While Republicans Retrench, Dems Dither

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The Wash Post has an article about how Democratic foreign policy gurus remain undecided in crafting an alternative to the Bush admin and GOP Congress in Iraq. One takeaway from the story: Madeleine Albright remains a dunderhead, channeling equal parts Yoda and David Carradine in his Kung-Fu days:

"The American military is both the problem and the solution. They are a magnet [for insurgents] but they're also helping with security," she said, adding that Washington needs to ease Middle East anxieties by declaring it wants no permanent bases in Iraq.

Former presidential candidate and unregenerate sweater-wearer Wes Clark vied with Albright for penetrating analysis, sounding more like a '90s-era mid-manager than a blood-and-gutsers:

"Everybody wants to talk troops, but everyone knows we can't win this with troops alone," Clark said. The United States needs to make Iraq's neighbors, including Syria and Iran, "part of the solution, not part of the problem."

Richard Holbrooke–the intergalactic diplomat who most likely would have been John Kerry's secretary of state–puts it this way:

"I don't believe in an arbitrary drawdown, whether it's Vietnam or Bosnia or Iraq," said Holbrooke, adding that a departure must be "based on realities on the ground."

Whole thing here. These guys make the Bush admin look like rocket scientists (and not the sort who work for NASA). Matt Welch took a look at the rationales and rationalizations of "Temporary Doves" Albright and Clark in a must-read essay in the May 2004 Reason. It's online here.

NEXT: G.I. Jalal

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  1. This is the kind of bologna that always passes for “foreign policy thinking,” which is why we are in the fix we’re in.
    The US should have no “foreign policy.”

    (Anarchist speaking.)

  2. Seems to me their statements are very similar to that of the Bush administration. One key difference — they didn’t cause this mess.

  3. Exactly why should the Democrats have an “alternative” to Bush’s plan when they have no political power, and will not be in a position to set policy on Iraq until 2008 at the earliest? (Even if they take back the House in 2006, Bush is still President.)

    The spin last year was that if the Democrats get in they will implement evil pre-9/11 policies and turn terrorism into a law enforcement issue. (Apparently conservatives now hate law enforcement.) Now the spin has gone from “the Democrats have bad ideas” to “the Democrats have no ideas.”

    The equivalence beteween the Democrats and Republicans on the war issue is just a way of obscuring the obvious point: the Republicans are in the tank for the Bush administration, the Democrats are somewhat less in the tank for the Bush administration, and this is a huge difference in the context of a situation where total Republican power has allowed Bush/Cheney to do whatever they want. If only for that reason (that we need divided government again), the Democrats are better.

  4. Seems to me their statements are very similar to that of the Bush administration. One key difference — they didn’t cause this mess

    Hear, hear! It’s one thing to spout off the same platitudes that pass for foreign policy from the top of the administration; it’s another to pee in the fireplace and comment how much better the room smells.

  5. Makes “the Bush admin look like rocket scientists”? Um, no it doesn’t. It just means the Democrats are the “dumb” to the GOP’s “dumber”.

    As to the comment by Ruthless, I disagree. It’s the lack of a clearly thought out foreign policy – complete with comprehensive matrices and a solid methodology for addressing those variables – that got us into the fix we’re in. Well, that and corrupt Republicans, cowardly Democrats, jingoistic bloggers, a fearful, ignorant, nationalistic, and apathetic electorate, and a President with a twisted and destructive personal obsession.

  6. “Seems to me their statements are very similar to that of the Bush administration. One key difference — they didn’t cause this mess”

    This is the key point. It is the Bush doctrine that results in premptive war with no evidence. Democrats need to follow John Murtha’s lead and speak to the reality: leave Iraq to fend for itself.

