War

Chuck Hagel's Amazing Overnight Transformation on Syria's Use of Chemical Weapons

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Chuck Hagel
U.S. Government

Was it really just yesterday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said there was no credible evidence that Syria's rather nasty government was using chemical weapons on its own people? What a difference a day can make. Now Hagel says Syria is using chemical weapons on its own people, after all. The difference seems to be intelligence reports sourced in the United States as opposed to intelligence reports sourced in Israel, and maybe a little (or a lot) of pressure from U.S. allies who had already decided that the Assad regime is using sarin gas, and it's about time that somebody American do something about it. Of course, it's good to be open to changing information — so long as we remember that the U.S. government has a bit of a history with intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction, and with using them as the basis for military action.

From a USA Today story that ran yesterday:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday cast doubt on an Israeli general's conclusion that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against its own citizens.

Any U.S. response to Syria will be based on American intelligence findings, Hagel said in his first public remarks since an Israeli official alleged Monday that the Syria government had used chemical weapons.

"Suspicions are one thing," Hagel told reporters traveling with him. "Evidence is another."

From an AP story running today:

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the Syrian regime has likely used chemical weapons on a "small scale."

Hagel was speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi. He says the White House has informed members of Congress that, within the last day, U.S. intelligence concluded with "some degree of varying confidence" that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons — specifically sarin gas.

Hagel says, quote, "It violates every convention of warfare."

Note that Hagel is still dressing himself out of the same packed bags he had with him when he voiced skepticism of the chemical warfare reports. The guy has been traveling in the Middle East, peddling weapons to the various potentates in the region (so … can I put the UAE down for 25 F-16s?) and discussing security concerns that might raise the need for … ummm …. buying U.S. weapons.

This is not to say that Assad and company aren't using chemical weapons. The Syrian regime has proven itself to be brutal and it would be a bit of a shocker if sarin gas proved to be a bridge too far after what that country's rulers have already done to their own people. And it's entirely possible that new evidence has come to light that demonstrates that chemical weapons have been used. Politicians in France and Britain have made it pretty clear that they share Israeli concerns on the issue.

But the U.S. has been down this path before, when reports of chemical weapons were used as a justification for invading Iraq. It'd be encouraging to think that this report of WMDs is a little more certain than the last one, especially since the Obama administration has already described the use of chemical weapons as a "red line" that would require a U.S. response.

Update: Syrian officials are now threatening (they would say "warning," I'm sure) that U.S. intervention in the country will lead to September 11-style terrorism. So, high stakes, indeed.

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  1. who are these Amerians and what country are they from?

  2. I think they’re from Anatolia.

  3. Poor guy, he looks so sad.

  4. Why would Syria use chemical weapons? How is it supposed to help them?

    1. They are desperate and losing the war. WNDs are a last resort. The rebels probably don’t have gas masks or any way to deal with them.

      1. World Net Daily is indeed a last resort.

        1. I only go there when Joe Arpaio is in the news. They fucking LOVE that guy over there! Fascinating to read the comments on articles about America’s Sheriff.

    2. They crave U.S. intervention?

      1. Doesn’t everyone?

        1. We’re like the Colonel’s chicken–you just can’t stop craving us.

          1. Obama realized he could never make good on his promise of transparency when he was given the secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices upon his inauguration.

            1. The Pentavirate doesn’t mess around.

          2. “The Colonel’s dead, and here we are still eating his chicken.”

            1. More bean medley, dear?

          3. does anyone like KFC mashed potatoes?

            1. Are they the same as they’ve always been, or are they upgraded now? I haven’t eaten there in years, and the last time I did, I skipped the potatoes.

              Used to eat there very frequently in high school, including the potato substance, biscuits, and beans. And, of course, chicken. The so-called “snack” box.

            2. Over the sodium bombs known as potato wedges? Hell no.

              1. I watched a show on the Colonel’s early days, when he started frying up chicken in pressure cookers (to reduce the cooking time to like eight minutes). I bet that chicken was very good.

                1. KFC still uses pressure fryers. The decline in quality is mostly about the chickens they use. They don’t live long enough or move around enough to develop tasty connective tissue for the pressure frying to breakdown.

                  1. It’s not the same. It’s all encheapenfied.

                2. Chickens of mass destruction?

            3. Three words: The. Gravy.

              /Biden

            4. NO!

              1. I haven’t eaten at KFC in over a decade. Just so much better fried chicken you can get. There’s a place in town that dips the chicken in hot sauce, then batter, then fries it. So good.

                1. Did you bring enough for the commentariat to share?

                  1. Did you bring enough for the commentariat to share?

                    Share? I ain’t no commie!

                    1. You will share with the other children, SugarFree, or you will be punished.

                    2. Do your worse, Angela Davis.

                    3. No links for you, one year!

                2. I haven’t eaten at KFC in over a decade. Just so much better fried chicken you can get.

                  My mom told me once that as a young child, she ate at the original KFC, the first restaurant opened by Harland Sanders himself, and it was really, really good. Unfortunately, when you franchise something like that it can be very difficult to keep the quality up to where it should be. I tend to think of most modern KFCs to most likely be a pale imitation of the original (I have to take mom’s word for it though, I’ve only ever known the mass produced, franchised KFC).

                  1. I know the Colonel himself wasn’t happy with the franchise food.

                3. “There’s a place in town that dips the chicken in hot sauce, then batter, then fries it. So good.”

                  They stole my recipe.

          4. I crave KFC maybe once a year. Then I give in, and I instantly regret it.
            I don’t know why I keep doing this.

            1. It’s more delicious than the other leading brands of laxatives?

            2. I had some real fried chicken in the Deep South somewhere last year, and it was amazing. You forget.

              1. yeah, we stopped at a hole-in-the-wall place in Kentucky. Excellent fried chicken.

                The KFC chickens are too damn skinny.

            3. I crave KFC maybe once a year.

              Because the Colnel took the recipe that made you crave it fortnightly to his grave, and his successors have a pale subsititute.

              1. “Grave?” You poor, naive fool.

            4. “I crave KFC maybe once a year. Then I give in, and I instantly regret it.
              I don’t know why I keep doing this.”

              ^THIS, in spades.

              I can say this about any fast food place. About two years ago I made the mistake of eating at a sonic. The onion rings were like powder sugar doughnuts with onions in them. The hamburger felt like a sandbag in my gut and plugged me up for two days.

              Never again. Never.

              1. The one I fall prey to very infrequently is Arby’s. Beef ‘n’ Cheddar, lots of Arby’s Sauce and Horsey Sauce, potato cakes. It’s really quite incredible that I like it, because I’m a typical Southern BBQ snob. I blame society.

            5. My last episode at KFC still had feathers on it. Cravings completely disappear after that. Going on 15 years now.

            6. I crave KFC maybe once a year. Then I give in, and I instantly regret it.
              I don’t know why I keep doing this.

              You must have a very high tolerance to the addictive chemical they put in it. Most people crave it fortnightly.

              1. There’s Taco Time and there’s everything else.

                I have to admit that I’ve never eaten fried chicken. Dead bird parts just fail to appeal to me. Especially if there’s soi disant “mayo” (which is pus) involved. Whenever anyone eats something disgusting (like rat), they always say, “Tastes just like chicken!” Why would I want to eat that?

      2. That’s it. A variation on the Mouse That Roared gambit. You want a USA occupation to turn your country into an advanced economy like Germany or Afghanistan, but you don’t have the ability to project force to the USA.

        1. I’m surprised more countries don’t do this.

          1. How many have we missed? 2? 3?

            1. Let’s be fair. We’ve only toppled a handful of governments and rebuilt their economies. To be honest, the best time to do that was in the 40s and 50s. Vietnam got confused, then so did we.

              1. I bet we could take Vietnam easy now. C’mon, time for a little payback!

                1. I’m still convinced President McCain would’ve attacked Vietnam on some pretext.

                  1. “Supplies!”

