Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 6, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

NULL SET....I tuned in too late to hear Mitt Romney's "null set" answer last night, but apparently his algebraic illiteracy is nothing compared to his ignorance of actual events from four years ago. Here's his answer to a question about whether it was a mistake to invade Iraq:

Well, the question is, kind of, a non sequitur, if you will. What I mean by that — or a null set — that is that if you're saying let's turn back the clock and Saddam Hussein had opening up his country to IAEA inspectors and they'd come in and they'd found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn't be in the conflict we're in. But he didn't do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in.

WTF? Does this kind of stuff run in the family? (Yes, I know I've already made that joke once before.)

Question: does Romney genuinely not know that both the IAEA and Hans Blix's team had hundreds of inspectors in Iraq prior to the war? And that those inspectors found nothing?

Or does he know it perfectly well and has simply calculated that no one in the media cares enough about this stuff to make a big deal out of a howler like this? In any sane world, this kind of thing would be enough to disqualify a candidate from running for dogcatcher, let alone president of the United States.

Kevin Drum 12:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (118)

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Comments

Well, then it is very good that the astute Rep. Jane Harmon of CA is not running for POTUS - She said on Crossfire a couple of years back, that Saddam had kicked them out. Carville almost lost it. And, Jane was on the (Sub)-Intelligence Committee.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 6, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Hasn't Bush said the same thing or very similar?

.

Posted by: agave on June 6, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I still was wondering what non sequiturs and null sets have to do with this, other than the fact that anytime a gooper opens his mouth the result is generally non sequiturs.

On Kevin's question, yes, they are counting on Wolf & Co. not calling them on a blatant error. The GOP has special dispensation to say any damn thing without their MSM friends pointing out they are full of excrement.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 6, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

In answer to your last question "has he simply calculated that no one in the media cares enough to make a big deal out of this howler"? You should know the answer - it should be in newpapers today. Gee, he must be right, no one contradicts him.

Posted by: David Patin on June 6, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Hasn't Bush said the same thing or very similar?"

Yes. Several times. And, as some of you may recall, he was actually President at the time.

Posted by: peep on June 6, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

The null set of all null sets.

Posted by: Brojo on June 6, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

It's only a debate gaff if you sigh too much. Being an ignoramus is a feature not a bug to the republican primary crowd.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on June 6, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

"In any sane world, this kind of thing would be enough to disqualify a candidate from running for dogcatcher, let alone president of the United States."

The current occupant of the Oval Office has set the bar so low, when it comes to veracity & intelligence, that this stuff goes unnoticed anymore.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on June 6, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

"null set"

He just meant he had no spades.

Posted by: elmo on June 6, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think in my econ for engineers class the "null option" was what you called "doing nothing" in a cost-benefit analysis.

Posted by: chris on June 6, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Those of us in Massachusetts can answer this for you; Mitt Romney doesn't care whether it's true or not. It's the convenient answer, it's the one that would be helpful to him if it were true, and so that's what he says. He may or may not know what the facts are, but that's irrelevant. The only thing that matters is, what's the convenient answer for him.

When he ran for the US Senate, a position to which MA voters prefer to send liberals, he was a liberal--more liberal than Ted Kennedy. When he ran for governor, a position to which we prefer to elect moderate Republicans (the GOP won't run enough candidates for the state legislature, and one-party government is not sustainable long-term), he was a moderate Republican. And once he was in the corner office, and started concentrating on his run for president, he quickly became a wing-nut, because that's what he needs to be if he wants the Republican presidential nomination.

Facts don't matter. His own beliefs (and he probably has some) don't matter. Political convenience is all that matters. Please, anyone considering voting for him because you think you agree with the positions he says he holds, remember this: He has always expressed the opinions the electorate he's interested in at the moment wants to hear. Always. We shouldn't have believed him then, and you'll be bitterly disappointed if you believe him now.

Posted by: Lis on June 6, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

"In any sane world, this kind of thing would be enough to disqualify a candidate from running for dogcatcher, let alone president of the United States."

I think a lot more people care who their local dog-catcher is than care about a lameduck party primary. I mean I can actually imagine, heaven forbid, my local dog-catched catching my mutt who has strayed away. I cannot image Mitt Romney . . . well, I should leave it there, although I do have to wonder who would name their kid after a piece of baseball equipment?

Oh, "Mitt" is his middle name? Well then who would ever go by their middle name "Mitt?"

Oh. Oh . . . his first name is the name of that Michael Jackson rat? Wow. What some people do to their kids.

Posted by: Tripp on June 6, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Really, Romney's answer is about the most deliberately constructed obfuscation I've seen, and in about ever direction.

To begin with, neither his description of the question he's asked as a "non sequitur" or "null set" makes any sense whatever as those words are customarily used. I can only conclude that he threw those words out to sound as if he's saying something learned and arcane, when in fact he's saying nothing with real coherent content. All he's really saying, I think, is that question involves a counterfactual. Well, duh, yes, that would be true.

But then he doesn't stop with the supposedly erudite but actually deeply confused and mistaken terminology. Then he just gets his facts absolutely, perversely, but very conveniently wrong, when he describes things that he asserts didn't happen (Saddam's admission of inspectors, etc.), but actually did.

This is in much the same vein as his description from some weeks back of the motivation for the Iraq war being about fighting terrorists -- and then saying it was about Shia and Sunni, etc. He essentially repeated that formula at a later event, so it was clearly not a mistake.

It's hard not to conclude that Romney has simply decided that obfuscation is going to be the guiding principle of his campaign, and has so directed his advisors and writers.

Posted by: frankly0 on June 6, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Question: does Romney genuinely not know that both the IAEA and Hans Blix's team had hundreds of inspectors in Iraq prior to the war

It is true if the Party needs it to be true, and false if the Party needs it to be false.

The old 'truth', based on comporting with external reality, is a bourgeois construct, and ill-suited to revolutionary ends.

To determine the revolutionary truth of a statement, ask yourself "Will this utterance promote the unique role of the Party as the Vanguard of the Revolution?

All correctly oriented Party cadres know this.

We are, if you haven't noticed, governed by Maoists.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on June 6, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

American Consevatism rests on a body of assertions that are untrue. This is as much to fool the outsider as it is to please the insider and keep him feeling good about being a conservative. Think about it, if you are never wrong and history always supports your views, hey, what's not to like.
Ingsoc and Newspeak live in the heart of American Conservatism and its vehicle the republican party. Funny that if it wasn't so dangerous.

Posted by: Northern Observer on June 6, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

They know the media will never never call them on their lies. It isn't as though it involves a blow job. Just endless death and hundreds of billions of dollars.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on June 6, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

As Atrios points out:

The inspectors did go in, as we all know. Still, some say the inspectors went in, some say they didn't, who is to say who is right?

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on June 6, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

You guys are mathematically illiterate. What Romney meant by null set was that the object in question was a fake projective plane in a non-differentiable manifold of fractional dimension.

Poor Romney. He has to deal with all these mathmatical nincompoops on the way to the White House.

Posted by: gregor on June 6, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

"inspectors did go in"... It all depends on the meaning of "In".

Posted by: RobertSeattle on June 6, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Next debate Mitt will proclaim that the Nazis invaded Pearl Harbor! That might get press coverage. Then again...

Last night, Paul Begala pointed out Romney's revisionist history gaffe and was shouted down by Repub strategist Mike Murphy and Frist's old speechwriter Amy Holmes while CNN's Anderson Cooper sat mutely, never correcting Mitt's inaccuracy or the pundits.

COOPER: This is the most exciting thing that has happened tonight. So, I'm just letting it go.
And let it go he did.

You can count on media watchdogs to... just watch.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on June 6, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK
Question: does Romney genuinely not know that both the IAEA and Hans Blix's team had hundreds of inspectors in Iraq prior to the war? And that those inspectors found nothing?

