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Tilting at Windmills

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September 6, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

VIOLENCE IN IRAQ....It's buried on page A16, but at least it's finally being covered: in the Washington Post today, Karen DeYoung takes a close look at violence figures in Iraq, and the headline tells the story:

Experts Doubt Drop In Violence in Iraq
Military Statistics Called Into Question

The piece is too detailed to excerpt, but the nickel version is pretty simple: even without taking seasonality into account (something DeYoung doesn't address), there's virtually no evidence that overall violence is down in Iraq. In fact, the evidence on this score is so overwhelming that the military has been reduced to complaining only that its critics aren't including the latest August data, which suggests that Petraeus is indeed going to try to hang his whole case for progress on a single month's numbers.

And even that number is dubious because it's based solely on a drop in "sectarian violence." Petraeus argues that sectarian violence is down 75% since last year, following a peak of about 1600 deaths in December. But virtually all of the drop came between December and February, before the surge had started, and even that drop is questionable thanks to dramatic and unexplained differences in various versions of Pentagon reports. See here for details. What's more, even the intelligence community is skeptical of how the Pentagon counts "sectarian" violence:

Intelligence analysts computing aggregate levels of violence against civilians for the NIE puzzled over how the military designated attacks as combat, sectarian or criminal, according to one senior intelligence official in Washington. "If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian," the official said. "If it went through the front, it's criminal."

Ilan Goldenberg summarizes: "So to recap. The violence numbers do not include: 1) Sunni on Sunni violence. 2) Shi'a on Shi'a violence 3) Car bombs 4) Getting shot in the front of the head."

Pay attention, Congress. The time for tough questioning is now, not six months from now.

Kevin Drum 11:29 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (58)

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The time for tough questioning is now, not six months from now.

The time for tough questioning was 4 years ago.

Posted by: Martin on September 6, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

On this morning's paper edition, it was on A1.

Posted by: Dan Miller on September 6, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, There's something else that should be considered in this discussion of violence. As more and more refugees stream out of Iraq, where do you think they are coming from? They are most likely leaving areas where their particular sect/ ethnic group is under greatest threat. Thus as millions of such people stream out of Iraq, the pool of targets for sectarian violence decreases. Eventually as every area is cleansed by either migration out or killings, the sectaraian killings will of course drop.

Migration out of Iraq should be a benchmark for the surge. Has it stopped, has it decreased, is it the same. I mean if the surge is working, who is coming back to Iraq of the 2-4 million displaced?

Smoke and mirrors. That's what we have here.

Posted by: Manfred on September 6, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Just in case the military ever comes clean with us and shares what it really knows, let me say here and now that I won't believe that either.

Iraq is not our country. The "government" is not our government. We did not know what was going on throughout the country before we invaded, and we do not know now. We aren't even sure who we're killing.

It is all very well to try to correct the military's misrepresentations of its own figures, but its own figures are guaranteed to be inaccurate, and the military's skill in extrapolating from them has been good only from a political (Cheney-Bush faction) perspective.

If Petraeua does not come to Congress with an appeal for help in extricating him from the country, he'll be arguing to continue a losing course. What sort of general would do such a thing?

Posted by: Myopicky on September 6, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian," the official said. "If it went through the front, it's criminal."

What about if it went in at the side, round about the ear?

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

there's virtually no evidence that overall violence is down in Iraq.

Hah? Did you even read article? General David Petraeus and the military CONFIRMS there has been an overall decline in attacks in Iraq.

"In congressional testimony Monday, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is expected to cite a 75 percent decrease in sectarian attacks. According to senior U.S. military officials in Baghdad, overall attacks in Iraq were down to 960 a week in August, compared with 1,700 a week in June, and civilian casualties had fallen 17 percent between December 2006 and last month. Unofficial Iraqi figures show a similar decrease."

Posted by: Al on September 6, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

It has also been encouraging to hear the morning reports on NPR by Guy Raz exposing how the administration and Pentagon have been manipulating the statistics.

