Osama is dead *UPDATED*

On the subject of Osama’s death, I send you to Bruce Kesler and add “what he said.”  I’m with those who think it’s ironic that Osama was killed on Obama’s watch, because, aside from continuing Bush’s policies, he’s had nothing to do with the hunt for Osama, and has been back-tracking as fast as possible from the American-freedom-based principles underlying that hunt.

Oh, and regarding Osama — good riddance to bad rubbish.

UPDATE:  Woke up to learn that it was the Navy SEALS who actually took Osama out.  Are you surprised?  I’m not.  Who else could infiltrate Pakistan, have a fire fight, and kill Osama with a clean shot right above the eyes?  If you feel like doing something concrete to mark the death of one of the world’s baddest of bad guys, why not send a few dollars to the Navy League?

Now that Osama is dead, one of my super liberal old high school friends, whose kept true to his anti-war principles despite having Obama in the White House, says that we can now leave Afghanistan.  That strikes me as a remarkably naive view.  Osama may have planted the Al Qaeda seeds, but that plant has been flourishing for a long time without his ministrations.  I’m not saying we should stay in Afghanistan — there’s a healthy pro- and con-debate in the intelligent conservative community — but I do think that Osama’s death shouldn’t be a factor in the calculations.

Last thought:  They say that Pakistan helped, but I’m wondering just whom Pakistan helped.  I mean, maybe someone did point a finger in bin Laden’s direction, but it’s hard to believe that no one in the Pakistan government knew he was living in a mansion near the capitol.  Of course, I have no idea how long he lived in that mansion before the SEALS caught up with him.  If it was only a short time, I apologize to the Pakistani government for my calumnies.  If it wasn’t, though, I ask again whether they were helping us or him.

Oh!  A last thought after my other last thought:  I watched part of Obama’s “Osama is dead” speech last night.  The guy sounded like an alien.  There. was. a. tight. little. pause. after. every. word. he. spoke.  If his sphincter had gotten any tighter, I don’t think he could have moved his lips.  His descriptions of 9/11′s horrors were flat middle-school prose.  Please remind me who anointed this this immature robot a great orator?  I will give him credit for two things:  (a) continuing Bush’s policies and (b) ordering the hit.  He looked more pained, though, than happy by the outcome.

UPDATE II:  I like Ace’s stream of consciousness response to the news.

UPDATE III:  I also recommend Toby Harnden’s ten points, all of which make good sense to me.

UPDATE IV:   Military.com has a good run-down of events, including a loud and clear shout-out to the SEALS.

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Comments

  1. Charles Martel says

    “Charles, my analogy is only miserable if you truly believe that you would not be blaming Obama today had the operationg to kill OBL failed.  Since I seriously doubt this, then you ought to take Danny’s view and grant Obama at least some of the credit, uniquely to him.  I live in a rational world in which blame and credit are symmetrically applied.”

    The analogy was inept for the reason stated: Obama was continuing a policy established by his predecessor. Carter got himself into his own mess—a point you choose to ignore (I don’t blame you—when an analogy crumbles, it sucks to be its author.)

    Secondly, I believe this is going to become a Bookworm Room classic: “My analogy is only miserable if you truly believe that you would not be blaming Obama today had the operationg to kill OBL failed.” Gosh, I guess if you tell me what I truly do/don’t believe, I have to believe you. LOL! (Let’s leave out the obvious fact that we would have had no way of knowing about a failed kill-Obama operation.)

    I don’t recall not giving Obama a kudos. I think, given the president’s drastic moral and mental limitations, that he did well. He had killed a man who deserved to be killed.

    As for living in a “rational world” where blame and credit are symetrically applied, I have no idea what that sentence means. I’m sure it looked good when you wrote it, but I’m hoping that by now you’re having second thoughts.

  2. abc says

    jj, the problem is that there was much evidence to support the opposite contention, that Iraq had no WMD’s.  That is what UN inspectors were shouting right up until the war started (e.g., Scott Ritter), but they were ignored and/or silenced.  You’ve chosen to ignore this evidence, apparently, since you make no mention of it.  I wonder what the consequences should be for a group of leaders that get the evidence completely wrong and invade a country for reasons that turn out not to be true.  And I wonder whether that question has even crossed your mind.  Perhaps it’s because you are still in denial, choosing instead to believe that the WMD’s, like the aliens and X-files, are still out there…waiting to be discovered.  Hard to reason with such a position, although I have met many who skillfully cling to it.

  3. Charles Martel says

    Danny, remember BarryBonds, the sneery kid who used to go off on Limbaugh here about a year ago?

    Like the swallows at Capistrano in spring, has Barry returned?

  4. BrianE says

    And of course, we’ve created more terrorists by torturing or holding without cause multiple men at Guantanamo. - abc

    You’re source for that isn’t President Obama is it?

    President Obama explained it clearly to the American people yesterday (2009) when he said that “the existence of Guantánamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.”

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/05/close_guantanamo.html


    How’d that work out?

    I will give President Obama credit for pulling the trigger.

    As I was talking to my Muslim co-worker today, he totally caught me off-guard. According to him Bill Clinton should be excoriated for his refusal to take bin-Laden off Sudan’s hands in 1996. Actually his language was more descriptive.