Or does he know it perfectly well and has simply calculated that no one in the media cares enough about this stuff to make a big deal out of a howler like this?

No, he knows that a large portion of the dedicated activist core of the Republican base—the people who are the most important targets of any Republican Presidential campaign this far out from any actual voting—have absolute unshakeable quasi-religious faith that the inspectors failed only because they were thrown out by Saddam, that Saddam actually had WMD that either were found later by the US or went to Syria or elsewhere or some combination of those, etc.

The only thing he is confident in the media not doing is focussing on this after the primaries, when people who aren't dedicated Republicans matter to his campaign.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

For how many goddamned years has it been plainly obvious to anyone with two neurons to rub together that "howlers like this" will never receive any media attention, especially when they're emitted by conservative GOP politicians? I keep forgetting. Maybe you can provide an authoritative answer to that question...

Love, your friend: s9.

Posted by: s9 on June 6, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

For how many goddamned years has it been plainly obvious to anyone with two neurons to rub together that "howlers like this" will never receive any media attention, especially when they're emitted by conservative GOP politicians? I keep forgetting. Maybe you can provide an authoritative answer to that question...

Love, your friend: s9.

Posted by: s9 on June 6, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

It is worthwhile of course to remember that Romney is addressing the base of Republicans, who can be attached and reattached to alternate realities like Post-Its.

Which inspires this motto:

Cogito, ergo Dem.

Posted by: frankly0 on June 6, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. That's the first time I've ever seen a triple post happen without me even refreshing or clicking a button more than once. Nice.

Posted by: s9 on June 6, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Update - This morning, CNN finally managed to point out Romney's gaffe, but they phrased it in a way that still made it seem as if Saddam kicked the inspectors out by saying, Saddam let them in but "they were asked to leave" without mentioning that it was actually Bush who asked them to leave.

The reason is now clear: the war had to begin during mild springtime weather, but more importantly, the UN inspectors were about to issue a more conclusive report that there were no WMDs in Iraq, which would have taken away the purported reason for attacking Iraq.

Here are the facts about the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq immediately before the war began:

U.N. weapons inspectors arrived in Baghdad for the first time in four years on Nov. 27, 2002 and resumed inspections two days later. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/17/iraq/main544280.shtml

And here are Bush's exact words when HE forced the inspectors to leave Iraq:

"For their own safety, all foreign nationals -- including journalists and inspectors -- should leave Iraq immediately."
March 17, 2003 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030317-7.html

That's about as clear of a truth as it can be.
But our "preferred candidates" and the news media seem to have a different agenda than telling the truth.

Posted by: Elvis on June 6, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Next debate Mitt will proclaim that the Nazis invaded Pearl Harbor! That might get press coverage. Then again...

But no coverage from Mike Barnacle, I'd bet. Or Jeff Jacoby. Or Cathy Young.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on June 6, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know why people still get worked up about Mitt Romney's candidacy. The Masons will never allow him to become president.

Posted by: Aaron on June 6, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

"In any sane world, this kind of thing would be enough to disqualify a candidate from running for dogcatcher..........."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There's your answer. The U.S. is collectively batshit crazy. A throbbing ectoplasmic cauldron of xenophobic, homophobic and misogynistic lunacy. We're beyond rendering a sane judgment on anything. 280 million fools stuffing themselves with food to the bursting point while awaiting Armageddon, the Rapture or Bob's wife to hurry up and finish the blowjob so we can get back to the Lakers game. "Turn out the lights, the party's over." (smart man that Don Meredith)

Posted by: steve duncan on June 6, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I have to believe this was calculated. Bush has *repeatedly* said Saddam kicked out the inspectors and I don't believe anyone in MSM has ever even corrected him, let alone point out that he was lying.

Posted by: Bart on June 6, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Romney was wrong to say that UN inspectors weren't in Iraq. That's an embarrassing mistake.

I think he was right to say that Saddam had not "opened his country" to the inspectors. Don't forget the UN resolution required Saddam to divulge to the UN inspectors what had happened to the stockpile of chemical weapons which the inspectors had identifed in 1998. Saddam refused to do that. He also refused to allow the UN inspectors to talk to scientists who might know where to look. So, it seems fair to say that Saddam hadn't fully "opened his country" to the inspectors.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 6, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but Romney is a seriously ignorant dumbass. Don't the Republicans have any candidates that actually know anything? Or do you have to be specifically uncurious to join up with that tribe of know nothings?

Posted by: c4logic on June 6, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

The old canard that Saddam didn't allow inspectors in has been a conservative lie/talking point for years. Shame on Wolf "I'm not a journalist but I play one on TV" Blitzer for not correcting him immediately.

Posted by: sullijan on June 6, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

'So, it seems fair to say that Saddam hadn't fully "opened his country" to the inspectors.
'

Is that why we went to war?

Posted by: jg on June 6, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: I think he was right to say that Saddam had not "opened his country" to the inspectors.

Yeah, but you're a dishonest neocon toad making bad-faith arguments with a sack full of moldy propaganda points, so who the hell cares what you think?

Tool.

Posted by: Gregory on June 6, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Since the Republican't Noise Machine has been using this same false talking point for years with the press generally ignoring it, Romney probably figures there's no risk in continuing to use it.

And I think he's right.

Only we on the left seem to know the inspectors were back in.

Only we on the left remember them hurrying out before Shock and Awe.

Only we on the left remember them begging the US of A to tell them where else they should look because, darn it, they've look everywhere they could think of and found no weapons.

The press in general and the public in general have bought the "everyone thought he had them" and the "Saddam kicked out the inspectors" lies hook, line and sinker.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 6, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Question: does Romney genuinely not know that both the IAEA and Hans Blix's team had hundreds of inspectors in Iraq prior to the war? And that those inspectors found nothing?

All conservatives are liars.

Romney is a conservative.

Romney is a liar.

Why is it surprising he would lie about the situation immediately preceding the war.

Conservatives HAVE to rewrite history to justify our presence in Iraq.

Otherwise, they would have to admit that Bush didn't share all of the intel with Congress, that Bush misled Congress and the American people, and that the invasion was immoral and wrongheaded from the get go.

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK
Only we on the left remember them begging the US of A to tell them where else they should look because, darn it, they've look everywhere they could think of and found no weapons.

Actually, I seem to recall them asking the US to stop telling them where to look, because every US "solid lead" was a complete waste of time and effort.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: Actually, I seem to recall them asking the US to stop telling them where to look, because every US "solid lead" was a complete waste of time and effort.

cmdicely is being polite...I seem to recall the UN team referring to US intel leads with a term usually reserved for fecal matter or "ex-liberal"'s neocon propaganda.

Posted by: Gregory on June 6, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: So, it seems fair to say that Saddam hadn't fully "opened his country" to the inspectors.

It seems fair to say that you casually and dishonestly inserted the word "fully" into the context of Romney's spin in order to create a strawman that is now fiercely burning bright.

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Steve, unfortunately, on the frightened stupidity of the American public.

But rather than "Turn out the lights, the party's over" I prefer "Goodbye. And thanks for all the fish."

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 6, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't the Republicans have any candidates that actually know anything?"

They actually DO have one, Ron Paul. But they are marginalizing him for just that reason.

The Party Line must be adhered to.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 6, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Roger Ailes equates FOX News to terrorists.

Who knew they could be so honest about themselves!

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

jg: Is [the fact that Saddam hadn't fully "opened his country" to the inspectors] why we went to war?

It was one reason why. Saddam's lack of full cooperation made it almost impossible for the UN inspectors to find the WMDs, if there had been any. What were the inspectors to do? Drive around and stop at random buildings? They couldn't even do that, because they needed permission in advance to search a site.

The type of inspection Saddam permitted was almost useless.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 6, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Davis X Machina,

A little unfair about Mike Barnacle not writing anything about it - I mean, if Jeff Jacoby, or Cathy Young have not already written it, where would Mike find his copy to plagerize?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 6, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal has proved today that he and he alone can top himself in spin, duplicity, and mendacity.

