If you missed 60 Minutes this weekend rest assured that they remain the same nest of anti-American terrorist-lovers, or whatever we call people with the temerity to criticize the president. An extended interview with Tyler Drumheller, a 26-year veteran of the agency and former director of European operations, uncovered at least two extremely interesting bits of information.
First, the most important prewar intelligence coup that you never heard about:
[T]he CIA had made a major intelligence breakthrough on Iraq’s nuclear program. Naji Sabri, Iraq’s foreign minister, had made a deal to reveal Iraq’s military secrets to the CIA. Drumheller was in charge of the operation.
“This was a very high inner circle of Saddam Hussein. Someone who would know what he was talking about,” Drumheller says.
Talk about credible sources. Did the White House know that we had such a high-placed informant? You bet:
According to Drumheller, CIA Director George Tenet delivered the news about the Iraqi foreign minister at a high-level meeting at the White House, including the president, the vice president and Secretary of State Rice.
At that meeting, Drumheller says, “They were enthusiastic because they said, they were excited that we had a high-level penetration of Iraqis.”
With every level of our administration on tenterhooks, the Iraqi foreign minister delivered his bombshell:
What did this high-level source tell him?
“He told us that they had no active weapons of mass destruction program,” says Drumheller.
If you guessed that our leaders’ “enthusiasm” would not survive having their preconceived notions contradicted, congratulations:
“The group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they’re no longer interested,” Drumheller recalls. “And we said, ‘Well, what about the intel?’ And they said, ‘Well, this isn’t about intel anymore. This is about regime change.'”
“And if I understand you correctly, when the White House learned that you had this source from the inner circle of Saddam Hussein, they were thrilled with that,” Bradley asked.
“The first we heard, they were. Yes,” Drumheller replied.
Once they learned what it was the source had to say — that Saddam Hussein did not have the capability to wage nuclear war or have an active WMD program, Drumheller says, “They stopped being interested in the intelligence.”
Condoleeza Rice responded to the story by insisting that we had “other sources.” That’s right, we had Curveball.
There you have everything that you need to know about our leadership in one tidy anecdote. When they found out that we had turned the best-placed informant imaginable they practically soiled themselves in anticipation, until they heard what he had to say. Then his testimony suddenly seemed less interesting than the latest brain dropping from some serial-fabricating expatriate who couldn’t be bothered to keep his multiple stories straight.
When it came to promoting the Iraq war positive information couldn’t make it to the press fast enough. Pesky concepts like declassification and dissenting analysts just seemed to go up in smoke when pro-war leakmeisters like Judith Miller or your average stenographer at FOX came calling. Somehow negative information like Sabri’s testimony never received the same celebrity treatment.
CNN puts a finer point on it:
CBS said the White House declined to respond to the charge and that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said Sabri was just one source and therefore not reliable.
But Drumheller said it was not unusual for the administration to rely on single-source stories when those stories confirmed what the White House wanted to hear.
He cited a report the CIA received in late 2001 that alleged Iraq had bought 500 tons of uranium-containing compounds from Africa.
“They certainly took information that came from single sources on the yellowcake story and on several other stories with no corroboration at all,” he said.
The second important revelation from Sunday’s interview is that it was a revelation at all. As Josh Marshall points out we have had two major investigations into pre-war intelligence, one hand-picked by the president (the Robb-Silbermann commission) and one run Pat Roberts, whose shameless toadying embarrasses even the right-wing editorial board of the Wichita Eagle. It makes no sense that two separate commissions tasked with investigating prewar Iraq intelligence would both fail to mention America’s single most important intelligence coup from the prewar period. Either the respective chairmen of both commissions are mind-bogglingly stupid, or else the goal of illuminating took a backseat to covering up.
Josh Marshall confirmed that both commissions repeatedly interviewed Drumheller about Sabri, so stupid is not an option.
POSTCSCRIPT – can you guess which dishonest credibility smear Drumheller’s attackers will choose? As always the choices are Partisan Activist, Mentally Imbalanced, Disgruntled Ex-Employee and Promoting a Book.
Hint: he has a book coming out.
1. Drumheller’s 26 years of service include 8 during the Clinton years, so he is tainted.
2. Drumheller has associated with known Democrats.
3. At some time in his life, he registered to vote as a Democrat.
Bush lied, and people died. He continues to lie, and they continue to die.
That’s two smoking guns in the last 30 days or so. First the Colin Powell statements, and now this.
I see some serious gay-bashing and immigrant=bashing in the months ahead, folks.
I stopped being outraged months ago. If I became angry at every lie, obfuscation, half-truth, sleight-of-hand, double standard that this group of criminals has undertaken, I’d die tomorrow of high blood pressure.
I hate to say it, but “we” all knew this years ago (the cherry-picking/ignoring). Just like we all knew years ago that Rumsfeld is incompetent and arrogant. And we knew Bush would politicize the FDA, EPA, Forestry Service, USDA, NSA, and CIA. What’s amazing is that the media is acting as if this is all “BREAKING NEWS”.
Should we even be talking about how we gather intelligence? Doesn’t that just make it easier for the terrorists to disrupt intelligence gathering?
This guy Drunenliberal is mad that the White House wouldn’t listen to him in meetings. I wonder how he’d like to be in a meeting with Al Qaeda. Being listened to doesn’t matter much when you’ve been beheaded.
NBC News corroborated the Sadri story last month, but they follow the administration’s blame-the-CIA story line. Interesting that the administration isn’t using the same defense this month.
It must be a coincidence that these guys always get airtime on “60 Midgets” when they have books coming out. It does make it more difficult to take the interview seriously. And Tim, you left out Lyin’ Joe Wilson being on the show last night. He’s always good for a biting quote, ain’t he?
Can you say “Off topic”? Sure you can.
This pretty much blows the “but everyone was wrong about WMD in Iraq” justification out of the water, doesn’t it?
What ever happened to phase II of the Roberts investigation? I seem to remember the Republivans making a big deal when the Dems pulled one on them. The second phase of the investigation has went nowhere. Both Republicans and Democrats both want to deny that they “drank fro the Koolaid” in the run up to the war.
Just because he has a book coming out doesn’t mean he isn’t also a mentally unbalanced partisan disgruntled ex-employee. You have to keep an open mind.
Seriously, John and Tim, are we ever going to crack down on the relentless spoofing?
Brian, you know that by shoving your fingers in your ears so deeply, you could actually push hardened earwax through your auditory canal and into your skull, resulting in brain damage, right?
Oops, too late.
You have to admire Brian’s tenacity. It takes a special person to intentionally ignore reality – even when it’s so clearly flaunted in his face.
Do drugs help with the denial?
Roberts was called away to help OJ hunt for the real killer.
He’s a spoof.
Here’s what I think happened: Hillary tells her friends in the CIA to try to embarrass Bush to help her own chances in 2008. What she fears most is Condi. Condi would be an unstoppable candidate — Americans love to see unmarried, African-American women in positions of power. Look at Oprah, look at Starr Jones.
So Hillary gets Joe Wilson to lie about the uranium we all know that Iraq bought from Niger and later did in Syria. Then she gets Richard Clarke and Mary McCarthy and this Drumheller guy to out Valerie Plame and gets Matt Cooper and Tim Russert to lie and say it was Karl Rove and Scooter Libby who outted her. Then she gets McCarthy to make up these “secret prisons” (which don’t even exist) to further embarrass the president. All of this makes Condi look bad.
So you see, not only are the Democrats traitors, they are racists and misogynists.
I think you’re closing in on the Grand Unified Theory that wingnuts have been seeking for years. Work in some of teh gay and I think you’ve got it.
The sad part is, DougJ basically paraphrased real material he found on righty websites. I kid you not.
That’s correct. I find most of what I just said on Protein Wisdom. A little on Free Republic and Red State too (though they’re really not as bad, in fairness — I think that some of the guys who run those places mean well).
As do the guys who run this place. But that doesn’t stop the “Light up Palestine” Stormys, or the “You don’t want your kid camping with queers” Darrell, or the “Only the media can make us lose the war in Iraq” Tall Daves from displaying their nonsense here.
I meant in contrast to Jeff Goldstein, who doesn’t mean well. He never steps in and tells people they’re nuts or closes threads because there’s too many comments about beheadings or anything of the sort. The Free Republic and Red State guys do.
I blame it on the liberal CIA not giving Sabri a cool nickname like ‘Curveball’.
DougJ or someone else?
I hate to defend JeffG, but isn’t it possible that he gives that kind of leeway because he wants it for himself and it wouldn’t be seemly to deny it to others? He seems to have a taste for over-the-top rhetoric, something which, as you know, I personally can’t tolerate.
Honestly, not sure. If it’s DougJ then Doug has achieved a new level of spoofdom, wherein he can actually descend to a lower level of intellectual capacity while spoofing. In other words, Brian is too stupid for Doug. You can spoof a lot of things but intelligence is not one of them. People will reveal themselves at their true level.
Brian strikes me as being socially inept and pretty dumb WRT current affairs. I’m not sure Doug could create that so accurately.
I’m quite serious, btw.
But doug has surprised me before, maybe he is doing it again.
To quote Ahmed Chalabi when the manure hit the fan about the WMD and Mr. Chalabi’s blatant lies, and possible ties to Iranian Intelligence:
“I AM AMERICA’S BEST FRIEND IN IRAQ!”
