Iraq

Et tu, Brute?

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He's lost the troops, now he's lost the Senate. Presumably he still has Laura and Barney (along with McCain and Lieberman). Surge, George, surge!

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  1. Considering that the Senate was designed to put the brakes on bad legislation such as the AUMF, this is a very sad example of buyers’ remorse.

    Repeal the 17th Amendment!

  2. God help us. . we have a president for whom “criticiizing policy ” means “lack of support”.

    If someone says “Don’t do that or you’ll get us all killed”, and they are basing their warning on informed opinion, I’d like to think they’re being supportive.

    I guess not, though.

  3. I’m glad to hear Republican former Senators speaking out against this travesty. It will make it easier for the Dems to flex their muscles and pull the plug on this.

  4. Hey, I don’t even know where Iraq is.

  5. I do not find it at all satisfactory for a Senator to say “I was pressured.” They had a responsibility to use their judgment.

    Like most people at the time, I was convinced that Saddam Hussien had WMD. This was based not only on the ‘intelligence reports’ – which I believed were accurate – but the SH’s behaviour at the time, which convinced me he was hiding something. Nevertheless, I was opposed to the invasion, based mainly on my conviction that the US would find itself an occupying power fighting a guerrilla war.

    The likelihood of a guerrilla war was obvious to anyone who looked at the history of invasions, especially recent history. The Senators had a duty to think this matter through. They did not. On their heads be it.

  6. Look on the other side of President Bush.

    President Bush is between Iraq and a hard place.

  7. A recent poll of Saddam Hussein also shows he wishes he could do it over again. Let’s all just call this one a mulligan.

  8. We’ll surely be needing some fresh troops…
    how ’bout dem two drunk dotters?

  9. I do not find it at all satisfactory for a Senator to say “I was pressured.” They had a responsibility to use their judgment.

    I agree, although I would love to know what sort of hardball this White House is playing. If it’s just “No pork for you!” then, yeah, no sympathy here. OTOH, who knows what these guys are willing to do? Blackmail? Threats to ruin the careers of family members? In a nation with enough laws and regulations, everybody is committing at least one crime, and if they dig deep enough they can find it.

    “Gee, Senator, there’s this minor discrepancy on your elderly mother’s old tax return. You know, the IRS can get really carried away sometimes, there’s no telling what they might do over this. And it would be a shame if we discovered any undocumented immigrants working in the restaurant that your daughter just opened.”

    I’m not here to make excuses for any Senators who voted for the war, but I’m genuinely curious about the pressure that was put on them. If this gang of thugs was willing to out a CIA employee, who knows where they’ll go? (Yes, yes, I know, Valerie Plame wasn’t exactly 007, but she had to go overseas and talk to people who didn’t want anybody else knowing they were talking to a CIA agent.)

  10. Looks like the plans were leaked to the media:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=G2_VZ2Guwc4

  11. Aresen,

    Your post at 12:41 was both profound and insightful
    You post at 12:42 was accurate but lame.

    Thoreau, good point about the kind of pressure.

    Still, almost every answer outside of “being pressured” had to do with faulty intelligence, “knowing what we know now” or “we were lied to.”

    Where was the Intelligence Committee on the faulty intelligence? Why weren’t they kicking up some dust about Tenet getting the Medal of Freedom? Why aren’t they calling the president on the carpet about lies?”

    If losing elections doesn’t get some rethinking republicans off their asses and demanding some answers from Bush, then the election turn around didn’t mean squat.

    More interestingly,

  12. I’ve been dying to know…did that massive majority of people who really believed there were WMD watch the same news I did? Colin Powell presented our case for war to the UN with what, a grainy photo of a pickup truck with a barrel in the back? C’mon, we were laughed out of the UN security council, and that takes some work.
    Maybe I’m omniscient, but really, what evidence did ya’ll see that I missed?

  13. J. Clarke,

    I’m pretty sure the unanswered questions of the ’98 UNSCOM report were critical. And it was even on the internets.

  14. Maybe I’m omniscient, but really, what evidence did ya’ll see that I missed?

    Well, Saddam was not a nice guy, believing he might of had WMD’s didn’t really require much evidence to support it. Indeed, it was believable even in abscence of any positive evidence.

    I objected to the war not because I was in doubt of the presence of the WMD’s, but because it’s pretty clear even if he did have them, that was not necessarily a threat to the US. Obviously, Iraq would not have invaded the US outright, and as for supplying WMD’s to terrorist groups, well, terrorists don’t use military grade weapons, they’re the McGyver types. They use box-cutters, home made bombs, etc. Military grade weapons usually require – surprise! – a military to deploy and operate them. It’s not like driving an ICBM down the freeway on the back of a pickup truck would go unnoticed, and as far as I know, the terrorists don’t have an air force at their disposal to bomb us with.