Posted by: Lew on September 6, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

"If it went through the front, it's criminal."

The Washington intelligence official understands that Pat Tillman's assassination was a criminal act. That is a sort of progress.

Posted by: Brojo on September 6, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

If, a bullet went through any part of the head of a certain simian at 1600 Wilhelmstrasse, would it hit anything of significance?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 6, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Should more Democrats have the guts to stand tall in Congress and roar Vincero! this day.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 6, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, and now the New York Times is telling me "Democrats Newly Willing to Compromise."

My kingdom for an opposition party.

Posted by: junebug on September 6, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to cast dispersions on whether there is, indeed, violence in Iraq.

Now, while you are debating amongst yourselves, I'll continue with whatever plan I was implementing anyway...

Posted by: absent observer on September 6, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Lew, I heard Guy Raz's NPR story as well. It should be a "must listen" for all bloggers. It is nice to know that the truth isn't being buried by everybody in the MSM.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 6, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

NYT reporter Michael Gordon was on Charlie Rose the other night and said that things are getting better slowly in Iraq. The only thing unchanged, Gordon says, are the set-in-stone opinions of people back inside the Beltway, who took their positions years ago and are now doomsayers to the bitter end---they hope the bitter end will be a defeat for the US [my interpretation]. Gordon wrote Cobra II with Gen. Trainor whom I met while a reporter in Riyadh during the first Gulf War.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 6, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Time for tough questioning? Why?

The Democrats refunded the war months ago. This is their war now. Only they can continue it (by continuing the funding) and only they can stop it (by stopping the funding).

If America still has troops in Iraq there are two people very much responsible: Pelosi and Reid.

Bush may be a war criminal for starting this disaster, but it is the Democrats that are continuing this war.

You want to stop the war? Stop blaming Bush and start blaming Reid and Pelosi. They'll fold in two seconds if they think they are getting stuck with the war. But Democrats continuing to blame Bush allows Reid and Pelosi cover. The result: more funding, more war.

Posted by: Dicksknee on September 6, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, I really trust Michael Gordon. The same Michael Gordon that wrote articles with Judith Miller about Iraq's WMD.

Has Gordon found the WMD yet. Maybe he should get out there and really look.

Posted by: Dicksknee on September 6, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Congress will give Bush every single thing he asks for. They will then ladle on a few things he didn't ask for. Every one of them is so scared to death of being labled sand in the gears of victory and the glorious defeat of Islamofascism they'll cave. This war is "Groundhog Day" and we're all Bill Murray. The difference is Murray learned to have a little fun with his recurring nightmare. We just get to sit in the bathtub every day holding the toaster.

Posted by: steve duncan on September 6, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Gordon says, are the set-in-stone opinions of people back inside the Beltway..."

I suspect this is a bit of projection on Gordon's part, after all he still thinks there are WMD in Iraq.

Posted by: Henk on September 6, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Gordon believes that most of the chem & bio WMD was shipped to Syria a few months before the fit hit the shan.

As a former FSO who worked closely with the CIA on Middle East intelligence, the jury is still out on how the forty-flight Andonov airlift from Iraq to Syria to "aid flood victims" didn't contain the canisters of chem/bio. I was a reporter in Riyadh in the '90-91 war & remember vividly when Saddam shipped his ENTIRE AIR FORCE to his recent enemy Iran. And he never got it back!

Dozens of intelligence agencies reported from their sources that SH had WMD, one source said no. And has Colin Powell complained about this particular "oversight" if it happened at all? I think you lefties live in cloud-cuckoo land when it comes to gullibility. As Gordon noted, you only hear what you want to hear, and think according to the program notes of Groupthink.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 6, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Al, the "Real Al" at Matthew Yglesias repudiates you. Maybe you two could get together and swap IP numbers to see if either of you are telling the truth.