    “Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, hoping to have terrorism sanctions lifted, offered the arrest and extradition of bin Laden and “detailed intelligence data about the global networks constructed by Egypt’s Islamic Jihad, Iran’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas,” Ijaz writes in today’s edition of the liberal Los Angeles Times.
    These networks included the two hijackers who piloted jetliners into the World Trade Center.
    But Clinton and National Security Adviser Samuel “Sandy” Berger failed to act.
    ”I know because I negotiated more than one of the opportunities,” Ijaz writes.
    ”The silence of the Clinton administration in responding to these offers was deafening.”"

    http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/12/5/153637.shtml

    What was Berger doing in the national archives anyway?

    And we’ll never know what difference it might have made had bin Laden been put on ice back then.

  5. abc says

    Charles, first, if you don’t understand symmetrical blame and credit, upside and downside, then you understand very little.  And I am happy to wager your house on a heads I win, tails you lose bet.  Second, it must be fun arguing with strawmen since they are so easy to wrestle with.  Too bad you’ve read all sorts of things into an analogy that I did not make.  There is no analogy to Carter, but merely the observation that had Obama failed, then he would have been pilloried the way Carter was.  Beyond that, it is your work of fiction, not mine.  Third, glad to know that you are the final arbiter on the President’s moral and mental limitations.  The reasoning you demonstrate here notwithstanding, you must be a mental giant to make such an authoritative statment.  Most importantly, Obama was continuing a policy that was established after Carter’s failed Delta Force mission to rescue the Iranian hostages, as well as an intelligence program to follow al-Qaeda established under Clinton.  Granted, the effort was ramped after 9/11, but any President would have done this in the aftermath of such a tragic event.  To credit Bush and his team, who ignored memos entitled “Bin Laden determined to attack US,” with this ramped up effort, as oppposed to the realities of post-9/11 mindsets is beyond naiive.  In any case, the affirmative choices made by Obama, from keeping continuity on teams and programs to making the decisions on how best to go after OBL, were not a following of Bush, since you’ve no idea how Bush woudl have made those decisions.  Your ideological goal is to distance Obama from any credit, so you portray important decisions as mindless following of Bush.  Nice try.  But this is hardly credible.  Finally, I’ve no idea what credit you assign personally; however, if you go back and read more carefully, you will find that my comments originally were targeting Bookworm’s statement that she doesn’t give him credit beyond blindly following Bush (i.e., “he’s had nothing to do with the hunt for Osama…’) 

  6. abc says

    Brian E, the military has admitted that men captured and held in Guantanamo and elsewhere became hardened terrorists only after such captivity and subsequent release.  And, unfortunately, many of them ended up being released to join terrorist organizations since about ’03.  Read much?

  7. abc says

    And Brian E, there is no question that Clinton made a terrible call.  But when the following administration, Bush and company, ignore memos warning of imminent strikes, do you lay the same blame as you do for Clinton?  Do you know how many Republicans attended special Congressional meetings on terrorism before 9/11 occurred?  Hint, hint, less than can be counted on my index finger.  But they jammed the room to discuss the Lewinsky scandal.  I saw two parties and two Presidents who did not take bin Laden seriously, but conservatives see only one, even though 9/11 happened on Bush’s watch.  You’ll have to explain the contradiction to me.  And you cannot simply start with the a prior conclusion that conservatives are blameless and liberals are traitors.

  8. says

    Why do Obama supporters even care how much credit Obama gets. Is that somehow going to magically change reality by Lighting up a dais or lowering the sea levels?

    Credit is earned, it isn’t given out by people with big mouths. And because Obama’s supporters are so starved for “credit”, that is precisely why you haven’t earned it.

  9. BrianE says

    “the military has admitted that men captured and held in Guantanamo and elsewhere became hardened terrorists only after such captivity and subsequent release.  And, unfortunately, many of them ended up being released to join terrorist organizations since about ’03″.- abc

    Which military?

    Are you talking about Mora? He’s now the military? He was a lawyer. And his analysis is tainted by reason of his opposition to most interrogation techniques, IMO.

  10. Charles Martel says

    abc, I’m a firm believer in rinse and repeat:

    Martel: I believe this is going to become a Bookworm Room classic [quoting you]: “My analogy is only miserable if you truly believe that you would not be blaming Obama today had the operation to kill OBL failed.” Gosh, I guess if you tell me what I truly do/don’t believe, I have to believe you. LOL! (Let’s leave out the obvious fact that we would have had no way of knowing about a failed kill-Osama operation.<–emphasis mine)

    Notice how previously you admit it’s an analogy, then in your latest reply it’s not?

  11. says

    Zachriel: . . .and that they would probably not have invaded if they hadn’t been convinced that Iraq had WMD.

    Charles Martel: How did that happpen? The being convinced, I mean.

    A bad case of confirmation bias. Keep in mind that inspectors were on the ground in Iraq on the eve of the war. 
     
    BrianE:
    According to him Bill Clinton should be excoriated for his refusal to take bin-Laden off Sudan’s hands in 1996.

    The 9-11 commission found there was no evidence of a credible offer, and the U.S. couldn’t have held him anyway, as there was no evidence sufficient for a criminal charge linking him to any attacks against the U.S. 



