The Truth Ain't Out There


Big news in The Washington Post this past weekend:

A key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated, the United Nations' chief nuclear inspector said yesterday in a report that called into question U.S. and British claims about Iraq's secret nuclear ambitions.

Documents that purportedly showed Iraqi officials shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were deemed "not authentic" after careful scrutiny by U.N. and independent experts, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the U.N. Security Council….

Knowledgeable sources familiar with the forgery investigation described the faked evidence as a series of letters between Iraqi agents and officials in the central African nation of Niger. The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors by Britain and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence. The forgers had made relatively crude errors that eventually gave them away—including names and titles that did not match up with the individuals who held office at the time the letters were purportedly written, the officials said.

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  1. Thanks, James. (And thanks also to Michael, who e-mailed it to me as James was posting it here.)

  2. No matter how one slices it, all of this just proves once again that 1) there really isn’t any evidence that Saddam’s up to any more “no good” than he ever was and 2) we really have no justification for the planned invasion. For any pro-invasion type who also wants to justify the effort in the name of democracy, I can hand over a list of dictatorships the U.S. government will not likely invade ever: China, North Korea, the Sudan…

  3. Well, Omnibus Bill, the reason Saddam may decide to hurl unseemly chemicals at our soldiers is because, hhhhmmmmm, oh yeah, they’re invading!

  4. The Post article casts doubt on Saddam’s alleged nuclear program, not his chemical weapons. Different issue.

    Not really. If he has undeclared weapons, the game’s over. We don’t need to establish that he has a nuclear weapons research program AND undeclared chemical weapons delivery systems; either will do nicely. We’ll find out for sure if he really had a nuclear program after we’ve taken over the country.

  5. For any pro-invasion type who also wants to justify the effort in the name of democracy, I can hand over a list of dictatorships the U.S. government will not likely invade ever: China, North Korea, the Sudan.

    Does our failure to invade the USSR mean that our invasion of Nazi Germany was unjustified?


  6. “We’ll find out for sure if he really had a nuclear program after we’ve taken over the country.”

    I love how little hesitation is in the voice of the pro-invasion camp.

  7. Fact is, Saddam’s been “not disarming” for the last 12 years. He was directed to do so by the UN and has chosen to not. The UN brought it to this point and has failed to take action to ensure their directives have no teeth. Pretty sure at this point, the UN has de facto declared itself irrelevant.

  8. Let me further explain the point for Dan–who shows his brilliance and originality by calling me a moron– he’s not a very smart man. My point is that these dictatorships commit the same heinous acts as Iraq has done, yet our government hasn’t seen fit to invade. In fact, another government, that of Serbia, slaughtered numerous Bosnians for no reason, save race. Yet the conservatives who now want to attack Saddam–chances are, Dan included–weren’t so concerned about protecting the human rights of Bosnians. Hmm. Could it be that pro-invasion types are using another refuge of scoundrels, that of protecting humanity, to justify an invasion that isn’t based on defending our homeland? I think so.

    A final word to Dan: When you can come up with a more creative insult, let’s talk. Until then, I would recommend you go back and play with your Lincoln logs.

  9. True he has defied the UN for 12 years. And I ask, what is different today compared to 12 years ago, 5 years, 1 year? His people are poorer. His tanks have more rust. His country is a mess.

    I find it amusing that the anti-war camp are labelled “appeasers”. Appease what? A two-bit dictator with shoddy weapons and a habit of making war on his own people? How is not invading appeasing? So what if he’s defied the UN. Who doesn’t? Oh yeah right, countries who can have there ass kicked on CNN by NATO. For the rest of us, its okay to ignore the UN.

    So the reason to invade is he has defied the UN. But if the UN votes against invasion, and we invade anyway, aren’t we defying the UN? Who’ll invade us?

  10. So…the evidence of Iraq trying to buy Uranium from Niger is a fraud. And Of course the “valuble information provided by the British report” cited by Powell at the U.N. turned out to be a poorly regurgitated plagiarism of a dated paper by a California Grad student. Now the administration is trying to bribe and/or threaten little African countries into voting its way. Why is the administration acting like the old Soviet Union?

  11. To the anti-war people here: Do you deny that terrorism is a problem? If not, then what is YOUR solution?

    FYI — Attacking Iraq has nothing to do with the UN, WMD, etc. and everything to do with the Administration’s strategy on the War on Terror. (killing the UN dead is just an unexpected bonus)

    Destroying Iraq may let us avoid destroying Pakistan, N. Korea, Saudis, etc. for not helping us with terrorism.

