Did We Farq Up Attacking Zarqawi?

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According to a subscription-only Wall Street Journal article excerpted by Laura Rozen and Stuart Benjamin over at the Volokh Conspiracy, the U.S. had a pretty clear shot at the terrorist monster from June 2002 on, but didn't make a move on him until March 2003, when it was too late.

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  1. I blame the French.

  2. [sarcasm]

    Oh, come on, everybody knows that this fight is much bigger than any single terrorist leader. Killing a terrorist leader and destroying his camps is the sort of law enforcement approach that we tried under Clinton. Sure, killing Zarqawi before he could have caused any trouble during the occupation would have been nice, but it really isn’t the point. Overthrowing secular dictators is the only way to solve the problem of stateless religious terrorism.

    But go ahead and whine about how we missed a chance to kill a terrorist leader and some of his followers and destroy their training camps. This fight is much bigger than just killing individuals actually involved in terrorism against the US. It’s about transforming the world so we can be safe.

    And I suppose next somebody will try to blame this on our President who has taken the fight to the enemy.

    [/sarcasm]

  3. i like how thoreau has basically given up posting anything but preemptive rebuttals.

  4. dhex-

    It suits my sarcastic personality 😉

  5. Yep, the WSJ is following up on the NBC story. (It’s long past time that someone did.) And what they’ve found supports what NBC had.

    (This, along with tone-deaf response to Abu Ghraib, pretty well convinced me that the Bush Administration was much more serious about talking about terrorism than it was about effectively fighting it.)

  6. Aw, Jacob, you need to learn to trust our President. He’s from the government and he’s here to help! And to prove it, he took the fight to the enemy. OK, he missed a pretty big opportunity to take out a dangerous guy running a terrorist network with labs for making poison, but that’s just the old law enforcement approach to terrorism. The new approach is to transform the world.

    Well, all of the world except the space occupied by that guy running a terrorist network and cutting off heads. Because focusing attention on him is just the old and discredited law enforcement approach.

  7. MSNBC has previously reported that the US could have taken out Zarqawi, and did not do so. Many believe that Bush wanted to leave Zarqawi at large to justify the claim of an Al Qaeda presence in Iraq.

    It is cynical, but what do you expect.

  8. Gene Berkman-

    If they really did leave Zarqawi alone to bolster claims that it was necessary to invade Iraq, well, suddenly the second season of 24 starts to make sense. Maybe it’s not entirely a coincidence that Penny Johnson-Jerald played Condoleeza Rice in a TV movie recently.

    If somebody finds a recording of Zarqawi meeting in Cyprus with officials from 3 oil-rich countries I’m going to freak out. And after I’m done freaking out I’m going to pray for Kiefer Sutherland to save us all.

  9. Ah, I really enjoy reading Hit and Run. Where else can you find people who argue that Bush is a trigger-happy warmonger who should never have attacked Iraq, who then turn around and blame him for not attacking Iraq a year before he actually did?

  10. PapayaSF-

    There’s a big difference between invading an entire country vs. just attacking a particular terrorist camp and the people in it.

  11. BTW, attacking Zarqawi’s camp in 2002 also would have made the occupation easier. Just ask the people who got their heads sawed off.

  12. There’s a big difference between invading an entire country vs. just attacking a particular terrorist camp and the people in it.

    Sure, but they’re both acts of war. Another difference is that just attacking one camp leaves Saddam in power.

    Your next comment pretty much defines the term “20/20 hindsight.” But tell me honestly, thoreau: in 2002, were you in favor of attacking terrorist bases in Iraq?

  13. were you in favor of attacking terrorist bases in Iraq?

    Yes. I heard in 2002 that Al Qaeda may have been establishing bases in the northern no-fly zone, and I wondered why we needed to take out Hussein’s regime to deal with bases in an area where we had control of the skies, Kurdish allies on the ground, and a NATO ally (Turkey) on the border.

  14. Oh, and you don’t need 20/20 hindsight to realize that it might be a good idea to first take action against terrorist targets that are in an area where the US has control of the skies and allies on the ground. It doesn’t take 20/20 hindsight to realize that terrorist training camps and the people running them might cause trouble during the occupation, so it’s best to get rid of them ASAP rather than give the terrorists a chance to relocate once it becomes clear that an invasion will happen.

