Conspiracy Theories

A Vast Ba'athist Conspiracy

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Neocon favorite Laurie Mylroie sees the hidden hand of Saddam Hussein behind nearly every act of anti-American terror in the last decade. In December's Washington Monthly, Peter Bergen takes her arguments apart.

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  1. We neocons are behind every conspiricy.

  2. “Yet the belief that Saddam posed an imminent threat to the United States amounted to a theological conviction within the administration…”

    That’s why Bush said that the threat wasn’t imminent in last January’s speech?

    Not since Dr. Duane Gish have I seen the tactic of bringing back up a refuted argument used so frequently.

  3. SOTU: Like 7 out of 10 Americans you are stupid, ignorent or a liar. Bush SAID it was imminent in the speech. We all heard it!

    Then the neocons went in a CHANGED the text after the fact to take that word out. But we all heard it! Just like Straussians they are they “selatively translated” what we all heard.

    Next thing you know someone will accuse me of wearing a tinfoil hat!

  4. SOTU, You mean this speech? :

    “Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, even while inspectors were in his country. Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons — not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities.

    Almost three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance to disarm. He has shown instead utter contempt for the United Nations, and for the opinion of the world. The 108 U.N. inspectors were sent to conduct — were not sent to conduct a scavenger hunt for hidden materials across a country the size of California. The job of the inspectors is to verify that Iraq’s regime is disarming. It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see, and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened.

    The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax — enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn’t accounted for that material. He’s given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

    The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin — enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hadn’t accounted for that material. He’s given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

    Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands. He’s not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

    U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them — despite Iraq’s recent declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He’s given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

    From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He’s given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.

    The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary; he is deceiving. From intelligence sources we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites and monitoring the inspectors themselves. Iraqi officials accompany the inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses.

    Iraq is blocking U-2 surveillance flights requested by the United Nations. Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as the scientists inspectors are supposed to interview. Real scientists have been coached by Iraqi officials on what to say. Intelligence sources indicate that Saddam Hussein has ordered that scientists who cooperate with U.N. inspectors in disarming Iraq will be killed, along with their families.

    Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why? The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate, or attack.

    With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region. And this Congress and the America people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.

    Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans — this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known. We will do everything in our power to make sure that that day never comes. (Applause.)

    Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option. (Applause.) ”

    Yea, classic double speak, the threat is not imminent, but lets throw in 13 paragraphs indicating just how sure we are that there will be a mushroom cloud over New York if we dont do something today. Scare mongering at its finest…. hes not going to stab you now, but tomorrow……

  5. exactly! double-speak! its like saying that a guy isn’t 5 minutes from stabbing you, but he will probably stab you in a year.

    so you do your neocon double-speak at say that it isn’t imminent he will stab you (say in 5 minutes). then you follow with scaremongering by saying that the threat is in a year.

    why scaremongering? because there really is no threat of being stabbed since you are a neocon, and all neocons are fucking liars.

    see the logic?

  6. PLEASE — could we not let this thread devolve into yet another pointless & stupid debate over the word “imminent”? There are actual real issues at play here beyond these boring word games.

  7. “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option. (Applause.) “

  8. Good advice, Jesse. I think it’s essential that we note the enthusiasm with which Perle et al embraced Mylroie’s baseless theories. I think it’s essential to remember that these same people, like Mylroie, supported Hussein while he was gassing his own people, one of many, many atrocities committed as a pal, a buddy of the U.S.. Also, Cheney’s quote in the article that Iraq was the “geographic base” of Al Quaeda (described as a “demonstrably false theory” by the author, whereas I would describe as just another fucking lie) is also very telling.

    Does this mean that we were wrong to invade Iraq and topple Hussein? Of course not. But there is just too much clear evidence that the people involved in orchestrating the invasion are simply devoid of the tiniest shred of honesty or honor (or even practical know-how, based on the daily death toll in Iraq and the opinions of not a few military men and women).

    Libertarians, of all people, should recognize that life and circumstances are complex enough to allow that a good thing can be incompetently executed by lying scumbags.

    But that’s just me.

  9. so GWB was telling us the Saddam Hussein was NOT an “imminent” threat, but we must take him out NOW! NOW! NOW! WE CAN’T WAIT FOR THE UN!

  10. Bigslacker, I posted 14 paragraphs of text that GW said during his state of the union address. Of those 14 paragraphs, 13 stated WHY Saddam was an imminent threat and danger to the US and the world, 13 paragraphs.

    You focus on the one paragraph where he said, “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent” to prove that he never alluded to imminent. Amazing…. one sentance is more important then the previous 13 paragraphs….

  11. None of you get it! The point of the essay is simple.

    One anti-Baathist is a stupid wacko, so therefor all anti-Baathist “neocons,” including 70% of the population, are stupid wackos.