Yes, he shouted that, hence the “all caps”.
Scott McClellan perhaps?
I really can’t stand JeffG. He and some (though not all) of the crew at Volokh are the only bloggers I genuinely dislike. I can’t stand the fact that they pretend to be intellectuals while spewing the most assinine and, frankly, incoherent garbage.
Take Atlas Shrugs, by contrast. She’s open in her admiration for Ayn Rand. That’s pretty much saying “I’m a lunatic, take it or leave it.” Or even the plagiarist Ben Domenech. In his first post on WaPo, he talks about how obsessed he is with Red Dawn, Citgo, and the Dan Rather memo story — he’s upfront about being an unhinged lunatic.
But Goldstein has some big shpiel in his bio about his so-called education and many of the posters at Volokh claim to be law school professors. That makes their idiocy annoying, rather than endearing.
Also, your first two posts in this thread each nearly caused me to do a spit-take, DougJ. Fantastic work!
Idiocy tending toward the endearing, versus the annoying.
That’s like characterizing various forms of cancer based on the personalities of the people who have it.
So, are you joking, or just stupid ?
Seriously, get a grip. How do we exactly describe a member of Saddam’s government parotting the official Iraqi position that they “Had no WMD” as “turning” an “informant” ?
Oh yeah, I’m sure we had to ply the guy with money, drugs, and hookers to get that info.
You have to be shitting me. If you don’t see the stupidity of that statement, you’re a fucking retard.
Oh, and let’s not forget, this is in anticipation of a war. Whodda thunk an Iraqi government official would come forward with the ground breaking admission that they “had no WMD”. Damn. That’s a shocker.
You people are unreal.
Here’s the beauty part, though: He turned out to be right.
Doesn’t that just frost ya?
and many of the posters at Volokh claim to be law school professors. That makes their idiocy annoying, rather than endearing.
Amen, DougJ. Did you see Randy Barnett quoting that Mark Steyn “Great Persian Campaign” column that every *other* blog in the world was *laughing* at, and ponderously inviting “discussion” of it? I thought I was going to swallow my tongue and be found blue and dead on my keyboard.
Lots of animal husbandry courses in there, I’m assuming?
And the most pathetic thing going is the delusioinal retards that would use this – your words – smoking gun (ROTFLMAO) to fan the flames of their moronic “outrage”.
Twits. It’s sad to see the escaped lunatics over-running the asylum here. It’s too bad for Cole, though he is equally to blame for allowing this unchecked moonbattery.
The Other Steve
The key that you guys are missing.
The Republican supporters don’t see anything wrong with any of this. It’s perfectly ok to make up shit to go to war, because the key point was the war… not the shit.
Sherard the spoof, are you really going to continue this harangue?
Your whole schtick is based on the idea that intelligence gathering agencies cannot “turn” insiders and get intel from them, because — HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! — they have no way of knowing whether the insiders are PULLING THIER LEGS!
Okay, I agree with you. Please shut down the ENTIRE AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE APPARATUS IMMEDIATELY and GIVE ME MY FUCKING MONEY BACK.
The caps are to help you understand the dilemma you’ve put me in. I’m sure you understand.
You may be on to something here. Personally I thought it was suspicious that the informant was named Big Pussy.
Which is what we have been saying for about three years now.
Anderson, I didn’t see that Randy Barnett thing, but it sounds typical of that place.
For that matter, how do we trust the information from a possible alcoholic brought to us by a group of really pissed off Iraqi dissidents?
Whoops! I forgot. We did.
So if the Iranian foreign minister makes a deal with the CIA to give classified info about Iran’s nuclear program, and then comes and tells us that they’re not interested in building nuclear weapons, we should believe him?
Obviously the administration was wrong for dismissing this person. They should have been more willing to listen to him, rather than just assuming he was an agent of Saddam trying to mislead the U.S. (which is what I believe happened). But neither would this be any proof that Saddam didn’t have WMDS, or that the administration knew they didn’t.
Or, a known alcoholic brought to us by the Saudi-bonesmoking Bush family and the Republican powerazzi?
If you have a non credible source telling you what you want to hear and another non credible source telling you that what you want to hear isn’t true which one do you believe?
Plenty of reason, though, to take more time, do more inspections, ask more questions, get more intel, be more cautious, be more prudent, eh?
Or, just ignore the warning signs, go balls-out to war, and then JOKE ABOUT THE WMDs not being there, later.
You got the latter alternative, congratulations. Aren’t we all better off now?
Well, apparently George and Dick just believed the voices in their own heads.
What else to do, when the intel is ambiguous?
I mean, really? Who are we to second-guess them?
But a responsible administration would not have insisted for months and years that there was no dispute about the presence of WMDs. And in any case, it leaves the Bush administration with very little credibility, which says quite a bit about their judgment and forethought.
So, I read Tim F’s post, and sit there wondering, what will Brian have to say in response to this…
I gotta say, Bri…you disappoint me. The book angle is the best you can do? Will anything ever snap you out of it? If Dick Fucking Cheney himself came on next Sunday night and told us alll how Bush just ran over everyone on the way to war, would you blame it on his book deal and jealousy as number two?
What does it take to pierce the cult of personality bubble?
Colin Powell basically already did. I guess his book deal is in the works ……
Don’t forget the weapons inspectors.
And the most pathetic thing going is the delusioinal retards that would use this – your words – smoking gun (ROTFLMAO) to fan the flames of their moronic “outrage”.
man, it must really suck to know that the ‘delusioinal retards’ you reference were completely right about WMDs and you and your ilk were 100% dead wrong.
Which would you rather be? Right, and have the world as it was, or wrong, and have the world better off?
I thought so.
If being wrong to be right is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Honestly, don’t you think you are making a bigger deal out of this than is warranted? It was an additional piece, a big piece even, of information from a regime-member who may or may not have been honest. Interesting, but hardly definitive.
Cheney saying these things would be quite different than one-of-many-ex-agents saying it. With the voluminous amount of intel that exists on every country, the numerous U.S. agencies, the international agencies, and the thousands of agents that are employed with them, you are bound to have opinions within the agencies on the quality of intel and what to make of it in terms of policy.
For every ex-CIA agent coming out against the intel that was used to support the war, you can surely find someone that agrees with it. Just as if you can find some generals willing to come out against Rummy, you can find those who support him.
In the end, it comes down to the folks running the administration. If you don’t like it, get someone else elected, if you can. In the meantime, you can always remain Mr. Furious.
Well then, you’re only left with being wrong. But you’re comfortable in that role, aren’t you?
Ah, briliant. We know intelligence sources are inaccurate if they corroborate the official line of a foreign government, but they’re highly reliable if the contradict it. I know how we can save an assload of money on intelligence – just assume the opposite of whatever the bad guys say is always true! Saddamn claims to have no weapons of mass destruction, the’s got huge stockpiles of nukes. Saddam claims the inspectors can go where they want, but he’s kept them out of the missle silos hidden in his palace toilets. Iran claims to have enriched a bunch of uranium, they must have squat! Oh wait, maybe that doesn’t work.
It’s also not proof that there isn’t an invisible purple gremlin in my closet chewing holes in my shoes. You can’t prove a negative. Given that the evidence suggesting that Saddam really did have WMDs was scant, forged, innaccurate or illusory it hardly makes the case the “slam-dunk” that was claimed. Given that the administration was making the case that the evidence of a nuclear program was incontravertable, it’s impossible at this point to escape the conclusion that they were simply lying.
That’s right, Mister Spoof. Agents are lining up to explain how they were right about the big scary Iraq WMD threat. A theory which also requires you to believe that all those WMDs were moved, silently and invisibly, to another country right under our noses ….
Try a little harder, “Brain.” You are turning into a caricature of yourself now.
I’m voting for adamantium.
OK, enough on your opinion of Curveball, what do you think of Naji Sabri?
But in your world, wrong is right. So I’m right.
Fine choice, but Laudanum is for real.
And look at the claims:
Doesn’t that sound almost Republican?
There is no smoking gun. There is not ever going to be a revelation that W toured Iraq, discovered there were no WMD, and then lied us into war.
There has been small pieces of evidence emerge for three years about the cherry picking, leaking, and dismissal of counter-evidence. This is another large piece of the puzzle. They believed Curveball completely, even though most intelligence analysts found him to be a drunken liar. They dismissed this person, after they embraced him, as soon as he gave the wrong answer. (“I embraced him before I dismissed him”)
Does this story have legs because it is the smoking gun? Of course not. It just came out at the right time, after the veil of integrity has been removed from this administration. This evidence fits into the narrative that is being created.
so, they voted for the bad intel, before they voted against it?
The Other Steve
Look, I’m tired of people all saying Bush lied to get us into Iraq.
Bush never lied. He didn’t make stuff up. He just listened to the wrong guys giving him intellignce.
You can’t blame a guy for the decisions he makes, for choosing to listen to the wrong people. That’s just not fair.
Everything we know now can be summed up with: It doesn’t prove the Admin knew they didn’t have WMD, but it does prove that the admin didn’t know they had WMD.
They sold us WMD, grave and growing threat, mushroom clouds.