                  2. McCain to Vietnam: “you talkin’ to me!?”

  5. Interesting article on the Iraq WMDs and confirms what anyone who spent more than five minutes in Iraq should have figured out. Saddam’s survival depended on people thinking he had WMD’s. His own people and many people all but the very top people in his government thought he had huge stock piles of them. All intelligence does is read people’s mail. And sure enough the mail made a pretty convincing case the WMDs were there. The idea that the US government invented the case for nefarious purposes when the case was right there was always absurd.

    Now that Reason is apparently admitting as much and using the case to argue for the unreliability of intelligence rather than for the evil Neocon dream of invading Iraq, can they please take back the dozens of posts over the years about the WMD lies?

    1. “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

      1. Oh for the love of God, do we have to rehash the tail of the Virginia soccer mom and her husband again?

        No one lied about that. It wasn’t made up. And Saddam has been shopping all over the world for Uranium. They only person who ever disputed that story was the Soccer Mom’s husband who showed up, stayed in a nice hotel and went home after a few days.

        Is there any end to the stupid shit people will believe about that war?

        1. You are forgetting how the husband of the CIA secret agent had tea with a big shot or two, also.

        2. Saddam has been shopping all over the world for Uranium.

          Not lately he hasn’t. Unless he’s building WMD factories disguised as chocolate chip factories in heaven (after getting kicked out of hell by his ex lover Satan, who called in one last favor with God who made an exception to his Mormons only rule, of course).

          1. You’ve been here too long to be pointing out John’s typos.

    2. Well, according to the justice department, Saddam *did* have WMD’s. He just didn’t have any chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

      1. He did have that. And he technically did have them. They have found dozens of chemical shells across Iraq. They just never found the huge photoop worthy stockpile. But I suspect no amount of them would have satisfied the critics. The goal posts would have just been moved.

        1. Well when the justification for war is that he has chemical artillery massed at the border and ready to go, and then . . . there’s no chemical artillery.

      2. We were hearing about possible WMDs (the real kind) during the 90s and into the Aughts. And Iraq used gas during the 80s. They’d also taken steps to try to build an atomic bomb, which Israel put an end to.

        Whether or not Iraq actually had stockpiles of gas or other WMDs, there was certainly reason to suspect that they did. Not necessarily a casus belli on its own, but I tend to agree that the mockery aimed at the claims is misplaced.

      3. Slick Willy had a brief moment of honesty and said that it was undisputed that there tons and tons of bio-chemical weapons that were unaccounted for when he left office, so people should cut W some slack.

        Then Willy remebered he was a D and Curious George was an R, so he shut up.

        1. Clinton and Gore were huge Iraq hawks. And large numbers of Dems in Congress voted for the war and supported it right up until they saw it as politically advantageous to stop. But of course even after the Dems took power, they didn’t immediately leave Iraq. For being such a huge strategic blunder, a lot of Dems wanted to go there and were willing to stay after they had the power to leave.

          1. When the UN report finally came out it was pretty damning, but everyone stopped reading after the first point.

            Point 1, Saddam did not have WMDs

            Point 2, Saddam was doing everything he could to convince people that he did

            Point 3, Saddam had diverted billions of dollars into unknown locations

            Point 4, Saddam was investing heavily in dual use technologies to keep the infrastructure alive to manufacture WMDs

            And so on.

            In the end, he was a stupid son of a bitch that thought that bragging about having WMDs and being willing to use them would save his ass.

            1. Point 4, Saddam was investing heavily in dual use technologies to keep the infrastructure alive to manufacture WMDs

              I knew a guy who was an Army intelligence officer during the invasion of Iraq. His take: “Saddam had enough ‘pesticide plants’ to produce enough pesticide to kill several locust swarms of literally Biblical proportions.”

    3. Saddam had a hand in his jacket and was using his finger to make people think he had a gun. You are allowed to shoot any jackass that tries that stunt.

      1. Uhm, not when the jackass is halfway across the world.

        *Mexico* tries that shit and I can get behind pre-emptively invading them.

        1. Mexico made a furtive movement! A threatening gesture!

          BLAMBLAMBLAM.

          Stop resisting!

          [annexes Baja California]

  6. Okay, why the fuck am I getting an ad for “Sexy Arab Girls”?

    1. are you complaining?

      *cough*NoScript*cough*

    2. Why am I not?

    3. I got “Russian Cupid”. I can live with that.

      1. Russian chicks?

        Lucky dog. I got Max Baucus.

    4. I’m getting a christian singles site.
      I don’t need christian chicks. They don’t do anal.
      Well, they do … but only on weekends.

      1. Mine are all about asians. What does google know about us that we don’t know about ourselves?

      2. I had an uncle that only dated Pentecostal girls back in the day when they didnt cut their hair, didnt watch TV or listen to radio, and only wore skirts.

        I asked him why. His answer:

        “Them pentecostal girls, all they wanna do is sang and fuck. They wear them long skirts and buttoned up to here *points to chin* but dont none of ’em wear no panties.”

        1. That is one urban myth that is very true and applies to Amish girls as well.

    5. plus sized clothing wtf?

      1. They’re onto you, John doesn’t have to be lonely anymore.

        1. It comes from clicking all them fucking DailyFail links that Sarcasmic points at John.

    6. It is my understanding that Reason spies look at your browsing history and then select ads targeted at you based on that.

      I am not telling what ads I am getting.

      1. Deep dish pizza?

      2. Hairshirts and invitations to join a flagellant order?

      3. Archery supplies and small batch bourbon?

        1. Restoras wins it. Midway USA and Bass Pro. And some super hot girl trying to sell me T-shirts.

      4. Yankee candle? New England clam chowdah? Maine lobster? New York pizza?

        1. It’s ‘lobstah’ and ‘petezer’…

      5. I get a petition for congress to work 5 days a week – screw that, they should only meet for one week a year and the rest of the time it should be illegal for them to have anycontact with each other.

        Oh and cowboy boots – poor ad trolls probably can’t get anything from my browser except a general location and assume everyone in AZ wears cowboy boots.

        Jokes on them – most of the time I don’t even wear shoes!

      6. Pizza, Mexican food, urgent care, and Stop Jan Brewer.

  7. The whole WMD issue has become a complete foil for the government to scare the shit out of the people and justify more fucking war. As always. When was the last time a “weapon of mass destruction”–you know, a real one–got used? Their use is incredibly rare because they are horrible. Yes, they exist, and it’s possible that someone might use them. But the pantswetting over them is so overblown that I have to laugh at the people who shit their pants at the acronym WND.

    1. Do you have a pressure cooker in your kitchen?

      1. Yes, I–

        (SWAT team comes crashing through door)

        1. “And look at this–his sauces are too rich! Cream, butter. . .take him away!”

          1. And a fridge full of 16oz sodas!

            1. Wait, what? Run away, men! Call in the drones!

      2. Shit. I’ve got a pressure cooker, fireworks, and stray pieces of metal, all in the same house. Fuck.

        Don’t tell anyone. Please.

        1. Too late. DRONES IN THE AIR!

          1. Enemy UAV spotted!

        2. i have two pressure cookers, all kinds of scrap metal, large fertilizer stockpiles, and drugs. i’m so doomed.

          1. The SWAT team is going to ride in on drones to get you.

    2. WND sure makes me shit my pants.

      1. They’re a legitimate news source!!!

      2. ASTONISHING ‘RED SEA CROSSING’ VIDEO – $4.95 TODAY ONLY!
        Robotic submarine cameras reveal ‘hundreds of Egyptian chariots strewn across the sea floor’

        HOLY FUCKING SHIT WHERE’S MY WALLET?????

        1. Are they still flogging those? They were popular with the evangelical set a few years ago. There’s an amateur archaeologist who has made a living claiming very conveniently preserved evidence of biblical events exactly as they happened.

