• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Chicago Tribune editorials on Iraq war

Help Support Ranchers.net:

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
This is the last in a series of thirteen editorials exploring the events leading up to the war in Iraq and whether Bush lied to get us in that war. I'll post the urls for the rest of them later. Would someone let me know if this url works for you? I'm registered with the Tribune and the url might not work if you're not registered.

Judging the case for war

Published December 28, 2005

Did President Bush intentionally mislead this nation and its allies into war? Or is it his critics who have misled Americans, recasting history to discredit him and his policies? If your responses are reflexive and self-assured, read on.

On Nov. 20, the Tribune began an inquest: We set out to assess the Bush administration's arguments for war in Iraq. We have weighed each of those nine arguments against the findings of subsequent official investigations by the 9/11 Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee and others. We predicted that this exercise would distress the smug and self-assured--those who have unquestioningly supported, or opposed, this war.

The matrix below summarizes findings from the resulting nine editorials. We have tried to bring order to a national debate that has flared for almost three years. Our intent was to help Tribune readers judge the case for war--based not on who shouts loudest, but on what actually was said and what happened.

The administration didn't advance its arguments with equal emphasis. Neither, though, did its case rely solely on Iraq's alleged illicit weapons. The other most prominent assertion in administration speeches and presentations was as accurate as the weapons argument was flawed: that Saddam Hussein had rejected 12 years of United Nations demands that he account for his stores of deadly weapons--and also stop exterminating innocents. Evaluating all nine arguments lets each of us decide which ones we now find persuasive or empty, and whether President Bush tried to mislead us.

In measuring risks to this country, the administration relied on the same intelligence agencies, in the U.S. and overseas, that failed to anticipate Sept. 11, 2001. We now know that the White House explained some but not enough of the ambiguities embedded in those agencies' conclusions. By not stressing what wasn't known as much as what was, the White House wound up exaggerating allegations that proved dead wrong.

Those flawed assertions are central to the charge that the president lied. Such accusations, though, can unfairly conflate three issues: the strength of the case Bush argued before the war, his refusal to delay its launch in March 2003 and his administration's failure to better anticipate the chaos that would follow. Those three are important, but not to be confused with one another.

After reassessing the administration's nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege. Example: The accusation that Bush lied about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs overlooks years of global intelligence warnings that, by February 2003, had convinced even French President Jacques Chirac of "the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq." We also know that, as early as 1997, U.S. intel agencies began repeatedly warning the Clinton White House that Iraq, with fissile material from a foreign source, could have a crude nuclear bomb within a year.

Seventeen days before the war, this page reluctantly urged the president to launch it. We said that every earnest tool of diplomacy with Iraq had failed to improve the world's security, stop the butchery--or rationalize years of UN inaction. We contended that Saddam Hussein, not George W. Bush, had demanded this conflict.

Many people of patriotism and integrity disagreed with us and still do. But the totality of what we know now--what this matrix chronicles-- affirms for us our verdict of March 2, 2003. We hope these editorials help Tribune readers assess theirs.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0512280311dec28,1,3243.story?coll=chi-opinionfront-hed
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
Here is the first op/ed in the series. Are you reading these dis?

What we know today

Published November 20, 2005

Many, although not all, of the Bush administration's assertions about weapons of mass destruction have proven flat-out wrong. What illicit weaponry searchers uncovered didn't begin to square with the magnitude of the toxic armory U.S. officials had described before the war.

Shelves of books will be written about why that was so—and about whether the administration manipulated shaky intelligence data to achieve its desired end: a war to topple Hussein.

Even now, new fragments of information that address that question surface almost weekly. Many Americans arrange those fragments in their minds to form whatever picture they want to see: of a heroic, or a villainous, White House.

Several investigations have, though, tried to write first drafts of this history. In large measure, those probes have been framed by three sentences from a National Intelligence Estimate that the Central Intelligence Agency proffered in October 2002: "We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of UN resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions. If left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade."

Critics of the war believe many such intelligence reports were stripped of doubts and nuances to fit the White House's aggressive agenda.

The first authoritative, if indirect, evaluation of those CIA assertions came Oct. 2, 2003, in an interim report from David Kay, the chief U.S. weapons inspector. Kay confirmed that his searchers had not found stockpiles of illicit weapons. He told Congress what he had found:

" ... dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002."

Evidence of "a clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service" that contained equipment "suitable" for ongoing weapons research.

A "systematic sanitization of documentary and computer evidence in a wide range of offices, laboratories, and companies suspected of WMD work." Kay said it was not clear if Hussein's ambitions focused on "large-scale military efforts or [biological warfare] terror weapons," but that Hussein had "all key elements for maintaining a capability for resuming BW production." Kay said "multiple sources" had said Iraq "explored" resuming production of chemical weaponry "possibly as late as 2003"—in other words, until the eve of war.

"Iraqi scientists and senior government officials" have said "Hussein remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons."

Many critics of the war at first dismissed what Kay had found as mere capability and intent. But when he delivered a subsequent report in January 2004, Kay seemed more alarmed by the implications of what his team had discovered.

Kay described a pre-war Iraq full of bravado and deceit—a country in which scientists convinced Hussein that he possessed more diabolical weapons than he did. Yet Kay also told The New York Times that Iraq had continued to make "test amounts" of chemical weapons and was working on improved methods of producing them. Iraqi scientists tried "right up until the end," he said, to produce and weaponize ricin, a lethal toxin. And since 2000, Hussein had reactivated his nuclear program, apparently to provide weapons to arm the long-range ballistic missiles he was developing.

In sum: "[W]e know that there was little control over Iraq's weapons capabilities," Kay said. "I think it shows that Iraq was a very dangerous place. The country had the technology, the ability to produce, and there were terrorist groups passing through the country—and no central control."

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kay essentially faulted U.S. and European intelligence agencies for producing faulty data. But, he ruefully observed, the problem with evaluating intelligence is that, "It all looks very clear in retrospect." He also expressed his fear that rogue governments or terror groups could have obtained illicit weapons, or weapons expertise, from Iraq. "I consider that a bigger risk than the restart of his programs being successful. ... [T]hat probably was a risk that, if we did avoid, we barely avoided."

Kay's bottom line: "It was reasonable to conclude that Iraq posed an imminent threat," he told National Public Radio. "What we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place potentially than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war."

On July 9, 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its damning report on pre-war intelligence. Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said "group-think" within the intelligence community had "caused the community to interpret ambiguous evidence, such as the procurement of dual-use technology, as conclusive evidence of the existence of WMD programs. ... This was a global intelligence failure." The committee specified that it "did not find any evidence that the administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."

Five days later, on July 14, 2004, a government committee probing Britain's pre-war intelligence announced similar conclusions. The committee's leader, Lord Robin Butler, former secretary of the Cabinet, did fault a September 2002 dossier, issued by Prime Minister Tony Blair, which alleged that Iraq could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes. Butler said the dossier should have explained that the "eye-catching" 45-minute claim referred to "battlefield" munitions only—and should have made clear the "thinness of the evidence" behind that claim. But, he added, "There is no doubt the government believed the judgments behind the dossier."

David Kay's successor as chief U.S. weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, reported to Congress on Oct. 6, 2004, that he, like Kay, had not turned up stockpiles of illicit weapons in Iraq. But Duelfer added an intriguing new dimension to the debate—a possible plot line of why Hussein had hoarded not his weapons but, rather, his ability to produce them. To give that dimension context: A nation capable of producing toxic weapons on relatively short notice wouldn't need to keep stockpiles.

Hussein had come "palpably close" to eradicating UN sanctions against Iraq, Duelfer concluded, by corrupting the UN's oil-for-food program, plundering it to bribe officials and citizens of influential countries. "He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections—to gain support for lifting sanctions—with his intention to preserve Iraq's intellectual capital for WMD and with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face."

Duelfer's bottom line: As soon as Hussein's friends at the UN succeeded in removing sanctions from Iraq, the dictator would rebuild his prior WMD programs—and enhance them by acquiring nukes.
On March 31 of this year, a blue-ribbon panel of 10 members, the clumsily named Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, issued the most blistering critique of the U.S. intelligence community's performance before the war. The bipartisan panel was headed by senior federal appeals Judge Laurence Silberman, a Republican, and Charles Robb, a Democrat and former senator from Virginia.

The Silberman-Robb commission blamed the "dead wrong" intelligence about Iraq on analysts who were "too wedded to their assumptions." But it also said those analysts were at the mercy of intel agencies that "collected precious little intelligence for them to analyze, and much of what they did collect was either worthless or misleading." As a result, policymakers were reliant on an intel community that didn't communicate how much it didn't know.

So, given that vacuum, had the Bush administration pressed analysts to exaggerate the threat posed by Iraq? "The analysts who worked Iraqi weapons issues universally agreed that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments," the report stated. "That said, it is hard to deny the conclusion that intelligence analysts worked in an environment that did not encourage skepticism about the conventional wisdom." In the context of the report, that reads more as a slap at the intelligence community than at policymakers who acted on bad data.

As this page summed up the Silberman-Robb report at the time, the panelists said it was the intelligence community that failed the president—by relying too much on inferences rather than facts, by refusing to look critically at its own assumptions, by giving him briefings that exaggerated the danger, and by relying on information from sources who lied.

Did administration officials also lie about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs? Whatever verdict history delivers, Americans by the tens of millions will go to their graves convinced that verdict is its own nefarious falsehood.

Rewind the clock three years. The Bush administration, singed by accusations that it had failed to anticipate Sept. 11, clearly was determined not to be taken by surprise again. Officials saw in Iraq an anti-American regime that had used weapons of mass destruction to kill people by the thousands and that, after the Persian Gulf war, had been caught lying about the vast quantities of illicit weaponry it had stockpiled. Then there was the pre-war testimony of even the administration's harshest critic, French President Jacques Chirac. "There is a problem—the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq," Chirac told Time magazine in February 2003. "The international community is ... right in having decided Iraq should be disarmed." In other words, Chirac disagreed not with Bush's assessment of Iraq, but rather with Bush's proposed remedy.

In making their case for war, Bush and his top aides frequently implied—speaking with genuine belief or with Machiavellian wiles—that Iraq was an imminent threat, even if they didn't use that word. Bush, in fact, rejected an imminence test in his 2003 State of the Union address: "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent," he said. "Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?"

Absent new disclosures in future reports, memoirs or other evidence, history's likely verdict is that the president overplayed the weak hand that the intelligence services dealt him. Those agencies had their own nightmares to live down: Prior to the Gulf war, they had underestimated Iraq's progress toward building nuclear bombs.

But there was no need for the administration to rely on risky intelligence to chronicle many of Iraq's sins. This page stands by an opinion argued here in January 2004:

In putting so much emphasis on weapons, the White House advanced its most provocative, least verifiable case for war when others would have sufficed. With his support for Palestinian and other terrorists, Hussein was a destabilizing force in the Middle East. His ballistic missiles program, which threatened such U.S. allies as Israel, Kuwait and Turkey, grossly violated the UN's last-chance Resolution 1441—as did his refusal even to divulge the status of his weapons programs. Worse, with the UN failing to enforce its demands, Hussein freely perpetuated the genocidal slaughter of his people.

Based on Hussein's indisputable record, the president had ample cause to want regime change in Iraq. Put short, the bumper-sticker accusation that "Bush lied—People died" would be moot today if the president had stuck to known truths.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
#2-What the administration said
Published November 20, 2005

In 1998, the year Saddam Hussein squeezed weapons inspectors out of Iraq, then-President Bill Clinton famously defined the risk of leaving Hussein unchallenged: "He will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you he'll use the arsenal."

Several months after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration began pressing much the same argument, asserting that Hussein had accomplished the rebuilding Clinton feared. Vice President Dick Cheney broadly argued the case in an Aug. 26, 2002, address to a convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Nashville:

" ... After his defeat in the Gulf War in 1991, Saddam agreed under UN Security Council Resolution 687 to cease all development of weapons of mass destruction. He agreed to end his nuclear weapons program. He agreed to destroy his chemical and his biological weapons. He further agreed to admit UN inspection teams into his country to ensure that he was in fact complying with these terms.

"In the past decade, Saddam has systematically broken each of these agreements. The Iraqi regime has in fact been very busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents. And they continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago. These are not weapons for the purpose of defending Iraq; these are offensive weapons for the purpose of inflicting death on a massive scale, developed so that Saddam can hold the threat over the head of anyone he chooses, in his own region or beyond.

"On the nuclear question, many of you will recall that Saddam's nuclear ambitions suffered a severe setback in 1981 when the Israelis bombed the Osirak reactor. They suffered another major blow in Desert Storm and its aftermath. But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we've gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors—including Saddam's own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered at Saddam's direction. Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon.

"Just how soon, we cannot really gauge. Intelligence is an uncertain business, even in the best of circumstances. This is especially the case when you are dealing with a totalitarian regime that has made a science out of deceiving the international community. ...

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors—confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth."

Less than three weeks later, Bush made parallel but comparatively specific assertions about illicit weapons in his Sept. 12, 2002, address to the UN General Assembly:

" ... From 1991 to 1995, the Iraqi regime said it had no biological weapons. After a senior official in its weapons program defected and exposed this lie, the regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs and aircraft spray tanks. UN inspectors believe Iraq has produced two to four times the amount of biological agents it declared, and has failed to account for more than three metric tons of material that could be used to produce biological weapons. Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.

"United Nations inspections also reveal that Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents, and that the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons."

During a speech in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, Bush said Iraq possessed "ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles—far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey and other nations—in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work. We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States."

The president expanded on another accusation—a point he'd mentioned previously—during his Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union address: " ... From three Iraqi defectors, we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents and can be moved from place to place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them."

Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered the administration's most detailed charges when he addressed the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003. Three sentences in particular have become enduring embarrassments for Powell: " ... My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."

Powell played audio intercepts and displayed photographs to bulwark his assertions that Iraqi officials were going to great lengths to disguise their weapons programs. His litany of non-nuclear weaponry allegedly in Iraq's possession again included "mobile production facilities used to make biological agents." He said Hussein's regime "has also developed ways to disperse lethal biological agents widely, indiscriminately, into the water supply, into the air. ... "

"Iraq's procurement efforts include equipment that can filter and separate micro-organisms and toxins involved in biological weapons; equipment that can be used to concentrate the agent; growth media that can be used to continue producing anthrax and botulinum toxin; sterilization equipment for laboratories; glass-lined reactors and specialty pumps that can handle corrosive chemical weapons agents and precursors; large amounts of thionyl chloride, a precursor for nerve and blister agents; and other chemicals, such as sodium sulfide, an important mustard agent precursor.

"Now of course Iraq will argue that these items can also be used for legitimate purposes. But if that is true, why did we have to learn about them by intercepting communications and risking the lives of human agents? With Iraq's well-documented history on biological and chemical weapons, why should any of us give Iraq the benefit of the doubt?"