As for the pre-war shipping of chemical weapons to Syria, it's worth noting that not only didn't the UN inspectors ever find any weapons (long prior to the war), they never found any evidence of any weapons.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 6, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

The time for tough questioning was 4 years ago.

Almost my same thought, but I would say five years ago. However, after the recent performances by the Democratic-controlled Congress and the previews of the September showdown with Petraeus, I don't think they are going to do any better this time.

Posted by: Nemo on September 6, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Gordon believes that most of the chem & bio WMD was shipped to Syria a few months before the fit hit the shan.

Oh Jesus you sad deluded idiot. I suppose he also shipped out the factories and scientists and officials and army officers and the janitors who cleaned up the labs eveyr night and all their families and everyone else who knew about them?

The fact is we've had control for the past four years of most every major Baathist official and scientist. Any one of them, if he led us to these supposed fantasy weapons, would be instantly showered with cash, refuge in the US, and a mansion in Malibu by a grateful GOP. And yet not one, not one, has ever come forward to confirm their existence.

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

And even if we concede your idiotic point that Hussein hid the weapons in Syria, wouldn't that mean that for the past four years the Baathist Syrian dictatorship, sponsor of Hezbollah, has been in possession of these fearsome robot drones? And therefore the entire strategic purpose of the war, which was to destroy and disable these weapons and deny them to our enemies, has been by your own admission a shocking failure?

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

daveinboca: "Actually, Gordon believes that most of the chem & bio WMD was shipped to Syria a few months before the fit hit the shan."

Or maybe they just disintegrated, leaving a fine residue of fairy dust all across the region.

The reason he believes that is because, like you & this ethically bankrupt administration, he has a fundamental inability to acknowledge that he was horribly wrong. Much better for him to suggest crackpot theories about how massive caches of weapons conveniently disappeared at just the right moment, with no possible way of verifying where on earth they might be at this very moment.

If anyone honestly believed his wives' tale about WMDs having been handed off from one member of the axis of evil to another, people would be doing something about it. The fact that they're not demonstrates what a steaming pile of horseshit it is.

Posted by: junebug on September 6, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you are nothing if not the quintessential right-wing tool. Even if George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were caught by security video groping the minister's wife and pilfering the collection plates, no doubt you'd just ignore the evidence and instead applaud their attendance at church.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 6, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats refunded the war months ago. This is their war now.
Posted by: Dicksknee on September 6, 2007 at 12:27 PM

I'm beginning to wonder if their is some sort of unsaid agreement since World War II that both parties have to "own" a quagmire before it can be ended.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 6, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, it appears your delusions have reached the delirium stage. Who said anything about "these fearsome robot drones?" The chem/bio were in barrels according to an Iraqi general whose friend supervised the operation. His book was buried by the frenzied froth-mouths like yourself who want the US to lose by any and all means.

You are unable to remember that Saddam used chem/bio weapons for years against Iran and the Kurds in his own country? Time for a lube job on your rusted-out frontal lobes, unless that crystal meth has eaten them away!

Posted by: daveinboca on September 6, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, it appears your delusions have reached the delirium stage. Who said anything about "these fearsome robot drones?"

Iraqi Drones May Target U.S. Cities
Monday, February 24, 2003
FOXNEWS.COM

WASHINGTON — Iraq could be planning a chemical or biological attack on American cities through the use of remote-controlled "drone" planes equipped with GPS tracking maps, according to U.S. intelligence.

The information about Iraq's unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program has caused a "real concern" among defense personnel, senior U.S. officials tell Fox News. They're worried that these vehicles have already been, or could be, transported inside the United States to be used in an attack, although there is no proof that this has happened.

Secretary of State Colin Powell showed a picture of a small drone plane during his presentation to the U.N. Security Council earlier this month.