  7. Just to be fair, Holbrooke’s quote is perfectly reasonable.

  8. I would (reasonably) argue that Al Qaeda started this mess.

    The logical conclusion to the current anti-war track is a return to the good ol’ client state mideast, with Israel taking care of the messy stuff. The problem is, the messy stuff is really messy:

    1) B. Lewis, F. Ajami, among others have estimated 1% of the male population of the middle east as easy recruiting targets for radicalism, that’s 10 million people.

    2) Iranian theocracy with atomic bombs, anyone?

    I realize that I can’t prove (with a smoking gun document or video) that Iran and Al Q. are working together, so I’ll go to bed safe from now on knowing that the combined pressure of the EU and UN (who are totally not easy to bribe or anything) will contain Iran and prevent them from becoming an atomic umbrella for every jihadist with a dream.

  9. Dave,
    Reread your second paragraph, and you’ll convince yourself the US will never have a “good” foreign policy.

  10. I would (reasonably) argue that Al Qaeda started this mess.

    Yes, those dastardly Al Qaeda guys started the Iraq war by conspiring to have almost no connection with Saddam, and forcing poor President Bush to convince the American people otherwise.

    The Iraq war has been Islamism’s best friend, and the Bush administration has done more to help Iran get nukes than it could have done if it was just directly handing over the material to ’em. The right-wing position boils down to, well, at least Bush is doing something. But any conservative or libertarian should know that doing something is often much, much worse than doing nothing.

  11. I wonder, does Sullivan have any alternatives? He whines about Bush (as he claims the Democrats do), and, from the pulpit of his all powerful blog, he has offered no alternatives (as he claims the Democrats have not). But I guess that’s what good patriots do.

  12. “I would (reasonably) argue that Al Qaeda started this mess.

    iraq?

    if that’s what you’re saying, i would suggest that’s as dumb as suggesting that 9/11 was “reagan’s fault for giving OBL his arms in afghanistan in the 80s”.

    if not, i apologize for the obnoxious comment.

  13. M.A. once again uses the ruse of “smoking gun” proof of direct Iraqi involvement with the New York attack(s) to divert attention from solid evidence of contact/support of Al Q. by Iraq through the 1990’s. I know you know who Stephen Hayes is. And even though the sonuvabitch writes for the most evil people in history, i.e., no-good, dastardly, “dual agenda” neocons, you can’t ignore his (and others) investigations on the matter.

    The first sentence of MA’s second paragraph is outlandish enough not to require a response. I appreciate the fear of unintended consequences, but the threat of hussein using oil-for-food funds to equip/aid Al. Q. was too high, IMO.

  14. “Seems to me their statements are very similar to that of the Bush administration. One key difference — they didn’t cause this mess.”

    Maybe I’ve been smoking too much, but didn’t Democrats vote FOR the war? Now, because of the Sheehan wing of the party, they’re trying to re-write history.

    So let’s assume that Bush was indeed a brilliant trickster (while being a total moron at the same time) in pushing for the invasion. Isn’t it Congress’ job to find facts and make conclusions independent of the executive? Where were all the criticisms and skepticism then?

    I share the pessimism of where this war will ultimately lead us. But the Democrats assuming the moral high-hand is hypocritical, to say the least. They’re just a bunch of ass clowns.

  15. I know you know who Stephen Hayes is. And even though the sonuvabitch writes for the most evil people in history, i.e., no-good, dastardly, “dual agenda” neocons, you can’t ignore his (and others) investigations on the matter.

    No, I can’t. I have read them, they add up to absolutely no proof of an operative connection betwen Iraq and Al-Qaeda (if anything they suggest the reality, which was that Saddam and Osama considered each other threats), and use a bunch of irrelevant factoids spun to suggest a smoking gun connection for the ignorant.

    The first sentence of MA’s second paragraph is outlandish enough not to require a response.

    In other words, you know it’s true — the Iraq war has helped Islamism by taking out a non-Islamist dictator and replacing it with an Islamist playground — but will not respond to it until Karl gives you the talking points.