     

     
     

  12. Charles Martel says

    I’m confused. If the reports coming back from inspectors were that there were no WMDs, what would be the reason for invading? Wouldn’t that have crushed Bush’s chances in 2004 once it became obvious that there were no WMDs?

  13. Danny Lemieux says

    Abc posits in two false premises in reverse alphabetical order:  ”Also, the waterboarding of KSM led to false beliefs around Iraq’s involvement in al-Qaeda, contributing to the rush to war in Iraq.  And of course, we’ve created more terrorists by torturing or holding without cause multiple men at Guantanamo.” 

    KSM had nothing to do with Iraq and WMDs. Plus, there is no evidence at all that holding people at Guantanamo “created more terrorists”. The Jihadis had more than enough reasons to “create terrorists” all around the world, the primary reasons being to kill infidels, free Islam of “western” influences, and to expand dar al Islam. Nothing new there.

    As far as your questions regarding interrogations, they reveal a lack of understanding of the incremental processes whereby information is gained through interrogation.  

    ABC’s then expresses some befuddling historical confusion: To credit Bush and his team, who ignored memos entitled “Bin Laden determined to attack US,” with this ramped up effort, as oppposed to the realities of post-9/11 mindsets is beyond naiive.

    Actually, that happened during the Clinton administration, when they ignored the “Bojinka” plot warnings that led to 9/11. 9/11 happened just after Bush took office and only 1-month after his FBI Director was put into place, due to the political stonewalling of his confirmation hearings by the Democrat Congress. Remember Jamie Gorlick’s “firewall” between the CIA and FBI?


    Then, ABC closes by adding more merriment to the festivities, offering: “That is what UN inspectors were shouting right up until the war started (e.g., Scott Ritter), but they were ignored and/or silenced.”

    Would that be the same Scott Ritter, the child porn aficionado who took money from Saddam? Yes, by all means, ABC…use him as an authority.

    Zachriel, meanwhile, opines loftily that “Rumsfeld has said that WMD was the primary reason for justifying the invasion, and that they would probably not have invaded if they hadn’t been convinced that Iraq had WMD.”

    There were many reasons for justifying the invasion, one of which was that the UN sanctions on Iraq were collapsing through their undermining by (primarily) France and Russia. The removal of Saddam from power was a policy decision made during the Clinton administration. The vote to invade Iraq was supported by Democrats.

    To put the premise of “preemption” in more pedantic terms: a gunman walks into a bank, holds their hand under their coat and says, “if you don’t give me all your money, I am going to blow you all up!”. Question: is the bank guard justified in shooting the gunman dead? I say “yes”. Others may think that the solution is to give the gunman all he wants and beg for their lives. We just disagree. 

    But, hey! We’ve been over all of this before in the Bookworm Room. This is well trodden ground.

  14. MacG says

    I remember the inspectors being blocked from inspecting anything but their navels and so how would they know there were or were not any WMD’s?  They knew where they had been allowed but there was a lot of stalling prior to the sporadic nature of the inspections.
     
    Here’s a little social experiment.  The next time you get pulled over, lean real far forward and stuff something like a scarf or your medical marijuana under your front seat and be obvious about it and when the cop says what were you doing say “Nothing! What’s it to YOU, Pig!  And when his back up arrives and you do the same to him see if you don’t get invaded.

  15. says

    Charles Martel: If the reports coming back from inspectors were that there were no WMDs, what would be the reason for invading?

    The Bush Administration convinced themselves that the inspectors were wrong. It’s the same hubris that led them to believe that occupying the country would not require significant military forces. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: Plus, there is no evidence at all that holding people at Guantanamo “created more terrorists”.
    The terrorists certainly thought so, as they used reports of torture and abuse at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib for recruitment. There’s also anecdotal evidence. There’s been no scientific study, if that is what you mean. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: 9/11 happened just after Bush took office …

    Huh? Bush took office in January. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: and only 1-month after his FBI Director was put into place, due to the political stonewalling of his confirmation hearings by the Democrat Congress.

    Huh? Bush didn’t nominate Robert Mueller until July. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: Remember Jamie Gorlick’s “firewall” between the CIA and FBI?

    9-11 commissioner and former senator Slade Gorton (R-WA): {Gorelick} had nothing to do with any “wall” between law enforcement and our intelligence agencies. The 1995 Department of Justice guidelines at issue were internal to the Justice Department and were not even sent to any other agency… If the Ashcroft Justice Department couldn’t eliminate them with a stroke of a pen, Ms. Gorelick could not have created them with the stroke of a pen, either.
     
    Danny Lemieux: Would that be the same Scott Ritter, the child porn aficionado who took money from Saddam? Yes, by all means, ABC…use him as an authority.

    Ad hominem. Ritter’s personal problems do not undermine the fact that he was right about WMD. In any case, he was not the only weapons inspector to reach the same conclusion. There simply was no evidence that Iraq had an ongoing WMD program, though it was difficult to ”prove the negative”.
     
    Danny Lemieux: There were many reasons for justifying the invasion, …

    Yes, but that doesn’t address the point. Without the belief that Iraq was developing WMD, there probably would not have been an invasion. Bush is right to be “sick” that WMD were never found. 
     