Well done Madam. Well done.

Posted by: gregor on June 6, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you cm for pointing out the biggest non-sequitir in the entire debacle. We claimed to not only have proof of WMD, but to also know exactly where everything was at (remember those sattellite photos Colin Powell had at the UN). This was provided by our sources. Unlike what ex-lib tries to imply, the inspectors were not "driving around blindly" looking for WMD, they were checking the sites that the US explicitly provided (based upon Chalabi's knowledge).

But every time the inspectors checked one of those locations out, it turned out to be bullshit.

So of course the Administration used Ocam's razor to conclude that the most likely explanation was...

No, not that the sources were wrong, but...

That it was somehow the inspectors fault and that Sadaam was even more wily than we thought.

So in fact, the lack of proof of WMD's was turned into proof of WMD for the administration.

It boggles the mind.

Posted by: Doug-E-Fresh on June 6, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget the UN resolution required Saddam to divulge to the UN inspectors what had happened to the stockpile of chemical weapons which the inspectors had identifed in 1998. Saddam refused to do that. -- ex-liberal

On December 8, 2002 Saddam provided the US gubmit with a 12,000 page document detailing the disposal of WMD, 4,000 pages of which were redacted by the bush administration before passing copies along to the "coalition". Why were those 4,000 pages removed, ex-liberal? What did the bushies need to hide from the rest of the world? How can you claim that Saddam didn't comply when bush never let anyone see the complete document?

Posted by: Dave Howard on June 6, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: It was one reason why. Saddam's lack of full cooperation made it almost impossible for the UN inspectors to find the WMDs, if there had been any. What were the inspectors to do? Drive around and stop at random buildings? They couldn't even do that, because they needed permission in advance to search a site.

You are lying again.

The Bush administration said they KNEW for sure exactly where the WMDs were and they told the UN inspectors where to look.

The inspectors looked where the US told them to look.

They found nothing.

Additionally, the US had intel from sources close to Saddam that all of the weapons programs had been abandoned, as confirmed by the UN inspections.

Bushco chose to ignore all of the above in favor of a lying Iraqi resistance organization that they knew had ulterior motives (to be in power themselves).

You are essentially stating that Iraq was invaded for mere technical, administrative, and recordkeeping errors or omissions, not any substantive failure to comply or inability of the West to verify that compliance or any real threat to US security.

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

This just absolutely makes me FURIOUS. Thank God I didn't actually see this because I would have been screaming & ranting incomprehensibly at the television and generally setting a poor example for my son. Bush and his apologists say over and over that Saddam kicked out the inspectors, and it is one of the many disgraces of our compliant, round-heeled media that this has become an unchallenged myth about the war. What hope do we have as a society when a deliberate lie so easily checked is allowed to wander unclothed before the public?

Phew! I feel better. Back to work.

Posted by: peter A on June 6, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Saddam's lack of full cooperation made it almost impossible for the UN inspectors to find the WMDs, if there had been any.

Of course, Saddam's actual lack of WMDs actually made it impossible for the UN inspectors to find the WMDs.

"ex-liberal"'s claim is, as usual, bullshit revisionism. For one thing, the IAEA was perfectly satisfied that Iraq had no nuclear program outside of Saddam's (and the neocons') fantasies. The inspectors also had enough access and information to determine that Iraq had no active WMD programs. I note that "ex-liberal" dishonestly ignores the point that US intelligence was less than useless to the inspectors, a further indication that the hysterical inmplications of the Administration were bogus (let's also not forget that even pretending Iraq's posession of some moldy mustard gas shells was a threat depended on wholly imaginary ties with anti-US terrorists). And finally, Saddam's so-called intransigence was neither as stalwart as "ex-liberal" pretends, and what there was swiftly collapsed.

Bush didn't pull the trigger because of Saddam's WMD threat, as "ex-liberal" still -- still! -- tries to pretend. Bush pulled the trigger because the successful UN inspectiosn were in the process of proving that Iraq posed no threat -- a fact its neighbors obviously understood already. Ironically, if Bush had contented himself with resuming inspections -- I know, fat chance -- doing so would have proved a stunning diplomatic coup.

It's too bad Bush pissed it, along with thousands of lives and billions of dollars, away. It's too bad "ex-liberal" pisses away his/her/its reputation and honor defending the Bush Administration's mendacity and incompetence.

Posted by: Gregory on June 6, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

What is really goddamned frustrating is that that stupid ass Wolf didn't even call him on such a blatant fucking falsehood.

Posted by: angryspittle on June 6, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: The type of inspection Saddam permitted was almost useless.

Yet another lie.

Lie, upon lie, upon lie.

Clearly the inspections were useful since they divulged the truth.

Clearly the inspectors knew where to look because the US government told them where to look.

Equally clearly, they found nothing.

Since both Powell and Rumsfeld publically proclaimed that the US had the capability to monitor and track all movements of WMDs (which ability they used as justification for trusting them that the WMDs still existed, even though they already knew this to be false), it cannot be said that the inspectors were led astray without saying that the Bush administration lied both about its capabilities and its possession of proof that Saddam's claims to have disarmed were not true.

More to the point, it was Bush who chased the inspectors out of Iraq once it became clear that the inspectors were undermining the administration's claims about WMDs before they could fully verify disarmament.

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK
The Masons will never allow him to become president. Aaron at 1:21 PM
Should we form an Anti-Mason Party?
…the UN resolution required Saddam to divulge to the UN inspectors what had happened to the stockpile of chemical weapons which the inspectors had identifed in 1998. …. He also refused to allow the UN inspectors to talk to scientists who might know where to look…. ex-lax at 1:51 PM
Saddam released 12,000 pages of documents and the Bush regime promptly hide 9,000 of them. Fortunately, Hans Blix wrote a book revealing neo-con lies.

The president, Blix feels, sincerely believed that Iraq was pursuing WMD but neither Dick Cheney, the vice-president, nor Donald Rumsfeld at the defence department had any commitment to inspections. Even before Unmovic carried out its first inspection on November 27 2002, Cheney was telling Blix that the "US was ready to discredit inspections in favour of dis armament", that is, invasion. Even Colin Powell, the secretary of state, who was quoted on February 24 2001 as saying Saddam did not have "any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction", had shifted….
By January, terrified of the US military build-up, Iraq was frantically agreeing to almost anything the inspectors demanded: interviews outside Iraq of key scientists, over-flights by U2 spy aircraft and the destruction of dozens of Al Samoud 2 missiles, which were its technical pride and joy....

The type of inspection Saddam permitted was almost useless.
ex-laxat 2:36 PM

It seems fair to say that your are incorrect and your lies are useless.

Posted by: Mike on June 6, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

jg: Is [the fact that Saddam hadn't fully "opened his country" to the inspectors] why we went to war?


ex-lib: It was one reason why.

"Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament." - President Bush 3/6/03

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030306-8.html


very clear.

Posted by: mr. irony on June 6, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

[sigh]

A great Democratic operative - I think it was Adolph Schrum - once said people are more likely to believe a big lie than a little one, if the lie is repeated enough. Apparently he was right, because it appears people of good will have been taken in with the 800,000 times this big lie has been told. Let me again refute the canard that Saddam was complying with the UN inspectors:

1) Hans Blix conceded that Saddam's " limited co-operation" did not amount to compliance with the demands of UN 1441.

2) The procedures and protocols for disarmament compliance were well established, the UN has conducted several from South Africa to the Ukraine.

3) The US made it clear that without full, complete and unfettered compliance with 1441 we would go to war. Seventeen second chances were enough.

4) Read Amnesty International's report on Saddam's "compliance" with the inspection process:

http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGMDE140052003

When Mr.Enad was dragged from the UN inspector's Jeep and dragged off to Saddam's plastic shredders, Mr. Blix responded by saying there were many more elegant ways of getting in contact with his agency. I really wish I could find the video of this kidnapping on YouTube, it was on the news broadcasts and was a very powerful visual.