  16. Actually, Madeleine Albright is dead-on. For the Iraqis, US plans for permanent military bases in Iraq are in fact the key issue. Note the disingenous Washington debate about “drawing down” forces — it’s not about leaving. Anyone who doubts the US’s intentions for a permanent presence in Iraq should check out Larry Diamond’s attempts to get the Bush administration on record about its plans for permanent bases in Iraq. Duck and weave, confuse and obfuscate, they do, but never answer the question.

  17. Maybe I’ve been smoking too much, but didn’t Democrats vote FOR the war?

    Even assuming they did, how does having been wrong then make them any less right now? Pointing out that the people out of power have been wrong about some things is just a way of distracting attention from the fact that the people in power are wrong about everything.

    Anyway, this is forgetting the most salient point about the 2003 debacle: once Hans Blix went in and didn’t find anything, many people realized that Saddam wasn’t the threat he was hyped up to be. In 2002 you could reasonably say that Iraq had WMDs and they needed to threaten war to force Saddam to disarm. After the inspectors went in, only a moron or anti-UN zealot could have failed to notice that something was wrong with the “Saddam is a threat” meme. The Bush administration didn’t care, and the right-wingers didn’t notice it because they’re foam-flecked UN-hating crazies who didn’t realize that Blix was more honest than Bush. But the point is, it’s not just that the Bush administration was lying in 2002, it’s that on the eve of the war they ignored all reality and pretended that Saddam was a threat when he clearly was not.

  18. > I realize that I can’t prove (with a smoking gun document or video) that Iran and Al Q. are working together,

    That’s even more ignorant than claiming a connection from al Quaeda to Iraq (which is a pretty ignorant starting point to be competing with) — it evidences a complete ignorance of basic Middle East politics. You want to start with a very simple review of Islamic history — at least learn the basics of Shia and Sunni, if not any of the successor splits — so you don’t sound so ridiculously uninformed…

  19. Maybe its the memory hole talking but I seem to recall seeing the vast majority of these democrats with their names on the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 as well as the war authority resolution in 2002. Somehow the excuse that they didnt really mean it, it was just a craven political ploy doesnt reassure me.

  20. Dave: fearful, ignorant, nationalistic, and apathetic electorate

    Uh… explain this one, bro. Isn’t apathy mutually exclusive with fear and nationalism?

  21. It seems that the posters here think that all the changes in Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Gaza, the UAE, and possibly the Ukraine are unrelated to OIF and the Bush foreign policy. When it is clear that those changes (with the possible exception of the Ukraine) came about BECAUSE of the Bush foreign policy (of which OIF was a major part), not in spite of it.

    The links between Saddam and Al Queda, and other Islamic terrorist organizations, have been shown ad nauseum. And the administration never claimed that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attack. Pres Bush’s opponents keep spouting that BS, in the hope that enough people will believe it. (And, unfortunately, that may end up happening.) In addition, the administration made it clear FROM THE BEGINNING, that the point of OIF was to keep Saddam from becoming a direct, significant threat, not that already was. An incredibly reasonable policy, based on Saddam’s history and lack of cooperation during the post-Desert Storm years.

    Any of those who oppose OIF think that continued sanctions were going to make the situation better? Any of those who oppose OIF think that the U.N. was going to make Saddam toe the line, had we only given them a little more time?

  22. Bitchy hipster posing aside, what exactly is Nick’s complaint about Albright and Clark’s comments?

    The American military ISN’T motivating the insurgency, and ISN’T responisible for most of the security in Iraq?

    Having regional powers cooperate in providing security ISN’T a good idea?

  23. M.A.

    In my smokey haze I remember something about Saddam kicking out the U.N. inspectors. By doing this, he derailed the international apologists from defending him. Without inspectors (as impotent as they were), there left a “good guess” that something big was going on. And that “good guess” is what the administration and the Congress acted on.

    But Democrats are trying to make us believe otherwise. They are clearly not being honest.