    Or we could do what the anti-war folks want: NOTHING. And singing Kumbaya, reciting spoken word about freeing Mumia and ranting about capitalism will not prevent them from nuking us.

    “Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

    CHAPTER XVII, The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli

  12. For anybody interested in what’s really happened over the last 12 years (particularly you, Steve) to get us into this untenable mess, you may check out this article. It’s posted on a lefty site but don’t worry, you won’t get cooties from it.

    Saddam had 90 days to disarm after Desert Storm. The UN Resolution 687 imposed severe sanctions on him but specifically agreed to lift them once he disarmed. 30 days later we reneged, saying that sanctions would remain in place until a regime change, irregardless of disarmament. That policy remains in place today and Saddam knows it.

    Any inducement for Saddam to disarm evaporated a long time ago. It’s remarkable, actually, that he has cooperated as much as he has.

  13. Actually Dan was right.

  14. Bush doesn’t (really) want Saddam to disarm. He wants him to remain defient so we can destroy him. Saddam is obviously a moron, as he is taking the bait. Poor Saddam is just the wrong dictator at the wrong time (though I can’t feel sorry for his doom).

  15. Nice quote Lazarus, I bet Saddam reads that every day when he wakes up

  16. Not all who oppose this war are kumbaya-singing anarcho-communists…if you need evidence, I refer you to pretty much every thread on the topic on this site for the past few months.

    Mr. Long’s (nice handle, BTW) gross generalizations aside, I’m all for pursuing _terrorists_ with extreme predjudice. However, the only thing the Ba’ath party in Iraq has in common with the Islamists is hatred for the US…and really only that because of the saber-rattling of the US directed towards Iraq. Our aggression, if anything, will be what brings these two forces together and precipitates the very scenario Bush et al are using to justify this war: Iraqi WMD being suppplied to Islamic terrorists.

    Of course, if by invading Iraq, we casue them to retaliate with WMD, then the invasion would have been justified, right?

    This is madness.

  17. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I have to stop visiting this site! I can only hope that the wacky US imperialist theories here are 1) intended to be humorous, 2) people in between presciption refills, or 3) I am medicated.

    Come on, Lefty, you can do better than that.

  18. Lefty:

    Kinda light on the Clinton implication in this whole thing, but not bad for a Lefty site. But shit, now I got cooties!

  19. Brian:
    I don’t think the Iraq invasion is a message aimed at the Islamists. It is aimed at the REGIMES of the Saudis, Pakistan, etc. The message is clear: “Keep your backyard clean or face elimination”

    Why not just invade Saudi Arabia or Pakistan? Well there is no need. Iraq is just too easy a target. We are destroying Iraq simply because we CAN.

    This isn’t a moral arugment, but certainly it is a reasonable and realistic one. And I have yet to hear any reasonable or realistic arguments for what is to be done from the Doves.

  20. The burden of proof does not lie on the doves when it comes to war. It lies on the hawks. And their argument is weak, to be kind

  21. LL–having principles can be a real bitch, can’t it?

    I can accept the “reason” of your argument from an amoral standpoint. And to be sure, conquering Iraq is certainly realistic. Doesn’t mean it’s right.

    While they are far from being fully cooperative, at least Pakistan (more preciesely, the Pak gov’t) makes a token contribution to the war on terror from time to time…and this is far more than can be said for Saudi Arabia. Maybe invading SA isn’t a good idea, but why not hit them where it hurts? Stop buying their oil. Total embargo. Get it from Canada, Russia, Venezuela, or…here’s a novel idea…drill it ourselves in Alaska.

    Wailing on a weakened country to show the others how tough ww are willing to be will complete the slide of the US from a great power that promotes peace and security to a schoolyard bully on a global scale.

  22. Too bad trade embargos only tighten the stranglehold a dictator has on his people. There are other ways.

  23. >>LL–having principles can be a real bitch, can’t it?

  24. Why is the administration behaving like the old
    Soviet Union with its faked evidence,threats and
    taxpayer financed bribes to justify war? Look at
    the neocons behind the war push. They’ve been pushing for an attack on Iraq for years as they think they know whats best for Isreal and now in the aftermath of 9/11 and with a very belicose Sharon in power who agrees with them the time for a full court press for war just couldn’t be better. Of course the neocons ex-Trotskyte pedigree is well known. Perhaps if they are behind, in addition to the goal of Iraq war, the machinations of getting us into it as well, the use of these shameful totalitarian tactics are better understood. Want to stop this war? Call your favorite Republican rep. or senator and tell them to tell Bush that if he attacks Iraq and by doing so commits an egregios transgression against the principles of our free republic that Bush will have to do with out your vote next election. That at least has the potential to work.