They used everyone’s ignorance and lack of intellectual curiosity. They knew everyone wasn’t going to be doing research on the history of the region, etc. They mixed 9/11 SH UBL terrorism Iraq into one big cake, and decorated it with Mushroom clouds, knowing that people would buy it.
People bought it, exactly as they were meant to. But now the admin expects everyone to dissect their statements to see that they never ‘actually’ said what the definition of is is. Hence, 33%.
Unless he is the Decider.
From TPM’s Josh Marshall
If this revelation isn’t enough, its also back to the old “sometimes its not the crime, but the cover-up that gets you ” department!
I have it on good authority that the BushCo Kool-Aid is, in fact, laudanum with food coloring.
Well, you are advancing one of the two alternative explanations I offered here a year ago:
1) They are incompetant, or
2) They lied.
Your theory is a permuation of my Number Two, They Lied. They pressed ahead and employed intelligence primarily as a tool of manipulation, to fool us.
Under my Number One, They Were Stupid, and they would have pressed ahead and employed the wrong intelligence or the wrong understanding of the intelligence to fool themselves.
Unless I am missing something, there is no other alternative explanation.
In the case of both alternatives, the motherfuckers must be fired and the country saved from more of their bungling.
This process hopefully begins with the Democrats winning a house in Congress this fall. On that day, the Reign of Boobs comes to an end.
(I use “boobs” here in the “simpleton” sense, not the more popular anatomical sense.)
Oh I agree. It’s plainly obvious that the administration hyped the WMD intel, making the evidence sound certain when it was obvious there was some uncertainty, of which this is further evidence of. However I’ve seen some go to far and say that the administration knew there weren’t WMDs, or that the CIA didn’t believe Saddam had WMDs, and have used this as evidence of it. And that’s what I take issue with.
The problem is that both sides in this arguement often take extreme positions that really don’t reflect the facts.
Now that is indisputable intel… Bank on it.
There aren’t two “sides” to the argument, unless you want to argue that getting the most fundamental facts about a country you are going to ask to go to war with, is beyond the competance level of good government, and that’s okay.
It isn’t beyond the competance level of good government, and what they did is not okay. Period.
It all comes down to the 06 midterms. The GOP machine and the administration can’t survive transparency at this point. Too many years of power and hubris.
If the dems lose in 06, the admin will get out of this alive.
Hmmm…I was gonna say it would take a lawn dart, but I guess your suggestion is better.
Where are you getting this from? As far as I know while there were some in the CIA skeptical of this guy’s claims, many in the intelligence department still viewed this guy as a reliable source. If you have evidence to the contrary I’d like to hear it.
I guess I should have used more inflaming rhetoric.
Yes, they lied. They used the stupidity of the country at large, as well as the country’s trust, to get to war. They knew they could say:
-Iraq is going to attack America, it is imminent
-SH was involved in 9/11
-SH is working with UBL
-Iraq will have nukes any day
Without saying any of that. They got those ideas out, and into the heads of enough Americans to convince us to go to war.
Now, they are trying to say that they never said those things, which they actually didn’t. But they played on Americans ‘lack of intellectual curiosity’ to misinform them with those ideas, which they knew to be false.
The whole hoo-ha over Iraqi nukes NEVER MADE ANY SENSE. It doesn’t take a super-secret intel person to see that. Saddam was caught trying to enrich uranium with centrifuges. He would have been a long time doing it, particularly after Desert Storm when we destroyed all of his centrifuges.
His yellowcake was under seal. If he bought more, he didn’t have the wherewithal to enrich it. It takes, famously, thousands of centrifuges to obtain weapons-grade enrichment. A big plant that consumes lots of power. Any attempt along these lines would surely have been detected in the decrepit country known as Iraq.
Nope, the Iraqi nukes scaremongering wasn’t just a mis-statement, it was the deliberate creation of a phantom to justify a war. I didn’t need Joe Wilson to tell me this, and I don’t need Drumheiler to tell me this.
A proud member of the reality-based community, I am.
The problem is that both sides
in this arguement oftentake extreme positions that really don’t reflect the facts
Always my personal favorite :-)
I like the Don Drysdale approach to rhetoric.
He said, what good is the “intentional walk” which wastes four pitches, when you can hit the man and put him on with one pitch?
If we ever required proof of how unserious a person you are, this is it.
There aren’t two sides on the argument about Iraqi nukes. It was pure hype, as anyone with half a brain could tell you.
Argue all you want about chem/bio stuff, but it is plain that there was no nuclear threat at all.
Personally, I’d be willing to back off the “liar” bit if they’d back off the “everybody knew” bit.
As of about 18 months ago I would have been prepared to accept some variation of the following:
“we relied on intelligence that these WMD programs were in place. While there was information both ways, we felt the weight of the evidence supported the decision made. While that information turned out to be incorrect, in pursuing my responsibility to the safety of the American people, it was much better to be safe than sorry.”
Or something like that. Combined with a competant prosecution of the early postwar period, I would have largely been ok. But instead we get the finger-in-the-dyke alls-quiet on the Baghdad front bullshit.
Well, by all means, Mister Spoofapalooza, please knock yourself out by arguing that the Bushites did exactly the right thing under the circumstances.
Please, take all the time and space you need here to advance that argument.
Let nothing get in your way. Give it all you got.
Fair enough. I do not have the proper inside connections to know the consensus opinion of the intel community. There are writers on both sides claiming that they know, but they have agendas.
Allow me to strike that part of my argument, and just leave it at this:
According to this interview on 60 minutes, it appears that they dismissed an informant’s evidence when it didn’t match their preconceived idea. At the same time, they took Curveball as the gospel even though there were no additional sources to back him up, and the Germans weren’t convinced due to inconsistencies in his story.
It all fits with the rest of the evidence we have.
They believed their own story that SH had WMD. They cherry picked intelligence to support that theory. They then exaggerated they intelligence and removed the doubts. They created the idea that iraq was a grave and growing threat to the US mainland. They created ties between SH and terrorists that wanted to attack the US mainland.
How come nobody told me the Reign of Boobs was starting? And now I missed it?
Nope, not acceptable.
Even if you could argue that a reasonable conclusion could be drawn that Iraq “had” these WMDs, you could not have concluded that they represented any particular big threat to the United States, or for that matter, to anyone outside Iraq’s borders.
Remember, it’s not the existence of WMDs that justifies the war, it’s the threat posed by those WMDs. Where was the threat? How was it manifested? What were the mechanisms of delivery or implmentation? Where was the actual, expressed threat that represent clear and present danger?
Nowhere. Nowhere to be found. Saddam didn’t even have the capability to deliver much resistance to our invasion, literally on his doorstep.
Pooh, that’s backing off too much. Their “lies” are primarily responsible for “what everybody thought.”
You were missing my point, I would have accepted a mea culpa 18 months ago saying “ok, we got it wrong, but here’s why.”
Besides, post 9/11 I can’t put too much stock in ‘no delivery system.’ It would blow up just as nicely in a truck as in a Tomahawk.
Intel people never believe anything, full stop. It is a professional disease. The problem is that when they say something, it is supposed to always be true, the doctrine of intelligence infallibility. They always have to be pushed to make conclusions.
So: Any intel person who based conclusions on Curveball or any other uncorroborated source would have been pandering. The same is true of an uncorroborated Foreign Minister.
The thing about the nukes debate is that there are checkable facts, and what facts there were to check all made any kind of viable program absolutely out of the question.
Again, doesn’t take an intel person.
bush lied to get us into iraq, not because there wasn’t some amount of evidence about wmds but because (as is now perfectly, absolutely, crystal clear) the administration wasn’t really concerned about wmds. it was only a prop to beat the dems and the country with, while they went about their policy of regime change.
all this talk about trusting this source, or that source is irrelevant in understanding how we got to this point . the policy was regime change. all the rest is rationalization.
this discussion is important for the general public, who are only now to the point that they can put these facts together for themselves.
Furious, I’m not sure it really matters, since I’m positing a counterfactual fantasyland where Unicorns and Jackalopes live in perfect harmony…
Danelectro: agreed. However, it is important to puncture the stupid excuses and lies.
Brian, if you were really a loyal Republican or a loyal American, you’d be trying to get Bush to resign. The way I see it, three more years of Bush will turn another 3-4% of Americans away from the Republican party. That’s enough to shift control of Congress back to the Dems for the next 10-12 years. As someone who hates this Republican congress, I like that part of the equation.
But unfortunately, three more years of Bush will also do incalculable damage to the long-term fiscal solvency of the country, to our standing abroad, and to our armed services. So I’d like Bush to resign, even if it is bad in terms of politics for what I want to see happen.
Someone like you should really be praying that Bush resigns before 2008. Because Bush will destroy both your party and your country, given enough time.
So, does Brian ride a unicorn or a jackalope?
Sadaam lied to get us into Iraq, although that surely wasn’t his intent.
Pretty much. When determining whether to wage war, it’s rather disturbing to realize that when given information that didn’t justify war, the administration basically put their collective fingers in their collective ears, due to their eagerness to start kicking asses and taking names.
There’s just no excuse for it…sorry. There are some decisions you can make with your gut, particularly if the consequences affect only you. Going to war is not one of those decisions, and the consequences are affecting many more people besides the decision-makers, and some of those effects are irrevocable.