"UAVs outfitted with spray tanks constitute an ideal method for launching a terrorist attack using biological weapons," Powell said during his speech. "Iraq could use these small UAVs, which have a wingspan of only a few meters, to deliver biological agents to its neighbors or, if transported, to other countries, including the United States."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,79450,00.html

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

We were misinformed by the Bush Administration and the Pentagon about the situation in Iraq prior to the invasion of Iraq.

We are being misinformed by the Bush Administration and the Pentagon today about the situation in Iraq.

A difference today is that significant portions of the press are more skeptical today than yesterday about information on Iraq from the Bush Administration and the Pentagon. Witness today the Washington Post article by Karen DeYoung on the misleading statistics being put out on Iraq by the Bush Administration and its military lackeys.

Bush, though, continues to be Bush. The very man who declared "Mission Accomplished" now claims we are "kicking ass."

Posted by: misinformed on September 6, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

The chem/bio were in barrels according to an Iraqi general whose friend supervised the operation.

Well, you can't get more unimpeachable a source than that, an anonymous friend of an unnamed Iraqi general.

His book was buried by the frenzied froth-mouths like yourself who want the US to lose by any and all means.

Do you know exactly where it's buried? Is it somewhere north, south, east and west of Tikrit? Maybe we could let Curt Weldon know and he can take his little shovel and go dig the book up. It may be a bit dirty, but once we brush the dirt off it should still be readable.

You are unable to remember that Saddam used chem/bio weapons for years against Iran and the Kurds in his own country?

Indeed, in the 1980s, and Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld all supported and funded him during that time. But the fact that he used weapons in the 1980s didn't mean that he still had them fifteen years later.

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

But keep in mind that even if the Dems stop funding, they like me wonder if Bush would just let them stay there and watch the killing and say See what you did.Don't blame Reid and Pelosi they do have to wonder if Bush would let a bunch of troops stay just to Bliame the Dems for there demise.

Posted by: john john on September 6, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Do any of the Rubes in here have any idea what the shelf life of these weapons are.And if they where shipped to Syria why would some of them not have been used yet, Is this not what they where made for.. WAR ??You all are stupid as Bush(And that is not meant to insult.NEWT)....

Posted by: john john on September 6, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Indeed, in the 1980s, and Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld all supported and funded him during that time. But the fact that he used weapons in the 1980s didn't mean that he still had them fifteen years later." Strictly speaking, the remote possibility existed that he didn't, but EVERY SINGLE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY told the US their opinion was that he still had them. Saddam didn't stay on top in Iraq for thirty years because of his charm and honesty. He was totally duplicitous and was able to export the chem/bio barrels in a "rescue mission airlift."

Someone questioned why the UN never found the WMD. At the State Dept, I worked in the UN bureau and can assure you that anyone familiar with the incompetence of the UN understands why these total loo-zers couldn't find a tree in a forest. Kofi & Co had seventeen UNSC resolutions against Saddam, but never tried to enforce them in an effective manner. You could look it up.

john john should ask Dennis Kucinich about why the WMD in Syria have not been used, but Dennis is five feet tall & stick-insect Assad is six-five. Probably Dennis is too scared.

BTW, if Syria used these weapons or allowed others to use them, do you have any idea what would be left of Syria the next day? A pile of smoking rubble.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 6, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Getting shot in the front of the head.

There you go again, giving away operational information. Now the insurgents will know what to do in order to have their violence discounted. So if when we leave, violence flares up, it will be because of liberal traitors like you.

Posted by: Parody Al on September 6, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

they hope the bitter end will be a defeat for the US [my interpretation]

Your "interpretation" -- which you've bleated several times on this thread alone -- is why your opinion isn't worht a bucket of piss, dave.

Personally, I'm amused by the justaposition of your fantasies about Iraq's WMDs and your accusatins of delusions in your betters. Projection, much?

Speaking of "bitter ends", can we assume you're posting from Iraq, or are just another chickenhawk cog in the GOP Dolchstosslegende machine?

Posted by: Gregory on September 6, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, if Syria used these weapons or allowed others to use them, do you have any idea what would be left of Syria the next day? A pile of smoking rubble.