Powell referred the diplomats to a 1999 UN report on Iraq's chemical weapons capability. He told them that "Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. ...

"Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons," Powell said. "Saddam Hussein has used such weapons. And Saddam Hussein has no compunction about using them again—against his neighbors and against his own people. And we have sources who tell us that he recently has authorized his field commanders to use them. He wouldn't be passing out the orders if he didn't have the weapons or the intent to use them."
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
#3-The case, then and now
Before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials made nine arguments for toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime. Now, as Democrats accuse the White House of having lied to Americans, the president rebukes his critics for rewriting history. Beginning today, the Chicago Tribune Editorial Page attempts to set the record straight.

Published November 20, 2005
Did George W. Bush intentionally mislead this nation and its allies into war? Or is it his critics who have misled Americans, recasting history to discredit the president and his policies?

Today the Tribune begins an attempt to help readers resolve those questions. This re-examination of the administration's rationale for war offers doses of discomfort for the self-assured—those who have unquestioningly supported, or opposed, the ongoing war in Iraq.

We begin with the premise that the passage of three years has obscured much of what actually was said in 2002 and early 2003 as this nation debated whether to invade Iraq and oust its dictator. Also obscured by the passage of time, and by often vicious (and mutual) political partisanship: what subsequent investigations and other evidence suggest about the emptiness, or accuracy, of the administration's reasons for war.

This is, we acknowledge at the outset, an arbitrary exercise—beginning with our identification of the nine arguments the Bush administration advanced in making its case for war. Those nine arguments were distinct, although sometimes overlapping. They included, but went well beyond, Iraq's weapons programs.

We isolated these nine arguments for war from eight major speeches or presentations by administration officials as they advanced their case. To assess each of those nine arguments, the Tribune will present an occasional series of editorials that examine the arguments one by one.

We approach each argument by positing two questions: What did the administration say about this in making its case for war? And what do we know about those assertions today?

This is not breezy reading. It is, rather, an inquest about deadly serious affairs. We largely reconstruct the arguments for war, and the subsequent investigative findings about those arguments, in the words of those who spoke or wrote them. In numerous instances, those words have not been widely reported before; news coverage at the time tended to focus on the most illuminating or provocative statements, rather than on the broader contexts in which they were made.

That is particularly true of one major argument advanced by the administration: that Saddam Hussein possessed biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. The administration's argument concerning Hussein's nuclear ambitions included themes separate from its assertions about his biological and chemical programs.

Those nuclear ambitions make fleeting appearances in this installment, and will be discussed more thoroughly in the third.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
As ol' dis is wont to say, the emphasis is mine. Hope you’re reading along with us dis. Or do these interfere with your preconceived notions and your Bush bashing?

#4-Iraq rebuffs the world
Published November 25, 2005

As one of its nine arguments for war, the Bush administration accused Saddam Hussein of flouting international efforts to block illicit weapons programs.

What the White House said:

In the summer of 2002, many influential voices--including, apparently, that of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell--urged President Bush to carry his brief against Iraq to the United Nations rather than unilaterally march his military into war.

That urging reflected widespread yearning for multilateral solutions to international disputes--a sense that when conflict arises that could lead to war, the community of nations should apply its imprimatur. That urging also reflected widespread faith that the UN was an honest broker.

The yearning was intense. The faith was misplaced.

Bush did agree to address the UN General Assembly in New York City. He spoke there on Sept. 12, 2002--one day after the first anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. In his speech, which left many diplomats visibly squirming in their chairs, the president detailed tandem patterns of failure: Saddam Hussein had refused to obey UN Security Council orders that he disclose his weapons programs--and the UN had refused to enforce its demands of Hussein:

"... Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation, and the regime's forces were poised to continue their march to seize other countries and their resources," Bush said. "Had Saddam Hussein been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the peace and stability of the world. Yet this aggression was stopped by the might of coalition forces and the will of the United Nations.

"To suspend hostilities, to spare himself, Iraq's dictator accepted a series of commitments. The terms were clear to him and to all, and he agreed to prove he is complying with every one of those obligations. He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge, by his deceptions and by his cruelties, Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself. ...

"In 1990, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the world imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. Those sanctions were maintained after that war to compel the regime's compliance with Security Council resolutions. In time, Iraq was allowed to use oil revenues to buy food. Saddam Hussein has subverted this program, working around the sanctions to buy missile technology and military materials.

"He blames the suffering of Iraq's people on the United Nations, even as he uses his oil wealth to build lavish palaces for himself and to buy arms for his country. By refusing to comply with his own agreements, he bears full guilt for the hunger and misery of innocent Iraqi citizens.

"In 1991 Iraq promised UN inspectors immediate and unrestricted access to verify Iraq's commitment to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Iraq broke this promise, spending seven years deceiving, evading and harassing UN inspectors before ceasing cooperation entirely. ...

"The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of UN demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence?

"Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?"

Several weeks after Bush's speech, on Nov. 8, 2002, the Security Council--voting unanimously--adopted another resolution, No. 1441, ordering Iraq to disclose its weapons programs--and threatening "serious consequences" if Hussein didn't comply. That phrase was taken worldwide as diplospeak for use of military force.

As the Tribune reported Nov. 9, 2002: "... Minutes after the measure won the support of even last-minute holdouts Russia and Syria, President Bush warned Hussein that it was up to him whether war erupts in the Persian Gulf. `The outcome of the current crisis is already determined,' Bush said in a hastily arranged appearance. `The full disarmament of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq will occur. The only question for the Iraqi regime is to decide how.'"

The UN then dispatched weapons inspectors to resume the search suspended in 1998. But rather than open itself to complete scrutiny--a necessary act even if it no longer possessed illicit arms--Iraq's regime feinted and dodged.

Colin Powell, during his Feb. 5, 2003, presentation to the Security Council, increased U.S. pressure on the UN to enforce its demands: "... This council placed the burden on Iraq to comply and disarm, and not on the inspectors to find that which Iraq has gone out of its way to conceal for so long. Inspectors are inspectors; they are not detectives. ...

"[T]he information and intelligence we have gathered point to an active and systematic effort on the part of the Iraqi regime to keep key materials and people from the inspectors, in direct violation of Resolution 1441. The pattern is not just one of reluctant cooperation, nor is it merely a lack of cooperation. What we see is a deliberate campaign to prevent any meaningful inspection work."

What were these Security Council resolutions that Iraq had not obeyed? Their legalisms instructing Iraq to disclose and surrender all vestiges of its weapons programs run on for pages, but excerpts from two give their flavor:

- Resolution 687, which Iraq had flouted since it was adopted on April 3, 1991, said the Security Council demanded that Iraq "unconditionally" accept the destruction of all chemical and biological weapons and all related research, development, support and manufacturing facilities, and all ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers. It required Iraq to declare the locations, amounts and types of all such items and agree to on-site inspection.
It said the Security Council "Decides that Iraq shall unconditionally undertake not to use, develop, construct or acquire [such] items" and called for "a plan for the future ongoing monitoring and verification of Iraq's compliance with this paragraph. ..."

- Resolution 1441, the last of 17 such broad directives to Iraq, was adopted by a 15-0 vote on Nov. 8, 2002. It said the Security Council:

"... Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 ..." and gives Iraq a final 30 days to provide "a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material. ..."

Iraq was to give inspectors "immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access" to verify its compliance. The decree concluded with its admonition that the Security Council "has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations."

The resolution's 30-day window dragged into months of stalling and limited compliance by Hussein. By early March 2003, the U.S., Britain and Spain were lobbying the Security Council to set a March 17 deadline for Iraq to comply with the Nov. 8, 2002, resolution.

On March 7, 2003, the inspectors paradoxically suggested to the Security Council that Iraq had displayed more cooperation, but the inspectors also said they still had 29 areas of unanswered questions about weapons issues. The Tribune reported that those issues included the whereabouts of thousands of chemical bombs and tons of anthrax, VX nerve gas and botulinum toxin uncovered during previous searches.

U.S. and British officials retorted that, at best, Iraq's cooperation with the inspectors was reluctant, evasive, incomplete--and clearly a rebuke to Resolution 1441.

France and Russia nevertheless threatened to veto the proposed ultimatum. In response, Washington, London and Madrid proposed setting a compliance deadline later than March 17. Again, Paris and Moscow threatened vetoes.

With two permanent members of the Security Council unwilling to support the November resolution for which they had voted, the U.S., Britain and Spain withdrew their proposal for an 18th resolution. They said they instead would rely on the earlier council ultimatums. With diplomacy in tatters, the UN instructed its inspectors and humanitarian workers to leave Iraq.

On March 17, 2003, Bush primarily cited Iraq's failure to obey UN orders as the reason for the impending launch of the war. He spoke of Iraq's weapons programs but pivoted his speech on Hussein's intransigence:

"My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

"Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned. ...

"The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours," Bush said.

"In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part. They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq, so that disarmament can proceed peacefully. He has thus far refused. All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours.

"Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing. For their own safety, all foreign nationals--including journalists and inspectors--should leave Iraq immediately."
Early on March 20 in Iraq--the night of March 19 here--the first missiles struck Baghdad.

What we know today

Reasonable minds profoundly disagree on whether Saddam Hussein's flouting of UN resolutions and sanctions justified the launch of war. But there can be no credible assertion that either Iraq or the UN met its responsibility to the world. If anything, the Bush administration's citations of cunning chicanery--both in Baghdad and at UN headquarters on the East River--were gravely understated.

That chicanery is, however, not the only reason why Hussein felt he could dodge international mandates, or why the UN repeatedly permitted him to do so.

The Bush administration's strategy of confrontation bucked decades of policy in many countries--the U.S. included. Before Bush initiated what he called a war against global terrorism, many prosperous nations employed a triad defense of stoicism, appeasement and, from Washington and a few other world capitals, occasional bursts of retaliatory missiles or other limited military actions.

That is not to diminish efforts such as Western Europe's struggle to control leftist terror groups in the second half of the 20th Century, or Israel's attempts to thwart Palestinian bombers, or diplomacy to quell bloody violence in Northern Ireland. But those and other experiences with terror assaults had left many governments weary and resigned.

The notion of attacking Iraq thus came as an especially sharp stick in the eye of nations that, unlike Washington, didn't see that country as a cradle of terrorism. Yes, Hussein was a pariah, but he had not invaded another country in a dozen years, and many governments wanted proof that he had meaningful ties to groups such as Al Qaeda.

Bush, having overthrown the Taliban government of Afghanistan, now wanted to eradicate another regime. And he wanted the UN to give him permission.

The better approach, many governments believed, was containment. They saw Hussein's grudging agreement to re-admit weapons inspectors, as Resolution 1441 demanded, as proof that the world could limit whatever threat he posed. But was Hussein a reformed man? Or did having the world's most powerful military poised at his border, ready to invade, prompt him to pay lip service to UN demands?

As 2003 arrived, the containment caucus had a problem. For years many governments had hoped that a combination of sticks and carrots--in the form of international oversight, threatened sanctions and economic incentives--would keep North Korea from pursuing nukes. The disclosure that Pyongyang had secretly connived for years to build nukes, and now was lengthening the reach of its delivery system, was a nightmare. Its implication: If containment someday failed and Hussein acquired nukes, he would be as invulnerable as the North Koreans who, by numerous accounts, already possessed bombs.

The reluctance of many governments to embrace Bush's aggressive agenda was understandable. But the reluctance of those governments to enforce Security Council resolutions for which they had voted arguably was not.

Did the White House mislead Americans, or the world, about Iraq's rebuffs to the UN? No. The truthfulness of the administration's basic case, like Iraq's hubris, is as self-evident in retrospect as it was at the time:

For whatever reason, and none is acceptable, Hussein didn't disclose what weapons programs he had, or no longer had, or schemed to have. He did not have the option--refusal--that he chose.

Rather than confront that refusal, the UN averted its eyes--not only from Hussein but from its own complicity in his bad acts. Even as Hussein ignored the resolutions, widespread corruption of an important UN effort to help the people of Iraq empowered him to continue abusing them. That corruption allegedly funded Hussein's purchase of influential friends in nations that, year after year, did not press the Security Council to enforce its edicts against him.

As long as Hussein laid golden eggs, many powerful individuals and businesses around the world were happy to collect them--and to support his efforts to end the international sanctions against Iraq.

These patterns of failure emerge from the findings of an inquiry panel led by Paul Volcker, former chairman of this nation's Federal Reserve, and from the October 2004 report of U.S. chief weapons inspector Charles Duelfer. Numerous U.S. congressional investigators and criminal prosecutors also are turning up evidence.

In a series of reports, Volcker's team has chronicled the debasement and exploitation of the UN's oil-for-food program. For seven years before the war, that program let Hussein sell oil and ostensibly use the proceeds to buy humanitarian supplies for citizens suffering hardships caused by the sanctions.

Under lax UN oversight, Hussein used oil-for-food to wage extortion, bribery and other schemes: Volcker alleges that half of some 4,500 companies around the world that participated in oil-for-food paid $1.8 billion in illegal kickbacks to Iraq's regime. And, apart from oil-for-food, Hussein also scammed vast revenues by illegally smuggling oil out of Iraq.

Hussein did use some of the money to help his people. He also diverted booty, Volcker found, to beneficiaries in 66 countries. Significantly, many of these diplomats and other profiteers were clustered in France, Russia and China--three nations with permanent memberships, and veto power, on the Security Council.

Tariq Aziz, then Iraq's deputy prime minister, has told probers that Hussein awarded oil allocations to his beneficiaries based on their level of opposition to the sanctions. An Oct. 28, 2005, Washington Post account of Volcker's fifth and final report summed up the findings: Iraq used its oil wealth to influence some countries' policies at the UN, awarding Russia $19 billion and France $4.4 billion in oil contracts.

Charles Duelfer's October 2004 report on his search for Iraqi weapons succinctly framed Hussein's modus operandi. Duelfer also said Hussein's scheme to parlay oil-for-food into the end of UN sanctions almost had succeeded.

Duelfer wrote: "He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections--to gain support for lifting sanctions--with his intention to preserve Iraq's intellectual capital for WMD and with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face. ... By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime ..." Once liberated from sanctions, Duelfer concluded, Hussein intended to recreate Iraq's illicit weapons capability.

- - -

When Bush addressed the UN General Assembly, and when Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke to the Security Council, the fix was in. Hussein had shunted enough lucre to enough profiteers to keep the UN from challenging him. That in turn enabled Hussein to continue his brutal reign and cost untold thousands of Iraqis their lives.

UN resolutions ought to carry at least as much credibility, and warrant as much enforcement, as a court summons or a parking ticket. Yet in a dozen years the global organization had mass-produced 17 resolutions on Iraq, all of them toothless.

The opponents of military action could not seriously argue that Hussein had complied with the UN's repeated demands. Nor could they point to brighter days if only the U.S. and other nations held their fire. This particular argument for war, one of nine advanced by the White House, was not disputable. Iraq had rebuffed the world, and the UN had failed to respond.
 