  25. Lazarus, while you may call it doing nothing (and wrongfully so), I would propose opening the markets to Iraq. Open lines of communication and trade. In order for Iraq to eventually be integrated into the world, it will have to be exposed to it. And believe it or not, exposure in the form of bombs and tanks, doesn?t make a good impression.

  26. Iraq is NO threat to the US. And the prevention of any threat must take place primarily within our borders, except for intelligence gathering (which should be done in conjunction with other countries, locally if possible).

    We do not need to blow up countries to send messages, or destroy governments to prove we are the most powerful country in the world. The rest of the world knows this (that’s part of why they hate us).

  27. 1. I agree, after we depose Saddam, we open Iraq to the world and work with them on building an open society. This is impossible under the boot of a stalinist dictator.

    2. Preventing threats must occur outside our borders to maintain a free society. By the time the threat exists IN our borders it is already too late (unless we set up a police state).

    3. Those that hate us do so because we are FREE. Deal with it.

    4. FEAR is best form of defense (and less violent BTW).

  28. Lazy, let me see if I?ve got this straight. You assert the most effective means of governance is fear. And that fear cannot be communicated through only the potential of retaliation. It must be communicated through action.

    Therefore, our own government should institute a police state. It is a less violent solution and the best way to protect the people from themselves. Surely the people will not rise up because they are affraid. In addition, we should seek to dominate all other states because the best way to protect ourselves is through fear. We must dominate all or be dominated (I?d suggest going after Britain, I just hate their accents).

    Welcome to Nazi Germany Lazy circa 1936. You?re right on track. It really scares me that Bush thinks exactly like you. Now put down your copy of The Prince and think for yourself.

  29. >> You assert the most effective means of governance is fear.>Therefore, our own government should institute a police state.

  30. Go re-read your quote from The Prince and see if ruling by fear is only meant for foreign states. And I doubt a country that dominates others through fear simply turns off the spigate when it comes to its own people. Even Machiavelli understood that.

    You can’t have it both ways I’m affraid.

  31. >>Go re-read your quote from The Prince and see if ruling by fear is only meant for foreign states.>And I doubt a country that dominates others through fear simply turns off the spigate when it comes to its own people.

  32. LL,

    1) Why not do the same with N. Korea. A country that has broken the non-proliferation treaty, is repressive and treats its people in a manner that would make old Joe proud (complete with gulags) and is ripe to start selling nukes in the matter of months (not too many other available exports and there are sure to be PLENTY of buyers)

    2) This is true, if Saddam was a threat. We slapped him around when he tried to take his Sudetenland (aka Kuwait). Last I checked, none of Saddam’s missiles can reach us (unlike other belligerant countries). I hate to sound like a “kumbaya-singing” liberal but he is contained. Kuwait and SA are protected by us. Iran would whup them in a war. Syria is their “ally” and Turkey is protected by NATO. How is he a threat to his neighbors or us? An attack to any of these countries would result in his complete annihilation.

    3) Really? Then what about disenchanted pro-American Arabs, talked about here: There are quite a few people who love America’s freedoms, but not the way it addresses its foreign policy.

    4) Fear is one thing, acting like a bully is quite another. Now that the USSR is gone we don’t need to replace them as global goon. We can leave that to the Chinese (who are focusing more domestically nowadays) or the Koreans. We’re supposed to be the positive alternative to the global goon. We were ever since the day our nation was founded.

  33. Sorry for the long pause…believe it or not, I do actually have a job…

    During the past 12 years of us doing “nothing”, Iraq has not invaded any of its other neighbors, and violence against dissidents in the north and south has been largely contained. The sanctions have been enforced with varying degrees of success.

    It isn’t a perfect record, but Saddam is not the menace he was in 1990. I have a collegue in Kuwait who could definitely attest to that. On our end, American soldiers are not commited to a prolonged occupation, and though the Iraqi people may suffer, at least they don’t suffer because we’ve destroyed their infrastructure.

    In terms of “sending a message” (which as Patriot has pointed out, is probably not necessary), what is wrong with maintaining a strong military presence in the states that are amenable to it (Kuwait, Turkey, Qatar, whomever), and making it abundantly clear that aggression (either directly or via support of terrorism) will not be tolerated? This seemed to work pretty well in Germany for about 40 years.