Then whey wouldn't the same have worked for Iraq? Why did we need to invade Iraq, quickly, no time to lose! because they might someday use these magical and all-powerful weapons, but now that Syria has them, well, it's no big deal because we know they can never use them because we'll retaliate? Why couldn't we have just retaliated against Iraq?

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

daveinboca: "Someone questioned why the UN never found the WMD. At the State Dept, I worked in the UN bureau and can assure you that anyone familiar with the incompetence of the UN understands why these total loo-zers couldn't find a tree in a forest."

It never ceases to amaze me how apologists for this misadventure manage lay blame at the feet of the UN for not finding, by peaceful measures, what they & their ilk couldn't find with force. Rather than acknowledge the obvious fact that they no longer exist, they float theories about supersecret airlifts that magically relocated the massive stash of weapons -- unbeknownst to anyone on earth but them.

Posted by: junebug on September 6, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Junebug: have you noticed the success the UN has had with Darfur? That's the way it's been with only a couple of exceptions. Dithering and endless hopeless incompetence.

If the semi-literate Stefan & Gregory had read The Gathering Storm by Kenneth Pollack, they might have remembered that the clowns in the UN were ready to release the sanctions on Saddam and let him get tens of billions from oil revenues. Since he had invaded two of his neighbors in one decade, most thoughtful observers were of the opinion that he would rearm rapidly and go for a trifecta.

And if either of you were familiar with incompetents like Giraldi, Larry Johnson, and others---especially Cofer Black, who allowed the AQ pair into San Diego without informing the FBI, the counter-terrorism shop in Langley was working AGAINST the interests of the USA.

Rowan Scarborough has a book out with an interesting thesis on the Agency.

Junebug: write the UN about Darfur and express your strong opinions on that, if you have any.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 6, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: A bush supporter criticizes others for "hopeless incompetence" and refers to neocon warmongers as "thoughtful observers."

Nice attempt at refurbishing Pollard's reputation, there, though, dave.

Posted by: Gregory on September 6, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Junebug: have you noticed the success the US has had with Iraq? That's the way it's been with only a couple of exceptions. Dithering and endless hopeless incompetence.

Fixed it for you.

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Strictly speaking, the remote possibility existed that he didn't, but EVERY SINGLE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY told the US their opinion was that he still had them.

Strictly speaking, this is a lie, but even assuming arguendo it's true if EVERY SINGLE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY told the US to go jump off a cliff would we do it?

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

daveinboca: "have you noticed the success the UN has had with Darfur?"

Shorter version: "Quick -- look over there!" I'll simply note that you take the UN to task for their inability to mitigate a disaster of someone else's making, while heralding the neoconservatives for creating an even bigger one.

"If the semi-literate Stefan & Gregory had read The Gathering Storm by Kenneth Pollack, they might have remembered that the clowns in the UN were ready to release the sanctions on Saddam and let him get tens of billions from oil revenues."

Thank God the neocons foiled that strategy. Plan B. has worked brilliantly. Read to us from the four reports we now have and remind us again how smart you & Pollack are.

Posted by: junebug on September 6, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Strangely for Junebug & other UN fanciers, a guy named Bill Clinton "eventually won approval from NATO but not the United Nations for a limited bombing campaign that led to peace talks and a NATO peacekeeping force at the end of 1995. About 3,000 U.S. troops are in Bosnia today."

But of course, that was okay, because it was Billy Jeff.

And those US troops are there at this very moment---so I guess what's sauce for the goose....

Arguendo, invading Iraq was not jumping off a cliff----read Michael Gordon & Gen. Trainor in Cobra II on how Rumsfeld kicked out the State Dept Arabists and put in Jerry Bremer [who maneuvered to get co-Provisional Govt chief Khalilzad from ever getting the job].