    Any of the weapons terrorists are likely to use would have been available from plenty of places besides Saddam.

  15. Maybe those pictures of women huddled with their babies, with snot coming out of their noses, having died in unspeakable pain from Saddam’s Chemical warfare against his OWN people? And don’t tell me that it was years before, because if he could do it once (again, to his OWN people), he could do it again (maybe even to us?). There were many reasons to be against the war in Iraq. Certainty that Hussein did not have WMDs was not one of them.

  16. At the time I didn’t believe that SH had C, B or N weapons, for three reasons:
    * A decade of sanctions.
    * It was the Bushites reporting weapons, and they are known liars.
    * They are also known cowards, and would never threaten anyone who could threaten back.

  17. Johnny Clarke

    With respect to the WMD evidence, I confess to intellectual laziness: I made the assumption that what the US Administration was presenting was accurate to the best of their knowledge and did not misrepresent the situation.* Saddam Hussein’s previous efforts in building WMD, found after the first Gulf War, and what appeared to be obstructionism towards the UN inspectors confirmed my belief.

    *In fairness to the Administration, I think they believed that there were WMD. My take on that is that groupthink prevailed: Evidence to the contrary was dismissed rather than analyzed as a proper check on their assumptions.

    thoreau

    I see your point on pressure, but I think that any outright blackmail would have backfired. One thing Senators do have is big egos. Pressure like you suggest would have sent them to the media with a line like “I know momma made a mistake, but I won’t give in to this kind of blackmail.” Fear of “not being a team player” would have been a more effective stick.

    madpad

    Yeah. The 12:42 comment was lame, but so was the “Barney” line I was replying to.

  18. Had Bill Clinton not used the WMD issue to divert attention from his domestic problems, maybe Bush might have been a little more skeptical. Most people believed the wmd thing because leaders of both parties believed it. With the CIA director offering terms like slam dunk, it is hard not to believe it. Blaming the whole wmd debacle on Bush ignores history. It scores you a few brownie points, but it shows that you are either ignorant, partisan or both.

  19. Johnny Clarke,

    I agree. I believe most Americans wanted something more satisfying than the “secret war conducted in the shadows” that the war on terror started out to be. The neocons were happy to oblige with a highly visible, old-fashioned war in Iraq.

    I felt the same way about Powell’s UN speech. Basically, they had nothing but cherry-picked, gut-feel musings parading as intelligence assessments from the same people who completely missed 9/11 even though al-qaeda had openly declared war on the U.S. years before. Don’t need hindsight for that one.

    Are you omniscient? I don’t know. Maybe you have some life experience that gives you an unusual insight into the Middle East and/or the workings of U.S. foreign policy.

    My step father (a NASCAR-watching, red-neck, hillbilly who is a great guy and one of my favorite relatives) thought the administration was lying because, as a young airman stationed in Greenland in the early 50s, he was loading piles of weapons onto to Air Force cargo planes bound for Indochina while that U.S. administration was denying that kind of involvement.

    I got a visa and was able to travel pretty freely in Iraq due to a bureaucratic loophole in 1987. I was also pretty fluent in Arabic at the time. While I completed appreciated how much of a bad guy he was, I also understood that the administration was frequently spouting gross exaggeration and outright bullshit.

    The clincher for me was the way the initial invasion was planned and conducted. To use the administration’s jargon of the day, if your primary objective is to secure small, hard-to-detect, highly mobile WMD weapons caches and labs in a country the size of CA with porous borders so they don’t fall into the hands of Islamist terrorists you go in with the biggest you can to do the job. The U.S. only invaded with enough troops to overthrow Saddam’s gov’t which, logically, was only a milestone.

    If you believed their initial definition of the threat, then you must also conclude that the plan demonstrated them to liars or incompetents. Either way, they are highly dangerous.

  20. Geez, my post was pretty mangled. Besides the obvious misspellings and omitted words, “how much of a bad guy he was” refers to Saddam.

  21. I believed at the time that Saddam did not have WMDs in any quantity. But I felt that once sanctions were lifted (as France and Russia) were pushing for) that he would quickly revert to form.

    I was willing to allow the U.S. to invade but only if they were going with sufficient force, not merely to win the war, but to keep the peace afterwards. As soon as I heard that Bush had cancelled orders sending German-based U.S. troops into Iraq, I knew that the war was in for a long slog.

    At best, I expected it to take a decade or more for a vibrant democracy to form.

