course. Not EMD's.

I'd also note that this is not the only such event - an event that has to be worrying to any president - that seems to true.

Such as, in about the same period, an Iraqi amabassador to Prage defected and reported that he'd been assigned the task of recruiting terrorists - by definition, internationally-oriented terorrists - to destroy the HQ of Radio Free Iraq, housed in the HQ of Radio free Europe in Prague. (This is the ambassador prior to the ambassador in the admittedly-shakey-but-further-from-disproven-than-everyone-things Atta meeting story.)

Posted by: Paul from Mpls on March 23, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Internationalize-(but ignore the Oil for Food Scandal)

We're 'failing, losing'-(but no need to call for an immediate withdrawal sparring american lives)

Arabs are incapable of democracy-(but don't infer that to mean that we are racists. It's just Arabs are bloodthirsty savages.)

Sanctions were working- (Saddam was not a state sponsor of terrorism, if you avoid the reports that he was openly paying 25,000 to Palestinian suicide bombers. The ejection of UN inspectors in 98 was an aberration...he was still contained.)


Posted by: I luv the dnc on March 23, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Paul from Mpls

I was thinking the same thing. Contrary to the spin the MSM likes to spew, the Atta/Al Ani meeting in Prague has never been debunked by anyone. The 9-11 commission merely brushed it off with no deep investigation.

However, it's been proven beyond any doubt Atta was in Prague earlier in 2001, and we know he withdrew 3,000 in CASH from an ATM a day or two before he was seen in Prague by Czech secret service.

They've never backed down from that claim.

It will be interesting to see what else we find out....

(but that wont prevent these kooks from discounting it as a Shrub invented forgery!! Predictability- gotta love it!!)

Posted by: TMF on March 23, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how the 9/11 commission came to their conclusion.

Their 'proof' is that someone made a call from atta'a cell phone in florida, at the time he was supposed to be in Prague.

That's is all the proof they needed.

They found no need to report how many cell phones he had in his possession...it might contradict all their hard work.

Posted by: karl on March 23, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

"No one has ever suggested that Saddam had no contact at all with al-Qaeda."

That's a joke, right?

Posted by: Jman on March 23, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

bush never said he was invading iraq because hussein and bin laden were butt pirates together. he made the case that hussein's behavior on the international stage with regard to his weapons programs deceptions was a threat. in light of being blindsided by 9/11, saddam's behavior was no longer acceptable. saddam never disclosed what he had, so whether he had anything became a moot point when the u.s. invaded, obviously. if you disagreed with that logic, fine, but that was the logic.

was it the right thing to do? if iraq becomes a free and fair democracy, probably so. if iraq destablizes the region and becomes a terrorist state, then obviously not.

who cares if the two scumbags were friends? they are both late night television jokes now. one is a cave-bound U.S. presidential election pundit, the other the animated centerpiece of a kangaroo court.

what is there to debate really?

Posted by: sunni triangulator on March 23, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK


why does the 9-11 commission hate america?


if bin laden was having all these contacts with saddam....

and clinton was sooo bad at defending america from al-queada....


name one thing bush did before 9-11 to stop any terror attack...

just one...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 23, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Who is this Kevin Drum guy who is so assured to speak to the "tentative" contacts between Saddam and Osama.

Is this the same tenatative contacts that led to Iraqi support of Osama's brother-in-law and his terrorism campaign in the Phillipines?

Just how tentative are these contacts that have a funny timeline of coinciding with Iraqi threats and the deaths of Americans attacked in Saudi Arabia and Africa.

Would someone be so tentative to look that up?

It's good to receive such tentative assurances but how many Americans need to die before we can call them contacts other than tentative ones?

Put me in the camp that cares. This is only the beginning of the exposure of Saddam's terrorists actions, not the finish.

So be prepared to escalate those tentative findings, over and over. And swallow hard because you'll be choking on them.

Posted by: RW on March 23, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, my take on the whole thing: it was eminently defensible and justifiable; it's something the UN and sane world together should have done years ago.

But it may have been stupid to do on our own, for all kinds of tactical reasons. And W did engage in some evidence-presenting that does beg to be called dishonest. He was, after all, inviting us to invade another country, without the UN. Big decision. It's incumbent on him to be scrupulously honest.

However, in his defense he was faced with a screeching opposition that kept finding ways to avoid the obvious - that of course it's defensible, but is it a good idea? And the honest case was a complex and mutli-layered one.

Posted by: Paul from Mpls on March 23, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

"No one has ever suggested that Saddam had no contact at all with al-Qaeda."

Senate minority leader Harry Reid put it this way: "There was [sic] no terrorists in Iraq." His colleague, Carl Levin, member of both the Armed Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee, says Iraq's relationship with al Qaeda was "nonexistent."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/566igaww.asp

Really a sight to see Dems figuring out the finer points of the Iraq debate...

apparently they are not all on the same page.