I really do think we’ll start seeing a throw-Bush-under-the-bus movement, both from principled Republicans (like John Cole) and from more cynical operators (like the neocons). It will reach a point where a lot of Republicans want him to go and where more will benefit from his resignation than not.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but I think this is where this is all headed.
Well, then you must quake in fear at the existence of every weapon on earth that isn’t under Western control. Why focus on the ones in Iraq? If you are going to be afraid the sky is falling, why pick out one little cloud?
One of the most infuriating aspects of this issue is this: The conversation has consisted of two, and only two, options. 1) Go to war, and do it quickly. 2) Appeasement.
That is how W gets away with saying things like, “I had to either take the word of a madman, or not. I didn’t!” As if everyone that questions his Desiderness was sitting around saying “I would have taken the word of a mad man and not worried about Iraq at all.”
I’m surprised their hasn’t yet been a major GOP revolt yet.
I mean SERIOUSLY
I just saw that the national debt interest payments are already up to 194 bil, and the year’s not even a third of the way over yet. At this rate the interest payments will be 60% higher than last. We spent 352 bil last year.
Yeah, I always love that “I had to take the word of a madman or protect Amurika. I chose to protek Amurika.”
Well, it looks pretty much like we all ended up taking the word of a madman didn’t we?
Dear Mr Furious,
I can only see two reasons to defend Bush and his policies. 1) You financially benefit from them, ie, your paid to shill for them, or your in the upper income classes that benefit from tax policies, or 2) your dumb as dirt…
Which be you?
Zerthimon, re Curve Ball:
From the Senate Intelligence Committee report:
It gets better: well before the war, the Germans warned us that Curve Ball was unreliable – they had started interrogating him before we did (in 1999, I believe).
And, to top it all off, Curve Ball was the brother to a top aide of Chalabi.
You forgot one ….
3) Your name is Bush and it’s a matter of family honor.
Perhaps the GOP’s greatest strength is its cultlike devotion to its leaders. If Clinton had been a Republican (and in many ways he might as well have been), people like Brian and Darrell would now maintain little Clinton shrines. They would have turned 3.9% unemployment and a 300 billion dollar surplus into a 15 years of electoral victories. We’d never have heard the end of it.
But when the Republicans get stuck with a stinker like Bush, they’ll ride that lemon all the way into the ditch. The cult of personality can be a two way street.
You forgot one ….
3) Your name is Bush and it’s a matter of family honor.
I don’t think that’s right. Most who fall into category (3) were already in category (2). And the one who isn’t in category (2) — Poppy — certainly hasn’t gone out of his way to defend Dubya.
The Other Steve
Look, we really must, for the good of the country, agree that there is only one side to this issue, and that is the danger and fear we must all endure from the threat of Saddam Hussein obtaining Weapons.
If we do not agree on this fundamental disclosure of detailed operations dictation, we’re all going to end up vaporized in a mushroom cloud.
Just remember that, next time you want to argue the moral relativity of relativistic physical phenomena.
When I think of Republicans, I think of one image: Bob Dole crying at Richard Nixon’s funeral.
Dole, who gave the country his arm, crying for a man who gave it the finger.
No novelist could invent that scene.
This will all mean nothing, btw, if the Republicans retain control of Congress in this midterm election.
Please for the Love of God and Love of Country, do NOT vote Republican! And before you question my patriotism, let me point out:
1) I *was* a Republican until these corrupt SOBs leading the party to massive deficits and inept governing drove me from the party;
2) I don’t have a new book to push;
3) I believe in God. It’s like, as Bono once said, my God isn’t short of cash mister!;
4) I believe in the United States of America. I believe that our nation was founded by Freemasons in a benign attempt to conduct a massive social experiment on if a democratic nation could long prosper and that it’s the damn Military/Industrial Complex that’s threatening that success. ;)
P.S. Vote Purple Party!
4) You’ve spent the past 13 years demonizing liberals, and you would rather that the world be destroyed in atomic war than admit you were so wrong for so long.
Zerthimon, re Curve Ball:
Its all in the Senate Intelligence Committee report. Here’s my favorite part:
It gets better: well before the war, the Germans warned us that Curve Ball was unreliable – they had started interrogating him before we did (in 1999, I believe).
And, to top it all off, Curve Ball was the brother to a top aide of Chalabi.
Whoops!!!!! Sorry for the double posting!!!
[hangs head in shame…] :(
The only shame here would be in turning out to be Brian.
4) You’ve spent the past 13 years demonizing liberals, and you would rather that the world be destroyed in atomic war than admit you were so wrong for so long.
In all seriousness, Paul, I am open to voting for a candidate other than Bush or a clone of him. I was willing to vote D in 2004, but Kerry turned out to be a lightweight, and up till yesterday he keeps proving my decision not to vote for him to be the correct one.
If one doesn’t vote Republican, the alternative is hopelessly worse.
And with that, seriousness is, forever, dead.
Alternatively, “You’re not as smart as GWB.” I’d like to have a President I wouldn’t be embarrassed to say is smarter than me. Is there anyone who would admit to not being smarter than President Bush?
Politics has turned into sports. People took sides, and the pundits starting screaming at each other. Each ‘team’ was demonized by the other. Words like traitor were and are tossed around, and it isn’t even shocking.
It is hard to turn on your ‘team.’ The people that you trusted, that you celebrated with when you won back to back championships in 00 and 04.
Emotion has trumped reason.
For a member of the ‘team’, it is difficult to come to the realization that Bush is the idiot we said he was. Not only do they have to change their opinion about Bush, but they have to admit that the other side, the dreaded team of liberals like Michael Moore, was right.
That’s hard work. If I had to come to the conclusion that Feingold was just a mouthpiece for trial lawyers wanting to enrich themselves, and the minority party led by Bill Frist was actually the lesser of two evils…………That crow would be hard to eat. I would fight it for as long as I could, while telling myself it wasn’t true. I might even get on message boards and have a meltdown defending the indefensible.
It isn’t rational, it is emotional. The ‘my team’ emotional mentality is what has 33% clinging to Bush as he drives off the cliff. That and their shared belief in God and his hatred of gays.
In my opinion anyway.
Please reconcile that with North Korea and Iran getting Atomic weapons, and with Pakistan and India HAVING Atomic weapons. We can NOT go and invade EVERY country that is seeking the bomb. As a matter of fact, The Decider in Chiefs sabre rattling is probably driving those without them to speed up their programs just to defend themselves from us. Bush is making the PROBLEM WORSE, not better by trying to bring his Texas Swagger solutions to the table. Actually, I’ll back up and say I HATE THAT TERM, Texas Swagger, it makes Authentic Texan wanna puke!
I was open to the idea. Maybe I was just seeing a persona that was created. The nuk-yu-lar amurika crap was just for show so that people would want to have a beer with him. I was open to the idea that he was much smarter than he appears.
But then, “I am the decider!” Then pouts like a petulant little child.
Deal Sealed: Idiot.
I think politics has always been sports to some extent. The current batch of Republicans — starting with Newt, through DeLay to Bush and Rove — has taken it to a new low. That’s just a fact. It doesn’t make Jack Kemp or Orrin Hatch or Sherwood Boehlert a bad person that this happened. I’m happy to consider all of those guys to be part of my team. The leadership of the Republican party went nuts and the rank-and-file went along with it. That doesn’t make them bad people but it does mean they’re weak people.
The nuk-yu-lar amurika crap was just for show so that people would want to have a beer with him. I was open to the idea that he was much smarter than he appears.
But then, “I am the decider!” Then pouts like a petulant little child.
That’s about where I was with him, but I think I decided he was an idiot after the first debate in 2004.
It’s a part of it, but not all of it, I think. Some of tht 33% is just …. dumbcrazy. People who believe in endtime stories and that the earth is a few thousand years old. People who actually believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God, and all that sort of crap. They’re in there.
But I think a larger component of the demo is just pure stubbornness and refusal to admit that one is wrong. I think it is the same thing that keeps Bush thinking he is right. He thinks he is right because somewhere in the back of his alcohol-spongified brain, he remembers hearing that “staying the course” was a noble thing to do. When you’re on the floor, you pick yourself up, and get back in the race.
That’s life! That’s what people say. Riding high in April, shot down in May. Yes, it all sounds vaguely familiar, like elevator music. And it is.
What worries me is, what now?
We have the current situation that has split Ds and Rs into two frothing at the mouth camps. (I am trying to be bipartisan here, but it isn’t liberals calling people traitors for dissent)
The Democrats can’t fight back politely. They have to go into 06 and 08 with the gloves off. They have to create their own wedge issues. Ends justify the means? That is the motto of the GOP. How can the Ds fight an organization like that without taking the same mindset.
So, maybe the Dems win in 06 and 08, but what did they have to do to win? If Feingold is president in 08, but the climate is worse than it is today, are we that much better off?
I was a member of Team Bush til sometime in 2003. I am embarrassed that it took me that long to see the light. My first democratic vote was for Kerry in 2004. I think Team USA is way more important than either the Republican or Democratic brands. Corporations are infecting both parties, but right now, they have completely infected the Republicans and until that changes, I’ll vote Democrat…
That stubborness and desire to be right is the emotional decision making I am talking about. I probably threw too big of a net with the ‘team’ mentality.