  16. Danny Lemieux says

    Bush was still putting his people into place in the new administration. You might not remember this but, thanks to Gore, the Bush administration got a very late start (BTW – I mispoke, FBI Mueller took his position at the FBI one week …not one month…before 9/11). Transitions don’t happen smoothly. 

    Re. Jamie Gorlick…many people within the CIA and FBI disagreed with Sen. Slade Gorton.  

    I am bewildered that some people might think that saving the life of and overfeeding terrorists in Guantanamo would have inflamed Muslim passions and created more terrorists. Z does not understand the degree to which fantastical paranoid theories dominate the Middle East mindset (Israelis use the blood of Palestinian children to …etc etc., American guards flushed Korans down toilets, blah, blah, blah). Believe me, the Jihadis don’t need Guantanamo to whip up bloodlust among the Muslims. All they need is their imaginations and the American MSM. Z does present some good arguments for why jihadis should be shot on the spot as illegal combatants, however.

    Oh my, because Ritter’s testimony (which was 180oC from his previous testimony) fits within the Templates of Z’s Temple of Aristocracy, such pifflepuff trivialities as the facts that he took money from Saddam and stroked his passions for child sex should in no way compromise his integrity. Z…you have given us a very clear view into your value system and it sure ain’t pretty. That’s OK…we suspected as much. What else do you do in that armchair of yours?

    As far as the WMDs…refer back to the gunman in a bank analogy. Besides, it’s old history. Been over that over and over and over again.

  17. SADIE says

    “The liberals can understand everything but people who don’t understand them”
     
    -Lenny Bruce
     
    p.s. It’s not just a personal problem – Ritter took money from Saddam, that my dear Jovian, is a moral problem, which makes Ritter’s subsequent opinions null and void and very questionable.  You simply, “Huh?” me to boredom.

  18. Charles Martel says

    Ritter’s love of bribe money and little kids’ fannies aside, the MSM main talking point about Obama is emerging:

    Obama took a huge political risk that the mission might fail, thus opening himself to even lower poll figures as people made the inevitable comparisons to Carter.

    The flimsiness of this proposition, as abc so unwittingly showed us, is that a.) it is highly unlikely that a failure would have been reported by either the U.S. or al-Qaeda for obvious reasons, and b.) the U.S. media would have gone of their way to make sure the attempt was properly spun to direct blame away from Obama.

    “The Bush Administration convinced themselves that the inspectors were wrong.”

    Zach, your adult version is a games player, so perhaps you can answer this:

    1. What purpose did it serve to be convinced that WMDs existed?

    2. What purpose did it serve to endanger Bush’s chances of re-election if the surmise about WMDs was wrong?

    I’m not seeing your logic here. Why play the game that way?

  19. Libby says


    I’m so tired of the “But there were no WMDs!!” talking point. As has been pointed out before, WMDs (such as the chemical weapons Saddam used on his own people) were not the sole reason for invading Iraq. In a Vanity Fair interview with Sam Tannenhaus (full transcript http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2594), Paul Wolfowitz said:
     
    “The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason, but there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there’s a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two”.
     
    Earlier in the interview Wolfowitz had indicated how important Saddam’s support of terrorism was following September 11th when he said:

    “I know my thinking at that point [on 9/13/2001] was that the old approach to terrorism was not acceptable any longer. The old approach being you treat it as a law enforcement problem rather than a national security problem. You pursue terrorists after they’ve done things and bring them to justice, and to the extent states are perhaps involved, you retaliate against them but you don’t really expect to get them out of the business of supporting terrorism completely.
    To me what September 11th meant was that we just couldn’t live with terrorism any longer.
    Throughout the ’80s and ’90s it was sort of, I’ve never found quite the right words because necessary evil doesn’t describe it, but a sort of an evil that you could manage but you couldn’t eliminate. And I think what September 11th to me said was this is just the beginning of what these bastards can do if they start getting access to so-called modern weapons, and that it’s not something you can live with any longer. So there needs to be a campaign, a strategy, a long-term effort, to root out these networks and to get governments out of the business of supporting them.”

  20. Libby says


    And if you want to know the extent to which Saddam Hussein supported terrorism, just look at the testimony from Judith S. Yaphe to the 9-11 Commission on July 9, 2003 (http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing3/witness_yaphe.htm):
    Iraq under Saddam was a major state sponsor of international terrorism:

    Baghdad actively sponsored terrorist groups, providing safe haven, training, arms, and logistical support, requiring in exchange that the groups carry out operations ordered by Baghdad for Saddam’s objectives. Terrorist groups were not permitted to have offices, recruitment, or training facilities or freely use territory under the regime’s direct control without explicit permission from Saddam.
    Saddam used foreign terrorist groups as an instrument of foreign policy. Groups hosted by Saddam were denied protection if he wanted to improve relations with a neighboring country and encouraged to attack those Saddam wanted to pressure. If they refused Saddam’s “requests,” they were exiled from Iraq”

    There is a lot more detail within the linked statement.
    So, please Zachariel and others still harping on Iraq WMDs after all these years, not finding WMDs was a disappointment and proved that the intelligence was not accurate, but it in no way invalidated the fact that Saddam’s support for terrorism was a clear threat to United States security. Time to move on.