Posted by: karl on March 23, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

PAUL: However, in his defense he was faced with a screeching opposition that kept finding ways to avoid the obvious

yeah....poor gwb...he was forced to hype intell...

and then when inspectors weren't finding the wmd's that u-s officials said we knew where they were....

well....

bush had to in the end ignore resolution 1441... and invade...

yeah....bush is just a victim of circumstances

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 23, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Look, after reading all the above, it comes down to the people who see 9/11 as an anomaly and no big, world-wide conflict occurring, and the people who see 9/11 as part of the pattern of a world-wide conflict that has been going on and will continue to go on, for some time. Name calling and deriding each other will not resolve this problem. I believe 9/11 was part of a pattern of huge proportions. I know I will not convince others that this is so. I don't even believe another 9/11 will convince these folks of this so is there really any purpose in arguing about this?

Posted by: Judith L. Miley on March 23, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

You're making points I've already made. I accept W is potentially impeachable. I'm focused on the situation we faced as a nation with Iraq, the reality of the situation. You and people like you are focused only on discediting W. It's harmful.

The reason I say only "potentially" impeachable is because it's far from clear how clear the doubts about WMDs should have been in the 2002-2003 period; it was after all a decade-long conventional wisdom that of course Hussein was hiding weapons.

But yes, if there was any serious doubt at all, and there probably was, it was incumbent on W to present that fact to the nation. And it wouldn't have ruined the case, if he knew what he was doing; all it would have meant was:

"Perhaps Hussein, for reasons known only to himself, has chosen to destroy his weapons and not tell anyone. Any sane person has to assume it's tactical and temporary; we still have no idea how complete this is, it's only a suspicion still and will never be more than that; we still have every reason to assume he's hidden some stocks somewhere and kept his processes just this side of operable; in a way this doubt just shows how good this maniac is at playing the international game."

And had we backed away form the war, we would still - on a bipartisan basis - be fixated on Hussein, on deposing him as a national goal, in a new context of him having faced us down and the international inspections and sanctions regime withering away once and for all.

Because hey, all civilized people were preferring that we "let the Iraqi people be." The French were urging it, above all, and it had nothing to do with oil contracts and bribes from Oil-for-Food (which we would never have known of without the war, by the way).

Oh, did you read this, from Foreign Affairs this week? -

"The Saddam Fedayeen also took part in the regime's domestic terrorism operations and planned for attacks throughout Europe and the Middle East. In a document dated May 1999, Saddam's older son, Uday, ordered preparations for "special operations, assassinations, and bombings, for the centers and traitor symbols in London, Iran and the self-ruled areas [Kurdistan]." Preparations for "Blessed July," a regime-directed wave of "martyrdom" operations against targets in the West, were well under way at the time of the coalition invasion."

Posted by: Paul from Mpls on March 23, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Too true Judy.

Given the option of voting for a President who is reportedly over-zealous about National defense, in light of 3000 civilians killed in an hour

versus....


??????

I'll take a known quantity.

Posted by: mark on March 23, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK


paul:The reason I say only "potentially" impeachable is because it's far from clear how clear the doubts about WMDs should have been in the 2002-2003 period; it was after all a decade-long conventional wisdom that of course Hussein was hiding weapons.

yeah....that phase-2 investigation in light of the downing street memo is just dragging along...

gee with gop sen. pat roberts carrying water....

wonder what the hold up is?

bush isnt running again.....right?

Posted by: thisspaceavialalbe on March 23, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

That last comment was to thisspace.

Judith: I swear, sometimes I don't know. It may be a far healthier attitude.

Posted by: Paul from Mpls on March 23, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

mark....how many countries who didnt attack america would we have to invade to

keep america safe?

meanwhile, north korea doubles their nukes...

you think bush was the rational choice?

too funny...(rhetorically)

Posted by: thsispaceavailable on March 23, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

this - you seem to read only to find something to pounce on and denounce. Evidently it's oddly satisfying.

Posted by: Paul from Mpls on March 23, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

again....gop and bush held all the cards...

yet behold...

a mess....

how did that happen....

Posted by: thisspacevaialbvle on March 23, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

paul: The French were urging it, above all, and it had nothing to do with oil contracts and bribes from Oil-for-Food (which we would never have known of without the war, by the way).


lol....are you serious?

you dont think the u-s had any idea this was happening?


Posted by: thsiapoaceavialable on March 23, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Wow...it's pretty easy to see that a conservative site linked to this post. The nuts are crawling out of the walls. Cool -- they discredit themselves far more effectively than I could. So let's address the one person that actually is taking the time to think:

Paul from Mpls wrote: "However, in his defense he was faced with a screeching opposition that kept finding ways to avoid the obvious - that of course it's defensible, but is it a good idea? And the honest case was a complex and mutli-layered one."

Paul, with all due respect, I completely disagree with this analysis. You're overlooking one key fact: the "screeching opposition" you are deriding was powerless. It had no national voice, no political representation, no news outlet, nothing. In the run-up to the Iraq war, Bush did not need to resort to lies and exaggerations because of any "screeching opposition."

Moreover, in talking about a "screeching opposition," you are ignoring the many thoughtful opponents of the war who were opposing it precisely because the complex and multi-layered case was not being made, was not even being discussed. The war was sold by soundbites, by fear, and by intimidation, not by thoughtful discourse or careful examination of the costs, risks, and benefits.