Cal

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
3,598
Reaction score
0
Location
Southern SD
Yep, Saddam lied, Iraqi's were brutalized and died. Musta been Bush's fault. :roll:
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
#5-The quest for nukes: What we know today
Published November 30, 2005

Iraq did not have nukes and, by the outbreak of war, evidently did not have an active program to produce them.

Saddam Hussein's nuclear capabilities, though, had deeply troubled U.S. intelligence agencies since President Bill Clinton's second term.

On July 9, 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a devastating report on the dismal quality of prewar intelligence on Iraq. "This was a global intelligence failure," charged committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

At the time, news coverage focused on the report's condemnation of the intelligence community and that community's ability to unwittingly mislead policymakers in Washington by clinging to its preconceptions while dismissing conflicting data.

But buried in the mind-numbing, 524-page report's third chapter--"Intelligence Community Analysis of Iraq's Nuclear Program"--lay a startling assertion. Between late 1997 and late 2000, four major U.S. intelligence studies had assessed Iraq's nuclear ambitions. Those four assessments said Iraq apparently had not reconstituted the nuclear program that had been neutralized after the Persian Gulf war. The studies concurred that, while Iraq continued what the Senate report called "low-level, clandestine, theoretical research and training of personnel" to reconstitute its nuclear program, Baghdad would need five to seven years--even with foreign assistance--to produce enough weapons-grade fissile material to build a bomb.

The startling assertion?

The Senate committee's report said those four major studies also concurred that, "If Iraq acquired a significant quantity of fissile material through foreign assistance, it could have a crude nuclear weapon within a year." Within a year? This, even as the breakup of the old Soviet bloc and a worldwide nuclear black market threatened to make dangerous materials available to any rogue regime or terror group with financing.

After the change of administrations in Washington at the start of 2001, the U.S. intelligence community continued to advance its nuclear case against Iraq.

In December 2001, the intelligence community produced a National Intelligence Estimate that said recent Iraqi procurements "suggest possible preparation for a renewed uranium-enrichment program." By October 2002, though, a subsequent estimate included a bolder assertion: "Baghdad began reconstituting its nuclear program shortly after the departure of [United Nations] inspectors in December 1998."

Looking back from the vantage point of mid-2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee report neatly summed up another of the intelligence community's conclusions: Saddam Hussein had most likely shifted his strategy from waiting for UN sanctions against Iraq to end to waiting for inspections to end in 1998--and then began putting his nuke program back together.

On Sept. 26, 2004, The New York Times published an op-ed, "Saddam, the Bomb and Me," by Mahdi Obeidi, who had headed Hussein's gas-centrifuge program before the Persian Gulf war and who had written a book, "The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind." Obeidi's article had something for everyone--welcome assurances that Hussein had not, in fact, resumed his nuclear program--but chilling assertions that Iraq could have built nukes on very short notice.

Among the assuring passages: "By 1998, when Saddam Hussein evicted the weapons inspectors from Iraq, all that was left was the dangerous knowledge of hundreds of scientists and the blueprints and prototype parts for the centrifuge, which I had buried under a tree in my garden," Obeidi wrote. He added that the UN sanctions Hussein wanted his friends on the Security Council to eliminate had, since the Gulf war, blocked Iraq's customary purchases of equipment and technology on the black market. "Saddam Hussein was profiting handsomely from the United Nations oil-for-food program, building palaces around the country with the money he skimmed," Obeidi wrote. "I think he didn't want to risk losing this revenue stream by trying to restart a secret weapons program."

Among the chilling passages: "Was Iraq a potential threat to the United States and the world? Threat is always a matter of perception, but our nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam Hussein's fingers. ... Iraqi scientists had the knowledge and the designs needed to jump-start the program if necessary. And there is no question that we could have done so very quickly. In the late 1980s, we put together the most efficient covert nuclear program the world has ever seen. In about three years, we gained the ability to enrich uranium and nearly become a nuclear threat; we built an effective centrifuge from scratch, even though we started with no knowledge of centrifuge technology.

"Had Saddam Hussein ordered it and the world looked the other way, we might have shaved months, if not years, off our previous efforts."

The most thorough hindsight attempt to evaluate the nuclear case for war was the Oct. 6, 2004, report to Congress by Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector in postwar Iraq. Duelfer had succeeded David Kay, who concluded a year earlier that, based on statements from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials, "Hussein remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons." Paradoxically, this declaration had elicited vocal scorn for Kay from opponents of the war who previously had lionized him for his frankness in saying his searchers had found no stockpiles of illicit weapons.

Duelfer essentially echoed, but expanded, what Kay and the Senate Intelligence Committee had concluded:

"Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability--in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks--but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare capabilities." Duelfer said his searchers "discovered further evidence of the maturity and significance of the pre-1991 Iraqi nuclear program but found that Iraq's ability to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program progressively decayed after that date. ...

"Senior Iraqis--several of them from the regime's inner circle--told [Duelfer's investigators] they assumed Saddam would restart a nuclear program once UN sanctions ended."


Duelfer reported that in the year before the war, Iraq "undertook improvements to technology in several areas that could have been applied to a renewed centrifuge program for uranium enrichment." But he found "no indication that Iraq had resumed fissile material or nuclear weapon research and development activities since 1991."

Duelfer, like the Senate Intelligence Committee before him, found no evidence to support intelligence and administration assertions that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from other countries since the Gulf war. He similarly concluded that "high-level Iraqi interest in aluminum tubes appears to have come from efforts to produce 81 mm rockets, rather than a nuclear end use."

Today the administration's uranium claims, and its uranium tubes assertions, appear discredited. The reason for the conditional word "appear" is that, as multiple subsequent investigations make clear, some voices within the intelligence community strongly believed those assertions to be true. Certainty is elusive. These are two footnotes to history that have yet to be fully written. The ongoing CIA leak investigation, with its links to allegations that Iraq tried to acquire uranium from Niger, could yield a final verdict on that accusation.

But regardless of history's final word on those two points, what went so wrong that a president wound up quoting even possibly bogus intelligence in a State of the Union address?

The most compelling answer appeared in two paragraphs of the March 31, 2005, report from a bipartisan panel headed by U.S. Appeals Court Judge Laurence Silberman and former Sen. Charles Robb (D-Va.). Their broad and damning critique of American intelligence failures declared:

"The first lesson is that the intelligence community cannot analyze and disseminate information that it does not have. The community's Iraq assessment was crippled by its inability to collect meaningful intelligence on Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. The second lesson follows from the first: Lacking good intelligence, analysts and collectors fell back on old assumptions and inferences drawn from Iraq's past behavior and intentions.

"The intelligence community had learned a hard lesson after the 1991 Gulf war, which revealed that the intelligence community's prewar assessments had underestimated Iraq's nuclear program and had failed to identify all of its chemical weapons storage sites. Shaken by the magnitude of their errors, intelligence analysts were determined not to fall victim again to the same mistake. This tendency was only reinforced by later events. Saddam acted to the very end like a man with much to hide. And the dangers of underestimating our enemies were deeply underscored by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."


- - -

The Bush administration inherited from President Clinton's administration a U.S. policy of regime change in Iraq--and multiple intelligence warnings that Saddam Hussein had designs on nuclear weaponry.

In March 2002, Robert Einhorn, Clinton's assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, described for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee the alarming assessment of Iraq that the intelligence community was relaying to the White House during Clinton's second term:

"How close is the peril of Iraqi WMD? Today, or at most within a few months, Iraq could launch missile attacks with chemical or biological weapons against its neighbors (albeit attacks that would be ragged, inaccurate and limited in size).

"Within four or five years it could have the capability to threaten most of the Middle East and parts of Europe with missiles armed with nuclear weapons containing fissile material produced indigenously--and to threaten U.S. territory with such weapons delivered by non-conventional means, such as commercial shipping containers. If it managed to get its hands on sufficient quantities of already produced fissile material, these threats could arrive much sooner."

Einhorn spoke at a time when the Bush White House was smarting from the accusations that it might have prevented the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had it accurately assessed the threat to the U.S. from Al Qaeda. What would be the consequences for Americans if the administration now ignored years of dramatic intelligence warnings about Iraq's nuclear capabilities?

The difficulty, of course, was that a White House responsible for protecting this country from assault had little choice but to rely on the same agencies that grossly underestimated Iraq's nuke program before the Gulf war.


Remember, the consensus of those agencies was that Baghdad had been reconstituting its nuclear program since 1998 and that, with fissile material, Iraq could have a workable bomb in short order.

Today we know that those assessments reflected manifest failures of U.S. and European intelligence agencies. Kay criticized the flawed work of those agencies on Jan. 28, 2004, before the Senate Armed Services Committee. But he also had the grace to highlight how difficult it is for analysts to discern other governments' deepest secrets.

On multiple points, such as the murky accusations about Iraq's quest for uranium and aluminum tubes, the administration spouted assertions that were at best dubious. Each of us is free to conclude whether that represented a hyping of what little was known about Iraq's nuclear capabilities--or a determination to protect this country and its allies in the region.

That said, assertions that the Bush administration strong-armed intelligence analysts in 2002 and 2003, or misled the nation in making its nuclear case for war, challenge logic.

During and after Clinton's presidency, the intelligence community repeatedly warned the White House that Iraq was one cache of fissile material and one year short of wielding a nuclear bomb.


If the White House manipulated or exaggerated that intelligence before the war in order to paint a more-menacing portrait of Saddam Hussein, it's difficult to imagine why. For five years, the official and oft-delivered alarms from the U.S. intelligence community had been menacing enough.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
#6-The quest for nukes: What the administration said

Published November 30, 2005
The Bush White House confidently, and wrongly, accused Iraq of hoarding biological and chemical weapons. Public attention didn't focus on the administration's scarier contention that Saddam Hussein would soon get his finger on the nuclear launch button. Part 3 in a series of Tribune editorials exploring the administration's case for war probes that allegation and the intelligence behind it.

What the administration said:

During the run-up to war in Iraq, the White House repeatedly asserted that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled deadly biological and chemical weapons. But in the nuclear realm, the Bush administration instead tended to be candid, even aggressive, in admitting what it did not know. Officials relied on U.S. intelligence agencies not to argue that Hussein already had the most destructive of earthly weapons, but to say he was reconstituting his once-impressive program to create them.

As with non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction, which Hussein already had used to kill thousands of people, there was disturbing history behind his nuclear aspirations. There was, too, lingering and grave embarrassment in Washington over U.S. intelligence failures to grasp how close Iraq previously had come to building atomic bombs.

The intelligence agencies had, though, long known a revealing saga lost on most Americans: Hussein had yearned (and labored) to possess nukes since the 1970s when, as vice president of his nation, he also served as head of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission. Even then, he was acquiring tools that could enable a nuclear weapons program--a program whose full, frightening progress wasn't known until international inspectors probed Iraq after the Persian Gulf war.

President Bush invoked that embarrassing intelligence failure--along with cautionary words from the late President John F. Kennedy--when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 12, 2002: "n 1995, after four years of deception, Iraq finally admitted it had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War. We know now were it not for that war, the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993. Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its nuclear program, weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data and accounting of nuclear materials and documentation of foreign assistance.

"Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians. It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year. ...

"The first time we may be completely certain [Hussein] has nuclear weapons is when, God forbids, he uses one."

Speaking to a national television audience from Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, Bush volunteered that there was a paucity of solid evidence about Iraq's current nuclear capabilities: "Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. Well, we don't know exactly, and that's the problem."

In a lengthy passage of that speech, Bush also made more specific allegations about the progress that might have given Hussein the bomb nine years earlier: "Before the [Persian] Gulf war, the best intelligence indicated that Iraq was eight to 10 years away from developing a nuclear weapon. After the war, international inspectors learned that the regime has been much closer--the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993. The inspectors discovered that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a workable nuclear weapon and was pursuing several different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. ...

"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his `nuclear mujahedeen'--his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. ...

"If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed. Saddam Hussein would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his aggression. He would be in a position to dominate the Middle East. He would be in a position to threaten America. And Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to terrorists. ...

"Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof--the smoking gun--that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. As President Kennedy said in October of 1962, `Neither the United States of America nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world,' he said, `where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation's security to constitute maximum peril.'"

Bush amplified further the nuclear assertions in his Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union address: "The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb."

Bush then spoke four sentences, in part repeating what he'd said at the UN, that have dogged him ever since: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide."

On March 16, 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney used an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" to argue that a nuclear Iraq could arm terror groups:

"If you think back to the way we were organized in the last century, the 20th Century, to deal with threats to the United States, or to our friends and allies, we had to deal with large states, significant military forces, intercontinental ballistic missiles, the kinds of threats we dealt with throughout the period of the Cold War. All of that changed on Sept. 11 of a year and a half ago.

"Since that time, we've had to deal with the proposition that truly deadly weapons could be delivered to the United States by a handful of terrorists. We saw, on 9/11, 19 men hijack aircraft with airline tickets and box cutters, kill 3,000 Americans in a couple of hours. That attack would pale into insignificance compared to what could happen, for example, if they had a nuclear weapon and detonated it in the middle of one of our cities. ...

"In the late '70s, Saddam Hussein acquired nuclear reactors from the French. In 1981, the Israelis took out the Osirak reactor and stopped his nuclear weapons development at the time. Throughout the '80s, he mounted a new effort. I was told when I was defense secretary before the Gulf war that he was eight to 10 years away from a nuclear weapon. And we found out after the Gulf war that he was within one or two years of having a nuclear weapon because he had a massive effort under way that involved four or five different technologies for enriching uranium to produce fissile material.

"We know that, based on intelligence, he has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He's had years to get good at it, and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
Say what? Read in context, that passage suggests Cheney actually meant to say Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear program. But we can't be sure. Interviewer Tim Russert changed the subject. Cheney added later in the interview:

"We're now faced with a situation, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, where the threat to the United States is increasing. And over time, given Saddam's posture there, given the fact that he has a significant flow of cash as a result of the oil production of Iraq, it's only a matter of time until he acquires nuclear weapons. And in light of that, we have to be prepared, I think, to take the action that is being contemplated. ...

"We've been forced, partly because we were hit on 9/11, to come to grips with that very real possibility that the next attack could involve far deadlier weapons than anything the world had ever seen. And then it won't come from a major state such as would have been true during the Cold War, if the Soviet Union had ever launched at the United States. It will come from a handful of terrorists on jihad, committed to die, and then the effort to kill millions of Americans."

What we know today

Iraq did not have nukes and, by the outbreak of war, evidently did not have an active program to produce them.

Saddam Hussein's nuclear capabilities, though, had deeply troubled U.S. intelligence agencies since President Bill Clinton's second term.