My point was that many people are too emotionally invested and have lost all rational thought. An attack on Bush is an attack on them.
After a very long time believing this, I no longer do.
I think that the country is sick to death of the current leadership, and politics, and a government that makes fools of the people and lies in their faces.
I think all Democrats have to do is show up and run good, solid campaigns with straight talk about things that affect real people, and stay out of the gutters that the GOP will want to get into, and just be patient and give the people credit. It is not necessary to reinvent the whole conceptual model of the Democratic party here and try to reinvent modern liberalism. It’s just necessary to say what you believe and ask for votes. The most simple and basic politics imaginable. I think that’s the winner in 2006. People are tired of the bullshit. Just say it’s time for a change. It is.
The GOP will be out there stamping feet and waving arms, talking about gays and Mexicans and Ted Kennedy or whatever scary shit their focus groups tell them to talk about. But their problem right now is, almost nobody is listening.
Sorry about that. I wish your first D was a man with a spine.
More respect lost for Kerry today. In a presser about the CIA agent fired for leaking secret prison information, he starts with (big paraphrase) “leaking is wrong, and she should pay, but….”
Which major Dem will be first to come out and say “it is honorable to leak classified intelligence when you are trying to prevent your country from committing a crime. Secret prisons, without congressional oversight, are illegal. Leaking information about secret prisons and torture is admirable.”
I’m going with Feingold.
Agreed, we can’t get into the gutters they want us in (gay marriage, immigration). Problem is, they have spent the past few years in the gutter (Corruption, lack of oversight, presidential lies about war).
This campaign has to be fought in the gutter, or the Ds have to at least point out that their counterparts are lying in the gutter as we speak.
yet another jeff
A little late to the party…there was already a long list of demonstrated idiocy before he came up with the tearjerking moniker for the new ballpark in Arlington for the Texas Rangers. “The Ballpark in Arlington”.
I tried to tell everyone back then, “can’t run a baseball team, can’t run a state…” *sigh*
Hmm, at least the whistleblowing/leaking (depending on what your favorite pundit says) McCarthy isn’t on a book tour.
Well this is a year when a lot of people who always thought they were loyal Republicans are going to be switching sides. Maybe they will only do it for one or two cycles, but that will be enough to put a stop to the bullshit of these lunatics running the country.
There will be no Democrats crossing over to vote Republican this year, folks. Trust me on that one.
How can anybody fight an organization like that without taking on the same mindset? It really does seem like you have to become the gutterdwellers you’re fighting against in order to defeat them. I would sure love to be proven wrong about that, though.
Indeed. Teddy Kennedy might try to say something like it, but won’t be able to get it out without referring to something in the book (his perfomance on TDS last week was hideous. SAMMY SOOSER!)
Pederson for Senate 2006
Too early to tell how he’ll do, but this guy is running the best looking, best-sounding campaign I’ve probably seen in my lifetime. He’s solid, and his message is solid and nowhere near any gutters.
We elected a Dem governor in this red state thanks to Pederson, and we might elect a Dem senator here the same way. Solid stuff that focusses on the real issues that affect real people.
It ain’t rocket science, people.
Oh, and BTW, we elected a GAY WOMAN Dem governor in this red state, with a solid, patient and no-gutter campaign.
Arizona, people. Goldwater country. McCainland.
So let’s not throw in the towel just yet, eh?
It’s a straight-forward prisoner’s dilemma, as long as there are relative gains to be made from being a bigger dick (and considering that American politics is largely zero-sum, though policy is not…), it becomes a race to the bottom or one side operating a large disadvantage.
Due respect, that’s the loser’s approach.
See Arizona. See Napolitano and Pederson. That’s your future Democratic party. People who are competant and know how to get things done and know how to tell that story can get elected anywhere.
Gatefulcub, I must say that I’m pretty much in agreement with all of your posts here in this thread and that is quite rare for me. You hit the nail on the head in your description of the current state of affairs for those that vigorously took the Bush “side” in 00 and 04. Its hard to admit that you supported such a moron. Especially thost that are political junkies. The general population, where politics isn’t a life and death devotion, are having no problem deserting the “Decider in Chief” as the last CNN poll shows with Bush now at a new low of 32% approval. One can not judge what is going on out there in the country by the partisans that write comments in blogs.
Oh…on a side note… always thought that Bush was an idiot, the clincher moment came to me when he had that “Fool me once…” moment.
That would be a brave statement. The Dem’s political opponent would quote him as follows: It is honorable to leak classified intelligence when you are. . .committing a crime. [C]ongressional oversight [is] illegal. [T]orture is admirable.”
Hmm. Maybe I could replace Scott McClelland. . .
For those of you my age, everyone remembers where they were when they heard that President Kennedy had been shot. I wonder if this generation will always remember the moment when they realized the President of the United States was a complete moron?
I’m operating within the assumption that there are gains from assholish politicking against someone who will ‘take the high road’. I think I have evidence of that dynamic on my side. It’s pretty basic given the truth of the initial assumption.
That said, there is no particular reason why that dynamic is neccesary, and I’m all for changing it ASAP, as it clearly leads to polarization and disastrous policy implications.
Does Lieberman count?
Although I always had a problem with Bush the ultimate moment of truth for me was the first presidential debate against Kerry.
Just go back and watch it again – you will be floored at the utter inability of the man to articulate anything that makes sense, his physically wracking spasms and spastic performance. I was shocked when everyone didn’t immediately question what was going on. Absolutely, unreal. And he still won.
That is partly true, but alot of that is just republican spin. Sometimes its hard to soundbite reflection and diplomacy. If Bush had a fraction of the diplomacy that Kerry had, we would not be in the shitter that we’re in now with Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China and Russia. The “Bring it On” foreign policy approach has been a failure, eventhough the republicans like to think it makes them look tough, but all it has done is to weaken us and isolate us from the world.
If Kerry or Gore were president now, we would not have a deficit of 9 billion+ dollars, we wouldn’t be paying $3.00+ a gallon for gas. IF, and I mean IF 9/11 actually happened, which I really have to doubt, they would have actually caught the people involved. We would NOT have spent 400+ billion on a unjustified war in Iraq.
We wouldn’t have a Drug plan that is just one big handout to big pharma.
We wouldn’t have a energy bill that is just one big handout to big oil.
Iran would have no need to seek atomic weapons, because we would not be threatening them with invasion, North Korean too. And if they still wished to seek atomic weapons, we would have offered carrots to them to keep them from doing that.
We would now be in the mist of an “Apollo like” program to research and develope alternate forms of energy, and the big oil companies wouldn’t be draining our tax dollars in the form of tax breaks, etc…..
In other words, we’d have policies that actually benefitted normal people and not just to the highest corporate bidder.
Ugh. The world’s most repellent DINO.
Good post and good writeup on what “D” should be standing for.
I don’t particularly care that people are calling each other traitors and the like. There was a lot of animosity in the late 90s when Clinton was being impeached, and while that was a travesty, the federal government was pretty effective in the 90s for the most part. We certainly had a sound fiscal policy.
The point isn’t that each side hates the other side, the point is that this White House is completely incompetent. If tomorrow morning Bush decided he was a liberal and starting enacting liberal policies, like nationalized health care, say, that would be a disaster too, because he’d have the same idiots overseeing it that he has overseeing the prescription drug plan.
It’s not about venom or ideology anymore. It’s about simple competence. Bush is incompetent. He’s also a liar, but that wouldn’t bother me if he knew what he was doing.
Seriously, remind me why Bush and a bunch of other people lied to get us into Iraq. I am honestly interested in a reading a persuasive answer.
Bob In Pacifica
Since Goldwater, the chant of the Republican Party is that the government can’t solve your problems. So when they finally were in full control of the country they didn’t solve any problems, they just filled their pockets and the pockets of their friends.
The bottom line is that the Democrats must stand up and say that they will work to fix what the Repubs broke, to fix the problems that the Repubs have made worse. The wholesale looting of our national wealth has to stop.
Government can solve problems. Most Western European countries seem to be run a lot better than the U.S. under the current regime. Healthcare, pensions, national debt, etc.
If it wasn’t for fear of God and fear of terrorism these clowns would have been behind bars long ago.
Yes, it was surreal. As was the last debate.
And for laughs, this …..
You can’t make this fucking guy up
That’s nothing to be proud of. A Speak-‘n-Spell from 1982 could replace Scottie, and would probably be an improvement.
Slick, the standard take (all snark mine):
Those such as Wolfowitcz (Sp?) honestly believed that they could remake the world for Freedom, Democracy and a Pony. And if you’re doing that, don’t the ends justify the means? That’s the neocons.
Rumsfeld and Cheney and the paleocons felt the need to whack someone after 9/11. Afghanistan wasn’t big enough, and Saddam presented the triple benefits of being undoubtedly evil and notorious; being a complete paper tiger relative to our military (unlike say Iran or So.Ko.); and having spit in GHWB’s eye so that GWB could feel like he was standing up for his daddy. Once again, ends/means, etc.
Rove, who’s all about the ends replacing the means saw it as an issue he could demagogue quite easily to ensure the Eternal Republican Majority.