This is not even remotely a secret, either. In fact, some prominent supporters of the war (e.g., Steven Den Beste) actually defended this tactic as being necessary to sell this war to the American public.

So was the case for war defensible? We'll never know, because the thoughtful discourse never took place. And the blame for that rests squarely on the Bush administration, not on the "screeching opposition."

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB is a goat bung licker.

Posted by: Fred the Genius on March 23, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Paul from Mpls wrote: "I accept W is potentially impeachable."

That's not relevant to this discussion.

"I'm focused on the situation we faced as a nation with Iraq, the reality of the situation. You and people like you are focused only on discediting W. It's harmful."

Sorry, but I disagree with both of these statements. The first is problematic because that is not the topic of this thread. On other threads, you will find people discussing what we can do in Iraq and dealing quite handily with the reality of the situation there.

To pretend that we are "focused only on discrediting W" is to commit two sins -- the first is lumping all of the opposition together into one overly-generalized and woefully inaccurate bucket; the second is to ignore the fact that it is possible to discuss Bush's failings and to discuss Iraq's prospects at the same time.

"The reason I say only 'potentially' impeachable is because it's far from clear how clear the doubts about WMDs should have been in the 2002-2003 period; it was after all a decade-long conventional wisdom that of course Hussein was hiding weapons."

Sigh.... If there is an impeachable offense, it won't be because Bush accepted the conventional wisdom. That's silly. It will be because Bush made specific claims that he knew, or had reason to know, were untrue. That his administration hyped and exaggerated the threat. That his administration ignored or removed the caveats and uncertainties, and so on.

In any case, you are making the same mistakes that many supporters of the war made, and continue to make. There is a very real difference between the conventional wisdom and what the Bush administration was claiming. Damn near everyone thought he had something -- some old stockpiles of chemical weapons, some secret, small research programs, and the like. Nobody, not even our own intelligence agencies, thought he had an active nuclear program, and yet that was the threat that the Bush administration kept referring to.

Moreover, by the time we went to war, we had had ample opportunity to look for the various caches, programs, and so on, and we were not finding a damn thing. The Bush administration gave several leads to the weapons inspectors and not one of them panned out.

"But yes, if there was any serious doubt at all, and there probably was,"

Not probably, Paul, definitely. There was very real and very serious doubt about the Bush administration's claims.

"it was incumbent on W to present that fact to the nation. And it wouldn't have ruined the case, if he knew what he was doing;"

Perhaps, but we'll never know. I rather suspect that the honest case for the war would not have garnered public support. The evidence to date suggests that this view was shared by the Bush administration.

"Because hey, all civilized people were preferring that we 'let the Iraqi people be.'"

Sorry, but this is just another gross distortion of the complex debate that was taking place at the time.

"The French were urging it, above all, and it had nothing to do with oil contracts and bribes from Oil-for-Food (which we would never have known of without the war, by the way)."

Oh, good grief. More French-sliming. What is it about the French that bothers the supporters of the war so much? Your parenthetical statement is flatly incorrect, by the way, and so is your sliming of the French government.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

You guys are hysterical. "No one has ever suggested that Saddam had no contact at all with al-Qaeda." Um, several zillion people have suggested that very thing. Every time something new comes to light, it's "We'll yeah, that's true but that doesn't mean....."

By all means, keep it up. You amuse me as you continue to insure your out-of-power status.

Posted by: Mike on March 23, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

this site was linked to at NRO, thus the sudden interest here from us conservatives.

I believe that Judith has it right, there is a hard core on either side of this debate and they will not be swayed by any amount of information.

If the internet has done nothing else, it has given these nice folks a way to scream at each other.

perhaps we should re institute the code duello and let some of these people shoot at each other with flintlocks at dawn. Nobody's mind would be changed but the tone and tenor of the discourse would be very different.

Posted by: marine dad on March 23, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB - The idea that the opposition had no outlet is ridiculous, and it's one of the ideas that the strident left uses to excuse its irrational argumentation and behavior. IMO.

I also disagree with your characterization of the utter cravenness of the case and the bullying nature of the political tactics the admin used. I believe the case, while too simplistic and including some dishonesty, was also more subtle than that caricature allows for.

When you say "we'll never know" if there wa a rational case to be made - why? Are we all intellectually incapable of looking beyond what W said?

Posted by: Paul from Mpls on March 23, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK


paul: When you say "we'll never know" if there wa a rational case to be made - why? Are we all intellectually incapable of looking beyond what W said?


we are still waiting for that pahse-2 investigation by the senate intell comm.

after promising more than 18-months ago to do it after the 2004 election...

alas...

we are still waiting..

wonder what the hold up is?

probably the dems...

Posted by: thsispaceavaialble on March 23, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously Saddam and Osama were just discussing their favorite Seinfeld episodes. Nothing to see here rethuglicans. Move along.

Posted by: joe on March 23, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

So if I voted for Kerry/edwards...where would we be?