On July 9, 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a devastating report on the dismal quality of prewar intelligence on Iraq. "This was a global intelligence failure," charged committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

At the time, news coverage focused on the report's condemnation of the intelligence community and that community's ability to unwittingly mislead policymakers in Washington by clinging to its preconceptions while dismissing conflicting data.

But buried in the mind-numbing, 524-page report's third chapter--"Intelligence Community Analysis of Iraq's Nuclear Program"--lay a startling assertion. Between late 1997 and late 2000, four major U.S. intelligence studies had assessed Iraq's nuclear ambitions. Those four assessments said Iraq apparently had not reconstituted the nuclear program that had been neutralized after the Persian Gulf war. The studies concurred that, while Iraq continued what the Senate report called "low-level, clandestine, theoretical research and training of personnel" to reconstitute its nuclear program, Baghdad would need five to seven years--even with foreign assistance--to produce enough weapons-grade fissile material to build a bomb.

The startling assertion?

The Senate committee's report said those four major studies also concurred that, "If Iraq acquired a significant quantity of fissile material through foreign assistance, it could have a crude nuclear weapon within a year." Within a year? This, even as the breakup of the old Soviet bloc and a worldwide nuclear black market threatened to make dangerous materials available to any rogue regime or terror group with financing.

After the change of administrations in Washington at the start of 2001, the U.S. intelligence community continued to advance its nuclear case against Iraq.

In December 2001, the intelligence community produced a National Intelligence Estimate that said recent Iraqi procurements "suggest possible preparation for a renewed uranium-enrichment program." By October 2002, though, a subsequent estimate included a bolder assertion: "Baghdad began reconstituting its nuclear program shortly after the departure of [United Nations] inspectors in December 1998."

Looking back from the vantage point of mid-2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee report neatly summed up another of the intelligence community's conclusions: Saddam Hussein had most likely shifted his strategy from waiting for UN sanctions against Iraq to end to waiting for inspections to end in 1998--and then began putting his nuke program back together.

On Sept. 26, 2004, The New York Times published an op-ed, "Saddam, the Bomb and Me," by Mahdi Obeidi, who had headed Hussein's gas-centrifuge program before the Persian Gulf war and who had written a book, "The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind." Obeidi's article had something for everyone--welcome assurances that Hussein had not, in fact, resumed his nuclear program--but chilling assertions that Iraq could have built nukes on very short notice.

Among the assuring passages: "By 1998, when Saddam Hussein evicted the weapons inspectors from Iraq, all that was left was the dangerous knowledge of hundreds of scientists and the blueprints and prototype parts for the centrifuge, which I had buried under a tree in my garden," Obeidi wrote. He added that the UN sanctions Hussein wanted his friends on the Security Council to eliminate had, since the Gulf war, blocked Iraq's customary purchases of equipment and technology on the black market. "Saddam Hussein was profiting handsomely from the United Nations oil-for-food program, building palaces around the country with the money he skimmed," Obeidi wrote. "I think he didn't want to risk losing this revenue stream by trying to restart a secret weapons program."

Among the chilling passages: "Was Iraq a potential threat to the United States and the world? Threat is always a matter of perception, but our nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam Hussein's fingers. ... Iraqi scientists had the knowledge and the designs needed to jump-start the program if necessary. And there is no question that we could have done so very quickly. In the late 1980s, we put together the most efficient covert nuclear program the world has ever seen. In about three years, we gained the ability to enrich uranium and nearly become a nuclear threat; we built an effective centrifuge from scratch, even though we started with no knowledge of centrifuge technology.

"Had Saddam Hussein ordered it and the world looked the other way, we might have shaved months, if not years, off our previous efforts."


The most thorough hindsight attempt to evaluate the nuclear case for war was the Oct. 6, 2004, report to Congress by Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector in postwar Iraq. Duelfer had succeeded David Kay, who concluded a year earlier that, based on statements from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials, "Hussein remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons." Paradoxically, this declaration had elicited vocal scorn for Kay from opponents of the war who previously had lionized him for his frankness in saying his searchers had found no stockpiles of illicit weapons.

Duelfer essentially echoed, but expanded, what Kay and the Senate Intelligence Committee had concluded: "Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability--in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks--but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare capabilities." Duelfer said his searchers "discovered further evidence of the maturity and significance of the pre-1991 Iraqi nuclear program but found that Iraq's ability to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program progressively decayed after that date. ...

"Senior Iraqis--several of them from the regime's inner circle--told [Duelfer's investigators] they assumed Saddam would restart a nuclear program once UN sanctions ended."

Duelfer reported that in the year before the war, Iraq "undertook improvements to technology in several areas that could have been applied to a renewed centrifuge program for uranium enrichment." But he found "no indication that Iraq had resumed fissile material or nuclear weapon research and development activities since 1991."

Duelfer, like the Senate Intelligence Committee before him, found no evidence to support intelligence and administration assertions that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from other countries since the Gulf war. He similarly concluded that "high-level Iraqi interest in aluminum tubes appears to have come from efforts to produce 81 mm rockets, rather than a nuclear end use."

Today the administration's uranium claims, and its uranium tubes assertions, appear discredited. The reason for the conditional word "appear" is that, as multiple subsequent investigations make clear, some voices within the intelligence community strongly believed those assertions to be true. Certainty is elusive. These are two footnotes to history that have yet to be fully written. The ongoing CIA leak investigation, with its links to allegations that Iraq tried to acquire uranium from Niger, could yield a final verdict on that accusation.

But regardless of history's final word on those two points, what went so wrong that a president wound up quoting even possibly bogus intelligence in a State of the Union address?

The most compelling answer appeared in two paragraphs of the March 31, 2005, report from a bipartisan panel headed by U.S. Appeals Court Judge Laurence Silberman and former Sen. Charles Robb (D-Va.). Their broad and damning critique of American intelligence failures declared:

"The first lesson is that the intelligence community cannot analyze and disseminate information that it does not have. The community's Iraq assessment was crippled by its inability to collect meaningful intelligence on Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. The second lesson follows from the first: Lacking good intelligence, analysts and collectors fell back on old assumptions and inferences drawn from Iraq's past behavior and intentions.

"The intelligence community had learned a hard lesson after the 1991 Gulf war, which revealed that the intelligence community's prewar assessments had underestimated Iraq's nuclear program and had failed to identify all of its chemical weapons storage sites. Shaken by the magnitude of their errors, intelligence analysts were determined not to fall victim again to the same mistake. This tendency was only reinforced by later events. Saddam acted to the very end like a man with much to hide. And the dangers of underestimating our enemies were deeply underscored by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."


- - -

The Bush administration inherited from President Clinton's administration a U.S. policy of regime change in Iraq--and multiple intelligence warnings that Saddam Hussein had designs on nuclear weaponry.

In March 2002, Robert Einhorn, Clinton's assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, described for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee the alarming assessment of Iraq that the intelligence community was relaying to the White House during Clinton's second term:

"How close is the peril of Iraqi WMD? Today, or at most within a few months, Iraq could launch missile attacks with chemical or biological weapons against its neighbors (albeit attacks that would be ragged, inaccurate and limited in size).

"Within four or five years it could have the capability to threaten most of the Middle East and parts of Europe with missiles armed with nuclear weapons containing fissile material produced indigenously--and to threaten U.S. territory with such weapons delivered by non-conventional means, such as commercial shipping containers. If it managed to get its hands on sufficient quantities of already produced fissile material, these threats could arrive much sooner."

Einhorn spoke at a time when the Bush White House was smarting from the accusations that it might have prevented the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had it accurately assessed the threat to the U.S. from Al Qaeda. What would be the consequences for Americans if the administration now ignored years of dramatic intelligence warnings about Iraq's nuclear capabilities?

The difficulty, of course, was that a White House responsible for protecting this country from assault had little choice but to rely on the same agencies that grossly underestimated Iraq's nuke program before the Gulf war.

Remember, the consensus of those agencies was that Baghdad had been reconstituting its nuclear program since 1998 and that, with fissile material, Iraq could have a workable bomb in short order.

Today we know that those assessments reflected manifest failures of U.S. and European intelligence agencies. Kay criticized the flawed work of those agencies on Jan. 28, 2004, before the Senate Armed Services Committee. But he also had the grace to highlight how difficult it is for analysts to discern other governments' deepest secrets.

On multiple points, such as the murky accusations about Iraq's quest for uranium and aluminum tubes, the administration spouted assertions that were at best dubious. Each of us is free to conclude whether that represented a hyping of what little was known about Iraq's nuclear capabilities--or a determination to protect this country and its allies in the region.

That said, assertions that the Bush administration strong-armed intelligence analysts in 2002 and 2003, or misled the nation in making its nuclear case for war, challenge logic.

During and after Clinton's presidency, the intelligence community repeatedly warned the White House that Iraq was one cache of fissile material and one year short of wielding a nuclear bomb.

If the White House manipulated or exaggerated that intelligence before the war in order to paint a more-menacing portrait of Saddam Hussein, it's difficult to imagine why. For five years, the official and oft-delivered alarms from the U.S. intelligence community had been menacing enough.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
Here's the next one. Only a few more left. Have you been reading these dis? No comments? Or have you just ignored these insightful editorials because they blow so many holes in your "blame Bush" theories?

#7-The once and future threat
Published December 4, 2005

The White House argued that Saddam Hussein's refusal to obey UN demands posed not only present but also future dangers to America.

Part 4 of a Tribune series on the Bush administration's case for war.

What the administration said

In the lingering debate over war in Iraq, much attention has focused on the Bush administration's faulty claim that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. This nation's shared hindsight, though, tends to overlook a corollary White House argument evidently tailored to skeptics who, in 2002 and early 2003, saw no urgent reason to confront Hussein.

You don't have to accept our concern about today's Iraq, the argument essentially went, to appreciate the threat it may pose tomorrow to our nation, our interests overseas and our allies in the region. The longer Hussein refuses to obey United Nations directives to disclose his weapons programs, the greater the risk that he will acquire--or share with a hungry terror group--the weaponry he has used in the past, or the even deadlier capabilities his scientists have tried to develop.

Boiled to its essence, this argument was: We need to wage a pre-emptive war. That belief hinged not only on weaponry Hussein allegedly possessed at the time, but also on what his rebukes to the United Nations said about what he aspired to achieve. In making their case for war, White House officials threaded their major speeches with warnings about Hussein's options if, year after year, the world allowed him to continue flouting those UN resolutions.

In his Aug. 26, 2002, speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Nashville, Vice President Dick Cheney said: "Nothing in the last dozen years has stopped him--not his agreements, not the discoveries of the inspectors, not the revelations by defectors, not criticism or ostracism by the international community, and not four days of bombings by the U.S. in 1998. What he wants is time and more time to husband his resources, to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons programs, and to gain possession of nuclear arms. Should all his ambitions be realized, the implications would be enormous for the Middle East, for the United States, and for the peace of the world."

The following month, in his Sept. 12, 2002, speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush said: "As we meet today, it's been almost four years since the last UN inspector set foot in Iraq--four years for the Iraqi regime to plan and to build and to test behind the cloak of secrecy. We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left?"

Bush then spoke three sentences crucial to his case against Iraq--three sentences that many proponents and opponents of the war still fiercely debate: "The history, the logic and the facts lead to one conclusion," Bush told the diplomats. "Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. ... With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow."

During a speech about Iraq delivered in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, the president added: "There is no easy or risk-free course of action. Some have argued we should wait--and that's an option. In my view, it's the riskiest of all options, because the longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become.

"We could wait and hope that Saddam does not give weapons to terrorists, or develop a nuclear weapon to blackmail the world. But I'm convinced that is a hope against all evidence. As Americans, we want peace--we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I'm not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.

"Failure to act would embolden other tyrants, allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources, and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events."

During his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, 2003, Bush rejected the notion that a threat must be imminent in order to merit a military response. Critics of the administration contend that, in fact, Bush and other officials craftily suggested an imminent threat while avoiding that hot-button adjective. Bush's words:

"Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option."

In his March 17, 2003, address to the nation on the eve of the war, Bush amplified this theme:

"We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.

"The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th Century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth. ..."

Two days later, as the war began, Bush told the nation: "Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly--yet our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities."

What we know today

The assertion that Saddam Hussein would become more dangerous over time has a maddening drawback: By definition its truth or fiction is as impossible to judge today as it was when administration officials uttered it. No one knows, and no one can know, what an undisturbed Iraq would have done in subsequent years. Hussein's reign is history, not prelude.
We do know Hussein didn't have illicit weapons stockpiles to wield or hand to terrorists. We also know that subsequent investigations have concluded he had the means and intent to rekindle those programs as soon as he escaped UN sanctions. And we know the principal costs to the U.S. of erasing that threat: more than 2,000 American lives. While price estimates for wars are never precise, figures from Congress suggest that Iraq thus far has cost taxpayers more than $200 billion.

Was pre-emption a worthy cause for war? The assertion that it was can't be assessed on its accuracy in anticipating a future that, we now know, will never arrive. Instead, each of us faces an individual assessment of whether this was reasonable precaution or reckless paranoia.

The philosophy of pre-emption, the so-called Bush Doctrine, formally emerged on Sept. 17, 2002, when the White House issued its national security strategy document, which declared: "America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones. We are menaced less by fleets and armies than by catastrophic technologies in the hands of the embittered few." The strategy called for, among other priorities, "defending the United States, the American people and our interests at home and abroad by identifying and destroying the threat before it reaches our borders."

If noble intentions drove that imperative, so did a memorable embarrassment: the failure of two presidential administrations, and their intel agencies, to anticipate the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. From that day forward, it's doubtless difficult to overstate the weight of that precedent as a warning to any president about the need to prevent horrific surprises.

Almost three years after those attacks, the July 22, 2004, investigative report of the 9/11 Commission in effect faulted both the Clinton and Bush administrations for not acting more aggressively to protect Americans. That report encouraged stronger efforts to keep the proliferation of illicit weapons materials from such sources as the former Soviet bloc from ever reaching terror groups:

"The greatest danger of another catastrophic attack in the United States will materialize if the world's most dangerous terrorists acquire the world's most dangerous weapons. As we note in Chapter 2, Al Qaeda has tried to acquire or make nuclear weapons for at least 10 years. In Chapter 4, we mentioned [Clinton administration] officials worriedly discussing, in 1998, reports that [Osama] bin Laden's associates thought their leader was intent on carrying out a `Hiroshima.' Those ambitions continue. ... There is no doubt the United States would be a prime target."


By late 2002, as prior installments of this series have reported, the U.S. intelligence community repeatedly had given the Clinton and Bush administrations more specific allegations about Iraq's illegal weapons than those agencies had provided about Al Qaeda in the years before Sept. 11.

Much of that Iraq intel turned out to be mistaken or exaggerated. In short, the same intelligence services that didn't foresee the attacks of Sept. 11 because of their lack of imagination also oversold the threat posed by Iraq because they had too much imagination.