Posted by: minion on June 6, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bottom line:

There were no WMDs.

Bush had a boatload of intel demonstrating that there were no WMDs.

Bush's own intelligence agencies were dubious that Saddam had significant stockpiles and that in any event he posed no threat to the US in any way, shape or form.

US doesn't enforce other UN resolutions and the claims of Saddam being a threat as justifying an exception in this case were bogus and the administration knew it from their own intelligence agencies.

UN inspectors had verified for all inspected sites (provided by the US) that there were no WMDs and their investigation showed that it was unlikely that there were any to be found even with further planned inspections.

Powell and Rumsfeld either lied about having the capability and evidence to prove that Saddam had WMDs or they lied about what that capability and evidence actually showed.

Bush then lied about having found the WMDs after the invasion, showing he was the liar and dupe, not Saddam (at least with respect to his possession of WMDs) and not the UN inspectors.

There were no WMDs.

Hadn't been for years.

Bush knew that Saddam was no threat.

Bush invaded anyway because he and Cheney have ulterior motives they knew wouldn't fly with the American public.

To boot, they have been woefully incompetent at prosecuting their dishonest war.

Yet, you defend them and the decision to go to war by spouting nonsense, lies, obsfucations, and dissemblings.

Strawman, begone!

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

re: "Hans Blix conceded that Saddam's " limited co-operation" did not amount to compliance with the demands of UN 1441."

When? 1998? 2002? or 2003?

You offer no attribution for your claim, which seems to contradict what Blix himself wrote in his book, "Disarming Iraq," in which he says:

When, on March 7, Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency reported to the Security Council that Iraq had greatly improved its work with the inspectors, the Americans reacted by attempting to pressurise and undermine the two men and even, conceivably, to spy on them.

http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/politicsphilosophyandsociety/0,6121,1173509,00.html


Posted by: Elvis on June 6, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Hasn't Bush said the same thing or very similar?"

Yes. For example, when responding to a question about his assertion that Iraq attempted to obtain yellowcake from Niger, he said:

"The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power..."

I'd be hard pressed to name a single country that doesn't have a "weapons program." The point Bush is trying to slither away from is that he implied that Iraq had a "nuclear weapons program." Bush knew, or should have known prior to the invasion, that that Iraq did not.

Posted by: Kenneth Almquist on June 6, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

minion: Let me again refute the canard that Saddam was complying with the UN inspectors . . .

Yes, minion repeats the big lie that Saddam had not complied with the substantive requirements and yet at the same time acknowledges that he was punished for technicalities that the US would overlook in any other instance and despite the fact that our own CIA determined that Saddam was no threat, a small stockpile of WMDs (the only thing the intelligence supported, not the massive stockpile that "minions" of Bush lie about) or not.

The US made it clear that without full, complete and unfettered compliance with 1441 we would go to war.

Which doesn't mean they had the legal (under international law) right to do so or the justification.

1441 was a UN resolution, not a US law or treaty.

Thus, it was up to the UN, not the US unilaterally, to decide when it was in breach and what the response was to be.

That you disagree with the response is irrelevant.

The US had no separate authority to enforce an obligation that was owed to the UN.

If you disagree with the decision to place it with the UN, then go to the source: Bush 41

But quit lying about non-existent justifications for the US invasion.

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

We were very open about using WMD's as a pretext, getting Saddam on WMD was the equivalent of getting Al Capone on tax evasion - a sincere charge but transparently not our primary motivation. The war supporters of both parties, including the blow-dried narcissists like Kerry and Edwards, knew a fuerer/demi-god ruler of a totalitarian regime could not survive the loss of face entailed in full, complete compliance with UN inspections. That's why our fundemental demand was for full and complete compliance and Saddam insisted on foot-dragging and defiance. Perhaps Kevin Drum and the commentors conveniently forget this chronology but we die-hards do not.

Posted by: minion on June 6, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK
We were very open about using WMD's as a pretext, getting Saddam on WMD was the equivalent of getting Al Capone on tax evasion - a sincere charge but transparently not our primary motivation.

Well, except that it was not really parallel since it was not, even remotely, a sincere charge.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Does this kind of stuff run in the family?"

Only the Angel Moroni knows.

Posted by: Rula Lenska on June 6, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

The "null set" Mittney was referring to is the set of truths told by GOP candidates for POTUS.

Posted by: Disputo on June 6, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Elvis,
Read my last entry - the gap between "greatly improved" their cooperation and actual compliance was big enough to drive a tank through. In the same UN presentation, in the first paragraph, Blix conceded that Saddam was not complying as required.

anonymous,

We would have been much better off with a better President, one that would have waited for Saddam to "fire on Fort Sumter" - perhaps with his planned July martyrs suicide-bomb campaign. I do not argue Bush handled this war correctly - I have been vociferous in this comments section excoriating his policies - but I think the quibbles and debaters points about how this war started would be considered as important as FDR's violation of the Neutrality Act in 1940 if this war had been fought correctly.

Posted by: minion on June 6, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Uh... Non Sequitor?????

Posted by: MNPundit on June 6, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Bush: "The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power..."

Lie #1: "Saddam didn't let the inspectors in."

He did and they performed numerous inspections until Bush forced them out.

Lie #2: "We gave him a chance to [let the inspectors finish their work]."

(A necessary contextual change in light of lie #1)

Bush did not allow the inspectors to finish their work. The inspectors asserted Iraq was cooperating and were in the middle of inspectors when Bush declared the US would invade.

Lie #3: "We decided to remove him from power."

No, Bush decided to occupy Iraq, said he intended to establish democracy, and sought to steal Iraqi oil.

And in any event, removal of Saddam was not a UN-prescribed and approved response and since it was their resolution, not that of the US, it was the UN who had the only authority to say what was to be done in response.

Finally, removal of Saddam (while a good thing in and of itself) was not justified by the circumstances according to our own intelligence agencies, was not worth the cost, and had nothing to do with disarming him.

Lie #4 (and the biggest): "And the answer is, absolutely."

Not if Bush meant, as he implied, at the time of the invasion. Indeed, Saddam hadn't had a weapons program in years. One might as well justify invading Germany today because they "had" at some time in the past a belligerent weapons program.

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Nevermind. I was thinking non sequitur in the literary sense and not the logical fallacy sense. Still...

Non Sequitur?

Posted by: MNPundit on June 6, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

re: "We were very open about using WMD's as a pretext, getting Saddam on WMD was the equivalent of getting Al Capone on tax evasion"

"...but we die-hards do not."

Apparently you do not understand the difference between:

Capone being found guilty of tax evasion in a US court of law, the jurisdiction of which he was subject to as a US citizen, and

Attacking Iraq because of the supposed threat of WMDs that inspections had already determined that Saddam did not have.

For you analogy to work, Capone would have to have been sentenced to prison for tax evasion even after being found not guilty (or more accurately, after having the case against him dismissed for lack of evidence.)


You next failed analogy will probably involve the Scooter Libby obstruction of justice case, which should present quite a dilema for a die-hard right-winger pseudo-con who believes that if there was no underlying crime, how could Libby be guilty of obstruction?

Posted by: Elvis on June 6, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I've always considered you a thoughtful commenter, so let me ask, with no facetiousness, why you think the US was insincere about the WMD charge? Do you really argue that Colin Powell and Ken Pollack were lying? Let me include a 2 minute video I'd like you to examine on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNgaVtVaiJE&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Feddriscoll%2Ecom%2Farchives%2F011179%2Ephp

I'd really appreciate it if you would watch it.

Posted by: minion on June 6, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

re: "We were very open about using WMD's as a pretext, getting Saddam on WMD was the equivalent of getting Al Capone on tax evasion"

"...but we die-hards do not."