Posted by: mark on March 23, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB is a drooling gerbil puncher.

Posted by: Testiclese Giganticus on March 23, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Paul from Mpls wrote: "PaulB - The idea that the opposition had no outlet is ridiculous,"

Sorry, but I stand by that statement. Paul, show me the pundits with a national audience that were part of this "screeching opposition." Show me the Democratic Representatives or Senators that were part of this "screeching opposition." Show me the national news media that were prominently and predominantly displaying and supporting this "screeching opposition." Show me that public opinion was controlled by, or even swayed by, this "screeching opposition."

You are asserting that this "screeching opposition" was so powerful that Bush had no choice but to distort and exaggerate the claim for war. That they were so powerful that they controlled the national discourse in the run-up to the war, that they somehow prevented the thoughtful, in-depth case for the war from being made. I'm asking you to back up those assertions (or correct me if I've misread your assertions).

"and it's one of the ideas that the strident left uses to excuse its irrational argumentation and behavior. IMO."

Again, you are assuming facts not in evidence. So tell me about my "irrational argumentation and behavior," Paul. Let's talk about this, not just issue knee-jerk insults.

"I also disagree with your characterization of the utter cravenness of the case and the bullying nature of the political tactics the admin used."

Paul, you are the one complaining that the administration cravenly bowed to the whims of a "screeching opposition," not I. As for the rest, I can certainly muster quotes from such notables as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and Bush decrying, denigrating and insulting those who opposed the war. Such insults continue today. How many do you want?

"I believe the case, while too simplistic and including some dishonesty, was also more subtle than that caricature allows for."

Was it? Not from where I'm sitting, but maybe I just missed the subtlety. So point me to some of it, please.

"When you say 'we'll never know' if there wa a rational case to be made - why? Are we all intellectually incapable of looking beyond what W said?"

Sigh ... and yet more ad hominem attacks. Did you want to have a serious discussion or did you just want to toss out random insults. I meant precisely what I said, Paul. It is simply not knowable today whether a more thoughtful and more honest discussion then would have worked or not. Such a discussion did not take place and it is now a moot point.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hemlock, you moron, Charlie Wilson was a Democrat. It's pretty clear that you didn't actually read the book, you just looked at the pretty pictures.

Good book, too. Pity you're functionally illiterate.

Posted by: Heywood Jablome on March 23, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK


mark: So if I voted for Kerry/edwards...where would we be?


who knows....

but i guess you think it just has to be worse than where we are right now...

and that has to be the case because....?????

and what's odd about that is....bush has pretty much screwed up everything he's ever touched...

(winning elections the exception)

the odds were against us..

from the start...

Posted by: thsiapaceavialable on March 23, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the link to the total military deaths by year, and you will see St. Clinton had a lot for "peace time"
http://web1.whs.osd.mil/mmid/casualty/Death_Rates.pdf

the Objective Historian had the right stats

A military friend told me he beleives there are less accidents in war time because their minds are working better from andrenaline, were as in peace time they screw around more.

Its a tough job even in peace time

Posted by: JP on March 23, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

o.h. numbers are interesting only to those that dont know....


more americans have died in iraq --since-- saddam was captured..

than in all his time in power...


as to deaths during clinton's terms....

mcviegh killed more americans by terror than al-queda

more than 3-times more...


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 23, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Surely Kerry/edwards had a strong platform that was based on strategy and not by polls...

Their slogan was a 'stronger america'-catchy title, but they never published.

"Who knows?" no one, because K/E 04 offerred no plan.

"but i guess you think it just has to be worse than where we are right now..."

et tu.

"bush has pretty much screwed up everything he's ever touched..."

Actually, the guy is just jinxed. Shit fall all around him, but he's untouchable. Kinda like Duvall in apocylpse(sp) now.(Insurgents don't surf?...nah) In a strange way, it is what makes him all the more likable. Not the brightest kid on the block, but unbreakable. Kinda a microcosm about america, a bull in the world's china shop.

I'm an independent, but the left has made me a partisan.

They have become the a party obsessed with defining the past to political ends, loosing focus on the fact that history is playing out before us, and they fail to participate.

Success or failure and the consequences are what need to be discussed.

If a party is unwilling to identify the good done by success, and the ills that will befall us if we fail...they are irelevant.

Posted by: mark on March 23, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

JP wrote: "the Objective Historian had the right stats"

Only if you assume those statistics were complete, which they were not, and that they actually mean something relevant to this discussion, which they do not.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

mark wrote: "I'm an independent, but the left has made me a partisan"

I just love lines like this. Completely devoid of meaning, completely absolved of responsibility. The rest of the post was equally garbage-laden.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

mark wrote: "I'm an independent, but the left has made me a partisan"

I just love lines like this. Completely devoid of meaning, completely absolved of responsibility. The rest of the post was equally garbage-laden.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Only if you assume those statistics were complete, which they were not, and that they actually mean something relevant to this discussion, which they do not."

Yes, because you say so right?

Posted by: JP on March 23, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

"mcviegh killed more americans by terror than al-queda

more than 3-times more..."