Precisely calibrated intel, of course, is easier for policymakers and citizens to demand than it is for spy agencies to produce. Yet another disturbing example: In parallel time frames, the same intel community that overestimated Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities also underestimated the threats posed by nuclear programs in North Korea, Iran and Libya.

Citizens of this nation have the right, and the responsibility, to debate whether their government should act pre-emptively against threats it suspects but cannot prove.

But citizens also have the right, and the responsibility, to demand that their leaders protect this nation, its overseas interests and its allies from terror attacks.


The gravity of those rights and responsibilities should deter our respective zealotries, whatever their bent. The cost of being wrong--of taking the nation to war for uncertain causes, or of underestimating foes until the day they murder thousands--is daunting. We Americans demand that our policymakers act, or be willing to accept the consequences of their inaction.

On Nov. 14, the 9/11 Commission issued a progress report on its earlier recommendations: what has been accomplished, what still needs to be done. The progress report's first section, labeled "Nonproliferation," suggests that commission members think our collective concern about future terror attacks is little better than it was on Sept. 10, 2001.

In wording more pointed than in its landmark 2004 report, the commission members now state: "Preventing terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction must be elevated above all other problems of national security because it represents the greatest threat to the American people."

Had those words washed across the U.S. in 2002, they would have convinced some Americans of the urgent need for an attack on Iraq. The same words would have convinced other Americans of the need for more certainty that Iraq, not some other enemy, was a real proliferation threat.


So two questions hang in midair: Would an Iraq still ruled by Saddam Hussein have reconstituted its deadly weaponry or shared it with terror groups? Or was that possibility sufficiently remote to declare America safe from those threats?

The Bush administration argued before the invasion that the answers were yes to the first, no to the second.


Of the nine reasons the White House offered in making its case for war, the implications of this warning about Iraq's intentions are among the most treacherous to imagine--yet also the least possible to declare true or false.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
One more for you dis. Only 5 to go. Are you paying attention?

#8-Did Iraq export terror?
Published December 7, 2005

The White House asserted that Saddam Hussein's fiefdom could become what Afghanistan had been: a state enabler of global terror groups. Part 5 of a Tribune series examines another of the Bush administration's nine arguments for war.

What administration had argued

With its thunderous air and missile assault against Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, the Bush administration began its campaign against state sponsors of global terror. The goal: to intercept terror overseas, rather than suffer it at home.

That agenda grew into a more controversial policy of pre-emptive strikes against governments judged as threats--either for what they themselves might do or for the terror groups they might covertly assist.

In 2002 and early 2003, the White House included in its case for war the charge that with Afghanistan no longer a haven for terror groups, Saddam Hussein's Iraq was its likely successor.

Speaking in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, President Bush told the world that he and his countrymen "must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On Sept. 11, 2001, America felt its vulnerability--even to threats that gather on the other side of the Earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. ...

"Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. To the contrary, confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror.

"When I spoke to Congress more than a year ago, I said that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and destruction. And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network.

"Terror cells and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass destruction are different faces of the same evil. Our security requires that we confront both. And the United States military is capable of confronting both."

Bush expanded on this theme during his 2003 State of the Union address: "Today, the gravest danger in the war on terror--the gravest danger facing America and the world--is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.

In his Feb. 5, 2003, presentation to the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Colin Powell said: "Our concern is not just about these illicit weapons. It's the way that these illicit weapons can be connected to terrorists and terrorist organizations that have no compunction about using such devices against innocent people around the world. Iraq and terrorism go back decades. Baghdad trains Palestine Liberation Front members in small arms and explosives. Saddam uses the Arab Liberation Front to funnel money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers in order to prolong the intifada. And it's no secret that Saddam's own intelligence service was involved in dozens of attacks or attempted assassinations in the 1990s."

Vice President Dick Cheney put Powell's argument in historical context during a March 16, 2003, appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press": "If you look back at our strategies that we used in the 20th Century, specifically, say vis-a-vis the Soviet Union during the Cold War, we had a policy of containment, alliances, NATO in particular [was] very successful at containing the Soviet Union, a policy of deterrence. ... [W]e were able to forestall a conflict throughout that whole period of time. Enormously successful policy.

"Then you look at the proposition of a handful of terrorists operating in a part of the world where they find sanctuary and safe haven in a rogue state or in an area that's not even really governed by anybody, developing these capabilities to use against the United States. And how do you apply containment to that situation? How do you deter terrorists when there's nothing they value that they're prepared to defend, when they're prepared even to sacrifice their own lives in the effort to kill Americans ....

"Now, if we simply sit back and operate by 20th Century standards with respect to national security strategy, in terms of how we're going to deal with this, we say wait until we are hit by an identifiable attack from Iraq. The consequences could be devastating for the United States. ...

"We have to be prepared now to take the kind of bold action that's being contemplated with respect to Iraq in order to ensure that we don't get hit with a devastating attack when the terrorists' organization gets married up with a rogue state that's willing to provide it with the kinds of deadly capabilities that Saddam Hussein has developed and used over the years."

What we know today

The drumbeat of White House warnings before the war made Iraq's terror activities sound more ambitious than subsequent evidence has proven. Future disclosures from Iraq's and other governments' secret files likely will fill numerous blanks in Hussein's record of support for terror. But, based on what we know today, the argument that Saddam Hussein was able to foment global terror against this country and its interests was exaggerated.

Intelligence reports that the Bush administration had in hand before the war said Hussein was contemplating the use of terror against the U.S. or its allies in and beyond his region. But he evidently had not done so on a broad scale. Nor is it clear whether some of Hussein's interest in cultivating international terror groups, as recorded in those intel reports, was primarily a defensive plan to counter a U.S.-led invasion.

Cutting to three chase scenes:

- Have discoveries since the invasion of Iraq proven that Saddam Hussein was, at that time, a significant sponsor of global terror?

No. The most menacing of these prewar allegations involved Iraqi connections to Al Qaeda, an intriguing topic that will be probed in the seventh installment of this series. Administration critics who say Iraq and Al Qaeda didn't, and couldn't, have links evidently are mistaken. But based on what we know now, the White Houses fanned more fear about those links than subsequent disclosures have justified.

Did Hussein funnel any illicit weapons to terrorists? The most succinct, if unsure, response came from chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay in his January 2004 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee: "I consider that a bigger risk than the restart of his programs' being successful.... [T]hat probably was a risk that, if we did avoid, we barely avoided."

In its July 9, 2004, report criticizing the work of U.S. spy agencies, the Senate Intelligence Committee cited numerous analysts' assessments, produced from 1999 into 2003, of Iraq's terror connections. One theme of those assessments: "Iraq's actions and various intelligence reports suggest [Hussein at that time was] contemplating the use of terrorism in and beyond the region, sabotage and subversive activities in Kuwait and/or Saudi Arabia, and limited military strikes against these states and regionally based U.S. forces."


A January 2003 CIA document cited by the committee, "Iraqi Support for Terrorism", stated: "Iraq continues to be a safe haven, transit point or operational node for groups and individuals who direct violence against the United States, Israel and other allies. Iraq has a long history of supporting terrorism."

In general, the Senate report treated these warnings about Iraq and terror as more authoritative than it did the intelligence agencies' debunked assertions about Hussein's weapons programs. The disturbing corollary, of course, is that the same agencies that got the weapons so wrong were, and are, the primary sources of intelligence about Iraq's connections to terror.

- Would Hussein's Iraq have become the new Afghanistan, treating terror groups to the freedom of movement that comes with state sponsorship?

That we'll never know. Hussein stands defrocked, and a new government rules Iraq. But postwar disclosures do not paint Iraq as a latter-day Afghanistan, where the Taliban had welcomed expansive Al Qaeda operations.

There is evidence that a number of Al Qaeda members did locate in Iraq, and it appears Hussein did harbor the notorious Abu Abbas, convicted of hijacking the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985.

Also, numerous intelligence reports bolster Colin Powell's assertions that Iraq supported Palestinian terror against Israel. Powell's accusations on such issues as bounties to the families of suicide terrorists have survived scrutiny from subsequent probes. The CIA gave the Senate Intelligence Committee 53 reports on Iraq's links to Palestinian groups. The regime's support of Palestinian attacks on Israel, the CIA said, included payments of $10 million to $15 million to families of suicide bombers. The committee concluded: "The CIA was reasonable in judging that Iraq appeared to have been reaching out to more-effective terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and might have intended to employ such surrogates in the event of war."


The committee did not buy the assertion by critics that the administration had stretched what intelligence agencies recounted: "None of the portrayals of the intelligence reporting included in Secretary Powell's speech differed in any significant way from earlier assessments published by the Central Intelligence Agency."

Taken as a whole, though, the administration's assertion that Hussein was, in Bush's words, "harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror," overstated what we know today.

- The Bush administration portrays conflict in Iraq as part of a challenge to terror prompted by Sept. 11, 2001. Years from now, will the war in Iraq be judged a blow to global terror--or a foolish diversion that allowed it to flourish?

Historians easily will discern that coalition and Iraqi forces prevailed against radical Islamists mounting their Alamo moment against the advance of liberal democracy--or, conversely, that the extremists scored a galvanic victory by forcing the Great Satan to retreat.

Iraq has served as a unifying cause for Islamist extremists, many of whom have been killed or captured there. That said, those who survive will carry what they've learned about jihad and terror to their homelands. The ultimate answer to whether the war is a blow to global terror likely pivots on who prevails: the troops or the terrorists.

The bottom line on Hussein as a past and probable instigator of global terror: The administration's case reflected the intelligence community's evidently exaggerated surmise--and the administration's convictions--beyond the less bombastic facts on the ground.

- - -

Without proof that Hussein armed, or would arm, global networks, how could an American president assert that the possibility of such ties was a compelling argument for war?

One man's thoughts:

"After 9/11 ... if you had been president, you'd think, Well, this fellow bin Laden just turned these three airplanes full of fuel into weapons of mass destruction, right? Arguably they were super-powerful chemical weapons. Think about it that way. So, you're sitting there as president, you're reeling in the aftermath of this, so, yeah, you want to go get bin Laden and do Afghanistan and all that. But you also have to say, Well, my first responsibility now is to try everything possible to make sure that this terrorist network and other terrorist networks cannot reach chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material. I've got to do that.

"That's why I supported the Iraq thing. ... You couldn't responsibly ignore [the possibility that] a tyrant had these stocks. I never really thought he'd [use them]. What I was far more worried about was that he'd sell this stuff or give it away."

Bill Clinton has since hedged his support for his successor's war in Iraq. But it is hard to read Clinton's you-are-there parable in the June 28, 2004, issue of Time magazine without sharing, if only for a moment, the burden every American president will carry from this era forward.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
Still reading dis?

#9-'The virus of democracy'
Published December 11, 2005

In theory, Mideast democracy would channel energy away from forces that breed terrorism, and thus make America safer. Part 6 in a Tribune series explores another of the Bush administration's nine arguments for war.

What the White House said

In making its case for war, the White House argued that Arab populations were ready to embrace the liberties that regime change would bring to Iraq. Supplanting Saddam Hussein's reign with a representative government would, President Bush suggested, transform governance in a region dominated by dictators, zealots and kings.

The argument, then, was not that the spread of freedom justified a war, but that a war would, over time, marginalize Islamist hatred for liberal values. The administration wanted to convert populations of subjects into citizens. In theory, Mideast democracy would channel energy away from forces that breed terrorism—and thus make America safer.

Talk of reforming repressive governments, of course, alarmed the dictators, zealots and kings. To their ears, this prospect of populism and liberal democracy must have sounded as threatening as was the prospect of the world's most powerful military descending en masse into their region. Once started, where might this stop?

Before the war, Bush's critics in several Western countries said attacking Iraq would enrage the Arab "street" and destabilize neighboring regimes. That didn't occur—at least, not as many opponents expected. The threat of war probably stirred the greatest unrest in strongmen's palaces, mullahs' mosques and monarchs' throne rooms. Any U.S. act that legitimized the overthrow of oppressive regimes was unwelcome. So, too, it's safe to say, was the menace that a first true Arab democracy would pose to rulers frantic to keep their own countries under wraps.

In the Arab street, too, the assertion that Muslims were ready for democracy no doubt raised suspicion among peoples who had watched prior U.S. presidents kiss up to thugocracies. America's long-standing geopolitical philosophy of realism essentially held that stability was the best that could be hoped for in the volatile (and, unstated, the retrograde) Middle East.

In the administration's view, generations of U.S. officials had flown about the region, working less to reform it than to plead with its corrupt and abusive leaders (see Arafat, Yasser). Those efforts typically yielded meager results. And no wonder. For despots, liberalization meant peril.

Vice President Dick Cheney sounded strains of this theme—and an Iraq prediction that has subsequently embarrassed him—during his Aug. 26, 2002, speech to a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Nashville: "Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace.

"As for the reaction of the Arab 'street,' the Middle East expert professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra and Baghdad are 'sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans.' Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of jihad. Moderates throughout the region would take heart. And our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced, just as it was following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. ..."

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 12, 2002, Bush offered his vision for the Middle East if the UN would enforce its demands on Hussein's regime. Bush drew startled looks with his evocation of "a democratic Palestine," an odd phrase coming from an American president in a chamber where denunciation of the U.S. often pivots on Washington's alleged hostility to the Palestinian cause.

"If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future," Bush said. "The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government and respect for women and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond. And we will show that the promise of the United Nations can be fulfilled in our time."

Three days before the launch of war, during his March 16, 2003, appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cheney predicted to interviewer Tim Russert that ousting Hussein's regime would encourage peace and reform in the Mideast:

"I think we will find, Tim, that if in fact we have to do this with military force, that there will be sighs of relief in many quarters in the Middle East that the United States finally followed through and [dealt] effectively with what they all perceive to be a major threat.

"But they're all reluctant to stand up if Saddam's still in power and if there's a possibility he will survive once again to threaten them and to threaten their region."

The administration's proposed solution: Oust Hussein, and hope that democracy in Iraq would become a beacon in the Arab world.

What we know today

The notion that invading Iraq would provoke a new political order in a region long ruled by despots arguably is the Bush administration's most successful prewar prediction to date. The White House can be faulted for pushing other theories that proved false—notably about weapons of mass destruction—but it deserves credit for roiling the sclerotic Middle East.

Since the invasion, administration officials have tried to parlay this undeniable impact by planting other beachheads for democracy. President Bush cited this ongoing evolution—both of regional politics and U.S. policy—on June 2, 2004, during a graduation address at the U.S. Air Force Academy:

"The terrorist movement feeds on the appearance of inevitability. It claims to rise on the currents of history, using past American withdrawals from Somalia and Beirut to sustain this myth and to gain new followers. The success of free and stable governments in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere will shatter the myth and discredit the radicals. ...
"For decades, free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability, and much oppression. So I have changed this policy."