The Theocons saw it as about the safety of Israel, since they have to wipe the Jews of the map to bring about the end times, can’t let the jihadis get there first (or something like that, I’m not exactly clear on the theology behind the Robertson/Likud alliance)
Did I miss anything?
Well, many of them, especially the neocons, have for years wanted to invade Iraq (read more about the thinktank, Project for the New American Century)
ahhhh… but how to convince Americans that they should sacrifice their sons and daughters to this grand theory of pax Americana? Simple. 911, terrorism, mushroom clouds, aluminium tubes, uranium deals from Niger. Lies, lies and more lies.
What else would you like to know?
Whoa, Joe. Are you new around these parts? Are you missing the point of my comment? Or am I missing yours? When I said we all ended up going on the word of a madman, I meant Bush!!
Come’on, pp, pooh, I takes me a half hour to get home and pick up a pizza on the way home, somebody needed to set this guy straight.
Me, a Bush defender…
erg, sorry dawg, I was busy schooling mr. Gaz on the finer points of…something or other, we were one exchange away from me getting called poop. All was right in the world.
I knew that. Did I not fill out the form correctly?
Any time you and I are going to school, old buddy it’s to drop you off.
Can anyone offer something more persuasive? I sure hope so…
What exactly is it that you are looking for?
An explanation of why these guys did what they did?
Whooooooooooop! This just in!
Susan Molinari: The American people need to keep hearing the message of the Bush Administration and the commitment to big changes in the world to keep America safer and …
Right then, I burst out laughing, and missed the rest of what she said …
See, the problem is that we aren’t hearing the message …
Terrah-rism. Smoking guns & mushroom clouds. Nukular weapons. Spreadin’ freedom and democracy. 9-11. 9-11. 9-11. 9-11. 9-11. 9-11. 9-11. 9-11.
That’s what I remember of their argument, anyway.
Oh, lots of ‘wingers fervently believe that. Bush is marvelous, they say–on par with Lincoln. The problem is that he hasn’t figured out how to inform people of that fact. Really.
But then again, considering that when something flops (Social Security privatization, for example), the Bush team’s response isn’t to come up with a better idea but rather is to come up with some fancy new dressing for the same shitty idea, it’s not hard to see where this “the problem is they just aren’t hearing the message” line of–ahem–“thought” comes from.
Pooh, thanks too. Your expectation was nailed by Slide.
ppG: The lie thing. It seems like many see “Bush lied” as an important fact supporting various arguments. Some of the arguments are pretty good, but might be more appealing if they weren’t anchored by a proposition of dubious relevance or validity. Wouldn’t many anti-Iraq intervention arguments be more persuasive by proceeding from the assumption that (and he was hardly alone if he was) Bush was wrong. I think there are more important lessons to be learned from that perspective.
Also, it would avoid a lot of the convenient memories on all sides. On the other hand, I understand that for the partisan, again on all sides, the game of Gotcha is more entertaining than trying to figure out solutions to current problems and how to avoid mistakes.
Ah, I think that’s a very relevant question.
For my money, I have always claimed that we really don’t know the answer to “Did he lie, or was he just incompetant?” I seriously assert that there is no other explanation than those two. I also tend to think that the latter is the most true of the two, but that both are true to some extent.
You are mixing two things up aren’t you? Bush was both wrong AND he lied regarding Bush. He was wrong about the ease in which Iraq would turn into a Jeffersonian democracy. He was wrong about the number of troops that would be needed to pacify a country of 25 million. He was wrong about Iraq oil financing the war. He was wrong about the support the Iraq exiles would have withing Iraq. He was wrong about how invading Iraq would project American strength when it did the exact oposite. He was wrong to discard tens years of planning. He was wrong about a lot of things.
But, in addition to being wrong, he compounded those misjudgements by being dishonest about the threat Iraq posed to America. He lied about aluminium tubes, he lied about Niger/uranium. He lied about mobile bio labs. He lied about unmanned drones capable of delivering bio/chem weapons to the United States. He lied about connections between al Qaeda and Iraq.
So, in some areas he was just plumb wrong, not surprising considering his lack of knowledge and curiosity about the country he planned to invade, but he was also very very dishonest in his “sales” job to get Americans to willingly sacrifice their sons and daughters in what they thought was a worthy cause.
I can not think of a more despicable record.
Your definition of incompetence may be a little broad, but I appreciate the thoughtful answer. Pushing a little farther, isn’t there also more to learn if you don’t proceed from the assumption of incompetence?
The tension is, the political junkies and politicians want to win elections and one way to do that is by knocking the other party, but we want our elected politicians to do their best and learn from mistakes they and others have made.
Slide: Bush opponents were wrong about a lot of predictions pre-invasion as well. If we tote up whose predictions or assumptions or whatever were wrong we have a score, and not much else.
Your definition of broad may be a little broad.
Slick, I’m not sure if it was clear, but those are the reasons I’d give (if somewhat less snarkily) – it’s nothing more than an explanation of what caused the various groups to conflate means and ends. And of course at a certain point, it’s hard to argue with the notion that a Rovian obsession with ‘winning’ tended to obscure the larger forest.
There’s also a certain incrementalism, you start out with mere spin, the you go a little further to a sin of omission. Then maybe a little creative misrepresentation. Then a little white lie…and suddenly No One Could Have Predicted the InsurgencyTM
And aside from Rove, I don’t really think any of the listed motivations are especially evil, but too much of a good thing + overcertainty of one’s own correctness + questionable decisions in implementation = double-plus ungood.
Bush’s opponents assumptions didn’t result in the death of nearly 2,400 Americans, tens of thousands of Iraqis, squandering of hundreds of billions of dollars and destabilizing a very dangerous part of the world. The damage Bush has done by his incompetent and dishonest foreign policy is incalcuable. Or as some have said,
Slide: I can’t argue with the facts about the current result of Bush’s approach. But, you must also recognize that there is a possiblity that not taking his approach would also have a cost. And, you have to balance the goods that resulted from his course of action (and there are some goods) against the evils. In the final analysis, the bad might outweigh the good, but I hardly think its as simple as you imply.
Stability is one of those bizarro values that has been adopted on the pacifist left when most don’t value stability all that highly, they’re really against military intervention as anything but a last resort. Two totally different things. Instability can be bad, but its not necessarily worse than stability. It depends on what the stable alternative is.
Pooh: I guess one lesson you can draw is that its too easy to believe something is true if it fits into your expectations and preconceptions about a problem. That’s why you’d want a range of opinion and dissenting opinions from analysts in your administration. Of course, you’re not always going to follow dissenting opinions…
As far as the impact of electioneering goes on the decisionmaking process – I really think that’s putting the cart before the horse. Bush got elected pre-9/11. He started a war just to make sure he’d get re-elected? Wouldn’t the anti-gay marriage thing have been enough?
BTW: Just curious. Are we all agreed that attacking the Taliban government in Afghanistan was a good thing?
Rove, et al were on board because it would help with the re-election – America loves a winner…that’s why I single that group out as evil, because I think that it is a craven manipulation of the public at a vulnerable time.
No, I don’t think teh gay would have been sufficient.
Yes, Afghanistan good until we didn’t get OBL in part because we sent troops down Iraq way.
If you actually want dissenting opinion, you don’t you know, fire and ostracize people for expressing them: see Shinseki, Bartlett, Diulio (sp?) etc, etc.
Cannot agree. My definition of competance is quite simple and quite reasonable: The president and his people are expected to know how to use the intelligence resource. They are expected to question it, and doubt it, and be skeptical. They are expected to exercise the greatest caution and the greatest prudence and do the most demanding due diligence.
They are expected to act with restraint, and to unleash the dogs of war only as the last resort, in the face of clear and present danger.
They failed to do this. They failed at every level, at every turn. They failed early, and often. They deceived first themselves, and then us. They didn’t plan properly. They acted on assumptions and false expectations.
They screwed this pooch at every step of the way from A to Z, beginning to end, top to bottom.
My definition too broad? It could not possibly be broad enough to miss the gross, shocking, breathtaking and in my view impeachable incompetance, negligence and malfeasance we see here.
…and if Albright is somehow too ‘partisan’ for you, retired Lt. Gen. William Odom calls the Iraq war “the greatest strategic disaster in United States history.”
Odom was Director of the NSA from 1983 to 1988, so unless Ronald Reagan has been redefined by the Right as a Democratic President, Odom can’t be dismissed as a ‘Bush-hating partisan.’
You know slick you put on a nice pretense of having a reasonable argument but you are a bit too transparent for anyone to take you seriously. When you say,
Yes, I guess there is a possiblity but according to just about ever expert I have read states that Saddam was well contained. He was not a threat to the United States or even to his neighbors. His military and infrastructure were degraded significantly from Gulf War I.
But you really revealed yourself when you said this nonsense:
Where does one begin? First off I consider myself firmly planted on the “left”. Proudly so. Second, I’m not a pacifist. I am a NY cop that knows something first hand about 911. I want nothing more than to destroy the scum that attacked my city and killed my fellow New Yorkers. I firmly supported going after the Taliban, just sorry Bush never finished the job. But when we use our military might it must be done intelligently and with a serious examination of the risk/benefit equation. Blind optimism displayed by this administraion without preparing for the worst is inexcusable when American lives are at risk.