    All being said, I believe it probably would’ve been better if we left Saddam in power. And it’s not because he was the harmless teddy-bear that liberals are trying to paint him. He made war on his own people. And, for the west, that’s better then them banding together against us. Now we’re facing a Shiite super-majority. It’s not good. Not good.

  24. “he links between Saddam and Al Queda, and other Islamic terrorist organizations, have been shown ad nauseum. And the administration never claimed that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attack.”

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Freaking chuzpa, to actually write these sentences one after the other. Honesty, decency, credibility mean nothing to you people.

  25. In a smoky haze, I remember Hans Blix leading a team back into Iraq for several months, and issuing preliminary reports that the WMDs and programs had been eliminated.

  26. “And the administration never claimed that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attack.”

    you oughta edit jackets of children’s books.

    you have got to be the most danish american i’ve ever seen.

  27. joe:

    I thought the war was predicated on the fact that Saddam was violating UN mandate.

    And, if what you say is true, why didn’t the Democrats act on this?

  28. And, if what you say is true, why didn’t the Democrats act on this?

    By the time Blix went in and didn’t find anything, the Democrats were in the minority in both houses and were in no position to stop Bush from doing anything, however ridiculous.

  29. Exactly why should the Democrats have an “alternative” to Bush’s plan when they have no political power, and will not be in a position to set policy on Iraq until 2008 at the earliest?

    Because until they tell us just what they will do if we vote for them, they give us no reason to vote for them.

    Sorry, but “we don’t have a plan, and we won’t have one until you put us in power” is more of a pout than a strategy.

    Say, joe, I know my memory is faulty and all, but when did the Bush Administration claim that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attack? I seem to recall them pinning it on bin Laden beginning on, gee, 9/11.

  30. Joe,
    Links to Al Queda are a separate issue from links to 9/11. Do you deny the validity of the published connections between Saddam and al Queda?

    And please show where the administration claimed that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attack.

    You don’t seem to realize that this struggle against the Islamic terrorists is multi-faceted, and needs to be proactive as much as reactive.

    Do you deny the link between the Bush foreign policy (including OIF) and the moves toward reform in the Middle Eastern nations that I noted?

  31. Mistah Niceguy,

    “I thought the war was predicated on the fact that Saddam was violating UN mandate.

    The war was predicated on preempting a threat allegedly posed to the United States by Iraq’s WMDs. The deepseated, genuine affection for UN resolutions that is suddenly common among hawks came about after the initial pretext collapsed.

    “And, if what you say is true, why didn’t the Democrats act on this?” Many did. They urged Bush to allow the inspection program to continue, and reminded the president that he had said, during the debate over the Force Authorization bill, that war was not inevitable, that this was not a vote for war, and that the purpose of the vote was to strengthen our hand as we worked to eliminated the WMD threat.

  32. In other words, the Democrats can’t find an intelligent way to deal with the current situation in Iraq. That makes them exactly like the Republicans.

    Let’s see, whose idea was it to get into this mess, again?

  33. You don’t seem to realize that this struggle against the Islamic terrorists is multi-faceted, and needs to be proactive as much as reactive.

    Dude, if the Bush administration cared about the struggle against Islamic terrorists, they would not have attacked Iraq. End of story. They wanted to attack Iraq, so they played on the public’s erroneous belief that Saddam was a pal of Osama. (That’s why they didn’t have to claim, directly, that Saddam was connected to 9/11; all they had to do was say that the Iraq war was a response to 9/11, and they knew that people would interpret it to mean that Saddam was behind the attacks.)

    Believing that Iraq was connected to the GWoT was, as Steve Sailer says, just a matter of racial revenge: “Some Arab Muslims blew up the World Trade Center, so we blew up some Arab Muslims.” Otherwise, Bush is, as always, the Islamists’ best friend.

  34. Well, fellas, off the top of my head, there were the multiple press appearances in which Dick Cheney continued to flog the Atta/Iraqi intelligence meeting months after the 9/11 report debunked it.