    What it does take is leaders who are willing to think about the difficulties of occupation rather than assuming it will be easy. Oh, and leaders who are more concerned about attacking Al Qaeda’s members while we can rather than leaving them in place to bolster the case for going after somebody else.

    Didn’t they make a movie about this? “Wag the Dog” anybody?

  15. Taking out Zarqawi first would have had other benefits:

    His papers might have provided evidence of links between him, Al Qaeda, and Saddam – if such links existed. Hard evidence of that sort probably would have won far more UN support of a full invasion of Baghdad.

    Also, one of the problems in the war was the lack of troops coming from the north, because of Turkey’s resistance. Dropping a bunch of people in northern Iraq to take out Zarqawi would have given us some people in the north. We might have made good use of that. (And, as in the point above, if hard evidence was found in Zarqawi’s camp, that might have made it easier to get Turkey’s cooperation in a full invasion of Iraq.)

  16. The Al Qaeda connection in Iraq, Ansar al-Islam, was setting up shop near Halabja.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0315/p01s04-wome.html

    This is where Zarqawi was thought to be. At that point he was also just a mid-level aQ guy who had fled the fighting in Afghanistan. He didn’t have a body count of hundreds of US soldiers and thousands of Iraqis to his name. Nor had the ever dreaded beheadings begun to indicate his claim of high level authority.

    The southern border of of the northern no fly zone lies at the 36th parallel.
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/images/nofly-l.gif

    Halabja lies about 75km south of this, well out of the no-fly zone.
    http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/iraq.pdf

    Advocating that the US should have attacked Ansar-al Islam in Jan-Mar 2002 to get Zarqawi is essentially arguing that the US should have attacked Iraq, for the sole purpose of getting a mid-level bad guy that hadn’t yet turned into top level bad guy, prior to Bush going to the UN in Sept 2002, to get the final resolution.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with this. Many have argued that Bush Sr. should have finished the job in 1991 or that Clinton should have followed through in 1998. But these folks are generally labelled NEOCONS (scary letters).

  17. I apologize, I made an error on the dates of subsequent chances which occured up until Jan 2003, not 2002. Nonetheless, this was still before things were wrapped up in the UN the second time around. What I said when Matt Welch brought this up in May still applies.
    https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2004/05/trigger_finger.shtml

    “As for Matt’s post, it is indeed a shame that we didn’t kill this guy a while back, but at that time he was still rather small potatoes. It was before he was responsible for 700-1000 deaths in Iraq and before he sawed Nick Berg’s head off for the camera. I’m sure he has moved up considerably on the list now, and of course, hindsight is 20/20. However, launching attacks on him on these three occasions, the latest of which was Jan 2003, would have come with complications. While he was in Kurd controlled territory, it was in a subset then controlled by Ansar al-Islam. The Kurds were actively trying to attack the base he was in. We could have sent in airstrikes, but this was not a locale in the no fly zone. The southern-most border of the northern no-fly zone was the 36th parallel, this was about 75 kilometers south.

    The use of airstrikes in that area at that time probably would have caused just a few more troubles than already existed in the UN debate. Say what you will for the BushCo’s attempts at diplomacy, trying it while conducting heavy airstrikes (this wouldn’t have been just a solitary radar site) inside the no-fly zone would have undercut even futile diplomatic attempts.

    I wish they took him out earlier, but then I didn’t think we should have bothered going back to the UN (I do understand why it was necessary given Britain’s position). His complicity in the failed ricin attack in London probably was as important as his complicity in the failed chemical attack in Jordan on the worldwide stage. They just don’t even notice.”

  18. I linked the CSM article above merely for it’s mention of the location of Ansar al-Islam near Halabja.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0315/p01s04-wome.html

    Having just read (reread? it seems familiar) the whole article, I realized it gives an an interesting retrospective look at what the info level in March 2002 was. Go read the whole thing, or just some quotes:

    “HALABJA, NORTHERN IRAQ ? A radical Islamist group ? with possible links to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein ? is growing and threatening the stability of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

    The group ? Ansar al-Islam ? emerged just days before the Sept. 11 attacks on the US. It delivered a fatwa, or manifesto, to the citizens in mountain villages against “the blasphemous secularist, political, social, and cultural” society there, according to Kurdish party leaders.”

    and

    “On Sept. 23, Kurds here say, guerrillas ambushed a PUK unit and killed 42 soldiers. The ambush came after negotiations between the PUK and Ansar al-Islam, offering amnesty in return for peace, failed to end their activities.