    I’m no pacifist here; I believe that being strong is the surest way to be safe. But we must use our strength judiciously…and conquering a country “because we can” is hardly judicious…

  34. Mo:

    1) Most likely digging the N. Korens from their holes would be more riskly that the cakewalk of Iraq

    2)The fact he isn’t a threat to his neighbors is irrelevent. He is the “sacrifical lamb,” an example to be made for our “allies” the Saudis and the Paks about the consequences of defying us.

    3) I specifically mentioned those that hate us, not Pro-American Arabs.

    4) I disagree, our Nation was not founded as any type of Empire. But regardless that is what we have become. And “bully” would mean we are indiscriminate or random, where I agure that making pro-terroirst regimes FEAR us is targeted, strategic, calculated and it will make us safer (e.g. it will work).

  35. Well Laz, at least your honest about your Fascism. Please let me know what part of the country you’re in so I can avoid it.

  36. “The fact he isn’t a threat to his neighbors is irrelevent. He is the “sacrifical lamb,” an example to be made for our “allies” the Saudis and the Paks about the consequences of defying us.”

    Is that you Satan?

  37. Lefty! You are a pandora’s box.

  38. The truth about Hussein’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is obvious: he is trying to develop them. What reason is there for him not to?

  39. Patriot, Hank, RiShawn and Rick Barton:

    Man, ain’t this foursome frightening? I am certainly glad these guys will never be part of some future administration.

    You really think this is about Iraq? What the hell are you wringing your hands about Iraq for? Iraq is a stepping stone to a larger policy of rendering impotent all state sponsors of terrorism. Iraq is one part lesson for the tin pot dictators around the world, one part future democracy to infect the region, and one part regional stability exercise. This country is a throw-away. Now, before Patriot gets all excitable with the “Satan” references, these objectives happen to be achievable with excellent humanitarian results.

    Fact One: More civilians will die in the normal course of Iraqi governmental management that a US led war. Four thousand Kurdish villages were destroyed by Saddam. You think errant smart bombs are gonna take out 4000 villages?

    Fact Two: This country attacked another country, committed staggering atrocities (so Lefty, forgive me if I don’t weep at our naughty unfairness in the ceasefire arrangement) and continues to violate terms of that ceasefire, HOWEVER those terms have been applied.

    Fact Three: This country irritates the piss out of us, out of Bush, out of me and most Americans with a pair.

    So, here’s the lesson for the Lithium foursome: We have been blessed with Iraq! Without Iraq, we would have no entre into the Middle Eastern theatre to establish a democracy and send a message. What message? That the US will kick the living shit out any country that even thinks about the word TERRORISM.

    It was a mistake to go to the UN and a mistake to try and link Iraq to Al Qaeda. Iraq was history on 9/12 regardless if they had anything to do with 9/11. Go fire up your tape of the WTC coming down, boys, and let it register that days like that are your future unless you get real.

  40. According to CBS news, support for invading Iraq without UN approval is at %55, which is the first I’ve seen over %50. The inane carping about starting a war is mercifully coming to an end, and the inane carping about conducting a war is about to begin.

    Will it ever occur to anyone on the left that no one on the left has ever been right about anything?

    Will it ever occur to libertarians that they are irrelevant for good reason?

  41. Oh, I guess this whole thing has just been a big misunderstanding then. We can take our toys and go home.

    Meanwhile, if you get a chance, check out Drudge’s link to a Brit paper that gained access to an Iraqi Republican Guards officer who defected 10 days ago. Apparently, Saddam is getting ready to blast US troops with the Chemical weapons that he doesn’t have, which he’d never use even if he did have them.

    At the same time, Hans Blix, which means “I know Nut-sing” in Swedish, is hiding information on prohibited Iraqi weapons systems that his teams have discovered.

    Enough jaw-jaw. It’s time for war-war.

  42. On the other side of the aisle, note a story in today’s The Times (London), that reads:

    “The British and US ambassadors plan to demand that Hans Blix reveals more details of a huge undeclared Iraqi unmanned aircraft, the discovery of which he failed to mention in his oral report to Security Council foreign ministers on Friday. Its existence was only disclosed in a declassified 173-page document circulated by the inspectors at the end of the meeting – an apparent attempt by Dr Blix to hide the revelation to avoid triggering a war.”

    The Murdoch press is running with this, in part it seems to counterbalance Tony Blair’s very real problems with angry cabinet and Labor members.

  43. Omnibus: The Post article casts doubt on Saddam’s alleged nuclear program, not his chemical weapons. Different issue.

    That said, the Sky News story you cite is certainly interesting, though I can’t say it makes me more eager to send troops into combat. Curious readers can examine it here.