    You can knock of the fevered revisionism, btw. We all lived through the three years after 9/11, and read the news.

  35. It was only a matter of time before the Juan Cole school phoned in, courtesy af Alhuyab: Please take your fallacy of argument from authority and sell it to the tourists.

    Unless you can be 100% sure that never in the rich, complex history of Islam has one group ever formed a temporary alliance with an apparently opposed group to achieve a common purpose. After 9/11, it’s stupid not to assume that among our radical Muslim buddies that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    Damn it!! MA is right, Karl’s blackberry is down!!

  36. Now that I’ve been witness to you all pissing all over each other, I feel really enlightened.

  37. Unless you can be 100% sure that never in the rich, complex history of Islam has one group ever formed a temporary alliance with an apparently opposed group to achieve a common purpose. After 9/11, it’s stupid not to assume that among our radical Muslim buddies that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    So war is necessary unless you’re 100% certain that it’s not necessary. On that basis, the U.S. needs to go to war with every country in the world. Which may be what you want, but….

    This is where I think the “chickenhawk” argument has some validity: many of the contemporary right-wingers seem to think war should be the first resort, that war is good unless you can prove otherwise, that war is no big deal. Certainly many military people support the war, but I don’t think they’re in love with war to this extent.

  38. “Juan Cole School” = “People who know more than me about the Middle East”

    Hey, people like Jason O have been perfectly upfront with their feelings about the “academic elite.”

  39. Well, fellas, off the top of my head, there were the multiple press appearances in which Dick Cheney continued to flog the Atta/Iraqi intelligence meeting months after the 9/11 report debunked it.

    Linky?

    Was the connection flogged as an example of the general proposition that Saddam supported terrorism, or as support for the claim that Saddam was responsible for 9/11?

    I thought the Czechs were standing fast on their claim about Atta meeting with the Iraqis, anyway.

  40. It just means the Democrats are the “dumb” to the GOP’s “dumber”.

    Only if they can demonstrate themselves to be less dumb. Which I don’t think they have.

  41. Yo, Mark Buehner,

    What does the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 have to do with what GeeDubya did post 9/11? The act does support a free Iraq, but nowhere does it talk about the use of force.

    Red herring, anyone?

  42. We all lived through the three years after 9/11, and read the news.

    Yeah, me too. And I don’t recall anyone saying we should finish the war with Iraq because Saddam knocked down the World Trade Center. I can recall several reasons being given for the invasion, but not that one.

  43. RC, you can find your own linky if you’d like to. I recall, in particular, Tim Russert asking, “Was Saddam Hussein responsible for the attacks on 9/11?” and Cheney saying, “Well, we don’t know…” and then saying that we do know that Mohammad Atta met with Iraqi intelligence shortly before the attacks. This was some months after the 9/11 Commission released its report. But if Czech intelligence stands by it…

  44. You’re very good at knowing exactly what you want to be true, RC. I’m not arguing with you about this, because it’s proven to be futile.

    Isn’t there a famous quote about nationalists being good at not knowing things?

  45. That’s a hilariously non-substantive weak response, joe.

    No MA, I’m just killing two birds w/ one stone by dealing with:
    1) Al H’s weak attempt at intellectual bullying without any substance.

    2) And your assertion that because the Baath party is not de jure Islamic, then Hussein was no threat– Recall that Syria = Baath party. Syria = Hall of Fame state sponsor of terrorism.

  46. Well, I made it response to a hilariously non-substantive, weak assertion – namely, if MA couldn’t demontrate that there has never, ever been an alliance of convenience in Middle Eastern history, that we have to assume the Iranian regime is working with Al Qaeda.

  47. You’re either misunderstanding or intentionally conflating my comments. I was responding to the assertion that Islamic tradition categorically prevents an Iran and Al Q. alliance. It’s clear that (a supposedly secular Baathist) Iraq and Al Q. had a relationship. The 9/11 commission gets around it by saying there was no “operational” relationship relating to 9/11. That’s an ass-covering way to deal w/the subsequent revelations about the contacts between Iraq and Al Q. in the 90’s.