  12. The 13 paragraphs attempt to explain the potential threat Saddam’s government is believed to pose, and then the last clearly states, “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent”. I would say that means the speaker believes the threat may not be imminent at this time, but he/we should not wait until it is imminent before we take action, because that will be too late. Maybe some people just misunderestimate everything “shrub” says?

    Hate to get to the topic at hand but…

    “Americans supported the war in Iraq not because Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator–we had known that for many years–but because President Bush had made the case that Saddam might hand off weapons of mass destruction to his terrorist allies to wreak havoc on the United States.”

    I don’t think most people supported the war because “President Bush had made the case that Saddam might hand off weapons…”. I think most already thought as much of all enemies of the United states – that they might finance or shelter small groups that can cause considerable damage without tremendous resources. And I think most United Statesians have thought from approximately Sept 11, 2001 that we should hunt these people down and kill them before they get the chance to attack again. And I think many, not most, people recognize that we’ve never really been not at war with Iraq for the last decade…so lets finish up and move on.

    Heres an interesting quote from Peter Bergen:

    “As of this writing, there appears to be no evidence that Saddam had either weapons of mass destruction or significant ties to terrorist groups like al Qaeda.”

    I know, “you know what he means”…

  13. The point of the essay is simple.

    One anti-Baathist is a stupid wacko, so therefor all anti-Baathist “neocons,” including 70% of the population, are stupid wackos.

    Boy, it sure didn’t take the anonymous nincompoops long to figure out that they can just stick in a fake e-mail address and post anyway, did it?

    Anyway, as anyone who actually read the piece could tell you, the point of the article is that one neocon (or “anti-Baathist,” though that’s a word that covers virtually every American, neocon or not) is a wacko and nonetheless has her theories promoted by people who ought to know better.

    That’s the uncomfortable fact that the people nitpicking about Bergen’s language are ignoring, and that trolls like Mr. Logic are trying so desperately to obscure. I invite the rest of you to address it.

  14. “The point is that the 1993 attack was plotted not by Iraqi intelligence, but by men who were linked to al Qaeda.”

    Anyone see anything wrong with that? Here, try this: “The point is that the attempted assasination of the Pope was plotted by the Grey Wolves and not by the Soviets.”

    “Yousef knew that he was likely facing a lifetime in prison at the time of this interview, and so had little reason to dissemble”

    Anyone see anything wrong with that? Here’s one possibility: he didn’t want every single member of his family killed by Saddam.

    Bergen doesn’t seem to be covering all the bases and seems to be making a lot of Occamizations.

  15. Please show me where Mylroie supported Saddam killing his own people?

    Also, show me where anything Bush said in the above quoted speech that was untrue or inaccurate … all looks pretty true to me, and I’m as well studied on the issue as any who might respond to this question. The justification for attacking Iraq remains as strong today as it did 10 months ago.

  16. OK, I see Bergen is saying Mylorie used to support Saddam. It would still be interesting to see some proof of that … but then, we knew a lot less about Saddam then, and he was a useful tool at the time.

  17. Hmm.. Haven’t gotten to read this whole thing yet, but I did notice that this was written before we knew that Yasin WAS actually on Saddam’s payroll in Baghdad. We have discovered evidence in Baghdad.

    I think Bergen doesn’t too good of a job here addressing the physical evidence that Mylroie outlines in the book. I’ll look forward to setting asside some time to research the whole thing more. I just wanted to let you know that some of the things we’ve found in Iraq actually support Mylroie’s assessment. I’m not sure why Bergen can’t seem to consider that maybe some of these people were affiliated with Al Qaeda and Saddam. It’s been shown that they definately had contact and working arangements together throughout the 90’s. If you doubt it just do a search on my site for it. There are tons of stories about the evidence.

    http://www.freespeech.com/archives/000970.html

    That one is about the evidence that Yasin was actually associated with, and even supported and funded by, the Iraqi government while in Baghdad. The assertion that he was not, made by Bergen as part of his proof that Mylroie is a nutcase, is absurd, and has been shown to be false. Of course this thing was written many months ago, so we’ll cut the guy some slack. Don’t discount Mylroie’s two excellent books just because he does. Read them for yourself.

  18. Howard,

    Everybody knew about Hussein gassing the Kurds almost immediately after he did it. There were those in the House and Senate at the time who attempted to punish Hussein for this atrocity by elimating the military aid we were providing at the time. The same people who over and over have condemned Hussein for “gassing his own people” were against (and in some cases fought against) any sanction against him immediately after he’d committed the atrocity. I’m wondering why you put so much trust into those who could support a mass murderer and then condemn him only when it is politically convenient to do so.

    The idea that mass murder is acceptable because the mass murderer “was a useful tool at the time” (though in what sense, I’d appreciate you explaining) is, in my opinion, part of what has helped to exacerbate the problem of global terrorism.

    I’m trying to understand why people continue to embrace theories considered by the majority of people in the intelligence community to be uncertain at best and baseless at worst. It’s possible I’m unaware of a large number of intelligence experts who weren’t laughing at Powell’s presentation to the U.N. and I’d appreciate any information pointing me in their direction.