Apparently you die-hards do not understand the difference between:

Capone being found guilty of tax evasion in a US court of law, the jurisdiction of which he was subject to as a US citizen, and

Attacking Iraq because of the supposed threat of WMDs that inspections had already determined that Saddam did not have.

For your analogy to work, Capone would have to have been sentenced to prison for tax evasion even after being found not guilty, or more accurately, after having the case against him dismissed for lack of evidence, or before the trial was even over!


You next failed analogy will probably involve the Scooter Libby obstruction of justice case, which should present quite a dilema for a die-hard right-winger pseudo-con who believes that if there was no underlying crime, how could Libby be guilty of obstruction?

Posted by: Elvis on June 6, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

We were very open about using WMD's as a pretext, getting Saddam on WMD was the equivalent of getting Al Capone on tax evasion -

The parallel would work only if we had brought Capone in for a tax audit, and then sent the police storming in before the audit was over to arrest him, because when we brought him in we didn't have any evidence of tax evasion, and we were afraid the audit would prove he hadn't evaded paying taxes. I'm not sure what our next move would have been. I guess the guys collecting evidence against Capone were more efficient than guys like Cheney, Feith and Wolfowitz.

But the comparison isn't very good because we didn't have to overthrow the government of a sovereign nation to get Capone into custody. That changes the picture considerably.

Posted by: cowalker on June 6, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Elvis,

I think we will have to wait for a more dispassionate review of the legality sometime in the future - for ever expert you can produce that says the war was not authorized by UN resolutions I can produce another that argues the opposite. I agree Saint Kofi Annan shouted "Illegal!" over the whine of his Oil-For-Food paper shredder, but I do not consider him the ultimate authority.

Posted by: minion on June 6, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: "minion" -- aka "minion of rove" -- attribures the Big Lie theory to the Democrats.

And then goes on to demonstratie the Republican reliance on repeated lies.

That's rich, "minion." Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on June 6, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, Romney won the debate according to pollster Frank Lunz. Lunz explains how he reached this conclusion in a brief, interesting YouTube video at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bIa7DfW-YU&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fhughhewitt%2Etownhall%2Ecom%2F

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 6, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK
I've always considered you a thoughtful commenter, so let me ask, with no facetiousness, why you think the US was insincere about the WMD charge?

Because the executive branch of the United States government had information which would have led any reasonable person to the conclusion that the specific charges they made were false.

Do you really argue that Colin Powell and Ken Pollack were lying?

I know that Colin Powell made claims that the US executive branch knew not to be true (for instance, the claims about the aluminum tubes which the US knew were unsuitable for use in the centrifuges it claimed they were for and knew were suitable for and most likely intended for the artillery rockets that they were, in fact, being acquired for). Whether he was being dishonest or whether he was misled through a policy of dishonesty led by the White House and in which he was an unwitting tool is, really, entirely beside the point.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK
I think we will have to wait for a more dispassionate review of the legality sometime in the future - for ever expert you can produce that says the war was not authorized by UN resolutions I can produce another that argues the opposite.

You seem to think the only kind of argument available is naked appeal to authority. How's this: you show us the UN resolution authorizing force in response to the failure to comply with 1441.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

"minion" wrote: for ever expert you can produce that says the war was not authorized by UN resolutions I can produce another that argues the opposite

I don't think anyone's arguing that neocon hacks and wingnut welfare think tanks have a deep bench; it's the right wingers' acquaintance with reality -- that Saddam didn't haqve weapons and did allow inspections -- that's at issue.

It's notable that "mionion" and "ex-liberal" try to muddy the waters; bonus points to "ex-liberal" for his/her/its additional insult of linking to a video by the Republican pollster Frank Lunz.

minion, here's a helpful hint: you can post dishonest Republican bullshit, or you can debate honestly. Since you usually do the former, no one is obliged to take you seriously when you choose to do the latter.

Posted by: Gregory on June 6, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK


minion, ex-liberal: I'v made a little list.

Posted by: gcochran on June 6, 2007 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely

French intelligence agencies believe to this day that the aluminum tubes were dual use items - having them milled to the exacting tolerances required, and paying the exorbitant prices, did not make any sense. That's what Powell said at the UN if I remember correctly - something like I know this is disputed and ambiguous, but to this old trooper you don't spend that kind of money on rocket tubes you intend to blow up.

Posted by: minion on June 6, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

So just as with the bogus "sixteen words", "minion" excuses Powell parroting info believed by US intel to be bogus by citing a foreign intel source.

Why does "minion" hate America?

Posted by: Gregory on June 6, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

minion: We would have been much better off with a better President, one that would have waited for Saddam to "fire on Fort Sumter" - perhaps with his planned July martyrs suicide-bomb campaign.

You are lying again.

The CIA determined that Saddam had no capability to threaten the US.

There was never any chance of Saddam "firing on Fort Sumter" or anywhere else.

Powell himself stated in February (2002 I believe) that Saddam had no ability to project even conventional military power beyond his borders.

There was no new intelligence that would have warranted a change in those positions, confirmed by Bush (and Bush supporters) reliance on 1990s era intelligence to justify the invasion.

I do not argue Bush handled this war correctly - I have been vociferous in this comments section excoriating his policies - but I think the quibbles and debaters points about how this war started would be considered as important as FDR's violation of the Neutrality Act in 1940 if this war had been fought correctly.

You do argue that he handled it correctly because the initial invasion and the decision to invade are a part of "handling the war."

And that was not justified.

Unlike FDR's situation, the US didn't just assist forces opposing Iraq, but invaded Iraq, putting US soldiers at risk and harming US foreign policy directly.

More to the point, Iraq not engaged in hostilities against allies, as both Germany and Japan were, mush less against the US.

Your analogy lacks cogency.

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Minion sure is full of claims, but weak on attribution.

French Intel thought this... Hans Blix thought that... Aren't you going to tell us that Hussein Kamel Hassan had firsthand knowledge of Saddam's efforts to hide his WMDs (without mentioning that he also said the effort had failed, and they'd all been destroyed)
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1845

Or maybe he'll just captivate us with tales of an 'inside source' who saw Saddam's WMDs being shipped to Syria?

Posted by: Elvis on June 6, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

There first two explantions that come to mind are:

a) Romney is a complete idiot.
b) Romney has judged his audience of voters (i.e., Republican primary voters) as complete idiots.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 6, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

minion: French intelligence agencies believe to this day that the aluminum tubes were dual use items -

Oh well, if the French say it it must be true....

Posted by: Stefan on June 6, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Lil Jim

You forgot to add the third possibility which eminently satisfies Professor Occam: Romney as well as the Republicans are all idiots.

Posted by: gregor on June 6, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

minion: . . . for ever[y] expert you can produce that says the war was not authorized by UN resolutions I can produce another that argues the opposite.

Doubtful.

The resolutions contain no language whatsoever to the effect that any UN member was authorized to invade Iraq, much less remove Saddam from power, for violating technicalities, as opposed to the substance, of the resolution.

Neither you nor any expert can point to such language.

I agree Saint Kofi Annan shouted "Illegal!" over the whine of his Oil-For-Food paper shredder, but I do not consider him the ultimate authority.

Right, the head of the organization whose resolution was at issue is not competent to opine on it.

French intelligence agencies believe to this day that the aluminum tubes were dual use items . . .

The same French that wingnuts dismiss . . .

That's what Powell said at the UN if I remember correctly - something like I know this is disputed and ambiguous, but to this old trooper you don't spend that kind of money on rocket tubes you intend to blow up.

This assumes facts not proven, that Iraq actually paid the prices alleged by the US, which given its lies is not credible.

Do you really argue that Colin Powell and Ken Pollack were lying?

Powell stated in 2001 or 2002 that Saddam was powerless to project even conventional force beyond his borders and that his WMD programs were at best decrepit and without military or national security significance.