    The new prez in Tehran…you know, the guy who led American hostages around? He sais recently that Israel really ought to not exist. Can you really not envision a scenario whereby this person helps Al Q?

  48. I’ve got a feeling the Republicans will make a smooth transition to the “withdraw from Iraq” party and will begin doing so, which will make the 2006 election a lot less painful for them than it could have been. Meanwhile the dems will be stuck holding the half-assed “stay the course” bag, especially if the Lieberman replaces Rummy, as is making the rounds again. Name a democrat Sec Def right before the poo gets thickest? These guys are so good.

  49. What the probability that the powers-that-be at Reason use this topic as a sure fire way to get 50+ post comment threads?

    I wonder, is there some kind of quota that they have?

  50. Jason O.
    For future reference, the quota is 69, minimum.

  51. “I was responding to the assertion that Islamic tradition categorically prevents an Iran and Al Q. alliance.”

    I realize that. I also realize that your response was ‘Unless you can be 100% sure that never in the rich, complex history of Islam has one group ever formed a temporary alliance with an apparently opposed group to achieve a common purpose. After 9/11, it’s stupid not to assume that among our radical Muslim buddies that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”‘

    “The new prez in Tehran…you know, the guy who led American hostages around? He sais recently that Israel really ought to not exist. Can you really not envision a scenario whereby this person helps Al Q?” Considering that Al Qaeda has been bombing Shiite mosques in Pakistan and Iraq, and has declared Shiites to be infidels, no, I cannot imagine a scenario in which they cooperate.

    “It’s clear that (a supposedly secular Baathist) Iraq and Al Q. had a relationship.” No, it’s not. “The 9/11 commission gets around it by saying there was no “operational” relationship relating to 9/11.” There wasn’t. “That’s an ass-covering way to deal w/the subsequent revelations about the contacts between Iraq and Al Q. in the 90’s.” No, it’s a straightforward way to say that they weren’t working together, and that almost all of their “contacts” involved efforts by the Iraqi intelligence service to infilitrate a group they considered a threat.

  52. This is the third time I’ve tried to post this, hopefully the server squirrels are back from lunch. I apologize for any duplication.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    “Linky?” (re: Cheney discussing Atta):

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10244-2004Oct5.html (collects Cheney remarks on the subject)

    http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/09/16/168251 (describes how Czechs, FBI, and CIA cannot find evidence Atta even visited Prague during the time alleged, let alone met with a representative of Iraqi intelligence)

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007584 (notes that the Iraqi intelligence officer identified as having met with Atta was captured over two years ago and denies ever meeting Atta)

    So, the only evidence that anyone ever had was an unverified eye witness report of an Iraqi intelligence officer meeting someone in Prague who wasn’t identified as Atta until after 9/11, i.e., five months later, for which there is no paper trail, and the other party who was at the alleged meeting denies having met the suspect.

  53. My excellent friend, Waki Paki, was just giving me his more-or-less daily Iraqi tutorial. He follows the situation better than most here because he can understand al Jazeera and other media of that sort. He was specifically talking of the assassination attempt on the former PM over there.
    His bottom line about Iraq is that it’s anarchy in the whole steenking country. I immediately chastised him that he meant to say “chaos.” (He really did mean “chaos.” We must try to be tolerant of those for whom English is the second language.)

  54. Joe –

    What kind of relationship would you say the Islamist (and genocidal) government of Sudan had with the “secular” Iraq in the 1990’s?

    Didn’t Clinton (with Clark and Sandy Berger’s urging) bomb the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant believing that the secular Baathists were helping the Islamist Sudanese build WMD’s?

    Was the Clinton Administration (including Clark) wrong in their assessment back then? I have not seen them correct the record yet.