Cheney/Rumsfeld is a powerful combo of aggressive incompetence. Like Bosnia, the idea might have been good. Unlike Bosnia, the execution after hostilities was not good at all.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 6, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Strictly speaking, this is a lie" and would you care to back that up by naming an intelligence agency who didn't think Saddam had WMD?

Posted by: daveinboca on September 6, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney/Rumsfeld is a powerful combo of aggressive incompetence. Like Bosnia, the idea might have been good. Unlike Bosnia, the execution after hostilities was not good at all.

Someone scan the horizon for four horsemen - I agree with something Dave in Boca said...Pass the smelling salts, or a stiff drink, or something.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 6, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Partly - I disagree that the idea [to invade Iraq] might have been good. It was an award-winningly BAD idea, and some of us said so from the get-go, and were berated and dismissed and at times had our safety threatened.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 6, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Strictly speaking, this is a lie" and would you care to back that up by naming an intelligence agency who didn't think Saddam had WMD?

U.S. Allies Were Not Persuaded By U.S. Assertions on Iraq WMD
June 9, 2003

Institute for Science and International Security

Despite the Bush Administration's assertions, allies of the United States did not fully agree with the Administration's assessment on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Prior to the war in Iraq, some foreign countries questioned U.S. assertions on WMD presence in Iraq.....

....For example, Russia was not convinced by either the September 24, 2002 British dossier or the October 4, 2002 CIA report. Lacking sufficient evidence, Russia dismissed the claims as a part of a "propaganda furor."2 Specifically targeting the CIA report, Putin said, "Fears are one thing, hard facts are another." He goes on to say, "Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners yet. This fact has also been supported by the information sent by the CIA to the US Congress."3 However, Putin was apprehensive about the possibility that Iraq may have WMDs and he therefore supported inspections. The Russian ambassador to London thought that the dossier was a document of concern. "It is impressive, but not always…convincing."4

French intelligence services did not come up with the same alarming assessment of Iraq and WMD as did the Britain and the United States. "According to secret agents at the DGSE, Saddam's Iraq does not represent any kind of nuclear threat at this time…It [the French assessment] contradicts the CIA's analysis…"5 French spies said that the Iraqi nuclear threat claimed by the United States was a "phony threat."6

....France, Russia, and Germany did not find Powell's "evidence" strong enough to support the U.S.'s stance on the Iraqi threat. However, having already questioned the veracity of the dossier and CIA report, they instead concentrated on persuading the international community to continue UN inspections.

http://www.isis-online.org/publications/iraq/usallieswmd.html

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

He was totally duplicitous and was able to export the chem/bio barrels in a "rescue mission airlift."

Would you care to back that up by providing some evidence that these magical barrels were exported in this airlift?

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's on page 72 of the screenplay he's working on.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 6, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

daveinboca: "... a guy named Bill Clinton "eventually won approval from NATO but not the United Nations for a limited bombing campaign that led to peace talks and a NATO peacekeeping force at the end of 1995. About 3,000 U.S. troops are in Bosnia today.""

I must've missed Kevin's paragraph about the bombing of Yugoslavia. Maybe it was a commentor. A quick scan says... surprise!... you're simply redirecting the conversation & trying to be clever with false comparisons.

Well, I'm not here to argue the virtues of bombing countries into submission, but if I were, I might recommend you actually read the quotation you cite, because, you know, it was a LIMITED campaign that actually resulted in PEACE TALKS and an effective NATO PEACEKEEPING force that resulted in, well, a peaceful & fairly stable country that's no longer committing genocide.

"But of course, that was okay, because it was Billy Jeff."

Well, not that anybody here said it was, but if they did, they might say it was okay because it actually worked. How's your New American Century coming?

Posted by: junebug on September 6, 2007 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Strictly speaking, this is a lie" and would you care to back that up by naming an intelligence agency who didn't think Saddam had WMD?

CIA insiders for one, in addition to those Stefan quoted:

Sept. 6, 2007 | On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.

Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMD. No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD.