          1. That’s been going on for years. I can remember something about Noah’s Ark being preserved on some mountain in Turkey back in the 70s. Maybe an In Search of episode? Spock wouldn’t deceive me.

            1. The Noahs Arc one is still around. There is some kind of huge hunk of wood up near the top of some mountain in Turkey. That story never dies.

              1. “There is some kind of huge hunk of wood up near the top of some mountain in Turkey”

                No, there isnt. There are some poor quality photos that show a shadow.

                It is a fucking mountain. If we want to know what is there you hike up there and look. The fact that no one has and returned with solid, convincing evidence is…..telling.

                But then again, maybe it is gaurded by an army of Yetis so no one can return alive.

                You are right John, bullshit that is easily debunked, but that people really really want to believe, never dies.

                1. You can’t hike on that mountain. That spot overlooks a major base, and the Turks don’t want people taking pictures.

                  A friend of my dad’s was sent there as a conscripted rifleman. Apparently it’s a really sucky post.

                  1. A jetliner crashed on Ilimani back in in the mid 80s. The damn thing went nose first into the snow with the tail sticking out. There was much pants shitting about what to do about a rescue for any survivors. They couldnt figure out how to get up there. Finally they asked a chelita…you know, one of those 3 foot tall guys that have the lung capacity of a baleen whale and wear the funny knit caps with the fuzzy balls hanging at the ears.

                    He put on a coat and ran up the mountain like we walk to the mail box in the morning. I think he brought a water bottle with him, thats it.

                    He wiped the snow off of the plane windows, peeked in and then trotted back down.

                    “No survivors” was about all he said.

                    In an area like Mt. Ararat there are bound to be guys like that too. The turks probably pay no attention to them. A clever person could get to the bottom of this if they really wanted to. My suspicion is that they really dont want to get to the bottom ( or top, so to speak ) of it.

                  2. That spot overlooks everything, if by spot we mean Mt. Ararat itself. Seriously, I thought Mt. Hood had a lot of local relief, but it’s got nothing on Ararat.

                    I can’t imagine it’d be that hard though for the Turks to allow a scientific expedition to settle it once and for all.

            2. That was a movie. I saw it and haven’t been the same since.

              1. I was going to say it was a movie, but I couldn’t remember for sure. Wow. A whole film?

                There’s an astronaut who says that he saw it from orbit, I believe.

            3. I can remember something about Noah’s Ark being preserved on some mountain in Turkey back in the 70s.

              Left there by the same Ancient Aliens that were at the first Thanksgiving, right?

              1. What, you think there are more aliens out there?

          2. why? for those of little faith?

            1. I could see it getting tiresome if I believed the world was 6,000 years old and people kept shitting on the historicity of that claim. People like histories that confirm their existing biases. We used to have to listen to tapes that had implausible work-arounds for why the Bible accurately described the atomic structure of the universe.

              1. That’s a big problem for my wife and I when trying to find supplemental classes for homeschooling. The Young-Earth Theory makes biology, geology, and cosmology problematic. History, too, if it goes back far enough.

                1. Eh, even if it doesn’t go back that far it can still be problematic. I had to deal with a chapter on Babylon that focused mainly on proving that Biblical prophecy had come to pass because Babylon had never been rebuilt, Baghdad is like 50 miles south. There was scant information on the Babylonians, Chaldeans or Assyrians, they just showed up to fuck with ancient Israel and then dropped off the historical record.

                  Same thing happened once we got to the Islamic empires. They appeared to fuck with good Christian Europeans and had no involvement in kicking off the Renaissance. Good thing the Reconquista was successful (no mention of the expulsion of the Jews).

                  When I was homeschooling my little brother I found this to be a solid supplement for the history and social studies portion. It gives a background and a light overview of religious practice and is very accessible.

                  1. I was raised with a decent amount of religion, though no Creationism or any of that nonsense, so I don’t mind the kids getting some. Just so long as it doesn’t interfere with their science education.

                    1. If you drive around much, there’s a series of “Roadside Geology” books that can direct you to some “live” lessons.

                  2. The Islamic involvement in kicking off the Renaissance is wildly overrated. If anything kicked off the Renaissance it was the scumbag Venetians looting Constantinople.

                    1. Well, to be sure, there was a significant Arab and probably more significant Iranian contribution in preserving knowledge and in advancing science and mathematics, but it’s weird that people forget that the Byzantine Empire was contiguous with the Roman Empire, and, on top of that, controlled Greece for a long time (and considered itself “Greek”). So, naturally, it preserved a great deal of classical literature and other documents.

                    2. You really can’t let the Umayyads have anything, can you John?

                      The translation of the classics back into romance languages from arabic wasn’t important? Or the scattering of the Jews, some of whom had been scribes under the Umayyads, all across Europe following the expulsion?

                      If arabic influence wasn’t important to modern learning why do we still use arabic borrow words when teaching math such as algebra and algorithm?

                    3. No it wasn’t. The Greeks already had the classics. They didn’t come via the Umayyads, they came via the Greeks coming to Venice after the sacking.

                    4. I think it’s about impossible not to credit Arabs and Persians for introducing certain advanced mathematical concepts to the West (though some of those were originally Indian, like the numbering system, and a few were just revisiting some Greek classics).

                    5. That’s a fair assessment. Damn Indians with their zeroes and complex numerical systems.

                    6. It’s simply amazing that the Romans did all of that engineering without a decent numbering system. All geometry, I guess.

                    7. Yeah, every time it rains in SoCal I rage about one freeway becoming a lake. It usually sounds something like: THE ROMANS COULD BUILD ROADS WITH PROPER DRAINAGE 2000 FUCKING YEARS AGO AND LA COUNTY CAN’T GET THE 91 FWY RIGHT!?

                    8. You should smite them with a gladius, maybe throw a few pillum at them?

                    9. The Romans’ big trick–and one of necessity–was to over-engineer everything. That’s why so much of their stuff is still standing and why even more would be if people hadn’t been stealing pieces of it over the centuries.

                    10. over-engineer everything.

                      I just call that engineering… Everything in my house that I’ve built will survive longer than the house itself.

                      I built shelves for my walls, I then got up on them and laid down for a nap.

                      I built a combination TV stand/aquarium case for my living room. My 300 lb friend did jumping jacks on top of it.

                      The deck my dad and I built on his house has 20x the required support.

                      Build shit to last, it’s cheaper than replacing it.

                    11. They overengineered because they didn’t have the knowledge about materials and mathematics we do, so they had to build things with tolerances far beyond any foreseeable need.

                      Of course, I hear your point–nice to have things that last and can withstand abuse.

                    12. It would probably help if they didn’t make the 91 completely flat or slightly concave, and maybe include a little drainage off to the sides. That being said, I’m no engineer. I’m sure they have good reason for making a freeway that becomes a very long pond a few times a year.

                    13. Job security, Jesse. I see the same shit here in Ohio all the goddam time.

                      If they build a good, solid road that has proper drainage and can withstand the traffic driving on it, it’ll last a damn long time without major repair.

                      Now, say you build a shitty road, no drainage (or in 91’s case anti-drainage), and use weak materials… Well then, now it has to have major repairs every few months.

                      A contractor gets in good with politicians and low balls the hell out of the contract. Of course the bid is so low that it can’t actually be done for that little, so they know the budget is going to go over. They build the shitty road. Now when it needs repaired 6 months later, they just low ball it again. Repeat ad nauseum.

                      Rte 8 here in Ohio was a great example of this. Company X bid WAAAAAY under what anyone else bid. Said it would take 2 years to complete the entire road. It took almost a decade and they got paid for the entire thing. By the time they were done with the south end, the north end was so badly damaged, they had to rebuild it. They literally got paid to build the same road twice.

                    14. But we need public roads.

          3. How exactly would a chariot survive 2400 years under the Red Sea and sill be recognizable?

            1. If it’s deep enough, I think maybe it could. Not sure the Red Sea is deep enough, though.

              Not that I’m suggesting there’s anything to this.