  55. Joe –

    What kind of relationship would you say the Islamist (and genocidal) government of Sudan had with the “secular” Iraq in the 1990’s?

    Didn’t Clinton (with Clark and Sandy Berger’s urging) bomb the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant believing that the secular Baathists were helping the Islamist Sudanese build WMD’s?

    Was the Clinton Administration (including Clark) wrong in their assessment back then? I have not seen them correct the record yet.

  56. Sadaam did not kick out the weapons inspectors. The left because Clinton was perparing to bomb the shit out of Iraq (anyone remember Desert Fox?) because he got caught cheating on his wife. Ah sex and war, the endless cycle of of the universe…

  57. Bravo, Joe. I have greatly enjoyed watching you dismantle the tired, bankrupt rantings of the sock puppets RC and Jason O and the others.

    This is my favorite quote from Cheney, via the WaPo article:

    On Sept. 8, 2002, Cheney, again on “Meet the Press,” said that Atta “did apparently travel to Prague. . . . We have reporting that places him in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer a few months before the attacks on the World Trade Center.” And a year ago, also on “Meet the Press,” Cheney described Iraq as part of “the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11.”

    a few months before the attacks on the World Trade Center. So, RC, where are you now? Karl hasn’t gotten back to you yet, huh?

    why don’t you start by explaining how 53 percent of Americans beleived Iraq was responsible for Sept. 11.

    or, just shut up.

  58. “The 9/11 commission gets around it by saying there was no “operational” relationship relating to 9/11.” There wasn’t. “That’s an ass-covering way to deal w/the subsequent revelations about the contacts between Iraq and Al Q. in the 90’s.” No, it’s a straightforward way to say that they weren’t working together, and that almost all of their “contacts” involved efforts by the Iraqi intelligence service to infilitrate a group they considered a threat.

    Joe, you seem to put a lot of faith in what is undoubtably this century’s version of the Warren Commission.

  59. joe, lest you continue this charade that Iraq’s only contact with Al Q. was for “infiltration” purposes:

    Again, Stephen Hayes reporting:

    According to press reports at the time, Faruq Hijazi, deputy director of Iraqi Intelligence, met with bin Laden in Afghanistan on December 21, 1998, to offer bin Laden safe haven in Iraq. CIA reporting in the memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee seems to confirm this meeting and relates two others.

    15. A foreign government service reported that an Iraqi delegation, including at least two Iraqi intelligence officers formerly assigned to the Iraqi Embassy in Pakistan, met in late 1998 with bin Laden in Afghanistan.
    16. According to CIA reporting, bin Laden and Zawahiri met with two Iraqi intelligence officers in Afghanistan in Dec. 1998.

    17. . . . Iraq sent an intelligence officer to Afghanistan to seek closer ties to bin Laden and the Taliban in late 1998. The source reported that the Iraqi regime was trying to broaden its cooperation with al Qaeda. Iraq was looking to recruit Muslim “elements” to sabotage U.S. and U.K. interests. After a senior Iraqi intelligence officer met with Taliban leader [Mullah] Omar, arrangements were made for a series of meetings between the Iraqi intelligence officer and bin Laden in Pakistan. The source noted Faruq Hijazi was in Afghanistan in late 1998.

    18. . . . Faruq Hijazi went to Afghanistan in 1999 along with several other Iraqi officials to meet with bin Laden. The source claimed that Hijazi would have met bin Laden only at Saddam’s explicit direction.

    An analysis that follows No. 18 provides additional context and an explanation of these reports:

    Reporting entries #4, #11, #15, #16, #17, and #18, from different sources, corroborate each other and provide confirmation of meetings between al Qaeda operatives and Iraqi intelligence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. None of the reports have information on operational details or the purpose of such meetings. The covert nature of the relationship would indicate strict compartmentation [sic] of operations.