Huh? 10,000 people died in the OK City bombing?? Wow... I had no idea.


Posted by: godfodder on March 23, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Tim McVeigh, ever heard about the third anoynmous terrorist that day? ever wonder why they hushed that up? interesting stuff, http://jaynadavis.com/

Posted by: JP on March 23, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

No, he meant that during Clinton's term, al Qaeda was not killing American citizens in any great numbers. That happened on Bush's watch.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Paul B:

Upon further reflection and reading a little more of the thread, I just had to post again. I'm sorry, but I admit I'm not going to offer any arguments. I just had to say, Dude, you are hilarious! You have this unshakeable conviction that the condescending nonsensical tripe that you offer is legitimate, well reasoned arguments. You honestly don't realize what an idiot you are. Fantastic.

Well, go ahead and tear me up with your razor sharp wit! Skewer me on the lance of your implacable reason! Or something like that anyway.

Posted by: Mike on March 23, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Steven den Beste, writing in The Wall Street Journal in July, 2003:

So why did George W. Bush and Tony Blair, in making the case for war, put so much emphasis on U.N. resolutions and weapons of mass destruction? Honesty and plain speaking are not virtues for politicians and diplomats. If either Mr. Bush or Mr. Blair had said what I did, it would have hit the fan big-time. Making clear a year ago that this was our true agenda would have virtually guaranteed that it would fail. [Emphasis added.]
Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Think about:

Is the focus of the dems to diminish Bush at all costs?

Rather than any disussion of the future, there is an obsession to distort the past. The democratic party has no agenda or popular ideas...they have zero vision for priorites.

Don't go cleaning your gun in November.

The turnout for Bush in 04 should have been alarming to Dems, as NO ONE predicted that he muster such support.

06 is about turnout, Not a poll. IF the 21-24% who strongly support Bush are convinced 06 by dem campaigns are about Iraq, you'll lose seats again.


Posted by: mark on March 23, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, intent on showing that he, too, is incapable of addressing any points raised here, writes: "Upon further reflection and reading a little more of the thread, I just had to post again."

My goodness; we're just so powerful that we're just making all of these people do these things. Amazing. We should market this.

"I'm sorry, but I admit I'm not going to offer any arguments."

Why should you be any different than your compatriots?

"I just had to say, Dude, you are hilarious!"

Why thank you, sir. Intentionally so, I assure you.

"You have this unshakeable conviction that the condescending nonsensical tripe that you offer is legitimate, well reasoned arguments."

No, dear heart, I don't. I have this unshakeable conviction that most of those on the right who post here are idiots and are unworthy of serious debate, so I don't bother. Instead, I mock them and make fun of them. Is this too difficult for you to understand?

"You honestly don't realize what an idiot you are. Fantastic."

Q.E.D.

"Well, go ahead and tear me up with your razor sharp wit! Skewer me on the lance of your implacable reason! Or something like that anyway."

No, dear, I'm going to mock you and make fun of you. Serious people I take seriously. Morons, I laugh at. It's really quite simple, dear. Would you like me to use smaller words next time?

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Mark wrote: "Is the focus of the dems to diminish Bush at all costs?"

No. Next question?

"Rather than any disussion of the future, there is an obsession to distort the past."

You have yet to establish a) of whom you are speaking, b) that they are not discussing the future, and c) that they have distorted the past. When you can do this, we can talk.

"The democratic party has no agenda or popular ideas...they have zero vision for priorites."

Also demonstrably false. That you have failed to locate these things does not mean that they do not exist; it simply means that you are not looking.

"Don't go cleaning your gun in November."

Why? Are you anticipating that it will go off?

"The turnout for Bush in 04 should have been alarming to Dems, as NO ONE predicted that he muster such support."

Actually, quite a few people did, since the election was simply too close to call.

"06 is about turnout, Not a poll. IF the 21-24% who strongly support Bush are convinced 06 by dem campaigns are about Iraq, you'll lose seats again."

We'll see in November. At this time, anyone who makes confident predictions about the upcoming election is an idiot. Nobody knows yet what issues will resonate with the voters. Nobody knows yet just what will be happening in Iraq in October/November. Nobody knows yet what the state of the economy will be. The election is very much in doubt at this time.

There is only one thing you can say with confidence about the upcoming election: the Republican Party leaders are quite worried.

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Let me make it simple-

If Iraq is a failure, we should leave now. Very simple. Easy platform. Do you honestly see the dems taking that one up in 06?

IF Iraq's fate hasn't been decided, then we should exert every influence possible- which seems to be the Bush course of action.

Campaigns are kinda good for taking the temp.

Question #1 to any candidate, "Do you think we should continue funding our Mission in Iraq?" The only people who should answer yes are those who believe we can be successful. If they answer no, they will have to present a plan for withdrawal...good luck.

These candidates who straddle will garner luke warm reception from the far left and moderates, and turnout will be diminished.

Rove is right. Campaigns are all about answering 'what you would do', if elected, and security is still the ball-breaker.

BTW-(Turnout for Bush increased 20%-I can't remember any incumbant recieving such support in a second run, can you? Maybe Reagan. A lot of people who never voted, did.)