              1. The Red Sea is very shallow. That is why the diving is so incredible. I am not sure any parts of it are deep enough not to get sunlight.

                1. The Red Sea is very shallow

                  John, you clearly have the internet, since, you know, I’m reading your comments. Before I even finished typing “Red Sea Depth,” the google returned 7,254′ in giant type. Are you restricted to reason.com and an incomplete set of Encyclopedia Brittanica?

                  1. No scarcity, I just was mistaken because of the people I have known who have dived there. I wasn’t aware that knowing the Red Sea depth was any kind of ultimate measure of intelligence. But whatever makes you feel good about yourself.

                    1. I was merely commenting on your tendency to bloviate. I did not mention your intelligence or my thoughts on its measure.

                  2. It seems unlikely that the mythical crossing would have occured in a place of any significant depth. God is wise and all so he would have parted it in a shallow place with a flat bottom, right?

                    Parting the sea in a place where there are deep crevices and valleys would have been pointless.

                    I didnt click the link, but I am guessing the ‘chariot’ has a skeleton driver with his helmet still strapped to his skull?

                    1. I vaguely recall some question about whether the Bible is referring to the Red Sea at all. Isn’t the reference to the Sea of Reeds or something like that? Is there a biblical scholar in the house?

                    2. Is there a biblical scholar in the house?

                      Sorry ProL, Tulpa is on vacation right now.

              2. The Red Sea is plenty deep. It’s basically a drowned gorge, with it’s max depth ~7200 feet, same as the Black Sea. But, unlike the Black Sea, it doesn’t have the anoxic zones that preserve very old organic material like a log boat. Or a chariot.

                Re, WMDs and Iraq: for cryin out loud, if you can make pesticides, you can make chemical weapons. It’s not that hard for a nation state, as Iraq proved to the Kurds and Iranians. Fuck, a psychotic cult can make nerve agent; see Aum Shinrikyo. (They just couldn’t disperse it worth a shit) Accordingly, calling nerve gas a sufficient casus belli for an invasion was, and is, ludicrous. No, what Powell was talking about in his speech to the U.N. was nukes, and nuclear weapons were what the U.S. spectacularly failed to find. Where did all of those calutrons go, anyway?

                Finding a couple of buried pallets of mustard gas-filled 122mm rockets and doing a sack dance is unbelievably retarded, even for NeoCons. The war remains a gigantic half trillion dollar mistake (counting residual effects) and the sooner the GOP realizes that, the better.

                As to Syria, fuck it; not our problem. Look at it this way: every piece of chemical weapon ordnance Assad uses there is one fewer he can give to AQ to use here. Which I would count as a reason to kill his ass.

                1. The war remains a gigantic half trillion dollar mistake (counting residual effects) and the sooner the GOP realizes that, the better.

                  Because you know for sure the counter factual of Saddam remaining in power to this day would be so much better?

                  And if there is anyone who need to get over the Iraq war it is the Peacenik Libertarians. They are absolutely scared by it. It prevents them from thinking straight about virtually anything related to it.

                  And Syria will be our problem the day assholes start showing up in the US and Europe with various nasty weapons they got in Syria.

                  1. 3500 KIA, over 10,000 WIA, and a half trillion USD pissed away. This isn’t even counting the Iraqi dead, which are estimated to be anywhere from 100k to 150k. (the Lancet study is thought to be horseshit, never mind things like the Opinion Research Business Poll). Yeah, I’m confident keeping Saddam in his box would have cost everyone a lot less.

                    The peacenik Libertarians aren’t the ones with the foreign policy that involves the U.S. in every pissant 3rd world shouting match and political enemy removal project. The guys who think that we should be leveling every mud hut between Peshawar and San’a with anyone who owes money to or dislikes the headman from the other tribe currently running their country? Those are the guys getting us involved.

                    And Syria will be our problem the day assholes start showing up in the US and Europe with various nasty weapons they got in Syria.

                    You realize this is an argument for getting involved in every country around the world that is experiencing large scale civil disorder. Because all of them have ordnance that we don’t want to see used here. So, when are we getting picking sides within: the Congo, Burma, Syria, any number of the ‘Stans that feel like butchering their own people? When they start exporting refugees that destabilize our allies?

                    1. Half a trillion dollars is a pretty generous (under)estimate btw

                    2. Yeah, I’m confident keeping Saddam in his box would have cost everyone a lot less.

                      No one else is. We were spending billions keeping Saddam in a box. And Saddam and the sanctions would have cost a hell of a lot more than 150K Iraqi lives. It was just a matter of time before he died and the place fell apart and it would have been Syria times ten in a country that is about a thousand times more important.

                      You realize this is an argument for getting involved in every country around the world that is experiencing large scale civil disorder.

                      No it is not. None of them except Syria and Libya had chemical weapons. For once Obama is right. If there really are chemical weapons floating around unsecured in Syria, the world needs to do something about it. Not rebuild the country, but go in and secure them.

                      But that is the great thing about being a Peacenik. If they do nothing and the chems get used on us, you can just blame it on US interventionism. If they do something and prevent that, you can just bitch and moan about another war. You win either way. And I guess that, as opposed to solving anything or thinking about these issues is kind of the point isn’t it?

                    3. To John (and those like him) thinking the job of the US government should be to defend the country instead of playing World Police makes you a Peacenik

                    4. You’re seriously contending that running a no-fly zone for ten more years and keeping up the sanctions would have cost more in lives and cash than a quarter-million man invasion and reconstruction? That’s seriously what you’re fucking arguing? You are out of your mind on this, as pointless to argue with as trying to convince Sarah Brady that more guns in more peoples’ hands is a net good.

                      How many countries would you like to invade to secure chemical weapons, John? Egypt, who was in full blown revolt a year ago, and who’s actually used the things? Burma, who probably has them, and is also building a nuclear reactor? North Korea? I actually wouldn’t mind the U.S. paying to take them off people’s hands, like what I’m sure is going on in Ethiopia, or what happened with HEU in Kazakhstan.

                      If and when chemical weapons are used against the U.S., that will be an act of war. Nothing about the NAP says you can’t retaliate against someone who attacks you, and I’m not one of those who was against the Afghanistan invasion. But we aren’t there yet. And ironically, invading our, what, third Muslim country in the last 12 years will probably hasten that day rather than push it further back. How much more of the MidEast would you like the U.S. to piss off? Hey, it’s a smaller country, and we probably won’t stay for 8 years+ this time, so it’ll only cost, what, 100 billion?

                    5. You’re seriously contending that running a no-fly zone for ten more years and keeping up the sanctions would have cost more in lives and cash than a quarter-million man invasion and reconstruction?

                      Yes, Saddam was killing about 10,000 Iraqis a month in the 00s. He was starving his people and the place was about a year away from a massive humanitarian disaster. Again, it was just a matter of time before he died and the place fell completely apart into something much worse than what is happening in Syria right now. The US invasion probably saved hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives by suppressing what would have been a complete and total civil war.

                      If and when chemical weapons are used against the U.S., that will be an act of war.

                      By who? The Syrian government won’t be there anymore and even if they are they won’t be the ones behind it. It will be some rag tag terrorist group who got a hold of the stuff in Syria. So won’t be a God damned thing you or I or the US will be able to do about it at that point beyond whine and cry about how the world doesn’t fit our expectations.

                    6. If there are loose chemical weapons, do you think we even could secure all of them if we wanted to?

                    7. I love playing World Police – do you the latest upgrade to…oh, wait.

                  2. Do you pro-war pricks ever shut the fuck up?

                2. Although, there are some very weird, microbiologically, deep sea anoxic brine regions within the Red Sea. Plus, calling something ~100 miles wide and at most 1.5 miles deep, is hardly the kind of grade that makes a gorge. The very middle of the sea probably fits the profile though.