    You’re trying really hard to stick to the premise that because we have no evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11, then Iraq was never involved with Al Q. That’s disingenuous.

  60. I thought Atta was in Florida when we was supposedly meeting an Iraqi operative in Prague?

  61. Regardless of whether or not Iraq and A-Q ever had contact, there is no evidence that they ever got anything off the ground. Perhaps they had a falling out? Perhaps the Iraqis were interested in buying uranium through bin Laden’s connections, and stopped returning his calls when it became clear Osama couldn’t produce? The point is, we’ll never know, because when we invaded NOTHING WAS FOUND.

    Yup, after everyone told us they knew where the weapons were, and they knew where the training camps were, and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, enough to scare Middle America with visions of mushroom clouds over Miami…they found ZIP.

    So we can continue the discussion about angels on pinheads, but in the end, the reasons were went to war–and Congress voted for war–were FALSE.

  62. Jason O:

    Why do you soley rely on Stephen Hayes?

  63. Hey, now, if Stephen Hayes writes something about Iraq in the Weekly Standard, it must be true. When have they ever steered us wrong about Iraq, and threats emanating therein?

    I’ve enjoyed the slandering of the 9/11 Commission ever since Richard Clarke’s testimony. Those damn partisan dupes, who are you going to believe, the guy who prosecuted the Watergate conspirators or Dick Cheney? Ha ha ha.

  64. Watters: Because Stephen Hayes is one of the few serious people who is interested in the actual picture under the veneer of the traditional antiwar ruse, i.e., “If no evidence re: Iraq and 9/11, then no relationship between Iraq or Al Qaeda ever existed.

    (Also because I’m posting on a comment thread and he’s easily accessible)

    joe: Keep those ad hominem attacks coming…don’t comment on the validity of the research….it boosts your argument to new heights.

  65. Couldn’t it be argued we had ‘contacts’ with OBL in the 80s so we should invade ourselves now so that another 9/11 doesn’t happen???

  66. JustWondering,
    Couldn’t it be argued we ARE invading ourselves?
    Homeland Security costs a fortune, is a pain in our (fill in blank), and it is doomed to fail.

    Reminds me of the country music song: “I am my own Grandpa”: The USA is its own Vietnam.

  67. Stella,

    What does the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 have to do with what GeeDubya did post 9/11? The act does support a free Iraq, but nowhere does it talk about the use of force.

    Red herring, anyone?

    Mmmm, not entirely.

    Clinton did publicly endorse Bush before the invasion, saying something to the effect that Iraq had been a lingering problem that needed dealing with.

    Then there’s this from RC Dean,

    I thought the Czechs were standing fast on their claim about Atta meeting with the Iraqis, anyway.

    Maybe they are. I dunno. Everybody has thrown so much mud at each other about the pre-war “intelligence” that I don’t even pretend to know who is telling the truth, and who isn’t.

    I do recall reading in the MSM that European leaders (including France, Germany, and much of the UN) seemed to pretty much believe that Saddam probably was a threat. Which left me to wonder why they were so opposed to invading Iraq. Until the oil for food scam went public, and then it was clear.

    Bush, meanwhile, claimed to know where he was going to find TBS (The Bad Stuff) in Iraq. But the cupboard proved to be bare.

    So Bush has no credibility. And the Democrats and Europeans and UN have no credibility either.

    All of which leads us to this brilliant conclusion:

    In other words, the Democrats can’t find an intelligent way to deal with the current situation in Iraq. That makes them exactly like the Republicans.

    Let’s see, whose idea was it to get into this mess, again?

    The Democrats and Republicans are asses of equal size and weight. Just look at how close the elections tend to run.

    So what difference does it make who started the mess? Either was equally capable.

    JustWondering,
    Couldn’t it be argued we ARE invading ourselves?
    Homeland Security costs a fortune, is a pain in our (fill in blank), and it is doomed to fail.

    Now that’s the best thing I’ve found on this whole thread. 🙂

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