    Since the Sept. 23 ambush, peshmerga have pushed Ansar al-Islam back toward the Iranian border where they retain a stronghold in the town of Biara and surrounding villages.

    “We have captured two of [Ansar’s] bases and found the walls covered with poems and graffiti praising bin Laden and the Sept. 11 attacks on the US,” says Mustapha Saed Qada, a PUK commander. “In one, there is a picture of the twin towers with a drawing of bin Laden standing on the top holding a Kalashnikov rifle in one hand and a knife in the other.” He adds that the group has received $600,000 from the bin Laden network, and a delivery of weapons and Toyota landcruisers.”

    and

    “Commander Qada also claims that Ansar al-Islam has ties to agents of Saddam Hussein operating in northern Iraq. “We have picked up conversations on our radios between Iraqis and [Ansar] al-Islam,” he says from his military base in Halabja. “I believe that Iraq is also funding [Ansar] al-Islam. There are no hard facts as yet, but I believe that under the table they are supporting them because it will cause further instability for the Kurds.”

    and

    “Since Sept. 11, Qada says the Iraqi Army has doubled its troops stationed on the border between government-controlled Iraq and the area the Kurds control. It is a clear sign, Qada says, that Hussein will attack them if the US threatens his regime.”

    Were the Kurds possibly embellishing things to get assistance from the US. Likely. Were they making the whole damn thing up. No. But go read, and judge for yourself, and be sure to note the dateline, March 15 2002.

  19. In response to the “Zarqawi was no big deal at the time” idea, as I posted some time ago at http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_06_28.shtml#1088612622

    “This is false. At the time he hadn’t killed as many people, of course; he’s had a busy, bloody year. But the camp was referred to, often, in building the case for war, including in Powell’s UN speech. There were ricin attacks planned and successfully stopped in Europe. They provided a living, breathing example of the central nightmare scenario: al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists with unconventional weapons. The U.S. had even tried to cooperate with Hussein to get Zarqawi arrested and extradited when the latter was in Baghdad; the very fact that Hussein refused was cited as evidence of his collaboration with Zarqawi. Both Zarqawi himself and the camp were understood at the time to be very bad, very big deals.”

    Nor was this just a matte of 20-20 hindsight. From Greg Miller, U.S. Inaction on Camp Questioned, LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2/7/03:

    [l]awmakers who have attended classified briefings on the camp say they have been stymied for months in their efforts to get an explanation for why the United States has not begun a military strike on the compound near the village of Khurmal.

    Absent an explanation from the White House, some officials suggested the administration had refrained from striking the compound in part to preserve a key piece of its case against Iraq.

    “This is it. This is their compelling evidence for use of force,” said one intelligence official, who asked not to be identified. “If you take it out, you can’t use it as justification for war.”

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a member of the intelligence panel, said she and other members had been frustrated in their attempts to get an explanation from administration officials in closed-door briefings.

    “We’ve been asking this question and have not been given an answer,” Feinstein said. Officials have replied that “they’ll have to get back to us.”

    Asked whether the White House might have rejected hitting the site to avoid complicating its efforts to build support for war against Iraq, she said: “That’s an obvious thought. I hope not.”

    See also, from the relevant timeframe:
    http://www.drezner.blogspot.com/2003_03_09_drezner_archive.html#90603539

  20. Now, Raymond, let’s not Monday-morning quarterback the Dear Leader. You’re looking at the particulars of this threat or the other. That’s just the discredited law enforcement approach. You need to think of this as a war against Islamo-fascism as a whole, not just as a response to particular dangers. We have to transform the entire world, and when you look at the big picture like that, individual weapons caches or terrorist leaders really aren’t what matters.

    And even if they do matter, none of this is the fault of the Dear Leader.