You have a problem with “stability”. You think it is overrated do you? lol. You prefer instability then? Do I really need to say more on that bit of sillyness.
One thing you really did get right, the left does think military intervention should be used only as a last resort. Guilty. So again if you disparage that view I can assume you belive military intervention should be what? the first resort? lol… yes, lets have somemore of your condesending wisdom oh wise slick… I am enjoying this immensely.
Slick, the war in Afghanistan had very wide support. I supported it – hell, I was ecstatic that we went to war against the Taliban, because I hated those mofos long before 9/11.
And when Bush started pushing for war against Saddam Hussein, my first reaction – even before the intel controversy, even before the lying bastards in the Bush Admin began their “Saddam+Osama bin Laden=True Love” campaign, even before all the rest of the deceitful filthy vile agitprop got going – my first reaction was “Wait; we’re not done in Afghanistan yet; why are we haring off to Iraq?”
When the The Right says the Left didn’t support the war in Afghanistan, the Right is just plain lying. But that’s standard operating procedure for the Right, which is Stalinist through and through.
and if Lt. Gen. Odom is too “military” for you, how about a conservative blogger that was a big supporter of the war in Iraq?
“Military intervention” is not full scale war.
Your statement is absurd on all levels.
And, you’re a spoof.
Not bad, you fooled some people here for an afternoon. That’s ….. worth about 2 points on the Spoofapalooza Scale where DougJ is a 20. Note that each increment up the scale is twice the spoof of the one that precedes it.
Casey: Greatest disaster in U.S. history? The Lt. General Odom quote seems a little over the top and a little early. That’s probably just me.
pooh & pp (!) getting OBL would be nice, but I don’t think that the failure to have done so undermines the decision to intervene. A state supporting terror against us was removed. A terror organization was terribly inconvenienced to say the least. They seem to have plenty of charismatic leaders, whether OBL is dead or alive.
I agree about not ostracising dissenters. On the other hand, I think its safe to say that dissenters can’t always be running to the newspapers when they aren’t agreed with, even if they think subsequent events show they were right. Otherwise, dissent is not encouraged, for obvious political reasons.
You guys think anyone who disagrees or discusses an issue is a spoof. Give it a rest.
Meh. At a certain point you can pound this dead horse till it’s a pile of pulp. But no amount of “evidence” or “facts” will overcome the sheer “truthiness” of the Bush Administration media-machine. They’ll keep releasing lies, people will keep debunking them, and they’ll keep calling those who debunk their lies partisan and Bush-hating.
There was a time when you could say, “I don’t like the President and I don’t like his policy” without being accused of repeating yourself.
Leaving aside the question of how we got there in the first place, I’d submit that one of the reasons that public support for the Iraq war has continued to erode is because the Bush team has shown virtually no capacity to learn from their mistakes.
That, more than anything else, is what infuriates me. If Bush, Rumsfeld, et al had demonstrated flexibility and a willingness to change course when it was clear that reality was colliding with their assumptions, I’d be willing to cut them much more slack. They didn’t, and I’m not.
everyone should read Brent Scowcroft’s “Don’t Attack Saddam” op-ed before the war. He had it remarkably right but did the boy emperor even listen to his father’s best friend’s advice? Unfortunately not, you see…. little boy bush talks to the Almighty about such things, can’t listen to mere mortals. God save us from reformed drunks with a messianic complex.
furious, sorry, missed the snark in some of your replies, you got me!
Afghanistan was justified and the world was behind us. Bush just brings new meaning to the phrase, “even he can screw up a good wet dream”, when it came to finishing the job he started there though.
One month he was, “we’re gonna get him dead or alive”, then by the next month it was, “you know, I really haven’t thought that much about OBL, I’m really not that concerned about him!”
Hardly. Just the ones who fit a particular pattern.
Darrell, king of the Bushmonkeys … no spoof.
Mac Buckets …. no spoof.
Tall Dave who thinks Iraq is like Colonial America … no spoof.
Stormy … no spoof.
OC Steve … no spoof, and rather a reasonable debater, too.
Your complaint is not valid. Sorry, nice try though.
Slick, you’ll have to excuse Slide, he’s never fully recovered from his brawl with the John Cole’s of the Center-Right. I don’t remember who won, but you only have so many fights in you…
You ask far questions…the “Why lie?” is an important question, because it does force an examination of what we really think and why.
(Note the the Juicers of the Left, Slick has a point about accusing every non-lefty of spoofing at the drop of a hat. We have plenty of knownknowns, so to speak, let’s give the newer kid a little bit of the benefit of the doubt. If you want to battle sock puppets, both Darrell and Par have shown up to demand the (metaphorical) hanging of Mary McCarthy in the new thread.)
Yup. I honestly think it was Katrina that did it, as the FUBARness was undeniable and it was here. People heard “heckuva job” and then recalled that he said largely the same thing about Iraq which caused a more critical eye to be applied.
Not the relevant question here, or for the time, though.
It’s a little like asking OJ, “Why kill Nicole?”
Who gives a hoot why he thinks he killed Nicole?
The point is, he did, and thus disqualifies himself from the Hertz commercials.
Why would Bush lie about the facts in the runup to war? Because he wanted the war. His statement to the contrary is not any more convincing that OJ’s search for the “real killers.”
Not sure I understand what you mean. Are you saying that Odom didn’t say that? Because I can link to it.
Are you saying that the Iraq war might not be the greatest strategic disaster in US history? Depends on your definition of “strategic disaster,” I guess.
I’ll grant you that the genocide of Native Americans throughout the 19th Century were moral disasters; and that the bloodiest battles of the Civil War could rank as tactical disasters (saved from strategic ones only because the North won the war). And I’ll grant that Vietnam certainly ranks high as a moral, tactical and strategic disaster.
But in terms of the most damage to America over the shortest period of time, in terms of the best example of woodenheaded folly as defined by Barbara Tuchman, and in terms of the most wilfully intellectually, morally, strategically and tactically bankrupt military campaign, Iraq’s Number One.
Which examples of US disasters did you have in mind that were worse than Bush’s Excellent Iraq Adventure, and in what way(s) do you think they were worse?
I’ve actually thought about that quote for a while, and – while I’m no military expert – it seems that our Civil War (and by extension, any civil war) would have to be the most strategically disasterous. In civil wars, you always lose. Every causalty is a citizen of your country. And as far as economic black holes go, nothing sucks out money like a nation bent on destroying itself.
Whether the war was disasterous for the Confederates or the Union is somewhat open to debate – the infant Republican party burned massive political capital to reclaim the South, but the South literally burned for its transgressions.
But the bottom line is that our blunders in Iraq are bad, but they’re probably only ranking as “the worst blunder in american history” sounds like its as much hype as anything. America has done some really stupid things.
Yes, the Civil War was a great calamity. But did one guy just sit down one day and decide to have a Civil War? Lie to people about the need for a Civil War? Invent the entire rationale for it? Claim that it was over after month? Tell his enemy to “bring it on” a short time later, when it turned out the mission had not, after all, been accomplished? Find out that his rationale for it was all wrong and try to blame it on bad intelligence? Joke about the nonexistent rationale later?
It took a lot of things to bring about the American Civil War. It only took one little sociopath with a messianic complex to create the current clustefuck.
I think it is a rather inane question myself. He lied because he wanted to go to war with Iraq. Its pretty simple isn’t it? Paul O’Neil said they wanted to go to war. Richard Clarke said they wanted to go to war. The Downing Street Memos demonstrated they wanted to go to war. So they had to “fix” the intelligence around the policy and to mislead the American public so that we would accept our going to war against a country that was no threat to us and took no action against us. Thats why he/they lied.
Lets see how honest you are. If the truth was known about Iraq’s supposed WMDs prior to the war do you think the American public would have supported a military invasion? No WMD stockpiles. No WMD programs. No nuke programs… No ability to attack us.
If you believe that the Iraq War was so simple or the Civil War so innocent, you desperately need to read up on your history – no offense.
Rich white southern plantation owners used smear propoganda and bullshit to whip their constituncies into a frenzy over how the North was going to sweep down and start a slave revolt that would kill every white man, woman, and child in its sleep. They used the same fear tactics and vast departers from truth to rabble rouse their states to quit the Union, then to send in fathers, brothers, and sons to die defending the right to slavery when most didn’t even own any.
And while Bush may have wanted this war for personal reasons, you can’t deny that there were hundreds of Halliburton investors, military-industry giants, and war-profiters who wanted this war as much as he did.
WWI, WWII, Vietnam, the Civil War, Desert Shield and Storm, the War of 1812, you name it… every war has its fair share of lies and manipulation. Most could have been avoided if all the nations involved were genuinely interested in peace. That wars now require more lies, more fear, and more bullshit to get started today than they did 100 years ago should probably be a sign of improvement.
But the Iraq debacle is just another in a long line of military conflicts the US has walked into after deliberately closing its eyes. We are losing this war, which ranks it with with Vietnam as one of the “worst”, but it’s hardly more tainted than pervious conflicts. At least from my view of history.
ppG, I beg to disagree. I actually think it’s the right question. What was it that was so important in the eyes of the neoconservatives and the liberal think-tank intellectuals about going to war when we did, where we did, in the way we did — so important that it had to be done, truth, justification, consequences be damned? They were willing to gamble it all (though this was made somewhat easier by the fact that they didn’t have any personal skin in the game). This is the world view that’s driving our foreign policy right now, possibly to Iran, possibly who knows where else; and just because Bush may go down the tubes these people won’t go away — they’ll go back to their think tanks and wait for the next opportunity to come along.