              1. Speaking of underwater finds, NOVA just did a show on the Antikythera mechanism, which is just awesome cool. The idea that they were advanced enough to have machines of that level of sophistication back then is just incredible.

                A book I really like on ancient capabilities is Sprague De Camp’s The Ancient Engineers.

                1. What did they think the thing was used for?

                  1. Astronomical computer, IIRC.

                    Basically, you dial in the date and time, and it tells you where the planets and moon are, and has the phases of the moon.

                  2. From NOVA:

                    Recently, hi-tech imaging has revealed the extraordinary truth: this unique clockwork machine was the world’s first computer. An array of 30 intricate bronze gear wheels, originally housed in a shoebox-size wooden case, was designed to predict the dates of lunar and solar eclipses, track the Moon’s subtle motions through the sky, and calculate the dates of significant events such as the Olympic Games. No device of comparable technological sophistication is known from anywhere in the world for at least another 1,000 years.

                    I’ve heard the theory that it was part of an orrery for years. Cicero made reference to one, too.

                    1. speaking of Nova, make sure to watch “Hitler’s Lost Sub” (the book is better) about the divers trying to id an unknown German submarine.

                      The book is better detailing what badasses these deep sea divers are.

                2. Come on Pro L, we all know that “ancient engineers” were really aliens. Just ask this guy

                  http://inmediares2013.files.wo…..-meme.jpeg

                  1. It’s funny–I was just mentioned the Antikythera mechanism to someone here in meatspace, and we both laughed and said, “Aliens!”

                    1. The Antikythera mechanism is the culmination of….probably tens of thousands of years of calendar making.

                      I am too lazy to type it all now, but there is a sound explanation for it. And yes, aliens have something to do with it.

                    2. Well, naturally, all of that came from the aliens, who were restricted by the Prime Directive from giving us actual advanced technology.

                      One of the things that surprises me the most isn’t the mathematical sophistication of the device, it’s that they could hand tool the gears, etc. to the necessary level of precision.

                      I believe the device has been recreated (with a lot of guesswork, I’m sure).

                  2. The funny thing is I don’t think that guy ever uses the word “aliens.” He always says “Extra Teresterals” (complete with mispronunciation)*. Presumably because he thinks it makes it makes him sound smarter.

                    *Yes, I’ve actually watched a couple of episodes, for the lulz, of course. *Looks around nervously*

                    1. I grew up watching stuff like that. And I remember reading UFO propaganda like some ex-Air Force guy’s book on Project Blue Book. It took me a while to realize there was proof of pretty much nothing in all of the claims being made.

                    2. Stuff like that is fun to watch sometimes if for no reason than to be reminded that “facts” can be twisted to “prove” just about any outlandish theory. Similar to statistics. If you torture the numbers enough you can “prove” pretty much anything.

              2. That is some pretty sorry photoshopping. And I love the “these pillars may commemorate the Red Sea crossing” line.

                The sorry thing is that there is pretty irrefutable evidence that the Jews were in Egypt around 1500 BC and for whatever reason left and showed up in Palestine.

                They really don’t need to make shit up. They just aren’t going to get proof that everything happened exactly as the Old Testament says. But that is why they call it faith.

                1. They really don’t need to make shit up.

                  Hey, fools need to be seperated from thier money, don’t they?

                2. The sorry thing is that there is pretty irrefutable evidence that the Jews were in Egypt around 1500 BC and for whatever reason left and showed up in Palestine.

                  Oh really?

                  1. Apatheist,

                    Moses is an Egyptian name. And, references to an annoying tribe called the Habiru show up in Egyptian military/government records.

                    If I recall correctly, there were also some proto-Jewish* graves found by archeologists in Egypt from about the right time.

                    *the funerary rites were similar to Jewish ones, but also very different as one would expect since the burials predated the Jewish conversion to monotheism with all the attendant changes to ritual.

                3. I love the captions: “Is this the wheel of some chariot that some Egyptian was steering when God flooded his ass?”–or something to that effect.

                  When you have to ask the question, the answer is always, “no.”

              3. We haven’t developed camera technology very much in the last 6000 years.

                “Coral-encrusted object in Red Sea could be ancient Egyptian chariot wheels”

                Could be. Or possibly a random piece of equipment that fell off a ship in a storm.

                1. False alarm, it was just a wagon wheel from a British ship through the Suez on its way to India in the 19th century.

              4. God_is_a_verb ? 11 months ago ?
                Screeching and moaning and whining and complaining from atheist evolutionists in…three…two…one…go!

                Idiots.
                37 1 ?Reply?Share ?

                Larry God_is_a_verb ? 11 months ago
                Yeeha!
                0 ?Reply?Share ?

                Roy L Galutia God_is_a_verb ? 11 months ago
                they will find away to minimize it
                5 ?Reply?Share ?

                Linda Hopkins Roy L Galutia ? 11 months ago
                Roy, that is to be expected and allowed for as naysayers abound !
                3 ?Reply?Share ?

                Magnificent.

                1. Look! We have proof! Anyone who disagrees with us is doing so for ideological reasons.

                  That sounds really familiar somehow.

                2. Of course, if a towering wall of water crashed down on a bunch of wooden chariots, they would have been smashed into kindling, right?

              5. Ok now I clicked the link. I take back what I said earlier. Wow. I am convinced now.

                *hangs head and snickers*

            2. How exactly would a chariot survive 2400 years under the Red Sea and sill be recognizable?

              It’s a miracle! You know, like the loaves and the fishes.*

              *The Internet is not yet complete: I couldn’t find the clip of Chazz Palminteri saying that line in the movie Oscar anywhere online. 🙁

    3. Why does everyone deny the existence of WorldNet Daily all of a sudden?

      1. Did they criticize Alex Jones?

    4. They really suck if you turn them lose on the civilian population. But that is harder than people think. The stuff tends not to do well in the open air. It is very volatile. That is why it has to be weaponized. The bottom line is that it is really hard to kill large numbers of people without nukes or just dropping huge amounts of conventional explosives.

      If you could wipe out entire populations with nerve gas, there wouldn’t be any Kurds left in Iraq.

      1. Actually, John, it’s surprising easy. But what you need is a bunch of hardass psychos willing to go in there and slaughter everyone. The Mongols did a bangup job in Samarkand and Bokhara with swords and bows. I’m pretty sure with guns, it’d be easier.

        1. Gwynne Dyer makes this point, IIRC, about the end of the Third Punic War. The difference between what Scipio Africanus had done to Carthage and what any missileer could do to a city, is that one just takes a bit longer and a lot more guys.

          That said, the BC in NBC is notable for being a lot harder to use on the other guy than it looks, without also soaking yourself. They also tend to slow everything down, which is one reason I’m surprised the South Koreans officially gave their chemical weapons up. It’s a lot harder to hump shells or reload a MLRS if you’re having to do it in whatever is Korean for MOPP-4.

          1. I’m surprised the South Koreans officially gave their chemical weapons up

            You don’t need chemical weapons if you’ve got 100,000 pieces of cannon fodder American troops.

        2. The mongols did it in a time when nobody had an answer for guys who spent their entire lives riding on horseback and firing bows.

          Today we have what I call my BOOMSTICK.

          It used to be a warlord could assemble a relatively small number of elite warriors and rule an entire swath of land (until the next warlord’s army came by). The firearm stopped that and made it much more likely that a guy who spent his entire life training could be killed by a civilian who just picked up a rifle.

          Wiping out the kurds was extremely hard, since they were armed. Which is why Saddam resorted to gas.

    5. Nice mixed metaphor, dick. Are people wetting their pants or shitting in them? Make up your mind.

      1. If you’re wearing your Depends, it doesn’t matter.

    6. Do you still say the new Arrested Development will be bad?

      1. It’s a sad day when people delude themselves into “proving” it’s going to be good by using outtakes.

        If you want it too much, it can’t help but disappoint you.