    Michael: Do you have a url for the Times article?

  44. ?This country is a throw-away.?

    ?This country irritates the piss out of us, out of Bush, out of me and most Americans with a pair.?

    Just some juicy tidbits from the village idiot.

    P.S. Patriot for Pres. In 2008

  45. Notice how Patriot and Lefty can only sling cliched ad hominem insults while dodging my points.

    COWARDS. And sickening too, as we are literally debating matters of life and death.

    Oh yeah, here is good article on TechCentralStation that hits on many of my points:

  46. Patriot?

    I wouldn’t expect you to understand that post, dork. Anyone who dreams up pearls of wisdom like “exposure in the form of bombs and tanks, doesn?t make a good impression” obviously takes a special ed bus to and from “shop” class.

  47. Laz,

    Glad to see you taking the high road on this one.

    The bottom line is simply this: we should do nothing (according to your definition).

    You say over and over again that we should take out Iraq because they are so weak. That?s exactly why we shouldn?t. They?re not worth our time or money. Despite what hawks claim, there is no threat from Iraq.

    I also can?t understand this belief that we can end all terrorism through destroying Iraq (and I hope the people speak out before we move on to N. Korea). Terrorism will occur; it is a sad fact of life. This doesn?t mean that we shouldn?t try to prevent it or punish those groups who commit those acts. However, we must be reasonable in our prevention, thoughtful in our punishment.

    >>And sickening too, as we are literally debating matters of life and death.

  48. Geez, that’s a long piece of crap.

    Tell you what, Laz. Even if I bought into every word of this, we are left with one big-ass gamble (author’s words) that all the little pieces fall into place and we live happily ever after.

    Clinton might have gambled on a blow job and lost. What happens if Bush gambles and loses?

    Remember, no plan survives contact with the enemy.

  49. Lazarus:

    Buchanan is right: foreign empire will inevitably lead to more terrorism, in the form of “blowback.” When the U.S. has military garrisons in half the countries in the world, and takes a stand on every cross-border squabble or internal faction fight in the name of “fighting terrorism,” the losers in every political struggle in the world will see changing the U.S. policy in their country (and hence changing domestic U.S. perceptions of the cost of that policy) as a key to their local victory. It’s public choice theory on a global scale.

    The way to have prevented 9-11 would have been 1) not to arm thousands of fundamentalist maniacs in Afghanistan; and 2) not to involve the U.S. in a conflict between two shitpot states in the Persian Gulf. Of course, it’s too late for that. But the neocon/warblogger agenda is just endless repetition of the same kinds of policies, with the same predictable results. The solution is to mind our own damned business.

  50. >>You say over and over again that we should take out Iraq because they are so weak.> to begin a war you must have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the aggressor

  51. Lefty:
    Life is always a gamble. Destroying Iraq and creating FEAR among our hostile allies and enemies is a way of hedging our bets to minimize casualites. The alternative is genocide (ours or theirs).

  52. >>The alternative is genocide

  53. Laz, you crack me up. I think the shortbus is out front waiting for you. Don’t forget your helmet.

  54. EVERYONE ON THIS FORUM: Save this entire page! Stash it away on a diskette or CD. Store it in your safe, or wherever you keep historical stuff like this.

    Then dig it back up in about 20 years or so … when your children are grown … when your grandchildren are hurting … because they have to pay $7 for a loaf of bread; $12 for a carton of milk; when their feet are aching and bleeding from walking (because cars and gas are out of the question.)

    Then, in 2023, when you look back on what you wrote, see if you’re of the same opinion still.
    (Who do you think is going to PAY for all this bravado?) Nice future to look forward to, isn’t it?

  55. hey Mouchon!

    there are several interesting and cool things you’re pointing out. the protests in the us are covered, however. here in chicago where there have been several, it’s been on the news, etc. so, i don’t know which news outlets you’ve been looking at, but there has been coverage and comment. And i don’t think that the claim media lies takes anybody by surprise. but the basic note that the protests have been covered, is news.

    i agree with the notion to cross check news, especially from european sources. remember, these state-owned bureaus do have a certain direction. TV2 in denmark, a semi-private group, is rabidly pro EU (as is every other media outlet), and anything counter or negative to the eu is painted in the “uneducated masses” language. cross-checking is excellent to try and figure out what’s going on.