While most attention since the invasion has focused on the continued violence in Iraq, the familiar litany of subsequent developments in other countries now includes:

The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, a nation liberated in April from 29 years of Syrian military occupation because of world pressure engineered from Washington. In June, Lebanese voters elected an anti-Syrian bloc with enough throw weight to dominate their parliament.

The growing chance that in Syria itself, a repressive and terror-minded regime, will fall.

Similar prospects for hard-liners in some former Soviet republics, now buffeted not only by nascent democracy in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq, but by echoes of people-power movements in Georgia and Ukraine.

Stirrings of electoral reform in Egypt and Saudi Arabia—two nations Washington publicly has harangued to develop more representative governments.

One other welcome turn: the rising promise of Palestinian self-rule. Not that the invasion of Iraq provoked this—Yasser Arafat's death and Ariel Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza catalyzed change for Palestinians and Israelis alike. But change has occurred in part because of a more muscular U.S. diplomacy in the region—and despite the U.S.-led invasion of an Arab Muslim country.

A peculiar endorsement of this cause-effect hypothesis came in February from Walid Jumblatt, the influential patriarch of Lebanon's Druze Muslims and often a critic of the U.S. and Israel. "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," Jumblatt told The Washington Post. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

On the very evening Jumblatt spoke, the Web site of the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel posted a headline that doubtless shocked many of its readers: "Could George W. Bush be right?"

The accompanying article said: "Bush's idea of a Middle Eastern democracy imported at the tip of a bayonet is, for [German liberals], the hysterical offspring of the American neo-cons. Even German conservatives find the idea that Arabic countries could transform themselves into enlightened democracies somewhat absurd. ... We Europeans always want to have the world from yesterday, whereas the Americans strive for the world of tomorrow."

In a follow-up article, Der Spiegel mused, "How quickly can the virus of democracy spread?"

The fledgling reformation of Mideast politics could collapse as abruptly as it began. But the U.S. is now on record as insisting that democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq not be lonesome for company. In a remarkable June speech, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice startled Egyptian and Saudi leaders accustomed to having their way with Washington: She said Bush's pressure for a more democratic Middle East applies not only to rogue governments, but to America's allies as well.

Rice rejected the timid U.S. diplomacy that let so many Lebanons fester. "For 60 years my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East—and we achieved neither," she said at Cairo's American University. "Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people." She confessed that the U.S. has "no cause for false pride" and "every reason for humility" in advancing that agenda. "It was only in my lifetime," Rice said, "that my government guaranteed the right to vote for all of its people."

Decades will pass before we know all of the Iraq war's ripple effects. That said, the ouster of hostile regimes in Kabul and Baghdad clearly curbs some threats previously faced by such U.S. allies as Turkey, Israel and Kuwait. And for remaining terror regimes, the Middle East is now a smaller place.

In April 2004, Mideast-oriented Web sites sizzled with excerpts from an influential speech (which begat a book, "A View from the Eye of the Storm") by Haim Harari, the former president of Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science. Harari, a physicist, had isolated an intriguing finding from a different field of academia, geography:

"As a result of the conquest of Afghanistan and Iraq, both Iran and Syria are now totally surrounded by territories unfriendly to them. Iran is encircled by Afghanistan, by the Gulf States, Iraq and the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union. Syria is surrounded by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. ... I do not know if the American plan was actually to encircle both Iran and Syria, but that is the resulting situation."

The Bush administration's case for war included arguments, particularly about illicit weapons, that proved dead wrong. The White House was correct, though, that democracy in Iraq could spark revolutions of rising expectations. As a result, several other regimes have faced the question, "Why not us?" Rulers who have survived by fomenting hatred of the Great Satan now confront the aspirations of their people.

The oft-stated belief here is that this side effect of the war is as welcome as some others are tragic: For one repressive head of state after another, Al Jazeera's coverage of U.S. soldiers protecting eager Iraqi voters makes for unpleasant viewing.
 

$$

Active member
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Liberty Belle said:
Still reading dis?

I doubt Dis even started reading these, LB. If they're not anti-war, anti-Bush & pop up in her little "liberal alert" e-mails, she'll never see them.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
$$ - dis won't respond to these because they fly in the face of the garbage he/she/it has been spewing for months.

#10-Iraq and Al Qaeda
Published December 14, 2005

Beyond its warning that Iraq could be a haven for terrorists, the White House implied Saddam Hussein already had close ties to the most feared terror group on Earth.

Part 7 in a Tribune series assessing the Bush administration's case for war.

What the White House argued

Immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush and his top aides wondered if Saddam Hussein was a culprit. In its report of July 22, 2004, the 9/11 Commission noted: "Iraq had been an enemy of the United States for 11 years, and was the only place in the world where the United States was engaged in ongoing combat operations."

A Sept. 18 administration memo based on a rush review of intelligence data found no "compelling case" to implicate Iraq, the 9/11 Commission report said. Two days later, when British Prime Minister Tony Blair asked Bush about Iraq, "the president replied that Iraq was not the immediate problem. Some members of his administration, he commented, had expressed a different view, but he was the one responsible for making the decision."

Shortly after Sept. 11, though, a source told Czech intelligence that plotter-pilot Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi diplomat at Iraq's embassy in Prague at 11 a.m. on April 9, 2001--five months before the attacks. If true, it was a blockbuster discovery.

A year later, in his Sept. 12, 2002, address to the United Nations General Assembly, Bush did not allege strong ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He did, though, evoke Sept. 11 in alluding to the dangers such ties could present: "With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors."

But two weeks later, on Sept. 26, Bush said in a Rose Garden appearance: "The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations, and there are Al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq." Then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said on PBS that, "No one is trying to make an argument at this point that Saddam Hussein somehow had operational control of what happened on Sept. 11, so we don't want to push this too far. But this is a story that is unfolding, and it is getting clear, and we're learning more."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld added, "We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad. ... We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior-level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical and biological agent training." Why the suddenly stronger accusations? Rice cited new data from Al Qaeda detainees.

Speaking in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, Bush said: "We know that Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy--the United States of America. We know that Iraq and Al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade.

"Some Al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior Al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bombmaking and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America. ... Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints."

In his 2003 State of the Union address, Bush suggested how a joint plot could unfold: "Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans, this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell talked at length about Iraq and Al Qaeda at the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003: "[W]hat I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda lieutenants. ...

"Some believe, some claim these contacts do not amount to much. They say Saddam Hussein's secular tyranny and Al Qaeda's religious tyranny do not mix. I am not comforted by this thought. Ambition and hatred are enough to bring Iraq and Al Qaeda together, enough so Al Qaeda could learn how to build more sophisticated bombs and learn how to forge documents; and enough so that Al Qaeda could turn to Iraq for help in acquiring expertise on weapons of mass destruction."

The Bush administration did not, before or after the war, accuse Iraq of perpetrating Al Qaeda's deadliest assault. In fact, on Sept. 18, 2003, Bush told reporters, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with Sept. 11." But as Tribune columnist Steve Chapman wrote, that was too little too late: "At a news conference shortly before the campaign in Iraq began, Bush invoked the memory of Sept. 11, 2001, no fewer than eight times. That was enough to foster the widespread impression that we were launching a retaliatory attack, not a pre-emptive one."

What we know today

To this day, no compelling evidence ties Saddam Hussein to Sept. 11. Nor is there proof linking Al Qaeda in a significant way to the final years of Hussein's regime.

In arguing that Iraq and Al Qaeda were closely allied, the Bush administration overreached. But those who say Hussein's government and Al Qaeda had no links also are mistaken. Several of the White House's statements appear certifiably accurate, or backed by then-credible intelligence. Even now, investigators are beavering through Iraqi files and other records, autopsying arcane clues about both Iraq and Al Qaeda.

On June 16, 2004, the staff of the 9/11 Commission offered its opinion on Al Qaeda ties to Iraq. The brief reference--12 lines of a 12-page report, "Overview of the Enemy"--frustrated many on both sides of the war debate. A passage on possible Al Qaeda allies said: "[Osama] bin Laden also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan [in the 1990s], despite his opposition to Hussein's secular regime. Bin Laden had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded bin Laden to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

"A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between Al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

That cautious wording fell maddeningly short of this-didn't-happen.

Three weeks later, the Senate Intelligence Committee devoted some 50 pages--several of them heavily redacted--of its report to exploring Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda. Those pages, which received little attention at the time, said the CIA reasonably had:

- "[A]ssessed that there were likely several instances of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda throughout the 1990s, but that these contacts did not add up to an established formal relationship."

- "[A]ssessed in [a January 2003 report titled] `Iraqi Support for Terrorism' that the most problematic area of contact between Iraq and Al Qaeda were the reports of training in the use of non-conventional weapons, specifically chemical and biological weapons."

- Concluded "that Al Qaeda or associated operatives were present in Baghdad and northeastern Iraq...."

- Concluded "that to date there was no evidence proving Iraqi complicity or assistance in an Al Qaeda attack...."

- Concluded that a desperate Hussein "might employ terrorists with a global reach--Al Qaeda--to conduct terrorist attacks in the event of war," although no intel yet had surfaced to suggest he had done so.

The Senate committee cited CIA reports "of varying reliability" that Iraq tolerated Al Qaeda safe havens and trained its members in combat, bombmaking and weapons of mass destruction. The committee also cited one CIA suggestion that, "In contrast to the patron-client pattern between Iraq and its Palestinian surrogates, the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda appears to more closely resemble that of two independent actors trying to exploit each other. ..."


Taken together, the 9/11 Commission and Senate Intelligence Committee reports indicate that Al Qaeda and Iraq had long-running if sporadic contacts. Several of the prewar intel conclusions, such as Iraqi medical help for a top terrorist--Abu Musab al-Zarqawi--likely are true. A heavily redacted passage of the Senate report indicates the CIA was confident that 100 to 200 Al Qaeda operatives had relocated from Afghanistan to Iraq after the collapse of the Taliban regime.

But subsequent probing has cast heavy doubt on the 2001 Czech report that Mohamed Atta had met an Iraqi official in Prague. And the intel supporting the White House charge that Iraq trained Al Qaeda terrorists has imploded. The high-ranking Al Qaeda detainee who alleged before the war that Iraq had trained Al Qaeda in bombmaking, poisons and gases later recanted his story.

The Senate committee's most alarming conclusion: "Despite four decades of intelligence reporting on Iraq, there was little useful intelligence collected that helped analysts determine the Iraqi regime's possible links to Al Qaeda."

- - -

The White House was correct, after Sept. 11, to pursue Iraq as a likely suspect. Subsequent investigative reports have faulted the U.S. intelligence community, and two administrations, for not better using their imaginations to protect this country by pressing for better intel.

Iraq was a likely suspect. Its chronic refusal to heed United Nations mandates made it more so.

President Bush also was correct to demand that no rogue state be allowed to ally with Al Qaeda. To do less--to accept the UN Security Council's refusal to enforce crucial demands on Iraq--invited catastrophe.


As the 9/11 Commission said about U.S. tolerance of bin Laden before the attacks: "Since we believe that both President Clinton and President Bush were genuinely concerned about the danger posed by Al Qaeda, approaches involving more direct intervention against the sanctuary in Afghanistan apparently must have seemed--if they were considered at all--to be disproportionate to the threat.... It is hardest to mount a major effort while a problem still seems minor. Once the danger has fully materialized, evident to all, mobilizing action is easier--but it then may be too late."

But by stripping its rhetoric about Iraq and Al Qaeda of the ambiguity in the intel data, the White House exaggerated this argument for war.

Bush synthesized a better argument, properly invoking Sept. 11, during an Oct. 6, 2004, campaign stop in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He said that given the dictator's prior use of illicit weapons, his record of aggression, his hatred for the U.S. and his identification by Democratic and Republican administrations as a terror sponsor, "There was a risk--a real risk--that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons, or materials, or information, to terrorist networks. In the world after September the 11th, that was a risk we could not afford to take."

That argument, before the war, would have lacked the impact of implying that Iraq played a role in attacking America. It would, though, have had the virtue of being true.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
Remember when disagreeable said that Pres. Bush has killed as many Iraqi's as Saddam?

#11-Butchery in Baghdad
Published December 18, 2005

The White House urged a timid UN to enforce its demands that Saddam Hussein stop mistreating his people. Part 8 in a Tribune series exploring the administration's arguments for war.

What White House contended

America, like the rest of the world, has an inconsistent record of confronting, or tolerating, mass murder. For many years, Iraq was New Rwanda, a slaughterhouse ignored by a United Nations content to mouth its humanitarian platitudes.

In making its case for war, the Bush administration did not argue primarily that the U.S. had the moral duty to purge a tyrant. Rather, the White House urged that the timid UN, arguably corrupted by oil-for-food bribes, enforce its demands that Saddam Hussein end his butchery.

Speaking at the UN on Sept. 12, 2002, President Bush told the diplomats: "In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities, which the council said threatened international peace and security in the region. This demand goes ignored."

That accurately described Resolution 688, which condemned repression "in many parts of Iraq, including most recently in Kurdish populated areas. ... " The mandate called for that cruelty to end and urged respect for "the human and political rights of all Iraqi citizens."

Bush then gave the diplomats a chilling litany of specifics: "Last year the UN Commission on Human Rights found that Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights and that the regime's repression is all-pervasive. Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation and rape.

"Wives are tortured in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents, and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state."

During his Oct. 7, 2002, speech in Cincinnati, Bush added more details that portrayed the dictator as nihilist and macabre: "On Saddam Hussein's orders, opponents have been decapitated, wives and mothers of political opponents have been systematically raped as a method of intimidation, and political prisoners have been forced to watch their own children being tortured. ... "

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell reminded the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, of how Hussein's weaponry had vanquished innocents: "... Saddam Hussein's use of mustard and nerve gas against the Kurds in 1988 was one of the 20th Century's most horrible atrocities. Five thousand men, women and children died. His campaign against the Kurds from 1987 to '89 included mass summary executions, disappearances, arbitrary jailing, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of some 2,000 villages. He has also conducted ethnic cleansing against the Shi'a Iraqis and the Marsh Arabs, whose culture has flourished for more than a millennium.

"Saddam Hussein's police state ruthlessly eliminates anyone who dares to dissent. Iraq has more forced disappearance cases than any other country--tens of thousands of people reported missing in the past decade.

"Nothing points more clearly to Saddam Hussein's dangerous intentions and the threat he poses to all of us than his calculated cruelty to his own citizens and to his neighbors. ...

"For more than 20 years, by word and by deed, Saddam Hussein has pursued his ambition to dominate Iraq and the broader Middle East using the only means he knows--intimidation, coercion and annihilation of all those who might stand in his way. For Saddam Hussein, possession of the world's most deadly weapons is the ultimate trump card, the one he must hold to fulfill his ambition."

What we know today

The butchery of Saddam Hussein's Iraq was remote from the American experience--psychopathic in design, unfathomable in scope. What are our ears to make of 38-year-old Ahmed Hassan Mohammed, testifying Dec. 5 at Hussein's trial in Baghdad about the blood and shreds of hair beneath what he described as a human meat grinder?