  21. Charles Martel says

    Hear, hear, Libby. These guys remind me of Gollum in Lord of the Rings, obsessed with something to the point that it completely warps and distorts them—in this case, the WMD meme. Kind of pathetic.

  22. says

    Danny Lemieux: Bush was still putting his people into place in the new administration. You might not remember this but, thanks to Gore, the Bush administration got a very late start

    A recount was more than warranted, and Bush was sworn in as President on the proper date. In any case, that’s not what you had said. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: I am bewildered that some people might think that saving the life of and overfeeding terrorists in Guantanamo would have inflamed Muslim passions and created more terrorists.  

    It has nothing to do with overfeeding terrorists, but allegations of torture and abuse, including not allowing independent inspections.
     
    Danny Lemieux: Z does not understand the degree to which fantastical paranoid theories dominate the Middle East mindset (Israelis use the blood of Palestinian children to …etc etc., American guards flushed Korans down toilets, blah, blah, blah).  

    Quite aware of it. That doesn’t justify torture or abuse. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: All they need is their imaginations and the American MSM.

    Actual photographs make a huge difference. Many Muslims and Arabs who would otherwise trust the Americans could no longer defend them.  
    http://middleeast.about.com/od/iraq/ig/Abu-Ghraib-Torture-Photos/
    Keep in mind that the “secret” of abuse in Abu Ghraib, as with many secrets in the U.S., was only a secret to the American people. Any Iraqi with a child being held in Abu Ghraib already knew the truth. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: Z does present some good arguments for why jihadis should be shot on the spot as illegal combatants, however.

    There are rules that govern summary execution, as well. And you can’t get much information from dead people. Having a legitimate process of detaining and questioning suspects is essential. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: Oh my, because Ritter’s testimony (which was 180oC from his previous testimony) fits within the Templates of Z’s Temple of Aristocracy, such pifflepuff trivialities as the facts that he took money from Saddam and stroked his passions for child sex should in no way compromise his integrity.

    You keep forgetting something. He was right. In any case, the weapons inspectors were on the ground in Iraq, had not found any evidence of WMD, and were continuing their work. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: To put the premise of “preemption” in more pedantic terms: a gunman walks into a bank, holds their hand under their coat and says, “if you don’t give me all your money, I am going to blow you all up!”. Question: is the bank guard justified in shooting the gunman dead? I say “yes”.

    Of course. However, in this case, the person said he didn’t have a weapon and was allowing the guard to search him, but the guard was scared and decided to shoot him anyway. Later, it was shown the person didn’t have a gun. 
     

     

  23. says

    Charles Martel: What purpose did it serve to be convinced that WMDs existed?

    Not sure why you are having troubles with this. They were foolish. The U.S. went before the world community and declared that Saddam had WMD as a justification for war. They refused to listen to their own allies to be more cautious. The disregarded the WMD inspections, even though they were in Iraq, and they turned out to be right. They were utterly wrong, and it led to Iraq coming apart at the seams. 
     
    Libby: So, please Zachariel and others still harping on Iraq WMDs after all these years, not finding WMDs was a disappointment and proved that the intelligence was not accurate, but it in no way invalidated the fact that Saddam’s support for terrorism was a clear threat to United States security.

    In order to justify the war, not only did the U.S. Secretary of State make a perverse reprise of Adlai Stevenson’s U.N. presentation, but the President, Vice President and the head of the United States Central Command all brought forth the spector of a nuclear attack. 
     
    Libby: Time to move on.

    Life moves on, but it’s important history. 
     

  24. Libby says

    Zach, history shows us that it was just not the Bush administration that was concerned about Iraq. For the sake of important history, let’s review what other had to say about it after 9/11 and before the US invaded Iraq:

    “Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administration’s policy towards Iraq, I don’t think there can be any question about Saddam’s conduct. He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts.” — Henry Waxman, Oct 10, 2002
     
    “Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.” — Al Gore, 2002
     
    “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.” — Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002
     
    “The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation.” — John Kerry, October 9, 2002
     
    “Saddam’s existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now. Saddam has used chemical weapons before, both against Iraq’s enemies and against his own people. He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East.” — John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002
     
    “I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons…I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out.” — Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003
     
    There’s more where this came from if you really want to fight yesterday’s battles. I’m moving on.

  25. says

    Libby: There’s more where this came from if you really want to fight yesterday’s battles.

    It’s not a battle. It’s knowing and understanding history. Those with power in the U.S. became convinced that Saddam was hiding weapons, and no amount of evidence seemed to be able to shake that belief. It led to a disastrous war. 
    The Bush Administration holds primary responsibility because they led the country and beat the drum loudest, but certainly, many others share some of the blame.  
     

  26. Moose says

    Z: “Those with power in the U.S. became convinced that Saddam was hiding weapons”

    Thanks for at the very least admitting that it was leaders from every ideology that supported this perspective. And, what would you classify chemical weapons? Just want to get your definition.

    Z: “ It led to a disastrous war”

    Every opportunity to avoid war is made, but what, exactly made this particular war “disastrous?” The Coalition was able to topple a regime that harbored and advanced terrorism across the world. That was the mission; it was successful. We should have taken out Saddam after Kuwait, but we, instead abided by the UN’s wishes and stopped the advance.