  21. Raymond your a day late.

    “NBC News: Miklaszewski: ?April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army’s 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qakaa weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing. The U.S. troops did find large stockpiles of more conventional weapons, but no HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon. In a letter this month, the Iraqi interim government told the International Atomic Energy Agency the high explosives were lost to theft and looting due to lack of security. Critics claim there were simply not enough U.S. troops to guard hundreds of weapons stockpiles, weapons now being used by insurgents and terrorists to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq.? (NBC?s ?Nightly News,? 10/25/04)”

    Actually, you are only a matter of hours short, but this is the internet, not a friggin letters to the editor section of your local rag. Chop, chop.

  22. let’s not Monday-morning quarterback…

    It’s Tuesday morning.

    (At least I successfully avoided joe’s “blame-the-French” trap.)

  23. Actually, you are only a matter of hours short

    It’s ok. I mentioned it in another thread yesterday, about 2 minutes after the news first appeared on the BBC.

    Being obsessive has its positive points.

  24. I don’t know here. I think if I were in the President’s boots and the plan my administration had constructed was to build an intl coalition to support inspections, obtain authorization via the UN for inspections and send me cabinet all around the world to convince others that the US is right on inspections only to then do all the legwork and scuttle your diplomatic efforts with a strike inside Iraq when my administration firmly believes Iraq has WMD and is prepared to use them.

    We’re still thinking of the events in terms of what we know now rather than what we thought we knew then.

  25. chthus, here’s a good map:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/daily/graphics/kurd_040703.html

    It shows the extent of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and the Ansar al-Islam territory near Halabja is marked.

    The Kurdish-controlled territory extends well south of Halabja, and well west of there also (maybe 50 miles south and 100 miles west).

  26. chthus wrote: “The use of airstrikes in that area at that time probably would have caused just a few more troubles than already existed in the UN debate. Say what you will for the BushCo’s attempts at diplomacy, trying it while conducting heavy airstrikes (this wouldn’t have been just a solitary radar site) inside the no-fly zone would have undercut even futile diplomatic attempts.”

    I disagree – a focused strike on a limited, well-defined target with known terrorist connections to Al Qaeda, without implications of occupation of territory, would have received little or no opposition. Iran would probably grumble, because it’s on their border, but that’s about it.

    Incidentally, it couldn’t have been just airstrikes. There would have had to be men on the ground. Airstrikes can’t confirm kills, and can’t find intelligence. (How many times did we bomb Saddam, when it turned out he wasn’t there?)

  27. Jon,

    You are confusing the Kurdisn controlled territory with the northern no fly zone. They are not the same thing. The northern no fly zone was instituted on April 6th, 1991 north of the 36th parallel.

    http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/iraq/timeline.htm

    Halabja and the adjacent Ansar al-Islam controlled areas were approx 75 km south of this, as shown in distinct detail here:

    http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/iraq_cia_2003.jpg

    As for your statement about it taking more than airstrikes, I agree. Given the distance beyond the UN instituted border, combined with Iraq’s troop increases towards to the north, this would have been the beginning of the war and the end of UN negotiations.

    Jacob,

    I have to disagree (as I did before, see my quote above from May), that the failed ricin incident added much heft to the case to go after Zarqawi. Foiled terror attempts (Jordan, 20 tons of chemical weapons from over the Syrian border, origin unknown, anyone remember? care?) are like scary bedtimes stories quickly forgotten in the court of public opinion. At that time we were still playing the diplomatic game and Zarqawi, connections to failed chem attack in Europe or not, didn’t have the same status or blood on his hands that he does now.

    As for why not a quick strike to knock out the whole of Ansar al-Islam, I honestly don’t think the logistics were in place. We had no ground troops in the north (see Jon’s comment on their necessity above) and the airstrikes alone would have been more substantial than 1998 Operation Desert Fox. Given the ongoing tensions, you’ve just started the war with one hand tied behind your back, and done absolutely nothing to Hussein besides give him more reason to act like an idiot. Are we then more or less likely to have gotten inspection cooperation? Keep in mind that the UN inspectors would then have become hostages. Keep in mind that Zarqawi wasn’t pinpointed to a building, he was thought to be located with AaI, in the area they held, which spread over a few villages and several fortified compunds that had allowed them to fight off the PUK since Sept of 2001. No Patriot Games miracle strike available here. At least several days heavy pounding followed by US ground forces accompanying PUK forces into the area to mop up (what ended up happening). And then we were supposed to go back to the table with the UN and Hussein?