Isolated grotesquerie, that we can fathom. We can wrap our imaginations, abhorrently, around a John Wayne Gacy with corpses tidily arrayed like parquet tiles beneath his suburban home. How, though, do we grasp the ambition of the pogroms Hussein orchestrated? How, too, do we grasp a timid world's eagerness to avert its eyes?

No one knows how many people Hussein's regime exterminated. Probably the most authoritative estimates come from Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organization. The group estimates a toll of 300,000--a number sufficiently conservative to withstand challenge. Other estimates run much higher.

In December 2002, three months before war in Iraq, Human Rights Watch enumerated Hussein's cruelties in a policy paper titled "Justice for Iraq." Among its assertions:

- "Iraq used chemical weapons extensively, starting in 1983-1984, during the Iran-Iraq war. It is estimated that some 20,000 Iranians were killed by mustard gas, and the nerve agents tabun and sarin."

- "The government's notorious attacks on the Iraqi Kurds have come in phases. Between 1977 and 1987, some 4,500-5,000 Kurdish villages were systematically destroyed and their inhabitants forcibly removed and made to live in `resettlement camps.' Commencing in the spring of 1987, thousands of Iraqi Kurds were killed during chemical and conventional bombardments.

"From February to September 1988, the Iraqi government launched the official `Anfal' campaign, during which Iraqi troops swept through the highlands of Iraqi Kurdistan rounding up everyone who remained in government-declared `prohibited zones.' More than 100,000 Kurds, mostly men and boys, were trucked to remote sites and executed.

"The use of chemical weapons reached a peak in March 1988; in the town of Halabja alone, where a documented 3,200 people are believed to have died from chemical gas attacks, and the actual number may be more than 5,000."

- "During the early years of the [1980-88] Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi government arrested thousands of Shi'a Muslims [for alleged Iranian sympathies]. Many have `disappeared' or remain unaccounted for; others died under torture or were executed. This campaign was followed by the forced expulsion of over half a million Shi'a during the 1980s to Iran, after the separation out of many male family members. These men and boys, estimated to number between 50,000-70,000, were arrested and imprisoned indefinitely without charge; most remain unaccounted for."

- "After the Gulf War, in southern Iraq, members of the Shi'a majority rose up in revolt against the Iraqi leadership. In response, thousands of Shi'a including hundreds of clerics and their students, were imprisoned without charge or `disappeared' in state custody. Hundreds were summarily executed."

- The total number of Iraqi "disappearances" reached 250,000 to 290,000, including members of "communist and other leftist groups; Kurdish, Assyrian and Turcoman opposition groups; out-of-favor Ba'athists; and the relatives of persons in these groups."

- A "ubiquitous network of security services and informants has suppressed independent civilian institutions and terrorized the Iraqi population into virtual silence. Torture techniques have included hangings, beatings, rape and burning suspects alive. Thousands of Iraqi political detainees have died under torture."

A parallel U.S. State Department report to Congress for 2002 chronicled other practices of Hussein's regime: amputation without anaesthesia, burning with hot irons and blowtorches, suspension from rotating ceiling fans and, beginning in 2000, tongue amputation--in front of crowds--for critics of the dictator or his family.

A November 2002 British government dossier listed other torture techniques, such as piercing hands with electric drills, gouging out the eyes of some victims and gradually lowering others into acid baths. The British also cited Iraqi efforts to "cleanse" prisons: "In 1984, 4,000 political prisoners were executed at a single prison, the Abu Ghraib."

Since the invasion of Iraq, the discovery of some 300 sites where Hussein's henchmen buried their victims has refreshed the agony of Iraqi families unable to find even fragments of their loved ones' remains. Evidence at Hussein's trial, and the discovery of secret government files by the tons, may help a nation comprehend the breadth of its suffering.

- - -

The risk in considering body counts this large, cruelties this ghoulish, is that at some point the victims seem more like statistics than individual men, or women, or children.

In detailing how Saddam Hussein's regime had mistreated his people--and mocked United Nations Security Council Resolution 688--the Bush White House was spot-on, even reserved. Few if any war opponents, in this country or elsewhere, have suggested that the administration exaggerated this argument.

Nor have the opponents asserted that an unmolested Hussein would, out of gratitude, have eased his repression. Those UN inspectors who, for a time, supposedly contained his menace? Their specialty was searching for weapons sites, not exhuming mass graves.
 

Disagreeable

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
0
I have to admit, Ms Ding Dong, that I haven’t taken time to read the entire thread. I’m not especially interested in a newspaper falling on their sword now because they failed to investigate Bush’s justification for war. It’s too late; thousands are dead, billions of dollars thrown into the sand of Iraq, our credibility and reputation in shreds (along with the reputation of some of the best newspapers in the world.)

But I do want to thank you for your patience and taking time for posting these articles because, in the end, the Tribune says just what I’ve said, Bush lied. Excerpts from the final wrap up, my emphasis:

But as Tribune columnist Steve Chapman wrote, that was too little too late: "At a news conference shortly before the campaign in Iraq began, Bush invoked the memory of Sept. 11, 2001, no fewer than eight times. That was enough to foster the widespread impression that we were launching a retaliatory attack, not a pre-emptive one."

To this day, no compelling evidence ties Saddam Hussein to Sept. 11. Nor is there proof linking Al Qaeda in a significant way to the final years of Hussein's regime.”

"A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between Al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

[A]ssessed that there were likely several instances of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda throughout the 1990s, but that these contacts did not add up to an established formal relationship."

But subsequent probing has cast heavy doubt on the 2001 Czech report that Mohamed Atta had met an Iraqi official in Prague. And the intel supporting the White House charge that Iraq trained Al Qaeda terrorists has imploded. The high-ranking Al Qaeda detainee who alleged before the war that Iraq had trained Al Qaeda in bombmaking, poisons and gases later recanted his story. “

But by stripping its rhetoric about Iraq and Al Qaeda of the ambiguity in the intel data, the White House exaggerated this argument for war.”

“That argument, before the war, would have lacked the impact of implying that Iraq played a role in attacking America. It would, though, have had the virtue of being true. “
 

Disagreeable

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
0
Liberty Belle said:
Remember when disagreeable said that Pres. Bush has killed as many Iraqi's as Saddam?

#11-Butchery in Baghdad
Published December 18, 2005

The White House urged a timid UN to enforce its demands that Saddam Hussein stop mistreating his people. Part 8 in a Tribune series exploring the administration's arguments for war.

What White House contended

America, like the rest of the world, has an inconsistent record of confronting, or tolerating, mass murder. For many years, Iraq was New Rwanda, a slaughterhouse ignored by a United Nations content to mouth its humanitarian platitudes.

In making its case for war, the Bush administration did not argue primarily that the U.S. had the moral duty to purge a tyrant. Rather, the White House urged that the timid UN, arguably corrupted by oil-for-food bribes, enforce its demands that Saddam Hussein end his butchery.

Speaking at the UN on Sept. 12, 2002, President Bush told the diplomats: "In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities, which the council said threatened international peace and security in the region. This demand goes ignored."

That accurately described Resolution 688, which condemned repression "in many parts of Iraq, including most recently in Kurdish populated areas. ... " The mandate called for that cruelty to end and urged respect for "the human and political rights of all Iraqi citizens."

Bush then gave the diplomats a chilling litany of specifics: "Last year the UN Commission on Human Rights found that Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights and that the regime's repression is all-pervasive. Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation and rape.

"Wives are tortured in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents, and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state."

During his Oct. 7, 2002, speech in Cincinnati, Bush added more details that portrayed the dictator as nihilist and macabre: "On Saddam Hussein's orders, opponents have been decapitated, wives and mothers of political opponents have been systematically raped as a method of intimidation, and political prisoners have been forced to watch their own children being tortured. ... "

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell reminded the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, of how Hussein's weaponry had vanquished innocents: "... Saddam Hussein's use of mustard and nerve gas against the Kurds in 1988 was one of the 20th Century's most horrible atrocities. Five thousand men, women and children died. His campaign against the Kurds from 1987 to '89 included mass summary executions, disappearances, arbitrary jailing, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of some 2,000 villages. He has also conducted ethnic cleansing against the Shi'a Iraqis and the Marsh Arabs, whose culture has flourished for more than a millennium.

"Saddam Hussein's police state ruthlessly eliminates anyone who dares to dissent. Iraq has more forced disappearance cases than any other country--tens of thousands of people reported missing in the past decade.

"Nothing points more clearly to Saddam Hussein's dangerous intentions and the threat he poses to all of us than his calculated cruelty to his own citizens and to his neighbors. ...

"For more than 20 years, by word and by deed, Saddam Hussein has pursued his ambition to dominate Iraq and the broader Middle East using the only means he knows--intimidation, coercion and annihilation of all those who might stand in his way. For Saddam Hussein, possession of the world's most deadly weapons is the ultimate trump card, the one he must hold to fulfill his ambition."

What we know today

The butchery of Saddam Hussein's Iraq was remote from the American experience--psychopathic in design, unfathomable in scope. What are our ears to make of 38-year-old Ahmed Hassan Mohammed, testifying Dec. 5 at Hussein's trial in Baghdad about the blood and shreds of hair beneath what he described as a human meat grinder?

Isolated grotesquerie, that we can fathom. We can wrap our imaginations, abhorrently, around a John Wayne Gacy with corpses tidily arrayed like parquet tiles beneath his suburban home. How, though, do we grasp the ambition of the pogroms Hussein orchestrated? How, too, do we grasp a timid world's eagerness to avert its eyes?

No one knows how many people Hussein's regime exterminated. Probably the most authoritative estimates come from Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organization. The group estimates a toll of 300,000--a number sufficiently conservative to withstand challenge. Other estimates run much higher.

In December 2002, three months before war in Iraq, Human Rights Watch enumerated Hussein's cruelties in a policy paper titled "Justice for Iraq." Among its assertions:

- "Iraq used chemical weapons extensively, starting in 1983-1984, during the Iran-Iraq war. It is estimated that some 20,000 Iranians were killed by mustard gas, and the nerve agents tabun and sarin."

- "The government's notorious attacks on the Iraqi Kurds have come in phases. Between 1977 and 1987, some 4,500-5,000 Kurdish villages were systematically destroyed and their inhabitants forcibly removed and made to live in `resettlement camps.' Commencing in the spring of 1987, thousands of Iraqi Kurds were killed during chemical and conventional bombardments.

"From February to September 1988, the Iraqi government launched the official `Anfal' campaign, during which Iraqi troops swept through the highlands of Iraqi Kurdistan rounding up everyone who remained in government-declared `prohibited zones.' More than 100,000 Kurds, mostly men and boys, were trucked to remote sites and executed.

"The use of chemical weapons reached a peak in March 1988; in the town of Halabja alone, where a documented 3,200 people are believed to have died from chemical gas attacks, and the actual number may be more than 5,000."

- "During the early years of the [1980-88] Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi government arrested thousands of Shi'a Muslims [for alleged Iranian sympathies]. Many have `disappeared' or remain unaccounted for; others died under torture or were executed. This campaign was followed by the forced expulsion of over half a million Shi'a during the 1980s to Iran, after the separation out of many male family members. These men and boys, estimated to number between 50,000-70,000, were arrested and imprisoned indefinitely without charge; most remain unaccounted for."

- "After the Gulf War, in southern Iraq, members of the Shi'a majority rose up in revolt against the Iraqi leadership. In response, thousands of Shi'a including hundreds of clerics and their students, were imprisoned without charge or `disappeared' in state custody. Hundreds were summarily executed."

- The total number of Iraqi "disappearances" reached 250,000 to 290,000, including members of "communist and other leftist groups; Kurdish, Assyrian and Turcoman opposition groups; out-of-favor Ba'athists; and the relatives of persons in these groups."

- A "ubiquitous network of security services and informants has suppressed independent civilian institutions and terrorized the Iraqi population into virtual silence. Torture techniques have included hangings, beatings, rape and burning suspects alive. Thousands of Iraqi political detainees have died under torture."

A parallel U.S. State Department report to Congress for 2002 chronicled other practices of Hussein's regime: amputation without anaesthesia, burning with hot irons and blowtorches, suspension from rotating ceiling fans and, beginning in 2000, tongue amputation--in front of crowds--for critics of the dictator or his family.

A November 2002 British government dossier listed other torture techniques, such as piercing hands with electric drills, gouging out the eyes of some victims and gradually lowering others into acid baths. The British also cited Iraqi efforts to "cleanse" prisons: "In 1984, 4,000 political prisoners were executed at a single prison, the Abu Ghraib."

Since the invasion of Iraq, the discovery of some 300 sites where Hussein's henchmen buried their victims has refreshed the agony of Iraqi families unable to find even fragments of their loved ones' remains. Evidence at Hussein's trial, and the discovery of secret government files by the tons, may help a nation comprehend the breadth of its suffering.

- - -

The risk in considering body counts this large, cruelties this ghoulish, is that at some point the victims seem more like statistics than individual men, or women, or children.

In detailing how Saddam Hussein's regime had mistreated his people--and mocked United Nations Security Council Resolution 688--the Bush White House was spot-on, even reserved. Few if any war opponents, in this country or elsewhere, have suggested that the administration exaggerated this argument.

Nor have the opponents asserted that an unmolested Hussein would, out of gratitude, have eased his repression. Those UN inspectors who, for a time, supposedly contained his menace? Their specialty was searching for weapons sites, not exhuming mass graves.

Nothing in this shows my figures were wrong. In the end, more Iraqis (including women, children, babies) have died daily since Bush chose to invade Iraq than the 30 or so years that Saddam burtalized the country. Find my post where I did the math and show me that I'm wrong. I didn't make up a number; I used Cal's figures, the same 300,000 mentioned in this article. I know it's difficult for you to deal with facts, but take some time and show me where my figures are wrong.

Then when you get that taken care of, explain to me why we're not involved in stopping the slaughter and starvation going on in Darfur. I suggest the oil companies don't have much interest in the region, plus President Bush doesn't have a personal agenda to do better than Daddy in that region. But I'm sure you can explain it to me.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
I have to admit, Ms Ding Dong, that I haven’t taken time to read the entire thread.
But I do want to thank you for your patience and taking time for posting these articles because, in the end, the Tribune says just what I’ve said, Bush lied.
It’s pretty obvious that you haven’t read the entire thread. I could insult your reading comprehension, your intelligence, and your patriotism, but I have neither the time nor the energy. Go back and read them over, plus the last two I’ll post and then we’ll talk.
Nothing in this shows my figures were wrong. In the end, more Iraqis (including women, children, babies) have died daily since Bush chose to invade Iraq than the 30 or so years that Saddam burtalized the country.
Now let me get this straight – Bush killed all these Iraqis - all by himself?