Therefore, either Powell lied when he said Saddam was toothless or he lied when he claimed he was a threat in 2003, since no intelligence produced by the Bush administration after those statements showed that original assessment to be in error or undermined Powell's original conclusions.

Thus, Powell lied.

Given the actual findings of no WMDs and no WMD program activity for years, it appears that Powell's second set of statements in 2003 were the lies.

Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK
French intelligence agencies believe…. minion at 4:52 PM
Cruise missiles are $1,000,000,000 each. One shot apiece. If the French intelligence belies that, so what? They would be wrong also. There was no nuclear program in Iraq and those tubes were unsuitable for centrifuges
I think we will have to wait for a more dispassionate review of the legality sometime in the future ….minion on June 6, 2007 at 4:37 PM
The future is now

…Key U.S. allies in the NATO allies, including France and Germany, were critical of plans to invade Iraq, arguing instead for continued diplomacy and weapons inspections. After considerable debate, the U.N. Security Council adopted a compromise resolution, 1441, which authorized the resumption of weapons inspections and promised "serious consequences" for noncompliance. Security Council members France and Russia made clear that they did not believe these consequences to include the use of force to overthrow the Iraqi government.[21]. Both the U.S. ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, and the UK ambassador Jeremy Greenstock publicly confirmed this reading of the resolution, assuring that Resolution 1441 provided no "automaticity" or "hidden triggers" for an invasion without further consultation of the Security Council…
As a follow-up to Powell’s presentation, the United States, United Kingdom, and Spain proposed a UN Resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, but U.S. NATO allies Canada, France, and Germany, together with Russia, strongly urged continued diplomacy. Facing a losing vote as well as a likely veto from France and Russia, the U.S. eventually withdrew its resolution….

Posted by: Mike on June 6, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK
French intelligence agencies believe to this day that the aluminum tubes were dual use items

Even if we were to trust you on this, so what?

having them milled to the exacting tolerances required, and paying the exorbitant prices, did not make any sense.

They were, surprisingly enough, the same dimensions, same specific alloy of aluminum, and same tolerances as the tubes used by Iraq to manufacture 81mm artillery rockets at the Nasser State Establishment. They were of a size that was not consistent with use in gas centrifuges, and the anodized interior was inconsistent with use in gas centrifuges, and the tolerances were too loose for gas centrifuges by a factor of 2 to 5. At least, that what the US Department of Energy—which knows a bit about nuclear weapons programs—said.

Nevertheless, the Administration publicly claimed that the DOE supported the conclusion that they were intended for a nuclear weapons program, when indeed that is the opposite of the actual DOE assessment.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

minion: for ever expert you can produce that says the war was not authorized by UN resolutions I can produce another that argues the opposite.

Well sure, for every person I can produce who tells the truth you can certainly produce either (a) a liar and/or (b) someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. I don't know what you think that proves, exactly. In the real world, however, we believe in something called objective reality and the rule of law, and under that standard the invasion was not authorized under UN resolutions.

Posted by: Stefan on June 6, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

French intelligence agencies believe to this day that the aluminum tubes were dual use items -

So now the French hating wingnuts are privileging what the French say over our own experts in the US?

No. Fucking. Shame.

Posted by: Disputo on June 6, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

"More to the point, Iraq not engaged in hostilities against allies, as both Germany and Japan were, mush less against the US."

In my universe Saddam was paying suicide bomber's families $25,000 to attack Israel, he was training Saddam Fedayeen terrorists to be infiltrated back to their home countries, and he was rudely shooting SAM missles at our airplanes in the no-fly zone.

Firing on Fort Sumter was supposed to allude to Lincoln's better grasp of politics - documents captured after the war show that, had we left our troops to roast in the desert over the summer, Saddam intended to send suicide bombers against them. Maybe you guys would have felt that was justified and still opposed the war, but I think it would have moved some people into the pro-war camp.

As for Powell's statement about projecting power, he was referring to a conventional military assault. I don't think you guys are dealing with his ability to slip poisons, chem gas, etc. with no fingerprints to people that want to kill us.

I've always considered an admission against interest a better citation than someone that supports my argument. That's why I cited the same Blix report that Elvis cited, and assume that most readers of these comments are astute enough to know the French don't support our efforts very much in this war. No one's commented on my video offering - please watch it and tell me what you think:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bIa7DfW-YU&eurl

Posted by: minion on June 6, 2007 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks to Kevin and others on the blogsphere for calling attention to Romney's disastrous gaffe (on the run-up to the Iraq War) in front of millions of television viewers during the June 5 GOP presidential debate hosted by CNN.

Certainly the broadcast media missed -- and still declines -- to talk about it. I don't see it mentioned in the papers yet either.

Of course, Paul Begala immediately nailed the gaffe on CNN's post-debate show hosted by Anderson Cooper -- only to be shouted down by their latest "conservative voice, Amy Holmes, and by the hapless Cooper, summing up inanely --"We're not going to settle this now . . ." (Time had run out, you see). What's to settle?

Here's the transcript:

http://tinyurl.com/2y6r59

Refer also to Larry Beinhart's piece on The Huffington Post in which he astutely points out that Romney was not corrected on the gaffe by debater moderator Wolf Blitzer nor by any of the GOP candidates during the debate.

Folks, this should be a major, major story -- and perhaps it will be as newsrooms get into it. Here we have a man who aspires to be president of the United States, a Republican running on a national security stance, who doesn't know or doesn't remember how the U.S. got into the Iraq War. And here we have all the GOP candidates to date who apparently don't know or don't remember or don't want to make a point of it -- don't want to remind folks of what really happened.

But somehow I doubt that much will be made of it. That few care is a telling commentary on the state of the nation's media and much of its electorate.

Sad beyond compare.

Posted by: factsfacts on June 6, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

In my universe Saddam was paying suicide bomber's families $25,000 to attack Israel,

Israel is not the US. Also, the Saudi princes also pay money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, so when do we invade them?

he was training Saddam Fedayeen terrorists to be infiltrated back to their home countries,

What? The Fedayeen were Iraqis. You mean he was training Iraqis in Iraq to be infiltrated into their home country of Iraq?

and he was rudely shooting SAM missles at our airplanes in the no-fly zone.

Our no-fly zone, you may have noticed, was in Iraqi airspace. Moreover, we had no legal authority to impose the no-fly zone. So his offense was to defend Iraqi airspace against incursions by American warplanes? That's not an attack against the US, moron. That's us attacking them.

Posted by: Stefan on June 6, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

documents captured after the war show that,

Oh please. Fake documents.

had we left our troops to roast in the desert over the summer, Saddam intended to send suicide bombers against them.

Well, thank God we avoided that danger!

Posted by: Stefan on June 6, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think you guys are dealing with his ability to slip poisons, chem gas, etc. with no fingerprints to people that want to kill us.

Not to mention Saddam's death rays, his photon torpedoes and his army of invisible flying monkeys.

Posted by: Stefan on June 6, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK
In my universe ….minion at 5:43 PM
In the real universe, Saddam was paying the families who lost their homes and livelihood because of Israeli reprisals, you know, the old nazi era collective guilt thing the Israelis do. The Saddam Fedayeen were used against the US forces and the no-fly zones were illegal.

The Iraqi no-fly zones (NFZs) were proclaimed by the United States, United Kingdom and France after the Gulf War of 1991 to protect humanitarian operations in northern Iraq and Shiite Muslims in the south. Iraqi aircraft were forbidden from flying inside the zones. The policy was enforced by US, UK and French aircraft patrols until France withdrew in 1998. While the enforcing powers had cited United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 as authorising the operations, the resolution contains no such authorization. The Secretary-General of the UN at the time the resolution was passed, Boutros Boutros-Ghali called the no-fly zones "illegal" in a later interview with John Pilger…

Posted by: Mike on June 6, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Enough of this mental masturbation...