      2. It’s gonna be good.

    7. 1988? Killed 3000-5000 people.

      Also – chem/bio weapon use really isn’t rare. These things have been used since at least 400 BC (textual mentions of treaties to forbid the use of poisioned weapons but allowing poisoning of food and water supplies), were used extensively in WWI, in many of the little wars in between it and WWII, and even saw extensive use by the Japanese in WW2.

      1. You can definitely kill in the thousands. But remember the 1988 incident was a military nerve gassing civilians. And even they couldn’t get to 10,000. The idea that some terrorist group could kill tens of thousands seems far fetched unless you are talking about a nuke.

        1. “The idea that some terrorist group could kill tens of thousands seems far fetched unless you are talking about a nuke.”

          I’d say the same regarding a nuke.

          1. Them getting a nuke is far fetched. But if they ever got one, killing tens of thousands would be very easy.

            1. “But if they ever got one, killing tens of thousands would be very easy.”
              I’ll disagree.
              It took a 12MT weapon carefully targeted to kill 10s of thousands in Hiroshima.

              1. The killed over a hundred thousand and it was a 12 kilo ton not megaton. 12 kilo ton is on the very small end of nuclear weapons.

                1. 12 kilo ton is on the very small end of nuclear weapons.

                  But in the ballpark for what a terrorist group is thought to reasonably be able to build. Though there’s no reason I guess why a sufficiently well funded group couldn’t engineer a very large, pure fission device. Two or three stage too, if the precise engineering details for coupling the fission bomb to the fusion fuel ever leaks out. Snuff a large gathering, or hell, just play around with “Nuke IT!” and see how easy it would be to kill tens of thousands of people.

                  OTOH, I wouldn’t want to see what would happen if some nutty Bio PhD cultured something like pneumonic plague, weaponized it, and misted it over a large city. It must be tougher than it looks though, Alibek’s “Biohazard” aside, or it would have been done by now.

                  1. Actually, given how simple and easy to make (they didn’t even test the design before using it) Little Boy was, I’m surprised no terrorist group has succeeded in making one.

                    The most difficult part of replicating that design is getting a sufficuent quantity of nuclear materials in the first place.

                  2. Frank Herbert’s The White Plague?

        2. Undergrads will be 3-D printing viruses in a few years. So Bio weapons are going to be unpreventable.

    8. When was the last time a “weapon of mass destruction”–you know, a real one–got used?

      Well they still get tested from time to time in places like Pakistan, India and North Korea. Does that count?

    9. Episiarch| 4.25.13 @ 1:08PM |#

      The whole WMD issue has become a complete foil for the government to scare the shit out of the people and justify more fucking war

      JOHN = “WE GOT IT RIGHT IN IRAQ THOUGH!”

    10. I thought that WMD was supposed to mean things that caused, you know, mass destruction. Like destroying or disrupting a whole city and killing thousands all at once. Nukes or large scale chemical or biological weapons.

        1. It’s like defining ‘terrorist’; it’s all in the eye of the politician doing the fear-mongering.

  8. http://host.madison.com/ct/new…..f887a.html

    World’s most pathetic singing group goes for a world record.

    1. They’re still around? Don’t they know they lost and nobody cares anymore?

  9. Uhm, why don’t we just send in a recon drone? I mean we reserve the right to unilaterally *kill* anyone, anywhere and this would at least be a decent reason for violating sovereignty.

    1. I am sure they have. And if the Syrians are in fact using nerve gas, physical evidence will be pretty easy to get.

  10. when reports of chemical weapons were used as a justification for invading Iraq.

    No one claimed Iraq was using chemical weapons, although they had in the Iran Iraq war. It was that they had them.

    1. The reports were used, John. Parsing!

      1. Ah. Now I see.

  11. Who would have ever foreseen something like this happening when Obama said that Syria using chemical weapons was a red line?

    1. No, Hugh, it’s just coincidence that one of his employees did an about-face immediately. What are you, some kind of Truther or something?

    2. How come only Democrats are allowed to get away with this shit?

      Clinton conveniently managed to find Bosnia and Kosovo and Sudanese pharmaceutical plants strategically relevant at key moments in the Monica Lewinsky trial.

      Then Bush gets all the flack for making shit up about Iraq.

      Then Obama gets into office and it’s ok for the President to make shit up and bomb foreign countries again.

      1. How come only Democrats are allowed to get away with this shit?

        Because the MSM is this side of Pravda at this point. FWIW, I hated the Kosovo action too, and am still surprised the Serbs didn’t up the ante by taking the fight to the U.S. population. We are going to be so surprised when some entity finally figures out that taking on the U.S. force-on-force is a net loser (not surprising considering the literally trillions of dollars we’ve spent on defense) but replicating tens of copies of e.g., the Brothers Karabombzov or Malvo/Muhammed stands a much better chance of damaging the U.S.

        “But that’s unfair! What did the people of Boston (Or Houston, or Des Moines, or whoever gets to be the next unlucky city.) have to do with this?! We should be the only ones who get to drop high explosives on people! After all, we meant well and only meant to kill the bad guy!”

        And since I brought up the Brothers, here’s a picture of the boat, after Boston and Watertown P.D. got done ventilating it in their efforts to apprehend an unarmed man. God only knows where the through and throughs went or the other rounds in the bursts that missed.

        1. Are the pigs Brave Selfless Heroes of Boston going to buy the guy a new boat?

  12. “when reports of chemical weapons were used as a justification for invading Iraq.”

    What? Reports? Maybe “stockpiles” instead?

    Several thousand Kurds were unavailable for comment.

    1. Were those Kurds awhey?

      1. *Stares dully*

        They are, yes, they are Dollar-park-Yen.

        1. Parks use the won.

      2. You know, with their violent history you’d think they would’ve been able to tuffet out.

        1. You guys are really milking this one.

        2. Well now they’re apparently on the lamb.

        3. Um, y’all are confusing Ms. Muffet and Ms. Bo Peep.

          1. There is no confusion in the land of the rising pun.

  13. Who has chemical weapons and where did they get them? Think before you answer.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/s…..le/5327507

    1. The same people who find any claim that Iraq, a regime that actually used them in the 1980s, had WMDs “patently outrageous” have no problem concluding for sure that Libya both had them and that they ended up in Syria.

      Confirmation bias much?

      1. Sigh.

        Ok John. Everyone was completely right about Iraq having WMDs!

        Do you really think that in any way exculpates the complete fuckstorm of shithole asscrap that the admins respectively made of that campaign?

        What – if anything – was achieved by the war in Iraq that was of any strategic necessity? And at what cost?

        I don’t give a fuck how ‘justified’ you think any decisions were made in the past. They turned out to be mind-bendingly stupid.

        Next you’ll explain to me how Paul Bremer’s decision to implement debaathefication and the disbanding of the Iraqi army were in fact ‘the right move’…. just ones undermined by liberal propaganda! DERP

        1. Sure Gilmore, letting the Bathist run things would have been a great idea. And keeping the Army together was perfect. Just ignore the fact that the army was completely broke and scattered to the four winds and was the main institution used to oppress the majority Shia. Keeping the Army together would have been great. Getting a full on insurgency from the Shia who are the majority of the country would have been so much better than what happened. The Army had to go. The entire Shia population would have rose up in revolt if we had tried to put the same bathist in charge and kept the same Army that was there before.

          And further, we know not building the army from scratch and instead trying to fix the one that was there wouldn’t have worked because we tried that with the police forces. And it was a complete disaster. The entire regime was so bad and so corrupt and so hated there was no fixing it. The only way to do anything was to start from scratch. And indeed when they finally did the police got better but not before.

          The fact that you put out the notion that things would have been better without debathification just shows you don’t know shit other than various lines of horseshit you have fed yourself over the years to keep from thinking.

          1. John| 4.25.13 @ 2:09PM |#

            Sure Gilmore, letting the Bathist run things would have been a great idea.