  28. I’m a big fan of Drudge, but his report – and perhaps the NBC report – is misleading. That NBC crew wasn’t the first on the scene at al Qaqaa. Troops were there on April 4, 2003 at the latest, a full six days before the NBC crew arrived.

    And, all those explosives being taken away just before the invasion? Not likely with our surveillance. See this for a few links.

    And see this:

    At the Pentagon, an official who monitors developments in Iraq said U.S.-led coalition troops had searched Al Qaqaa in the immediate aftermath of the March 2003 invasion and confirmed that the explosives were intact. Thereafter the site was not secured by U.S. forces, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

  29. The Bush administration fucked up on the Zarqawi matter; now we are paying the price for their folly and poor judgment.

  30. Looted weapons sites. Al Qaeda-linked terrorists left alone in order to shift resources to the Iraq invasion. I’ve been saying this stuff for two years now, along with a few million other Americans!

    The difference being, two years ago, these observations elicited charges of “tinfoil hats.” Now, they elicit charges of “20/20 hindsight.”

    Are you hawks ready to believe that this administration can’t do this job yet?

  31. I can buy the argument that our strategy for fighting stateless terrorism needs to involve promoting democracy and defeating hostile government that might come to support stateless terrorists.

    What I cannot buy, and what seems have driven the decision not to attack Ansar, is the idea that we need to pursue the above goals above and beyond actually fighting stateless terrorists.

    Didn’t conservatives used to oppose shifting resources from law enforcement to “addressing root causes of crime?”

    Attacking Zarqawi’s group would have been a raid on a gangleader’s headquarters. Overthrowing Saddam in order to “drain the swamp” is midnight basketball.

  32. joe-
    “Looted weapons sites.”

    As it turns out these weapons sites may have been looted before the invasion. If I were in charge of the fedayeen; It seems like an obvious tactic for a planed protracted insurgency. Hide all the regimes conventional explosives/weapons for later use. In any event the high explosives at the atomic research facility that Kerry has been harping on for the last two days turned out to be gone before the invasion. Troops moved to secure the facility immediately only to find the explosives missing. This was reported quite some time ago by a embedded NBC reporter.

    “Are you hawks ready to believe that this administration can’t do this job yet?”

    The beef I have with this administration centers around the Iraq invasion (thank you senator Kerry) and the steady erosion of civil liberties through the PATRIOT act (once again, thanks senator Kerry). Icing on the cake is President Bush’s total disregard for fiscal responsability. Kerry has made it clear that his position is very close to the presidents on all three

  33. “In any event the high explosives at the atomic research facility that Kerry has been harping on for the last two days turned out to be gone before the invasion.’

    Good job parrotting the White House’s line, but no such thing has been demonstrates. The mad scamble to pass the buck in ongoing, and I’ll be interested to see what defense they (you) will have settled on by this afternoon.

  34. However, other US outlets, including NBC’s own news website, quoted Pentagon officials who said a search of the site after the US-led invasion had revealed the explosives to be intact.

    BBC (15:54, Central European Time)

  35. joe-
    “Good job parrotting the White House’s line”

    It’s not the white house’s line. If your interested this is the white house’s line. Colin Powell:”I don’t know that we know what happened to it or the exact disposition, And I’ll wait for those looking into this to come up with the answer as to what was there, when it was discovered missing, and where it might be.” If you are implying that I am a partisan mouthpiece it is particularly insulting coming from you.

    raymond,joe-

    It is clear that when the 101st got there the embedded NBC journalist reported there were no explosives found, this is not debateable as there is a record of this. What the BBC failed to note was that in the same NBC article, in addition to a pentagone official being quoted anonymously confirming the explosives WERE found, was the following sentence where additional anonymous sources from the pentagon confirmed the explosives WERE NOT found. It is clear officials in the pentagone weren’t there and don’t know one way or the other. This is exactly the statement Colin Powell gave, essentially ‘we have no clue if we fucked up or not’. I’ll put my money on the folks that were at the al-Qaqaa facility. However, both of you feel free to spin this to confirm your preconceived notions. If troops weren’t in Iraq in the first place none of this would matter. The bottom line; senator Kerry had his chance to vote down this war and he didn’t. Why should I believe he can do a better job spending my money in Iraq?