Iraq was invaded for two reasons: 1. TO PROTECT OUR OIL INTERESTS & 2. STRATEGIC MILITARY GEOGRAPHY

All the other WMD, Saddam's a butcher and 9/11-linking garbage was just to make it palatable to our easily misled public.

In the words of "fair & balanced" Bill O'Reilly, where am I wrong?

Posted by: mmp1123 on June 6, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, back at the Rommey spin watch:

and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in.

People answering off the top of their heads can sound as if their heads are spinning, but take a look at that sentance and see if anyone can tell me what, if anything, it actually means.

I think he's saying "you go to war with the army of information you have, not the one you need" or something like that.

"We made the decision at the time we made it, with the information we had at the time, and so, that's OK then." Even though everything we made up was wrong.

Posted by: JohnN on June 6, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

minion: In my universe Saddam was paying suicide bomber's families $25,000 to attack Israel . . .

Charlie, your universe is a fantasy world.

Saddam paid the families after the attacks happened; there is no evidence he solicited the attacks or paid anyone to attack. At most the evidence would point to him as an accessory after the fact, which is not how you have described it.

And btw, he didn't pay the suicide bombers' families to attack, you moron, else they'd all be dead ("suicide bombing"), he paid the families of suicide bombers after those bombers had attacked.

. . . he was rudely shooting SAM missles at our airplanes in the no-fly zone.

Well, I'm all for the death penalty for rudeness.

Cheney can be the first person executed for yelling an obscenity at a congressman on the floor of Congress.

Firing on Fort Sumter was supposed to allude to Lincoln's better grasp of politics - documents captured after the war show that, had we left our troops to roast in the desert over the summer, Saddam intended to send suicide bombers against them.

This makes absolutely no sense, even coming from you, Charlie.

As for Powell's statement about projecting power, he was referring to a conventional military assault. I don't think you guys are dealing with his ability to slip poisons, chem gas, etc. with no fingerprints to people that want to kill us.

No, he was referring to Saddam's lack of any weapons programs in addition to convential military assets, you lying piece of dog crap, and the CIA debunked the notion that Saddam was going to give WMDs to terrorists for an attack on the US.

In any event, Saddam had no such poisons, gasses, or nuclear devices to slip to anybody, a fact well known to the administration and one you keep lying about.

There is simply no end to the lies you are willing to tell.


Posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Your information on the aluminum tubes is persuasive - I withdraw that assertion, other than the fact that I still feel Colin Powell is a man of integrity and was not trying to manipulate us into war.

Stefan,

The foriegn terror trainees were integrated into the Saddam Fedayeen on the eve of the war. Prior to that they were directed by Military Intelligence - M14. Here's a part of the Duelfer Report:

M14, Directorate of Special Operations: M14, directed by Muhammad Khudayr Sabah Al Dulaymi, was responsible for training and conducting special operations missions. It trained Iraqis, Palestinians, Syrians, Yemeni, Lebanese, Egyptian, and Sudanese operatives in counterterrorism, explosives, marksmanship, and foreign operations at its facilities at Salman Pak. Additionally, M14 oversaw the 'Challenge Project,' a highly secretive project regarding explosives. Sources to date have not been able to provide sufficient details regarding the 'Challenge Project.'

Thanks for a good give and take, fellows. My son demands the computer for his video games now so I won't be back until tomorrow morning.

Posted by: minion on June 6, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

dumbass said:

In my universe Saddam was paying suicide bomber's families $25,000 to attack Israel,

stefan responded:

Israel is not the US. Also, the Saudi princes also pay money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, so when do we invade them?

The truth is that Saddam was making payments to the families of every Palestinian who died in the struggle against occupation, whether they be suicide bombers or 13 year old girls murdered by Israeli soldiers while on their way to school. That wingnut dumbasses like minion elide this crucial context is all you need to know about the veracity of their argument, and the lengths they will go to justify their support of mass murder.

Posted by: Disputo on June 6, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

re: No one's commented on my video offering - please watch it and tell me what you think:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bIa7DfW-YU&eurl

This video shows Luntz saying Romney won the debate, and snuckered the audience, who thought Romney answered the questions without giving any bull?! Which means that Romney's b.s. was fully effective on the patholigically gullible.

Posted by: Elvis on June 6, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Elvis: Which means that Romney's b.s. was fully effective on the patholigically gullible.

That's what politics is about, isn't it? I don't put Romney in the class of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, but having a great line of b.s. to fool the gullible is pretty much how politicians get elected.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 6, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

I sincerely apologise for the YouTube link screw-up: I was trying to refer you to the Dems discussing the causes of the war. Anyone that wants to give it another shot, I'm pretty sure this is the correct link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNgaVtVaiJE&eurl

Posted by: minion on June 6, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Romney is now trashing a highly regarded public servant and law enforcer. The man is human garbage. Who would buy a used car or let their daughter go out with this creep. He is making Mormons look bad. He is coming across more and more as a psychopathic liar. He would fuck a dog on national TV if he thought it would help him get the nomination. Gross, disturbing man.

Posted by: jim on June 6, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

I withdraw that assertion, other than the fact that I still feel Colin Powell is a man of integrity and was not trying to manipulate us into war.

Stefan,

Well, I still feel I'm an incredible chick magnet.

Your statement, and mine, have equal probative force.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on June 6, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

You can argue all you want about the extent to which Hussein was or was not cooperating with the inspectors, but that is a red herring. The direct and plain meaning of Romney's statement goes to the question of whether they were alllowed back in or not. They were.

The context is crucial and the Republicans count on people forgeting it. Bush thought he could back Hussein into a corner and get an excuse to go to war by challenging Hussein to allow the inspectors in. For weeks we wondered if Hussein would let the inspectors in.

And then he did. You know Bush must have shit himself when Hussein called his bluff.

It it is a vital question in and of itself whether Hussein let the inspectors in. But lying sack of shit Republicans like Romney and Bush, who has repeated the same lie at least 4 times that I know of, keep selling the story they were hoping to sell when they issued the challenge -- that Hussein wouldn't allow the inspectors back in -- rather than honestly tell the story the way it actually happened.

In reality, Hussein let the inspectors in. That's a simple fact and to say otherwise is simply to lie or be an idiot, whatever else you may think about the level of cooperation afterward.

It is also quite telling that none of the other Republicans jumped on Romney for his lie/ignorance. This was a great opportunity to nail him with the Gerald Ford brand. Remember when Ford said that Eastern Europe wasn't dominated by the Soviet Union? That was a huge story forever because it showed that Ford wasn't even conversant with the most basic facts he needed to know to lead America's foreign policy. But none of the other Republicans, as far as I have heard, attacked him on this point.

Why is that? Either they are equally ignorant and just didn't know Romney had lied/made a gigantic error -- or they don't want to challenge those kind of lies because they prefer people to believe them.

Either way it is proof that Republicans are either lying sacks of shit and/or are ignorant in a way that clearly disqualifies them from being president of the United States. But then that's been obvious for quite a while now.

Posted by: Disturbance on June 6, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

minion said, 'French intelligence agencies believe to this day that the aluminum tubes were dual use items - having them milled to the exacting tolerances required, and paying the exorbitant prices, did not make any sense."

This is a gigantic crock of shit. For the full story there is no better source than John Conyers' report The Constitution In Crisis, which everyone should read.

The tubes story was one of Bush's worst lies. All of our intelligence agencies cast doubt on the story. Most importantly, the PhD scientists at the Department of Energy who actually build and operate our centrifuges -- in other words the most expert experts imaginable -- came to the strong conclusion that the tubes were NOT for centrifuges.

They were the wrong specifications. They were not suitable for centrifuges. They were however fabricated to the exact specifications and kind of aluminum that we use in one of our rockets and that Iraq uses in one of theirs. Not only that, Hussein made no effort to procure them in secret, which makes no sense if they were for illegal centrifuges.

The tubes were for rockets, not centrifuges.