Not to mention that the inspectors actually on the ground LOOKING for evidence of weapons didn't find any, nor have the post-occupation inspectors who've had enfettered access, thousand of searchers, and hundreds of millions of dollars to search for them or evidence of any recent programs.

Next.

Posted by: trex on September 6, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

trex strikes out and says next?

I've already dismissed the UN inspectors, who were led by the nose by Saddam's minders. And two "CIA insiders" do not comprise an "intelligence agency," last time I checked.

Stefan's link doesn't negate my assertion, merely says that the French DGSE was taking orders from Chirac who was taking gold Napoleons d'Ors from Saddam's UN Ambassador in Geneva cousin on a regular basis---conventiently, that Ambassador was SH's half-brother. But NONE of them denied he had WMD, only disagreed on the threat level, which is normal if you know anything about intelligence agencies.

Junebug, when you and other softies talk about the UN inspectors & peacekeeping skills, which y'all did, you commit sidetalk and open yourself up to vigorous rebuttal, as your specious twaddle deserves.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 6, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

daveinboca, you were doing a reasonable job debating (not that I agreed with you on anything) until your last post, when I wondered whether it was all a joke and you were paying tribute to Floyd R. Turbo from the old Carson show.

Posted by: smuggler on September 6, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

daveinboca: "... when you and other softies talk about the UN inspectors & peacekeeping skills, which y'all did, you commit sidetalk and open yourself up to vigorous rebuttal, as your specious twaddle deserves."

The comment to which you refer (Dicksnee, 12:31) addressed Gordon's shitty reporting on WMDs, in order to point out that only a blithering idiot would use anything Michael Gordon has to say as evidence of "progress" in Iraq. Of course, this was the perfect opportunity for you to segue into that brilliant theory about those highly sought after weapons magically appearing in Bashar al-Assad's living room.

Please, tell us more about our specious twaddle.

Posted by: junebug on September 6, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

But NONE of them denied he had WMD, only disagreed on the threat level, which is normal if you know anything about intelligence agencies.

Once again from the source above, since dave can't read:

He [Putin] goes on to say, "Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners yet.

That right there is a denial he had WMD.

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan's link doesn't negate my assertion, merely says that the French DGSE was taking orders from Chirac who was taking gold Napoleons d'Ors from Saddam's UN Ambassador in Geneva cousin on a regular basis---conventiently, that Ambassador was SH's half-brother.

Would you care to back that up by providing evidence (with cites to reputable sources and links to such cites) proving that claim?

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

But NONE of them denied he had WMD, only disagreed on the threat level, which is normal if you know anything about intelligence agencies.

Published on Sunday, June 1, 2003 by The Sunday Herald (Scotland)

No Weapons in Iraq? We'll Find Them in Iran
They told us Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but they've found none. Were they lying?

by Neil Mackay

Published on Sunday, June 1, 2003 by The Sunday Herald (Scotland)

....The British intelligence source said the best Humint on Saddam was held by the French who had agents in Iraq.

'French intelligence was telling us that there was effectively no real evidence of a WMD program That's why France wanted a longer extension on the weapons inspections. The French, the Germans and the Russians all knew there were no weapons there -- and so did Blair and Bush as that's what the French told them directly. Blair ignored what the French told us and instead listened to the Americans.'....

Posted by: Stefan on September 6, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK
....I've already dismissed the UN inspectors, who were led by the nose by Saddam's minders....you commit sidetalk and open yourself up to vigorous rebuttal.... daveinvaca on September 6, 2007 at 6:22 PM
Your spin is as amusing as it is erroneous. The inspectors were able to go anywhere, any time without preconditions.

...Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt. We have further had great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul. Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good. The environment has been workable. Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas day and New Years day. ...

The fact that no WMD were discovered in Iraq by inspectors or the US proves that Saddam was telling the truth, Bush and Blair were lying. Yours is the specious blather, easily rebutted by facts.

Posted by: Mike on September 8, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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