    i do disagree with your assessment of the anti-france (or chirac) sentiment on this site: in my experiences, i feel that the anti american sentiment is broader, more general, almost hard-wired, and has been around for a longer time. so, calling it equal doesn’t quite get the point across. however, the level of this kind of “euro-style nationalism” does bother this citizen. you know, people buying certain tomatoes or not, depending on their nationality. or quotas on “foreign/ non european (read: EU) content”

    here’s an example: loud, fat, badly-dressed, impolite, uncultural, poorly-educated — what’s that? an american, of course. that negative stereotype has followed the us around in europe forever. so, there are a ton of “fall back” insults that are floating around (see:, for examples in their forums). just as we don’t like to be singled out (when in europe) as such an american, it’s a bummer lumping all europeans in that bunch, too. (see the cafeteria food story above)

    as for the chirac speech, yes it was covered. it was on headline news, and all of those other me-too sources. i wouldn’t call it “lightly covered”. and the use of the veto i didn’t think was so profound as you seem to indicate. it’s basically common that the us would veto any resolution condemning israel, for example.

    but what are some of your usual sites for cross checking? that’s a great way to check out the news, and it’s also a fun way to see how different papers cover from different angles!

    thanks! cheers,

  56. OK…I no longer believe Laz is for real.

    Laz, do you really believe that destroying Iraq will make all the hostile countries in the world “fall in line”?

    Why didn’t that happen after we reached halfway around the world and completely deposed a hostile regime in Afganistan?

    Why didn’t that happen after we faced down the USSR by arms-racing them into bankruptcy (a risky venture if there ever was one. Thank God it worked.)

    Why didn’t that happen after we bombed Lybia into submission, or invaded Panama or Grenada?

    For that matter, why has anyone ever dared to mess with us after we conquered two very powerful, imperialistic and expanding regimes simultaneously in WWII?

    Your argument has essentially been that:

    1) Radical Islam is a threat to our way of life. (I agree on this point.)

    2) Many countries in the Muslim world, though not overtly hostile to us or officially approving of radical Islam, do nothing to contain it or fight it within their territory. Other countries support radical Islam outright. (Again, I agree.)

    3) By destroying Iraq, a country that neither officially supports radical Islam (and in fact, has treated its own Shiites in the south quite brutally) nor has been positively linked to terrorist organizations THAT HAVE ATTACKED US (in fact, much of the purported evidence of such connections has been called into question, e.g., the original topic of this thread), we will precipitate the sudden realignment of all countries in the Muslim world (officially hostile and otherwise) such that the threat to us from radical Islam will be neutralized.

    That’s a pretty neat trick.

    And though I disagree with you violently, since this war is going to happen, I honestly hope that you’re right.

  57. Lazarus,

    I disagree that the only way out of a horrible situation is repeating the stupid behavior that got us into it.

    I have no real quarrel with your prescription of fighting “terrorist cells” as such. Although I am an anarchist, and on principle don’t endorse any actions by the state, I recognized in fall 2001 that no state in history would have endured 9-11 without attacking al Qaeda and the Taliban, had it been in their power to do so. I don’t make a fuss over the U.S. government going after genuine terrorists–political groups that plan actual terror attacks against civilians in the U.S.–any more I complain when the cops arrest genuine burglars and murderers. An emphasis on things like cooperation with Interpol, freezing bank accounts, Letters of marque and reprisal, etc., would be a lot better IMO.

    But endorsing any action by the State in the name of fighting terrorism, or accepting its neutrality in who it classifies as “terrorist,” is another matter entirely. I think an invasion of Iraq is a lot more likely to result in blowback, in terrorist attacks on a larger scale, than to reduce terrorism. And just about every damned state in history, including the U.S., has supported terrorists as part of the normal course of doing business (ever hear of the Central American death squads, or Operation Condor?). Fighting terrorism translates in practice into fighting those particular terrorist groups that the U.S. government finds inconvenient, and continuing to support those that take orders. The state exists to enable some to live off of others’ labors through coercion; but the armed thugs who run the state will always justify their thuggery by some slogan like “truth, justice and the American way.”

  58. Brian:
    You are distorting my argument. I didn’t say “all muslim coutries” would fall into line. I said specifically Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, while it also keeps N. Korea somewhat in line (until that regime drops dead from starvation).

    And it IS working already. Why do you think that the Paks have helped us catch Al Queda #3? Because they FEAR us.

  59. Kevin,
    You are putting this into moralistic terms. I am not.

    I totally agree that the US Govt has done shitty stuff in the past and will continue to do so. But why does supporting the destruction of the existing Iraqi regime automatically mean I endorce such thuggery? (which I do not support)

    You at least do list some alternatives — Interpol, freezing bank accounts, Letters of marque and reprisal, etc will fail because the existing monopolies of force (Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) will not cooperate and even tacitly approve of Islamist terrorist action.