I alluded earlier to the lack of democratic ideas, inviting a stirring list...

instead I get:

"The rest of the post was equally garbage-laden."

Apparently my statement was correct, no ideas.

Posted by: mark on March 23, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

"No, he meant that during Clinton's term, al Qaeda was not killing American citizens in any great numbers. That happened on Bush's watch."

Yeah because al Qaeda was in its infant stages during the Clinton Administration and had years of unimpeded preparation during that time. You could also point out that more people died on Lincoln's watch than his predecessor. Same for Roosevelt. But that would be equally stupid.

Posted by: joe on March 23, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

mark, back for more punishment, writes: "Let me make it simple-"

Why? These are not simple topics.

"If Iraq is a failure, we should leave now."

Q.E.D. This is not a simple topic. And it's not as simple as saying that "Iraq is a failure; we should leave now." That's the kind of black-and-white thinking that got us into trouble in the first place.

"Very simple. Easy platform. Do you honestly see the dems taking that one up in 06?"

Most of them? Of course not. Why should they?

"IF Iraq's fate hasn't been decided, then we should exert every influence possible- which seems to be the Bush course of action."

And again, you're over-simplifying. It's far more complex than that. A single example: what if the actions we are taking are causing some of the very upheaval we are trying to prevent?

"Campaigns are kinda good for taking the temp."

Not really. They are just a test of propaganda and spin; not reality.

"BTW-(Turnout for Bush increased 20%"

How much did turnout for his opponent increase?

"I can't remember any incumbant recieving such support in a second run, can you?"

I can't remember any incumbent coming so close to defeat and winning with such a narrow margin in a second run, can you?

"I alluded earlier to the lack of democratic ideas, inviting a stirring list..."

No, I'm afraid that you didn't "invite a stirring list." You indicated a completely closed mind, uninterested in debate, something you confirmed with this latest effort.

"Apparently my statement was correct, no ideas."

Dear heart, I'm not a Democrat and I'm not running for office. Do try to keep up, won't you?

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, mark, my questions still stand: "You have yet to establish a) of whom you are speaking, b) that they are not discussing the future, and c) that they have distorted the past. When you can do this, we can talk."

Posted by: PaulB on March 23, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: No one has ever suggested that Saddam had no contact at all with al-Qaeda.

Molly Ivans, found after 30 seconds Googling: ...there was no nuclear weapons program, there were no weapons of mass destruction, and there were no ties between Saddam and Osama bin Laden.

Next?

Posted by: Charlie (Colorado) on March 23, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Now that we have brought up "where would we be with Kerry", I have to jump in. Massachusetts native speaking here. Back in the 2000 election, those that voted for Bush checked to make sure no one heard them claim that (and they whispered when saying they voted for Bush). Election 2004 saw all kinds of Bush/Cheney signs on lawns and autos. Talked to individuals in HEAVILY democrat bastions who placed a lot of faith in Bush and spoke of him out loud and with great pride. Lastly, in HEAVILY democrat west roxbury saw the first BUSH 2008 sign! It comes down to a real simple formula. One side believes someone is trying to destroy us...the other side does not believe that. If given nothing else, I believe Bush will fight to protect my family and country and I know Kerry will not.
By the way, who is the chap that keeps saying "dear heart"...odd one that.

Posted by: Judith L. Miley on March 23, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

If there is an impeachable offense, it won't be because Bush accepted the conventional wisdom. That's silly. It will be because Bush made specific claims that he knew, or had reason to know, were untrue. That his administration hyped and exaggerated the threat. That his administration ignored or removed the caveats and uncertainties, and so on.

What, being a liar is an impeachable offense now? Clinton would have been gone in 1993 if that were the case. Lying to the American people may be stupid, but is it a crime?

Posted by: Fester on March 23, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

And don't forget, the rulers of the Great Anti-Terroris Ally, Dubai, were partying with Osama at a hunting lodge in 1999. (Too bad our sharpshootin' vice-president wasn't at the trip. What is it that makes all these assholes so attracted to hunting?) Who better to give control of our ports to than 'sama's bros from Dubai.

If the Iraqi memo proves the Evil Dictator's close ties to Osama, as the flyby flock of BushBots here claim, the Royal Hunting Trip must put Dubai right there sleeping in Osama's underwear.

Posted by: Dumbaya on March 23, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

"However, it's been proven beyond any doubt Atta was in Prague earlier in 2001, and we know he withdrew 3,000 in CASH from an ATM a day or two before he was seen in Prague by Czech secret service.

They've never backed down from that claim.

It will be interesting to see what else we find out...."

Sheesh, this thread has taken a nosedive in a hurry. Did they link it to Free Republic?

Anyhow, the evidence collected on the alleged Ahmed Al-Ani and Mohammed Atta meeting debunking the theory is more extensive that that.

What they found:

-- Atta's cell phone was active during that time period in Florida. Making calls. Not irrefutable evidence of his presence in the states, but it doesn't help the case for a meeting.