            Jesus John, you should know damn well that the thousands of technocrats in Iraq HAD to be baath party members by default simply to qualify for the fucking job. Some kind of bullshit Nazi-equivocation won’t fly.

            And your ‘never would have worked’ post-facto determination re: the Army is ludicrous given the fact that most of the ‘rebuilt’ Iraqi army is hardly any fucking different aside from the fact that they’re now segregated into sectarian camps who do their best to ignore each other. You sound much like Obama’s determination he was “saving jobs” instead of “creating” them… simply providing yourself with new definitions of success because hey, “otherwise it would have been worse”!

            And all you’ve provided in the way of describing some kind of strategic necessity is “getting rid of Saddam”.

            Because,…”continuing to fight a low intensity war for another ten years while having thousands of troops in Saudi Arabia was totally without any down side””

            Right.

            And things are different now, How?

            1. Which one of the Saudi princes openly wondered why we would do something so incredibly stupid as to disband the Iraqi Army? It was one of the more influential ones, IIRC. Yes, let’s send home, what was it, a quarter million newly unemployed men, with new grudges against the U.S., and some small arms skills. Oh, and supply next to no other way to control the country. Brilliant!(?)

              He couldn’t figure out why we just didn’t leave it in place, using it to maintain some form of social order, whilst taking a page from the Stalin ’38 playbook and purging the more evildoing officers piecemeal. Have some reconciliation commission/oil money giveaway a few years down the road. But, to paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke, if you’re going to burn down the shithouse, you’d better already have installed the plumbing. And Bremer didn’t.

              W/e it’s over and the Iraqis told us to go screw but keep sending them an allowance. I just don’t want to have the country go through a similar thing in Syria and it sure is starting to sound awfully similar to 11 years ago.

              1. And what part of Islam is said Saudi Prince? I am quite sure he didn’t understand why we didn’t just didn’t rebuild the old Sunni oppression machine and let those dog Shias run things.

                If we would have done that the entire Shia population would have revolted and the insurgency would have been a hundred times worse. And for the last time there was no Army to rebuild. The Army completely disintegrated. They all ran home.

                And technocrats? What the fuck color is the sky in your world. The place was a complete disaster. There were no technocrats. There were just murderous cronies who were hated by population.

                Anyone who thinks there were all these skilled Iraqi administrators who were just waiting to fix things is living in a fucking fantasy world.

                1. If we would have done that the entire Shia population would have revolted…

                  Instead of what we did do… and the entire shia population revolted!

                  The “it would have been worse” argument fails entirely when “better” still sucked balls.

                2. And technocrats? What the fuck color is the sky in your world. The place was a complete disaster. There were no technocrats

                  Right. They had no electricity or running water pre-invasion.

                  And the 4+ million people who’ve fled the country *weren’t* the middle class who kept the factories running.

                  http://www.aina.org/reports/icgreport08.pdf

                  Rich in oil, Iraq today is bankrupt in terms of human resources. It will take decades to recover and rebuild. Because most refugees come from what used to be the (largely secular) middle class, their flight has
                  further impoverished Iraq and potentially deprived it of its professional stratum for a decade or more.

                  You are the only source of reliable information on the subject.

          2. circa 2007 =

            “”Mr. Bush acknowledged one major failing of the early occupation of Iraq when he said of disbanding the Saddam Hussein-era military, “The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen.”

            But when [book author Robert] Draper pointed out that Mr. Bush’s former Iraq administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, had gone ahead and forced the army’s dissolution and then asked Mr. Bush how he reacted to that, Mr. Bush said, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, ‘This is the policy, what happened?'” But, he added, “Again, Hadley’s got notes on all of this stuff,” referring to Stephen J. Hadley, his national security adviser.””

            But hey, afterwards we can always come up with reasons it was the right idea.

        2. And as far as “strategic mistake”. So leaving Saddam in power, continuing to fight a low intensity war for another ten years while having thousands of troops in Saudi Arabia was totally without any down side. Or just walking away and making no attempts at all to contain Saddam would have been just perfect too?

          You don’t know shit about this subject. So take your smug sighs and your idiotic talking points and stop wasting my time and go waste someone who wants to be fed bullshit.

          1. “”You don’t know shit about this subject””

            Especially why you think Iraq was either a) a good idea, or b) successful

            Still waiting for enlightenment, oh bearer of all knowledge.

          2. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/a…..e_iraq_war

            Lesson #1: The United States lost.

            The first and most important lesson of Iraq war is that we didn’t win in any meaningful sense of that term. The alleged purpose of the war was eliminating Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, but it turns out he didn’t have any. Oops. Then the rationale shifted to creating a pro-American democracy, but Iraq today is at best a quasi-democracy and far from pro-American. The destruction of Iraq improved Iran’s position in the Persian Gulf — which is hardly something the United States intended — and the costs of the war are much larger than U.S. leaders anticipated or promised. The war was also a giant distraction, which diverted the Bush administration from other priorities (e.g., Afghanistan) and made the United States much less popular around the world.

            … supporters of the war are already marketing a revisionist version. In this counternarrative, the 2007 surge was a huge success (it wasn’t, because it failed to produce political reconciliation) and Iraq is now on the road to stable and prosperous democracy. And the costs weren’t really that bad….

            The danger of this false narrative is obvious: If Americans come to see the war as a success — which it clearly wasn’t — they may continue to listen to the advice of its advocates and be more inclined to repeat similar mistakes in the future.

            1. School, it is in session. Preach on, Brother Gilmore. Especially your last quoted paragraph.

              Or is Foreign Policy a bunch of pinko-Peaceniks too?

              1. Well, the problem is that if you use win vs. loss as the standard by which you judge the decision, you’re setting up a situation where someone can legitimately argue that we did not, in fact, lose, and so, by the framework you’ve established, it was at least not a bad idea, and possibly a good idea.

                If you want to argue against interventionism, you can’t argue on the basis of ROI. If interventionism, or whatever policy led to our invasion of Iraq, is a bad thing, it has to be a bad thing regardless of victory or defeat. Otherwise, you’re saying that any future Iraqs are good ideas as long as we “win.”

            2. “The alleged purpose of the war was eliminating Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction”

              Er, read the AUMF?

              Anyhoo, you seem quite invested in insisting that the US “Lost” – I would posit the Ba’at government headed by the Hussein family lost – they are dead, their party disbanded and machinery dismantled. The IA was swept from the field, there was no IN or IAF left either. That is losing.

              Now, none of that means the whole thing starting up was a good idea, but that is a different argument. It seems like trying to flog a “loss” to prevent a like decision from ever being made again is not necessary and is a little disingenuous. I don’t see anyone lacking for arguments that doing something like OIF is the wrong thing to do.

              1. Now, none of that means the whole thing starting up was a good idea

                Which is basically the argument Im making. Saying ‘some good came out of it’ is not at all what I think is relevant. Especially for $5 trillion bucks.

                I don’t care about the “lost” moniker. I have nothing invested in it. I just think people putting lipstick on a pig is bullshit.

                I share the view expressed here by Lt. Gen. James Dubik in the May issue of ARMY magazine (quoted by Ricks today) =

                “America is confusing “withdrawing from a war” with “ending a war.” The two are very different. A war ends when strategic objectives are met or an enemy is defeated and recognizes its defeat. In Iraq, the war continues — albeit at a level that the Iraqi security forces are, so far, able to handle and the Iraqi government can manage.”

                I don’t think anyone in the business really feels like doing an endzone dance.

                Oh, except John.

        3. From a geopolitical perspective Iraq was very sensible, although clumsily executed.

          One must understand that the favor of the Saudi monarch is a knife pressed to the throat of the U.S. government. The day the Saudi King says that he’ll accept payment for his oil in something other than dollars, is the day when the U.S. economy contracts dramatically and the U.S. loses the ability to export its inflation overseas.