  60. First of all, the Paks have been helping us because we’ve bought them off. Nothing wrong with that.

    But I’ll accept that there’s a component of fear there, as well. I think the Paks fear us because of what we did in Afganistan; they saw the writing on the wall, and knew they’d be next if they didn’t get on board.

    That seems to make attacking Iraq unnecessary, even if one accepts the amoral Machiavellian reasoning of your argument. Are they going to fear us more than they already do?

    More to the point, you haven’t addressed why our past military victories have failed to produce the results you assume the next one will. What makes this conflict different?

  61. Brian,
    Because it is a matter of public record that Saddam supports terrorism and is building weapons of mass destruction.

    Now it really doesn’t matter if this is true or not, since the regime replacement is in truth aimed at states that are failing to help us in the War on Terror and/or have WMDs (Saudis, N. Koreans, Paks).

  62. FYI – as soon as these posts go off the main page I stop responding. Will be happy to continue the discussion on another thread.

  63. Question: “…you haven’t addressed why our past military victories have failed to produce the results you assume the next one will. What makes this conflict different?”

    Answer: “Because it is a matter of public record that Saddam supports terrorism and is building weapons of mass destruction.”


    Now you sound like you’re just reading from the administration’s unofficial talking points. I admire your candor about the “real” objectives in attacking Iraq, but I think you have completely failed to make justify your argument.

    Are you saying that because Iraq is (or by your own admission, may be) producing WMD and supporting terrorists, that conquering them will send a special message to countries that might be inclined to do the same? As if our feelings on the matter weren’t abundantly clear already?

    My previous point was that our military might and our willingness to use it have been demonstrated, repeatedly. Nevertheless, we are opposed, hated, and attacked. This will not change because we treat Iraq as our whipping boy. If anything, we will be opposed more violently, hated more deeply, and attacked more frequently.

  64. >>Are you saying that because Iraq is (or by your own admission, may be) producing WMD and supporting terrorists, that conquering them will send a special message to countries that might be inclined to do the same?>As if our feelings on the matter weren’t abundantly clear already?>My previous point was that our military might and our willingness to use it have been demonstrated, repeatedly> This will not change because we treat Iraq as our whipping boy. If anything, we will be opposed more violently, hated more deeply, and attacked more frequently.

  65. Dork huh, well I certainly can’t come back from that. Good one shooter.

  66. >>My previous point was that our military might and our willingness to use it have been demonstrated, repeatedly

  67. Hey, why is no one talking about Mr Chirac’s speech of yesterday?
    Seeing how much the French (read: the French President) are hated here (on this forum), ie more or less as much as the Americans (read: the American President) are hated here (in Europe), I would think that you would be following the known proverb “Know thy enemy”

    Here is the info: yesterday night Chirac made a TV speech in which he said he will use the veto to a new UN resolution leading to war. He didn’t say he might use his veto, or that “war is not a solution” (which doesn’t mean anything), he said he WILL use his veto.

    The pro-invasion people here will point out that it does not change anything, since the US will attack anyway, UN resolution or not. That is true.
    The other half (the cons, or lefties as you all them) will point out that this diminishes the UN as an institution, which is a big pity and a threat to world stability.
    That is not really true, this is not the first veto but one of many, the US having used it already some 60-odd times, and the Soviets more than 100. The UN is still there. If it shows that it is not very efficient during a crisis, let us hope it will be once again helpeful post-crisis (as was the case in post-crisis Yugoslavia and Afghanistan).

    It doesn’t really matter. The point is: I just wanted to point out this piece of information. I have no link to an article (except in French), since none of the US newspapers I have checked have picked up this info yet. Why is the US pushing towards a UN resolution, if they don’t want to know what the members of the security council think?

    Now I have been trying to understand this widening US-Europe gap. I think the cause is this: misunderstanding. Partly because we (Europeans) have not experienced, lived, suffered through Sept 11th. Partly because of cultural differences (but are they that big ?)

    And partly because of mis-information. Ask yourself this question: are you getting un-biased information? I think all of the info is biased, here in Europe. I challenge it, I try to find counter examples, to cross check it. Even if the info conforts what I believe in, especially if it conforts what I believe in. With work and time, using many sources from different countries (thanks to the net), I try to find out where it really stands. And I still doubt what I have, and I know there is a lot, A LOT that I don’t know, and will never find out.
    Think about this: if the info is simple, clear-cut, then it is biased. This situation is incredibly complicated, anything simple means that a lot of the truth has been left out.
    I cannot tell you what info has been modified (10 or 150’000 people in the streets?), but I can tell you this: you (the american people) are being denied information by the media (the press and TV).
    There have been massive demonstrations against war in New York. Once again, I’m not saying there were so many people, I wasn’t there. But it happened, enough different sources of info tell me. Why was it so lightly covered (if covered at all) by the US press? Why is no one talking about Chirac’s promise of veto? It DID happen, I saw it live.
    Are your sources of info valid, and have you tried other sources, from other countries? Do they say thinks you don’t want to hear, so you stop listening?
    Anyway, you get the point.