    Tangent WARNING:

    Z: “The Bush Administration holds primary responsibility because they led the country”

    So, let’s look at the economy today, shall we?

  27. says

    Moose: And, what would you classify chemical weapons?

    Chemical weapons are WMD, and had been used by Saddam against civilians. Though they are not the existential national threat that nuclear weapons represent, the can be very dangerous when in the wrong hands. They’re not even legal on the battlefield. By the way, the U.S. and its allies helped Saddam develop the technology, including a U.S. sale of helicopters suitable for delivering chemical weapons.
     
    Moose: Every opportunity to avoid war is made, but what, exactly made this particular war “disastrous?”

    Let’s see. Hundreds of thousands of dead. Millions of refugees. Infrastructure in ruins. 
     

  28. says

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

    Credit is not given since it already belongs to the deserving.

  29. says

    Moose: Tangent WARNING:
    Zachirel: The Bush Administration holds primary responsibility because they led the country and beat the drum loudest, but certainly, many others share some of the blame.  

    Moose: So, let’s look at the economy today, shall we?

    Your point is that the Obama Administration is responsible for the economy, and they certainly are. However, that doesn’t absolve the previous administration from history, nor does it mean we shouldn’t be realistic as what could reasonably be accomplished based on the starting point of the economy.

    Similarly, the Bush Administration inherited the good and bad policies of the previous administration, and realistically, it takes time to make changes. However, the evidence indicates that Bush was quite lax on the uptake to the threat of al Qaeda (“swatting flies”), and considered Saddam the greater threat. That was precisely backwards, of course. 
     

  30. Libby says

    Moose: So, let’s look at the economy today, shall we?
    Great point! How about we also look at our war -er, kinetic military action – in Libya. Could it possibly be described as:
    A] A rush to war
    B] War for oil
    C] Another Vietnam
    D] A quagmire
    Bonus question: What is our exit strategy?
    Zach, any thoughts on this?

  31. abc says

    Danny writes:

    “Abc posits in two false premises in reverse alphabetical order:  ”Also, the waterboarding of KSM led to false beliefs around Iraq’s involvement in al-Qaeda, contributing to the rush to war in Iraq.  And of course, we’ve created more terrorists by torturing or holding without cause multiple men at Guantanamo.” 

    KSM had nothing to do with Iraq and WMDs. Plus, there is no evidence at all that holding people at Guantanamo “created more terrorists”. The Jihadis had more than enough reasons to “create terrorists” all around the world, the primary reasons being to kill infidels, free Islam of “western” influences, and to expand dar al Islam. Nothing new there.

    As far as your questions regarding interrogations, they reveal a lack of understanding of the incremental processes whereby information is gained through interrogation.”

    Apparently, Danny has more expertise on this subject than the US military, which, despite other protestations here (which do not surprise me, since, unlike what Bookworm claims, conservatives do NOT deal in facts, just those that make their ideological case.  Two words:  confirmation bias.), meant what they said when they noted that Guantanamo was a rallying cry and recruiting tool for terrorists.  Just ask Retired Admiral Dennis Blair, who testified as such under oath before Congress.

    Also, the waterboarding of KSM occurred weeks before the launch of the initial attack on Iraq, and the information that was allegedly obtained, although later recanted, included a claim that Saddam Hussein had trained al-Qaeda in the use of chemical and biological weapons.  This information was contained in a declassified Senate Intelligence Report and widely reported in the press at the time (’04).  Given the repeated claims of a link between Hussein and al-Qaeda in the run-up and early in the war–this was clearly part of the rationale presented by the Bush administration–it seems disingenous now to deny that this information obtained under duress was not part of the now-discredited case for the Iraq War.

    These are stubborn, inconvenient facts, but facts nonetheless.  To evaluate the case for torture, without examine the false positives, such as the Saddam-al Qaeda link, or the negative fallout, like that described by Blair, is to engage in cherry picking of only the facts that make one’s case on the subject. Unfortunately, Bush did this in the run up to the war, and conservatives here do it all the time in their analysis of virtually everything they blog about.
    Danny goes on:

    “ABC’s then expresses some befuddling historical confusion: To credit Bush and his team, who ignored memos entitled “Bin Laden determined to attack US,” with this ramped up effort, as oppposed to the realities of post-9/11 mindsets is beyond naiive.
     
     

     

     
    Actually, that happened during the Clinton administration, when they ignored the “Bojinka” plot warnings that led to 9/11. 9/11 happened just after Bush took office and only 1-month after his FBI Director was put into place, due to the political stonewalling of his confirmation hearings by the Democrat Congress. Remember Jamie Gorlick’s “firewall” between the CIA and FBI?”