Literally every intelligence agency that analyzed the tubes came to the same conclusion. The only person on the other side was a lone CIA analyst who had a BA in mechanical engineering. The real scientists with the PHDs thought he was crazy. They had to correct his calculations and they tried to explain to him why he was wrong but he -- apparently very proud of his BA -- refused to be persuaded by the PHD's.

And that, my friends, is your typical Republican.

Posted by: Disturbance on June 6, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

re: "It it is a vital question in and of itself whether Hussein let the inspectors in. But lying sack of shit Republicans like Romney and Bush, who has repeated the same lie at least 4 times that I know of, keep selling the story they were hoping to sell when they issued the challenge -- that Hussein wouldn't allow the inspectors back in -- rather than honestly tell the story the way it actually happened. "

WELL SAID. Links to the actual speeches are appreciated.

re: And that, my friends, is your typical Republican.

It's not just the republicans. Politicians on both sides are completely beholden to what Eisenhower justificably called the Military-Indistrial-Congressional Complex. Since he left "Congressional" out of his actual farewell address, I suggest that it should be replaced with "Mainstream Media" since they are now subsidiaries of the same corporations that benefit financially from war.

We all thought Bill Clinton's mendacity on trivial issues couldn't be topped, but Bush has managed to do that, and do it on issues of major importance. Bush's team learned well from their formative years in the Nixon administration.

Posted by: Elvis on June 7, 2007 at 4:01 AM | PERMALINK

It's fascinating and revealing, by the way, how frank "minion" is in indicating that the WMD issue was simply a pretext for Bush to go to war with Iraq.

Posted by: Gregory on June 7, 2007 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK

I want to thank Elvis for taking the time to look at the link I offerred.

I appreciate Disturbance's contribution, but I already conceded the tubes issue in my comment at 6:46 PM.

My frank revelation cited by Gregory is nothing new. The US Congress passed an Authorization to Use Force on October 10, 2002. Here's the link:

http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/useofforce.htm

WMD's were included with several other justifications to remove Saddam from power.

Posted by: minion on June 7, 2007 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Minion: I already conceded the tubes issue in my comment at 6:46 PM.

Yeah, but if there is a similar thread tomorrow, you'll magically change back until absolutely 100% proven wrong. As any Republican would. The frustrating part of actually talking to a lying Republican (but I repeat myself) is hav ing to win the argument again and again and again and on into infinity.

You concession means "oops, can't use that one anymore on this thread" rather than the honest "oh, I am wrong. I certainly can't ever again argue that because it isn't true"".

This being the case, pardon me if your sincerity remains in doubt.

Posted by: CK Dexter Haven on June 7, 2007 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

"minion" wrote: My frank revelation cited by Gregory is nothing new. The US Congress passed an Authorization to Use Force on October 10, 2002. ... WMD's were included with several other justifications to remove Saddam from power.

Not so fast, not-at-all-ex minion. I didn't say "justification"; I said pretext. Your frank revelation is that the increasingly obvious fact that Saddam didn't have WMDs -- which, of course, undermines, not supports, the AUMF -- didn't really matter to Bush; he was seeking a pretext, and any actions by Saddam

Incidentally, minion, you cite the AUMF -- under whose conditions the war is arguably illegal is well, but that's a discussion for another time and with a more honest commentator than you -- but I note that you failed to cite the relevant portion of the UN resolution that authorized the use of force. Of course, since omitting such a clause was acknowledged by the US negotiator as a precondition of the resolution's approval -- no one trusted leaving the decision to go to war to Bush, quite rightly -- you can't do that.

You concession means "oops, can't use that one anymore on this thread" rather than the honest "oh, I am wrong. I certainly can't ever again argue that because it isn't true"".

Well, to use the latter, minion would have to be honest. So much for that. But it's delicious that minion, who began by attributing the Big Lie to the war's opponents, is forced to confront that the aluminum tubes claim is itself a product of that tactic.

Finally, minion wrote: I still feel Colin Powell is a man of integrity and was not trying to manipulate us into war

Oh, now that's persuasive! Your factual assertions -- and those of Powell himself -- revealed as frauds, you assert you feel that Powell is a man of integrity!

But on what do you base your feeling of his integrity? The fact that, regardless of what the French though, Powell stood up and made claims he knew were disputed by US intelligence and indeed -- if memory serves me right -- had removed from previous speeches? (No attempt to manipulate anyone into war there at all!) The fact that he supported a march to war that utterly failed to meet his own "Powell Doctrine"?

I'll grant you this: Powell may have been faced with a conflict between his reservations about the war and his loyalty to the Bush Administration, and you could argue that he showed integrity to his instincts for loyalty. A man of integrity might have resigned rather than push for a war he believed was wrongheaded or not justified. But instead he chose to sacrificed his own personal integrity in favor of being a "team player" -- indeed, he knowingly made deceptive statements knowing that his own personal credibility would garner support for the war. There's simply no basis to assert he "was not trying to manipulate us into war" in light of these facts. And as far as his sullied integrity, he stood up to be counted with those who did manipulate the nation into war -- a position you tacitly admit, and support on the grounds that you wanted the war too. You're a lousy one to judge anyone on integrity, minion, but even so Powell's so-called integrity wound up not being worth a bucket of piss. Powell's disgrace is entirely appropriate -- he chose it deliberately. I'm sure you can relate to that, minion. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on June 7, 2007 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Romney, just like the Irag war buildup, was as transparent as a glass outhouse to anyone who bothered to pay attention when he ran for office in Massachusetts. He is the classic MBA-corporate-me type: do whatever it takes to get to the next step up the ladder because that is the only thing that matters, then run before the s__ hits. His Lt. Gov. choice was glaring evidence of his low opinion of the voters of this state, and sadly enough, they showed that he was right. ( I suppose we should be grateful that Ms. Healey didn't get elected to the governorship despite her really trying not to. ) As governor he showed a lack of leadership, vision, political skill, ethics, and attention. Little got done on his watch, while the financial and physical condition of the state continued to decline.
But let's not forget that he still has all his hair, his 'do is lovely, and his family fits the Ozzie and Harriet stereotype nicely.
Why wouldn't he believe that he can pull off the same scam on the whole country? I've heard way too many positive comments about him lately to think otherwise.
Just imagine, a worse POTUS than Bush...

Posted by: Mass Cynical on June 7, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

re: WMD's were included with several other justifications to remove Saddam from power.

Sort like the "justifications" a mob boss might have for whacking a rival.

Justifications that were illegal and unconstitutional, based on mostly fraudulent "evidence" created & promoted by the same group of folks (none of whom ever heard a bullet fired in anger zip past their head) who benefited from the action (along with their gullible proto-authoritarian followers, many of whom cite their military service as evidence of their foreign policy expertise).

Never mind that having the "mightiest military the world has ever seen" demonstrate its inability to take out the ringleader of the small gang who attacked on 9/11 only elevates his status to that of near-deity.

If we'd followed this path after the Japanese attacked Pearl harbor, we'd still have been bogged down in Argentina five years later.

Posted by: Elvis on June 7, 2007 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

re: "Powell may have been faced with a conflict between his reservations about the war and his loyalty to the Bush Administration, and you could argue that he showed integrity to his instincts for loyalty. A man of integrity might have resigned rather than push for a war he believed was wrongheaded or not justified.

Just like he might have declined to help cover up the Me Lai massacre. But, good soldier that Powell is, he did what he was told.

Like Romney, Powell looks "purty" for the cameras, but dig a little deeper, and you'll find the opportunistic core is rotten.

Posted by: Elvis on June 7, 2007 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

DXM: Well, I still feel I'm an incredible chick magnet. Your statement, and mine, have equal probative force.

Uh, that wasn't me who said "I withdraw that assertion, other than the fact that I still feel Colin Powell is a man of integrity and was not trying to manipulate us into war." -- that was minion.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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