  36. B –

    1) Colin Powell is the Sec. of State. He doesn’t work at the White House, and has put out statements at odds with the White House’s line on a number of occasions.

    2) The 101st weren’t the first troops at the site. The 3rd Division was, and they confirmed the presence of the explosives. Whether or not they were there a few days later, when the 101st took over the area, is unclear. We know for certain they’re not there now.

    3) “If troops weren’t in Iraq in the first place none of this would matter.” You are correct, if there were no American troops in Iraq, the explosives at the site would not be used to kill Americans, as they are now being used. Spot on.

    4)”The bottom line; senator Kerry had his chance to vote down this war and he didn’t.”k If you’re this determined to play dumb about what was contained in the Use of Force authorization, and what Bush said he was going to do if he was granted it, then there’s really no point in explaining to you what you have decided to ignore the last 1000 times the issue was clarified, so I won’t bother.

    5) “Why should I believe he can do a better job spending my money in Iraq?” Because he couldn’t possibly do a worse job. When your starting pitcher has given up 6 earned runs in 2 and a third innings, you can’t know for sure that your middle reliever will do a better job. You bring him in anyway.

  37. joe-
    ‘If you’re this determined to play dumb about what was contained in the Use of Force authorization, and what Bush said he was going to do if he was granted it, then there’s really no point in explaining to you what you have decided to ignore the last 1000 times the issue was clarified, so I won’t bother.’

    I see nothing inconsistent with the UFA, Bush’s clear intent in Iraq, and the subsequent invasion and occupation. I haven’t seen your position on this, I would love to see how you could spin this in Kerry’s favor.

    ‘Colin Powell is the Sec. of State. He doesn’t work at the White House,’

    Huh? I thought the Sec. Of State was a member of the executive cabinet. Back to civics class.

    ‘and has put out statements at odds with the White House’s line on a number of occasions.’

    And has been used a number of times to ‘break’ unpleasant news to the press. Unpleasant news similar to ‘high explosives went missing at a known nuclear research facility and we have no idea when or who took them’. I think it is clear he is again being used in this capacity.

    ‘The 3rd Division was, and they confirmed the presence of the explosives.’

    What is your source?

    ‘Because he couldn’t possibly do a worse job.’

    Perhaps, although I am not convinced. I haven’t seen anything that inspires confidence. The only foreign policy item that diverges in any meaningful way from Bush’s is bilateral talks with N. Korea. Honestly, what the fuck is he thinking there?

  38. “I haven’t seen your position on this, I would love to see how you could spin this in Kerry’s favor.” Exactly the same way Kerry has repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly explained it, including in each of the three debates: it was right for the president to have the authority, but the way Bush used that authority was wrong. The credible threat of force should have been used as a tool to enforce the inspections. The inspectors should have been allowed to finish their job, which (it turns out) would have proven that there were no Iraqi WMDs without killing 1100+ Americans. A grand coalition of countries genuinely on our side, and not merely paying dues to get in our good graces, should have been put together to provide the political cover, funding, and personnel needed for the invasion. A realistic plan to secure the country, including sufficient troops, should have been created and followed. A contingency plan, to be implemented on the off chance Iraqis don’t take kindly to invading armies, should have been ready. Frankly, it’s odd to see a libertarian argue that, since the government has the power to do something, it must have done it right.

    The executive cabinet is not the White House, as the last four years of watching Powell get his leash yanked should have demonstrated.

    My source about the 3ID getting there first?
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2003/030405-chem-readiness01.htm

    Your definition of “any meaningful way” sets the bar pretty high, if you don’t see significant differences in how John Kerry would have preferred to handle the Iraq situation.

    As for the bilateral talks, our four partners on the issue – S. Korea, Japan, Russia, and China – all want there to be bilateral talks alongside the ongoing 6-party talks, which is exactly John Kerry’s position.

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