  22. The clincher for me was the way the initial invasion was planned and conducted. To use the administration’s jargon of the day, if your primary objective is to secure small, hard-to-detect, highly mobile WMD weapons caches and labs in a country the size of CA with porous borders so they don’t fall into the hands of Islamist terrorists you go in with the biggest you can to do the job. The U.S. only invaded with enough troops to overthrow Saddam’s gov’t which, logically, was only a milestone.

    If you believed their initial definition of the threat, then you must also conclude that the plan demonstrated them to liars or incompetents. Either way, they are highly dangerous.

    That’s a good point.

    Pressure like you suggest would have sent them to the media with a line like “I know momma made a mistake, but I won’t give in to this kind of blackmail.” Fear of “not being a team player” would have been a more effective stick

    That’s also a good point.

  23. Had Bill Clinton not used the WMD issue to divert attention from his domestic problems, maybe Bush might have been a little more skeptical.

    That’s lying crap and you know it, James. It’s pathetic how folks keep trying to absolve Bush’s incompetence by (still) trying to blame everything on Clinton.

    The (only) good thing about all of this lately is that most of my rabid conservative friends have finally shut the fuck up and stopped trying to ram Bush down my throat in otherwise polite company and turning every cookout into an uncomfortable situation where only Fox new zealots are allowed to have an opinion and the rest of us avoid the topic.

    The bad compliment to that is that it’s only made the die hards look just that more pathetic and looney

  24. Hey, I don’t even know where Iraq is.

    Well, that’s something you have in common with 71%* of the American people. But, then, you’re a dog; I wonder what their excuse is.

    Where was the Intelligence Committee on the faulty intelligence?

    Senator Graham, ranking Democrat, formed his antiwar position on the basis of the same testimony that all the other members heard. That is, all the members other than one of his colleagues who had more important things to do than attend committee sessions. Of course, that colleague went on to become the party’s presidential nominee while Senator Graham was ridiculed as an obsessive-compulsive who paid attention to details. Way to go Democrats, nominate a flashy media-whore and pass over someone with executive experience and a clue as to what ordinary people think.

    *Wild ass hyperbolic guess, made for effect rather than actual accuracy.

  25. Alright, being magnanimous as well as prescient, I’ll admit there were reasons to believe Saddam had WMD. And Saddam was a bastard, no question about that. I’ll even be honest and admit I voted for Bush in 2000, so yes, I’ve made mistakes too.
    But, for all the well-founded cynicism against government I see in my fellow Americans, I was stunned at the wide-eyed acceptance they displayed at the “overwhelming” evidence of WMD, most of which the government couldn’t show us because, y’know, security concerns.
    We all know governments will bald-faced lie to its people to start a war. It’s always happened and it always will happen. It’s happened before right here in the US of A. In a Democracy I, as a citizen, demand some real evidence that another country is a serious, immediate threat before we start launching pre-emptive wars. I never saw that evidence.
    Eh well, all water over the bridge now. Is everyone going to believe the government 20-30 years from now when it happens again?

  26. WMD wasn’t the reason I supported the war anyway.I wanted Iraq so that the oil would continue to flow when we started leaning on the real source of terrorism, Saudi Arabia. I suspect oil security was a big part of it for Bush, too. Only he couldn’t mention that reasonable national interest in the face of all the “war for oil” crap from the left.

  27. I suspect oil security was a big part of it for Bush, too…

    Oh my God! The heavens have fallen and the deluge is upon us. James Ard actually made an intelligent point and wrote something I agree with. Of course he couched it in the unvirtuous position of sending our soldiers to die so he could pay less at the pump. And he naively asserted that Bush actually would ever put the screws to the House of Saud.

    Still…where Ard is concerned, one out of three ain’t bad…

  28. madpad, surely you are aware that oil prices effect a hell of a lot more than the price at the pump. A severe oil shock would cost us millions of jobs, a large portion of our GDP and probably a few hundred poor folks would freeze to death. Yea, I’m worried about my wallet, right. Yor are correct that Bush wouldn’t knowingly pressure the Saudis, his library and family fortune dependent on them. But had we killed enough Sunnis to win Iraq, they might have gotten a message.

  29. And please, no more mentions of a deluge. Any more rain here in SE LA and I’ll be conducting business in waders.

  30. But had we killed enough Sunnis to win Iraq, they might have gotten a message.

    Have you considered that maybe that’s why we didn’t kill enough Sunnis. Bush has denied the realities of the Sunni-Shiite imbalance from the start. As for the oil stability issue, obviously I understand it which is why I applauded your (one) accurate assertion.

    What I don’t understand is why you thought sending too few U.S. troops to disrupt a country that already had a stable oil flow (doesn’t anymore) was going to help anything.

  31. If enough troops at the beginning could have won the war, why can’t enough troops now win the war?

  32. So 15,000-30,000 more troops would have one the war? Don’t think so Ard. Most estimates said we needed 10 times that many more troops.