    Finally, I wouldn’t argue that it was wrong to overthrow Hussein because I’m not convinced it was. But after one untrue claim after another, after countless, demonstrably hypocritical declarations, I am convinced that the people who orchestrated this war have been dishonest and dishonorable from the start. And it would actually please me greatly if there were objective evidence to convince me otherwise.

  19. OK, I see Bergen is saying Mylorie used to support Saddam. It would still be interesting to see some proof of that …

    See article, “Back Iraq: It’s Time for a U.S. Tilt,” April 27, 1987, New Republic, authors Daniel Pipes and Laurie Mylroie.

    See this post for evidence that Pipes is no longer neck-and-neck with Mylroie in the two-face contest, but has actually pulled ahead: He’s already urging the U.S. to declare failure in Iraq.

  20. Actually, the most successful war of conquest might be Pizarro’s conquest of the Incas at Cajamarca in 1532. 168 Spanish soldiers defeated an army of 80,000 and didn’t lose a single man.

    That said, I wouldn’t argue that this war is clumsier than most previous ones. That doesn’t mean it’s not clumsy. Yes, the first part was pretty efficient. We defeated one of the weakest armies in the world in a very short period of time, killing hundreds of Iraqi soldiers for every U.S. soldier killed (and almost 20 civilians for every U.S. soldier killed). But there are a good number of officers at every level who are complaining of the poor planning (was there ANY planning?) for this part of the war (Rumsfeld himself is openly loathed by large portions of the military). And yes, we’re still at war, despite giant signs in May saying “Mission Accomplished.” As a matter of fact, that’s the clumsiness I’m talking about. The families of the dead and wounded since then are wondering what mission their loved ones died for since they’d been told the one in Iraq had been accomplished.

  21. He is? Damn, maybe somebody should have Kissinger on the US Institute for Peace in 1969.

  22. There are alot more elements to this story than Bergen’s dismissive story lets on to. here are two articles, one about mylroie and one by her presenting her evidence in 1995.

    http://archive.salon.com/politics/feature/2001/09/21/iraq/index.html

    http://www.fas.org/irp/world/iraq/956-tni.htm
    (esp. the “of passports and fingerprints” section)

  23. fuck off Apease, you troll. this article proves once and for all that all neocons are liars.

  24. Del Simmons wrote:
    “It’s been shown that they (Al Qaeda and Saddam) definately had contact and working arangements together throughout the 90’s.”

    Pathetic! If there were anything to the citations of these “working arrangements” to provide a viable pretext for the US government invasion, they would not be proceeded with the word “contact” as they so often are. The “working arrangements” that were actually real,(funding and intelligence) were those between Saddam and the US government during the worst of his butchery in the 90’s. Al Qaeda’s attitude concerning Saddam over the years are just what you would expect considering his regime’s history of persecution of fundamentalist Muslims.

  25. fuck off Apease, you troll. this article proves once and for all that all neocons are liars.

    I love the way the trolls make fun of the word “troll.” Here’s a hint- If you’re deliberately misrepresenting an article’s thesis (“proves once and for all that all neocons are liars”), to discredit it or just to be a prick, you are a troll. If you do it in that mock-sarcastic way that’s supposed to be funny but isn’t, you’re a super-troll. Case in point: Johnny Appleseed.

  26. Appleseed’s somewhat childish post actually did inspire me to clarify something. I don’t think all neo-cons are liars. I think the idea that getting rid of Sadaam would help to stabilize the region and aid in the war on terror has merit and is worthy of discussion. The only neo-cons who are liars are the ones that have perpetuated demonstrably false premises to justify this clumsy war (and unfortunately they’re the same neo-cons who read the newspaper to our president everyday and tell him what to say).

  27. Howard,

    You asked, “Also, show me where anything Bush said in the above quoted speech that was untrue or inaccurate.”

    I think Bush’s advisors are opportunistic scumbags, not idiots. They wouldn’t put words in his mouth that couldn’t be defended in one way or another, even in the most superficial ways.

    Here’s one example:

    “The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program”

    Yes, that’s perfectly true. The IAEA did confirm that in the 1990’s. What he does not specify is that it was IN 1990, BEFORE we helped to destroy that program.

    It is the cornerstone of a deliberately dishonest argument to state things in such a way as to convince someone of something (in this case, that Hussein had an advanced nuclear program sometime between 1990 and 1999) that is flatly untrue (all the while saying nothing that is technically inaccurate).

    Lawyers and psychics have been using this method successfully for a long, long time.

  28. Clumsy war? Can you point to one that was less clumsy? Independence, civil war, world war 2, Kosovo? There are still active troops in Kosovo – it must have been really clumsy then (most people don’t even regard it as a war). Really though, isn’t this about the least clumsy war (of conquest, not liberation- kuwait probably wins that one for modern history) there has every been?

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