Odom didn’t say Iraq was the worst disaster in US history, or even the worse military disaster in US history. He was, I think, deliberate and specific when he said Iraq was the worst strategic disaster in US history.
All wars have lies and profiteers, yes; and all wars do damage far beyond the death and destruction, yes; and some US wars have been nakedly imperialistic, yes.
But: was the Civil War fought for a real reason? Was the Civil War based on lies? Did the Civil War alienate allies, squander international goodwill, and embolden America’s enemies? Did the Civil War accomplish the President’s stated purpose for fighting it?
The Civil War was a national tragedy. But it was unavoidable, it was fought for real reasons, and it accomplished the stated goal (preserving the Union).
Vietnam was a mistake, a disaster, and a disgrace. But it was fought for real reasons (anti-Communism) and it didn’t result in the US losing superpower status. And, by ending the draft and introducing in its place a volunteer professional army, the grotesqueries of Vietnam wound up making the armed forces better.
The Spanish-American war comes closest to Iraq as being based on cooked-up propaganda to further an imperialist agenda. But it was by no means a strategic disaster – the US won, after all, and became an international power as a result.
Iraq is almost a Mirror-Mirror version of the Spanish-American war: based on cooked up propaganda to further an imperialist agenda – but this time the only stated objective we’ll have accomplished is removing Saddam, and the cost to our international standing is far greater than the benefit of realizing that one stated objective.
Thus, a strategic disaster of unprecedented proportions.
Well, that makes one of us.
I have no need, or desire, to psychoanalyze or understand the Bushes of the world.
He’s a hired employee. He has done a shitty job. He’s fired.
All there is to it.
Slide, that Scowcroft article is a good one. I remember his opinions in the lead-up, and I imagined he would have some kind of input/impact. Sadly, for all of us, he was ignored.
ppG, I’m 100% like Vida Loca here. It’s not that I personally need to know what neuroses were at work here, but we do need to understand real end goals and motivations to alter behaviors and such.
Yours is the mirror image to the LGF response to the question of “why do they hate us?” Which tends to be “who cares, kill em all.” I don’t think you feel quite that level of psychosis, but it’s hardly productive.
can you give me a source where liberal think-tank intellectuals were anxious to go to war with Iraq? You may be right, but that is the first I’ve heard that accusation. A source please.
The ‘think-tank liberals’ really threw me. Does this person mean like, the Cato Institute or something? Wha?
There’s a lot of folks out there who calls themselves ‘liberals’ [Mickey Kaus, Joe Lieberman,etc] whom no one else recognizes as such.
But of course, to Republicans, as soon as you disagree with anything they say, you automatically become a liberal.
Don’t be silly, man. It’s not required of the citizen that he “understand” the elected official. It’s about doing a job. It’s about results.
It wasn’t necessary to “understand” the serpentine, spaghetti-like neuroses of Richard Nixon to know that he lied, he took part in crimes, and he put himself above the law and above the country. The fact is, he did those things, and had to be gotten rid of.
The Watergate hearings were not about “why” Nixon did what he did, or his bad childhood. It was about the acts he committed as president.
Why did Bush lie? I don’t give a fuck, and neither should anyone else. He’s fired. That’s the only thing that matters. Get rid of him. He can get counseling and figure out “why” on his own goddammed time.
I’m not interested in the “why did Bush lie” issue from the point of view of understanding the personal neuroses of a spoiled rich underachiever. I am interested in the issue from the point of view of figuring out “end goals and motivations” not just of Bush but also of the neoconservative radicals who took over the machinery of formation of our foreign policy 5-1/2 years ago and have managed to pretty much drive it into the ditch.
And I don’t disagree with the “He’s fired. That’s the only thing that matters. Get rid of him.” line of reasoning. However at the end of the day we’ll only “get rid of” one person. If we don’t understand the forces that shaped the Bush administration into what it is, they will rise again to bite us in the ass.
Those who refuse to understand history are doomed to repeat it. If we’re not careful, these days, we could end up repeating it in real time.
Slide, drindl —
I have to go to a meeting in a few minutes but I’ll see if I can dig up some pro-war think-tank liberals for you, or at least clarify or retract what I said.
Then, you say this:
All more or less true. But what you left out is that history is written after the fact, not during it. We’re in the middle of shitstorm, this is not the time to be smoking our pipes and pondering the historical aspects of the shitstorm. This is the time be trying to save the country and get rid of the people who caused the shitstorm.
Later, the historians can write about it and why it happened.
That’s “later” as in a long time from now, not today.
You are quite right about refusing to understand history. In Bush’s case, he would first have to know the history in order to refuse to understand it. Do we think that he has studied the British adventure in Mesopotamia prior to formulating his policy five years ago? So here we are, basically recreating the British failure.
But “why” did this happen? Tell me later, after we get rid of the sorry fuckers.
drindl: read your post again. maybe the irony will strike you.
It’s not a “line of reasoning.” It’s a political imperative.
And it is not necessarily about “getting rid of one” person. It’s about stopping a government from doing any more damage. Right now, today, it’s about breaking the GOP grip on Congress. That’s what it’s about until November.
Without a Republican congress, this administration is dead in the water unless it changes its ways. That is what must happen in order to prevent another two years of these guys fucking up everything they touch.
Hey, I’m all for shitcanning him now, too (me too, me too)
But while blamming him as our RS of the Right (25% less John Cole added) brethren might would be satisfying in the short term, it is more than just Bush here.
Yes, of course. It’s a government, not a guy.
Which is why the correct strategy is to break their grip on power and ask questions later. The best way to do that, from here, is to focus on breaking the GOP grip on congress and stopping this runaway train in its tracks.
Bush is out of a job in Jan 2009 one way or the other. What matters right now is what his government can do to us in the meantime.
Later, historians can come along and explain how the media lost the war in Iraq.
Let me try an analogy here. Somehow, in spite of the daily march of disaster that is the Bush administration. you haven’t given up on your interest in cars. I haven’t given up on my interest in history. We agree that getting rid of Bush is an imperative. We agree that the short-term goal toward that end is breaking the GOP control over at least 1 house of Congress. We agree that this takes priority at the moment over understanding how Bush came about.
I still maintain though that given the intellectual superficiality, tendency toward historical amnesia, and eagerness for distraction of the American public that the time will come when we had better figure out what happened and address it.
One day, Bush will be gone. The forces that made him, though, will be very much with us. We’ve got a historical disaster on our hands here of the scale of Chile, Argentina, South Africa. We will have to decide to learn from the wisdom of the people in those countries in examining their history — or not. And take the consequences.
I agree, Vida. Please send me his brain in a jar and we’ll begin the investigation.
Did I say “jar?” I meant “thimble.”
Slide, drindl —
Looks like I’m going to have to eat my slur of liberal think-tank intellectuals — I can’t find hard sources. I do seem to recall during the ramp-up in 2002 that you heard not one peep in opposition from organizations like Brookings, major media outlets like Time and Newsweek. The NYT was front-paging Judy Miller’s writings, the Washington Post was supporting the invasion. In other words I’d argue that while the neoconservatives were driving the concensus that formed among the foreign-policy movers and shakers in 2001-2002, the more liberal m’s and s’s were signed on.
So, arguing for the importance of history, is this the way to go at it? Not so much (: .
Vida, not exactly “think-tank” but try here if you want some ‘librul’ drumbeats…
Pooh, thanks. I’d forgotten all about TNR.
You can just see Marty Peretz’s neuroses coursing through that magazine anytime anything that deals in the most tangential manner with Israel is discussed.
VidaLoca, thank you. You’re a heckofa generous soul. I do agree with you that msm was all signed on for the war. What confused me I guess, is at that time there really was nothing to speak of in terms of liberal think tanks. Very few still now. Over the last 30 years th right has built up a tremendously influential infrastructure, which has determined conservative policy [for good or evil] which the left lacks.
Hm. I would have called the Brookings Institution a “liberal think tank” because it has a reputation of being to the left of the Heritage Foundation. But does that last sentence say more about “liberal”, more about “think tank”, or more about my poorly formed opionions on this topic?
I think we call the liberal think tanks “Universities”!
The interview with S. Chayes of NPR/Mercy Corps/and big US money from AID in Afghanistan went really well with the CBC. Later, they blew up four soldiers. Wilson was on 60 minutes and, yes, I guess too many people forgot to duck. McCarthy, Retired operations officers telling stories of success don’t mean much to everybody else.
There is a real good book out if yer thinkin about joining the Congress’ toy agency. He describes them back to OSS and why a car goes backwards through the East German check point. Yes, Bush was in WWII and I hear OSS was too.
If this is so damning, why was the consensus of the intel community that Iraq had WMD?
Why did George Tenet say it was a “slam-dunk?”
Why did Democrats on the intel committees come to the same conclusions independently?
You guys are like little kids. “Oh look we found some evidence that countered the prevailing opinion! That means BUSH LIED!!!”
Grow up. For your own sakes.