-- Ahmed Al-Ani was not in Prague on the day of the alleged meeting until 3:00 PM. He was attending some event 70 miles from the city. The Czech agent claimed Atta met him at the Embassy at 11:00 AM.

-- Electronic surveillance of the Embassy showed no indications of anyone similar to Atta entering the embassy or in the vicinity.

-- Al-Ani was captured in 2003 and denies the meeting to this day.

-- No travel records exist of Atta going to Prague or even leaving the country. This is in spite of Atta using his real name whenever he traveled up to that point.

The confluence of all these factors led the Commission to conclude no such meeting took place.
Can we absolutely, positively, without question, prove no meeting took place? No. But the lack of evidence and the evidence to the contrary is compelling.

The last remaining point is strategic in nature: Atta is going to perpetrate a terrible attack on the U.S. in a few short months. Why the Hell would he make that risky a move that could blow the entire operation, meeting a spy in an embassy that was already under surveillance?

Posted by: Anonymous Passerby on March 23, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB

I read your response to me this morning, and a response would of course be possible. For example, its your standard that there be national pundits, not mine. I mean there were some I think theres a guy named Michael Moore who made some kind of speech at the Oscars, that kind of thing.

Im simply saying what I saw and see in the nature of the war opposition, and I saw it reported every day, and saw it finding its voice in dozens of ways before the war and after the war. I always felt it to be omnipresent.

But a general point: it is very possible to proceed from anger and hatred and disdain and then to read - quickly, usually with a laser focus on finding support for that. We all sometimes read that way, in fact.

For example, I did misread what you meant by "we'll never know" - reading quickly, I mistook your meaning to say we'll never know if another case could have been made. You meant, we'll never know if it would have had been successful for W, which is true. He's impeachable: I keep saying that. Fine. And yet: I am honestly baffled where you saw an ad hominem attack in that passage of mine. I think if you read carefully, you'll see why that would confuse me.

I think this danger - this quick disdaingful "listening" - has a virulence for everyone, because it's very hard to abandon a worldview. ButI think it has an unexamined virulence for people leaning left in discussions like these. I mean the people going way left, as in viciously anti-conservative, saying things like "I have this unshakeable conviction that most of those on the right who post here are idiots and are unworthy of serious debate, so I don't bother."

That of course is the single main reason our politics sucks so bad these days. That attitude from the left about the right.

It's my basic controversial position that no, it is not equal both ways. You disagree no doubt, but just to let you know in plain terms: I've thought about it quite a bit and that is one of my organizing principles. The left "gets the right", these days, for a range of reasons, more than the reverse.

I think one reason is that in general, the left political worldview consists of accusations: Bush lied, people died. Tax cuts for the rich. Bush is destroying the environment. You don't need to know much detail to get that, and its very easy to understand the reasons the left thinks its true. The reasons are all quite surfacey: the WMD hypothesis of dishonesty is hard to deny; the tax cuts benefited the rich and well-off more than the lower-income; and so on.

Whereas for someone on the left to really "get" where someone like me is coming from, you have to delve into the details. The always-more-subtle reasons these accusations may not be entirely true or fair. That delving, on the left, tends to not happen.

What's weird about it is that it's a perfect example of the kind of closed-mindedness that liberals are supposed to have evolved beyond. Evolving beyond closed-mindedness is the very essence of liberalism, one could say. And yet their politics today is defined by it. Very odd.

And it's the reason the danger of reading-only-to-verify-a-worldview is more dangerous

But it becomes a self-perpetuating indulgence, almost an addiction, to think this way. Because if you back off form it, so many of your (speaking generally; I have no idea about you beyond what I see here, which is nothing more than a clue leavened by hints of rationality) past actions and words start to seem not just ridiculous but harmful. Which is one thing a liberal simply never can be: harmful.

Also not ridiculous, of course. They hate being ridiculous. The modern left grew up in a veritable cornucopia of ridiculous attitudes and acts against which to react, and that was fun. So it would be very hard to imagine oneself as - uh oh - ridiculous. Needing reacting against. A fuddy-duddy, a gone daddy. The new dumb status quo, or one of them anyway.

Posted by: Paul from Mpls on March 24, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't mean to have "but" in teh start of the next-to-last paragraph. (That confuses things.)

The guy talking about Atta: I'm not sure how ironclad the evidence is about Al-ani's schedule. Honest question; what is the evidnece for that?

And: do you deny that Atta made one or two (I forget) earlier trips to Prague during which he made it only so far as an area of the airport where a visa wasn't needed and managed to stay out of the range of security cameras?

(The Atta meeting is not central to how I think about things, by the way. I'm mainly interested it as an example of odd reporting.)