    As for winning it now? Not with equipment and troops already exhausted and a population unwilling to waste anymore. Sorry, that ship sailed a long time ago.

  33. Oh really? I expect that there are still plenty, if not more, angry Shiites willing to help take the Sunnis out of the picture.

  34. I expect that there are still plenty, if not more, angry Shiites willing to help take the Sunnis out of the picture.

    And it looks like they’ll get the chance in the very near future.

  35. Maybe those pictures of women huddled with their babies, with snot coming out of their noses, having died in unspeakable pain from Saddam’s Chemical warfare against his OWN people?

    Funny thing about that – out of 5000 alleged deaths in that attack, not one body has been recovered for autopsy, and somehow, those 5000 didn’t make it into court for Saddam to be charged with their deaths.

    The pretty pictures are all very nice, but there’s nothing in them that identifies when or where they were taken. And, of course, you can’t do an autopsy on a photograph.

    Does anyone else smell a rat here?

  36. James Ard, whatever might be said about the merits of shedding blood for oil, the fact is that the flow of Iraqi oil is hardly secure as a result of our actions. I don’t know how much oil they’re pumping right now, but the chaos means that Iraqi oil supplies can hardly be described as “secure.” It would not be wise to bet on continued oil production in Iraq.

    Say what you will about the problem as it existed in 2003, but things have been made objectively worse for the US, not better: The flow of oil from Iraq is not secure or assured, US forces are bogged down in a mess, we’re in no position to challenge any other country in the region should there be a situation in need of military action, and radical Shia militias (presumably with ties to Iran) seem to be the dominant powers in Iraq.

  37. Don’t count on it, madpad. Without US troops around or without huge donations of armour, Sunnis likely regain control of the country. And with an enhanced reason to hit America, if they didn’t already in Oklahoma City, we’re certainly no safer.

  38. Thoreau, I wouldn’t say three thousand in four years is “bogged down in a mess”. And if need be, Isreal can kick anyone’s ass in the region, no sweat. And if we eventually have to face down Iran and it’s proxy’s in Iraq and Lebanon, at least we’ll know who we’re fighting.

  39. Thoreau, I wouldn’t say three thousand in four years is “bogged down in a mess”.

    Being bogged down isn’t about body counts, it’s about whether we are able to undertake additional action as needed. Would you say that the US military is really ready to fight another war in the region if a dire situation should emerge in the near future?

  40. I’d say Isreal did alright when the last one broke out. Are they even out of Lebanon yet?

  41. Anyway, what’s to keep us from temporarily using our troops in Iraq from fighting somewhere else? it’s not like an extra few thouthand sectarian deaths are going to matter in the whole scheme of things. It might actually help things.

  42. In fact, describe the “dire” situation in the region and I’ll tell you how we should deal with it.

  43. Oh really? I expect that there are still plenty, if not more, angry Shiites willing to help take the Sunnis out of the picture.

    Ethnic clensing! Fantastic. Why didn’t I think of that?

  44. Without US troops around or without huge donations of armour, Sunnis likely regain control of the country.

    You’re an ignorant fool, Ard.

    The Shiites outnumber Sunnis 2 to 1. The most significant place where Sunnis are in the majority is al Anbar province. While it is the largest province, it also has almost no oil.

    It is also home to a large portion of the violence and insurgenies – that include Shiite militias and Al Qaeda. In other words, in addition to fighting everyone else, the Sunnis are fighting each other.

    No one can say with any degree of certainly which faction would likely gain control of Iraq as a whole. One COULD say with a reasonable degree of certainty that Sunnis won’t be controlling the north (Kurdish territory). It’s also unlikely they’ll get the oil-rich regions on the Iranian border currently controlled by Shiites.

  45. If they ever make a movie about Laura and Barney, McCain could play Laura and Lieberman could play Barney.
    Hey! It could happen!

  46. Whatever the prospects in Iraq, my prediction is that we won’t hear any counter-rebuttals from James Ard – now that it’s been made clear he’s just pulling facts out of his fetid, diseased lower intestine. But hey, I’ve been wrong before.

    There might a couple more flippant references to genocide, but I believe that’s only because he is 13 years old.

    Just remember… anybody can say anything.

  47. McCain could play Laura

    Good idea…they’ve both been screwed by George Bush at least once.

  48. I gave the adminstration the benefit of the doubt when they initially made their charges, but then they kept falling apart. The aluminum tubes – lie. The unmanned drones of death – lie. The yellowcake – lie. And they were all disproven before the war.

    After a certain point, when you catch the used-car salesman in his third lie, you just have to walk away from the deal. People who believed Bush’s case about Iraqi WMDs before the war demonstrated an astounding lack of judgement.

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