    One last thing, Another Dan: justifications like “This country irritates the piss out of us, out of Bush, out of me and most Americans with a pair” are EXACTLY the kind of justification that could be used to justify terrorist attacks, like say 9-11 (replace ‘Americans’ by ‘righteous muslims’ and ‘Bush’ by ‘Bin Laden’. It works)
    I mean this seriously: by saying this, you believe in the law of the strongest. You believe Justice is a joke. You think it is OK to take a gun and shoot your neighbour because he is mowing on sunday morning. Remember this: your other neighbour might think your TV is too loud (or liked the guy you just shot), and poison your water. Can you kill all your neighbours before one of them poisons you?

    Here’s the article on Chirac’s speech. Warning: this is a slightly left-biased media.,5987,3210–312437-,00.html

  68. I wish we had forthrightly partisan news like in Europe. Instead, we have a media that strives for objectivity and fails, or loundly proclaims its objectivity as a smoke screen.

    Anyone see The Simpsons? Fox News crawl: “Study: 92% of Democrats are gay”

  69. it’s funny cause it’s true

    (another Simpsons reference for those who don’t get it, sorry).

  70. Lazarus:

    I think your Machiavellian fear model is too simplistic. It presupposes a one-sided relationship in which we are the deterrers, and other countries are the deterred (as per the much-cited Munich model). But what happens when a major part of the rest of the world starts viewing the U.S. as a rising, aggressive power to be DETERRED? One popular model of geopolitical theory is that a hegemonic power will tend to promote its own decline by uniting all the second-tier powers in a coalition against it.

    As for whether those who hate us can hate us any more intensely–
    True, as far as it goes. But the NUMBER of people who hate us is not fixed, and can change in response to real events. I expect that there are a lot of people on the margin–potentially millions of them–who will be turned into haters and become the new demographic base for terrorism in response to a large-scale war against Iraq and other nearby states, with large casualties. I recall reading about a recent study that found that a huge proportion of terror bombers in Israel/Palestine had witnessed, as children, acts of massive brutality against their parents by the Israeli security forces. Terror is often the resort of those who are enraged and feel impotent. And sometimes massive use of force creates a desire for revenge rather than fear.

    Looks like this thread is about to be bumped, Lazarus, but it’s been an interesting (and quite civil) discussion

  71. Hey David F.,

    I check the French newspapers Le Monde and Liberation, Die Welt and Sueddeutsche Zeitung for Germany. In the US I check the NY Times and Washington Post and the links from Hit&Run.
    Yeah I know these are all left (centre-left, really) media. Except the links from Hit&Run which are everything.
    I also check out the TV news in French and German and CNN, all of which are more to the right so it compensates.

    I read centre-left newspapers because the right-oriented ones are overtly biased (like Le Figaro in France). Actualy now I am a bit worried about the coverage Le Monde (France’s most influencial newspaper) is giving. Arte (Franco-German TV, arguably one of the 3 best channels in Europe) has also started to give a very partisan “these poor Iraqis” reading of what is going on.

    anyway cheers to all of you

  72. Here’s a good link to pretty fair news on Iraq from the locals. There’s an interesting entry reporting Saddam has imposed weight limits on his officers. Failure to make weight results in their salary being cut in half.

  73. George Tenent (head of the CIA) said a war with Iraq will increase the chances of terror being visited upon our shores again. Bush got irritated when asked about Tenent’s prediction by a reporter and when asked about his observation that there are lots of better places to obtain weapons of mass destruction than Iraq all Bush could say is “Goerge Tenent supports us”
    If chances of a terrorist attack are increased if we have a war with Iraq think of the odds if were
    going to be there for 2-3 years as Bush is planning. And if the powerful neocons who have been pushing for this war for years have their way
    Iraq will only be a start.

  74. Thanks Mouchon and Lefty!

    merci beaucoup. and happy friday! (what, joyeaux vendredi, or something?)


  75. very good sikik oyun

  76. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/20/2004 02:38:56
    There are no weird people – some just require more understanding.

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