Posted by: Paul from Mpls on March 24, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

mark: Is the focus of the dems to diminish Bush at all costs?

actually...bush has gotten everything he wanted...

tax cuts....spending...invasions....

why run away from the outcomes...that would be so

irresponsbile.


mark: Rather than any disussion of the future, there is an obsession to distort the past.


did you know that whitewater happened 10-years before clinton was elected?

are you saying two wrongs dont make a right?

how's that hyping intell by the white house investigation coming.....sure is taking awhile...

bush isnt running again right....so what's the hold up?


mark: The democratic party has no agenda or popular ideas...they have zero vision for priorites.


plan #1: stop digging

that's as opposed to stay the curse...

fyi....they are not the same...


mark: Don't go cleaning your gun in November.


remember your own advice....

mark: 06 is about turnout, Not a poll. IF the 21-24% who strongly support Bush are convinced 06 by dem campaigns are about Iraq, you'll lose seats again.


o4 = bush won....america lost...

i got it....party over country...


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 24, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

godfodder: "mcviegh killed more americans by terror than al-queda

more than 3-times more..."

Huh? 10,000 people died in the OK City bombing?? Wow... I had no idea.


can you not read or are you just dishonest?

here's the entire post....(see for yourself at 5:26pm)

******as to deaths during clinton's terms....

mcviegh killed more americans by terror than al-queda

more than 3-times more...******


the key line: AS TO DEATHS DURING CLINTON'S TERMS


dead americans 1st wtc bombing: 6
dead americans african embassies: 12
dead americans in the uss cole: 17

dead americans okla. city bombing: 167

dead americans during bush's terms so far....well over 5000

dead enders dont have to dishonest....but it helps

Posted by: thsispaceavailable on March 24, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB responded:

"The democratic party has no agenda or popular ideas...they have zero vision for priorites."

Also demonstrably false. That you have failed to locate these things does not mean that they do not exist; it simply means that you are not looking. (PaulB)"

Mr. B...

Unfortunately, Mark was right.

There's a Washington Post article from two weeks back which quotes Oregon Gov. Ted Kulogowski (sic?) as saying his party does not have a message. (In that same article, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said her party would have an agenda in a few weeks.)

Hilary Rosen was on Chris Matthews' show recently saying that the Democrats don't need a message, that all they need to do this November is run against George W. Bush.

And the Bloomberg Report quoted former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe as saying that even though democrats (this November) aren't sure where their position is for the war on terror, they know what they're not going to campaign on...withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. McAuliffe said if they would campaign on that, they'll LOSE.

The democratic party of 2006, per its own leaders is in a very dangerous position right now...but, perhaps they're finally going to come up with a coherent position.

Posted by: Congo DRC on March 24, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK


joe: Yeah because al Qaeda was in its infant stages during the Clinton Administration and had years of unimpeded preparation during that time. You could also point out that more people died on Lincoln's watch than his predecessor. Same for Roosevelt. But that would be equally stupid.


but joe...

bush actually started his term well below clinton

that didn't last long...

poor bush...a victim of circumstance..

dead enders...totally immune to facts

or irony..

Posted by: thispsceavialable on March 24, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

judith: One side believes someone is trying to destroy us...the other side does not believe that.

if that's so...why the open borders?

its either because.....its not really that big of a deal...

or they are incompetent...

you choose which...

Posted by: thispsacevailvable on March 24, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I got through about 100 comments then stopped reading because I was so unimpressed at the level of the discussion. More and more I am convinced that the "blogosphere" is a heinous assault upon political discourse. If one simply reads the comments of popular blogs on the right and the left, he will see that in the minds of the vast majority of readers, the other side is evil, or bereft of any credibility whatsoever.

Posted by: Jonathan Strong on March 24, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

In all this discussion of Iraq, has anyone noticed the failure of the media to actually put on an 'Iraqi'? How bout interviewing some returning soldiers?

A soldier or an Iraqi would have direct contact with the conflict.

After all the media attention, isn't it surprising that there is no representation of the most affected parties? Can anyone name an Iraqi journalist?

I'm not afraid

Posted by: mark on March 24, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

A DIFFERENT Kerrey (former Senator Bob, from Nebraska) is in the news today on this:

http://www.nysun.com/article/29746

"The new documents suggest that the 9/11 commission's final conclusion in 2004, that there were no "operational" ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, may need to be reexamined in light of the recently captured documents.
While the commission detailed some contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda in the 1990s, in Sudan and Afghanistan, the newly declassified Iraqi documents provide more detail than the commission disclosed in its final conclusions. For example, the fact that Saddam broadcast the sermons of al-Ouda at bin Laden's request was previously unknown, as was a conversation about possible collaboration on attacks against Saudi Arabia.

"This is a very significant set of facts," former 9/11 commissioner, Mr. Kerry said yesterday. "I personally and strongly believe you don't have to prove that Iraq was collaborating against [Anote It's suspected he misspoke and meant collaborating with] Osama bin Laden on the September 11 attacks to prove he was an enemy and that he would collaborate with people who would do our country harm. This presents facts should not be used to tie Saddam to attacks on September 11. It does tie him into a circle that meant to damage the United States."

Mr. Kerry also answered affirmatively when asked whether or not the release of more of the documents captured in Iraq could possibly shed further light on Iraq's relationship with al Qaeda. The former senator was one of the staunchest supporters of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which made the policy of regime change U.S. law."

Posted by: Congo DRC on March 24, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Now look what you've done, Congo. You scared them all way.

Posted by: Mr. Forward on March 24, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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