Most, if not all, of the dead in Iraq either died because they were near legitimate targets of our military or have been killed by other Muslims using car bombs, beheadings and such.

I haven’t seen any stories, even from our very liberal media, of our military (or our president!) deliberately blowing up civilians and shooting women and children. Have you? If so, where’s your link.
Then when you get that taken care of, explain to me why we're not involved in stopping the slaughter and starvation going on in Darfur. I suggest the oil companies don't have much interest in the region, plus President Bush doesn't have a personal agenda to do better than Daddy in that region. But I'm sure you can explain it to me.
Unless I missed it, Darfur, indeed all of Sudan, has never been any kind of a threat to the US. Where is your precious United Nations? Shouldn’t they be doing something to stop these atrocities? What is their function anyway, was the UN created only to spend American tax dollars to enrich their leaders and to denigrate whatever we try to do to provide for our own defense? Can you justify it's existence?

http://hrw.org/reports/2004/sudan0504/8.htm#_Toc71531712

#12-'Your liberation is near'
Published December 21, 2005

Could Iraqis bridge their ethnic and religious schisms to build a liberal democracy? Part 9 of a Tribune series assesses the Bush administration's arguments for war.

What the White House argued

Deposing the Butcher of Baghdad wouldn't be enough. Unless the U.S. wanted a virtual 51st state half a world away, a people long stripped of dignity would have to birth a new nation. Could they build a liberal democracy--the form of governance best equipped to bridge their ethnic and religious schisms?

In making their case for war, President Bush and his surrogates broached a peculiar notion: that the Arab world was ready to embrace truly representative government. History said otherwise--and it wasn't as if the Arab street was clamoring for Iraq to show the way.

The Bush administration paid less homage to planting democracy in Iraq before the March 2003 invasion than it has since then. Before the war, the White House put greater emphasis on the assertion that, given the phenomenal death tolls during Saddam Hussein's reign of terror, the United Nations Security Council should enforce its demands that the dictator stop persecuting Iraqis.

That said, the administration did repeatedly contend that an Iraq freed from its legacy could, and would, mature into a democracy.

President Bush said during his Oct. 7, 2002, speech from Cincinnati: "Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq.

"The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan's citizens improved after the Taliban. ... America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights, to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity.

"People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery, prosperity to squalor, self-government to the rule of terror and torture. America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us.

"When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomans, Shi'a, Sunnis and others will be lifted. The long captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin.

"Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources and talent. Freed from the weight of oppression, Iraq's people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time. If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy and create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors."

On March 17, 2003, the president in a globally televised speech instructed Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq within 48 hours. Bush directed part of that eve-of-war speech, via translation, to the Iraqi people. He held out the prospect that an Iraq liberated from Hussein could thrive and prosper through self-rule:

"We will tear down the apparatus of terror, and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near. ...

"Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation. ... [T]he greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace."

What we know today

Three national elections, including last week's choice of a parliament, suggest the White House was correct in predicting that Iraqis long pinned beneath the heel of a boot would embrace democracy. And while Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites have major differences to reconcile, a year's worth of predictions from doubters that Sunni disaffection would doom self-rule have, so far, proven wrong.

Three numbers are especially instructive: An electorate of 8.5 million in January's selection of a National Assembly grew to 9.8 million in October's constitutional referendum, and to some 11 million in December's parliamentary election. That's a remarkable show of civic courage, given that each of those citizens knew his or her decision to vote could prove suicidal. As Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) wrote in The Wall Street Journal of Nov. 29: "Every time the 27 million Iraqis have been given the chance since Saddam was overthrown, they have voted for self-government and hope over the violence and hatred the 10,000 terrorists offer them."

Since the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the journey to full-fledged democracy has taken Iraq from a U.S.-named Governing Council to an interim constitution, to Iraqi sovereignty, to the election of a National Assembly, to the drafting of a constitution, to voter approval of that national charter, to Thursday's election of a parliament known as the Council of Representatives.

For the better part of three years, though, critics ridiculed the Bush administration's insistence on this "deadline democracy" as a triumph of fantasy over the Arab world's autocratic experience. The factionalized Iraqis would need more time, the thinking went. Self-rule would have little appeal in the former dictatorship.

The reality, though, has been a simpler triumph of human aspiration over justifiable fear. This serial optimism among Iraqis has contrasted, intriguingly, with the far more pessimistic views of many people in this country and others.

On Dec. 12, three days before last week's election, a poll commissioned by Time magazine, ABC News, the BBC and other news organizations calibrated this optimism. Seventy percent of Iraqi respondents said their lives are going well--and 69 percent said they expect things to improve in the year ahead. (By comparison: On Dec. 13, a new Gallup Poll reported that the share of Americans satisfied with "the way things are going in the United States at this time" stood at 35 percent.)

The Iraqis still could stumble. Among their obstacles: proposals to amend the new constitution. With its power-bloc jockeying over such problematic issues as how to blend constructs of majority rule and religion, Iraq joins a difficult debate that echoes in many democracies.

Writing in The Washington Post of Dec. 11, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice argued anew that the spread of democracy to the greater Middle East could make a safer world. "When the citizens of this region cannot advance their interests and redress their grievances through an open political process, they retreat hopelessly into the shadows to be preyed upon by evil men with violent designs," she wrote. Those who doubt the promise of Arab self-governance, she added, have philosophical forebears: "Dogmatic cynics and cultural determinists were once certain that `Asian values,' or Latin culture, or Slavic despotism, or African tribalism would each render democracy impossible. But they were wrong. ..."

Four days after that, on Thursday, some 11 million Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites, and members of many tribes, marched en masse to 6,048 polling centers. At one of them, in ethnically and religiously conflicted Mosul, a Sunni voter named Manal Yahia confided to the Tribune's Aamer Madhani that she had cast her ballot for--a secular Shiite candidate. "It has been difficult to be optimistic for Iraq," she said. "But today I am hoping that we are celebrating our country's wedding."

- - -

The Bush administration invested this nation's blood and treasure in a radical conviction: that the greater Middle East could be ruled less by wild furies than by the citizens of many lands who have the greatest stake in its future.

Iraq is that conviction's fiercest crucible. If the country's alloy of rival groups does not melt, the peoples of more nations may be tempted to embrace self-rule. We are in an era in which history is hostile to despots.

Thus far, that alloy has survived terrorist attempts to provoke a civil war, to intimidate Iraqi democrats, to drive out the U.S. troops who shield a fledgling government.

Over time, Americans in uniform will leave Iraq. The hope here is that they come home with tremendous pride in a mission they truly have completed.

Only when our soldiers are gone, when Iraqis alone must nurture this new Iraq, will we learn whether that U.S. blood and treasure have enabled a treacherous patch of Earth to liberalize and thrive.

We cannot yet know if this Iraq--by its example to other nations or by the envy it provokes in them--will be the democracy that transforms a region of primitive governments. But freedom now has a foothold where it had none before--in a region that has spawned many hatreds. Given that history, this nation and its allies will likely be safer now that free Iraqis have a promising future to grow and protect.
 

Disagreeable

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
0
Your arguments contradict each other, Ms. Ding Dong. One one hand you say Bush invaded Iraq to free the Iraqi people from being murdered and starved by a tyrant. On the other hand, we won't go into Darfur where people are being murdered and starved.

You say we should not go into Darfur because they pose no threat to us. Neither did Saddam. If you have something to show otherwise, please post it, with a link.

I say the difference is Bush's personal dislike of Saddam and oil.

Bush doesn't have to kill anyone personally. By taking out Iraq's security forces and not sending enough American military troops, he has allowed thugs, insurgents, crooks, murders, to run rampant across the country blowing up, kidnapping, murdering innocent Iraqis. Every death in that country is on Bush's head because it was unnecessary to invade the country. Colin Powell told him that if he chose to invade Iraq, if he chose to destroy their security forces, their infastructure, he would be responsible for the country. Bush chose to go ahead with the invasion.

"US Secretary of State Colin Powell warned President George Bush two months before the invasion of Iraq about the potential negative consequences of a war, citing what Mr Powell privately called the "you break it, you own it" rule of military action, a new book reveals.

"You're sure?" Mr Powell is quoted as asking Mr Bush in the Oval Office on January 13, 2003, as the President told him he had made the decision to go forward.

"You understand the consequences," he is said to have stated in a half-question. "You know you're going to be owning this place?"


http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/17/1082140119772.html?from=storyrhs
 

BBJ

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Messages
607
Reaction score
0
Location
Central Texas
Name calling? hum that's pretty good. :clap: Nice job dis! I know you just changed my political position.
 

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
4
Location
northwestern South Dakota
Your arguments contradict each other, Ms. Ding Dong. One one hand you say Bush invaded Iraq to free the Iraqi people from being murdered and starved by a tyrant. On the other hand, we won't go into Darfur where people are being murdered and starved.
For cryin' out loud dis, either learn to read or keep quiet so your ignorance goes unnoticed. I know it will be a struggle for you, but read the preceding op/ed articles I posted over s-l-o-w-l-y and very carefully.
You say we should not go into Darfur because they pose no threat to us. Neither did Saddam. If you have something to show otherwise, please post it, with a link.
When you’re done reading the above articles, check this link that Cal posted today and tell us again that Saddam was no threat to the US.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/593kwxuz.asp?pg=1

Here's the last article in the series:
#13-Judging the case for war
Published December 28, 2005

Did President Bush intentionally mislead this nation and its allies into war? Or is it his critics who have misled Americans, recasting history to discredit him and his policies? If your responses are reflexive and self-assured, read on.

On Nov. 20, the Tribune began an inquest: We set out to assess the Bush administration's arguments for war in Iraq. We have weighed each of those nine arguments against the findings of subsequent official investigations by the 9/11 Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee and others. We predicted that this exercise would distress the smug and self-assured--those who have unquestioningly supported, or opposed, this war.

The matrix below summarizes findings from the resulting nine editorials. We have tried to bring order to a national debate that has flared for almost three years. Our intent was to help Tribune readers judge the case for war--based not on who shouts loudest, but on what actually was said and what happened.

The administration didn't advance its arguments with equal emphasis. Neither, though, did its case rely solely on Iraq's alleged illicit weapons. The other most prominent assertion in administration speeches and presentations was as accurate as the weapons argument was flawed: that Saddam Hussein had rejected 12 years of United Nations demands that he account for his stores of deadly weapons--and also stop exterminating innocents. Evaluating all nine arguments lets each of us decide which ones we now find persuasive or empty, and whether President Bush tried to mislead us.

In measuring risks to this country, the administration relied on the same intelligence agencies, in the U.S. and overseas, that failed to anticipate Sept. 11, 2001. We now know that the White House explained some but not enough of the ambiguities embedded in those agencies' conclusions. By not stressing what wasn't known as much as what was, the White House wound up exaggerating allegations that proved dead wrong.

Those flawed assertions are central to the charge that the president lied. Such accusations, though, can unfairly conflate three issues: the strength of the case Bush argued before the war, his refusal to delay its launch in March 2003 and his administration's failure to better anticipate the chaos that would follow. Those three are important, but not to be confused with one another.

After reassessing the administration's nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege. Example: The accusation that Bush lied about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs overlooks years of global intelligence warnings that, by February 2003, had convinced even French President Jacques Chirac of "the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq." We also know that, as early as 1997, U.S. intel agencies began repeatedly warning the Clinton White House that Iraq, with fissile material from a foreign source, could have a crude nuclear bomb within a year.

Seventeen days before the war, this page reluctantly urged the president to launch it. We said that every earnest tool of diplomacy with Iraq had failed to improve the world's security, stop the butchery--or rationalize years of UN inaction. We contended that Saddam Hussein, not George W. Bush, had demanded this conflict.

Many people of patriotism and integrity disagreed with us and still do. But the totality of what we know now--what this matrix chronicles-- affirms for us our verdict of March 2, 2003. We hope these editorials help Tribune readers assess theirs.

THE ROAD TO WAR: THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S NINE ARGUMENTS

Biological and chemical weapons

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

The Bush administration said Iraq had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. Officials trumpeted reports from U.S. and foreign spy agencies, including an October 2002 CIA assessment: "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions."

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Many, although not all, of the Bush administration's assertions about weapons of mass destruction have proven flat-out wrong. What illicit weaponry searchers uncovered didn't begin to square with the magnitude of the toxic armory U.S. officials had described before the war.

THE VERDICT

There was no need for the administration to rely on risky intelligence to chronicle many of Iraq's other sins. In putting so much emphasis on illicit weaponry, the White House advanced its most provocative, least verifiable case for war when others would have sufficed.

Iraq rebuffs the world

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

In a speech that left many diplomats visibly squirming in their chairs, President Bush detailed tandem patterns of failure: Saddam Hussein had refused to obey UN Security Council orders that he disclose his weapons programs--and the UN had refused to enforce its demands of Hussein.


WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Reasonable minds disagree on whether Iraq's flouting of UN resolutions justified the war. But there can be no credible assertion that either Iraq or the UN met its responsibility to the world. If anything, the administration gravely understated the chicanery, both in Baghdad and at the UN.


THE VERDICT

Hussein had shunted enough lucre to enough profiteers to keep the UN from challenging him. In a dozen years the organization mass-produced 17 resolutions on Iraq, all of them toothless. That in turn enabled Hussein to continue his brutal reign and cost untold thousands of Iraqis their lives.


The quest for nukes

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

Intelligence agencies warned the Clinton and Bush administrations that Hussein was reconstituting his once-impressive program to create nuclear weapons. In part that intel reflected embarrassment over U.S. failure before the Persian Gulf war to grasp how close Iraq was to building nukes.

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Four intel studies from 1997-2000 concurred that "If Iraq acquired a significant quantity of fissile material through foreign assistance, it could have a crude nuclear weapon within a year." Claims that Iraq sought uranium and special tubes for processing nuclear material appear discredited.

THE VERDICT

If the White House manipulated or exaggerated the nuclear intelligence before the war in order to paint a more menacing portrait of Hussein, it's difficult to imagine why. For five years, the official and oft-delivered alarms from the U.S. intelligence community had been menacing enough.


Hussein's rope-a-dope

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

The longer Hussein refuses to obey UN directives to disclose his weapons programs, the greater the risk that he will acquire, or share with terrorists, the weaponry he has used in the past or the even deadlier capabilities his scientists have tried to develop. Thus we need to wage a pre-emptive war.


WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Hussein didn't have illicit weapons stockpiles to wield or hand to terrorists. Subsequent investigations have concluded he had the means and intent to rekindle those programs as soon as he escaped UN sanctions.


THE VERDICT

Had Hussein not been deposed, would he have reconstituted deadly weaponry or shared it with terror groups? Of the White House's nine arguments for war, the implications of this warning about Iraq's intentions are treacherous to imagine--yet also the least possible to declare true or false.

Iraq was Afghanistan's likely successor as a haven for terror groups. "Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror ... " the president said. "And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network."
 

Latest posts

Top