          The army that pissed of Osama bin Laden was there to defend the Saudi king against invasion from the North. Invading Iraq removed that casus belli. Furthermore, the Saudi King had the wahabbist imams in his pay preach jihad against the great Satan, and the militant young would-be troublemakers went north and were slaughtered by the U.S. guns (or blew themselves up). And rather than having to deal with the stinky PR fallout of killing them himself, the Saudi King got to sit back and remonstrate with the U.S. for doing his dirty work for him.

          1. That is about right Tarran.

          2. “”Furthermore, the Saudi King had the wahabbist imams in his pay preach jihad against the great Satan, and the militant young would-be troublemakers went north and were slaughtered by the U.S. guns (or blew themselves up). And rather than having to deal with the stinky PR fallout of killing them himself, the Saudi King got to sit back and remonstrate with the U.S. for doing his dirty work for him.””

            My god, they figured that all out in advance? GENIUS!

            I admit, as an Ex Post Facto Rationalization, its watertight

            1. The U.S. wouldn’t have invaded Iraq without a green light from King Fahd (actually from Crown Prince Abdullah who was running the show at that point), and yes that was quite clearly the plan. How to deal with Al Queda sympathisers was a big concern, especially in light of the imminent death of King Fahd that was widely expected to kick up a succession battle.

              Abdullah is not stupid. He handily won one of the biggest succession battles of the 20th century against some pretty powerful rivals.

              I say this as someone who doesn’t think the Iraqi invasion should have happened. Just because it wasn’t a great idea for the U.S. doesn’t mean it was bad for the Saudis. It worked out awesomely for the Saudis.

              1. It worked out awesomely for the Saudis

                Because what they really wanted was a well-armed Shiite government next door.

                1. It’s not that they wanted it, it’s that THEY DIDN’T CARE! 🙂

                  The last time the Iranians threatened Saudi interests, the U.S. Navy sank their Navy, and it only took a couple of days. The ayatollahs know this.

                  1. Operation Preying Mantis IIRC.

          3. tarran| 4.25.13 @ 2:16PM |#

            From a geopolitical perspective Iraq was very sensible

            Because secretly we wanted to give Iran an ally in the region and present an even greater threat of Shiite discord across the region. WHEEE! It was a great plan.

            1. Also = how can a person dare criticize a $5trillion “light footprint” war?

            2. The Sunni’s think they can defeat the Shiites anytime, anywhere, and history seems to say that they are right.

              The day the Saudis decide that Iran is a viable threat to them, that’s the day when the bombs start falling on Iran. An Iraq that is riven by sectarian violence is not a threat to the Saudi hegemony.

              And all the bad stuff you are pointing out is peanuts in comparison of the fallout from the collapse of the dollar as a reserve currency.

              Now, in the long run, I think we would be better off if that collapse were to happen sooner rather than later, but the U.S. government isn’t known for long term thinking, so they do their calculus differently.

            3. People like Gilmore crack me up. In all of the Iran nuke threads Iran is a totally peaceful country the US is starting a needless war against. In the Iraq threads, Iran is the focus of evil in the modern world whom the US gave an indispensable ally to by invading Iraq.

              Could you at least pick a talking point and stick to it? What good does this new Iranian ally do them? Was your plan to have Saddam invade Iran again? Does Iran plan to invade Iraq and take over? I wish them luck in that.

              Of all of the idiot talking points “we created an ally for Iran” might be the dumbest.

              1. http://articles.latimes.com/20…..e-20130329

                “”Iraq’s political atmosphere has deteriorated. Maliki has ordered the arrest of his former finance minister, a Sunni. Disputes in the north between the central government and leaders of the semiautonomous Kurdish region are unresolved.

                “The Americans have no role. Nobody listens to them. They lost their power in this country,” said Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq, a Sunni, commenting on the disappearance of the Americans as a broker for most of Iraq’s disputes.

                The vacuum has been filled in large part by Iran and by Iraq’s Sunni neighbors, each intent on wielding maximum influence in a country that stands as a buffer between Shiite Iran and the largely Sunni Middle East.

                “At the moment, Iran has something akin to veto power in Iraq, in that Maliki is careful not to take decisions that might alienate Iran,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an expert on Iran with the Carnegie Endowment…””

                yeah, dumb. where are the fruits of our ‘victory’, exactly…again?

    2. I’m not clicking on the link; I fear that my black bean soup will be fingered in it.

      1. “black bean soup” or is it really…CASTOR BEAN SOUP!!! Terrorist!!1!1!!eleventy!

        1. BTW, I love how that first ricin suspect thought they were asking him about ‘rice’ when they interrogated him. 😀

          “Sure I have rice, 10 pounds of it in the basement!)

          1. Hey, Agent _______, this bag says “Basmati Rice!!! Long Grained WMD!”

  14. Whether Iraq did or did not have WMD’s is irrelevant. The war was unjustified either way

  15. I am not sure it matters to me how these fuckers are killing each other. They can use rocks and sticks or WMDs, I dont care.

    With the exception of the Israeli conflicts and the Falklands War, every conflict that I can remember seemed like a war of prison gangs to me. There just arent that many good guys out there and I am tired of us playing the part of the prison guards.

    Then our genius pols stick their fucking noses in some shithole dumbfuckistan and the next thing you know you are trying to reassemble your high school fishing buddy so you can get the body bag zipped up.

    Here are three possible strategies for dealing with Syria, in order of my recommendation:

    1. Stay the fuck out it.

    2. Give both sides plenty of weapons, stand back and watch them kill each other.

    3. Carpet bomb the shit out of both sides, then bulldoze the place and build condos.

    1. 3A – Carpet bomb the shit out of both sides, then bulldoze the place and create insta-“Palestinian Homeland”

      WIN!

      1. I know I shouldn’t like that idea as much as I do.

      2. “…create insta-“Palestinian Homeland”

        I should joke and say you improved my comment, but I wont. I would point out that this is exactly why we should stay the fuck out of conflicts like this.

        If we built the palestinians a gold plated, first class homeland ten times the size of Israel, they wouldnt take it.

        I watched a beggar in Cochabamba over the course of weeks. He had a huge gash in his leg. He would beg for money with a sad sad face and display his wound. If you didnt give him money he would curse you bad enough to make satan blush.

        I noticed that his wound got bigger over time, and once I saw him furtively cutting at parts of it that had tried to heal up.

        The palestinians are like that beggar. They dont want a homeland. The sooner they get gangrene and die, the better.

        1. That is pretty harsh, but I am at a bit of a loss to argue with your point.

        2. “The sooner they get gangrene and die, the better.”

          Whoa

    2. “I am not sure it matters to me how these fuckers are killing each other. They can use rocks and sticks or WMDs”

      And it doesn’t matter to you that the weapons they’re being killed with are paid for with your tax dollars? Should I ask if it matters to you that most of the people being killed are civilians who just want to go about their lives and aren’t on a “side”?

  16. it’s about time that somebody American do something about it

    *mic drop*

    Tuccillee wins today’s internetz! Yay!

    1. sorry about that extra e – tard typing skillz stryke agin

  17. Does it really have to be said?

    Anything the CIA says about chemical weapons and Arabic countries in the middle east should be taken with a VERY LARGE grain of salt.

    1. Is a lump the size of my Jeep still a grain?

    2. You could have stopped at “Anything the CIA says”.

  18. Man that jsut makes no senseat all to me dude.

    http://www.GotzMyAnon.tk

  19. Question:

    Has anyone figured out what this means?

    “some degree of varying confidence”

    1. It means nobody has a fucking clue.

    2. It means that the program calls for you to say it, but that it isn’t true.

  20. I agree that this is a flip-flop on Hagel’s part. What happened in that 24-hour period? Did somebody tell him to get with the program? If so, who?

    See here for a link to the reports that surfaced on March 19 that the Syrian _opposition_ had used chemical weapons:

    http://blog.reconstructno.org/…..-Move-Fast

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