    Richard Clarke was in a better position to judge the relative focus on the terrorists since he was in both the Clinton and Bush administrations.  His book, testimony before Congress and comments in the press all point to greater criticism of the Bush administration than Clinton administration in their respective pre-9/11 focus on al-Qaeda.  And while Clinton clearly blew more than one chance to potentially take OBL out, Clarke is unequivocal in his criticism of the Bush administration’s own failures.  Unfortunately, conservatives refuse to acknowledge any of these failures, as Danny does here.  He seems to claim that it was the Clinton administratino rather than the Bush administration that ignored PDBs that were warning of terrorist activity, including the one entitled al-Qaeda determined to attack the US.  Clarke is particularly critical of Dr. Rice, who has never admitted any mistakes during her tenure as National Security Advisor in those early days of the Bush administration.  It is remarkable that conservatives are so selective in laying blame on Clinton although the event happened on Bush’s watch, while being eager to give Obama no credit although the killing of OBL happened on his.  Apparently, blame and credit are always assigned to the prior administration…  Or, more likely, conservatives assign all blame to Dems and liberals and all credit to the GOP and conservatives.  This is beyond unfair.  It is fantasy…and not fact-based.

     
    Danny continues:
    “Then, ABC closes by adding more merriment to the festivities, offering: “That is what UN inspectors were shouting right up until the war started (e.g., Scott Ritter), but they were ignored and/or silenced.”
     
    Would that be the same Scott Ritter, the child porn aficionado who took money from Saddam? Yes, by all means, ABC…use him as an authority.”

    Richard Wagner was an anti-Semite, but also a brilliant artist whose works are played even in Israel.  Werner Heisenberg apparently wrecked his loyal assistant’s home, seducing his wife and rubbing it in his face, but he is also the greatest physicist this side of Einstein.  Mozart was a social idiot who farted in public and brutally humiliated his rivals, yet his music will be remembered forever.  Columbus showed tremendous brutality toward the native he encounted in the newly discovered Americas.  The point is that a fatally flawed person can still be a vessel for great art, discovery or truth.  Setting aside the possibility that Ritter was entrapped–a strategy that would fit Dick Cheney’s m.o.–the fact remains that a man exchanging adult porn and masterbating over a video call with an undercover detective claiming to be a 15 year old is a horrible thing.  But it in no way impacts the years of expertise that Ritter held in the US military and UN in matters related to Iraq’s WMD program.  But maybe you think Wagner and Mozart’s music are not very good either…

    The bottom line is that these issues are far more complex than the simple narrative–however loftily and eloquently described with rhetoric and selectively assembled facts at this blog–that all things liberal are bad and all things conservative are good.  And it is especially troublesome to see that folks here believe that they are dealing with all the facts when they conclude that one side has all the right answers.  The world is not black and white, right or left.  Strange that it should be described that way here.    But until Danny and others can address all the facts, rather than just the ones they like, I’ll continue to believe the world is more nuanced than the echo chamber on this site claims.

  32. Charles Martel says

    Well, folks, at least we’ve forced abc to up his game. He certainly comes off somewhat better organized and less sloppy today (it’s masturbate, abc, not masterbate). But that’s all cosmetic. Notice the continuation of the sneery attitude and the blanket condemnation of all here. I thought black-and-whiteness was solely a conservative trait?

    Again, abc has dreadful luck with analogies. We’re supposed to take Mozart’s farting and Wagner’s Jew hatred as plausible analogs to Ritter’s propensity for jacking off over kids and taking bribes. Yes, of course, tut tut, getting off on children is a terrible thing, but didn’t Mozart and Wagner make great music? As for taking money from Saddam, abc pulls his own “narrative” out of his fundament to explain, that Ritter was entrapped, a development, of course, that would fit Dick Cheney’s m.o. (“Cheney made me take that money!”)

    This is heavy stuff. We’re being dealt hammer blows by a guy who can write with a straight face that an echo chamber can make a claim (as opposed to claims that bounce around an echo chamber). Oh, school us, Wise One! 

  33. abc says

    Martel, you really love straw men.  I didn’t say echo chambers make arguments, but people who live in them apparently can ignore lots of facts that undermine their arguments.  And to make the point that Ritter can be a criminal and still be RIGHT about WMDs, which he was, doesn’t mean that he has to be identical in every way to Mozart.  I can note that Bush and bin laden both had a pulse on 9/11 (although one happily no longer does today), without implicating all the made-up parallels that you claim.  You either are not getting this, or more likely, attempting to fool others.  But straw arguments do not work.  The larger point remains:  black and white commentary on who deserves credit for getting OBL or on the merits of torture are so weak, whether they occur on the right or the left.

    And the commentary on my spelling–the only area that you venture to assail, since providing counterfactual evidence is not your forte–is more revealing of your lack of evidence than mine.  And it is hypocritical given the misspellings I’ve observed in your posts–including those calling out my misspellings.  Do your ears ring from the cognitive dissonance??

    Tell you what, I’m going to start ignoring your posts if all they include are spelling checks and straw man arguments that essentially misstate what I’ve written.  Okay?

  34. Moose says


    Moose:
    And, what would you classify chemical weapons?
    Z: Chemical weapons are WMD, and had been used by Saddam against civilians. 

    What were used in Iraq by Saddam? What were found in Iraq? Chemical weapons? Was Ritter correct?

  35. BrianE says

    This Scott Ritter? Which Scott Ritter are we talking about? 

    “During Scott Ritter’s testimony, Sept 3 (1998), to the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, Sen. John McCain [R Az] asked Ritter whether UNSCOM had intelligence suggesting that Iraq had assembled the components for three nuclear weapons and all that it lacked was the fissile material.  Ritter replied that that was so.  He said that if Iraq were to reconstruct its old program for producing fissile material,
    Iraq could have a bomb in several years.  Ritter did not address the question of what if Iraq managed to acquire fissile material on the black market.  But the implication seemed pretty clear.  As Paul Leventhal, head of the Nuclear Control Institute, remarked in response to Ritter’s statement, “Iraq could be only days or weeks away from having nuclear weapons.”
      Ritter also said that, absent UNSCOM, Iraq could reconstruct its chemical and biological weapons programs in six months, as well as its missile program.  He said that Iraq had a plan for achieving a missile breakout within six months of receiving the signal from Saddam.”
     

    [snip]

    “There are no good options regarding Iraq.  The Clinton administration/political leadership of this country has to grasp and define the problem clearly and pursue and work through the least bad option.  Yet the more time passes with the US doing nothing, the stronger Saddam gets, the worse the least bad option will
    be. 
       Indeed, Sen. John Kerry [D Ma] seemed to understand that.  He explained that Saddam’s aim was not to lift sanctions, but to build weapons of mass destruction.  That is the point which the Clinton administration stubbornly refuses to acknowledge.  Kerry took issue with Biden, saying that the matter was much bigger than whether Scott Ritter or his team could get into a site or not. Kerry said, as he had before, that the US should be prepared to use force to achieve its goals, even as it would be necessary to prepare the public.  He also suggested that any US military strike on Iraq should involve sustained targeting of the regime.”

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/1998/980907-in.htm

    I really don’t know what happened to Scott Ritter, but I remember his about face concerning Saddam at the time and thought it odd.

    Renditions started under Bill Clinton, knowing full well that detainees might be tortured (and we’re not talking enhanced interrogation). George Bush continued the program.

    Richard Clark says that the Bush administration didn’t heed his warnings (especially Rice), but he was stonewalled throughout the Clinton administration also. I suspect losing his status as ‘tsar’ by the Bushes rankled him.

    Could Bush have prevented 9/11? Some say possibly, but that’s pure speculation. Different experts had been warning since 1996 that al-Qaeda would us planes to bring down the WTC. But it had never been done before so it was had to imagine the lethality. Had airport security been tightened, would anyone have discovered the box cutters and even if they had, would they have even been considered a weapon at that time?

    Some say Bush focused on the wrong threat, but it was still the threat of state sponsored terrorism that represented “the big one.” in terms of expected damage. Even if the administration through some miracle had detained the hijackers (by breaking all of their civil rights), they still would have had to deal with Saddam.

    As to the some ‘allies’ tepid reaction to Bush’s initiatives more of that had to do with deals under the table and future oil revenues when the sanctions were lifted.

    As to making Iraq the central war on terror, I thought Bush was staking his presidency on finding WMD’s, so yes, even though all the other reasons existed for removing Saddam (sponsoring terrorism, trying to assassinate GHW Bush, hindering UN inspections and generally being a heinous dictator), I do think Bush staked a lot on WMD’s. In fact I assumed it would cost him re-election in 2004 had weapons not been found.

    So Bill Clinton philandered, Bush the bulldog broke a lot of china but also broke the back of al-Qaeda, and Obama cut off the head and may reap the benefit (a lot due to a fawning press). I think this is an excellent time to get out of Afghanistan. I don’t want one more American killed propping up a government that will execute an Afghan for converting from Islam to Christianity (or to any other religion for that matter).

    Obama has defined a new strategy going forward. Covert operations with no holds barred, take no prisoners, ignore sovreignty if you’ve got the guns and kill the bad guys from in front of computer monitors in bunkers a half a world away. (And if he’s able to do that by  the absence of the scathing criticism of the left because he’s one of them, so be it.)

    Bill Clinton lobbed a few missles that direction, but told the bad guys he was doing it in time to get out of the way.

  36. says

    (“Cheney made me take that money!”)

    Cheney had his shotgun in his face and told him, “you feeling lucky punk”.

    That Clark boy told everyone from Saudi Arabia to get out, on his authorization, after 9/11. Even though we were supposed to keep all Arab and potential terrorists inside the US until we could figure out who AQ was working for. Clark authorized this based upon the bribes he was receiving from SA, completely bypassing Presidential authority.

    That’s the boy we’re talking about.

  37. says

    Moose: What were used in Iraq by Saddam? What were found in Iraq? Chemical weapons? Was Ritter correct?

    The only chemical weapons found were forgotten and degraded chemical weapons left over from the Iran-Iraq War. 
     
    “No one was more sickened or angry than I was when we didn’t find weapons of mass destruction.” — George W. Bush
     

  38. says

    Wait a moment here. If Bush was wrong on WMDs the first time, why is Z using Bush as a human shield to defend Z’s erroneous and arrogant claims about the absence of WMDs?

    Are you so lacking in spine, Z, that you use the people you kick in the teeth and denigrate in public, as your own shield when your own arse is caught in the crack? Is that how it is.

  39. says

    Ymarsakar: Z’s erroneous and arrogant claims about the absence of WMDs

    And what is the evidence for WMD (other than degraded and forgotten munitions left over from the Iran-Iraq War) that seems to have eluded the U.S., including George Bush? 

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